Call me Crazy

They say that being crazy means repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results. Well, call me crazy ’cause even after a month of acrimonious debate and philosophical bullying from Richard C. I still think that he can be convinced by reason. Maybe after that we can work on his pompous arrogance…

At anyrate, he has set up a quick poll on our debate over at Philosophy, etc. If you have an opinion on the matter please go weigh in! 


RC has put together a nice list of links detailing the back and forth between us, so if you are looking to get involved in the poll this is a good place to start (though I must voice agreement with GNZ when he wonders about the methodology of the poll…I mean it isn’t really a poll when you debate the respondants. I would prefer it if he would just let the posts speak for themselves)…I will reproduce it here.

1. RB’s Non-Physical Zombies parody argument, and my initial response: how to imagine zombies.

2. His replies: how not to imagine zombies and Beating an Undead Horse.

3. A paragraph in my Zombie Review refines my criticism of his NP analogy (as well as clarifying the original argument, to avoid certain worries about conceivability that had arisen way back when).

4. RB on the role of reduction in the dualism debate; my response; RB with the final post on the analogy (see also comments).

5. RB charges that the zombie argument is question begging. I respond here and here.

6. Having wondered why I’ve spent so much time arguing over the same basic points, I write a more general post exploring ‘The End(s) of Discussion‘. Though it never actually mentions any specific interlocutors, RB seemed quite offended. In that last comment he accuses me of saying, “gee, isn’t this guy stupid; he can’t see that my intuitions are right“. I respond that our dispute has not been about intuitions at all, but meta issues (what makes for a sound analogy/parody, what is begging the question, etc.). This final exchange continues on RB’s blog.

OK, so I got some comments to get to (including one from RC), but it is so nice outside that I have to go and play…but I’ll be back

Philosophical Trends

Colin Caret over at Inconsistent Thoughts has some interesting reflections on the recent zombie wars and the influence of philosophical trends here. In the comments Richard Chappell displays his usual strident lack of understanding, myopic focus on minutia, and veiled ‘threats’ not to engage in dialogue (ohh! I feel so punished!).

At any rate, he claims that the debate between us was

over higher order issues such as alleged misunderstandings of a proffered argument, whether an alleged parody was really analogous to the proffered argument, etc. In other words, it was a matter of basic philosophical understanding, concerning the state of the dialectic (in abstraction from whether one actually accepts any given premise or argument), rather than a first-order dispute in which people might reasonably disagree.

When I countered that the debate was in fact a first-order dispute about whether or not zombies were conceivable RC accuses me of further showing my misunderstanding of what he has been arguing and claims that that was not a debate in which he was an active participant. Oh, my bad, I guess I really did miss the point of all those posts, like The Inconceivability of Zombies, where I was arguing that the first premise of the zombie argument was false; I guess RC wasn’t an active participant in that debate…To show how silly RC’s assertion-without-argument that he could REALLY conceive of the zombie world was, I introduced the non-physical zombies (here, here and here). Of course RC disagreed that the reverse-zombie argument worked, but he was wrong about that. So, the issue here, as I have said all along, was whether or not the zombie argument was a good argument against materialism; um, it isn’t. The accusations of misunderstanding against me are just more of the usual argument dodging from a fanatical property dualist. Sad, really.

A Thought about the American Trial System

I do not know very much about the philosophy of law (well, OK, I don’t really know anything about it!) so this may be a half-baked idea that has been thought of and rejected already. But, I was watching Law and Order yesterday and I was struck by what must be a very obvious fact about the way that we run our courts. Since the jury is listening to the trial live there is an overwhelming temptation for trial lawyers to say stuff that they know will be objected to and even stricken from the record since it is obvious that a jury cannot really ‘disregard’ something that has been said. They may TRY to consciously ignore it, but once it is heard it is in there and doing its damage. Now, I know that in some egregious cases a mistrial can be declared but usually the jury is just instructed to ignore the comment and the trial goes on as usual. Which brings me to my thought.

Why is it that we still have the jury listen to the trial live? A better way to do things, it seems to me, would be to have the trial run as normal sans jury while being video-taped (from the pointof view where the jury would be located). The tape could be edited by the judge to exclude the objectionable material and then the edited tape would be shown to the jury. That would ensure that the jury only sees what the judge rules admissible and would abolish the grandstanding and circus-like atmoshpere of (some) trials.  

Emotive Realism Ch. 3 & 4

So, I have finished (what I hope is) the penultimate draft of my dissertation and It is in the hands of my committee. I have already heard back from one diligent committee member and he has given the green light (not the chair, alas)…so if I hear back from the other two by the beginning of August (and there are no major problems/objections) I should have enough time to make corrections and have the final defensible draft done by the end of August, which means that my September 10th defense is starting to look attainable!!! (fingers crossed; I hope I did not just now jinx it!!!)

Below are the two last chapters (here are chapters 1 and 2). As always comments welcome!

Ch. 3 -Two Current Kinds of Expressivism: Blackburn and Copp

Ch. 4 -Emotive Realism