Monday, April 17, 2006

Is refuting eliminative materialism like rolling a drunk?

Bill Vallicella wrote, in one of his eliminativism posts: EM is so patently absurd that I must ask myself: Is it a good use of my time to beat up a cripple or roll a drunk?

It's probably not that easy, because it's pretty difficult to get your mind around what the eliminativists are up to if you are unsympathetic to naturalism or materialism. I think, at the end of the day, self-refutation-style arguments do work.

I still consider William Hasker's critique of eliminativism in the first chapter of The Emergent Self to be the best critique of eliminativism that I have read.


BensonBear said...

The important question is: how wrong could our commonsense concepts of mentality be? Some soi-disant "eliminativists" like to claim in their arrogant and abusive modes that it is something approaching totally wrong. But can it truly be totally wrong, or if it was could we ever come to truly think that? I don't think so, but to identify the wrongest it could be is probably a very important philosophical task. This involves identifying the lower of what Strawson, when speaking of Kant's project, refers to as the "Bounds of Sense".

Blue Devil Knight said...

Victor, do you think there are any nonpropositional mental contents? For instance, are the contents of your visual experience propositional? If they are propositional, is this something you see by inspection of your conscious visual states? How do you know?

I am surprised to see the "life as we know it will explode if EM is true" claims endorsed with so little actual evidence.

Blue Devil Knight said...

I ordered Hasker's book. Have you read Bennett's Rationality? I am rereading it and it is excellent. Lots of Dretske in there, almost 20 years before Dretske's work.