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← The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by Steve Zara

Comment 25 by Bernard Hurley

Please forgive me, your questions deserve a substantial response, and that is indeed what I am working on!

Just two points:

This last statement just seems like a non-sequitur. Why can't I equally well argue that any new physics "hits the problem of causal closure, of the Dirac equation?" What's so special about brain cells that this problem arises with respect to them but not anywhere else?

The point is that there is nothing at all special about brain cells. Nothing. We have been analysing the kind of physics that goes on in brain cells for centuries and found nothing, absolutely nothing, missing. It's all biochemistry and electrochemistry, and that's it.

The only reason some insist that there must be more physics is that it feels like there must be, and that's no evidence at all, really.

Not if like David Chalmers you say the interaction went only one way, from physical substance to mental substance.

That's nonsense. If it only goes one way, then how the heck can anything we say about mental substance be justified? If mental substance doesn't go to physical substance, then the nerves which fire when you say something about mental substance can't actually be firing because of mental substance!

The thing to bear in mind is that in your brain cells are firing when you think of awareness. Their firing is about awareness, therefore that firing has to be caused by awareness, therefore awareness has to be physical.

When someone says that there is extra physics, they aren't talking about extra abstractions like 2+2, they are talking about real aspects of the world.

There is a serious epistemological gap in such discussions of awareness - when people talk about awareness, there has to be knowledge of awareness behind what they say, and that knowledge has to be because of physical happenings if it's justified to say that there is extra physics.

There are philosophical proofs that such extra physics is simply not needed to explain beliefs that awareness involves extra physics, and because it is not needed for the belief, then the belief can't be considered as evidence for the extra physics.

Anyway, got to stop - this is too addictive. I'll be quite happy to give you drafts of what I am writing for you to criticise at some point - after all, I need to be convincing!

Fri, 13 Jul 2012 21:13:53 UTC | #949117