The Counsel of Trent

writing is thinking

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Someday, I'm going to do a short film based on this snippet.
-----
[Setting is two well-dressed if eccentric-looking individuals conversing in a coffee shop.]
"So what do you make of recent reports that hypersubjective quantum theory has just had its most dramatic experimental support to date with the detection of the so-called 'monads'?"
"Well, it just shows that the the march of scientific progress can't be broken as long as there are mysteries to be solved."
[A voice breaks in from off screen.] "Ha! Physicalism triumphs again!"
[Camera pans out to reveal two well-dressed if eccentric-looking individuals in a coffee shop watching a TV screen with an interview show on it.]"What's 'physicalism'?"
"It was a name that replaced 'materialism' in the early 20th Century, since even early versions of Quantum Theory pretty much trashed the concept of matter. So the idea switched from a focus on 'stuff' to a focus on the thesis that the world only contains 'physical' forces or particles. Physicalism is the thesis that the world only contains what physics says it contains."
"Hmmm. We talked about materialism in a History of Philosophy class I had, but I thought it had been refuted by quantum theories since they brought subjectivity into their physical theory and then eventually with hypersubjective quantum theory actually made conscious minds the basis of the whole theory."
"Right, but that's the whole point! Physics has triumphed!"
"Um, what?"
"Now there is no hope for dualisms, minds have been tamed by being made part of physics. This is the final triumph of physicalism: there's now no hope for any spooky entities outside of what physics says there is. Philosophers of the 20th Century knew this all along, it just took the physicists a while to catch up."
"But didn't dualists believe in minds all along?"
"Well, technically, but...well, for the wrong reasons. And there was no connection to physics."
"Why were their reasons 'wrong'? Why did they believe in minds?"
"They gave these specious arguments saying that non-physical entities were required to explain consciousness and free will and intentionality."
"But isn't offering explanations for data the 'scientific method'?"
"Well, yes, technically, but there was no connection with physics. It wasn't a part of physics at that time."
"What does that matter as long as they were right? It sounds to me more like physics has caught up with the so-called 'dualists'."
"I don't think that's a very scientific way to think about it, but I'm going to get some more latte."-----

This is based on an actual growing trend in how to "save" materialism.

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