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Monday, May 05, 2008

Thoughts for the day: Reasons not to be a materialist if you have a mind

Unless, that is, you have a grant and must spend it advocating materialism. Even so, consider what you are up against:

“The most striking feature is how much of mainstream [materialistic] philosophy of mind is obviously false….[I]n the philosophy of mind, obvious facts about the mental, such as that we all really do have subjective conscious mental states…are routinely denied by many…of the advanced thinkers in the subject.”
-- John Searle, The Rediscovery of Mind (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992), 3.

“It is not that we know what would explain consciousness but are having trouble finding the evidence to select one explanation over the others; rather, we have no idea what an explanation of consciousness would even look like.”--Colin McGinn, The Mysterious Flame: Conscious Minds in a Material World (New York: Basic Books, 1999), 61.

“We don’t know… how a brain (or anything else that is physical) could manage to be a locus of conscious experience. This last is, surely, among the ultimate metaphysical mysteries; don’t bet on anyone ever solving it.”
--Jerry Fodor, In Critical Condition: Polemical Essays on Cognitive Science and the Philosophy of Mind (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998), 83.

Actually if you say silly enough things, you could end up working against materialism, which might be a good idea.

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