The Case for Materialism Isla Wilson, Flora Schmelzer and Rory Power
Introduction Materialism is the belief that: - Do not have mind & body - Made of body The theory explains that physical matter is the only reality and that everything including thoughts, feelings and will can only be explained in terms of physical phenomena and matter. Positive arguments:
Man is an animal
The AI argument
Brain chemistry argument
Problem of interaction
Problem of other minds
The "Man is an animal" argument - Man evolved from animals, therefore man is an animal. - We are highly evolved biological forms - If animals are just physical organisms, then so are humans - Descartes argued that humans have souls, but non-human animals do not
The "Brain chemistry" argument “We perceive that the mind strengthens and decays with the body” - Lucretius - This argument contents that our increasing knowledge of the brain and its functions leads us to treat mental conditions as physiological states of the brain rather than psychological
The "Artificial Intelligence" argument Materialists conclude: - The advanced supercomputer is behaviourally just like a human - The supercomputer doesn’t have a mind- Therefore humans don’t have minds either Dualists argue: - The advanced supercomputer is behaviourally just like a human- We humans clearly embody minds, so - The supercomputer must embody a mind as well.
Problem of Interaction “There was the Door to which I found no Key: there was the veil through which I might not see.” - Omar Khayyam - How things so different as immaterial minds and material bodies could possibly interact: how mental things can cause physical effects, and physical things cause mental effects.
Problem of other minds “How DO we know that the people we meet are not computers programmed to simulate people?” - R. Buckminster Fuller - If minds are distinct from bodies, and all we ever have access to in the case of other people are their bodies and bodily behavior, then how do we know that there are any other minds distinct from our own?