***The Skeptiko Random Stuff Thread***

#21
Ah, so the explanation for full-blown human consciousness is "it just exists." Fair enough, but I'm not sure why you find this any more satisfying than the explanation of consciousness under physicalism.

~~ Paul
Once again, it's a negation process. Whether or not "it just exists" is more satisfying or not - though it is for me - is a bit irrelevant. The problem with "explaining" consciousness somehow with physicalism - or possibly anything - is the inevitable reductive silliness. But back to the negation process, my skepticism wins out with me, at least, in that I have too hard of a time swallowing the idea that atoms/matter make up consciousness . . . so, I say, "I'm not sure what's going on, exactly, but it ain't what the materialists suggest."

Since my position is the opposite of what you seem to insinuate - one of knowing/explaining - then the burden of proof is on you, house materialist.
 
#23
When the day comes that I think these things are true, I'll be happy to acknowledge it.
Hi Paul. Taking a step or two back from the truth position, would you be willing to acknowledge that materialism is facing some tough challenges? Or do you think materialism is true and therefore unchallenged by any of the kinds of evidence canvassed on Skeptiko?
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#24
Hi Paul. Taking a step or two back from the truth position, would you be willing to acknowledge that materialism is facing some tough challenges? Or do you think materialism is true and therefore unchallenged by any of the kinds of evidence canvassed on Skeptiko?
There are many complicated phenomena that "materialism" has yet to explain. But not a single one of those phenomena are explained by any other metaphysic, except possibly by fiat. That's because the phenomena are empirical but philosophy tends not to be. Perhaps this will help:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experimental_philosophy

Science: hard.

~~ Paul
 
#26
There are many complicated phenomena that "materialism" has yet to explain. But not a single one of those phenomena are explained by any other metaphysic, except possibly by fiat. That's because the phenomena are empirical but philosophy tends not to be.
So can I paraphrase you as: "I accept materilialism, and have faith that any challenges will ultimately be explained by it"
If so, that's precisely my point (or did I make that point elsewhere?!?) that materialism is ontological, and if you put your faith in it then it will only be once your confidence is sufficiently shaken that you will be willing to question it. This is an entirely subjective experience, some will feel shaken easily, others not at all. But it's essentially a conversion experience - in both directions. And, in my view, proselytising is pretty tedious.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#28
So can I paraphrase you as: "I accept materilialism, and have faith that any challenges will ultimately be explained by it"
No. Here's what I mean:

I believe that challenges will be explained by science, using a set of epistemological assumptions about the world that may need to be changed.

If so, that's precisely my point (or did I make that point elsewhere?!?) that materialism is ontological, and if you put your faith in it then it will only be once your confidence is sufficiently shaken that you will be willing to question it.
I have no confidence in any philosophical metaphysic to explain anything. I have confidence that science will be able to explain many things, although its epistemological assumptions might have to change. If people want to extrapolate from those assumptions to a "correct metaphysic," that's fine with me. If that turns out to be something other than physicalism, I will be impressed.

This is an entirely subjective experience, some will feel shaken easily, others not at all. But it's essentially a conversion experience - in both directions. And, in my view, proselytising is pretty tedious.
Yup.

~~ Paul
 
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#29
No. Here's what I mean:

I believe that challenges will be explained by science, using a set of epistemological assumptions about the world that may need to be changed.


I have no confidence in any philosophical metaphysic to explain anything. I have confidence that science will be able to explain many things, although its epistemological assumptions might have to change. If people want to extrapolate from those assumptions to a "correct metaphysic," that's fine with me. If that turns out to be something other than physicalism, I will be impressed.


Yup.

~~ Paul
All that you say above gives the inesscapable impression that for you, the word "science" and what it stands for, could just as easily be replaced by the word "materialism". Science is a method of enquiry that goes something like this:

Phenomena (data)
Hypothesis (speculation about causes of data)
Test hypothesis (must be falsifiable)
Hypothesis either borne out through tests (experimental, observational etc), or rejected
Tested falsifiable Hypothesis becomes new theory or adds weight to existing Theory (e.g. Gravity, Evolution, Relativity, Quantum Mechanics)(also, materialism, while it is a philosophical position, is also a theory, and as such falsifiable through hypothesis testing, as is Idealism)
Theory explains the data (should new data be unnacountable by theory, theory becomes falsified, revision or replacement necessary)
New data turns up
Back to step one

Science does not have anything to say about anything, it allows us to powerfully investigate phenomena, and claims made about them.

