Further Comments on Naturalism and Consciousness

First, I would like to apologize for not getting back to my interlocutors more promptly. I have to do blog postings at times when there are no other pressing duties, and there have been no such times for the past month. My previous post on August 31, “More on Metaphysical Naturalism and Consciousness” prompted much high-quality response, and I find that gratifying. I would like to respond to some of these responses. Unfortunately, it may be another month before I can continue the conversation again.

Dianelos Georgoudis says:

“Keith Parsons says that conscious experiences are activities of physical beings accomplished via the functionality of some bodily part (presumably their brain), and that people digest with some body parts, and experience with some others. The fundamental difference of course is that we observe the stomach digesting, but we don’t observe the brain experiencing. Rather we observe the brain causing behavior.”

In the 1960’s science fiction movie Fantastic Voyage, the micronauts are inside the brain and they see neurons firing. One comments that they have just witnessed a thought. At the time this seemed silly (at the time I was fifteen and was watching the movie largely in hopes that Raquel Welch would disrobe). Now the idea that we can observe a brain thinking or experiencing does not seem silly. In fact, we can witness such occurrences. Brain imaging techniques allow us to witness the brain’s functions better than any micronaut could. When a subject is shown a bright red object, we can watch the visual cortex and observe its activities. When observing brain activities while the subject is having certain experiences, we are observing the brain experiencing. To reply that we are not observing the brain experiencing, but only the physical correlates of experience would be to blatantly beg the question against the physicalist view that experiences are fully realized in physical processes that occur in the brain. On this view, we are observing experiencing in precisely the same sense that we observe the ballerina do a pirouette. A pirouette is something the ballerina does with her muscles and experiencing is something she does with her brain.

Dianelos says:

“Indeed to call consciousness a phenomenon strikes me as a category mistake. Rather, consciousness is what makes it possible for phenomena to exist: In a world without consciousness there would be events but no phenomena.”

A phenomenon is an observable event. If, indeed, we can see someone’s brain in the act of experiencing (through the instrumentality of an imaging device), then such experiencing is an observable event. Even in the first person sense, I am not just aware, but I am aware that I am aware. I do not just perceive; I perceive that I perceive. Thus, perception, for instance, seems to be a straightforwardly perceptible occurrence; I can perceive it in others and I can perceive its occurrence in myself. Therefore, there is no problem at all with talking about the phenomena of consciousness. Further, it is simply false to say that without consciousness there would be events but no phenomena. An event can be observable even if there are no observers to observe it. Likewise, a vase can be breakable even if it is hidden away where no one can break it.

Dianelos says:

“Conscious experiences themselves are clearly not objectively observable as evidenced by the fact that we can’t observe whether thermostats, or for that matter cockroaches or computers, do have them. Similarly we can’t observe a bat’s experience of echolocation.”

Maybe I am misunderstanding, but these statements seem to involve a basic confusion. Thomas Nagel’s point in “What is it like to be a bat?” was that even if we have an exhaustive understanding of how echolocation works, we will still not know what it is like to experience echolocation and therefore will never be able to know what it is like to be a bat. His point was that consciousness has an elusive, ineffable quality—the “what it is like” to have a particular kind of experience—that science cannot capture, and, therefore, that consciousness has properties that necessarily elude scientific accounts. Dianelos seems to be conflating two distinct questions here: (a) Can we observe (e.g., through brain imaging) the bat’s experiencing of echolocation? And (b) Can we experience echolocation in the way that a bat does. The answer to the first is “yes” and the second is “no.”

I am happy to admit that I do not know what it is like to be a bat. I am not sure that I can even really know what it is like to be an Australian aborigine. But if we could observe a bat’s brain as it negotiates obstacles in pitch darkness using echolocation, then, we would be observing its experiencing of echolocation in precisely the same way that we can observe its flapping of its wings. Of course, we do not experience what the bat experiences, since we are not hooked up to its sensory apparatus in the way that it is. However, if the bat’s conscious experiences are fully realized in its brain processes (and surely this is uncontroversially the case with bats, right??) then in observing its brain processes we are ipso facto observing its experience of echolocation. In observing the bat’s experiencing, I do not have to feel what the bat feels any more than I have to do a pirouette to observe the ballerina do one.

Maybe Dianelos’ point is this: We know that the ballerina is doing a pirouette as soon as we see her go up on the tips of her toes. With observing the internal processes of an animal’s brain, however, we have to first establish that the physical process we are seeing is also a conscious process. That is something that has to be inferred, and is not simply observed, like the pirouette. Again, though, the postulation of consciousness can be the best explanation of a set of observations. For pet owners, the inference is well nigh unavoidable. Perhaps the dog who brings his leash does not want to walk, or the cat who brings her toy does not want you to play with her. Maybe also it was a zombie Descartes who uttered “Sum res cogitans.” In principle and in practice, though, inferring the existence of conscious states is often reasonable, and sometimes compelling.

Dianelos says:

“…if explanations in terms of esthetic intuitions can be subsumed under physiological explanation then the former cannot be the *best* explanation. Significantly Keith claims that “ the fact that explanations in terms of A’s subsume explanations in terms of B’s does not mean that B’s do not exist or are not useful, indeed, indispensable, at certain levels of explanation.” I think this is a key point. I agree that the B’s can be useful in some contexts, and even indispensable sometimes as a practical matter. But I strongly disagree that the B’s can be said to exist in objective reality. In the case of gravitational phenomena the currently best explanation assumes the existence of curved spacetime and not of gravitational force fields. Nevertheless people find it useful to continue using Newtonian mechanics and gravitational force fields in many contexts (e.g. while engineering an airplane). But nobody who knows about general relativity believes that gravitational force fields exist in reality.”

There are two points to be made here: First, there is a pragmatic element in what counts as the “best” explanation; it depends in part on the sense of the “why” question we are asking. This was Socrates’ point when he noted that there are two different ways to explain why Socrates is sitting. We can explain it in terms of the pattern of tension and relaxation in Socrates’ muscles, or we can explain it in terms of Socrates’ intentions, e.g., that he is sitting in order to converse with Euthyphro. Which sort of explanation we judge “best” will depend upon the sense of our question about why Socrates is sitting. Likewise, if we are asking why an aesthetic judgment is made, we expect an answer in terms of an aesthetic principle, insight, intuition, etc., not in terms of neurophysiology, even if our aesthetic thinking, like all of our thinking, is wholly realized in physiological processes.

The second point is that it simply is not true that, in general, if explanations in terms of A’s subsume explanations in terms of B’s, the B’s no longer exist. If it were true, we would have to say, e.g., that carburetors do not exist (n.b., my knowledge of automobile engines stems from the pre-fuel injection era). We sometimes explain engine function and malfunction in terms of carburetors, though, surely, everything carburetors do can be subsumed under explanations in terms of physics. Maybe Dianelos would bite the bullet and say that, strictly speaking, carburetors do not exist, but I would have to see his argument (and it would have to be a very good argument). In the meantime, there seems to be no reason to deny that artistic creativity exists even if the thoughts of a Beethoven or a Picasso are physically realized as brain functions.

Dianelos says:

“Which brings me back to my pointing out that the fact that the physical universe appears to be causally closed does not imply that it is. If there is a qualitative/personal dimension to reality beyond the quantitative/physical one, then the question arises about the relationship between these two dimensions, a question that has bedeviled dualists for centuries. My argument is that it is entirely possible for the conscious dimension to cause events in the physical plane, while all events on the physical plane are nonetheless causally closed (i.e. can be explained without the need to assume the existence of the conscious dimension).”

Even if there is some conceivable way that the “conscious dimension” could cause events in the “physical plane” without disrupting the causal closure of the physical (and I just do not have time right now to enter into the complexities of this point), surely the following epistemic principle holds:

If it is apparent that p, then we should tentatively conclude that p, unless there are sufficient grounds for thinking that appearances are deceiving here.

If, as Dianelos seems to concede, physical causes apparently are sufficient for all physical effects, then, the thing to do is to conclude, tentatively, that physical causes are sufficient.

About Keith Parsons
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08414754510736349472 Tom Clark

    Keith,

    I think I have to take Dianelos' side on one point you raise. You say "in observing [the bat's] brain processes we are ipso facto observing its experience of echolocation." I don't think so, since the experience is available only for the bat. We see the brain processes without which its experience wouldn’t exist, but we don't see its experience.

    You say immediately after: "In observing the bat’s experiencing, I do not have to feel what the bat feels any more than I have to do a pirouette to observe the ballerina do one." Yes, in observing the bat's brain we observe the bat *experiencing*, but we don't observe the *experience*, which is only had by the bat. This seems to me the essentially subjective nature of experience: that it is available only to the system that is having it. It isn't available for public observation in the way that brains are, or other physical objects. Hence the problem of other minds, questions about inverted or absent qualia, etc. If we could actually observe experiences, none of these problems would arise.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons

    Tom, thanks for your comment. Unless I am misunderstanding you, I think you are making the point Nagel made. It is basically the same point Frank Jackson makes about his fictitious neuroscientist Mary who knows the physiology of color perception perfectly but who lives in a black-and-white world and has never herself experienced colors. The point is that we can have exhaustive knowledge of the scientific facts about perceptions and the other phenomena of consciousness, but those scientific descriptions cannot tell us what it is like to see bright red or what it is like for the bat to experience echolocation. Similarly, I could use brain imaging to see all of the brain processes involved in a bat's or Mary's experiences. I might even be able to read their minds to the extent of saying at any given moment what they are feeling, thinking, or perceiving. Yet, I would not be experiencing what they were. Therefore, there seem to be essential aspects of consciousness that elude objective scientific description or detection from the "outside," but can only be encountered subjectively from the "inside."

