Tuesday, August 19, 2003

A good day for me as far as the blog is concerned is when I have 15 visitors and a couple of them spend at least 15 minutes on the site, meaning they've read the blog and not a post. According to the not very reliable Sitemeter, today was a good day.

According to Google.de the phrase "Intellectual Bloodsport" brings me in at #19, two behind a review in The Weekly Standard(!?) of a philosophical memoir by Colin McGinn. From what I've read of McGinn I think he labors under at least one major misunderstanding, and I have some sympathy with the reviewer even though he is laboring under a few of his own.
Anyway, as any repeat reader here knows, in my opinion two lawyers in a courtroom are engaging in as much mental warfare as two academic philosophers, with the additional considerations that the stakes are higher and that the system is imperfect. I hesitate to say that it is 'corrupt' though by its nature the system allows a level of corruption. How can it not without becoming both a machine and a moral failure? Anthropologists would refer to this sort of design as a 'dynamic structure,' one that maintains integrity under stress, not be sheer force but flexibility, which as it happens both analytic philosophy and religious ideology disdain.

"The specific problem that engenders in McGinn a sense of the limitations of philosophy is consciousness. Having spent a good deal of time scrutinizing various philosophical accounts of consciousness, McGinn is impressed with Thomas Nagel's famous argument, in his book "The View from Nowhere," against the reduction of consciousness to brain states. Nagel probes the question "what is it like to be a bat?" and argues that, although we can analyze the nature and functioning of the bat brain, we cannot know what it is like to have the conscious experience that bats have.
Now--and this is a nicely observed philosophical point--if we can know (by careful medical and scientific investigation) how a bat's brain functions, and yet at the same time not know what that bat's conscious experience is like, then the brain and consciousness cannot be identical."

Bullshit... It only means we cannot replicate the complexity of experience, which includes things -emotions, fears, desires, not to mention the complexity of sense perception itself(!)- that can not be easily quantified.
As I've said before, we can not predict the result of a combination shot on a pool table beyond the 4th or fifth impact, the process becomes too complex.
At what point exactly does an Eight Ball take on metaphysical properties?

Pardon me, I'm a bit drunk. It's been a good day,
for a few reasons.

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