[Wittrs] Re: Dueling Dualisms

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2010 17:29:57 -0000

--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Gordon Swobe <wittrsamr@...> wrote:

> --- On Tue, 3/16/10, SWM <wittrsamr@...> wrote:
> > But my point is that Searle is unclear, himself, about what he means as
> > seen repeatedly in his failure to explicate his claims about
> > how the brain allegedly does what a computer cannot do.   
> He considers that the job of neuroscience.

Yes, of course he does. It's an easy way out, too, and that's my point. Not my 
job, man!

> Just as we have a good idea about the neurological correlates of pain, so too 
> will we someday have a description of the physical processes that correlate 
> to having beliefs, desires and other intentional states. In principle we can, 
> on Searle's view, reduce all mental phenomena to their neurological causes.

Yes, that is where he becomes seriously confused, i.e., by mixing up his idea 
about ontologies with his idea about causes.

> To my way of thinking, we cannot classify Searle's philosophy as dualism 
> where we understand dualism as having to do with non-physical properties or 
> substances. And I don't have much use for the word otherwise.
> -gts

Searle says we can't because he rejects the description. But as Dennett notes 
and as I have noted, a deep dualism is present in the very heart of the CRA 
because it assumes that consciousness cannot be reduced to what isn't like 
itself (conscious) which implies that consciousness is therefore ontologically 
basic. But if it is, how can it be accounted for as a product of brains?

If brains do it via a complex of physical processes tied together in an 
overarching system, then there is no reason, at least in principle, that 
computers cannot be used to produce the same kinds of overarching systems 
(systems doing the same things). If THAT is true, then the CR does NOT 
demonstrate that syntax cannot be the source of semantics (in Searle's rather 
idiosyncratic terms).

On the other hand, if brains do it by producing some "emergent" properties 
which are ontologically distinct from whatever it is brains are doing to 
produce them, then we have dualism.


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