    Let's change the example slightly. Imagine someone, call him "Mike," who was born profoundly deaf and remains that way throughout his life. Suppose he has thorough knowledge of the anatomy and physiology that produces the human voice. He uses imaging to observe the lungs and larynx of the soprano as she sings an aria. Mike, of course, has no way of knowing or even imagining what the aria sounds like. He is like the zoologist studying bat echolocation. Surely singing is something done entirely with the lungs, larynx, diaphragm, etc. Therefore singing is an objectively observable phenomenon, even by one who, like Mike, can have no idea what it sounds like.

    My point to Dianelos was that if we conceive of consciousness as a set of activities or functions, i.e., consciousness comprises and is exhaustively constituted by seeing, feeling, imagining, wanting, willing, etc., then we can observe consciousness as it is accomplished by brain functioning just as we can observe singing as done by the lungs and larynx. We might not know what the bat feels any more than Mike knows what the song sounds like, but we are both capable of observing an objective natural occurrence, whether it is thinking or experiencing.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08414754510736349472 Tom Clark

    Thanks Keith. You say

    "My point to Dianelos was that if we conceive of consciousness as a set of activities or functions, i.e., consciousness comprises and is exhaustively constituted by seeing, feeling, imagining, wanting, willing, etc., then we can observe consciousness as it is accomplished by brain functioning just as we can observe singing as done by the lungs and larynx. We might not know what the bat feels any more than Mike knows what the song sounds like, but we are both capable of observing an objective natural occurrence, whether it is thinking or experiencing."

    I agree that there are likely certain neurally-instantiated functions, for instance that integrate multi-modal information, that are carried out by processes shown to be necessary for conscious experience, and that we can observe such functions. But this is not to observe experience itself. Mike, seeing various functions carried out, or knowing exactly what they involve, doesn't have access to the *experience* of hearing. He might fully conceive of what *experiencing* involves on a functional or representational level, but that doesn't give him access to the actual experience, what the song sounds like, because he himself doesn't instantiate those functions. Even if we conclude that Mary doesn't learn any new facts about the world when she experiences red for the first time, the experience is nevertheless only available for her alone.

    This is simply to recognize the essentially subjective, private nature of experience: that it only exists *for the system* that instantiates the functions that entail experience, even though those functions are as you say an objective occurrence. To deny this would make one an eliminativist about consciousness, but to admit it generates the hard problem: what about instantiating such functions entails the existence of phenomenal experience, of an essentially *private* (publicly unobservable) qualitative mental reality (pains, itches, emotions, colors, sounds, etc.)? In his books Being No One and now in The Ego Tunnel, Thomas Metzinger proposes a representationalist account in which consciousness is likened to a virtual reality. I think it has considerable merit although I don’t think he’s quite yet solved the hard problem, at least insofar as I understand what he’s proposing (it gets pretty convoluted).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06056410184615941086 M. Tully

    All right, here is the answer from the dumb (in the sense that I'm not even sure what "metaphysics" is exactly supposed to mean) empiricist. Can Dianelos, or anyone else for that matter, demonstrate consciousness without a material brain?

    O.K. then. We have a material brain as a necessary, if not sufficient, cause for consciousness. Now, what are we left with? Psychology and neuroscience haven't solved the answer to every question regarding consciousness. Fair enough, but to then extrapolate that to, "ergo supernatural causation?"

    Ridiculous. Every time a supernatural explanation to a mystery to humanity has been given, and that mystery has been solved, the supernatural hypothesis has been found to be wrong.

    Based on the record to date, the only rational answer to consciousness (or any other question we don't have an answer to yet for that matter) is, "I don't know, but smart people are working on it."

    The probability of "I don't know, let's wait and see" is currently infinitely more likely to bring you a functional answer than, "supernatural cause X!"

    BTW, a material brain being a necessary cause for consciousness effectively rules out any supernatural cause for anything (just in case any metaphysical types were in debate about the deeper meaning of my comment).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons

    Tom, I think we are essentially in agreement. Via brain imaging, I could see someone experiencing a color which I have never experienced myself. As you say, the subjective quality of the experience can only be felt by the system that instantiates the relevant function. I think the problem–why we seem to disagree–is that when I say that we observe the bat's experience of echolocation, this is ambiguous. An experience in one sense is an occurrence, indeed, a datable, locatable event (e.g., one might say "In June 1982, after a prolonged fast, I had an out-of-body experience."). In this sense, an experience is a natural phenomenon enacted by physical processes. In another sense, when we speak of experience (as when we ask "What was your experience of…?"), we often mean the particular quality, the "what it is like," of the experience. When I say that we can observe the bat's experience of echolocation, I meant that we can see the event as it occurs (sense one), but Tom is certainly correct in that we do not observe the felt quality or "what it is like" to be a bat (sense two). So, I think the appearance of disagreement is due to the ambiguity of my earlier statement.

    M. Tully, I couldn't agree with you more. I usually eschew tu quoque sorts of arguments, but one really applies here. We may never be able to say WHY consciousness arises in certain complex physical systems, and have to settle for knowing HOW it happens. But if we invoke a non-physical "res cogitans" like an incorporeal soul, we will not only never know WHY, we cannot know HOW either!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    Keith Parsons says: “On [the physicalist view], we are observing experiencing in precisely the same sense that we observe the ballerina do a pirouette. A pirouette is something the ballerina does with her muscles and experiencing is something she does with her brain.

    It’s not clear to me whether Keith is expounding an identity theory of mind, or a functionalist theory of mind. The identity theory strikes me as manifestly wrong because there are bright colors in my experience but there are no bright colors in my brain (or in anything that happens inside my brain), so the two cannot be identical. The above quote appears to point to a functionalist understanding, but to say that experience is a function of the brain is ambiguous. If it means that experience is the visible function of the brain (i.e. the visible effects it has on the rest of the body, including intelligent behavior) then it pertains to the easy problem of consciousness and not the hard problem which I am discussing. If it means that the brain (or what happens in it) apart from behavior also produces an invisible kind of thing called experience, then we get epiphenomenalism and we are back to square one, for science only concerns itself with visible manifestations of nature (i.e. physical phenomena) or with invisible existents which do affect the visible manifestations of nature.

    Keith Parsons says: “A phenomenon is an observable event.

    Right. Therefore the existence of phenomena presupposes the existence of consciousness (for without consciousness there are no observations). Therefore in a world without consciousness there would be events but not phenomena.

    Keith Parsons says: “An event can be observable even if there are no observers to observe it.

    Yes, but this statement is meaningful only in a world in which consciousness exists.

    Keith Parsons says: “However, if the bat’s conscious experiences are fully realized in its brain processes (and surely this is uncontroversially the case with bats, right??)[snip]

    Is it really? Actually there are two claims being made here: 1) That bats have conscious experiences. Descartes thought they don’t, and today well-known naturalist philosopher Daniel Dennett thinks the same (Dennett believes that only brains capable of natural language are conscious and therefore goes Descartes one further and claims that pre-linguistic children are not conscious beings either). 2) Assuming that bats do have conscious experience the further claim is made that these experiences are fully realized in its brain processes. The second conceptual problem of naturalism I have claimed (in my comment in the “Karen Armstrong rubbished” thread) is that on materialism the probability that the brain produces consciousness is low, or at best inscrutable.

    Keith Parsons says: “[That brain processes are also conscious processes] is something that has to be inferred, and is not simply observed, like the pirouette. Again, though, the postulation of consciousness can be the best explanation of a set of observations.

    Fair enough, but then conscious processes are not really observable after all. If they were then we would know whether bats, or cockroaches, or amoeba, or computers, or thermostats are conscious beings or not, just from observing if any conscious processes happen in them or not – but we can’t do that so we don’t know. In science we accept the existence of unobservables (such as mass, or electric charge, or the curvature of spacetime) if the assumption that they exist leads to the best explanation of observables. My point all along has been that this is not the case with consciousness, because the assumption that it exists does not improve on the predictive power of a physical brain devoid of consciousness as an explanation of observables. (Incidentally and strictly speaking, the physical processes inside a brain are themselves unobservable; we believe they exist because they are the best explanation for many observables including PET scans, etc)

    [continued in the next post]

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    Keith Parsons says: “there is a pragmatic element in what counts as the “best” explanation; it depends in part on the sense of the “why” question we are asking.

    In science what counts as the best explanation is quite objective: it’s the explanation that produces the most exact predictions of physical phenomena.

    Keith Parsons says: “it simply is not true that, in general, if explanations in terms of A’s subsume explanations in terms of B’s, the B’s no longer exist. If it were true, we would have to say, e.g., that carburetors do not exist

    Given a best explanation, one often and for pragmatical reasons uses a rougher version of it by taking into account only higher level structures than the fine structure the best explanation entails. So the above can be improved by saying that “if explanations in terms of A’s subsume explanation in terms of B’s and these B’s do not refer to rougher versions of A’s, then the B’s do not exist”.

