Sunday, 26 June 2016

Reincarnation, Ian Stevenson and Robert Todd Carroll

There's an entry on Ian Stevenson in the Skeptic's dictionary.  The author of the dictionary, Robert Todd Carroll, says this about Ian Stevenson:

Philosophically, Stevenson was a naive dualist. He believed that bodies and souls have separate evolutions and existences, and he seemed not to be concerned or aware of the philosophical problems that ensue from such claims about mind and body.

I emailed  Robert Todd Carroll before regarding his comment above.  I said:

The problems are only puzzles, they are not the conceptual problems which face any type of materialist metaphysic. The point being that materialism faces far more formidable problems than dualism (although depends on the type of dualism, I have no idea what "naive dualism" is. I have never heard of it).

He emailed me back saying:

[T]o be of interest to others (my reason for posting emails) you need to specify the conceptual problems that face any type of materialist metaphysics and how these are more formidable than the conceptual problems of dualism.

I responded:

Bob do you have any qualifications in philosophy? If so you really ought to be aware of them already!
I wonder why it is OK for you to make absurd unsubstantiated assertions, where as it is not OK for me to make assertions which anyone with sufficient philosophical background would already realise?

Are we talking here about the type of materialism inaugurated with the mechanistic philosophy at the birth of modern science in the 17th Century? This philosophy abstracted the qualitative from the material/physical realm. Hence from this time onwards physical/material reality has been considered to be wholly quantitative and is entirely absent any qualitative elements. These were pushed back into the mind. Even colours and sounds were placed into the mind (hence the current preposterous belief that colours and sounds don’t actually exist out there). The upshot of all this was that the mechanistic philosophy *forced* dualism onto us. If consciousness exists, but the material/physical world is devoid of any qualitative elements, it follows that materialism is *necessarily* false.

Now why don’t you be a good chap and mention any problems that dualism might have?

OK perhaps a bit rude of me!  But his response irritated me.  He never responded to me again.  I go into more detail in my other blog regarding what I said above.  Go here and here.



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