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Scaling the Secular City 3: God and the Argument from Mind

07/15/2011

Moreland is defending an argument that the mind/consciousness is explained best by the existence of God. He does this largely by attacking physicalism. Are these the only two alternatives?

“They (physicalists) have spent a good deal of time trying to do away with numbers, values, propositions, laws of logic, and universals by reducing them to notions compatible with physicalism. But these reductionist attempts have failed and physicalism as a worldview cannot adequately handle the existence of these entities” (82).

The above is simply asserted. I went back to Carrier’s book, SaGwG, and read a couple paragraphs on abstract objects. It seemed like it successfully reduced abstract descriptions to physical notions alone. For example, we abstract “triangleness” from triangles when we notice that both have certain spacial characteristics in common, namely the characteristic of having three sides. This is a repeatable pattern in nature, so we label it, and we can talk about it. This doesn’t seem to demand that in some non-physicalist sense “triangleness” exists. Or does it?

Very interesting chapter though. I don’t think that physicalism/determinism is self refuting, and the attack on these concepts I think avoids similar conceptual problems for a libertarian. How is a free will choice necessary for rationality? Especially when it reduces ultimately to randomness?

Still, I do not know how one could answer the question of how or why consciousness or the mind exists, or how we could explain qualia. Does this pose a problem for an atheist though? Hmmm. Don’t really know. Further, does an ultimate mind act as a good explanation for our minds? Again, Dawes’ book may be worth a purchase.

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