Brent wrote:

I'm sure that more than one philosopher has made this criticism.

Including yourself. I agree with the criticism, but I don’t see its relevance with regards to the importance of subjectivity and introspection with regards to knowledge. I admire Descartes as a man, not so much as a philosopher. I admire his method more than his results, he looked inwards. Like Hume, Berkley , Locke and countless others. These people were the forefathers of science, not the resistance to it. Europe, having been freed from the authority of dogma by commerce and free enterprise, these people voiced a challenge that had been long suppressed.

I think you are attacking a straw man "realist".

Im challenging comments and attitudes I saw on this board. Introspection was deemed an archaic relic of pre 16th century superstition, when in fact the cogito was the cornerstone of the enlightenment and has been important ever since. Not just in substance but in method too. People might not be happy about 'souls' and worse 'soul stuff', but really Descartes participated in putting thinking and rationalising back on the map.

I doubt very much for instance that there would be cognitive psychology were it not for the work of Descartes filtered through Chomskian Linguistics. Our ‘conscious’ robot is a product of the idea that there are innate mental structures. It’s the pattern and/or process – computable function - that has become important in philosophy of mind - even if its at the most basic level of a stimulated neural nets, weighted sums et al. We have reached this point because in a subjective sense we all experience these intractable ‘processes’ first hand, like finding a word once lost at the tip of your tongue. How do we know about that? Because we experience it!

It’s the method that’s worth saving, not the indivisible soul languishing somewhere near the penal gland. Its not even whether souls provide a good account of identity, it’s the method that Im defending, and the method that I saw attacked. So far, I’m still convinced Im right, which is very rare.

Best Regards


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