Friday, September 23, 2005

Ave, Malcolm!

A new addition to my blogroll (no image yet, but a link is on my sidebar) to Waka Waka Waka, the blog of one Malcolm Pollack, who shares my anti-dualistic proclivities. Pollack's blog is currently Vallicella-obsessed, but through no fault of Pollack's: Dr. Vallicella is once again beating the drum of substance dualism, and some of us with a naturalistic bent have responded by mounting our own little counterattack (well, perhaps Malcolm would describe the situation less dramatically).

"Waka-waka-waka" is, as you know, the war cry of Fozzie Bear. It's a fantastic title because it lowers your expectations about the blog's content. After smiling at the Fozzie image, you'll find yourself shocked by posts with titles like, "Are Qualia Epiphenomenalia?" and "Intelligent Design."

My own recent rantings on Dr. Vallicella's fine blog can be found here and here and here.

So far, the substance dualists posting their support of Dr. Vallicella's arguments are taking the anticipated tack: (1) casting doubt on the status of artificial consciousness (and thereby implying that ignorance about the nature of mind is crucial for preserving their point of view) and (2) arguing for the radically subjective nature of qualia, which has the embarrassing side effect of nullifying all arguments from qualia, since I can confirm the existence of no qualia other than my own.

I'm increasingly convinced that substance dualism is little more than a solipsistic fantasy. The fact that the dualist holds mind to be immaterial-- and therefore immune to scientific proof or disproof-- is disappointing but not unexpected: human beings like their hocus-pocus and will go to great lengths to preserve it.


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