Thomas Nagel argued that his reason could not have been the result of blind Darwinian evolution. He said:While I am entirely sympathetic to and willing to entertain the position that consciousness is a fundamental entity, even without physical instantiation, and that we are indeed angelic beings inserted into the meat, I think that Nagel has failed to prove such a position, and has in fact tripped over his own feet in an attempt to do so. Point to DeLong.
I responded that he knew nothing of the kind:
- My reason tells me that I know the sun rises in the east.
- My reason tells me that I know that if I am facing north then east is on my right.
- Therefore my reason tells me that, if I see the sun rising on my right, I know I am facing north.
- And my reason tells me that I know that if I see the sun rising on my right I know I am facing north.
- Et cetera…
- This kind of transcendent access to truths of objective reality is not something that a jumped-up monkey with Darwinian heuristics can have.
- Therefore I am more than a jumped-up monkey with Darwinian heuristics: I am angelic reasoning being with direct unmediated access to objective reality.
His Darwinian heuristics had made a Humean guess that because the sun had risen in the east every single previous day and because facing north had placed east on his right every single previous day that the same held true today. I pointed out that this might be wrong--that he did not know that because the sun was on his right he was facing north, and did not know that he knew that he was facing north, and did not know that he knew that he knew he was facing north, but that he was just guessing.
And, to underscore this, I pointed out that I had once seen the sun rise due south, in which case if I had put the sun on my right I would have been facing not north but east. (I did not point out--but could have--that the claim that if you are facing north east is on your right fails at the South Pole: at the South Pole east is not on your right, north is on your right.)
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Brad DeLong Begs to Differ with Thomas Nagel
By the rising of the sun, DeLong refutes Nagel's proposition that the human mind has privileged access to objective reality, that consciousness is not the product of evolution in a physical context, and that Nagel knows what the hell he's trying to prove. The discussion continues here. DeLong, not content to disabuse false-thinking economists, has embarked on correcting false-thinking philosophers: