Posts tagged ‘physicalism’

May 2, 2015

Why I am not a materialist — take 2

by Neil Rickert

In an earlier post (almost three years ago), I asserted that I am not a materialist.  I have had people argue with me about that, and suggest that I was being disingenuous.

In the debates between Rupert Sheldrake and Michael Shermer, Shedrake’s opening statement includes a bunch of questions related to materialism, that he poses to Shermer.  So I thought I would give my answers to those questions.  And then you can decide for yourself whether I should be considered a materialist.


Sheldrake’s first question: Is nature mechanical?

I have never thought so.  I take biological organisms to be an important part of what we mean by “nature”, and biology has always seemed very different from mechanics.  Rocks, earthquakes, etc — yes, I consider those to be mechanical.  But not living things.

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October 19, 2014

Physicalism, materialism and all that

by Neil Rickert

I have previously posted about why I am not a materialist.  In this post I’ll say a little more on that topic.  This clarification is partly related to my current reading of Dembski’s new book.  Dembski seems to think that materialists are missing something important.  He says, parenthetically, “intelligent design being, frankly, incredible within the materialistic metaphysics that dominates so much of contemporary intellectual life.”  Given that I am not a materialist, it must be something else that leaves me unpersuaded by Dembski’s argument.  However, I presume that Dembski will conclude that I am a materialist in spite of my denial.

For starters, here are two relevant posts by John Wilkins:

John does seem to consider himself a physicalist.

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July 16, 2012

Why I am not a materialist

by Neil Rickert

More properly, my title should probably be “Why I claim that I am not a materialist.”  I say that, because I am often called a materialist, usually by creationists or id proponents whom I have engaged in debate.  So I guess that I should allow the possibility that I am mistaken about whether I am a materialist.

While there are some differences between materialism, physicalism and naturalism, most of what I say in this post will apply to all.

For those who are not sure what materialism, physicalism and naturalism entail, may I suggest that you check the entries in Wikipedia, SEP (Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy) and other online sources.  When you have finished reading those, you might still be unsure what these isms entail, but your time reading them won’t have been wasted.

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