One thought on “Philip Goff Live!

  1. I just wanted to express appreciation for this — really helped clarify these issues for me. I’m mainly interested in the metaphysical issues surrounding philosophy of mind, so this conversation was right on target for me.

    Some highlights and comments for/from me:

    I appreciated the way it was crisply clarified how the Knowledge Argument leads to a conceptual, rather than metaphysical, dualism. My reaction was “OK, now are these phenomenal concepts more informative in some way than the physical concepts, even if they do happen to refer to the same metaphysical property, or are they just different ways of thinking with a challenge establishing any apriori entailment P => Q?”

    Something I really am starting to appreciate after the discussion on shombies is Prof Brown’s approach insisting that you may want to say there really is an apriori P => Q — in type B physicalism discussions, often you are left with a sense that they want to say there’s a brute identity, but if I’m getting it right, they often suggest there’s not a sense in which it’s ideally rationally not conceivable that P => Q.

    My feeling was that, in Chalmers-speak, IF one grants there’s something like a substantive primary intension for Q, then the primary conceivability of P without Q seems to give you a result not very friendly to many physicalists: that is, it suggests P may account for the secondary intension of Q, but not the primary intension of Q.

    I wonder if what’s going on is that there are Type B-ers who *don’t* want to say there’s anything like a primary intension of Q — that is, there is nothing you can just work out based on ideal rational consideration (which would seem to be not allowed in Chalmers’ rationalist framework, but is nonetheless at least a reasonable view). With that sort of view, you could indeed maintain that Q has secondary intension picking out brain states, and that no ideal rational consideration tells you that P => Q.

    But as I get it, Prof Brown at least is sympathetic to the ideal rational conceivability of shombies (not zombies). I think this is an interesting view, in that it denies the starting point of the zombie argument, but *doesn’t* take an illusionist approach — instead, it suggests that traditional structure-dynamics views of P have a legitimate hope of accounting for Q in way consistent with maintaining Q does not fail to refer.

    I’m curious why Prof Brown might favor an approach where Q has something like a substantive primary intension! I feel like with Q *totally opaque*, you might get something closer to Prof Balog’s conclusion (I’m not sure if she considers it opaque, but anyway), which is that ideal rational consideration doesn’t tell you how to choose between conceiving of zombies and shombies?

    The triangularity stuff was also clarifying — I would think what might be going on there is that the mathematical triangular structure of a triangle (whether physical, abstract, schmysical, etc) would itself not be identical to a physical property of the world, but being a specific physical triangle would (precisely because the same property could be instantiated in a world with just schmysical triangles). Similarly, perhaps Prof Goff’s analogy is the experiential aspect may not be physical. Though, I got a feeling Prof Brown was asking for why the transparency of Q leads to falsehood of the physicality of Q/ of physicalism (I think Prof Goff has some cool stuff on this about the conceivability of ghosts in ‘Ghosts and Sparse Properties’ — a Chalmers-speak spin on it maybe is that if the primary and secondary intensions of Q coincided, and ditto for P, then conceiving of Q without P lets you argue for the metaphysical possibility of Q without P).

    The Wittgenstein stuff makes my head spin. I’d love to hear Prof Brown’s thoughts on that stuff — I think it was mostly Prof Goff answering there. This is the place I’m least sure of my already unsure understanding, but anyway, the two points I note down as seeming salient to me are: (1) while a non-pain-experiencing party won’t have the direct phenomenal concept of pain, they can hopefully refer to a painful experience using an experiential public concept, and even if the pain-experiencer cannot communicate his/her direct phenomenal concept of the pain, which corresponds intuitively to the private nature of the experience, I’d wonder if (2) just using the word ‘pain’ , which is a standardized dictionary term used to communicate to others, to tell someone else about your pain suggests to me you’re not just employing a direct phenomenal concept… rather, you seem to be saying ‘what usually goes under the name of pain’ and ‘pain_D’ (the direct phenomenal concept) are both referring to the same property (in which case the listener can say, based on the behavioral clues, I don’t think you’re experiencing pain… but who the heck knows if you’re experiencing pain_D — I don’t have that concept)?

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