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Horses Are Best Flogged In Philosophy

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Posted by Harvey on May 21, 2003 00:18:51 UTC


***H:"Your philosophy is way too restrictive and assumes materialism is the only philosophy that accommodates the evidence." K: Absolutely no to that, you are putting words in my mouth Harv. My philosophy (if you want to call it that) is the 'scientific method'. There have been many hypotheses put forth that are distinctly non-materialistic in terms of what they would say about the world if they were borne out to be true by experimentation. But they have not thus far been shown to be true by experimentation. However, there is no prior assumption on my part that these non-materialistic hypotheses are false.***

Good to hear, but a philosophy usually escapes both positive scientific evidence for it and negative scientific evidence against it. I haven't seen an argument as such, but I'm sure there's someone who has effectively pointed out the paradoxes of Zeno and how they are not solved with quantum mechanics. The point is that science is relatively ineffective at changing philosophy as much as one might think. For example, the debate between Newton and Leibniz on substantivalism and relativism is still on-going. Einstein may have thought he solved it with GTR, and then comes along quantum theory. The point is that science is often very helpful in defining a philosophical issue, but philosophy tends to be deeper than the issues that science can solve. I can't say its a fact, but I imagine that some form of dualism will always survive whatever is known of the consciousness investigations. That doesn't mean it won't be thought of in different terms (e.g., substantivialism means something today than it did to Newton), but it is clearly recognized as such. This is what I mean that we should reject any idea of a scientific ontology and that evidence, Occam's razor, etc, are not sufficient. Philosophical discussions are much more effective, unfortunately those arguments are always made that are able to resurrect the old discarded view even in these cases. Hence, I get to flog that horse again, I disagree with this statement to Duane: "Therefore I reject the supernatural, not because I assume it is non-existent a priori, but rather because I have no evidence of it. If I can obtain a scientifically satisfying, consistent theory of consciousness without invoking supernatural causation, then I can avoid the massive rearrangement of my entire scientific ontology that acceptance of the supernatural would entail". This statement because it gives the impression that there is a scientific ontology that revokes supernaturalism because there is no scientific evidence is incorrect since it is very unlikely that there is any kind of scientific evidence that would revoke supernaturalism in some forms. And, I'm not talking about this in a you-can't-absolutely-prove-it-so-there's-always-the-possibility-it-could-still-exist form either.

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