Joined: Oct. 2006
|[b]Clueless Mockery at PT[/]|
For there to be a truth, there must be a proposition whose content is true or has the property of being true. Propositions are intentional entities; they have a content which is intrinsically and essentially (non-derivatively) about their object, and it is this content which can have the property of being true. So in order for the materialist to claim that truth exists, she must claim that propositional content which can have the property of being true is material, but how in the world can there be a material state be intrinsically about an object, and how can a material state possibly have the property of being true? Intrinsic, non-derivative content here is key, and it is just nonsensical to think of a material state which is about another material state in virtue of its truth, its falsity, or anything else.
These issues were first articulated (in this form, apart from the problem of consciousness) by Franz Brentano in 1874 and have become known as Brentano's thesis. It points to a genuine paradox within philosophy and has generated a huge literature addressing the problem of naturalizing intentionality. As the Cranster well knows, many toughminded philosophers (e.g. Rorty, Searle, Fodor, Pylyshyn, Dennett, Stalnaker, Quine, Putnam, Stich, Bogdan, the Churchlands, Chalmers, Haugland, on and on) have grappled with the question and suggested various solutions, and progress has been in made in framing the problem. None have suggested that a return to dualism gets it done. †
However, if Crandaddy hopes that dualism solves this problem, and takes comfort from this struggle to naturalize intentionality, he need only restate his question to disabuse himself of this hope (edited for clarity):
"But how in the world can a non-material state be intrinsically about an object, and how can a non-material state possibly have the property of being true?" †
Apparently, the Cranster thinks this is an easier question. I'd be interested in the philosophical program he is pursuing to address himself to it, because "non-material intentional state" surely raises more questions than it answers. Such an account confronts all of the paradoxes with which naturalism grapples - all the while having no way to think productively about the non-material and its relationship to the biological information processing that goes on within the human organism, which surely underlies human intentionality. Does he suppose the non-material supports representation in a manner similar to computation? Similar to neural nets? How do spiritual states of affairs refer to either spiritual or material states of affairs? Do angels dancing on the head of a pin display real intentionality, or only derived intentionality?
It's a non-starter, and the Cranster knows it. †One hopes.
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.
"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace
"Here‚Äôs a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington