Re: virus: materialism and other worldviews

Robin Faichney (
Fri, 19 Feb 1999 14:57:07 +0000

In message <>, sodom <> writes
> Robin Faichney wrote:
>> 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.
> Aspects of material things or the results of the action of time and
> material things ARE the abstracts we are discussing. It is a
> product of physical action and time. They are not seperable
> in abstract.

But abstraction is what we're talking about! If you agree that abstractions are separable, then what's the problem? Sure, it's a conceptual separation, not a physical one, but so what? As I keep saying, I'm not a dualist, or a supernaturalist. I just believe that it pays to acknowledge the difference between concrete objects and abstractions. The former are physical things and the latter ain't.

> I can agree that it is still easier to deal with
> abstractions as a seperate entity - but I think I also stated it
> earlier - I think this is a fault of our limited biolical thinking
> skills.

It's not a fault. Abstract conceptualisation might be the biggest advantage we have over other species.

>> 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?
> Contradictins to my views only intrigue - But what about buildings,
> pollution, all sorts of "objective" evidence that a conscious
> entity could objectivly say "Something conscious made this".

Isn't that a bit circular? :-)

And doesn't it confuse consciousness with intelligence?

> I
> would also say that there is enough evidence by infrence that
> unless a good case is made for your viewpoint - Ill argue that
> there is enough evidence to use it as a working hypotheses? 

But I'm not saying consciousness is unreal. I use it as a working hypothesis all the time myself, and I'll eat a complete PC if anyone can prove that there is a generally superior strategy for humans to use. All I'm saying is that there is no *objective* evidence for consciousness, which should worry anyone who believes in objectivity as the ultimate (or even "an ultimate"?) goal.