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January 27, 2016

Comments

Gerald,

The question on intention, on design, is still open for you to justify as per the comment time stamped "scbrownlhrm January 29, 2016 at 11:17 AM" along with the comment time stamped "scbrownlhrm January 29, 2016 at 01:19 PM".

That's always been the starting point.

Mike,

It's odd that you seem to think that nothing on planet Earth is designed. Though, given your means, you are sort of forced to deny the undeniable.

Gerald

Ive tried reasoning with sclbrownhrm but he/she merely resorts to taunts around some unsubstantiated metaphysical misdemeanour.

And waffle like this makes one wonder what the deuce is going on:

"The metaphysical baggage of materialism's painful array of reductio ad absurdums is one thing.
The *lack* of metaphysical reductio ad absurdums within Christianity's metaphysical explanatory terminus is another thing.
Physics is another.
Biology another.
The philosophy of mind overlaps and is a yet another thing.
Scientism's failure another."

What does any of that mean? I dont know. I dont think you do. I'm also reasonably confident sclbrown thingy doesnt have a clue either.

The issue at hand is Intelligent Design. How does ID arrive at the idea that biological organisms were designed? Answer away schlbrown.

"It's odd that you seem to think that nothing on planet Earth is designed."

Nope. Whats odd is that you think that one MUST do metaphysics before saying something like "my laptop was designed"

"Though, given your means, you are sort of forced to deny the undeniable."

Ive asked a lot of times for you to explain, in simple language, what you mean by this and you have failed repeatedly to do so. Im going to ask again - please explain in simple language what you mean by this and why you think it matters.

Mike,

You can wiki both reductio ad absurdum and also philosophy of mind. Then after reading up on those two, read up on mind and causation, especially causation's *closure*.

It's a start.

"You can wiki both reductio ad absurdum and also philosophy of mind. Then after reading up on those two, read up on mind and causation, especially causation's *closure*."

No no no - I asked YOU to explain what YOU mean - not to refer me to wikipedia.

But because Im basically a good guy, Ive just had a peek. And lo - I believe those to be interesting but irrelevant to the argument at hand.

Therefore, please explain what you mean by "Though, given your means, you are sort of forced to deny the undeniable" AND why you think I need to do a bunch of philosophy before demonstrating that ID is a load of old cobblers

Mike,

Goodbye.

Gerald,

The question on intention, on design, is still open for you to justify as per the comment time stamped "scbrownlhrm January 29, 2016 at 11:17 AM" along with the comment time stamped "scbrownlhrm January 29, 2016 at 01:19 PM".

That's always been the starting point.


Indeed schlbrown - how utterly tiresome it must be to actually have to explain what you mean with your throwaway comments rather than me accepting your unsubstantiated assertions without reservation. How rude and impertinent of me to ask for clarification.

I suggest that you read Chapter 14 of "Problems in Philosophy" to understand that you have no right to insist on your particular metaphysics.

No matter how good you think your argument for intelligent design is ,at the end of the day you don't get spotted goats by having them mate whilst standing in front of spotted sticks.

It's Not About The Origins Of Man.

It never has been.

It's about the Origins of Design.

Why?

Because it's about God / No-God.

In a universe such as ours, irrational causes precede, fill, and out-distance all motion. There is no magical rule change inside skulls to "buttress" mind against that unavoidable constitution. Motion, all of it, collapses into indifferent causation, irrational causation, volitionless causation, intentionless causation -- ad infinitum. Mind cannot escape physics because *nothing* escapes physics because everything *is* physics.

Mindless design, or, the illusion of design, or, the irrationally conditioned feeling of being intentional all collapse into a bizarre and unintelligible kind of "design".

If there truly is nothing more than "that" then design does not exist. Instead, the illusion of feeling and of appearance comprise our (usefully fictitious) first person experience.

Whereas, there is far more available.


As in:


"Total Rationalism"  


