Re: The return of the revenge of qualia, part VI.

From: Tennessee Leeuwenburg (
Date: Thu Jul 28 2005 - 23:37:37 MDT

On 7/29/05, David Picon Alvarez <> wrote:
> > How is it that materialists can justify their truths? Is it practical
> Science is a materialist system, like it or not. Either you claim that minds
> are not objects of scientific study (and there's still plenty of room for
> materialist work here) or you claim that science must accept a new
> phlogistum (sp?) without it making any predictions, which is bad form in
> science. This is why materialist explanations can get away with not bringing
> evidence yet, they don't possit any extra stuff.

It's possibly my fault in arguing -- but I think the materialist
position is different to science. The materialist position is that
everything which exists is material.

Science is a process based, ultimately, on predictiveness.

If materialist science cannot be predictive with respect to the the
mind, but continues to deny the distinction between the mind and the
brain, then there would appear to be good reason to expand ones

I don't think we have good enough physics to say conclusive things
about minds and brains, so we can't reject a non-materialist
description of the mind out-of-hand.

I think I would be forced to distastefully accept the materialist
position if it did prove to have perfect predictive ability with
respect to *both* physical and mental descriptions of the mind-brain.

I believe that science will need to undergo some expansion before it
can properly describe mental reality, and I think that expansion will
address my concerns.

My chief concern being that it would be possible to build a physical
mimic of intelligence without actually reproducing the mind. i.e. it
would be possible to build a zombie-brain, which has some
intelligence, but which has neither a mental life, nor does the
physics underlying its rules have any description of mental life.

I hope you see what I'm saying. I'm not anti-scientific - I really
want to hold that minds are reducible to *some* brains, but I don't
think it's true that *all* brains will give rise to minds. And we need
a scientific description of that difference.


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