H: religion can never be compatible with the skepticism on
which...all epistemologically valid philosophy...is built.
No. I wrote the above statement before I later extended my definition of
'religion' to include (possibly neither faith-based nor mystical) "worship
of or reverence for some deity". So I now qualify the above as "faith-
or mysticism-based religion".
P: Are you saying that mere belief in God and the Bible is incompatible
with [the skepticism on which] 'epistemically valid' philosophy [is built]?
Or, are you merely making a tautology in that your definition
of 'religion' is immediately the opposite of [the skepticism on which]
'epistemically valid' philosophy [is built]?
Yes, it's tautologous -- as long as one agrees with me that skepticism
is incompatible with faith and mysticism.
most deep problems like [other minds] are not even meant to
be resolved directly as purely separate problems
I don't agree that problems are "meant" to be anything at all. True philosophical
problems aren't the creation of some intentional agent; they just are.
the solutions to all problems are, without exception, irreducibly
"All"? I strongly disagree.
if you look too hard at a problem to try to solve it, it is
like looking into the sun with naked eyes to see if you can figure out
what the sun is about. Brute-forcing your way through the problems
of thought is like attacking a hord of light infrantry with a humungus
sword and wearing heavy armor.
If the analogies you keep including are intended only for my benefit, then
you should probably dispense with them, as I've yet to find any of them
How can a person simply sit and think, staring at the blank
wall, and come up with knowledge, unless he had that knowledge implicity
from the start?
That a conclusion is reachable by a mind does not imply that the mind always
had "implicit" knowledge of it.
How has humankind, starting with the raw earth and a cave,
come up with all the things that you yourself know of today?
Through a lot of reflection about a lot of experience, especially as guided
by the scientific method and as disciplined by the marketplace of ideas.
The problem with this "Chinese room" experiment is that the
rules must have been originated by a person who could see.
The problem with your analysis is that you assume that a system (e.g. earth's
ecosystem before hominids) can never produce knowledge or intelligence
(e.g. H. sapiens') that was not already built into the system. This assumption
is now known to be mistaken.
In reality, the "Chinese room" experiment is nothing but a
simulation--like all simulations--which is being made to work by way of
the living intelligence that is behind it.
Does a simulation of music composition not produce real music? Does
a simulation of theorem-proving not produce real proofs?
The missing third ingredient is that "subjective" quality which
allows us to say "I think/feel/know/am. This is what I call 'ontological
agency' (implying a lot), more often known by its logical subordinate,
For my refutation of qualia, Jackson's knowledge argument, the Chinese
room, and zombies, see the section of my book that begins at http://humanknowledge.net/Thoughts.html#qualia.
For a detailed demolition of qualia and zombies, see this
paper by Dennett.
there is not going to be any mere logic-and-power entity which
can, without prior input, exhibit intelligence.
What is the "prior input" of a growing human child? Its soul? :-)
Computers only do programs, and the car stereo speaker which
is blurting out the voice of the talk show host does not have any idea
what it is saying.
That is your worst analogy to date, and in fact works against you. Sound
waves are essentially the same regardless of what produced them, and information
processing is essentially the same regardless of its material substrate.
To insist that these devices do understand just as the technologically
primitive man might think they do would be to implicitly [say] that there
is no such thing as a mistake in thinking that something which you thought
was a real man was just a manecquin.
Obviously false. It's not to say such mistakes can't happen; it's to say
that the likelihood of this being such a mistake is low.
Today, that primitive man I mentioned at the start has become
educated just well enough to think that he can *make* a box that has a
little man inside of it. [..] You see, the fact is that we are all primitives.
Yes, and some of us are apparently unable to think our way past our primitive
intuition that an entity can't think or feel unless it is wet or soft or
warm. However, that primitive intuition is no more likely to be true than
primitive intuitions about
the topology of the earth,
the structure of the heavens,
the nature of light,
the nature of heat and temperature,
the workings of life,