“[The] concept of being is one of power: the power of actuality, the capacity to affect or to be affected. To be is to act. This definition already implies that, in its fullness, being must also be consciousness, because the highest power to act — and hence the most unconditioned and unconstrained reality of being — is rational mind. Absolute being, therefore, must be absolute mind. Or, in simpler terms, the greater the degree of something’s actuality, the greater the degree of its consciousness, and so infinite actuality is necessarily infinite consciousness. That, at least, is one way of trying to describe another essential logical intuition that recurs in various forms throughout the great theistic metaphysical systems. It is the conviction that in God lies at once the deepest truth of mind and the most universal truth of existence, and that for this reason the world can truly be known by us. Whatever else one might call this vision of things, it is most certainly, in a very real sense, a kind of “total rationalism.” Belief in God, properly understood, allows one to see all that exists — both in its own being and in our knowledge of it — as rational. It may be possible to believe in the materialist view of reality, I suppose, and in some kind of mechanical account of consciousness, but it is a belief that precludes any final trust in the power of reason to reflect the objective truths of nature. I happen to think that a coherent materialist model of mind is an impossibility. I think also that the mechanistic picture of nature is self-evidently false, nothing more than an intellectual adherence to a limited empirical method that has been ineptly mistaken for a complete metaphysical description of reality. I believe that nature is rational, that it possesses inherent meaning, that it even exhibits genuine formal and final causes, and that therefore it can be faithfully mirrored in the intentional, abstractive, formal, and final activity of rational consciousness. If I am wrong about all of these things, however, I think it also clear that what lies outside such beliefs is not some alternative rationalism, some other and more rigorous style of logic, some better way of grasping the truth of things, but only an abandonment of firm belief in any kind of reasoning at all. God explains the existence of the universe despite its ontological contingency, which is something that no form of naturalism can do; but God also explains the transparency of the universe to consciousness, despite its apparent difference from consciousness, as well as the coincidence between reason and reality, and the intentional power of the mind, and the reality of truth as a dimension of existence that is at once objective and subjective. Here, just as in the realm of ontology, atheism is simply another name for radical absurdism — which, again, may be a perfectly “correct” view of things, if reason is just a physiological accident after all, and logic an illusion. That is an argument that I shall not revisit just now, however. Instead, I shall simply observe that, if reason’s primordial orientation is indeed toward total intelligibility and perfect truth, then it is essentially a kind of ecstasy of the mind toward an end beyond the limits of nature. It is an impossibly extravagant appetite, a longing that can be sated only by a fullness that can never be reached in the world, but that ceaselessly opens up the world to consciousness. To speak of God, however, as infinite consciousness, which is identical to infinite being, is to say that in Him the ecstasy of mind is also the perfect satiety of achieved knowledge, of perfect wisdom. God is both the knower and the known, infinite intelligence and infinite intelligibility. This is to say that, in Him, rational appetite is perfectly fulfilled, and consciousness perfectly possesses the end it desires. And this, of course, is perfect bliss." (D.B. Hart, "The Experience of God")


The reason these terms (Mind, Intention, Causation, Design, Etc...) are critical is because *if* we in fact discover design vis-a-vis mind then the entire paradigm that is "The Universe" is discovered to have been, all along, from the very start, contaminated by something from outside of it, by Mind, by Design --- and --- in this particular universe at least (in this "possible world" and so on), contaminated by Evil as well. Possible Worlds and the Fall are all a *separate* topic of course.

Physics and metaphysics converge and anything short of a full embrace of both simply isn't a responsible accounting of reality:


“Talk of “reducing” mind to matter or “explaining” the former in terms of the latter disguises what is really an attempt to eliminate from our conception of the world everything that is essential to mind and to replace it with a materialistic-cum-mechanistic substitute. A “materialist explanation of the mind” is thus like a “secularist explanation of God” or a “mechanistic explanation of formal and final causes.” Secularism doesn’t “explain” God, but denies that He exists; mechanism doesn’t “explain” formal and final causes, but denies that they exist; and materialism ultimately doesn’t “explain” the mind at all, but implicitly denies that it exists. “Eliminative materialism” makes this denial explicit rather than implicit. It is sometimes characterized as an “extreme” form of materialism, but it is more accurately described as an “honest” or “consistent” form of materialism. It is also insane, and a reductio ad absurdum of the entire materialist project.” (E. Feser)

Simply to have both quotes on one page, a brief repeat of a quote:

If design shows up *anywhere* then that startling occurrence forces the whole show into a paradigmatic shape wholly alien to physics.

"A true physicalism makes no allowance for emergent properties in nature that are not already implicit in their causes. Unless, then, one is positing the existence of proto-conscious material elements, particles of intentionality and awareness that are in some inconceivable way already rational and subjective, and that can add up to the unified perspective of a single conscious subject (which seems a quite fantastic notion), one is really just talking about some marvelously inexplicable transition from the undirected, mindless causality of mechanistic matter to the intentional unity of consciousness. Talk of emergence in purely physical terms, then, really does not seem conspicuously better than talk of magic.” ( D. B. Hart)

In summary:

The problem of the Mind, which the Materialist’s means cannot even in principle solve for him -- short of elimination -- *is* the problem of Design. Ron commented about a problem of "....the conservation of non-design..." given physics/causation and so on, and it's another way to approach the semantics.

"You need to read bigger books with fewer pictures. Preferably not in the Matrix or Star Trek genre."

Now that is good writing. It is succinct, funny, clear and has some truth to it as well. Keep your posts simple and straight forward and you will serve the Christian community well.

