[Wittrs] Re: Searle: not a Cartesian Dualist

  • From: Gordon Swobe <gts_2000@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 16:08:15 -0700 (PDT)

Expanding on what I wrote below:

Searle's philosophy in *no way* depends on or implies the idea of non-physical 
substances or properties. Do you understand that much about Searle, Stuart? 

For that reason his philosophy does not entail Cartesian substance dualism or 
its close cousin property dualism. 

It seems you simply don't like or cannot accept or (most likely) do not 
understand how Searle's *completely material* philosophy of mind recognizes 
both the subjective and the objective. So you want to make something 
"Cartesian" out of it.

Searle simply sees through the irrational anti-dualism hysteria that leads 
otherwise sane philosophers to reject or marginalize subjective reality in a 
(literally) mindless attempt to objectify the world and rid it of such 
perfectly sensible notions as qualities of experience (aka qualia) and 
conscious intentionality.

> Except that he embraces the idea that brains "cause" minds
> while denying the possibility that another physical platform
> (computers) can do it 

He rightly denies the obvious logical falsehood that says that syntax by itself 
can give semantics, in computers OR in humans.

You confuse what he actually says with what you think he must really mean.

I think he really means exactly what he says.


--- On Wed, 3/24/10, SWM <wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> From: SWM <wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: [Wittrs] Re: Searle: not a Cartesian Dualist
> To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2010, 5:33 PM
> --- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx,
> Gordon Swobe <wittrsamr@...> wrote:
> <snip>
> SWM:  
> > > Can you prove that or can you at least explicate
> why you would say it? 
> > > After all, it is Descartes' classic position that
> mind is different 
> > > ontologically, at its most basic level, from
> matter -- and here we have 
> > > Searle saying much the same thing.
> >
> > Cartesian dualists and sloppy-minded thinkers who
> accept the Cartesian categories might mistake Searle's view
> for Cartesianism for the reason that Searle, like Descartes,
> does not do an ontological reduction of the mental to the
> physical. They might miss the fact 
> > that the comparison stops there.
> >
> Searle confuses the issues and falls into contradiction so
> one has to wonder who is the "sloppy thinker".
> > On Descartes' view, mental phenomena have a
> *non-physical* reality. But Searle's idea of the irreducible
> first-person ontology of mental phenomena in no way requires
> or implies that mental phenomena have a non-physical
> reality. Important difference! 
> > 
> Except that he embraces the idea that brains "cause" minds
> while denying the possibility that another physical platform
> (computers) can do it on the grounds that the features of
> mind cannot be found in any of the constituent elements of
> the CR (his universal Turing Machine proxy for any and all
> computers). But the only reason THAT would matter in
> determining what computers could do is if mind MUST be
> present in the constituents themselves for the CR to have
> the features of mind.
> If mind is just a function of combinations of CR type
> constituents (a system property rather than a process
> property), then there is no reason the constituents in the
> CR can't do, in some other configuration, what they are
> denied the possibility of doing in the CR.
> So Searle's his argument from the CR puts him at odds with
> his own views about the role of brains in which case he is
> in self-contradiction because his CR argument is implicitly
> dualist while his claim about brains is, at least
> explicitly, not.   
> > 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. I grant that my argument is not a simple one
> and also that it might even be wrong (though, like you, I
> think I'm right), but you should note that I don't argue
> here by simply assuring you that I'm right as you have done.
> Rather I've gone out of my way, repeatedly, to give very
> specific reasons for my claims that Searle's claim about
> computationalism (his CRA) is implicitly dualist while his
> claim about brains is, at least explicitly, non-dualist.
> Your response to these arguments of mine, on the other
> hand, is to accuse me of wanting to "feel warm and fuzzy"
> (whatever that means -- it's certainly not an argument!) and
> to insist that "Searle's philosophy does not suffer from the
> problems of Cartesian dualism" contrary to my claim and
> without regard to any of the arguments I've given in support
> of my position.
> Well, okay, we know that's your claim but, again, it's just
> an assertion without back up. Anyone can do that. It's just,
> like Josh said earlier, to stamp one's feet and insist.
> > In fact Searle offers an ingenious solution to the
> problem of mind/matter dualism. But nevermind that for now.
> You need first to understand that you have it all wrong when
> you suggest that Searle's philosophy entails Cartesian
> dualism. 
> > 
> > -gts
> >
> Let me see if I have this right: You think you have
> addressed the arguments I've made by telling me I just need
> to see that I "have it all wrong"? How about if I said to
> you that you need to understand that "you have it all wrong"
> when you deny what I've said about Searle?
> Would you consider that an adequate response from me?
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