End of.
 
#30
All that you say above gives the inesscapable impression that for you, the word "science" and what it stands for, could just as easily be replaced by the word "materialism".
That makes no sense. The third paragraph then becomes "I have no confidence in any philosophical metaphysic to explain anything. I have confidence that materialism will be able to explain many things." Is not materialism a philosophical metaphysic?

Pat
 
#31
That makes no sense. The third paragraph then becomes "I have no confidence in any philosophical metaphysic to explain anything. I have confidence that materialism will be able to explain many things." Is not materialism a philosophical metaphysic?

Pat
My point was that science has no explanatory power, that is the job of theory and hypothesis (although philosophical metaphysic will do just as well). Theory is falsified through the method of science, but the method itself is not what has explanatory power, it is the theory. So, in this case, the theory Paul so clearly subscribes to is that materialism is sufficient to explain all phenomena. Now that is a testable hypothesis. Science explains nothing, it allows us to investigate and either validate or falsify a theory and nothing more.
 
#32
My point was that science has no explanatory power, that is the job of theory and hypothesis (although philosophical metaphysic will do just as well).
But theory and hypothesis are part and parcel of science.

So, in this case, the theory Paul so clearly subscribes to is that materialism is sufficient to explain all phenomena.

Not according to his own words:
I have no confidence in any philosophical metaphysic to explain anything. I have confidence that science will be able to explain many things

Pat
 
#33
But theory and hypothesis are part and parcel of science.
Yes, and they are the part with explanatory power. Not "science" itself, which is a method of enquiry.

Not according to his own words: I have no confidence in any philosophical metaphysic to explain anything. I have confidence that science will be able to explain many things
But as I explained, "science" has no explanatory power, philosophical metaphysics, theories and hypotheses do. No one needs to have confidence in science, as science is not a thing. The hypotheses, theories and dare I say philosophical metaphysics are the things one has ancertain degree of confidence in to explain the data.

I personally think it is fairly clear that Paul has a materialist perspective on things. As per below:

Ah, so the explanation for full-blown human consciousness is "it just exists." Fair enough, but I'm not sure why you find this any more satisfying than the explanation of consciousness under physicalism.

~~ Paul
Which he is defending, and anything which challenges it, is conveniently dispensed with and said to be somehow unreliable, or false, or not established, or any number of other reasons not to consider and deal with the data.
It is not just Paul, but quite a few people I have come across recently. Paul seems a genuinely nice fellow, and I do not wish to say anything negative about him, but this is my honest feeling regarding our conversation in this thread on materialism, and the tactics which seem to appear again and again form the materialist camp.
 
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#35
I suppose we're down to definitions. I see science as including the body of knowledge produced by the method.

Pat
Then why are certain "bodies of knowledge" ignored when they threaten the dominance of certain philosophical explanations, and theories? Why are NDE studies for example not admitted to those "bodies of knowledge" revealed by scientific enquiry by subscribers to a particular form of promisory materialism?

The data from NDE studies is scientifically valid, and the hypotheses around the data are falsifiable. Why does the mainstream status quo, ignore it?
 
#36
Then why are certain "bodies of knowledge" ignored when they threaten the dominance of certain philosophical explanations, and theories? Why are NDE studies for example not admitted to those "bodies of knowledge" revealed by scientific enquiry by subscribers to a particular form of promisory materialism?

The data from NDE studies is scientifically valid, and the hypotheses around the data are falsifiable. Why does the mainstream status quo, ignore it?
I think those questions would make a great thread in their own right, and I think this conversation has already gone beyond the spirit of the Random Stuff Thread. How about you or I start a new thread on it?

Pat
 
#37
I think those questions would make a great thread in their own right, and I think this conversation has already gone beyond the spirit of the Random Stuff Thread. How about you or I start a new thread on it?

Pat
A very good suggestion, right behind you on that.
 
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