Quotable – Why Mental States Are Not Physical (Brain) States

  • There is a raw qualitative feel or a “what it is like” to have a mental state such as a pain. [No physical state has this quality]
  • Many mental states have intentionality—ofness or aboutness—directed toward an object (e.g., a thought is about the moon).  [A physical state can’t be of or about anything]
  • Mental states are inner, private and immediate to the subject having them. [No physical state is private or limited to one individual’s perception]
  • Mental states fail to have crucial features (e.g., spatial extension, location) that characterize physical states and, in general, cannot be described using physical language). [A thought, for example, doesn’t occupy space, possess mass, or obey the laws of physics]

J. P. Moreland, “The Image of God and the Failure of Scientific Atheism,” in God is Great, God is Good (IVP 2009), p. 38.

Thus, mental states cannot be merely physical events in the brain.  The better explanation for these qualities of mental events is a substantial self that transcends the physical world – i.e., a soul.


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Quotable – J. P. Moreland on Philosophy and Science

“Philosophy undergirds science by providing its presuppositions:  Science (at least as most scientists and philosophers understand it) assumes that the universe is intelligible and not capricious, that the mind and senses inform us about reality, that mathematics and language can be applied to the world, that knowledge is possible, that there is a uniformity in nature that justifies inductive inferences from the past to the future and form examined cases of, say, electrons, to unexamined cases, and so forth.  These and other presuppositions of science . . . are philosophical in nature.”

J. P. Moreland, Christianity and the Nature of Science (Baker, 1989, p. 45)

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Quotable – John Searle on the Overriding Question in Philosophy

“‘There is exactly one overriding question in contemporary philosophy . . . . How do we fit in? . . . How can we square this self-conception of ourselves as mindful, meaning-creating, free, rational, etc., agents with a universe that consists entirely of mindless, meaningless, unfree, nonrational, brute physical particles?’

For the scientific naturalist, the answer is, ‘Not very well.’”

– J. P. Moreland in God is Great, God is Good (p. 34), quoting John Searle, Freedom & Neurobiology (pp. 4-5).

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Philosophy Audio and Video on the Web – Updated

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Given that it’s a new year, I wanted to bring this list up to date by adding resources and streamlining what was already there.  As I find more, I’ll continue to add to the collection.

If you know of other good audio or video resources in philosophy, especially philosophy of religion, please leave a comment.

(Updated January 2010)


Courses

  • ConsciousnessMP3s here – Susan Stuart, University of Glasgow
  • DeathDownload Course – Shelly Kagan, Yale
  • Existentialism in Literature & FilmiTunesFeed – Hubert Dreyfus, UC Berkeley
  • HeideggeriTunesFeedMP3s – Hubert Dreyfus, UC Berkeley
  • Heidegger’s Being & TimeFeedMP3s – Hubert Dreyfus, UC Berkeley
  • Introduction to Practical Reasoning and Critical Analysis of Argument, iTunes – Daniel Coffeen, UC Berkeley
  • Kant’s EpistemologyiTunes – Dr Susan Stuarts, University of Glasgow.
  • Man, God and Society in Western LiteratureiTunesFeed – Hubert Dreyfus, UC Berkeley
  • The Examined LifeiTunes – Greg Reihman, Lehigh University
  • Ancient PhilosophyiTunesFeedStream – David Ebrey, UC Berkeley
  • Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?YouTube –  Michael Sandel, Harvard
  • Introduction to Political Philosophy – YouTube – iTunes – Download Course, Steven B. Smith, Yale
  • Philosophy for BeginnersiTunes – Marianne Talbot, Oxford
  • Proust & PhilosophyFeed – Johns Hopkins
  • The Examined LifeiTunes – Greg Reihman, Lehigh University

Podcasts

  • Philosophy Bites iTunes Feed Web Site
    • A British podcast featuring interviews of top philosophers that delves into some essential philosophical questions — what is the meaning of life? what is the nature of reality? what is evil?, etc.
  • Philosophers’ Cafe Feed Web Site
    • Comfortable surroundings for vibrant street level discussions on burning issues of the day. No formal philosophy training required; real life experience desired. Come early, stay late. Presented by Simon Fraser University.

