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4/28/2018 9:59 pm  #11


Re: Hylemorphic dualism and the interaction problem

Greg wrote:

​A lesson of this is that, in reading Ross's "The Immaterial Aspects of Thought," the hylomorphist should not be thinking that since material processes are indeterminate, there must be determinate immaterial​ processes which guarantee the determinacy of thought. To remain in the category of processes here is still to be searching for an efficient cause, and to fail to appreciate that thought's relation to what makes it determinate need not be that.

 
It is an immaterial process. It's not just that it's not a material process; it IS a process, but it is immaterial. We may not know how to correctly analyze it, but it we have sufficient grounds for holding *that* it is an immaterial process. Unless thinking is not a process -- but I find that to be quite false. I agree with Geach and Geach's Wittgenstein that thinking is an activity; that being said, it is an immaterial activity, because it cannot be material. If it's an activity and it's not material, it is an immaterial activity.

As far as treating it in terms of efficient causality, I think we can solve the issues by showing that immaterial existence is more perfect than the material. It seems to me much more simple and plausible to just take thinking to be an immaterial activity and then conclude it is carried out by an immaterial intellect; and if it's efficient causation, so be it: that which is spiritual is more perfect, because it has some kind of potential for universality and determinacy which matter cannot have; and what is material is Being limited to such an extent that it dissipates along space in extension.

The Anscome/Geach line of the "non-material" doesn't help with anything, in my view.

 

4/28/2018 11:50 pm  #12


Re: Hylemorphic dualism and the interaction problem

Miguel wrote:

It is an immaterial process. It's not just that it's not a material process; it IS a process, but it is immaterial. We may not know how to correctly analyze it, but it we have sufficient grounds for holding *that* it is an immaterial process. Unless thinking is not a process -- but I find that to be quite false. I agree with Geach and Geach's Wittgenstein that thinking is an activity; that being said, it is an immaterial activity, because it cannot be material. If it's an activity and it's not material, it is an immaterial activity.

Why ever should I deny that there is a mental process? It is only that "There has just taken place in me the mental process of remembering . . ." means nothing more than "I have just remembered . . ." To deny the mental process would mean to deny the remembering; to deny that anyone ever remembers anything. (PI, §306)

​How does the philosophical problem about mental processes and states and about behaviourism arise? --- The first step is the one that altogether escapes notice. We talk of processes and states, and leave their nature undecided. Sometime perhaps we'll know more about them -- we think. But that's just what commits us to a particular way of looking at the matter. For we have a certain conception of what it means to learn to know a process better. (The decisive movement in the conjuring trick has been made, and it was the very one that seemed to us quite innocent.) -- And now the analogy which was to make us understand our thoughts falls to pieces. So we have to deny the yet uncomprehended process in the yet unexplored medium. And now it looks as if we had denied mental processes. And naturally we don't want to deny them. (PI, §308)

One can of course say that thinking is a process, indeed an immaterial process. The denial was that the nonexistence of any material process to explain thinking should lead one to posit an immaterial process which "guarantee[s]" and thereby explains the determinacy of thinking. Any such process would have the wrong kind of relation to thinking to figure in a hylomorphist account.

​But when I say that thinking is an immaterial process, I mean that there are processes which are thinking and have the immaterial character of thought identified by Anscombe where I quoted her. Thinking aloud can be real thinking, as real as rehearsing the same thoughts in one's head, and it isn't real thinking by bearing some relation to some other​ process. No process with which we are familiar is adequate to the task. No process with which we are not familiar would explain anything. (This is why it's not just a matter of compatibility with hylomorphism. That is a bonus.)

Miguel wrote:

The Anscome/Geach line of the "non-material" doesn't help with anything, in my view.

I'm not sure what by Geach you have in mind, but Anscombe doesn't distinguish between "immaterial" and "non-material" in "Analytic Philosophy and the Spirituality of Man". She just uses "immaterial". What she denies is that the immaterial nature of thought is helpfully and intelligibly analyzed in terms of immaterial processes in immaterial media. She thinks one has to be careful in using the word "immaterial". And that is correct.

 

4/29/2018 1:19 am  #13


Re: Hylemorphic dualism and the interaction problem

Greg wrote:

Miguel wrote:

It is an immaterial process. It's not just that it's not a material process; it IS a process, but it is immaterial. We may not know how to correctly analyze it, but it we have sufficient grounds for holding *that* it is an immaterial process. Unless thinking is not a process -- but I find that to be quite false. I agree with Geach and Geach's Wittgenstein that thinking is an activity; that being said, it is an immaterial activity, because it cannot be material. If it's an activity and it's not material, it is an immaterial activity.