Didn't Einstein some something like "if you can't explain something simply you don't know it well enough"?

I wish you all the very best things in life scbrownlhrm

scbrownlhrm, on re-reading some of what you have written above, I am reconciled to the fact that much of it I will never understand. I don't know if it makes sense or not. But there are certain themes and claims that show up repeatedly which I can make out and do take seriously. One is your repeated claim that physicalism cannot support intention, and therefore cannot support design. Do I have that right? As Mike points out, this claim is not actually a defense of Intelligent Design as an explanation or replacement of evolution. But it is of intrinsic interest on its own, of more interest, to me, than any arguments about that pseudo-scientific theory “Intelligent Design”.

I never said anything about “feeling intentional”. Once again, that was all you deciding what I must believe. I agree with David Chalmers in separating mind into “the hard problem” of consciousness (phenomenality, the problem of qualia) and intelligence. I think non-conscious agents can exhibit intelligence. They can have goals and create and execute plans to achieve those goals, which is all that is necessary for design. Something can have a goal if it can represent the goal, represent current and future states of itself and its environment, and plan and execute actions which advance it toward the goal. All of this can be conceived as computation. Physical systems can compute, so physical systems can design. We do so by virtue of that lump of pudding inside our skulls. As for the hard problem, I don’t have a solution, but I don’t believe there is any logical contradiction in the thought that certain states of matter can give rise to consciousness. If consciousness were epiphenomenal, that would be an end of the matter, but I don’t believe it is. We are aware we’re conscious; we can think and speak about it. How that is possible is a conundrum. But dualism has a parallel failure, its inability to explain how mind moves matter. How theism solves any of this you would have to explain.

You quote D. B. Hart: “A true physicalism makes no allowance for emergent properties in nature that are not already implicit in their causes.” But we cannot know a priori what is implicit in matter. Let me ask you, is life implicit in matter? Some people, vitalists, speak about the physico-chemical theory of life in just the same way you do of a physicalist theory of intention. “How could dead matter explain life?” they ask. “Such a theory would banish life from the universe.” But that is based on a misconception of what life is. If you believe it is immaterial, then any material explanation will be false. But in the case of life, vitalists are mistaken. In the case of mind, you may be.

Gerald,

I want to be clear.

Are you piling up bits of volitionless, intention-less causations and saying intention results?

If so: [1] is that intention constituted of a collection of intention-less parts? [2] is it driving, pushing, intentionless bits of matter/causation around, or, [3] are intentionless bits of matter/causation driving, pushing, it around?

Gerald,

Also, are you asserting an identity claim such that [Goal/Aim] is equated to [Consciousness-less Intention-less Causation]?

Rocks fall into Pattern X and it can in principle be a designed X?

Gerald,

How mind moves matter?

Define matter.

Break it down. What does one end up with?

Do we have a stopping point?

Is dark matter in your stopping point?

Mathematical abstractions?

Abstractions?

Abstract?

“The most egregious of naturalism’s deficiencies, however, is the impossibility of isolating its supposed foundation – that strange abstraction, self-sufficient nature – as a genuinely independent reality, of which we have some cognizance or in which we have some good cause to believe. We may be tempted to imagine that a materialist approach to reality is the soundest default position we have, because supposedly it can be grounded in empirical experience: of the material order, after all, we assume we have an immediate knowledge, while of any more transcendental reality we can form only conjectures or fantasies; and what is nature except matter in motion? But this is wrong, both in fact and in principle. For one thing, we do not actually have an immediate knowledge of the material order in itself but know only its phenomenal aspects, by which our minds organize our sensory experiences. Even “matter” is only a general concept and must be imposed upon the data of the senses in order for us to interpret them as experiences of any particular kind of reality (that is, material rather than, say, mental).

More to the point, any logical connection we might imagine to exist between empirical experiences of the material order and the ideology of scientific naturalism is entirely illusory. Between our sensory impressions and the abstract concept of a causally closed and autonomous order called “nature” there is no necessary correlation whatsoever. Such a concept may determine how we think about our sensory impressions, but those impressions cannot in turn provide any evidence in favor of that concept. Neither can anything else. We have no immediate experience of pure nature as such, nor any coherent notion of what such a thing might be. The object has never appeared. No such phenomenon has ever been observed or experienced or cogently imagined.

