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« J.P. Moreland on Dualism | Main | Challenge Response: How Is Christianity Different from a Hoax Religion? »

March 28, 2013


I put manifest in quotes. You use it to put your assumption past questioning. That is exactly what I don't accept.

To see the problem with your middle-C analogy, consider: Why we are talking about the brain rather than the heart? Why are we not talking about the pineal gland? If there's an immaterial cause for some brain states, why don't aren't you pointing at those brain states and demanding from me their material cause? If some brain states cause immaterial effects, why do they also cause material effects. Or if they don't also have material effects, why are you not demanding from me the reason for such an anomaly? We have no reason to think middle-C might be identical to any tomato. We have many reasons to think some brain states might be mind states.

When I non-introspectively recognize that brain states might be about something, e.g. beliefs, I don't just recognize that they might be about something, I recognize that, if they are not just brain states but also mental states, then they are and must be about something.

When I recognize a brain state might be a belief, I also recognize that it could never have existed at all were it not about the object of belief.

There, I said what can't be said.


I feel like I could go indefinitely on this one. Even though it's got a repetitious aspect to it. But I want to make it clear that if you want to stop, I won't regard that as any concession on your part.

Before that happens (or Amy closes the thread), I want to point out a couple of things in Foundations

If a doctor touches part of one's brain with an electrode, it may cause a certain mental experience, say a memory, to occur. But all that proves is that the mind is causally connected to the brain, not that they are identical.

Proves? Not at all.

A sound is not stored in the groves [sic] of a record, but rather is causally connected with those groves [sic] (one can cause a sound by doing something to the grooves [!]).

Well, I guess this depends on what you mean by the words involved but I'd say the sound IS stored in the groves - in the same sense that pictures are stored on a hard drive, etc. Representation is the key concept here.

Likewise, memories are neither parts of nor stored in the brain, but are stored in the mind, yet causally connected with the brain (one can cause a memory by doing something to the brain).

It puzzled me at first that Moreland feels the need to deny even that the brain does memory. Why can't the brain at least be a storage medium? I think I have the answer. It's not flattering. But I'd like your take on it before I prejudice you.


Here's the other thing I want to get to before winding down. You said

Ron, you cannot truly believe that Moreland thinks that it is an implication of materialism that your brain would have to turn pink when you look at pink things.

Well, after reading this in the book

One's thoughts, feelings of pain or sensory experiences do not have any weight, are not located anywhere in space (one's thought of lunch cannot be closer to one's right ear than one's left one), are not composed of chemicals, and do not have electrical properties. However, the brain events associated with one's thoughts, etc, indeed, material events in general, do have these features.
and this in the OP
Try describing your thoughts and your will in physical terms—what color are they? How big are they? How much do they weigh?
I DO wonder if people who believe these Liebniz arguments also believe that it is an implication of materialism that your brain would have to turn pink when you look at pink things.

These are the things they line up in this context.

Why do they do it? You tell me.


Ron I think we've probably mostly run our course for now.

I do want to point out one last thing, and I promise not to post and run, if you want to go a few more rounds on that it's perfectly OK.

That last quote you gave from the OP, I don't think it assumes that your brain will turn pink when you look at something pink. (Maybe pink was the wrong color to talk about since your brain already is kinda least while you are alive and the blood is flowing).

The point of the quote is that you brain state does have all sorts of properties that the mental state lacks. Locality has already been mentioned. Oddly enough, since that particular sequence of synaptic firings contains energy, it does have some weight. And it has a shape too defined by the path of the synaptic firings. I suppose that because an essential part of the brain state is the brain material itself in which it occurs, it's even got a color. As I said before, that color is pink, but it's pink no matter what color you look at. (And if we count the brain material, that's clearly got weight...weight that blows away the energy in the synaptic firings.)

None of these are properties of the mental state. Even my sensation of pink doesn't have the property of pinkness. Instead, it is identical to the having of that property.

Hi nike free run womens,

Interesting. I'll have to think about that.

I was just going to say that introspection gives me no info about many things. I don't mean just external things I mean even things that happen in my mind.

For instance: Why did I just think of Thailand?

I can only guess. For all I know, there was no reason.

I simply can't say by introspection.

Similarly, when I introspect (always in my nikes), I get no indication - one way or the other - whether my mental states have locality, weight, shape, viscosity, swooshes, etc.

These things are as unavailable to me as the reason - if there was one - my thoughts turned to Thailand.

Some people will tell you that they know by introspecting that their thoughts have no size, etc. That may be.

But I have to be honest: I just can't.


What you bring up Ron, in your last post, is actually a new argument for materialism (I don't mean that it's never before been used, but that it is new to this thread as far as I can tell). I do not think it's decisive, but I do think, it's one of the best arrows that materialists have in their quiver.

To wit, the relative success of brain scientists in the discovery of the causes of thoughts, as compared to traditional psychologists, seems to suggest that thoughts have a physical basis.

This is, of course, an abductive inference. The premises of the argument are only supposed to show that the conclusion is a better explanation, not imply the truth of the conclusion.

Dualists and idealists alike have rather pat replies that describe why it is true that the brain sciences are so successful. But they are principally aimed at pointing out that the first sentence of the prior paragraph is true. Thereby giving precedence to the Leibniz's Law arguments that we've been discussing so far.

Well, I didn't intend to defend materialism with evidence from neuroscience - although maybe I did introduce is something new to the thread. (Bad timing, I know.)

I said I didn't introspectively 'see' what caused my thoughts snap to Thailand. It's often like that: the object of my thoughts just flips abruptly for no reason I can witness - not by introspecting anyway.

Likewise, introspection is silent on whether my thoughts have locations.

Introspecting doesn't tell me where my thoughts are.

Introspecting doesn't say: Your thoughts have locations but I won't tell you where they are.

And, introspecting doesn't tell me: Your thoughts are illocal.

And so, I meant to attack the introspection-based claims like 'my thoughts have no location (but my brain states do)' that the Leibniz arguments rely on.


I picked location of thoughts for no particular reason; I think I could have picked any of the other things we've mentioned.

I could have said:Introspecting tells me nothing about my brain states.

In particular, I could have said intropsecting doesn't tell me whether my brain states are about things.

Thanks for the memories.

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