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On The Warrior Prophet posted 28 June 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by TakLoufer, Candidate

I can't remember the specifics of the SI critiques, but on the basis of your description of the debate, I'll definitely keep the door open on psi. Given the success of the etiological picture of the world that science has sketched for us, and the tendentiousness that seems to invariably dog research into the paranormal, I have to say I'm pessemistic.

Despite over a century of investigations and gathered evidence (much of it strong) parapsychology is still largely seen as a collection of incompetents, kooks, crackpots, and outright frauds. Regrettably this (mis)conception is, to at least some extent, somewhat deserved. However, I suppose this is to be expected, given the nature of the field. The very fact that it is not commonly accepted into mainstream science makes it more vulnerable to snake oil salesmen, new age gurus, and scientists who are less than stalwart in their science. <!-- s:( --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_sad.gif" alt=":(" title="Sad" /><!-- s:( -->

OTOH, this doesn't discredit the field in and of itself . . . it just makes it that much harder to sift through the nonsense to find the quality research.

At the very least, the burden of proof lies with the psi realists. Backwards causality at the level of dried goods? Claims that big require exhaustive experimentation and review.

If you are referring to retrokinesis when you mention backwards causality, then I agree; unlike the ganzfeld, RK has not been replicated any number of times, as far as I know. RK may be a real phenomena; but that remains to be seen.

A couple quick questions regarding your idealism: 1) What do you make of the intentionality or aboutness of experience?

1) Well, I feel we almost certainly have intentionality and volition. The "aboutness" of conscious experience is, IMO, one of the most important characteristics of consciousness, next to the qualia itself. Searle puts forward good argument for the non-computability of semantics (and, by extension, intentionality) in his book Rediscovery of the Mind. Ironically, Searle's arguments against computable semantics and even syntax also work against his own theory of "biological naturalism" (David Ray Griffin explains this when he speaks of constitutive vs. correlative emergent phenomena). The "aboutness" (and syntax and semantics) of conscious thought has to come from something other than insentient matter.

The reason why I think we have volition is, for the most part, a personal one. Epiphenomenalism flys in the face of hard core common sense; not just the common sense of "the earth is flat" variety that can be easily conceived otherwise, but, as Whitehead put it, volition (along with consciousness itself) is:

"the metaphysical rule of evidence: that we must bow to those presumptions, which, in despite of criticism, we still employ for the regulation of our lives.”

No one can live their day to day life denying they have volition any more than they can live their lives denying they exist. Also, there is the (not logically water tight, admittingly) argument that if we had no volition, then all qualia and experience would be nothing but a vestigial organ, a useless appendage, a cruel side effect. This, I feel, is absurd. When I feel hungry, I get up, walk to the kitchen, and make myself a sandwich. If I had no volition, then me feeling hungry would serve absolutely no purpose. "I" (whatever that is) could experience the sensation of anything - the feeling of being full, of being on fire, whatever - and my deterministic physical body would still amble towards the kitchen to mechanically make a sandwich as sure as rocks roll downhill. Why should my experience correlate with what my body does (or at least what I experience my body doing) unless my experience and appearent volition has an effect?

Idealism makes sense of this by allowing consciousness, as the foundation of reality, the intentionality and volition that we experience in everyday life. Our brains (which, according to Lloyd's mental monism, are objects maintained in the meta-mind) contain neural correlates of at least some (and conceivably all), of our mental states. Brains are sort of like the mind/meta-mind interface in which we use when we interact in the "metaverse" where minds interact. I use the word "we" loosely, as I suspect that the concept of individuals goes away when the structure of the brain ceases. I may be wrong, of course.

2) Given that we all have perspectives, just what would you say our perspective is on?

2) Do you mean what our perspective is based on? Well, in a mental monistic metaphysic; the metamind. As to the nature of the metamind, who knows? I tend to think the metamind as a sort of Brahman-like godhead without/with attributes (and so does Peter B. Lloyd). Not so much an anthropomorphic being as just "The infinite". Personally, I tend to think that our perspectives originate from this. That's who's really looking back at us when we look in the mirror.

In other words, I'm not sure.

-Sorry for the length, I have a tendency to ramble.

-Tak view post


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