[Wittrs] Re: reducing your toothache

  • From: Gordon Swobe <gts_2000@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 09:10:45 -0700 (PDT)

--- On Wed, 3/24/10, SWM <wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

>> 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.
> 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

Do you realize that you just agreed with me? As an eliminative materialist, 
Dennett believes he must completely reduce mental phenomena to material 
phenomena (what you call physical events in brains). While paying lip-service 
to the idea of experience, he believes he must eliminate the reality of the 
mental qua mental in favor of the material qua material.

Searle, by contrast, preserves the subjective ontology of mental phenomena and 
does only a causal reduction. He isn't afraid to affirm the ontological reality 
of the mental qua mental. He understands that only a dualist would recognize 
that category as distinct from the material in the first place. 

After we reduce your toothache, per Dennett, to an objective description of the 
physical events in your brain that cause it, then we'll need to find a new word 
to describe that subjective ache in your jaw. That quality of your experience 
*really* exists, and no third-person account of its neurological causes can 
name it.



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