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Author Topic:   Materialism
PaulK
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Message 16 of 114 (738176)
10-05-2014 5:24 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by nwr
10-05-2014 5:14 PM


"Materialism" etc. is really about what concrete objects are "made of". Mathematics is about abstracta, so it doesn't really pose a challenge in itself.
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Dr Adequate
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Message 17 of 114 (738180)
10-05-2014 6:59 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Faith
10-05-2014 1:38 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
ABE: Perhaps the problem starts to get stickier, or more relevant to your concerns in the OP, if you include the soul or spirit, ghosts, angels, demons, "spiritual beings," God Himself, and that sort of thing, which materialists are not obliged to believe in at all because they can't find evidence for them.

Quite. Part of the problem is: if we found ghosts, what's to stop us from announcing that they're made of a new form of matter which we've just discovered and which we'll call "ghostium"? Now, you may say that that would be silly, but unless we can find a definition for matter that would exclude whatever-it-is-that-ghosts-would-be-made-of-if-there-were-ghosts, then it's not so silly that people couldn't do it.


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Faith
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From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 18 of 114 (738183)
10-05-2014 7:06 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by Dr Adequate
10-05-2014 6:59 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
Although I've encountered people who claim that some of the spirits do have a degree of materiality or physicality, the usual idea is that they are "made of" the same thing mind is made of. (PaulK's definition that materialism is about what things are made of is really most to the point here.) So would you say the same about mind -- consciousness, ideas, thoughts, feelings etc? That it must be made of "mindium" or something like that?

ABE: Yes I know the question is silly, but I'm sure you acknowledge the reality of mind despite its nonmateriality. Christians would extend this to the soul or spirit of a human being and from there to disembodied human spirits or ghosts, and to other spiritual entities like angels and demons.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


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nwr
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Message 19 of 114 (738184)
10-05-2014 7:10 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by PaulK
10-05-2014 5:24 PM


"Materialism" etc. is really about what concrete objects are "made of".

Material objects are made of material?

That seems like an obvious truism. You don't need materialism for that.


Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

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Faith
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Posts: 26449
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
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Message 20 of 114 (738185)
10-05-2014 7:19 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by Dr Adequate
10-05-2014 6:59 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
OK, here's another question. If you simply decide that ghosts are made of ghostium, that's imputing a material nature to them isn't it, and in that case, wouldn't you expect science to be able to detect it and do things with it, since that's what science does? Merely naming it is rather a cop-out if you are talking about science. At the very least science would want to collect some to put under a microscope or into a test tube.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : change of to OK


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NoNukes
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From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 21 of 114 (738191)
10-05-2014 9:41 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by Faith
10-05-2014 7:19 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
OK, here's another question. If you simply decide that ghosts are made of ghostium, that's imputing a material nature to them isn't it, and in that case, wouldn't you expect science to be able to detect it and do things with it, since that's what science does

Just deciding and imputing does not make it so. Actually detecting using scientific means would of course demonstrate materiality.

At the very least science would want to collect some to put under a microscope or into a test tube.

Assuming such a thing is even possible, yes. But simply deciding to make the attempt does not demonstrate anything. Perhaps that's actually your point.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him. Galileo Galilei

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


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Faith
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Posts: 26449
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 22 of 114 (738192)
10-05-2014 11:27 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by NoNukes
10-05-2014 9:41 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
Dr. A's point was that if a ghost was "detected" it would be regarded as material and given a name like ghostium, so it would then be regarded as among the things science studies, and his point was of course that he doesn't think there is anything nonmaterial or outside the realm of things science can study.

The point about the Mind-Body Problem is that there are real things that are not material, and Mind is the category opposing Body or Matter in the problem. Who denies that mind is real and yet not material? Yet mind can't be known directly, certainly not by the materialist methods of science.

Maybe it's best not to put mind in a category with spiritual beings, ghosts and angels etc., because although people will readily acknowledge that mind is real they won't so readily agree that spiritual beings are real. We have evidence for mind or consciousness, because we can see the effects of mind in people's behavior, even in the behavior of most animals when it comes to that; but disembodied spiritual entities would have to be detected directly, and that doesn't happen except under very exceptional conditions to very few people, and materialists won't even allow that those things really happen at all, being all from Missouri and having a profound distrust in the honesty of their fellow man.

I think it's kind of interesting that the only categories of things that aren't material are mental or spiritual things, qualities or activities of living things, or the contents of mind such as concepts, ideas etc., and other qualities of mentality such as feelings and motivation etc. Could there even be a category of nonmental nonsentient things in the universe that are also nonmaterial?

I guess the problem could be confined to the Mind-Body level, but I think it only really gets interesting when you try to make the case for disembodied spiritual beings.

Or here's one to consider. Materialists don't normally believe in Karma but if it's real it certainly implies that we live in a spiritual universe. "What goes around comes around" is a pretty simplified version of Karma and there do seem to be many people who would say they've experienced this, usually in the form of negative experiences following on their own behavior they recognize as unjust. Or they'll say "The Universe is trying to tell me something" and that sort of thing. As a Christian I regard the concept as an imprecise human experience of the Law of God as found in the Bible. When I first believed in God, not Jesus Christ yet, but God as more or less conceived through Hindu ideas of God, I thought of Him as Universal Mind, that the entire material universe exists within this Mind, even as a sort of Spiritual Soup. Such a Universal Mind would of course be undetectable to science because nonmaterial. You only know of it by interacting with it. God has become a Person to me since then but He is still all-pervasive, everywhere at once. You'll never detect Him by materialist means because He is Spirit, though He brings about events in the material universe.

