[Wittrs] Re: Dualism Cooties: Mirsky's Fallacy of Untyped Dualism, FUD

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2010 13:01:48 -0000

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

> SWM wrote:
>  >Joseph Polanik wrote:
>  >As I've said, I think "ontological basicness" captures the point well
>  >enough despite its inartful appearance. In this case precision should
>  >take precedence over eloquence.
> but precision is precisely what this phrase lacks; and, that's how the
> linguistic sleight of hand is done.

Let's see how you back this one up!

>  >No, I conclude it because his CRA's conclusion requires a presumption
>  >of ontological basicness.
> in ordinary language 'basic' is an adjective referring to something that
> is fundamental to or forms the basis for something else.


> there are idiomatic uses of basics where it functions syntactically as
> noun despite remaining an adjective semantically. in discussions about
> school policy you are likely to hear the phrase 'back to basics'. by
> asking 'back to basic *what*' you can explicitize the statement. it
> means going back to basic teaching methods and/or restricting the
> curriculum to basic subject.

Still "basic" though, as in what underlies, the core, etc., i.e., it implies 
stripping out the chaff, doing away with the fluff, perhaps even the bells and 
whistles, etc., etc.

> in the case of 'ontological basics' we can again ask 'basic *what*'.
> it could be a basic phenomenon, a basic property a basic substance.

The key is whether it is "basic" or not in the sense of being a bottom line 
reducible, beyond which one cannot get. Nothing "sleight of handy" here. All 
quite explicitly stated. Insofar as language itself can be clear, this is as 
clear as it gets. Just asserting it isn't clear doesn't make it unclear, 
though, of course, one can always assert things and some of us apparently feel 
empowered to do that with complete disregard to what is apparent.

>  >>the fallacy is that the phenomenological dualism that constitutes the
>  >>hard problem of consciousness research is a real dualism; but, it
>  >>isn't substance dualism
>  >Ah, a new allegation of yet another fallacy! Except, of course, that
>  >once again you misstate my argument which isn't about qualia or two
>  >kinds of objects, etc. It's about what's implied in the CRA. Look at
>  >the argument, rather than guessing or making things up!
> no, this is the basic fallacy that I first attributed to you some weeks
> ago.

Let's see. (I note you have still failed to address my actual argument or to 
show, either above or below, how there are erros in it.)

> Searle respects the basic fact of consciousness research, there is
> subjective experience in an otherwise objective universe. he tells us
> that there are two ontologically basic types of phenomena, meaurable and
> experienceable.

> I call the fallacy in question the Fallacy of Untyped Dualism, FUD. your
> version, Mirsky's FUD has these steps

> 1. classify any basic phenomenon, property or substance as a 'basic'.
> 2. insist that all basics are basic substances
> 3. count the substances found by this procedure. if there are two,
> attribute substance dualism

No, you hadn't asserted that this was the fallacy initially. Originally your 
claim was that it was that I had used 'if you're an X then your a Y' to mean 
'only a Y you could be an X', while neither I nor Dennett had ever said that.

Note, as well, that you wrongly impute the above three premised argument to me 
since I grant there are many kinds of "basic", depending on context, etc. 
Therefore, I cannot be classifying "all basics" as "substances" as you wrongly 
put it.

First, I do not recognize a useful application of "substance" in this context 
at all (that's the reason I avoid the term though I grant you don't and suggest 
that you're use is replaceable by mine), but, second, I clearly do not classify 
"all basics" this way since I have consistently spoken of the referent I have 
in mind as an "ontological basic". Perhaps you have just missed that? 
(Apparently you are aware that I use the two words together in this argument as 
you recognize it later on, below. Therefore either you have been sloppy here in 
not noticing or you have intentionally oversimplified my use to wrongly suggest 
that I mean something other than what I have said.)

Since I always attach the adjectival descriptor in my arguments about Searle's 
CRA, you are simply wrong, above, to suggest I am speaking of "all basics".

> there are two 'basics' you can observe in Searle, the two types of
> phenomena. he says that these have different ontologies, which to him
> means that each has a different mode of existence.

I am saying they are not two "basics" in the same way therefore he is making a 
mistake in treating them as if they are. And, indeed, when it comes to claims 
of causality, even he agrees that one can causally reduce the features of 
consciousness to whatever it is brains do. However, he stumbles when he makes a 
distinction by confusing causal reduction (which possibility he affirms) with 
what he calls ontology when, in fact, the very issue at hand, causal reduction, 
IS one of ontological reduction.

> it's hard to imagine
> two things more different than things having different modes of
> existence. so, it's reasonable to conclude that Searle has two basics.

He and you certainly appear to think so though he, at least, recognizes that 
consciousness is causally reducible. You don't even see that, apparently. Of 
course the argument IS about causal reducibility, putting him in 
self-contradiction and leaving you an explicit (if not quite admitted) dualist.

> but, the question at issue is: does he have two basic substances?

I would say two "ontological basics" (note, again, the modifying adjective).

> one of these 'basics' is easily explained as phenomena produced by known
> properties of physical objects. so you could say that Searle has two
> basics and that one is a basic substance (referring to physical
> objects); but, the other is still just experiencer dependent phenomena.
> so, while you have two basics, one is still a basic type of phenomenon.

The issue remains whether recognition of these two "basics" is a claim that one 
cannot be reduced to the other, i.e., that one is "ontologically basic" while 
the other isn't, or that both are?

Searle, of course, says that causal reduction of consciousness is possible, 
though he doesn't realize the relevance or implications of this for his claim 
about computational processes running on computers when he claims that 
consciousness (whatever we mean by that term) cannot be reduced to 
computational processes even though they CAN be reduced to brain processes.

Searle fudges the issue by asserting that computational processes lack causal 
power because they are abstract but, in fact, when what is meant is processes 
running on computers, they are no more abstract than brain processes.

> you count both of these (the basic of physical objects and the basic of
> experienceable phenomena) when counting the number of 'basics'. so, you
> have a dualism of ontological basics.

This is about the reduction, i.e., about ontological basicness, not about being 
basic in any other sense which is why there is no point in confusing talk of 
"basics" in one sense with talk of "ontological basics" (a very particular 
sense as shown by the added modifier).

> then, you claim all 'ontological basics' are substances.

No, I claim "ontological basic" is a BETTER TERM than "substance" because it's 
more consistent with how we now understand the world. My saying that you are 
relying on a word that inadequately describes what we're talking about is not 
to claim they ARE "substances" but to say you ought to discard a less than 
adequate term in your discourse and that I, at least, have done so (for the 
reasons already given).

> you point out
> that Searle has two 'ontological basics' and you claim he is a substance
> dualist.
> Joe

I claim he is a dualist in the Cartesian sense which YOU (and some others) call 
"substance dualism" but I also claim that your usage is misleading because we 
don't think of the universe in terms of underlying substances today.

You are claiming my argument is fallacious but you have not identified the 
fallacy that makes it mistaken though you have consistently misstated various 
terms of my argument and THAT is a classical fallacy, of course. No need to 
invent a new term for it! It's called the strawman fallacy.


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