death of the mind.
Eray Ozkural exa
erayo at bilkent.edu.tr
Sat Jul 24 09:38:22 EST 2004
David Longley <David at longley.demon.co.uk> wrote in message news:<0ZAWJDBGahABFwpl at longley.demon.co.uk>...
> In article <fa69ae35.0407231857.334fa4b2 at posting.google.com>, Eray
> Ozkural exa <erayo at bilkent.edu.tr> writes
> >Agreed. By "metaphysical materialism" he might mean something else.
> >DM does not dogmatically assert that things unprovable do not exist.
> >We can discuss it; it's an interesting thought. If something is not
> >provable, does it exist?
> Materialism is not the issue, the issue is extensionalism.
For me, materialism is the issue, because I am a materialist.
> If you don't accept that 'to be' (exist) is to be the value of a
> variable (Quine), what use can be made of (talking about or referring
> to) an entity? What point is there to having entities within a
> scientific ontology which have no identity? Surely the whole point of
> science is to discover useful functional relations between such values?
My approach to existence is that it will continue to deceive us. The
logicist definition you cite above is somewhat artificial in my
opinion. I think that logical propositions exist primarily in minds:
an electron is not the value of a logical variable, in my opinion.
However, the form (in terms of quantum properties) of an electron may
indeed be defined to be the value of a logical proposition (such as a
solution to Dirac's equation, etc.) I am not saying that Quine did not
have a point. Physical descriptions model particles with variables,
and individual particles have identity by virtue of their particular
values (such as position).
However, they are merely models. A model is a mental construct, it is
a simulacra of existence, not existence itself. Physical existence may
be something altogether different; we do not know at the moment. We do
not even know if space-time is continuous or discrete.
As a matter of fact, Quine's definition seems to me dualist. If an
electron is the value of a variable, where is the variable? The
simpler definition is that an electron has independent existence. This
is the view that Godel tried to dissuade us from taking seriously,
because it nullifies the idea of God.
In other words, I think Quine's definition is just that: a definition.
Like the mind, existence does not like to be defined. It wants to be
discovered, experimented with, thought about.
In my opinion the best methodology to approach existence is the
physical. I can believe things that physicists say, but I will have
difficulty believing in what a philosopher, especially of the logicist
variety, will have to say about existence.
One thing is certain, however. The mind is part of physics. It is
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