Why ever should I deny that there is a mental process? It is only that "There has just taken place in me the mental process of remembering . . ." means nothing more than "I have just remembered . . ." To deny the mental process would mean to deny the remembering; to deny that anyone ever remembers anything. (PI, §306)

​How does the philosophical problem about mental processes and states and about behaviourism arise? --- The first step is the one that altogether escapes notice. We talk of processes and states, and leave their nature undecided. Sometime perhaps we'll know more about them -- we think. But that's just what commits us to a particular way of looking at the matter. For we have a certain conception of what it means to learn to know a process better. (The decisive movement in the conjuring trick has been made, and it was the very one that seemed to us quite innocent.) -- And now the analogy which was to make us understand our thoughts falls to pieces. So we have to deny the yet uncomprehended process in the yet unexplored medium. And now it looks as if we had denied mental processes. And naturally we don't want to deny them. (PI, §308)

One can of course say that thinking is a process, indeed an immaterial process. The denial was that the nonexistence of any material process to explain thinking should lead one to posit an immaterial process which "guarantee[s]" and thereby explains the determinacy of thinking. Any such process would have the wrong kind of relation to thinking to figure in a hylomorphist account.

​But when I say that thinking is an immaterial process, I mean that there are processes which are thinking and have the immaterial character of thought identified by Anscombe where I quoted her. Thinking aloud can be real thinking, as real as rehearsing the same thoughts in one's head, and it isn't real thinking by bearing some relation to some other​ process. No process with which we are familiar is adequate to the task. No process with which we are not familiar would explain anything. (This is why it's not just a matter of compatibility with hylomorphism. That is a bonus.)

Miguel wrote:

The Anscome/Geach line of the "non-material" doesn't help with anything, in my view.

I'm not sure what by Geach you have in mind, but Anscombe doesn't distinguish between "immaterial" and "non-material" in "Analytic Philosophy and the Spirituality of Man". She just uses "immaterial". What she denies is that the immaterial nature of thought is helpfully and intelligibly analyzed in terms of immaterial processes in immaterial media. She thinks one has to be careful in using the word "immaterial". And that is correct.

 
You just said "one can of course say that thinking is a process, indeed an immaterial process. The denial was that the nonexistence of any material process [...] should lead one to posit an immaterial process", so, what is it? It's not clear to me.

The thing is that thinking is a process, and an immaterial one at that. Thinking is an immaterial activity, and I think it seems somewhat bizarre to suggest we don't cause our thinking activities. Thinking is an activity that is carried out by our intellect, so regardless of how one would want to portray the relation, the activity would be carried out by an immaterial intellect, because by PPC a material intellect wouldn't have the capacity to bring about an activity which has a mode of being that transcends potential material modes of being.

If one wants to avoid efficient causality here, formal causality would have to do most of the work, but I'm not seeing how Anscombe is helping in describing thinking. We could say thinking is dependent on the intellect, as thinking is a process of formal causation within another form (the intellect). But I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't think efficient causality would be too problematic here, because there is no problem with efficient causality is we can show proportionality. And that which is immaterial/spiritual is more perfect than the material, because it have modes of being which transcend material potencies. Or because the immaterial is itself more unified Being when compared to material Being (which is Being dispersed in space, we could say).

My comment on Geach was based on his article "What do we think with?", in which he says that because materialism is false it doesn't follow that immaterialism is true, immaterialism being the doctrine that "a man thinks with an immaterial part of himself"; he then defends some kind of hylemorphic conception, but it doesn't seem to me as robust as it should be. Sure, substance dualism is a wrong way of looking at the relationship between body and soul; human beings are a unity if body and soul, but it still seems quite clear to me that what Geach calls "immaterialism" is in fact true; we do think with an immaterial part of ourselves, we might say. We think with our immaterial intellect.

 

4/29/2018 10:11 am  #14


Re: Hylemorphic dualism and the interaction problem

Miguel wrote:

You just said "one can of course say that thinking is a process, indeed an immaterial process. The denial was that the nonexistence of any material process [...] should lead one to posit an immaterial process", so, what is it? It's not clear to me.

I didn't say that thinking is and is not an immaterial process. You've cut out the part of what I said that rules out that reading. The denial was of a certain way of prejudging what it must be for thinking to be an immaterial process.

Miguel wrote:

The thing is that thinking is a process, and an immaterial one at that. Thinking is an immaterial activity, and I think it seems somewhat bizarre to suggest we don't cause our thinking activities.

Yes, as I said, thinking can be said to be an immaterial process or activity. I didn't say that we don't cause our thinking activities.

Miguel wrote:

Thinking is an activity that is carried out by our intellect, so regardless of how one would want to portray the relation, the activity would be carried out by an immaterial intellect, because by PPC a material intellect wouldn't have the capacity to bring about an activity which has a mode of being that transcends potential material modes of being.

I am also denying neither that thinking is carried our by intellect nor that, since thinking is immaterial, the intellect is immaterial.

