Dualism: materialist philosopher finds it a problem!: (Identity)

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 07, 2020, 02:05 (449 days ago) @ David Turell

Consciousness is not ever the result of dualism is his point:


"In a recent piece for Institute for Art and Ideas, he declared that dualism is the problem, not consciousness. If we just shed the idea that there is any significant distinction between the mind and the brain, the notorious hard problem of consciousness would disappear:

"I’ve never viewed the so-called “hard problem” as any problem at all. According to David Chalmers, who coined the term, the hard problem is supposed to be the problem of figuring out what our idea of consciousness refers to in the real world. The obvious answer is that it refers to brain processes that feel like something.


"He goes on to say,

"Conscious states are just ordinary physical states that happen to have been co-opted by reasoning systems. Consciousness doesn’t depend on some extra shining light, but only on the emergence of subjects, complex organisms that distinguish themselves from the rest of the world and use internal neural processes to guide their behaviour.


"Essentially, Papineau defines the hard problem out of existence by 1) proclaiming as a fact that “conscious states are just ordinary physical states that happen to have been co-opted by reasoning systems” and then 2) describing doubt of that proposition as arising from a partiality to “spooky” force fields rather than a lack of fit between physicalism and the evidence.


"A thoughtful commenter at Reddit responds,

"… Papineau has it backwards—the hard problem does not presuppose dualism, rather dualism is a proposed response to materialism’s inability thus far to account for the explanatory gap. What a lot of these materialist thinkers fail to understand is that the hard problem is hard because we cannot even begin to conceptualize a possible solution.

"That’s what makes it different from most of the other unresolved issues in science. For example, we dont currently have a universally accepted unified theory of quantum gravity, but we can imagine what it would look like (tiny particles that can interact with gravity that we just havnt discovered yet). Meanwhile, we cannot even think of a materialist proposal that would explain a causal chain that starts with interacting particles and ends in qualitative experience.

:Literally all it takes to solve the hard problem is a sound hypothesis, and to the best of my knowledge, nobody has been able to come up with one. You can’t just say “consciousness refers to brain processes that feel like something” and call it a day. We know that already, it’s a strawman argument. The real question is how are those brain processes able to feel like something? (my bold)


"what about dualism? Is the distinction between the mind and the brain a misconception or is it a fact?

"Elsewhere, Papineau has written,
It is widely supposed that this impression of an explanatory gap arises because our pre-theoretical concepts of pain and other conscious states do not allow a priori derivations of mind-brain identities from the physical facts, in the way that concepts like water and heat arguably allow the corresponding derivations of the scientific identities. The implication is that there is something wrong with current physicalism. In order to be successful, physicalism needs to do something more. It needs to come up with some alternative way of conceiving conscious states, some way that will allow us to bridge the explanatory gap.

"I have a quite different diagnosis. I think that the so-called ‘explanatory gap’ is simply a manifestation of an intuitive conviction that dualism is true. It’s not that mind-brain identities are hard to explain—they are simply hard to believe.

"A key reason that the identity of the mind and the brain is hard to believe is the evidence against it. Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor argues that, far from being a misconception, dualism is a fact: The mind is not the same type of entity as the brain. Sensing that fact helps us understand why people with split brains or only half a brain can have a normal mental life, and why people with massive, permanent brain damage can remain cognizant. So if dualism is an intuition, it is evidence-based. Whether or not we find it “spooky,” dualism is something we can observe.

Comment: I'm very happy with my form of dualism. Papineau is in the same boat as Dan Dennett. Call it an illusion and problem is solved. Horsefeathers!

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