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

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 07 Mar 2010 01:15:51 -0000

--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "iro3isdx" <xznwrjnk-evca@...> wrote:
> --- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "SWM" <SWMirsky@> wrote:
> > To note these is to point out the various dualist positions that are
> > possible but not to argue for the truth or primacy of any of them.
> Suppose you use similar reasoning, but instead of applying it  to
> consciousness you apply it to mathematics or art or poetry.  How would
> that work out?

Same way, I expect. It would amount to categorizing certain possibilities, 
that's all. It would be like saying there are limericks, ballads, haiku, 
skaldic verse, free verse, etc. Or like saying there is arithmetic and geometry 
and algebra and calculus, etc.

> >> 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?
> > 1) If we could not explain the occurrence of consciousness in a
> > physicalist way, then some other thesis would be required, probably
> > a dualist (but maybe a multiplist) one.
> Wouldn't that only show that we were using an inadequate explanatory
> framework?

It might. That's what it means to say we understand something, etc. It's sort 
of like explaining the universe in terms of polytheism or deism or any theism 
or in terms of atheism, and so on and so forth.

> > 2) If we had evidence of ghosts and spirits and other realms of
> > existence (of minds existing without bodies, of life after death,
> > etc.) that went beyond subjective feelings and claims based on them,
> > then I would say we needed to consider a dualist explanation of
> > the phenomena of existence.
> Wouldn't we just change what we mean by "physical" so that it
> incorporated ghosts and spirits as physical?
> Regards,
> Neil
> =========================================

It might. But then changing the meaning while retaining the word is also about 
changing the understanding of what we're talking about.

What's important isn't the word but what we understand by its use. A rose by 
any other name, etcetera, etcetera!


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