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

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 09 Mar 2010 14:15:52 -0000

--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Joseph Polanik <jPolanik@...> wrote:
> 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'

It's about the argument. Any evidence has to do with producing what was said. 
The argument is about what it means and what is supposed to be concluded based 
on it.


>  >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'.

You mean it's not the official nomenclature? Oh my, what shall we do? Look, 
Joe, this isn't about the words, the terms we use to call things what they are, 
it's about what they are. The rather antiquated "substance dualism" doesn't 
really work very well in a world in which we don't think of things in terms of 
underlying substance. You want to cling to such nomenclature and that's okay. 
But don't get hung up on le mot juste as if the terminology is the issue. A 
rose by any other name . . ., etc., etc.

>  >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.

They certainly should be seen as that but in that case you can't claim 
irreducibility for them since every property we encounter in the universe can 
be explained in physical terms as something more basic (e.g., light is a 
certain kind of wave-particle packet and particular colors are particular wave 
lengths, etc.).

The problem comes when people forget that sort of thing and imagine that by 
proclaiming something a property, they have reduced it to as basic a level as 
it can be reduced to. Whether any properties of THAT sort exist in the universe 
is irrelevant. What is relevant is how people understand this.

>  >then they ARE reducible to that something else
> not unless you redefine 'reducible' to suit yourself.

How do YOU think I mean the term?

>  >... 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.

And Searle proposes in that paper we read that property dualists think the 
properties, once in existence, are irreducible. Walter says he gets property 
dualism wrong and Walter may well be right. But there are certainly some who 
think that the properties of consciousness are irreducible and even Walter 
spoke that way in his discussion of this when he asserted that some physical 
entities or events just had the added property of intentionality and that he 
held a "mysterian" view on this. He then proved reluctant to elaborate, leaving 
the question of reducibility unanswered, at least in that discussion. This is 
the problem with property dualism if it is not though through and that was 
probably the point Searle was making in that article.

> 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'.

I thought you said that " properties are *always* aspects of something else --- 
the substance (ie the object) of which they are properties". If so, what are 
"fundamental properties"?

I am unfortunately running late for an appointment this morning. I'll take a 
look at the rest of what you've written when I return and, if it's something I 
need to respond to, I'll do it then.



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