    Often the A’s and B’s are unobservable existents which produce alternative explanations for observables, the way the curvature of spacetime and gravitational force fields produce alternative explanations for gravitational phenomena. If the former produce better explanations than the latter (and hence subsume explanations in terms of the latter) then the latter are not supposed to exist. If the naturalist wouldn’t use this epistemic principle then the naturalistic world would get slowly crowded by overlapping invisible existents, each justified by the partial explanatory power it affords for observables. This not only violates Occam’s razor, but is also incoherent on naturalism. Similarly, if the existence of particular physical processes (neurons firing etc) is the best explanation for visible behavior then one has no grounds to justify the additional and supervenient existence of conscious processes – unless, as is the case of the carburetor, one thinks that the latter forms part of the former. In this case though one is assuming the identity theory of mind, which for reasons I describe above is untenable. An alternative would be to posit that the latter are a non-physical property of the former, which view leads to property dualism. But property dualism has its own problems, does not comport with scientific naturalism which I am criticizing, and does not appear to be Keith’s position.

    The basic reason I don’t believe in materialism is because via science we have learned a lot about material things, indeed enough to be able to see that a material system no matter how complex would not produce consciousness. But I can’t fail noticing that consciousness does exist (namely mine), so there must be something wrong with materialism (or any naturalistic ontology which entails materialism).

    Keith Parsons says: “If it is apparent that p, then we should tentatively conclude that p, unless there are sufficient grounds for thinking that appearances are deceiving here.

    I agree with this principle, which one may call the “common sense” principle. Indeed I’d like to use it when we discuss freedom of will, or the objectivity of at least some moral truths.

    My argument though runs is a different direction. Let’s accept as a fact that natural phenomena are causally closed in the sense that one never needs to assume any supernatural cause. Now theistic dualism entails that supernatural persons supernaturally affect natural phenomena in a massive and continuous fashion. It would appear that the former fact is a defeater for the latter belief. My argument is that this appearance is false, because it is possible for natural phenomena to be causally closed *and* for persons to supernaturally affect them on a massive scale, certainly on a scale compatible with traditional theism’s beliefs about God’s providence in creating life to His/Her design and about human libertarian free will. By demonstrating this mere possibility (and not arguing for its truth) I present a defeater-defeater, thus making theistic dualism (which is a version of substance dualism) tenable again.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    M. Tully said: “Can Dianelos, or anyone else for that matter, demonstrate consciousness without a material brain?

    Can M. Tully demonstrate consciousness?

    M. Tully said: “O.K. then. We have a material brain as a necessary, if not sufficient, cause for consciousness.”

    Actually, even though that’s a very common belief it’s unjustified. There is no reason to believe that the brain is necessary for consciousness, or indeed that our consciousness is produced by our brain. At best one could argue that what we experience is really what’s happening inside of our brain, that how we think is limited by our brain, and that what we will affects what’s inside of our brain – but whether our consciousness itself (i.e. the capacity to experience, to think, and to will) is produced by our brain is unknown. In this context let me quote the original and in my view most original New Atheism author, philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris: "The idea that brains produce consciousness is little more than an article of faith among scientists at present, and there are many reasons to believe that the methods of science will be insufficient to either prove or disprove it." (See “The End of Faith” page 208).

    M. Tully said: “Every time a supernatural explanation to a mystery to humanity has been given, and that mystery has been solved, the supernatural hypothesis has been found to be wrong.

    If M. Tully is thinking of Darwinism, then he is overstating the facts. Darwinism has not shown that the hypothesis of supernatural design is false, only that it may not be true. After all, that it is possible for the species to have evolved naturalistically does not imply that they did evolve naturalistically. So while Darwinism did remove a conceptual problem of naturalism, it did not create a conceptual problem for theism. Now it’s true that science has falsified several beliefs recorded in ancient theistic scripture, such as that the Earth is at the middle of the universe, or that it is only a few thousand years old, etc. On the other hand science has also falsified several central beliefs held by the most knowledgeable naturalists as recently as in the beginning of the 20th century, such as the belief that the physical universe is eternal, that it is deterministic, that it is local, and so on. Other scientific discoveries such as quantum mechanics and the apparent fine-tuning of the fundamental physical constants have created serious challenges to the plausibility of the naturalistic worldview. Again, there is the very common belief that science has somehow created trouble for theism and has strengthened naturalism, but this belief too is I think unjustified. If anything I’d argue that the opposite is true.

    M. Tully said: “Based on the record to date, the only rational answer to consciousness (or any other question we don't have an answer to yet for that matter) is, ‘I don't know, but smart people are working on it.’

    The issue though is that they have nothing to show for all their work, except for deepening problems and deepening disagreements. Noted naturalist philosopher Jerry Fodor describes the state of affairs thus: "Nobody has the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious. Nobody even knows what it would be like to have the slightest idea about how anything material could be conscious." Perhaps all of this only shows that materialism’s problem of consciousness is very hard indeed, but then again the longer the clock ticks without any advance the more people will decide that there is something wrong with materialism.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    I am now reading “Naturalism” by Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro. There I found a quote from David Papineau, which comports well with my claim that science does not need the hypothesis that consciousness exists:

    When I say that a complete physics excludes psychology, and that psychological antecedents are therefore never needed to explain physical effects, the emphasis here is on “needed”. I am quite happy allow that psychological categories *can* be used to explain physical effects, as when I tell you that my arm rose because I wanted to lift it. My claim is only that in all such cases an alternative specification of a sufficient antecedent, which does not mention psychological categories will also be available.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08414754510736349472 Tom Clark

    Dianelos,

    Re Papineau: yes, there will always be a 3rd-person physicalist story that accounts for behavior without appeal to 1st-person phenomenal experience, so it seems from a scientific standpoint that consciousness may not have a function. Some philosophers such as David Rosenthal argue that it likely doesn't, see here.

    Naturalists needn't (and I think shouldn’t) suppose that consciousness is "produced" by the brain. Indeed, if it were a causal product of brain activity experience would be observable from a perspective outside the conscious system, but as we agree, it isn't. Nevertheless, all the scientific evidence thus far indicates that conscious states only occur in tandem with certain sorts of brain states, which suggests that consciousness is somehow *entailed* by being a properly configured physical system. The nature of that entailment is of course the hard problem.

    I think progress *is* being made by naturalists in explaining consciousness, in particular I like the representationalist theory of neuro-philosopher Thomas Metzinger (see my review of his book The Ego Tunnel). But we're not there yet by any stretch. On the other hand, theistic supernatural explanations such as those offered by Goetz and Taliaferro and J.P. Moreland (see my reviews here and here) will only appeal to those for whom the existence of God seems a well-established fact, who take first-person intuitions about consciousness as dispositive, and who aren't bothered by the intractable problem of dualist interactionism (how the immaterial mind controls the material body). As I argue in my reviews and elsewhere on the theology page at Naturalism.Org, the evidential and explanatory standards set by supernaturalists are rather undemanding, such that their explanations end up facile and empty compared to standard scientific explanations.

    Naturalists admit we're likely far from explaining consciousness, but we find supernatural explanations unpersuasive for a host of good reasons.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    Tom Clark writes: “ so it seems from a scientific standpoint that consciousness may not have a function.

    Yes, and this is the problem, because, obviously, consciousness does have a function: It is by consciousness that we perceive, think, and will. Also, if consciousness has no function, then why should consciousness have evolved if the naturalistic understanding of Darwinism is correct? We see then that the “scientific standpoint”, or rather the naturalistic interpretation of science, has implications that make little sense. From the naturalist’s point of view the only way out I can see is to hypothesize that our brain is massively fooling us into believing that our consciousness has some function. But for a naturalist to suspect that their brain is massively fooling them is epistemically self-defeating, for they use the same brain to think about naturalism.

    Tom Clark writes: “Nevertheless, all the scientific evidence thus far indicates that conscious states only occur in tandem with certain sorts of brain states, which suggests that consciousness is somehow *entailed* by being a properly configured physical system.

    Does it really suggest that? I think in this context Chalmer’s sometimes misunderstood "zombie argument" is relevant: No theory of consciousness based on scientific facts can be valid in our world, because the same theory based on the same set of scientific facts is not valid in the zombie world.

    As I understand it Chalmers proposes that, in order to deal with consciousness, science must be transformed into an enterprise that takes into account both objective (physical, 3rd person) data and subjective (mental, 1st person) data. But such an enterprise could not anymore be called “objective” and hence I think should not be called “science”. Rather, what Chalmers proposes sounds to me like what “natural theology” does: To reason about the human condition (which includes both the objective and subjective facts of life) in order to reach understanding about how reality is.

    Tom Clark writes: “theistic supernatural explanations such as those offered by Goetz and Taliaferro and J.P. Moreland will only appeal to those […] who aren't bothered by the intractable problem of dualist interactionism (how the immaterial mind controls the material body).

    I have not finished reading the book by the former and have not read the book by the latter, so I cannot comment. I’d only like to note that theism does not entail dualism, and that in any case dualism’s interaction problem is not intractable. Indeed I have been arguing in this blog that it is possible for the physical universe to be causally closed in the naturalistic sense, and for God and other supernatural beings to massively affect it.

