[Wittrs] Re: reducing your toothache

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 15:22:25 -0000

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

> --- On Wed, 3/24/10, SWM <wittrsamr@...> wrote:
> > His denial of "qualia" is a denial that we have to posit a
> > special kind of mental entity to explain the occurrence of
> > subjective experience.
> Right, and eliminative materialists like Dennett consider mental entities 
> like qualia as "special" only because they suffer from Cartesian hangovers.

So Dennett has the Cartesian disease because he argues against Cartesianism? To 
deny that the mind is like an entity only different is to affirm it? Is that 
the case you want to make?

> Like Descartes, they consider the mental qua mental as distinct from the 
> material qua material. Because they unwittingly play that Cartesian language 
> game, and because they want to present a supposed "scientific" point of view 
> devoid of the supposed "special" mental phenomena, they attempt to eliminate 
> the mental in favor of the material. They defy common sense.
> -gts

That is exactly your mistake because Dennett DOES NOT deny experience. Indeed 
all his discussions are about explaining it, what it is, how it happens, etc. 
In so doing he shows how it is reducible to physical events in brains while 
denying a need to presume there is anything especially different about it from 
the overall physical universe. It is, in a sense, merely another aspect of the 
underlying physical reality of things.

From this you incredibly develop a charge that he really thinks precisely what 
he denies. Since Searle apparently makes the same charge, can you offer any 
argument for why this should be taken to be the case, either on your view or on 

Note that mine is not a request that you just repeat the allegations as made by 
you or Searle but that you lay out reasons for believing such allegations to be 
true. Can you?


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