Eliminative Materialism - The fake universe.

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by TimeTraveler, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. TimeTraveler Immortalist Registered Senior Member

    Eliminative Materialism has some core beliefs. The main belief is that the universe is made of matter/mass.

    A believer in Eliminative Materialism, would see the world as objects. The mind therefore does not exist at all. Thoughts do not exist at all. There is no soul. The entire universe is made up of objects.

    Now, it's not that the science is wrong. Eliminative materialism is just a way to interpret the science, and it's a language. Neuro-scientists can speak in the materialist language, or the spiritualist language, depending on who they are speaking to. If you are an athiest, of course the mind is not real, and of course there is no soul, everything is objects, and there is no difference between objects because they are all made up of the same particles. That means there is no difference between a human body, and a bag of sand. There are no "thoughts", and there is no difference between a man and a machine if they both function in the same way. Materialism is simple really.

    Spiritualism is also simple, instead, if you are a spiritualist, you do believe that there is a difference between the animate human body, and the inanimate bag of sand. You do believe consciousness is real, and that there is a possibility of a soul, a God, or just that there is a "mind". So the difference here is that eliminative materialists follow a certain set of rules towards how they frame their theories, very much like spiritualists follow a set of certain rules towards how they frame theres, and both sets of theories might be explaining the exact same phenomena to two different groups of people.


    Now, the key difference is, Eliminative Materialists believe that consciousness is not real. My question to the Eliminative Materialists who are here, if consciousness is not real, what exactly is real? Because I interpret that to mean that the universe is fake. Fake meaning, an artificial bunch of objects, very much like a hologram, with no real existence or essence.
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  3. VitalOne Banned Banned

    Eliminating elimanative materialists - the Quantum double-slit experiment....
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  5. Prince_James Plutarch (Mickey's Dog) Registered Senior Member

    Move this to philosophy, moderators.


    A telephone rings. Why do you stand up and go get it?
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  7. glaucon tending tangentially Moderator

    P_J is of course correct; this thread should be moved.

    TimeTraveler, you've got at least one incorrect premiss, and one certain erroneously drawn conclusion.

    Firstly, it is incorrect to say that the position that the universe is made of matter is a core belief of EM.
    If anything can be said to be a 'core belief' of EM, it would be a belief in the verification principle. That being said, matter is a sufficiently verified concept that can and is made use of within the scope of the scientific method to such an extent that to discard it would be much less pragmatic than to not do so. It's not a question of belief in anything.

    Secondly, you draw the conclusion that, according to the EM position, it follows that consciousness is not real.
    This is simply not true, and moreover, it is an illicitly drawn conclusion.
    Contingent upon your definition of "conscious", there is nothing in the EM position that necessarily disallows consciousness.
    Take a look at David Armstrong. I did my undergrad thesis on his "A Materialist Theory of Mind".

    Regardless, even if one did take the position that consciousness cannot be real within an EM pov, how do you then move to conclude that this means that nothing else can be real? What's your working definition of real? Why are you assuming that 'real' is somehow inextricably linked to consciousness?

    Simply put, your interpretation that this then means that the universe is fake, is nothing but an incorrect interpretation.
  8. TimeTraveler Immortalist Registered Senior Member

    It says so in my articles, and eliminative materialists specifically have said the consciousness is not real.

    If consciousness is real how can you claim to be an eliminative materialist?
    It's like being an athiest yet believing in the concept of a soul. If there is a soul there can just as likely be a God and it ruins the entire arguement of an athiest to believe in a soul.

    The way I personally move to the "fake universe", is based no the theories of eliminative materialism, if you keep following to it's conclusion, once you pass the point in which consciousness is not real, nothing is real. I mean what can be real outside of reality itself? It's a paradox. I don't think most eliminative materialists worship matter, or see matter as being the universe itself, but I could be wrong.

    All I'm saying is that if I follow the theory in my mind it breaks down at the point of consciousness not being real. In my opinion nothing can be defined as "real", if consciousness itself is not more/most "real." You cannot say that fire is real simply because it's hot. You cannot say that the sun is real simply because it's big and hot, because these are all measured by consciousness.