    Tom Clark writes: “the evidential and explanatory standards set by supernaturalists are rather undemanding, such that their explanations end up facile and empty compared to standard scientific explanations.

    Science works at least as well on theism as on naturalism, so the high standards of scientific explanations are irrelevant. Now beyond what science explains, theism can explain a lot more, including, say, why the universe is intelligible for science to work so well in the first place. In comparison I am not sure what, if anything, naturalism explains. It certainly has not yet explained the biggest fact of all, our consciousness. It is even having trouble describing what naturalistic world would give rise to the observable phenomena that science models. It seems the only restriction naturalism’s explanatory standards have is that a mechanical world must be described; apart from that everything appears to be permissible no matter how complex or implausible. In comparison theism’s standards are quite restrictive and exacting, because, even though its explanations do not have to describe a mechanism, they do have to describe a plausible purpose, indeed a purpose which comports with the premise that God is perfect in all respects.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08414754510736349472 Tom Clark

    Dianelos:

    …obviously, consciousness does have a function: It is by consciousness that we perceive, think, and will. Also, if consciousness has no function, then why should consciousness have evolved if the naturalistic understanding of Darwinism is correct?

    I don’t think we should assume consciousness per se has a function over and above the neurally instantiated cognitive processes that (somehow) entail it. As conscious subjects all we know is our experience so of course it *seems* functional, but whether it is or not is an empirical question. On this see the recent paper and lecture by philosopher David Rosenthal linked in my previous post. Re evolution: not everything about us derived from natural selection necessarily has adaptive value. Consciousness could be a side effect of carrying out complex representational cognitive processes that *are* adaptive.

    Re zombies: Chalmers always points out the conceptual possibility of zombies, but the fact that we can conceive of them doesn’t mean they are metaphysically possible, given that our conception of consciousness might well be off the mark. We don’t yet know what the necessary and sufficient conditions of consciousness are.

    Re subjectivity and science: I agree that we have to somehow account for both the objective and the subjective, but I’m looking for a naturalistic theory, one consistent with the scientific evidence for what’s real and informed by conceptual work as carried out by philosophy. This is what I think of as a “philo-scientific” enterprise. It isn’t like theology since it’s constrained by empirical investigation.

    …in any case dualism’s interaction problem is not intractable. Indeed I have been arguing in this blog that it is possible for the physical universe to be causally closed in the naturalistic sense, and for God and other supernatural beings to massively affect it.

    Supernatural influence may be possible, but until such time as there’s good empirical evidence for supernatural agents, plus an account of how they interact with natural beings, I’ll remain skeptical about its existence.

    Re explanatory standards: I agree that we don’t yet have a generally accepted naturalistic explanation of consciousness, but as I point out in my reviews, theistic explanations don’t meet basic epistemic norms required for securing reliable knowledge. Further, as you say, theism is restricted to explanations that are consistent with the existence of God, so theism isn’t really open, unfettered inquiry but rather an apologetics that’s barred from questioning a core ontological and explanatory assumption. But from a scientific, empirical standpoint there’s very good reason to question it, since there’s no good evidence that God exists. I don’t at all expect to convince you of this since the argument between naturalists and supernaturalists boils down to very different ideas about what counts as good explanatory and evidential standards.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    Tom, you wrote:

    "As conscious subjects all we know is our experience so of course it *seems* functional, but whether it is or not is an empirical question."

    I don’t see how one could possibly test empirically (in the scientific sense) whether our experience serves a function or not. After all one cannot even test for the mere presence of experience. That experience does not serve any function appears to be an implication of naturalism’s premises without any independent reason to even suspect that this is the case. (I shall read David Rosenthal’s paper.)

    "Consciousness could be a side effect of carrying out complex representational cognitive processes that *are* adaptive."

    I understand the idea but it looks like magic to me.

    "Chalmers always points out the conceptual possibility of zombies, but the fact that we can conceive of them doesn’t mean they are metaphysically possible, given that our conception of consciousness might well be off the mark."

    It seems to me obvious that a world identical to ours as far as objective quantitative facts goes (the same electron charge, the same speed of light, the same shape of the Earth, the same number of atoms, etc) but without any consciousness is logically possible. And I am not sure in what sense our conception of consciousness may be wrong; we all know how it is like to experience pain without the need of any conceptualizations.

    "I’m looking for a naturalistic theory, one consistent with the scientific evidence for what’s real and informed by conceptual work as carried out by philosophy."

    Me too, but it seems to me that scientific naturalism has trouble both with modern science and with modern philosophy. Perhaps a movement beyond scientific naturalism will produce a more tenable naturalistic ontology. A dualistic or perhaps multi-polar naturalism, or even something around the idea of a computer simulation, might work better.

    "Supernatural influence may be possible, but until such time as there’s good empirical evidence for supernatural agents, plus an account of how they interact with natural beings, I’ll remain skeptical about its existence."

    But that’s not what I was arguing. Rather I was arguing that dualism’s interaction problem is a false one, because one can conceptualize a *possible* world in which physical phenomena are causally closed while supernatural persons supernaturally affect them all the time. My argument was not that the particular description is a true one.

    … theistic explanations don’t meet basic epistemic norms required for securing reliable knowledge.

    I am not sure how you mean that. Theism is based on the premise that beyond the mechanical order present in physical phenomena (which science studies), there is a deeper supernatural order which is not mechanical but personal (which theism studies). Theism’s deeper explanations must therefore be given in personal and not mechanical terms. To the degree that such explanations work it seems to me that they do represent reliable knowledge, indeed knowledge that can be empirically tested – albeit not in the objective realm of our experience where one tests scientific claims. Now it seems to me that naturalists often demand higher epistemic standards of theism than they do of naturalism, so I wonder what “reliable” knowledge naturalism has produced. Indeed, as I have already mentioned, I am not aware that naturalism has produced any explanations whatsoever, never mind reliable knowledge.

    "Further, as you say, theism is restricted to explanations that are consistent with the existence of God, so theism isn’t really open, unfettered inquiry but rather an apologetics that’s barred from questioning a core ontological and explanatory assumption."

    Similarly naturalism’s explanations are restricted to explanations that are consistent with the existence of an ultimately mechanical reality. What the freethinker should do is compare which ontology (each one of course based on its own defining assumptions) works better.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    Tom, here is a bit I missed. You write:

    "… there’s no good evidence that God exists."

    I keep hearing this, but I wonder on what grounds do naturalists justify this claim. For example, according to the moral argument, the existence of objective moral values is evidence for God. According to the argument from consciousness, the existence of consciousness is evidence for God. According to other theistic arguments the existence of an intelligible universe, or the existence of free will, or the existence of beliefs, or the existence of beauty – are evidence for God. So, at best, the naturalist can reasonably claim that they don’t agree that there is good evidence for God (which is rather obvious for otherwise they wouldn’t be naturalists), but not that it does not exist.

    And, incidentally, what good evidence is there for naturalism? The success of the natural sciences cannot be the answer, because that success would obtain both on naturalism and on theism, so it does not count as discriminating evidence. At the beginning of the 20th century a naturalist might have suggested as evidence the fact that all scientific knowledge can be naturalized, but since the discovery of quantum mechanics that evidence has been greatly weakened if not falsified.

    "I don’t at all expect to convince you of this since the argument between naturalists and supernaturalists boils down to very different ideas about what counts as good explanatory and evidential standards."

    I’d be interested to know what explanations naturalism offers, and what good evidence there is for naturalism, according to your own explanatory and evidential standards.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08414754510736349472 Tom Clark

    Dianelos, thanks for your comments, some responses:

    Re the function of consciousness you say

    That experience does not serve any function appears to be an implication of naturalism’s premises without any independent reason to even suspect that this is the case.

    Naturalism takes science as its basic epistemology (along with any philosophically derived emendations), so whatever our philo-scientific investigations end up saying about the function of consciousness will be incorporated into the naturalistic picture of consciousness.

    Re the concept of consciousness:

    It seems to me obvious that a world identical to ours as far as objective quantitative facts goes (the same electron charge, the same speed of light, the same shape of the Earth, the same number of atoms, etc) but without any consciousness is logically possible. And I am not sure in what sense our conception of consciousness may be wrong; we all know how it is like to experience pain without the need of any conceptualizations.

    I agree that, according to your current conception of consciousness, it’s obviously *logically* possible for it to be absent in a world otherwise identical to our own (we can *conceive* of such a possible world). But the empirical, scientific question is whether it’s possible in the world we’re actually in for consciousness not to be present, given the material, functional, and representational states instantiated by human beings. If the answer is no, then your conception of consciousness that motivated the intuition about logical possibility is incorrect as applied to this world. We can’t suppose that our conception of consciousness is incorrigible, since after all we were incorrect in our conception of what life was (that it had some irreducible essence, e.g., elan vital, protoplasm) before the discovery of mechanisms of DNA, RNA, etc. Our concepts are, or should be, responsive to our investigations of what the world is actually like.

    Re naturalism:

    …it seems to me that scientific naturalism has trouble both with modern science and with modern philosophy. Perhaps a movement beyond scientific naturalism will produce a more tenable naturalistic ontology. A dualistic or perhaps multi-polar naturalism, or even something around the idea of a computer simulation, might work better.

