Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Materialism, Dualism, and Idealism

There's materialism, dualism, and idealism. As far as I know, that exhausts all the options. That is unless there's tri-ism or nothing-ism. But let's stick with the big three. No matter which one of the three you go with, there's a problem.

For materialism, there's the hard problem of consciousness.

For dualism, there's the interaction problem.

For idealism, there's the problem of solipsism.

Of these three, I think the materialists try the hardest to solve their problem. There are all kinds of supposed solutions to the problem of consciousness. Some people go to the extreme of denying consciousness even exists.

Idealists, as far as I can tell, don't try to deal with their problem. I think it may be because although there are difficulties with idealism, they don't amount to defeaters. I mean if it turns out that I am the only person who exists (or who I can know exists), it wouldn't follow that idealism was false. Or, if idealism is counter-intuitive for reasons I explained in an earlier post, it wouldn't follow that idealism was false.

Dualists fall somewhere in between. A lot of dualists acknowledge that there's an interaction difficulty, but they don't try to solve it. They rest on the arguments for dualism and assume there must be a solution even if they don't know what it is. Some people try to solve the problem. I thought I had a solution to it a while back, but it ended up not working out because it only allowed for causation in one direction.

But still, it seems like no matter what worldview you subscribe to, there's going to be a problem.


At 9/04/2017 12:50 PM , Anonymous scbrownlhrm said...


On consciousness and causality, we would also need to account for the Principle of Proportionate Causality as it immediately impacts our ontic-state on all levels and at all times and so content for our equations would include:

3. combined with 4.

Also, I referenced you in

At 9/04/2017 3:24 PM , Blogger Sam Harper said...

Thank you for the links. That Ed Phaser (oh look! I pronounced his name right!) is one smart dude.

At 9/04/2017 6:06 PM , Anonymous scbrownlhrm said...


Given the fact that our Non-Theist friends lack in their causal means that which causally sums to the Principle of Proportionate Causality (...the PPC...) then when it comes to God's Creative Act with respect to being and with respect to volition and with respect to intentionality they are simply at a loss as to how to unpack causality without reducing all of reality to that of the Grand-Automaton.

Maybe something like this:

Non-Being ← → Proportionate Causality ← → Being ← → Pre-Eden ← → Proportionate Causality vis-à-vis Dualism ← → Eden (…proposal not wedding…) ← → [A] Privation or else ← → Proportionate Causality ← → [B] God’s Ideal (…wedding not proposal…)

It's obviously more layered than that, but, it seems so common of an error to conflate non-identicals that it seems worth pointing out the general nature of things with respect to "causal content" and so on.

Lastly, I do not find it necessary to make the following claim, but, perhaps... whether God can (and did) in fact create a being in His Own Image with respect to the principle of proportionate causality *itself*. After all, we rationally affirm that Being Itself, as in God Who is Immaterial, both can and does interact with matter/material, and the reasons why He can are obvious given Being's superseding ontic over both Material and Non-Being. And *we* of course necessarily live and move and have and find our own being itself from the *only* metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility, namely, "Being Itself / GOD".

I am in there using "being itself" to refer to what the Self is in contrast to "Matter", which requires moving carefully. On the PPC there was the prior of Non-Being, and, then, Being which is not "to be a tree” as Feser notes but rather to be at all. Now, clearly that sense finds the ontic of be-*ing* and it is *different* than "a tree". Now, it is that dividing line which forces the affairs of Being's superseding ontic over both Material and Non-Being mentioned earlier as we approach the rational affirmation of the Immaterial God seamlessly interacting with the Material.

There’s an interface there of ontic distincts, or of ontic non-identicals, and we seem to see the seamlessness of that interface when it comes to God/World, which just *is* the interface of “The Divine Mind / World” but, then, we seem to pull back when it comes to “Our Mind / World”, which is curious. Again, the reason that is curious is Being's superseding ontic over both Material and Non-Being.

That is all a rough and quick fingers-on-the-key-board rush, but, it may offer something on the question of Consciousness or the Mind/Body interaction.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home