Miguel wrote:

If one wants to avoid efficient causality here, formal causality would have to do most of the work, but I'm not seeing how Anscombe is helping in describing thinking. We could say thinking is dependent on the intellect, as thinking is a process of formal causation within another form (the intellect). But I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't think efficient causality would be too problematic here, because there is no problem with efficient causality is we can show proportionality.

Efficient causality by what? The intellect is a form. Properly speaking, it does not stand in efficient-causal relations.

​I think it's fine for a Thomist to say that the intellect causes thinking--and to mean by this efficient causation--or to say that thinking is carried out "by" the intellect. To speak in such ways is very helpful; it would be rather tedious to, for example, theorize the relationship between intellect and will in action if one prohibited expressions of these sorts. The question is just what these formulations mean. I think that they cohere with hylomorphism in general only if we understand them as elliptical manners of saying that man​ thinks insofar as he is intellectual (as "we do not say that heat imparts heat, but that what is hot gives heat"; ST I q. 75 a. 2c).

​The challenge for a hylomorphic dualist is to be able to understand the Treatise on Man in such a way that he does not slip into violations of these strictures, that he does not forget or ignore the fact that soul and body are form and matter. I think the caution of Anscombe and Geach is motivated by a resolute attempt not to let "the soul is the form of the body" become idle words.

Miguel wrote:

My comment on Geach was based on his article "What do we think with?", in which he says that because materialism is false it doesn't follow that immaterialism is true, immaterialism being the doctrine that "a man thinks with an immaterial part of himself"; he then defends some kind of hylemorphic conception, but it doesn't seem to me as robust as it should be. Sure, substance dualism is a wrong way of looking at the relationship between body and soul; human beings are a unity if body and soul, but it still seems quite clear to me that what Geach calls "immaterialism" is in fact true; we do think with an immaterial part of ourselves, we might say. We think with our immaterial intellect.

But it's quite true that the falsity of materialism doesn't imply immaterialism. For materialism is false about plants and animals as well as humans, but immaterialism is also false about plants and animals--unless forms generally are granted to be immaterial parts of substances, in which case immaterialism is not the thesis we wanted it to be.

 

4/29/2018 11:54 am  #15


Re: Hylemorphic dualism and the interaction problem

"But it's quite true that the falsity of materialism doesn't imply immaterialism. For materialism is false about plants and animals as well as humans, but immaterialism is also false about plants and animals--unless forms generally are granted to be immaterial parts of substances, in which case immaterialism is not the thesis we wanted it to be"

But technically forms ARE an immaterial part of a substance. Material substances are composites of matter and form; why not call the form a part, then? In my understanding, this is why Oderberg calls it hylemorphic dualism. While the relationship between form and matter is distinct from that between body and cartesian soul, we may still call forms immaterial parts of substances; the part which structures their prime matter in accordance with their essence.

As for immaterialism not being implied by the falsitt of materialism, perhaps we could say that this is strictly true. But to support this one would presumably have to either deny that we think, or believe that we (bodily, no "immaterial part") somehow think, in which case arguments against materialism would apply just as much. So I don't see a way to avoid what Geach calls immaterialism: the doctrine that man thinks with an immaterial part of himself. Well, yes, we do think with an immaterial part of ourselves - our immaterial intellect, which is the one that can receive universal forms. And yet Geach (and Anscombe as well, it seemed) seems strangely uncomfortable with immaterialism.

(Also it is a pity that Geach's argument for thinking being immaterial has been forgotten. It is a very unique argument and everyone seem to have ignored it)

 

4/29/2018 12:36 pm  #16


Re: Hylemorphic dualism and the interaction problem

Say what you please, so long as it does not prevent you from seeing how things are. (And when you see that, there will be some things that you won't say.) (PI, §79)

​Yes, if one says that form and matter compose substances, then it is natural to go on to say that a form is a part of a substance. And since the form is precisely not matter, it's natural to say that it's an immaterial part.

​Fine. The point was that then immaterialism is not the thesis that we wanted it to be, for it does not tell us that a human is any less material than a plant, and it does not tell us that human souls subsist.

​"Part," "composite," and "to structure" are not used univocally of forms and of substances or their integral parts. In each case, it's fine to use those analogies, so long as they don't mislead you. But once the claim that form structures prime matter leads one to think of form's relation to prime matter on the model of the relation an agent cause's relation to matter (e.g., as a builder gives structure to bricks, cement, wood, etc. when he builds a house), one is misled.

​On Aquinas' view, our minds are suited to cognize corporeal things. Upon philosophical analysis, it is said that they do so by way of the forms of corporeal things. But we aren't principally suited to knowing forms​ themselves (intelligible forms are that by which we think about things, not what we actually know). Correspondingly, "part," "composite," and "structure" are being used in extended, non-central ways to talk about form and matter. They are aids which help us latch onto these notions when we analyze things. I think this is true even of the use of the substantives "form" and "matter"; the grammar of such terms suggests that we are talking about individuals, but we aren't. A philosophical victory isn't achieved by saying that we can call material substances composites of matter and form, so that we can​ call forms parts. Our goal isn't to justify ourselves in defending any thesis called "immaterialism".