    Naturalism as a metaphysical thesis is simply the conjunction of what science and philosophy, working in tandem, reveal about the world we’re in. It has no a priori ontological commitments, so if philo-scientific explanations end up in dualism, naturalists would accept that result (see here). Naturalism even admits its own defeasibility: if our best philo-scientific theories supported the existence of categorically supernatural phenomena, that too would have to be accepted as a matter of intellectual and scientific integrity (see here). But at the moment there’s no scientific support for the supernatural hypothesis, which is to say that no testable, predictive and unifying scientific theories now make reference to supernatural phenomena.

    [continued next post]

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08414754510736349472 Tom Clark

    Re epistemic standards, Dianelos said

    …it seems to me that naturalists often demand higher epistemic standards of theism than they do of naturalism, so I wonder what “reliable” knowledge naturalism has produced. Indeed, as I have already mentioned, I am not aware that naturalism has produced any explanations whatsoever, never mind reliable knowledge.

    Again, naturalism simply takes science and its epistemic standards as dispositive when describing reality, and science gives us the most reliable knowledge, as contrasted with such things as intuition, faith, revelation, tradition, religious texts and authority. So the naturalistic model of reality is the most reliable one going.

    …naturalism’s explanations are restricted to explanations that are consistent with the existence of an ultimately mechanical reality. What the freethinker should do is compare which ontology (each one of course based on its own defining assumptions) works better.

    As explained before, naturalists *aren’t* committed to the existence of an ultimately mechanical reality, only to a maximally reliable method of ascertaining what reality is like, that of philosophically informed and self-critical science. The ontology comes out as investigation reveals it to be.

    Re evidence:

    …according to the moral argument, the existence of objective moral values is evidence for God. According to the argument from consciousness, the existence of consciousness is evidence for God. According to other theistic arguments the existence of an intelligible universe, or the existence of free will, or the existence of beliefs, or the existence of beauty – are evidence for God. So, at best, the naturalist can reasonably claim that they don’t agree that there is good evidence for God (which is rather obvious for otherwise they wouldn’t be naturalists), but not that it does not exist.

    The theistic evidence you cite rests on the claim that no naturalistic basis exists for morality, consciousness, beliefs, beauty, etc., therefore God *must* exist as their source. But as argued in my review of Moreland, that claim is unjustified: there *is* a naturalistic basis for such things (not for libertarian free will, which doesn’t exist), so God need not be brought in as an explainer. Besides which, from a scientific standpoint (hence a naturalistic standpoint) there has to be *independent* observational, public evidence for God’s existence apart from his playing such a convenient explanatory role. Such evidence is lacking.

    I’d be interested to know what explanations naturalism offers, and what good evidence there is for naturalism, according to your own explanatory and evidential standards.

    Again, naturalistic explanations just *are* scientific explanations, none of which currently support the existence of anything categorically immaterial or supernatural: the world as described by science is a unity, what we call nature. The basis for naturalism is simply a commitment to our most reliable way of justifying beliefs about what exists (science), and the evidence for that reliability is our ability to predict and control phenomena. The commitment to science is rational on the assumption one wants a maximally reliable representation of reality, so if the desire for reliable knowledge is one’s highest priority, one likely ends up a naturalist. About this see the epistemology page at Naturalism.Org, in particular Reality and its rivals: putting epistemology first.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    Tom, thank you for the ideas and reading material, this is an interesting discussion.

    You write: “Naturalism takes science as its basic epistemology (along with any philosophically derived emendations), so whatever our philo-scientific investigations end up saying about the function of consciousness will be incorporated into the naturalistic picture of consciousness.

    This does not sound right. If our philo-scientific investigations resulted in the view that the only coherent ontology is one that includes the existence of God would then naturalists start believing in God while remaining naturalists?

    But the empirical, scientific question is whether it’s possible in the world we’re actually in for consciousness not to be present, given the material, functional, and representational states instantiated by human beings."

    I don’t see how this is an empirical or scientific question, given that it appears to be impossible to objectively ascertain whether consciousness is present or not, never mind answer deep questions about it. Anyway I do agree that this is a meaningful question and I agree that the most plausible answer is “no”. Still I don’t see how this connects with Chalmers’s zombie argument. Chalmers is not claiming that our world and the zombie world are identical, but only that these are two worlds in which all possible objective observations would be identical, and hence where all scientific and physical facts (including all “material, functional, and representational states instantiated by human beings”) are identical.

    The theistic evidence you cite rests on the claim that no naturalistic basis exists for morality, consciousness, beliefs, beauty, etc., therefore God *must* exist as their source. But as argued in my review of Moreland, that claim is unjustified: there *is* a naturalistic basis for such things (not for libertarian free will, which doesn’t exist), so God need not be brought in as an explainer.

    First of all, even if what you write above is true it would not affect my argument, namely that naturalists can only reasonably claim they don’t agree there is good evidence for God, but not that there is no good evidence for God. And in any case I don’t believe that there is a naturalistic basis for morality, consciousness, beliefs, and beauty, for I have not seen any. The only thing I have seen is naturalists describe the naturalistic basis for moral behavior, or for intelligent (and hence conscious-like) behavior, or for why people tend to describe some stimuli as beautiful, and so on – which is a different issue altogether. Moreover, modern naturalist philosophers have written papers dealing with the fact that it has proven to be very hard to “naturalize” these concepts, i.e. to find a way to make sense of what these concepts refer to within a naturalistic understanding of reality.

    As for free will, in your review of Moreland’s book you write: “ Not surprisingly, science-based naturalism discovers no such [supernatural unmoved mover] in the world, since observations of human brains, bodies and behavior always suggest that there *are* causal antecedents for choices and actions."

    Actually, as I have argued before in this forum, it is possible for all physical phenomena to be causally closed *and* for transcendental agents to supernaturally and massively affect them. So the suggestion you mention above is not really supported by the facts, for the facts are compatible both with the non-existence and with the existence of transcendental first-movers.

    Besides which, from a scientific standpoint (hence a naturalistic standpoint) there has to be *independent* observational, public evidence for God’s existence apart from his playing such a convenient explanatory role. Such evidence is lacking.

    Most people agree with the validity of abductive reasoning, i.e. with inferences to the best explanation. That's how much of science is done anyway. For example that's why we believe that electrons exist.

    [continued in the next post]

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    Tom Clark wrote:

    As explained before, naturalists *aren’t* committed to the existence of an ultimately mechanical reality, only to a maximally reliable method of ascertaining what reality is like, that of philosophically informed and self-critical science.

    I see two problems here: First, the goal of the scientific method is to mathematically model phenomena, and as naturalism is based on scientific knowledge it can only produce a mechanistic view of reality. Secondly, the idea that the maximally reliable method of ascertaining what reality is like is that of philosophically informed and self-critical science strikes me as a probably false one, because science only uses objective data (data about physical phenomena) and ignores subjective data (the first person data of our experience). Ignoring a huge part of the data at our disposal can’t be the most reliable method for finding out how reality is like. Of course this is not a problem for science which only uses objective data because that’s all it needs for its purposes. Now the naturalist probably believes that subjective data are reducible to objective data and are therefore not significant – but this belief goes far beyond the commitment to reliable epistemology, and indeed runs against several good arguments within the field of the mind-body problem. In short, the naturalistic belief that subjective data are not needed to find out how reality is, strikes me as a faith based and highly dubious commitment. And what’s worse, when that epistemology produces results which go against subjective data, such as our experience of free will or our sense of the objectivity of some moral values, the naturalist is prepared to deny them, making the ad hoc claim that they are some kind of “illusion”.

    I personally believe that the most reliable method for finding out about reality is by thinking about the whole of the human condition, an epistemology that I find clearly more reasonable than naturalism’s. Some people conclude that the only way to make sense of the whole of the human condition is to recognize the existence of God, and even that some knowledge is given to us by divine revelation. But even if one disagrees with some of these conclusions, the full empiricism that theism’s epistemology entails is superior to the truncated one of naturalism.

    The basis for naturalism is simply a commitment to our most reliable way of justifying beliefs about what exists (science), and the evidence for that reliability is our ability to predict and control phenomena.

    I don’t see why the fact that using scientific knowledge about phenomena we are able to control them implies that science is the most reliable way for finding out how reality is. It seems to me there is huge and unjustified conceptual jump here.

    I think that’s a key issue. Here is a quote from the epistemology page at Naturalism.org: "About the most crucial distinction we can make as cognitive creatures is between appearance and reality, between how things seem and how they really are, between subjectivity and objectivity.

    I couldn’t agree more. We see then that the fact that reality *appears* to be wholly naturalistic (as the scientific study of phenomena has pretty conclusively shown) does not in any way imply that reality *is* wholly naturalistic. To commit oneself to this implication is a subjective and hasty reaction. Indeed as I have described in my last post to this thread modern science has discovered sets of phenomena which are very hard to naturalize, i.e. where it has proven to be extremely difficult to describe a mechanistic reality that would produce them. Thus modern science has supplied the evidence for arguing that reality is *not* wholly naturalistic, which is surely a highly unexpected and significant development. Even if one restricts oneself to thinking about the objective data in our disposal naturalism is found to be wanting.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08414754510736349472 Tom Clark

    Dianelos,

    Thanks again for your replies. I think we're making progress in clarifying, if not resolving, our disagreements. Sorry if some of what's said in the next two ro three posts repeats earlier comments.

