[Wittrs] Searle's CRA is Mistaken

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 23:59:24 -0000

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

> 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?

Well, I guess that's an argument, huh? Searle in no way says it and do I 
understand that much?

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

Let me be clear again: I am not talking about what Searle SAYS but what is 
implied in his claims. My determination of what is implied is BASED ON an 
argument I have given you a number of times here. A response by you that 
amounts to no more than denial of my conclusion is not a response to the 
argument. It's an assertion of dogma, faith or belief, that's all.

> 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.

Let me reiterate: I started out in Searle's camp so it's no argument to say I 
don't like his philosophy (though I doubt you will see that, considering the 
position you are taking here, i.e., that it is enough to assert denial).

You are right that I don't "accept" his conclusions and that is because I have 
concluded he is mistaken, capiche? Does this mean I "cannot accept" what he 
says? Well yes, it does, since I cannot find good reason to do so.

Do I just not understand Searle as you claim? Well it's certainly possible I 
don't. Of course it's equally possible you don't. What makes you think your 
assertion of understanding is more to be relied on than mine?

> 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.

Searle's CRA is deeply mistaken though it takes some work, I suppose, to see 
that. I didn't see it immediately either.

> > 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.

Lots of things seem "obvious" to us but seeming obvious is not evidence of 
truth. Moreover, it is no argument to assert obviousness because of the fact 
that obviousness is not a criterion of truth!

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

I give reasons and arguments for my view. You give us assertions and foot 

> I think he really means exactly what he says.
> -gts

No doubt he does but then that is not the issue. You will note that I have 
addressed what I take to be implicit in his claims, not what is explicit 
(except, of course, insofar as it is necessary to address the explicit claims 
to get at their implications).

Well, we have gone over this every which way from Sunday by now and I see there 
is no making any headway here. You don't get my points and are plainly 
committed to belief in Searle as he presents his claims. I cannot offer more. 
It is, of course, always possible that I am wrong but I, at least, recognize 
that. So far you have given no evidence that you recognize that possibility on 
your side (i.e., that you might be wrong). At the least, I have argued my case. 
You have mainly asserted and insisted. We are not on anything like the same 
wavelength here.

I propose we call it a day on this debate. You can feel comfortable with your 
continued faith in Searle's CRA and I will feel comfortable with my arguments 
concerning his position since you have offered nothing to challenge them 
though, frankly, I was rather hoping you had something more substantive to say 
about this.


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