    What can something that is unconscious measure to determine it as reall? To a robot, nothing is real, everything is predetermined, and equally fake. How can a robot even have a concept of real if it's a robot and it knows it's not real itself?
  9. glaucon tending tangentially Moderator

    Ad Verecundiam fallacy.

    Which is to say: improper appeal to authority.

    Regardless, I did not say that all EM thinkers support the concept of consciousness. There are indeed a number of strict EM people who do deny consciousness, but that doesn't mean they represent the entire position, as I've pointed out.

    Yep, the Churchland's are of the previously mentioned strict camp.

    Because there's no contradiction in that position.


    Not at all. I have no idea what kind of logic you're using there, but it's not sound.
    An atheist can believe in the soul; souls and god are not necessarily linked.

    As I've pointed out, you cannot necessarily deduce irreality from the EM position. And again, what's with your insistence that reality overall is somehow linked to consciousness????

    But that's your problem, not a problem of the EM position.

    Of course you can.

    You seem to be arguing that 'real' is contingent upon some sort of reflexive sensibility.
    That's just silly.
    "Real" is defined not by an ability to perceive things, but moreso just the opposite.

    Again, I must reiterate: if you want to make your position clear, and make sound arguments, you must define your terms.
  10. Mr. G reality.sys Valued Senior Member

    I object.

    Where's the bathroom?
  11. Prince_James Plutarch (Mickey's Dog) Registered Senior Member


    If you deny the means whereby we affirm "fire is hot", or "protons have a mass of x^-y", then you also deny the validity of said measurements. That is to say, if one is to claim we are not conscious, then all results of our consciousness must be discarded, including the very premise that we are not conscious.

    It behooves this type of materialist to coherently put forth how anything is deduced without consciousness.
  12. glaucon tending tangentially Moderator

    I don't understand your point P_J.

    As I said above, I do not deny that we are conscious.
    Nor do all EM thinkers, again, as I said above.

    Nevertheless, just for fun I'll say this much:

    I fail to see how a result of our purported consciousness is necessarily related to that consciousness. This brings up a classic line of thought: "Fire is hot", for example, can quite validly be concluded by means of a process that does not in any way involve consciousness: a thermometer.

    In any case, to be clear: I am not a member of that group of EM thinkers who deny consciousness (of course, this is contingent upon the definition thereof that one is making use of...).
  13. Prince_James Plutarch (Mickey's Dog) Registered Senior Member


    Yes, I was just writing against this point of some EMs. The "radical ones", at the very least.

    Put one hand in hot water, one hand in cold water, and have a bowl of tepid water between them. Let one hand heat up, the other cool down, and then put your hand in the tepid water.

    What do you feel? (I think Berkley was the one who first purposed this.)

    Thermometres tell us certain data on heat, clearly. It tells us what degree in a system of measurement we have determined what it is. But in order to read this, do not we have to be conscious? For surely, the thermometre says nothing to a rock? Or the semantic content of the measurement system surely is beyond anything but a conscious being, educated in science, to understand?

    I didn't mean to imply such if I did!

    Also: Sorrya bout the three day late response. I was banned.
  14. glaucon tending tangentially Moderator


    I was wondering what had happened.....
    Now that I know, I can only imagine you're directing a fair amount of time towards the fight against oppression.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    In any case.....

    I simply cannot agree with those 'radicals' simply because the logic doesn't necessarily rule out a consciousness.

    I do remember this Berklian thought-experiment, though for the life of me I can't recall what the point was. Again, all I can say is that our sensations are clearly explained without recourse to any non-material entity. Nevertheless, this doesn't rule one out.

    The thermometer of course says nothing to a rock, just as it says nothing to a human observer. It is a component of a human-designed system that, within that context, is made, by us, to give meaning.

    We could just as easily change our temperature measurement system tomorrow thusly: the new scale is measured in units called pickles, where the entire range from 0 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit is now mapped to 6 to 240 pickles.
    Now, the key thing to notice here is that this re-mapping does nothing to change the nature of heat. It is only our granting of meaning that can vary.

    So, that being said, I do believe that it is a semantical issue. Which is why I maintained in the first place, that the question as a whole is moot; we can never determine the 'true nature' (sic) of anything.

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