Hi Jason,


On 8/29/2011 8:27 AM, Jason Resch wrote:

On Aug 29, 2011, at 12:00 AM, "Stephen P. King" <stephe...@charter.net> wrote:

On 8/28/2011 11:06 PM, Jason Resch wrote:

Capillary action is not a violation of the laws of physics. What about substance monism precludes any life form from existing?

Also are you saying you are a substance dualist?


   Is 'substance dualism' the only form of dualism?

I suppose there is idealism (only mind) which would be a theory of no substances. Also nothing precludes someone from postulating 3 types of substances, but this is uncommon because usually the second substance invoked is used to explain all the mysteries.

I was asking if substance dualism is the only type of dualism. The answer is no. Much has been written on the subject. For example see: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/dualism/

My argument is against the assumption of substance in all of its forms. The fact that Descartes' version of dualism failed is not the fault of duality, it is due to the basic flaws built into the assumption or postulate of substance. To quote from the Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy article that I just referenced: "A substance is characterized by its properties, but, according to those who believe in substances, it is more than the collection of the properties it possesses, it is /the thing which/ possesses them. " The problem lies in this notion of a 'bearer of properties' that somehow has an existence independent of the properties that adorn it. Having it has no properties itself, what is our motivation to even consider that it is a necessary or even useful entity? (Existence is not a property!)

This argument can be seen as a demonstration that postulating multiple substances only compounds the problems that we have with the assumption of one substance! It seem to me that it is unparsimonious to even bother with the notion of substances except as a rhetorical devices to convey the idea of agency or whatever.

Maybe you might consider that the idea of substance is simply not even wrong. Matter and Mind are both process, substance is just the relative invariant aspects of such.

Perhaps but "substance dualism" is a useful shorthand for the idea that patterns alone (be they physical, informational, or mathematical) are insufficient for explaining mind.

Sure, but if that shorthand injects a logically fallacious idea we might as well allow for other contradictory notions as postulates. If we are attempting to understand consciousness does it not make logical sense that we are careful not to propose concepts that are straw men, even inadvertently? Why are 'patterns' the only other option? Not that there is anything wrong per say with the idea that patterns are involved in coherent explanations of mind, but it is obvious that there is more to mind than patterns. Again, beware of straw men arguments!

Craig's idea seems to be that "consciousness is so different that all our conventional scientific knowledge is useless and doomed to fail in explaining it".

Are you sure? What if his critique is a bit more subtle. What if it is an attack on material monism and the substance assumption that seems to be endemic in 'conventional scientific thinking" (not knowledge).

There is some sense in which substance dualism can be true. That is when actors in a simulation are controlled by something outside the simulation. For example, human conyrolled charcters in a computer game. There would be no way to explain the motions of the character from within the simulation, every motion would require some intervention.

Substance dualism in our universe would require something similar: interventions (which would constitute violations of the laws of physics) by some entity outside this universe and consequently is somewhat immune to invenstigation by us.

The problem that needs to be explained by any theory of mind is 'psycho-physical parallelism' (For example see; http://www.philosophyonline.co.uk/pom/pom_psychophysical_parallelism.htm). The intervention or interaction problem is just the most visible symptom of the substance postulate. Once we accept the postulate of substance we are doomed to need to postulate more and more forms of substance to act as intermediaries between distinct objects, the zoo of particles that we see in the Standard Model illustrates this well! It is not necessary to bring up the point about violations of the laws of physics, David Bohm's Guide Wave interpretation, for example, violated no laws of physics and yet had the same kind of duality between particles and wave functions that simplistic versions of dualism entertain.

Substance is illusion.

Perhaps, but the illusion of substance seems to follow rules which are never seen to be broken. The question is: are regular violations of these rules part of this illusion of substance?

The key property that the substance postulate covers can be reduced to the principle of conservation or invariance under some continuous and invertible transformation, we do not need to propose some odorless, colorless, invisible 'stuff' to hang properties upon. Just as the notion of an aether was shown to be an unnecessary hypothesis by the theories of Relativity, so too does QM demolish the motivation underpinning the substance assumption by shown that observables are operators and linear functional that literally act as the generators of the properties associated with the observables. There is no need whatsoever to assume substances of any kind. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable , http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm/#Ope

Once we no longer labor under this crippling assumption dualism is free of most of the problems that have led to its derisive connotations. The only problem of dualism is to explain the appearence of interactions and that problem has already been mostly solved. See: http://boole.stanford.edu/pub/ratmech.pdf Using the notion of bisimulation, borrowed from computer science (for example see: http://tunes.org/wiki/bisimulation.html) , we can easily show how the appearances of interactions flows from bisimulations between dynamic versions of logical algebras and, given the Stone representation theorem, the appearance of 'particles' and fields drops out without additional postulation of entities as the topological spaces that are the duals of those same logical algebras.



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