[Wittrs] Re: Searle's CRA and its Implications

  • From: "jrstern" <jrstern@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2010 03:28:18 -0000

--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "SWM" <SWMirsky@...> wrote:
> > Does a golf ball "cause" a hole in one?
> >
> > No, the whole idea is gibberish.
> Sometimes one event precipitates a complex of other events though, no, I 
> don't think this is entirely relevant to the issue of the role of a physical 
> agent in a causal sequence.

Are you calling a golf ball an event?

> I've noticed. So what's nonsensical about Searle's claim that we can speak of 
> brains (or whatever it is they do) as being causal (causally responsible) for 
> whatever it is we mean by consciousness?

Objects are not causal.

>What else could be the causal agent? Our kidneys. Our pinkie toes?

Objects are not causal.

You may have heard of Aristotle's discussion of this, and the last couple of 
millenia of discussion of it, all causes defer back to a First Cause, if one is 
not careful, and perhaps even if one is.

It is a challenge to make sense out of even efficient causality, given that, 
and given the opposite, things like Humean skepticism.

However, in nobody's ontology are objects causes.

Now, the terminology is often abused, I might even do so myself, so that a 
hammer is "causal" in driving a nail, but only in the context of an agent 
picking it up and attempting to drive a nail.  You get a lot of this abuse in 
and about Fodor, what he calls "procedural semantics", that a word has meaning 
by its "causal roles".  Fodor *hates* procedural semantics, though I wonder if 
he does anythng different.  But nobody really thinks a word is a cause ... I 
don't think.


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