[Wittrs] Re: Is "Dualism" a Pejorative Term?

  • From: "iro3isdx" <xznwrjnk-evca@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 05 Mar 2010 01:12:37 -0000

--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "SWM" <SWMirsky@...> wrote:

> Dualism is not a pejorative, Neil.

The issue should be whether it contributes anything useful to the
discussion.  I don't think it does.

> It merely denotes the idea that consciousness is ontologically basic,
> that it cannot be derived from anything else.

If that even means anything.  I'll admit to being a skeptic of
ontological claims.

> It seems to me the possibilities here are:

> 1) Consciousness is seen as a unique something that co-exists, at
> some level, with all that we call physical in the universe (atoms,
> energy, forces, etc.) but is of a fundamentally different type or
> nature from all the rest.

> 2) Consciousness is produced by some combination of the rest but,
> once produced is fundamentally different and stand-alone. A new
> something has been brought into the world.

> 3) Consciousness is a parallel realm of being that peers into the
> physical world through some physical window (the brain as lense to
> another dimension, you might say).

That kind of thinking is why I am an ontological skeptic.

> My view, again, is that dualism could be true.

And what does it mean to say that dualism is true?  Or, to ask
differently, what kind of criteria would be used to settle the question
of whether dualism is true?

> Dualism could be true but why do we need to rely on such fairy tales
> when the story can be told much more simply and in keeping with the
> way we currently understand the world? But it isn't pejorative,
> per se, to describe certain positions as being either explicitly
> or implicitly dualist.

In one breath, you say it is a fairy tale.  Then in the next breath you
say it isn't pejorative.  That seems inconsistent to me.


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