IF, THEN, ELSE – It’s Not Complicated

Still drafting a longer thesis on my full metaphysics, prompted in this earlier post, but the premises are quite straightforward:

IF – we allow that physics (physicalism / materialism) are
fundamentally about information and processes (ie computation).

THEN – I’m happy to be considered a physicalist, and that all evolved phenomena, including those of subjective consciousness and intuitive right-brained world-views, are also physical, BUT physicalism is then more than materialism (with more than matter & energy as fundamental, see IF).

ELSE – “Orthodox” physical science
cannot explain consciousness.


IF – we allow that physical science involves more than logically objective determinist causation – including an organic subjective perspective.

THEN – I’m happy to agree that all that exists and can be known in the universe can be described by physical science.

ELSE – “Orthodox” physical science has many limitations
and cannot even address “the hard problem” and many more aspects of human subjectivity..

This post prompted by this ludicrous twitter exchange this morning:

And of course the whole thread is simply a follow-on from my two previous posts about the hopelessness of any “definition” of consciousness and definitions generally.

Goff is right on one thing. It’s healthy that public media carry dialogue that is sceptical of physicalism as materialism.


[Post Note:

BTW, I completely give up on Goff as any kind of progressive thinker – his political ideology means he simply cannot see through the dimwit @OwenJones84, a conspiracy theorist of the highest order.

Many patient attempts by @NaturalPhilosopher to get him to see multiple subtle views in the “TERF Wars” for example – another culture war stirred-up by the likes of @OwenJones84 – are rejected or simply ignored. I once called him “close but no cigar” in his pan-psychist thesis, but all evidence in dialogues since suggests he’s just in it for disingenuous mental exercise. He really holds no coherent view on anything. A lost cause imho.]

2 thoughts on “IF, THEN, ELSE – It’s Not Complicated”

  1. Can you tell me what you mean by the word “physical”?

    I assume you’re not talking about our phenomenological experience of “physical” things as the ultimate foundation of the universe, but rather, what physicists mean by “physical”? Since physicists acknowledged that all of their terms, matter, energy, physical, magnetism, etc do not refer to phenomena but are simply abstract conceptual models, I don’t quite understand how physicalism can mean anything but the idea that the universe is based in an abstract conceptual model – thus, as Wolfgang Pauli said, ultimately, physicalism is “not even wrong.”

    I don’t mean to be antagonistic. I honestly have never met a scientist or philosophy who holds a physicalist view who can give even a passing definition of what they mean by “physical” (not counting those who say “physical” is whatever physicists say it is – like Nobel Prize winner Steven Weinberg who, 25 years after winning a Nobel Prize and evidently never having given a second thought to the foundations of physics, decided that (a) his physicist friend was correct that by conventional definitions, science does NOT explain anything, it only describes things; and (b) who cares what non scientists think, they can define “explain” any way they want, and if they (ie Steven Weinberg) want to say physicalist science explains everything, then gosh darn it, it does!

  2. Hi Don. Not antagonistic at all – if anything you are making the same point as me.

    My meaning is my usage in the post, I’m not going to give a “definition” – the debate is about negotiating a better definition and understanding
    It’s why I used the qualifier “orthodox” – so I’m using it as a physicist would use it – anything explainable by a typical 21st C physicist (matter and energy, particles and waves).

    My agenda (well beyond this post) is that fundamental “particles” (Democritan atoms) in the universe are indeed more like raw experience – fundamental “information” in my pan-proto-psychist model.

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