Once again: we cannot encounter the world without encountering at the same time the being of the world, which is a mystery that can never be dispelled by any physical explanation of reality, inasmuch as it is a mystery logically prior to and in excess of the physical order. We cannot encounter the world, furthermore, except in the luminous medium of intentional and unified consciousness, which defies every reduction to purely physiological causes, but which also clearly corresponds to an essential intelligibility in being itself. We cannot encounter the world, finally, except through our conscious and intentional orientation toward the absolute, in pursuit of a final bliss that beckons to us from within those transcendental desires that constitute the very structure of rational thought, and that open all of reality to us precisely by bearing us on toward ends that lie beyond the totality of physical things. The whole of nature is something prepared for us, composed for us, given to us, delivered into our care by a “supernatural” dispensation. All this being so one might plausibly say that God – the infinite wellspring of being, consciousness, and bliss that is the source, order, and end of all reality – is evident everywhere, inescapably present to us, while autonomous “nature” is something that has never, even for a moment, come into view. Pure nature is an unnatural concept.” (D. B. Hart)

End quote.

On the problem of defining matter and denying intention.

Denying intention and calling Consciousness-less and Intention-less cascades of rocks in arrangement X a designed X will suffice for eliminating any metric of design capable of posing a "problem" for "God".

I just discovered that this "Next" page exists. I will address your last question before my writing this, scbrownlhrm (can I call you Brownie?) and then I have to go take care of pressing matters.

You: "[1] is ... intention constituted of a collection of intention-less parts? [2] is it driving, pushing, intentionless bits of matter/causation around, or, [3] are intentionless bits of matter/causation driving, pushing, it around?"

Me:

Your question indicates that I was right to think that the problem of free will was an important part of what was bothering you. I am a compatibilist. You seem to think that it is an either/or proposition, that either free will/intention is in control, or bits of matter are. This is only true if intention/will is immaterial. The point of my calculator example was that you don't need to choose. Is the calculator doing arithmetic because it's being pushed around by electrons, or are the electrons being pushed around by the arithmetic? It's the wrong question. There is no conflict. There are just different ways of looking at what's going on. The relation between the different levels is not one of reduction but implementation. The computation is implemented by the program which is implemented by electrons and silicon. Conversely, the electrons and silicon constitute an implementation of the program which constitutes an implementation of the computation. If I intentionally pick up a glass, that is implemented in my body by neural firing, muscle contractions, etc. Those motions and neural firings constitute my intentional act, including the initial intention. Causality of the appropriate kind takes place horizontally, so to speak, at each level. In the calculator, electrons push other electrons, computer instructions trigger other computer instructions, numbers adding to numbers produce sums. If I act on a desire, the desire followed by the action are on one level of description, connected by the relation of choice. On another level of description, various computations are being carried out, an another neurons are firing and muscle fibers are contracting. Causation does not take place between levels. Constitution and implementation relate them, not causation. Is that clear? I believe that I am implemented by my body, and constituted by it (probably, to be complete, also by my relations to others and to the world at large.) On this view, our rationality relies for its implementation on what you might call irrational physical causal interactions (irrational because, taken separately, there is nothing particularly related to reasoning about them). But they are not separate. Our ability to reason is due to the structure and physiology of our brains (and of course our history as social and verbal animals), just as the calculator's ability to add is due to its structure. If there is an error in its programming, or a transistor misfires, it will get the wrong answer, just as we can make errors in reasoning. How evolution produced an animal that could reason as we do is an interesting unsolved problem, a problem in biology, history and perhaps culture, but I don't see how it poses any insuperable metaphysical problem.

That will have to be enough for now.

You seem to want to talk about Evil and the Fall and Possible Worlds, and to be frustrated that you haven't been able to get to them. Why don't you lay it out if you can do so briefly.

Regards, Gerald

Well, one more thing. Rocks falling into a pattern don't constitute an example of design because no representation of a goal played a causal role in the process, and no intelligent system used that representation to achieve the goal.

I realize that I'm probably dancing on the edge of a deep problem, but it is not a problem which has concerned me up to now. I'd probably have to read Dennett on "the intentional stance" to go further, and I hate reading Dennett, because there's so much wrong in with the right.

Gerald,

Define electron.

Numbers (math) and electrons simultaneously push?

Numbers are causal?


Gerald,

Is the intentionality in the number, the electron (which you've not defined) or is it 50/50?

You claim an "initial intention", hence the question.

Gerald,

Or is it something like:

[45 (or whatever) electrons in a certain arrangement] = [Intention] ?

This is simply the "initial intention" question in another form.

If you want to know what an electron is, go read a physics book.

I didn't say numbers push. I said "Causality OF THE APPROPRIATE KIND takes place horizontally, so to speak, at each level." At the level of arithmetic, 2+3 results in 5 appearing because 5 is the sum of 2 and 3. That's what causes the answer to be 5, and the fact that the calculator is implementing arithmetic explains the result in terms of arithmetic. You might say that the summing relation fulfills the role of causality, or a role parallel to causality, on the level of arithmetic for this operation. It's not physical causality. It's not pushing. Electrons push each other, numbers don't. But that pattern of electrons pushed each other in order to fulfill their role in the implementation of addition. You can't say some number of electrons equals addition or equals intention. They fulfill a role in a system that, due to its structure and function, realizes addition or realizes an intention.

