[Wittrs] Dualism Cooties: Is Property Dualism Always Fatal?

  • From: Joseph Polanik <jpolanik@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 09 Mar 2010 07:00:09 -0500

SWM wrote:

>Joseph Polanik wrote:

>>yes, we've had this argument before, Stuart; but, you continue to rely
>>on linguistic sleight of hand to make your case that Searle (or some
>>other philosopher) has dualism cooties.

>>the fallacy involves these steps:

>>1: observing some evidence of property dualism in the works of the
>>target philosopher.

>I never refer to what you call property dualism so there is your first
>misreading (or, if not the first, at least the first in this go-round).

I didn't say that you called the textual evidence 'evidence of property
dualism'. the first phase of the fallacy is just finding the textual
evidence upon which to base a claim. the second step is to calling the
evidence evidence of 'dualism'

>By now it should be clear that my reference to Searle's CRA involves
>the assertion that it is implicitly dualist in the sense of presuming
>that consciousness must be ontologically basic, what you like to call,
>using the somewhat archaic formulation, "substance dualism". That
>others have accused Searle of being a property dualist (and that he has
>denied it) is irrelevant to the point I have made. What looks like
>"sleight of hand" to you is just a failure to see my point (or to admit
>seeing it).

>>2: dropping the qualifying word 'property' when describing the target
>>philosophers position as 'dualism'.

>>3: defining 'dualism' in such a way (eg by the examples you gave) that
>>it is co-extensive with the traditional definition of 'substance
>>dualism'.

>The mere fact that there is a word in common between the two theses
>("dualism") doesn't mean they represent the same thing.

that's precisely *why* it's so important to include a qualifier.

>If property dualism involves properties that are irreducible, then it
>doesn't matter whether those properties were belatedly brought into
>existence by something else or if they were always present, albeit in
>some hidden form. That would be dualism of the ontological basic
>variety.

there is no 'dualism of the ontological basic variety'.

>If, on the other hand, the properties referred to are simply
>appearances or aspects of something else of a very different sort,

properties are *always* aspects of something else --- the substance
(ie the object) of which they are properties.

>then they ARE reducible to that something else

not unless you redefine 'reducible' to suit yourself.

>... in which case it isn't dualism in any way that matters.

the 'dualism that matters' is, of course, substance dualism;
consequently, the question that matters is 'how many are required' by
the philosophy in question.

if you take the position that properties are reducible to the substance
of which they are a property, then the relevant questions are 'how many
fundamentally different property sets are there' and 'how many
substances do those property sets reduce to'.

OTOH, if you take the position that properties are not reducible to the
substance of which they are a property, then the relevant questions are
'how many fundamentally different property sets are there' and 'how many
substances are invoked to explain having that many property sets'.

here's a schematic breakdown:

S1/P1 - substance monism / property monism - reductive physicalists and
eliminative materialists here - Dennett and Searle (according to
Searle) - also panpsychists

S1/P2 - substance monism / property dualism - Chalmers and Searle
(according to Chalmers). also neutral monism

S2/P2 - substance dualism / property dualism - non-interactive substance
dualism - Leibniz (parallelism of pre-established harmony), dualistic
epiphenomenalism.

S2/P3 - substance dualism / property trialism - interactive substance
dualism - Descartes (had one set of properties due to the soul, one set
due to the body and one set due to their 'union' in the living person)

S3/P3 - substance trialism / property trialism - Campanella - similar to
Descartes except that each property set is reducible to or explained by
its own substance. the rational soul, the sensitive soul and the body.

>You just seem unable to get my point about dualism being to claim that
>there are at least two ontological basics in the universe underlying
>the things that we encounter.

yes, I refuse to accept your claims about dualism. I have two reasons:

first, by defining dualism to be concerned with what underlies
experience you are limiting it to explanatory dualisms. I refuse to do
so. I consider the basic fact of philosophy of consciousness is the
phenomenological dualism that must be explained --- how does it happen
that there is subjective experience in a universe of objects with
measurable properties.

second, your position is inconsistent. you admit that the only
significant dualism, the only dualism that matters, is what I call
'substance dualism'. you conclude from this that you don't need to be
careful about distinguishing substance dualism from property dualism
when you accuse philosophers of having dualism cooties. I conclude that
it is very important to make this distinction very carefully.

Joe


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Nothing Unreal is Self-Aware

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