Here's a clever argument

"Idealism is stupid: Theory of evolution!"

"Huh?"

"Minds evolved!"

"And…?"

"Well, they evolved from a world that was totally devoid of mind."

"But the idea the world is basically devoid of mind: isn't that just... materialism itself?"

"Exactly!"

"So you're saying that if we accept the theory of evolution AND assume that materialism is true, then materialism is true. Very convincing."

5 comments:

  1. Well let's try a different version.

    "Idealism is no longer necessary. It's an idea whose time probably has passed. Like vitalism, which is not a stupid idea at all, just one we don't need."

    "Huh?"

    "Well, like vitalism was a theory to explain life when our chemistry and information modeling was inadequate to understand how life can be explained by information processing chemical systems, so idealism is a theory to explain the obvious presence of 'mental'-like attributes of the world, like purposeful behavior, and beauty. But we can now explain those in simpler terms. So Ockham's razor suggests we just accept the simpler terms. Like with vitalism. We aren't completely there yet, not the way the quantum theorists explained the chemical bond, or the way the chemists explained how cells work their magic, but we have made great strides."

    "So you're saying that if we accept the theory of evolution then materialism is all we need to assume. If we can explain minds physically we no longer need mind-stuff, just as if we can explain life physically we no longer nedd life-stuff."

    "Yes, seems a good bet."



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    1. Well, Ken, at least this one doesn't contain any insults.

      There just to remaining problems:

      1) your history of philosophy is made up. Idealism was certainly not Developed for the purposes you attribute to it. As I noted idealist philosophers developed theories of evolution before Darwin; and idealism had a heyday the Anglo world after Darwin. No idealist Of whom I am aware disputed Darwin at all. They all found to be compatible with their idealism.

      2) The whole rest of your argument depends on contending that a theory which makes consciousness totally superfluous and unnecessary to any sort of explanation somehow is an adequate explanation of consciousness! I would say that, rather, such a theory is logically incapable of explaining boxes.

      Whoops, so aside from removing the insult, no progress is been made it all.

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    2. And we could get empirical on this matter as well Ken: What we have is 250 years of materialist promises that "the check is in the mail," and meanwhile absolutely no progress towards an actual materialist explanation of consciousness. Of course, it is not surprising Meada that Only odd numbers exist Has trouble explaining even-numbers!

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  2. Some of the check have arrived. To mention just a few at random: anti-depressants, Broca's area, split brain experiments. Basically all of modern neuro-science actually.

    My comment doesn't give a history of Idealism Gene. It's about Occam's Razor and the nature of adequate explanations. We don't need vitalism; similarly we don't need mind-stuff.

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    1. "Some of the check have arrived. To mention just a few at random: anti-depressants, Broca's area, split brain experiments."

      Utterly absurd, Ken. As if any people anywhere didn't always realize that states of the body affect states of the mind! Berkeley, the first modern idealist, gave a long list of ways you should care for the body to stay in a good mental state.

      That you think this is evidence shows you have no idea where the actual debate lies.

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