How are the claims about determinism and eliminativism made in the sciences?
“Eliminative materialism (also called eliminativism) is a materialist position in the philosophy of mind. Its primary claim is that people's common-sense understanding of the mind (or folk psychology) is false and that certain classes of mental states that most people believe in do not exist.”
Presupposition: The assumption of a distinction between human knowledge and scientific knowledge is historical. And exists in a strong from from roughly the time of Schelling.
Summary: There is supposed to be something like consciousness, thinking, and on the other hand, sense data, which, presumably is also thought. We are conscious of this data from the sensorium.
I shall only deal with the question of determinism. How is the concept constructed at all? If we start from common sense, we make the distinction between chance events, and deliberate events. I knock over a cup, accidentally as I walk by a table wearing a backpack (chance event). I decide to buy a cup of coffee, and then buy it.
The common sense distinction is not the scientific distinction between causal determinacy and ‘free will.’ Free will can mean that a person is legally responsible for their action. I.e., because they are the cause of a thing, or the proximate cause. If they knock over the cup they are the proximate cause, but if someone carelessly left it unbalanced, where it could easily fall, they are not legally responsible. They are responsible only when reasonable responsible behaviour was not exercised.
The legal sense of free will is not in question. It is definitional. What is in question is whether when I chose to buy the coffee, in ordinary circumstances, can one say that ultimately this decision came through the action of physical forces bellow the threshold of my own consciousness.
1.Now, what is in question here? Is it that determined cause and effect is supposed to precede the conscious choice? In that case how to we arrive at the notion of cause? I don’t refer to the question of whether cause is logically necessary or merely psychological. I say, how, in any way, to we come to ask about something like cause? Such that then we can say, this and this fundamental force causes the conscious course, as it were determined it.
2.If I look at a ball falling, as in the example illustrated in Spielberg's version of Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report, Where a ball is falling, and it ‘would have’ hit the ground, were it not caught, how is it that one causal string is in effect, interrupting another?
3.If one denies the issue of cause, speaking of function, and says, these and these condition must be present, in order that the ‘mind’ will make this and this decision, although I accept the substantiality of the distinction, is there not still the same issue, Why must the conditions produce the event invariably?
1A: The concept of cause must be a common sense question. It is the question ‘why?’. This question presupposes a meaning or purpose. I want to know why, for it concerns me. What can cause mean accept my question why? Surely, in the simple case, determinism is an answer to a why question. And it is a very coherent meaningful statement. It is not you, but the ostensible appearance of you, that acts freely. How do we come to ask about appearances here? Isn’t even the concept of illusion meaningful?
Follow this argument: If illusion is not a meaningful concept, how can we speak of anthropopathic illions? It must be a meaningful distinction.
What does meaning say here? I disclose to myself an interpretation of what my sensorium shows me. I see the brain activity comes prior to my thoughts, and I tell myself what is happening there.
What is meaning supposed to say that it does not exist. A: That there is one best understanding of a matter. I.e., that a mature adult male is the meaning of human existence, as opposed to a child or woman. For the male of mature years thinks reflectively about the cosmos. Such meaning is denied on the evidence that there is no stable form called man. And then on the basis that facts of sense data can exist without thought. And the thought is artificial addition to the mere sense data.
addendum (as a presupposition and disclosure of bias): anyone who activates the standing store of sterile rhetoric: i.e., your points are only verbal, or, good rhetoric, but we see through that, must tell us why such statements as ‘natural material world’ and ‘free will is an illusion’ or ‘eliminativism about real purposes’ are not mere rhetoric, as I hold them to be.
I believe, almost always these points are taken thoughtlessly out of the ready store of blather. The test would be to show exactly what they mean out of everyday situations. On the same level as, we stand in this room, there stands a cup, and so on. Otherwise I hold that the thought of Hume, about a jump from daily clear facts to ********, holds. (Scientism [Rosenberg self identifies with this tag] seems to almost always make such a leap, on my view)
I provide this link as one example of the kind of position I have in mind, represented by Alex Rosenberg. I don’t assume it is the best form of the argument, or that I understood it very well, and so it is not the form that we must use. If a better argument, or clearer statement of it, could be found I should like to confront that one.
"Philosophical Naturalism & Its Implications" Youtube (they won't let me put the link, because I am a first-time poster)
Use this forum to discuss the philosophy of science. Philosophy of science deals with the assumptions, foundations, and implications of science.
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