(HT: Open Culture)

Philosophy of Religion and Christian Ethics

Courses

  • Paul Copan’s five-session course in philosophy of religion is available free from Reclaiming the Mind Ministries.
  • Ron Nash’s History of Philosophy and Christian Thought is available at biblicaltraining.org (which has nearly an entire seminary curriculum on mp3 available to download).
  • Ron Nash’s Christian Ethics Course is also available at biblicaltraining.org.

Interviews

  • Closer to the Truth has a great collection of video interviews with Christian and non-Christian philosophers on topics in philosophy of religion.  The interviews are streaming video and don’t appear to be available for download.

Podcasts

Talks/Lectures

  • William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith Podcasts (iTunes) contain Dr. Craig’s commentary on issues in philosophy and theology and his answers to questions posted on his Reasonable Faith website.
  • The Veritas Forum website contains dozens of talks and debates by Christian scholars and thinkers on topics that range across every academic discipline.  Among the notable speakers are Alvin Plantinga, Dallas Willard, William Lane Craig, and J. P. Moreland.

Apologetics

Podcasts

General Philosophy

Podcasts

  • Apologetics 315 Logical Fallacies Podcasts
  • Philosopher’s ZoneRadio interviews with philosophers covering all branches of philosophy.
  • In Our TimeThis BBC radio program focuses on the history of ideas and often includes discussion of important philosophers and topics in philosophy.
  • Oxford University Philosophy Podcasts – Links to the annual John Locke lectures, the “Interviews with Philosophers” series, and Marianne Talbot’s “Philosophy for Beginners” (also linked to above).

Talks/Lectures

  • Nietzsche on Mind and Nature – These 7 lectures were given at the international conference “Nietzsche on Mind and Nature” held at St. Peter’s College, Oxford, on 11-13 September, 2009, organized by the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford. (iTunes)

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Saddleback Apologetics Conference Audio and Video

Brian at Apologetics 315 now has the audio and video up from the recent Apologetics Conference at Saddleback church featuring Dinesh D’Souza, William Lane Craig, Norman Geisler, J. P. Moreland, Darrell Bock, and Greg Koukl.

Saddleback Church recently hosted an Apologetics Conference with a number of great apologists. Now their audio and video are available for listening and viewing online. But if you prefer MP3s or a podcast feed, you can download there right here:

• How Can I Know God Exists? – Dinesh D’Souza – MP3
• How Did the Universe Begin – William Lane Craig – MP3
• If God Exists, Why is there Evil? – Norman Geisler – MP3
• Has Science Made Belief in God Obsolete? – J.P. Moreland – MP3
• What Do the Gospels Really Say About Jesus? – Darrell Bock – MP3
• How Can I Defend My Faith Without Sounding Defensive? – Greg Koukl – MP3

RSS feed here. Subscribe directly in iTunes here. (HT: Rob)

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Apologetics Weekend at Saddleback Church

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The Apologetics Weekend at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA (Rick Warren’s Church) on September 5 and 6 has a great lineup of speakers.

Time and Topics:

Sat 4:30:  Darrell Bock:  “How is Jesus Unique?”
Sat 6:30:  JP Moreland:  “Has Science Made Belief in God Obsolete?”

Sun 9:00:  Norm Geisler:  “If God, Why Evil?”
Sun 11:15:  William Lane Craig:  “How Did the Universe Begin?”
Sun 4:30: Dinesh D’Souza:  “What’s So Great About God?”
Sun 6:30:  Gregory Koukl:  “Why Does Faith Matter?”

  • When:9/5/2009
  • Where:Worship Center
  • A Lake Forest Campus Event
  • Start Time:4:30 PM
  • End Time:6:30 PM
  • Price: Free
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Philosophy Word of the Day – Identity

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The logical relation of numerical sameness, in which each thing stands only to itself. Although everything is what it is and not anything else, philosophers try to formulate more precisely the criteria by means of which we may be sure that one and the same thing is cognized under two different descriptions or at two distinct times. Leibniz held that numerical identity is equivalent to indiscernibility or sameness of all the features each thing has. But Locke maintained that judgments of identity are invariably made by reference to types or sorts of things. The identity of individual persons is an especially troublesome case.

(Via Philosophical Dictionary)

Philosophers of mind who hold to naturalism typically assert some kind of identity relation between the mind and the brain, which many theists find problematic.  J. P. Moreland has done excellent work in defending a substance dualist view of persons that grounds individual identity in the human soul rather than any biological properties.

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