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Maybe I'm Not Really A Dualist

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Posted by Paul R. Martin on February 4, 2002 19:37:35 UTC

Hi Richard,

I am becoming more and more convinced of the uselessness of these "ism" characterizations. As Harv indicated, it seems that some people set themselves up as experts in one "ism" or another and thus claim the authority to judge whether other peoples categorizations of ideas into these "isms" are correct or incorrect.

It seems abundantly evident that this situation spawns controversy at a number of levels. We may debate the question of who is the ultimate authority concerning a particular "ism". We may debate the interpretation of the definition offered by the authority if one is offered. We may debate whether or not a particular idea is included or excluded from a particular "ism". We may debate whether or not a personally held idea is consistent with the ideas accepted or rejected for a particular "ism". And so on.

But, for the life of me, I can see no useful purpose for these categorizations except to divert our attention from the ideas themselves so that we may stifle discussion. I suspect this works to the advantage of the authorities of respective "isms" who thereby conslidate their positions as authorities. I suppose that might be useful in a teacher-student relationship in order to provide the student with exercise material, but I suspect that even in this case it does more harm than good.

In my attempts to convey some of the ideas I hold to be probable, I have tried to classify them in certain "ism" categories. This has never, to my knowledge, ever helped me get anything across to anyone.

When I started writing this post, I was going to explain to you how and why I see myself as a "dualist". I have changed my mind. Instead I'll just tell you how I view a few ideas. (I think words like 'dualism' too often lead to 'duelism', so I have decided, starting now, to expunge from my vocabulary any word ending in 'ism'.)

I think two fundamentally different kinds of things exist. These are, 1) some kind of mind, and 2) ideas which may be in (or held by, or thought of, or dreamed up by, or considered by, or imagined by) that mind.

I think that fields and waves and probabilities and numbers are all examples of ideas that exist in that mind.

I think ideas are just as real as mind; they are just two completely different kinds of things. Furthermore, they are co-dependent; you can't have one without the other. Sort of like yin and yang.

Warm regards,

Paul

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