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Friday, May 08, 2009

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Bill -
Your conservative conclusion that "(GS) fails to nail down an adequate concept of determination," is on the mark, and no less devestating for being conservative. Who needs "radical criticism" when careful, measured criticism does the job so effectively?

The question that presses immediately (on me) is, "Is the inadequacy of the concept of determination here noted a consequence of the inadequacy of the concept of physicality being relied upon?" If so, are there ways our understanding of the physical might be transformed to yield a concept of determination more adequate to the task of accounting for embodied minds? Perhaps there is no way to "fix" our notion of the physical to accomodate the obvious fact of mental phenomena. But I think it's too early in the game to draw that conclusion. I expect the truth about such perplexing issues will be a surprise to all of us.

Bill,

Very interesting post. Oddly though, I think what stands out most to me is your observation about the physicalist who, on the one hand, wants to avoid reductionism or elimination, while also wanting to avoid "emergence, epiphenomenalism, or substance dualism".

Along the lines of what Bob said, I - admittedly, as an amateur - sometimes wonder if "physicalism" is more smoke than substance. And by that I mean, if Kim (and you) are right, sometimes what's offered as physicalism, isn't.

Very instructive. Thank you, Bill.

Could I ask you for your related paper “Could a Classical Theist Be a Physicalist?”, Faith and Philosophy 15, 1998, pp. 160-180? Czech libraries are poor.

Vlastimil,

I am going to have to buy a scanner if I can't find an electronic vetrsion of that paper. Let me look, and thanks for asking.

Bill,

Thank YOU. If you have a digital camera, you don't need a scanner. You can also convert the photos to one PDF file (by Acrobat Professional). (Again, that is not necessary. Anyway, the disadvantage, in comparison with scanners, is that the files are bigger and that one needs more dye for their printing.)

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