    Tom: “Naturalism takes science as its basic epistemology (along with any philosophically derived emendations), so whatever our philo-scientific investigations end up saying about the function of consciousness will be incorporated into the naturalistic picture of consciousness.”

    Dianelos: This does not sound right. If our philo-scientific investigations resulted in the view that the only coherent ontology is one that includes the existence of God would then naturalists start believing in God while remaining naturalists?

    If good evidence came in to support the existence of God, then we’d believe in him and perforce stop being naturalists. This points up a possible asymmetry in our positions, namely, I’m wondering if there’s anything you can imagine that would change your mind about God. If there isn’t, then it seems to me your belief in God isn’t responsive to reality.

    Tom: “But the empirical, scientific question is whether it’s possible in the world we’re actually in for consciousness *not* to be present, given the material, functional, and representational states instantiated by human beings."

    Dianelos: I don’t see how this is an empirical or scientific question, given that it appears to be impossible to objectively ascertain whether consciousness is present or not, never mind answer deep questions about it. Anyway I do agree that this is a meaningful question and I agree that the most plausible answer is “no”. Still I don’t see how this connects with Chalmers’s zombie argument. Chalmers is not claiming that our world and the zombie world are identical, but only that these are two worlds in which all possible objective observations would be identical, and hence where all scientific and physical facts (including all “material, functional, and representational states instantiated by human beings”) are identical.

    It seems to me that questions about the existence and nature of consciousness are broadly speaking empirical, since we’re presumably studying something that exists, even if the only evidence for it are first-person reports. Chalmers makes a claim about the nature consciousness: that it could *not* be present even if all other facts are identical between worlds. This claim, it seems to me, is driven by his operative conception of consciousness, one that may not be correct. He can’t know *for sure* he’s right in his conception of consciousness. Whether he is or not is for our ongoing investigation of consciousness to determine.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08414754510736349472 Tom Clark

    Tom: “The theistic evidence you cite rests on the claim that no naturalistic basis exists for morality, consciousness, beliefs, beauty, etc., therefore God *must* exist as their source. But as argued in my review of Moreland, that claim is unjustified: there *is* a naturalistic basis for such things (not for libertarian free will, which doesn’t exist), so God need not be brought in as an explainer.”

    Dianelos: First of all, even if what you write above is true it would not affect my argument, namely that naturalists can only reasonably claim they don’t agree there is good evidence for God, but not that there is no good evidence for God. And in any case I don’t believe that there is a naturalistic basis for morality, consciousness, beliefs, and beauty, for I have not seen any. The only thing I have seen is naturalists describe the naturalistic basis for moral behavior, or for intelligent (and hence conscious-like) behavior, or for why people tend to describe some stimuli as beautiful, and so on – which is a different issue altogether. Moreover, modern naturalist philosophers have written papers dealing with the fact that it has proven to be very hard to “naturalize” these concepts, i.e. to find a way to make sense of what these concepts refer to within a naturalistic understanding of reality.

    Here we reach the bedrock issue of our different ideas about what counts as good evidence, as well as our different ideas about where normative force comes from. You think first person data is good evidence, while I don’t (about which see my next post or the one after). For you, normative force can only come from God, while I find that norms get their grip by virtue of my being constituted a certain way (by evolution) and see no need or possibility for any further injunction or basis to behave morally (see here and here). That some things such as morality and consciousness might be difficult to naturalize doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Naturalism isn't over yet!

    Tom: “Not surprisingly, science-based naturalism discovers no such [supernatural unmoved mover] in the world, since observations of human brains, bodies and behavior always suggest that there *are* causal antecedents for choices and actions."

    Dianelos: Actually, as I have argued before in this forum, it is possible for all physical phenomena to be causally closed *and* for transcendental agents to supernaturally and massively affect them. So the suggestion you mention above is not really supported by the facts, for the facts are compatible both with the non-existence and with the existence of transcendental first-movers.

    Yes, you’ve make the claim that it’s possible for all physical phenomena to be causally closed *and* for transcendental agents to supernaturally and massively affect them, but you haven’t suggested an explanation for how that works. As someone interested in transparent explanations, I’m not about to sign on to what seems like an empty proposal.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08414754510736349472 Tom Clark

    Tom: “Besides which, from a scientific standpoint (hence a naturalistic standpoint) there has to be *independent* observational, public evidence for God’s existence apart from his playing such a convenient explanatory role. Such evidence is lacking.”

    Dianelos: Most people agree with the validity of abductive reasoning, i.e. with inferences to the best explanation. That's how much of science is done anyway. For example that's why we believe that electrons exist.

    Inferences to the best explanation usually involve independent reasons to suppose an explanatory construct exists. There are good independent reasons to posit the existence of electrons besides their explanatory role in, say, chemical bonding, since there are directly observed macro effects of their existence independent of that explanation, e.g., lightning, static. We also have a well-confirmed, unified, comprehensive theory that specifies the exact characteristics of electrons and how those characteristics produce their observed effects. None of this is true for God, who remains a patently unexplained, unspecified explainer.

    Tom: “As explained before, naturalists *aren’t* committed to the existence of an ultimately mechanical reality, only to a maximally reliable method of ascertaining what reality is like, that of philosophically informed and self-critical science.”

    Dianelos: I see two problems here: First, the goal of the scientific method is to mathematically model phenomena, and as naturalism is based on scientific knowledge it can only produce a mechanistic view of reality. Secondly, the idea that the maximally reliable method of ascertaining what reality is like is that of philosophically informed and self-critical science strikes me as a probably false one, because science only uses objective data (data about physical phenomena) and ignores subjective data (the first person data of our experience). Ignoring a huge part of the data at our disposal can’t be the most reliable method for finding out how reality is like. Of course this is not a problem for science which only uses objective data because that’s all it needs for its purposes. Now the naturalist probably believes that subjective data are reducible to objective data and are therefore not significant – but this belief goes far beyond the commitment to reliable epistemology, and indeed runs against several good arguments within the field of the mind-body problem. In short, the naturalistic belief that subjective data are not needed to find out how reality is, strikes me as a faith based and highly dubious commitment. And what’s worse, when that epistemology produces results which go against subjective data, such as our experience of free will or our sense of the objectivity of some moral values, the naturalist is prepared to deny them, making the ad hoc claim that they are some kind of “illusion”.

    I address the issue of mathematics and mechanism in the next post. Re objective vs. subjective data: Science doesn’t discount reports of experience and their content, but it rightly discounts the idea that the content of an experience (e.g., the embrace of God, the feeling of having contra-causal free will) necessarily entails the existence of what the content *refers* to (God, contra-causal free will). So the naturalist doesn’t discount subjective experience as an illusion (the *experience* is real enough), but *does* discount the idea that such experience is necessarily a direct reflection of what exists. If we don't, then we might be projecting our subjective impressions onto reality.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08414754510736349472 Tom Clark

    Dianelos: I personally believe that the most reliable method for finding out about reality is by thinking about the whole of the human condition, an epistemology that I find clearly more reasonable than naturalism’s. Some people conclude that the only way to make sense of the whole of the human condition is to recognize the existence of God, and even that some knowledge is given to us by divine revelation. But even if one disagrees with some of these conclusions, the full empiricism that theism’s epistemology entails is superior to the truncated one of naturalism.

    I agree it’s important to think about the whole of the human condition, and to avoid scientism, but when it comes to deciding what exists, what you call the “full empiricism” of theism fails to guard sufficiently against projecting our wishes onto the world. See my contribution to 50 Voices of Disbelief, The Cognitive Shortcomings of Belief in God.

    Tom: “The basis for naturalism is simply a commitment to our most reliable way of justifying beliefs about what exists (science), and the evidence for that reliability is our ability to predict and control phenomena.”

    Dianelos: I don’t see why the fact that using scientific knowledge about phenomena we are able to [predict and] control them implies that science is the most reliable way for finding out how reality is. It seems to me there is huge and unjustified conceptual jump here.

    Ok, then you have to propose a better criterion for reliable knowledge.

    I think that’s a key issue. Here is a quote from the epistemology page at Naturalism.org: "About the most crucial distinction we can make as cognitive creatures is between appearance and reality, between how things seem and how they really are, between subjectivity and objectivity.”

    I couldn’t agree more. We see then that the fact that reality *appears* to be wholly naturalistic (as the scientific study of phenomena has pretty conclusively shown) does not in any way imply that reality *is* wholly naturalistic. To commit oneself to this implication is a subjective and hasty reaction. Indeed as I have described in my last post to this thread modern science has discovered sets of phenomena which are very hard to naturalize, i.e. where it has proven to be extremely difficult to describe a mechanistic reality that would produce them. Thus modern science has supplied the evidence for arguing that reality is *not* wholly naturalistic, which is surely a highly unexpected and significant development. Even if one restricts oneself to thinking about the objective data in our disposal naturalism is found to be wanting.

    That we’ve come across things that are difficult to naturalize (but not necessarily impossible, since the attempts at naturalization aren’t over yet, indeed are just getting underway for things such as consciousness) doesn’t provide support for a *theistic* explanation of such things. For that, you need (or at least I need) something like a clear, transparent, intersubjective evidence-based account of how the supernatural creates and sustains the natural. This has never been forthcoming.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08414754510736349472 Tom Clark

    [Last post! My apologies, but the word count restrictions here make this many posts necessary.]