I'm not saying there's intentionality (in the sense we've been using it) in the calculator. I've been trying to draw a parallel between the arithmetic implemented by the calculator and intentional actions (including the sequence from desire to intention-to-act to action) implemented by our bodies. This is the parallel:
2 + 3 = 5 || desire intention-to-act action
Each makes sense at its own level without reference to lower levels of implementation. At the lowest level of each system (calculator, human) physical laws are responsible for the flow of events, and explain them. But physical laws don't explain the higher levels. They must be explained in their own terms. The intention to act, and the meaningful action itself, are at the highest level, just as the numbers are. The fact that they are implemented ultimately by particle physics, which may or may not be deterministic, doesn't rob them of their own internal logic. If you decide to do something for a reason, the fact that the reason, the decision and the doing were implemented in meat doesn't rob them of their logic. It would be like saying the calculator isn't really doing arithmetic because it's made of matter.

Gerald,

It seems, then, like you're sourcing intention to an arrangement of intentionless causes.

[45n intentionless causes/e- in a certain arrangement] = [Intention]

I'm not sure that gets you to anything other than the illusion of intention.

But, if it did succeed, then:

Can the individual intentionless "cause/e-" choose to not participate, or is it only the collection of intentionless causes/e- that can choose to do otherwise (or even do nothing)?


Gerald,

Calculators are designed.

Calculators are intentionless.

Calculators don't design.


I don't understand "cause/e-".

I don't think you're getting my idea of levels. I haven't defined what the levels are of. Levels of abstraction? Anyway, different ways of seeing the same system. You keep wanting to put an equals sign between entities at one level and those at another, or to apply predicates proper to one level to collections of entities at another.

Choice is at the highest level, at the level of the human being. Electrons don't choose; they obey physical laws. (Well, ignoring quantum physics.)

For you, what defines real intention, as opposed to the illusion of intention? And how do you explain it?

Gerald,

The "causal" is for intentionless and nonrational cause. The "e-" is for an electron but any particle will do as they're all intentionless and nonrational.

Atoms in motion to make it simple.

Radioactive decay will do.

You're saying the higher levels are *not* constituted of (intentionless) atoms, nor (intentionles) electrons, nor (intentionless) particles, nor (intentionles) molecules such as lipid bilayers

What then is that brain-part made of?

Gerald,

There's a river bed here that is used to filter rocks into small, medium, and large. It's been there for as long as I can remember and the mountain above it is, slowly, eroding and the particular arrangement there consistently separates the washout into various sizes.

Is that particular arrangement of parts arranged just-so by nature, which faithfully performs a specific, measurable, useful function, and uses the same physics as we find in the brain, intentional?

If not, is it just an arrangement of parts problem, or is it just different physics? Or something else?

Is myocardium (heart muscle) intentional? It's made of the same constitutions of the brain, but the arrangement of those parts is different, so, since it faithfully performs a useful, measurable function, is it intentional?

If not, is it an arrangement problem? Or is it just different physics? Or something else?

Regarding the higher levels of brain, since you're reluctant to claim that those physical structures *are* made of intentionless atoms, intentionless particles, intentionless electrons, intentionless lipid bilayers, intentionless molecules, or their respective intentionless clouds of attraction/repulsion, and the *same* physics as the rest of the galaxy, then can you tell us what those higher parts *are* constituted of?

If it *is* made of the *same* intentionless particles and physics as the rest of the galaxy, then it seems all that is left for the source of "intention" is in the "arrangement" of said intentionless parts.

Is that accurate?

Gerald,

On Immaterial vs. Material:

You stated that numbers exist in the higher brain levels.

What, then, are numbers made of?

Immaterial?

If material, is that material constituted of intentionless atoms, intentionless particles, intentionless electrons, intentionless lipid bilayers, intentionless molecules, or their respective intentionless clouds of attraction/repulsion, and the *same* physics as the rest of the galaxy?

I am pretty clear about the implementation relation (also called 'realization'). I threw in constitution, but I'm not clear on its relationship to implementation. Perhaps I should not have complicated things.

When I used the term "constitution" I had in mind Lynne Rudder Baker's concept of material constitution. It is the relationship the statue 'David' bears to the piece of marble it is made of. Baker argues that it is not an identity relation. The piece of marble existed before David did, embedded in a larger piece. David is by its nature a work of art, the piece of marble is not. Etc. So they are not identical. I did not mean by 'constitution' a part/whole relationship.