Sorry, I wandered quite a bit there and didn't even end up making a point, did I?

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 15962
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 5.0


(1)
Message 23 of 114 (738193)
10-05-2014 11:58 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by Faith
10-05-2014 7:06 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
Although I've encountered people who claim that some of the spirits do have a degree of materiality or physicality, the usual idea is that they are "made of" the same thing mind is made of.

Well, if you can see ghosts they must reflect light. This suggests that they're ... stuff. I mean, assuming they exist and have the properties usually ascribed to them.

So would you say the same about mind -- consciousness, ideas, thoughts, feelings etc? That it must be made of "mindium" or something like that?

I would say that they have a material substrate, namely the brain.


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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 15962
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 5.0


Message 24 of 114 (738194)
10-06-2014 12:05 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Faith
10-05-2014 11:27 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
I think it's kind of interesting that the only categories of things that aren't material are mental or spiritual things, qualities or activities of living things, or the contents of mind such as concepts, ideas etc., and other qualities of mentality such as feelings and motivation etc. Could there even be a category of nonmental nonsentient things in the universe that are also nonmaterial

How about the velocity of an object? It has a material substrate, namely the object, but is not itself material.


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Faith
Member
Posts: 26449
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 25 of 114 (738195)
10-06-2014 12:08 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by Dr Adequate
10-05-2014 11:58 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
Yes ghosts would have to have some materiality if you can actually see them but all the testimonies are that only some can see them sometimes, that they can "manifest" and aren't always visible. This is even more descriptive of angels and demons. Since they are conscious beings with a will to avoid detection in most cases, there's a lot going against making them the objects of scientific study.

But to reduce mind and its contents to the brain is cheating. The question has to do with those things in themselves, not the brain activity that is assumed to be their cause and from which you could never figure out their contents.


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Faith
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Posts: 26449
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 26 of 114 (738196)
10-06-2014 12:09 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by Dr Adequate
10-06-2014 12:05 AM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
OK velocity makes an interesting example. There must be others. However, to be accurate, velocity isn't a "thing."

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


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Faith
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Posts: 26449
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 27 of 114 (738197)
10-06-2014 12:20 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by Dr Adequate
10-05-2014 11:58 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
About seeing ghosts, first of all just to be clear I don't believe in ghosts because I believe that human beings don't stay on earth after death, but demons can impersonate people and that's what I think those apparitions are. Second, there is thought to be a capacity some people have for seeing into the spiritual realms, that others don't have or don't have as well developed, so that what is seen doesn't have to have materiality to be seen, but their being seeable is a function of the capacity of the seer. In Hinduism this is called "the third eye" which is located in the forehead and can be opened under certain circumstances, and from what I've read about it I'd rather not have that ability. (ABE: That's because we're fallen, we've lost the original connection Adam had with God and the only spiritual realms we can see in our natural state are those that belong to the demons. Even being regenerated in Christ, which reverses the Fall, doesn't change many things in our fallen nature, which will only be corrected after our death. /ABE)

So there's a lot to this nonmaterial world of things, but of course if you can't detect it yourself, since our physical senses can't detect it, and the material methods of science can't detect it, it's easy not to believe it exists at all.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


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PaulK
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Posts: 13228
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 28 of 114 (738198)
10-06-2014 1:02 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by nwr
10-05-2014 7:10 PM


quote:

Material objects are made of material?

That isn't what I said. I said that according to materialism, concrete objects are made of "matter".


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NoNukes
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Posts: 9998
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 29 of 114 (738207)
10-06-2014 11:11 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Faith
10-05-2014 11:27 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
but disembodied spiritual entities would have to be detected directly, and that doesn't happen except under very exceptional conditions to very few people, and materialists won't even allow that those things really happen at all, being all from Missouri and having a profound distrust in the honesty of their fellow man.

The only thing I take issue with here is the implication related to honesty. Even an honest person can mis-classify, or be subject to illusion and delusion.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him. Galileo Galilei

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


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Replies to this message:
 Message 32 by Faith, posted 10-06-2014 12:55 PM NoNukes has responded

    
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 9998
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 30 of 114 (738208)
10-06-2014 11:32 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by Dr Adequate
10-05-2014 11:58 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
Well, if you can see ghosts they must reflect light. This suggests that they're ... stuff. I mean, assuming they exist and have the properties usually ascribed to them.

I think your imagination is failing you here. Do we see the sun only because it reflects light? Perhaps ghosts emit light.

You can touch your closed eyelids and generate sensations of color, yet no light is involved. There may be other ways to produce light sensations without using lights. Maybe ghosts do that.

Ghosts might be capable of manipulating objects, but in ways that are completely foreign to the forces we are familiar with, and in ways that no other objects can. In my view it is not a given that we would ever redefine 'material' to include such things.

When we talk about materialism and matter (which I presume to include energy despite some comments I see here) there is assumption that we know all of the forms of matter and energy and that we have identified things that are not real like ghosts and rules in the universe like karama. We are willing to expand the known when we learn things that are close analogues or are predictable from what we know. But we'd be hard pressed to admit spirits in as long as the evidence for them is of extremely poor quality.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him. Galileo Galilei

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


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