[Wittrs] Re: Ontologically Basic Ambiguity: Mode of Existence

  • From: Gordon Swobe <gts_2000@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 04:49:34 -0700 (PDT)

--- On Sun, 3/21/10, SWM <wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Since the CRA is Searle's argument and no one else's, and
> Searle defends it and obviously finds it convincing, it's
> pretty clear that Dennett is saying that Searle shares the
> Cartesian dualist conception of mind 

Yes clearly Dennett wants his readers to conclude that Searle believes in
ghosts, but notice that he does not actually say it. He *insinuates* it in 
a rather under-handed manner.

> because that's what it takes to swallow the argument.

Dennett seems to have convinced you of such, but once again, we should 
consider the CRA as a simple logical argument independent of any 
considerations about philosophy or even about consciousness:

Because A1) programs are formal (syntactic) and because A2) minds have 
mental contents (semantics) and because A3) syntax by itself does not give 
semantics, it follows that C1) programs don't cause minds.

Simple, clean, straightforward. The conclusion follows from the premises, 
and I see no hidden premises.

As Budd pointed out, Searle observes that Dennett denies A2). As an 
eliminativist, Dennett denies the reality of mental contents, and here I 
think we see the *true* reason he rejects the CRA. This also explains why 
he sees no important difference between Kasparov and Deep Blue. 
Intentionality has no objective reality in Dennett's philosophy, so Deep 
Blue's lack of it does not matter.

Like all eliminativists and many other materialists, Dennett seems to 
believe, wrongly, that he must deny the reality of mental states to avoid 
the stigma of Cartesian dualism. He does not realize that his denial of 
the mental in favor of the physical presupposes an acceptance of the false 
Cartesian mind/matter dichotomy. He accepts the false Cartesian world-view
in order to oppose it, and then calls Searle the dualist.



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