I am no metaphysician. I haven't worked this stuff out, but I have had the parallel of calculator to person in my mind as a kind of intuition pump for philosophy of mind for a long time.

Let's switch for a minute to word processors. When you press some keys at your computer keyboard and letters and words are entered into your electronic document, is that document 'made of' the electrons whizzing around on the circuit board or in the CPU? Are those electrons parts of the document? I would say no. They are not the right kinds of things to be parts of documents; letters are. But the document is implemented, ultimately (perhaps via several mediating implementation levels) by those electrons, although there is nothing document-like about them. Just as our intentions are implemented by intentionless neurons whose vital functions are implemented by non-living molecules. (I mean that the molecules, considered in isolation, are not alive, just as the neurons, considered in isolation, are not intentional.)

If a computer (a particular hunk of silicon, metal and plastic) is running (that is, implementing or realizing) a word processing program, that computer constitutes a word processor, just as a particular hunk of marble can constitute a statue. It constitutes a word processor by virtue of implementing a word processing program.

The brain is made of neurons and glia and blood vessels, as we all know. What the brain is doing is not. And what the brain is doing, among other things (like physiological regulation) is implementing/realizing a mind. Perhaps a human body (including its brain) constitutes a person by virtue of its brain implementing his or her mind.

I went to a lecture yesterday by a computer scientist who models face recognition with neural networks. He said the mind is what the brain does, and what the brain does is probabilistic computation.

Once again: For you, what defines real intention, as opposed to the illusion of intention? And how do you explain it?

You said "Regarding the higher levels of brain, since you're reluctant to claim that those physical structures *are* made of intentionless atoms..."

It's true that there are "higher" brain regions, like the cerebral cortex. But I did not mean "higher levels" in that sense. I meant something like higher levels of abstraction. So a higher level is NOT a physical structure. The computer scientist David Marr, who worked on modelling vision, spoke of three levels of analysis: computation, algorithm, implementation. Computation is the 'highest' level. I had something like that in mind. The brain is hardware, or wetware. In this scheme it is low, at implementation level or below, no matter what stage of a computation it is carrying out.

I've visited a beach in Washington state that does the same sorting of stones and other debris by size. It's striking. Just intuitively, it seems to me, doing something intentionally necessarily involves, as I said before, having a representation of a goal and an intelligent system which uses knowledge of itself and its environment to attain the goal. None of your examples meets those criteria. Do you have some different notion of intention? How would you describe it? Why do you think my description falls short?

As I reread the above paragraph I realized that a simple cybernetic system like a heat-seeking missile might meet my criteria. I guess I would say that's sort of a borderline case. If you were in a plane trying to escape, and the missile kept turning and following you, you might feel it was intentionally pursuing you. Maybe for full intentionality (in this sense of intending an action) some kind of self-awareness is also necessary. What do you think?

Gerald,

"The brain is made of neurons and glia and blood vessels, as we all know. What the brain is doing is not." ((Let's add intentionless atoms, particles, and causation, the same physics as outside the skull.)) els of abstraction. So a higher level is NOT a physical structure."

So there *are* Immaterial realities? And they are inside our skulls?

Is that accurate?

If the numbers, abstractions, etc. are NOT Immaterial, and are NOT Material, then what ARE numbers and Abstraction made of there inside skulls?

Are the (Immaterial?) Numbers causal, pushing, driving?

Or bring pushed, driven?

Are the (Immaterial?) Abstractions causal, pushing, driving?

Or being pushed, driven?


Gerald,

Are the Immaterial Abstractions intentional?

Do they choose?

I ask because now that you've introduced NON Material (Immaterial) realities, I don't want to lose sight of locating intention.

It's not in material. It's not in an arrangement of material.

Is it, then, the Abstractions that are intentional, or is it in their arrangement that we find intention?

Or are the Numbers and Abstractions Intentionless like the atoms and electrons?

Gerald,

Earlier you stated:

"I think non-conscious agents can exhibit intelligence. They can have goals and create and execute plans to achieve those goals..."

Riverbeds, myocardium, cruise missles, etc. then have goals, have plans, execute those plans, and reach goals, but are Intentionless.

You then add a layer: Adding self-awareness transforms all of that intentionless planning and intentionless goal reaching into "intentional".

Is that accurate on your position?

Is self-awareness immaterial too, like abstraction?


Gerald,

Just so you know, I'm *not* going to demand "As a materialist you can't appeal to immaterial realities!!"

Rather, your reasoning process carrying you out of the irreducibly material is interesting. Panpsychism or similar paradigmatic claims may interest you.

Intention is still missing, but it seems we've got to now clarify the Non-Material realities you've now introduced.

