[Wittrs] Re: reducing your toothache

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 13:44:07 -0000

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

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

> >> 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?
> >

> > But this is not about jettisoning the language of
> > experience in such discourse, it's about whether we can use
> > the language of descriptive science to talk about brains and
> > minds. Dennett says yes and

> Searle believes so also. Science endeavors to find causal explanations of 
> phenomena including mental phenomena, and Searle encourages those causal 
> reductions. In fact in his essay about consciousness he chastises 
> neuroscience for not working harder to develop a complete science of 
> consciousness. But unlike Dennett and other eliminativists, Searle doesn't 
> flush the baby with the bathwater by also encouraging an ontological 
> reduction of those
> phenomena.

Searle's argument against computationalism is at odds with his belief in the 
value of scientific inquiry and explanation. He tries to logically show that 
computationalism is a false trail but he does this by falling into 
contradiction with the things he says about brains and the natural sciences. He 
has made a great mistake with the CRA.

> We can have a complete scientific theory about your toothache, one that 
> reduces it to a third-person physical description its neurology, *without* 
> denying or glossing over the subjective nature of that pain > in your jaw. 
> People like Dennett don't grasp this simple fact;

As I've said before, you are misreading Dennett here. He never says you can't 
talk about or describe your pains in a subjective way or that you don't really 
have them.

> they believe, mistakenly, that preservation of the first-person ontology of 
> mental phenomena amounts to a concession to Descartes. This I believe 
> explains why Dennett casts aspersions about Searle's
> supposed Cartesianism, and why you believe him.
> -gts

I don't know why this isn't getting through. I have said before, and will say 
again, that I hold my position on this independent of Dennett's arguments. I 
came to them before reading Dennett and just happen to find myself in agreement 
with him, that's all. This has nothing to do with believing Dennett.

My argument for Searle's implicit dualism hinges on an analysis of his CRA and 
has been laid out here and elsewhere already. Dennett doesn't make that 
argument, I do.

Moreover, you are utterly wrong in your interpretation of Dennett as I have 
already said (and explained) numerous times.


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