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  • #31
    Does the idea, that living or conscious beings are no substance on their own, but merely a composition of the fundamental substances, commit one to an extreme reductive/eliminative materialism when applied in a physicalistic framework?

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Kwlsk View Post
      Does the idea, that living or conscious beings are no substance on their own, but merely a composition of the fundamental substances, commit one to an extreme reductive/eliminative materialism when applied in a physicalistic framework?
      Not necessarily. Are you saying it is like an accidental arrangement of substances that all share in one consciousness?

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      • #33
        Originally posted by RomanJoe View Post

        Not necessarily. Are you saying it is like an accidental arrangement of substances that all share in one consciousness?
        I got this idea from reading the discussions with Walter on the Feser-Oppy debate., where he claimed that nothing, here: "Substances", never goes out of existence. Of course, since we all are mortal, human beings go out of existence. From the first point it follows, that with a human starting to exist, no new substance is introduced. The way I see it is if we see human beings as the collection of substances, instead of an own substance, this runs contrary to the idea of emergence. In a physicalistic framework, where we can´t rely on Aristotelian forms or other immaterial aspects, it would entail that every property must be reducible to the substances, which seems to entail reductive/eliminative materialism. Where did I go wrong?

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Kwlsk View Post

          I got this idea from reading the discussions with Walter on the Feser-Oppy debate., where he claimed that nothing, here: "Substances", never goes out of existence. Of course, since we all are mortal, human beings go out of existence. From the first point it follows, that with a human starting to exist, no new substance is introduced. The way I see it is if we see human beings as the collection of substances, instead of an own substance, this runs contrary to the idea of emergence. In a physicalistic framework, where we can´t rely on Aristotelian forms or other immaterial aspects, it would entail that every property must be reducible to the substances, which seems to entail reductive/eliminative materialism. Where did I go wrong?
          I don't think that's right. Why suppose that substances can't got out of existence? This happens every time there's substantial change. Unless you're taking a reductionist approach to reality, where substantial change is merely accidental change.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by RomanJoe View Post

            I don't think that's right. Why suppose that substances can't got out of existence? This happens every time there's substantial change. Unless you're taking a reductionist approach to reality, where substantial change is merely accidental change.
            To be clear, I don´t hold onto that view, since I see with life being new substances introduced. If I understand Walter´s point right, he concluded from ex nihilo nihil fit, that the opposite has to be true too, that something can´t become nothing. Now, of course, there are several problems, since a classical theist with creatio ex nihilo, doesn´t mean literally nothing, but created from Gods essence (if I have the terminology right). The secularist, as we know, is of course committed to a contingent brute fact at the bottom of existence, an unitelligible substance. Walter takes those substances to be non-composite and having their existence come from their substance (probably a Fregean notion).
            The crucial, and in my view neckbreaking, part comes that he wants to argue from that, that substances never go out of existence. There is no new substance introduced apart from the very bottom level, so life beginning and ending is not an argument against that. This is basically where my question comes in: Can I reduce this notion into absurdity, through the way mentioned above or am I wrong?

            I have seen similar views echoed in the past few weeks a few times now, and I am becoming more confident that this is a non-starter to begin with.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Kwlsk View Post

              To be clear, I don´t hold onto that view, since I see with life being new substances introduced. If I understand Walter´s point right, he concluded from ex nihilo nihil fit, that the opposite has to be true too, that something can´t become nothing. Now, of course, there are several problems, since a classical theist with creatio ex nihilo, doesn´t mean literally nothing, but created from Gods essence (if I have the terminology right). The secularist, as we know, is of course committed to a contingent brute fact at the bottom of existence, an unitelligible substance. Walter takes those substances to be non-composite and having their existence come from their substance (probably a Fregean notion).
              The crucial, and in my view neckbreaking, part comes that he wants to argue from that, that substances never go out of existence. There is no new substance introduced apart from the very bottom level, so life beginning and ending is not an argument against that. This is basically where my question comes in: Can I reduce this notion into absurdity, through the way mentioned above or am I wrong?

              I have seen similar views echoed in the past few weeks a few times now, and I am becoming more confident that this is a non-starter to begin with.
              I think you're right then. Assuming that conscious subjects are aggregates of purely unconscious material parts creates a metaphysical gap that can't be crossed unless you qualify the position by saying that the material isn't completely unconscious and that, in some sense, fundamental particles (or whatever) contain idiotic degrees of consciousness. There can't be any semblance of higher powers like sentience, let alone human consciousness, if you reduce humans to merely collections of individual substances which don't have those powers.

              A collection of quarks qua blind matter can never reach across the infinitely-wide ravine to consciousness. He would need to explain the metaphysics behind the seemingly magical emergence of consciousness from the unconscious. Moreover, he would need to explain why, if humans are really just collections of innumerable amounts of fundamental substances, consciousness takes on the simplicity of a unified sole existence--why it is strangely singular. I'm assuming this is what Walter is proposing? That humans are accidental collections of substances that are in themselves unconscious?

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