On Fri, Nov 26, 2010 at 7:17 AM, 1Z <peterdjo...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> On Nov 26, 6:01 am, Rex Allen <rexallen31...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> So Agrippa's Trilemma revolves around the question of how we can
>> justify our beliefs.
>> It seems to me that an entirely acceptable solution is just to accept
>> that we can't justify our beliefs.
> ..in an absolute way. We still can relative to other
> beliefs. And that isn;t a problem specific to higher-level
> categories such as reason and logic. The Trilemma applies
> just as much to microphysical causality

How do you justify your belief that you can justify your beliefs
relative to other beliefs?

As for microphysical causality, right, it doesn’t solve any
ontological problems to introduce it as an explanation because it just
raises the question “what causes microphysical causality?”

And also, if you buy multiple realizability, then you can’t justify
your belief in one particular microphysical causal structure instead
of some other functionally isomorphic one.

>>>> As I said before, materialism could conceivably explain human ability
>>>> and behavior, but in my opinion runs aground at human consciousness.
>>>> Therefore, I doubt that humans are a complex sort of robot.
>>> Is human consciousness causally effective?
>> I don't believe so, no.
> Then the sense in which we are not robots is somewhat honorific:
> we are not because we have consciousness, but consc. doesn't
> explain out behaviour since it doesn't cause anything , so we behave
> as determined...

OR, there is no reason we behave as we do.

>> And claiming that consciousness is itself caused just runs into
>> infinite regress, as you then need to explain what causes the cause of
>> conscious experience, and so on.
> The claim is more that it causes. And it could be causal under
> interactive dualism (brain causes consc causes different brains state)
> and it could be causal under mind brain identity: mind is identical
> to brain; brain causes; therefore mind identically causes.

If you anesthetize me, the brain is still there.  Where is the mind?

If you lightly smush my brain in a press, the brain is still there.
Is the mind still there?

Assuming multiple realizability, if you run a simulation of me on a
computer, the mind is there.  Where is the brain?

Mind-brain identity doesn’t seem so convincing to me.

>> Therefore, taking the same approach as with Agrippa's Trilemma, it
>> seems best to just accept that there is no cause for conscious
>> experience either.
> Again, the trillema only means there is no non-arbitrary ultimate
> cause.

Well, the Agrippa’s trilemma applies to justification, not “cause” per
se.  I just said we should apply the same approach and do away with
the “causal trilemma” by denying its assumptions.

Though your right in that the causal trilemma does look pretty similar
to Agrippa’s trilemma.  Our three choices are:

1) An uncaused first cause.
2) Some sort of circular causation.
3) An infinite number of prior causes.

Kant was pretty close to this with his first antinomy of pure reason.

> The trillema does not mean that nothing whatsoever is caused.
> In any case it is a rather poor reason for dismissing the causal
> efficacy of consciousness.

The causal trilemma just shows that attempting to explain our
experiences by invoking a cause merely results in the question “what
causes the cause”.

You don’t get anywhere.

You could just be satisfied with the predictive success of your
“useful” explanation and not inquire further...but people don’t seem
to like to stop there.  They go on to ascribe metaphysical/ontological
significance to it.

But if you do, then you have to face the causal trilemma.

> You are saing that you are not causally
> responsible for what you have written here, for instance

I am saying that, correct.

>> Is it a useful answer?  Maybe not.  But where does it say that all
>> answers have to be useful?
> If true knowledge is unobtainable, it makes a lot
> of sense to settle for useful knowledge.

Sure, if you believe that your beliefs are useful, that’s fine with
me.  Just don’t go pretending that they’re justified.

>> Besides, what causes you to care about usefulness?  Evolution.
>> What causes evolution?  Initial conditions and causal laws.
>> What causes initial conditions and causal laws?
>> And so on.  We've been through this before I think.
> Yep. That it is in a sense caused by evolution does not make it wrong.

Doesn’t make it right either.


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