[Wittrs] Searle is Implicitly Dualist

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2010 01:17:50 -0000

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

> >> Cartesian dualism has a bad name only because of
> >> the philosophical problems that arise when grappling with
> >> the idea of something non-physical, so even if it makes
> >> you/Dennett feel warm and fuzzy inside to label
> >> Searle's view dualistic, it really doesn't matter: Searle's
> >> philosophy does not suffer from the problems of
> >> Cartesian dualism.
> >
> >
> > Well you can assert that, of course. One can always
> > assert one's beliefs. But this isn't a matter of belief alone
> > but of argument.

> Okay Stuart, here I offer you the most important part of the argument that I 
> left out. I thought you already knew this but perhaps you don't:
> Cartesian dualism suffered from the fact that nobody least of all Descartes 
> ever offered a plausible account of how non-physical mind could affect 
> material matter, or how material matter could affect non-physical mind.

Gordon, my argument is that Searle is implicitly dualist, not that he is 
explicitly one. That means that he does not claim to be a dualist (in fact, as 
we know, he claims the reverse). As such, saying that nobody has "ever offered 
a plausible account of how non-physical mind could affert material matter" is 
irrelevant since my point is NOT that Searle espouses this view and would 
defend it or change his mind if he learned that it could not be defended.

Being implicit means he doesn't acknowledge it and, if I'm right, would not 
defend it precisely because he doesn't see that implication. If he did, 
considering how he denies dualism, he would no doubt clean up his claims to the 
extent that he could to rid them of the implied dualism.

So saying that no one has successfully defended such dualism is not evidence 
that Searle is not implicitly dualist in his own thinking.

> Searle's non-dualistic philosophy does not have that weakness. On Searle's 
> view, mental phenomena arise as high level *physical* features of the 
> neurological substrate. If computers could do something similar, instead of 
> running syntactic operations on symbols, then they could have mental 
> phenomena too.

Searle and you simply miss the point about distinguishing between process 
properties and system properties which undermines the whole CR thing. But I 
don't have the patience to repeat the argument yet again.

> I see nothing dualistic about Searle. It exists only in your confused 
> rebuttal to the CRA in which you with help from Dennett imagine dualism where 
> none exists.
> -gts

Another solid rebuttal, eh? You don't see it so it's not there. No need to 
address the points I've made here or consider their logical implications. Just 
announce you don't see it and there's an end. Well, look here Gordon, we've 
tried to communicate with one another but it's clear it isn't going anywhere. 
I'm tired of it and perhaps you are, too. Unless you have something more to 
add, something new and substantive, I'll pass, going forward.

Thanks for trying, though.


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