Is the Intentionality there in those Non-Material realities?

Maybe I have not thought deeply enough about these issues. As I said, I'm not a metaphysician. But I feel that you are just trying to jam what I say into your categories which I don't share, thereby arriving at unjustified conclusions. I don't believe I've said anything that is beyond the capabilities of physicalism.

The issue of the metaphysical status of numbers has never interested me. I don't have anything enlightening to say on the matter.

Abstractions are true of the physical world. Abstractions aren't physical. Does that mean they're "immaterial"? The word 'immaterial' is often used for spooky stuff, like the soul, ghosts, spirits and God. When you capitalize Immaterial it sounds even spookier. Abstractions aren't in the same class with such immaterial entities. I didn't quote that computer scientist completely. The first of his three "Axioms of Cognitive Science" is "The mind is what the brain does. (No spooky stuff.)"

Take something eminently physical, say a falling rock. The rock is made of atoms. What it's doing is falling. The falling is not made of atoms. Does that mean the falling is Immaterial? You seem to imply that it does:

From my saying,

"The brain is made of neurons and glia and blood vessels, as we all know. What the brain is doing is not." and "A higher level is not a physical structure."

you concluded

"So there *are* Immaterial realities? And they are inside our skulls? Is that accurate?"

The answer is No. The falling of the rock is what the rock is doing. The falling of the rock is not made of rocks or atoms. But the falling of the rock is an eminently physical reality, or, if you like, a material reality. The fact that it is not made of matter does not make it an "Immaterial reality".

The brain is made of matter. What the brain is doing is not made of matter. But what the brain is doing is a material reality.

I really have to take a break. When I return tomorrow, I would like to read YOUR account of intention.

And I don't want to hear any more about riverbeds or myocardium, since you have not demonstrated that a REPRESENTATION of a goal plays a causal role in either system.

Gerald,

Falling is driven by Non-Physics?

So Gravity is intentional?

"Take something eminently physical, say a falling rock. The rock is made of atoms. What it's doing is falling. The falling is not made of atoms. Does that mean the falling is Immaterial? You seem to imply that it does."

No.

You did.

You claimed a non physical (non material) structure or event in the brain.

Are the intentionless clouds of attraction/repulsion which form chemical bounds a spooky sort of physics outside of "regular" physics? Are they Intentional?

You're bordering on epiphenomenalism.

But you're hedging.

Are gravitational forces intentionally causing the "falling"?

Is the falling *itself* intentional?

Where is the intention?

So far you've no intentionality, and thus no metric of design which can be a "problem" for Christianity's metaphysical geography.

Gerald,

On neurons and myocardium, you've not shown a causation in either one that is intentional.

Particle cascades faithfully carrying out a function exists in both.

So until you show us intention you've no right to complain about the equating.

Gerald,

Myocardiocytes have no program? So they just do whatever?

Processing input from outside itself.

Responding to said input.

Changing physical X's outside itself by those responses.

Brain or heart?

Intentional?

Nonphysical?


This is a gish gallop - and never ending torrent of bleep beelp snerf snerf wibble. schlbrown is SO lost in his metaphysical BS that I have no idea how he/she even gets dressed in the morning.

Are his/her clothes physical? Is getting dressed intentional or merely a cascade of random atoms? When he/she is awake, is that actually a dream? Or is the dream when one is really awake?

Can you schlbrown, offer evidence for an "immaterial reality"?

And what does this have to do with the FACT that Intelligent Design claims design but refuses to define what it means by "design"??

Waste. Of. Space.

Yeah...trying to make physics intentional is a bit trip....

The hedge of, "Matter moving through space (falling) is NOT constituted entirely of material physics..." is a bit Twilight Zone-ish......

That is how desperate Non-Theism is to find *actual* intention.

Lest Non-Theism have no metric of Intention, of Design.

Typo:

The 2:54 PM comment should have read:

Yeah, Non-Theism trying to get physics to be intentional is a bit of a trip.

scbrownlhrm, I don't know if you're trying not to understand or if you're genuinely unable to. Perhaps your categories don't line up with mine to such an extent that what I say just confuses you. However, you're guaranteed to misunderstand if you keep making up claims and putting them in my mouth. That kind of behavior inclines me to agree with Mike that further conversation may be a waste of space. And precious time.

You:
"Falling is driven by Non-Physics?"
"So Gravity is intentional?"
"You claimed a non physical (non material) structure or event in the brain."
"Matter moving through space (falling) is NOT constituted entirely of material physics..."