​To use one's Aristotelian terminology cautiously does​ make subsistence harder to argue for. But that's the way it should be.

 

4/29/2018 12:59 pm  #17


Re: Hylemorphic dualism and the interaction problem

The equivocation is around 'material'. Material aka corporeal objects are made up of matter aka a substratum which plays a role in substantial change and individualization and form. Material in the first sense and matter in the second mean something very different (of course many scholastic were happy for immaterial aka non-physical beings to be composed of prime matter and form - it's just the Thomist tradition which runs prime matter and physicality together).

Put it another way: matter and form are metaphysical parts that constitute an actual object; an immaterial mind on the other hand is a proper mereological just as much as a limb or an organ is (one might as with physical parts do they have their own matter and form, the answer hylemorphic dualists must give being ‘no’).

Greg wrote:

​To use one's Aristotelian terminology cautiously does​ make subsistence harder to argue for. But that's the way it should be.

Why?

Last edited by DanielCC (4/29/2018 1:13 pm)

 

4/29/2018 1:44 pm  #18


Re: Hylemorphic dualism and the interaction problem

DanielCC wrote:

Put it another way: matter and form are metaphysical parts that constitute an actual object; an immaterial mind on the other hand is a proper mereological just as much as a limb or an organ is (one might as with physical parts do they have their own matter and form, the answer hylemorphic dualists must give being ‘no’).

I am not entirely sure I understand what you're saying. But a Thomist, at least, is not only committed to saying that an immaterial mind (conceived as a part in the sense of a limb or an organ) is not composed of matter and form, but moreover that humans do not have any such immaterial mind. The intellect is analogous to sight, not to the eye. (Speaking of which, Aristotle doesn't mind saying that sight is the form of the eye. But it's true that this is another bit of the Aristotelian ladder which, in correct understanding, one must be able to throw away.)

DanielCC wrote:

Greg wrote:

​To use one's Aristotelian terminology cautiously does​ make subsistence harder to argue for. But that's the way it should be.

Why?

I don't mean that there's an independent reason why it should be hard to prove subsistence. Just that to use one's Aristotelian terminology cautiously (not to substantiate what is not substantial) is to use one's Aristotelian terminology honestly.

 

4/29/2018 4:38 pm  #19


Re: Hylemorphic dualism and the interaction problem

Sure, but the arguments for the immateriality of the intellect are pretty much simultaneously arguments for its own subsistence and superiority to that of animals and plants. They are arguments to the effect that the human soul has potentialities which far surpass those of brutes. We know the soul carries out *activities* which transcend the mode of being of any material thing, therefore these activities must be carried out by an immaterial intellect. And the fact that it is operative is what provides the foundation for Aquinas's arguments for immortality and for the subsistence of the soul. That which can operate all by itself can subsist; since the intellect carries out activities which are intrinsically independent from the body (the abstraction of universal forms; self-reflection; etc), it can subsist.

So I think "immaterialism" can be the thesis we want it to be: the thesis that humans think with an immaterial part of themselves. Emphasis on "think with". When we argue that humans can abstract universals or engage in self-reflection (both specific cases of thinking), we aren't just saying that our formal cause is distinct from our material cause. The conclusion is pretty strong when one follows the arguments.

I don't think it's correct to say a Thomist must hold that we don't have an immaterial mind. I mean, we do have an immaterial mind; it would still be hylemorphism because the soul is the form of the body, and in fact it is what makes us human and structures our prime matter into that of the human essence; but still the human form has a power of abstraction which makes it independent of the body. We could call it an immaterial mind -- what the arguments establish, after all, is that there is an X such that X is immaterial and carries out immaterial activities, and X is subsistent. And X is part of us. Could say X is a power of the human form, but then the human form is subsistent and more "robust" than animal forms, for it can carry out operations that are intrinsically independent from the informed body. But calling X an immaterial mind would be okay; I think sometimes we exaggerate fears of cartesian dualism.

Last edited by Miguel (4/29/2018 4:38 pm)

 

4/29/2018 4:45 pm  #20


Re: Hylemorphic dualism and the interaction problem

Perhaps it's because I've only been half following this thread (and only haphazardly at that), but I think I've lost track of what the dispute is about.

The intellect isn't the soul, but a passive power of the soul (ST I.79.1). But it's not a passive power of the soul in the sense of passive power that requires matter. It's a passive power in the broad sense in which even immaterial angels have a passive power to (say) go out of existence (ST I.79.2).

So what is the dispute about, whether the passive power itself exists?

 

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