[Wittrs] Re: Searlian reductions

  • From: Gordon Swobe <gts_2000@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2010 07:28:00 -0700 (PDT)

--- On Tue, 3/23/10, SWM <wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> That's one way of putting it, however, note that Searle
> says the wetness of water is caused by the behavior of the
> molecules of H2O under certain ambient conditions. But
> another way of saying this same thing is to say that the
> wetness of water is nothing but the behavior of molecules of
> H2O under those ambient conditions. So Searle, himself,
> indulges in causal reductions that are, at the same time,
> ontological reductions as presented in your above
> dichotomy.

Absolutely! As I wrote, most of the time we do BOTH a causal and an ontological 
reduction, just as we do in the case of water in your example above.

But it doesn't make sense to do both with mental phenomena. We may do both if 
we really want to, but it just doesn't make any sense. 

You need a word like "toothache" to name that painful feeling in your jaw, so 
if you reduce your toothache ontologically to its third-person definition then 
you'll need to find another word for the same thing. You will then have the 
same problem with whatever new word you come up with, so why reduce "toothache" 
in the first place?

It's as simple as that. Unfortunate that people misunderstand Searle on this 
simple point. People infer from it all sorts of incredible balderdash.



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