Archive for July 20th, 2013

July 20, 2013

An Alex Rosenberg interview

by Neil Rickert

This post is mainly to point you to an interesting interview with Alex Rosenberg.

which was brought to my attention by Brian Leiter’s blog post.

Rosenberg is a materialist/ naturalist/ physicalist — perhaps we could say that he is a die-hard materialist.  And in this interview, he explains his reductive naturalism.  I am on record as not being a materialist (or physicalist or naturalist).  So you can look to Rosenberg to express some of the views from which I dissent.

I am undecided on whether to have a full post about Rosenberg’s views.  In the meantime, here are a couple of quotes:

How to reconcile physicalism and antireductionism remains a vexed question in biology, in psychology, and of course among metaphysicians as well.

That pretty much summarizes why I am not a materialist or a physicalist.  Namely, I am not a reductionist, and materialism without reductionism does not seem to have any implications worth valuing.

Intentionality—the aboutness of propositional thoughts: a half century of the philosophy of psychology and we still haven’t figured out how it is even possible.

And this is where reductionism fails.

July 20, 2013

“What They Really Need. . .”

by Neil Rickert

I’m reblogging this, because it is so eloquent. I’ll add a comment shortly.

Itinerant Lurker

I heard something in church the other day that’s been bothering me ever since.  That’s not exactly right actually, it’s something that’s always bothered me – even when I was a Christian – but this brought it to the forefront of my thoughts.

Yes, I’m an atheist who goes to church.  I’m even on a first name basis with my pastor.  I even call him “my pastor”.  It’s weird, but I have a family who are all of them Christians, so compromise is kind of the order of the day.  Typically I don’t mind – but this service was different.


There was a team talking about a missions trip they’d recently returned from (a “missions trip” is when a small group of people raise money from a church to go do some sort of mission work in another country for a few weeks) to South America.  They’d worked with families…

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