Matter & Memory

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Mon Apr 3 14:42:22 PDT 2000

Scott Martens wrote:

> Rather, I'm shifting the burden of proof to you. I see ample evidence
> that physical processes can account for everything humans think and do.
> I see no evidence of the existence of a separate mind. Why then should I
> consider your hypothesis credible?

Yes. And in fact I would prefer discussion start here. There is no reason to even consider the arguments for an independent mind. (Just as there is no reasons for considering the arguments for any supernatural being -- the burden of proof is on those who think we should consider such arguments -- in fact they have to bear this burden without our listening to them in the first place.) But other than saving time and energy, there is a rather strong reason to simply ignore mentalistic arguments: focusing on them tends to drive you towards too simple a conception of human mental processes. I think there are some elements in the present post that would be differently viewed if you were not focusing on refuting arguments which ought not to be attacked but rather ignored. Consider how it would distort an attempt to describe amateur gardening if you had to formulate your description in terms of a polemic against Homeric Religion (prove for example that it wasn't Ceres' tears that caused grain to grow). The concept of an independent mind is as far off the radar screen as beliefs in Ceres and Athena.


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