    About naturalism, mathematics and mechanism:

    At the end of your (Dianelos') linked post you say “…while it is easy enough to mechanistically model the observations themselves (indeed science does that), it turns out to be quite difficult to mechanistically model the reality which gives rise to the same observations. Which by itself speaks volumes against scientific naturalism.”

    I disagree, since after all the mathematical formalism of quantum theory isn’t a mechanistic model of reality (everyday mechanistic relations and objects don’t appear in it), yet it’s fully naturalistic. Although science seeks complete and transparent explanations, some of which are mechanistic, it isn’t limited to what we ordinarily describe as mechanisms in its mathematics or theoretical entities/processes. So a naturalistic worldview isn’t limited to a mechanistic worldview.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    Tom Clarke said: “If good evidence came in to support the existence of God, then we’d believe in him and perforce stop being naturalists.

    Yes, but you defined naturalism as whatever ontology one arrives at when using a particular epistemology, which, you now say, *may* produce non-naturalism. But this is an incoherent definition. It’s like saying that an apple is whatever one finds when one opens this box, and then agreeing that when one opens this box one may also find a banana. I don’t think that it is a good idea to define an ontology based on the epistemology one trusts. Clearly both naturalism and theism entail some core beliefs about how reality is.

    Tom said: “It seems to me that questions about the existence and nature of consciousness are broadly speaking empirical, since we’re presumably studying something that exists, even if the only evidence for it are first-person reports.

    I assume you mean “first-person data”. After all, first-person *reports* are third-person data and do not represent evidence for consciousness.

    Given then the existence of consciousness as entailed by first-person data, the scientific naturalist who believes that everything that exists can be discovered by the scientific method which relies exclusively on third-person data is driven into a contradiction. Putting it in other words, the fact that the only evidence for consciousness is first-person data there is existential knowledge which is not accessible using exclusively third-person data. (Incidentally and strictly speaking all data is subjective because all data is based on personal experience; the “first-person” and “third-person” distinction simply refers to the fact that many experiences have a quantitative and a qualitative dimension. So, for example, one can measure the size of an apple but one cannot measure how the redness of the apple looks like.)

    Tom said: “[Chalmers’s] claim, it seems to me, is driven by his operative conception of consciousness, one that may not be correct. He can’t know *for sure* he’s right in his conception of consciousness.

    Well, I am not sure there is such a thing as a “conception” of consciousness; rather consciousness is a precondition for conceptualizations. And even though I do agree we can’t know *for sure* (we can be sure about very few things), Chalmers’s zombie argument strikes me as overwhelmingly convincing. I see no reason to even slightly suspect that there is a logical impossibility in the existence of world where all physical facts are identical to the ones in our world, but where no consciousness exists. And I have never seen anyone explain what kind of logical impossibility that may be. I think it’s vacuous to suggest that “perhaps the very conceptions used in the argument are mistaken”, because exactly the same objection can be used against any successful argument whatsoever.

    Tom said: “Here we reach the bedrock issue of our different ideas about what counts as good evidence, as well as our different ideas about where normative force comes from. You think first person data is good evidence, while I don’t (about which see my next post or the one after).

    “Evidence” is actually an ambiguous word, for it sometimes stands for “premise” and sometimes it stands for “argument” based on premises. What I’d like to insist is that first-person data are absolutely certain and therefore can be used as premises for arguments. The arguments (or in general the beliefs) we build using first-person data may be erroneous, but this is always a danger, whether one uses first-person, third-person, or both types of data. So the possibility of error is no good reason to exclude first-person data from our reasoning. Indeed the more I think about it the more I think that to do so is a grave epistemic error, for, as Chalmers says, data are data.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    Tom said: “For you, normative force can only come from God, while I find that norms get their grip by virtue of my being constituted a certain way (by evolution) and see no need or possibility for any further injunction or basis to behave morally.”

    I take it you mean that our sociobiological evolution produces brains that tend to think in a particular way about what ought to be. Let’s overlook the epistemic problem of how to proceed when two brains disagree, and assume that what ought to be is what the clear majority of brains agrees about, and that when no such majority is present then the issue about what ought to be is undefined. Would you then say that what the majority of brains agrees with defines what is “good”? After all sociobiological evolution is probably a chaotic process with many possible outcomes. For example, if the Nazis had developed atomic weapons first then perhaps the solid majority today would agree with the extermination of the “lesser” races; would that physical fact make such extermination a good thing? Or, to take an actual example, a solid majority today would agree that people are entitled to use any legal loophole they can find in order to minimize their taxes; does this make the avoidance of paying one’s fair share of taxes as long as it is quite legal, a good thing? I think it’s obvious that according to what we normally mean by ethics the answer is “no”.

    In conclusion I think it’s really hard to find a way to fit ethics as normally understood within a naturalistic understanding of reality. So there are three possibilities: Either there is a very sophisticated way to fit ethical values within a naturalistic reality which no philosopher has yet discovered, or else ethical values in their normal sense do not exist, or else naturalism is false.

    Tom said: “That some things such as morality and consciousness might be difficult to naturalize doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Naturalism isn't over yet!”

    I certainly hope so, not least because only good can come from comparing different ontological worldviews. I’d like to suggest that naturalism can be strengthened by moving away from a materialistic understanding of reality. (Indeed in this forum Keith Pansons has explained that he is not a materialist). That the physical sciences exclusively study physical objects does not imply that reality consists of physical objects only. Indeed scientific naturalism comes from reifying scientific models of phenomena, which is an at least prima facie questionable epistemology, and which moreover has proven to be quite problematic. More about this later.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    Tom said: “Yes, you’ve make the claim that it’s possible for all physical phenomena to be causally closed *and* for transcendental agents to supernaturally and massively affect them, but you haven’t suggested an explanation for how that works.

    I thought I had: From all possible futures which are compatible with the God created natural order and with nature's causal closure, God at every moment randomly instantiates one which comports with His/Her will as well as with the will of all created free agents. From what we know of quantum mechanics this is entirely possible. Now perhaps you mean that I have not explained exactly *how* God achieves all this. If so, there are three points I’d like to make: First, to ask a theist who does not have a mechanistic understanding of reality to explain what mechanisms are at work at the deepest levels of reality, makes no sense. Secondly, the naturalist cannot describe such mechanisms either; for example the naturalist probably believes that mass bends spacetime but cannot describe the mechanism of how matter achieves this. So both naturalistic and theistic explanations must ultimately be based on what must be considered to be brute facts. Finally, please observe that the deepest theistic explanations are not those which describe the “how”, but rather those which describe the “why”, namely the reason for which God would want us and our experiential environment to be the way they are and not some other way. Given this I’d argue that theism is very much restricted and hence falsifiable: by showing that we and/or our experiential environment are not as one would expect if God existed is an argument against the existence of God. It is strange that some atheists on the one hand claim that the existence of God is unfalsifiable, and on the other hand propose an entire list of arguments from evil that try to falsify the existence of God. In contrast I find naturalism much less restricted: Anything goes as long as it can be modeled mathematically (i.e. describes a mechanism). Hence some recent and really wild naturalistic descriptions of reality, which give the impression of trying to be as complex and least plausible as possible, see for example the various multiverse theories.

    Tom said: “Inferences to the best explanation usually involve independent reasons to suppose an explanatory construct exists. There are good independent reasons to posit the existence of electrons besides their explanatory role in, say, chemical bonding, since there are directly observed macro effects of their existence independent of that explanation, e.g., lightning, static. We also have a well-confirmed, unified, comprehensive theory that specifies the exact characteristics of electrons and how those characteristics produce their observed effects. None of this is true for God, who remains a patently unexplained, unspecified explainer.

    I agree that the wider the range of data which an explanation covers, the more confident we can be about this explanation. For example we both believe that electrons exist because their existence is the best explanation for a wide range of physical data. Similarly I believe that God exists because I find that His/Her existence is the best explanation for what is ultimately *all* data I have: the whole range of my experience of life. The types of the explanation may be different, in the sense that in the case of the electron the explanations are of a mechanistic nature, whereas in the case of God the explanations are fundamentally of a personal nature, but I don’t see any reason why an agnostic considering the evidence should only accept mechanistic explanations. The value of an explanation does not lie with its form, but with its effectiveness, including its predictive power.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    Tom said: “Re objective vs. subjective data: Science doesn’t discount reports of experience and their content, but it rightly discounts the idea that the content of an experience (e.g., the embrace of God, the feeling of having contra-causal free will) necessarily entails the existence of what the content *refers* to (God, contra-causal free will). So the naturalist doesn’t discount subjective experience as an illusion (the *experience* is real enough), but *does* discount the idea that such experience is necessarily a direct reflection of what exists. If we don't, then we might be projecting our subjective impressions onto reality.

    I am not sure whether you are talking about science or about naturalism here. In any case I don’t think that any serious theist claims that the feeling of being embraced by God necessarily entails the existence of God. Rather the claim is that such experiences which can become quite forceful and life-enriching comport extremely well with the belief that God exists, and up to a significant point serve as justification for that belief. If the quality of one’s experience of interacting with other persons gives one warrant that other minds exist, I don’t quite see why the quality of one’s experience of interacting with God cannot give one warrant that God exists. Now the question of illusions is a valid one. How do we distinguish between genuine knowledge and illusory beliefs? I think the answer lies with the pragmatic usefulness of the beliefs. A belief (or system of beliefs) which is empirically found to work in a way that is both consistent and empowering is presumably true. Indeed it’s on these grounds that we do not become solipsists.

