RE: MD Mysticism and the appearance/reality distinction

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Sun Apr 06 2003 - 01:33:39 BST

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    Scott, Matt and all:

    Scott said:
    I accuse(Rorty)of espousing Darwinism and the mind-brain identity
    These are hallmarks of materialism, and non-materialists deny them. Since
    there is no convincing scientific evidence for either, and reasons to doubt
    both (and reasons to affirm both), why is this espousal not metaphysical?
    ...............................................That is, Rorty assumes that
    thorough knowledge of neural activity will show that our mental vocabulary
    is replacable by a physical vocabulary. This is a metaphysical assumption.

    DMB says:
    Well said. I was very impressed with Rorty's tale of the hypothetical
    Antipodeans, so much that I now plan to write a children's book based on it.
    Just kidding.

    I'm pretty much with Scott on this. Matt seems to think the slogans of
    pragmatism can save Rorty from having metaphysical assumptions, as if they
    were magic words that granted immunity. Scott seems to be saying he detects
    these assumptions whether Rorty wants to acknowledge it or not. This kind of
    circularity, exhibiting the assumptions even as you deny them, is just one
    example of what Wilber calls a "preformative contradiction". Extreme
    postmodern positions are loaded with 'em. Like a parrot who is correct to
    say hello when one enters the room, Platt is correct to point out at least
    one of these preformative contradictions - repeatedly. (Yes Matt, I mean you
    and Rorty.) Anyway, I smell the materialistic assumptions too. It seems to
    creep into most of what Rorty says, especially in terms of what's been
    posted here. The mind-brain identity language strikes me as not just
    materialism, but pretty hard-core reductionist materialism. And this view is
    not unrelated to the amorality and nihilism I've detected in other areas of
    Rorty's thinking. Its all this kind of stuff that makes me think Rorty's
    take is SO at odds with the MOQ's mysticism. I'm not even surprized to hear
    that Rorty thinks nothing is lost when "wonder" becomes merely "G-14
    quivers". At least he's consistent. I'm not saying he's a bad guy, but it
    all seems like dinner without food. Its a warm, flat coke. Its full of
    emptiness. And I don't mean that in a good way, in the Zen way. I think its
    the kind of thing that the MOQ was born to kill.


    P.S. Its all about me.

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