Re: virus: materialism and other worldviews

Robin Faichney (
Thu, 18 Feb 1999 22:27:54 +0000

In message <000101be5b86$0e95dbc0$d92929d8@ene09>, Sodom <> writes
>I'd say, you cannot simultaneously be a
>materialist, and a realist about consciousness, because
>consciousness is not a material thing.
>My .02 says: The problem is not that consciousness as a material thing is
>beyond understanding in principle. As a realist, understanding that the
>complexity of consciousness in the material sense is beyond our skills is
>better. They can co-exist if you take this cheap way out. Consciousness is a
>material thing that our perception cannot distinguish as such, like music.

Only if your materialism is just a reaction to dualism, such that all "material" means to you is "non-supernatural".

If your materialism is not mere reaction, then you should be able to tackle the proposition that abstractions are best considered non-material, because of the fundamental difference between them and concrete objects that I already explained in this thread: their numerical identity.

Having said that, there's another element to consciousness that materialism fails to explain, besides its abstract nature: its ineliminable subjectivity. There is no objective evidence for consciousness whatsoever. As I'm not a materialist, that doesn't bother me, but shouldn't it bother you?

>Abstract in the extreme of which all parts are basic physics as is our
>response. I see why we wrestle with this problem. There needs to be a term
>that describes the Materialist who realizes that not all is within grasp.

Maybe the term you're searching for is "non-materialist"? :-)