    Philosophers do recognize the link between usefulness and truth. In the chapter “Basis of Christian Belief” of the book “The Case Against Christianity” atheist (but not materialist) philosopher Michael Martin explains that there are two types of justification, and calls them epistemic and beneficial ones. Epistemic justifications are those which make a belief more probably true, and beneficial ones are those who benefit the believer and others. But he then claims that there is a strong presumption that one should only use epistemic justifications. I disagree, for it seems to me that ultimately only beneficial justifications exist; after all we base our trust in epistemic principles exclusively on how well the same are found to work in a way that serves our purposes. It is by checking out how well epistemic principles pan out that we accept that justifications based on such principles make the belief more probably true. So it seems to me that ultimately all knowledge is based on beneficial or pragmatical grounds.

    Some atheists, such as Sam Harris, make fun of the suggestion that if a belief is found to be useful it must also be true. Indeed it’s easy enough to find specific counter-examples, but my case here is general: I can’t see how one can divorce the very nature of “truth” from the concept of “usefulness”. Now it is just conceivable that reality is such that the more truth one knows the less well off one is [1]. So let me propose a variant of Pascal’s wager: Let’s call a reality with an ultimately negative correlation between knowledge and well-being a “negative reality”, and a reality with a positive correlation a “positive reality”. Now the one who bets that reality is positive will certainly have the better life, whereas the one who bets that reality is negative will not necessarily have the truer beliefs.

    [1] To think that reality is negative comes perilously close to be an absurdity though. It would be like believing that the more truths about gardening a gardener knows the worse the garden he tends will be.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    Tom said: “I agree it’s important to think about the whole of the human condition, and to avoid scientism, but when it comes to deciding what exists, what you call the “full empiricism” of theism fails to guard sufficiently against projecting our wishes onto the world.

    Of course wishing for something does not make it true. On the other hand wishing for something does not make it false either. Actually the whole idea of “religion is wishful thinking” is a confusing one. First of all much of popular religion resembles a nightmare rather than wishful thinking. On the other hand it is undeniable that theism must be very close to wishful thinking. After all if, as theism has it, reality is based on the existence of a person who is perfect in all respects, namely God, then any coherent description of reality must sound like wishful thinking. For if reality is less good than what one can possibly imagine, then it can’t be the case that God exists, for God would have created the world at least as well as one can imagine. Having said that I agree that it is an error to project our own sometimes base wishes onto the world; rather one should consider what a perfect being’s wishes would be like and compare them to one’s actual experience of the world. If they fit then this clearly counts as extremely powerful evidence for the existence of God. Indeed that’s what theodicy is about.

    (I read your piece “Cognitive Shortcomings of Belief in God”. I would like to say that theism at its best does not claim that “reality is split between two categorically different realms, the natural and the supernatural”. Rather the idea is that the natural is an aspect of the supernatural, a particular manifestation of the supernatural to our five senses, a manifestation which is intersubjectively measurable and amenable to mathematical modeling. Theists see in the mathematical elegance and closure of the natural phenomena a mark of God’s genius.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    Tom: “Ok, then you have to propose a better criterion for reliable knowledge.

    My criterion is simply that what works, works. After all what really counts are successful results. It’s the results which justify the epistemology used, and not the other way around. If I form new beliefs about walls and these beliefs cause me to start bumping into them, then these new beliefs must be wrong no matter the epistemology used; actually pragmatic failure should be grounds for rejecting the epistemology used. Similarly what ultimately counts is what set of beliefs about reality help me achieve my ends in it, namely to have a good life and be a good person. And if such beliefs describe a view of reality which is conceptually coherent as well as beautiful, while competing worldviews fail on both these counts, then so much the better.

    Tom: “That we’ve come across things that are difficult to naturalize (but not necessarily impossible, since the attempts at naturalization aren’t over yet, indeed are just getting underway for things such as consciousness) doesn’t provide support for a *theistic* explanation of such things.

    I don’t agree that we are getting underway for naturalizing consciousness. In any case my argument was that naturalists are now having trouble even naturalizing some physical phenomena – surely that’s a highly unexpected turn of events.

    Tom: “ For [theistic explanations to work], you need (or at least I need) something like a clear, transparent, intersubjective evidence-based account of how the supernatural creates and sustains the natural. This has never been forthcoming.

    First of all it is clear that it is not reasonable to demand physical evidence for a non-physical being. Nevertheless, if God had so wanted, God could have provided us with such physical evidence, but this only leaves open the question of why God has chosen not to. I think the answer is not difficult to see. For one, any physical evidence for God's existence would be misleading. Even without such physical evidence some people insist in asking questions about God which only make sense for physical things, such as where God is located in the universe.

    But perhaps under “clear, transparent, intersubjective evidence-based account of how the supernatural creates and sustains the natural” you don’t necessarily mean physical evidence. But then it’s not clear what kind of evidence you are asking for. On the other it is true that the existence of God is not obvious. Why God should choose not to make His/Her existence obvious is again a valid question, which I think theists such as John Hick have answered with remarkable success. Let me here suggest a less sophisticated answer than his: If someone were to offer you a blue pill which would instantly give you such knowledge of mathematics (or of dancing for that matter) one would normally need years to master, then would you I wonder take that pill? After all there is not only value in knowing, but there is also value in learning. Indeed it is often the case that the value of one’s state depends on how one got there. So perhaps one who learned about God with some effort is better off than one who was given that knowledge for free as it were. Moreover, perhaps genuine love for a person can only come from a dynamic process of acquaintance.

    Finally, I think it’s important not to place the epistemic bar so high that one oneself cannot jump over it. So, for example, if I were to demand of naturalists to present “clear, transparent, intersubjective, evidence-based account” of how dumb matter is capable all by itself to behave in a highly complex manner amenable to sophisticated mathematical modeling, and declare that I need such an account before accepting that naturalism’s explanations work – then naturalists would be unable to fulfill my declared need. This is not reasonable. As I said before, any worldview must be based on some given brute facts.

    [continued in the next post]

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    Now the naturalist may argue that theism’s brute facts, and basically the supernatural powers of God, strike them as very prima-facie implausible. I can understand this reaction but in return would like to ask naturalists how, barred magic, are elementary physical particles without any internal moving parts and without any access to computing machinery capable of displaying such a computationally complex behavior. As far as I can see the properties of what naturalism says are the basic building blocks of reality are extremely prima-facie implausible too. Not to mention the various naturalistic macro-theories of reality, such as the multiverse theories, which are not only wildly prima-facie implausible, but also have implications for ourselves that defy credulity (see for example the issue of “quantum suicide”). My argument is that those naturalists who judge that naturalism is more prima-facie plausible than theism are stuck with the late 19th century’s naturalism and are unaware how far into the incredible naturalism has moved since then because of the pressures of modern science. In any case I think that prima-facie plausibility is one of the weakest criteria one can use when comparing ontologies.

    Tom said: “ I disagree, since after all the mathematical formalism of quantum theory isn’t a mechanistic model of reality (everyday mechanistic relations and objects don’t appear in it), yet it’s fully naturalistic. Although science seeks complete and transparent explanations, some of which are mechanistic, it isn’t limited to what we ordinarily describe as mechanisms in its mathematics or theoretical entities/processes. So a naturalistic worldview isn’t limited to a mechanistic worldview.

    There is a misunderstanding here. When I say “mechanistic” I mean “amenable to mathematical modeling” without specifying anything about “everyday mechanistic relations or objects”. It would suffice if naturalism were capable of mathematically modeling a reality capable of producing the phenomena that science describes, no matter how far removed from our everyday experience of physical objects and their behavior that model may be. Indeed the naturalization of general relativity is far away from our everyday experience (it makes distance and time relative to the observer, and even specifies a variable geometry for them) but is accepted as valid nonetheless.

    I think a fundamental naturalistic mistake is to believe that science describes reality. As a matter of fact science only describes phenomena without making any assumptions about the underlying reality. That’s why the philosophical field of ontology exists. Take, for example, as simple a case of an everyday object as an apple. Classical science (Newtonian mechanics) describes the phenomenon of how apples fall using the concept of “mass”, but without stating anything about what mass actually is in reality, or indeed whether it objectively exists apart from being a parameter in the mathematical order it discovers in phenomena.

    What has changed is this: In classical mechanics up and including general relativity there has always been a direct way to reify scientific models and thus interpret them as describing reality too. The discovery of quantum mechanics has stopped this comfortable impression, as it has proven extremely hard for naturalists to describe a mechanistic reality capable of producing the phenomena which quantum mechanics so successfully describes.

    Arguably the most successful mechanistic description of reality naturalists have come up with is Everett’s “many worlds” interpretation. In this post I described four simple table-top experiments. I will post there the description of the mechanistic reality capable of producing the respective observations according to this naturalistic interpretation of quantum mechanics, and leave it to the reader to decide how reasonable it is to actually believe that reality is like that.

  • Pingback: air max femme pas cher

  • Pingback: louis vuitton outlet


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X