[Wittrs] Re: Dualism Cooties: Ontologically Basic Ambiguity

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2010 15:56:22 -0000

--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "iro3isdx" <xznwrjnk-evca@...> wrote:

> --- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "SWM" <SWMirsky@> wrote:
> > An ontological basic is just whatever is bottom line in a causal
> > way, i.e., that which is responsible for something else.
> Have you considered the possibility that there is nothing that is
> ontologically basic?

There is nothing that is because anything we can know is going to be derived 
from something else. But everything IS derived from something else. The only 
reason to speak of what is "ontologically basic" is to ascribe some source for 
the derivation.

My decision to speak in terms of "ontological basicness" is not, contrary to 
Joe's belief, to assert there IS something at some level we can talk about. 
It's merely to note that whatever is can be traced to something else in the 
universe we have. The only reason to worry about how many bottom line something 
elses there are is if you think that brains are not enough to give us minds. 
That's all this claim is about, not about some underlying ultimate existent.

I am saying that while Searle disclaims being a dualist (and explicitly agrees 
that brains are enough), his argument against computationalism hinges on an 
assumption that is consistent with the notion that brains aren't enough, i.e., 
that whatever consciousness is, it cannot be reduced to something else (or, if 
it can be reduced, that that something else isn't like whatever it is that 
gives us brains and rocks and trees, i.e., it's a different line of descent as 
it were).

> > The universe is very diverse but all that diversity is associated
> > with what we call "physical" (either because it is made up of it
> > or manifests it, etc.).
> The trouble is, that we don't really know what we mean by "physical".
> It is a shifting target.
> Regards,
> Neil

Nor am I arguing against the shifting (which I agree is part of all this). I am 
merely asking whether we need to suppose that brains aren't enough. And noting 
that Searle is in self-contradiction between his CRA and his assertions about 
the role of brains.


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