None of this is me; it is all you. I never said anything about falling being driven by "Non-Physics" or that a falling rock was "not constituted entirely by material physics." I said it was "not made of atoms"!!! This was to parallel and explicate another passage you misunderstood, that the brain is made of neurons and blood vessels, but WHAT IT IS DOING is NOT made of neurons and blood vessels. I said the falling rock was "eminently physical"!!! You misunderstood an example I could not have made any simpler, and then claimed I had said the very opposite of what I had said.

I did not say falling or gravity was intentional. I was not talking about intention. I was correcting your claim that I had asserted some non-material reality.

I never "claimed a non physical (non material) structure or event in the brain." If you thought I did, that was a misunderstanding. Go back and read it again. I said there were different ways of seeing the same material reality. These ways can be thought of as different levels. You can look at the particles, the physics. You can look at the cell physiology. And you can look at the function of the system or organ. The function of the heart is to pump blood. The function of the brain is to compute, to process information. It computes a person's personality, perceptions, emotions, beliefs. (At least that is the claim.) And another of those things it computes is a person's intentions. If you look in one way at what's going on in the brain you'll see particles in motion, another: cells firing and electric currents, another: the intention to pick up a glass of water. The intention, I am claiming, is like a document or a spreadsheet in a computer... or a character in a story in a book or on a computer. There's nothing spooky about it, but it's not the kind of thing that has atoms for parts. It's represented by the material substrate, and it plays a role in further computations.

One characteristic of an intention to act, I have claimed, is that a representation of a goal must play a part, a claim you have compulsively ignored. You seem to think of intention as something elemental. Irreducible? I think some of our difficulties would be addressed if you FINALLY responded to my request to explain what YOU think intention is. Does it have to do with spooky stuff? Is it immaterial? If so, why do you think so, and how does that help us understand what it is and how it plays a role in the world?

I am uninterested in any more ways you can invent to misunderstand me. If you want to attack or criticize on the basis of what I actually said, that's another matter. But I wish you would begin by explaining what you mean by intention, and how you explain it.

In editing my previous post, I introduced an opportunity for misunderstanding. I wrote originally:

"I never said anything about falling being driven by "Non-Physics". I said it was "not made of atoms"!!!"

That is, that the falling (the what-the-rock-is-doing) was not made of atoms. I think that should be noncontroversial, and does not assert anything nonphysical. Physics includes motion and relations between objects, not just the objects themselves.

However, I inserted another phrase, producing:

"I never said anything about falling being driven by "Non-Physics" or that a falling rock was "not constituted entirely by material physics." I said it was "not made of atoms"!!!"

Knowing scbrownlhrm, he will probably crow that I claimed that a falling rock was not made of atoms. I intended nothing of the sort.

Gerald,

I'm confused because you're again saying this:

"The intention, I am claiming, is like a document or a spreadsheet in a computer... or a character in a story in a book or on a computer. There's nothing spooky about it, but it's not the kind of thing that has atoms for parts."

This is akin to the claim that matter moving through space ("Falling") is matter-less, which is nonsense. Matter moving in space cannot be matter-less.

Atoms moving through space ("Falling") is not atom-less. It is, as you say, eminently atom/physical. (Physics of attraction / repulsion / particle / etc.)

Can you show us anything about "Falling" that is MORE THAN intentionless matter and intentionless causes acting on said intentionless matter? Is gravity MORE THAN intentionless matter and intentionless causes acting on said intentionless matter?

Also, nothing in any of that is intentional and all of it is driven by intentionless causes. That is, "Falling" is *still* not able to decide to not fall because the matter is (intentionlessly) *caused* (forced) to move through space by intentionless causes (is that incorrect?).

Your intention sums to this:

Intentionless matter being intentionlessly forced to intentionlessly move through space.

It truly is the *same* as FALLING.

But nothing there is intentional.

Your intention is eliminative.

It's illusion.

Nothing about it is in any way, even for a nanosecond, intentional.

Irreducible, non-eliminative metaphysical explanatory termini in Materialism vs. Non-Theism are necessarily ontologically different.

But you're still hedging on *your* terms trying to foist an illusion as fact.

The hedge of, "Matter moving through space ("Falling") is NOT constituted entirely of material physics, is NOT nothing but material physics, needs unpacking. But unpacking it reveals its falsehood.

If "Falling" is NOT nothing but material physics, then something besides material and the physics of material must exist. Which is fine. But you pull back when asked about Non-Material and insist that "Falling" is "eminently physical".

Conclusion:

There is nothing but an intentionless scaffolding of intentionless matter being (intentionlessly) acted on by intentionless forces (causes) in your descriptions of what goes on in the brain.

Is that incorrect?


Gerald,

As per my last post:

The forces pushing the rock, and the rock, and the space.

What else is there?

Nothing.

Zero.

Also, in all of that motion (etc.), nothing is happening intentionally.

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