Posts tagged ‘materialism’

November 15th, 2013

William Hasker’s Emergent Dualism

by Max Andrews

William Hasker is an open theist and has focused his research in two major areas: omniscience and the mind-body problem.  In this post I’m only going to focus on the latter.  Whatever theory we adopt about mind and body, and their interaction, there is still mystery (whether it be physical, immaterial, or a combination of the sort). The issue of one of transcendence:  how can an embodied being such as humans, transcend their physicality and have mind-like awareness of oneself (when the body is not a mind)?  Hasker says it is not enough to choose theory M (say, materialism) over D (say, dualism) simply by showing that dualism has seemingly insurmountable problems. One should take the speck out of one’s eye first:  one must examine objections to M, too, for these may be even more severe than those against D.  A healthy reminder that having reasons against ~p is not the same as having reasons in favor of p. 

May 20th, 2013

Q&A 23: Heaven, Paradise, and Resurrection

by Max Andrews

Question:

Hi Max!

I’m in your philosophy class. I have been trying to process what we talked about in class today and I am stuck on something you said. You mentioned briefly that you do not believe there is a Heaven and Hell yet and that we all go to Paradise until God makes the new heaven and new earth. So under your view point do non-Christians go to paradise until they are judged? Where are you basing this off in the Bible? What exactly is Hell then and where are Satan and his demons now? What about those who have already died who are not Christians? I have never heard this concept before and I’d love to hear your expanded version.

The whole idea of paradise is very interesting. I grew up thinking when we die we go to heaven then the Lord creates a new heaven and new earth where we actually live forever. But paradise..as kind of a waiting place is interesting. The point I am stuck on is when you said that believer and unbeliever go to paradise.

My first thought was in Numbers 16 when Korah rebelled. How the Lord opened up the Earth and it says they fell into Sheol. They were taken down to Sheol with their family (realm of the dead as NIV says it). In your view is that a place where demons and Satan reside and not unbelievers and that was just a special case?

Also, when Jesus was on the cross, why did he only turn to the one criminal and say that you will join me in paradise if both non-believer and believer go there? It would make sense for him to say that to the one criminal only if he was going to paradise and the other one wasn’t.

But then what exactly is paradise if both non-believer and believer are there? Wouldn’t it confuse non-believers because then they think that they are actually in heaven and that they won’t be going to hell? The passages I have found that mention paradise are very vague especially Paul’s little side note about 3rd heaven). Revelation 20:11-15 also talks about “and Hades gave up the dead that were in them….” The context of this passage talks about the judgment of the dead but how do you see this passage in light of your view on their being no Hell currently?

Thanks,

Becky A.

March 4th, 2013

Q&A 13: Materialism and the Philosophy of Mind

by Max Andrews

Question:

I often here materialists argue that minds are the products of brains. I also have heard some argue that minds are non physical. However, I was recently approached with a challenge to materialism on YouTube (specifically this video by a user named OntoLogistics youtube.com/watch?v=sIr22Puh1Wk) where he argued a transcendent mind and argued that materialism is faith based and is based on minimal evidence. I have never heard any clear objections to materialism however a few questions (I am not materialist myself by the way):
1. Is mind Non Physical?
2. Does the mind transcend the brain?
3. Is materialism verifiable/valid?
4. Does the soul exist?
5. your thoughts on mind/body dualism
Sam

Answer:

Sam,

Thanks for sending me your question and the material you’ve included. Before I respond to the arguments presented by OntoLogistics I’ll give you a brief response to your five questions and then I’ll elaborate on them.

  1. Is the mind non-physical? -Yes
  2. Does the mind transcend the brain? -Yes
  3. Is materialism verifiable/valid? -Maybe
  4. Does the soul exist? -Yes
  5. [My] thoughts on mind/body dualism: I consider myself to be a Cartesian dualist.
    read more »

January 11th, 2013

Neuroscience and Dualism

by Max Andrews

JP MorelandJP Moreland attempts[1], successfully in my opinion, to argue for a metaphysical dualism for personhood. In light of recent advances in neuroscience Moreland does not want to compromise and retreat to a emergent or physicalist metaphysics for personhood. Moreland’s goal is that 1) substance dualism is widely acknowledged to be the common sense positions based on first-person introspection, and 2) the task of arguing for or against dualism, so grounded, is a philosophical one, and 3) neuroscientific research must rely on first-person introspective reports (845).

I think it may have been more beneficial had Moreland offered more critiques on different positions rather than a purely physical or dualistic approach. I appreciated and thought he did well in offering not just a negative cause against physicalism but a positive case in favor of his position—substance dualism.

June 22nd, 2012

Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False

by Max Andrews

This is the subtitle to a new book, Mind and Cosmos, by Thomas Nagel with Oxford University Press.  Nagel is a materialist, not a theist or creationist.  You’ve probably heard of his famous 1974 paper, “What is it Like to be a Bat?” Many atheist philosophers are starting to doubt the Darwinian paradigm.  For instance, atheist philosopher of science Bradley Monton has written extensively on intelligent design while promoting it as an atheist.  Here’s the description of the new book given by Oxford University Press:

The modern materialist approach to life has utterly failed to explain such central features of our world as consciousness, intentionality, meaning, or value. This failure to account for something so integral to nature as mind, argues philosopher Thomas Nagel, is a major problem, threatening to unravel the entire naturalistic world picture, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology.

In Mind and Cosmos, Nagel provides an insightful analysis of the Darwinian world view, offering a perspective quite different from that found in such books as Richard Dawkins’ The Blind Watchmaker. What we know about how mind and everything connected with it depends today on our ideas about the origin and spread of living organisms as a result of the universe’s evolution. But Nagel states that “it is prima facie highly implausible that life as we know it is the result of a sequence of physical accidents together with the mechanism of natural selection.” What is the likelihood that self-reproducing life forms should have come into existence spontaneously?  What is the likelihood that, as a result of physical accident, a sequence of viable genetic mutations should have occurred that was sufficient to permit natural selection? Nagel’s skepticism is not based on religious belief or on a belief in any definite alternative.  He does suggest that if the materialist account is wrong, then principles of a different kind may also be at work in the history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form teleological rather than mechanistic.

January 26th, 2012

Theology Thursday: William Hasker

by Max Andrews

Theology Thursday is a new feature on the blog, which gives a brief introduction to a theological person of significance.

Theologian: William Hasker (Contemporary)

General summary of his theology: Hasker is an open theist and has focused his research in two major areas: omniscience and the mind-body problem.  In this post I’m only going to focus on the latter.  Whatever theory we adopt about mind and body, and their interaction, there is still mystery (whether it be physical, immaterial, or a combination of the sort). The issue of one of transcendence:  how can an embodied being such as humans, transcend their physicality and have mind-like awareness of oneself (when the body is not a mind)?  Hasker says it is not enough to choose theory M (say, materialism) over D (say, dualism) simply by showing that dualism has seemingly insurmountable problems. One should take the speck out of one’s eye first:  one must examine objections to M, too, for these may be even more severe than those against D.  A healthy reminder that having reasons against ~p is not the same as having reasons in favor of p.  [Epistemic principle here:  just because P and Q are logically not co-possible; and you have (non-decisive) evidence against P; it doesn’t follow that you have (decisive, or even non-decisive, perhaps) evidence for Q (cf. Islam and Buddhism, say)].