Craig's Argument for God from Intentionality

The recent debate between William Lane Craig and Alex Rosenberg has been made available as an audio file. I'm sure eventually it will be as a video file, but some folks have already brought up the argument regarding intentionality that Craig advanced during the debate, and as someone whose work and interests lie primarily in the philosophy of mind, I thought it worthwhile to respond.

The last time Craig brought up philosophy of mind that I can recall was in an absurd comment about the prefrontal cortex and animal minds, which showed that he has some physicalist intuitions. That post was a little more playful. Unfortunately, the ignorance of the field requires a little more of a direct treatment.

What Craig has to say

Below is a quote from Craig's opening statement, his fifth argument, starting at about 23:40:

God is the best explanation of intentional states of consciousness in the world. Philosophers are puzzled by states of intentionality. Intentionality is the property of being about something or of something. It's signifies the object directedness of our thoughts.

For example, I can think about my summer vacation or I can think of my wife. No physical object has this sort of intentionality. A chair or a stone or a glob of tissue like the one like the brain is not about or of something else. Only mental states or states of consciousness are about other things. As a materialist, Dr. Rosenberg [the interlocutor] recognizes that and so concludes that on atheism there really are no intentional states.

Dr. Rosenberg boldly claims that we never really think about anything. But this seems incredible. Obviously I am thinking about Dr. Rosenberg's argument. This seems to me to be a reductio ad absurdum of atheism. By contrast, on theism because God is a mind it's hardly surprising that there should be finite minds. Thus intentional states fit comfortably into a theistic worldview.

So we may argue:

1. If God did not exist, [then] intentional states of consciousness would not exist.
2. But intentional states of consciousness do exist!
3. Therefore, God exists.

There. I've given you Craig's argument for the existence of God from intentional mental states. And, with a good deal of self-restraint, didn't even interject while typing it. Now, onto the sets of objections.

Set 1: The Easy Objections (or, reasons my theist friends should never borrow this argument)

Even to someone who doesn't have much or any philosophical training, there should be some immediate red flags that pop up in this argument. The first is that it starts with the assertion of ignorance rather than the assertion of a fact. Craig begins by saying, "Philosophers are puzzled by states of intentionality." This is the best indicator that someone is going to, in the immediate future, argue from ignorance. Craig, of course, only uses the ignorance to attempt to establish the first premise of his argument, that atheists are opposed to the existence of intentional states. [Both claims are actually just false, but we'll get to that in the second frame.] At any rate, that's bad philosophical form.

The second is a general feature of Craig's approach to debate, which is to set up as many arguments as he can fairly quickly. This is the sixth in a series of eight for the existence of God. Setting up a long line of arguments is generally an indicator of some polemical skill, coupled with a desire to overwhelm the interlocutor by not being able to respond to all of these arguments. [I'd have jumped at the bait on this one; Rosenberg jumps at several others.] It creates a feeding frenzy around a single argument and leaves Craig's supporters in the audience with the unanswered arguments, even in the event that the challenges of a single argument, or even two, are sufficiently answered.

The third is a move from an assertion about Rosenberg to an assertion about atheists. Again, this will play a role in the second frame. It does not follow that because Rosenberg holds an eliminative view of intentionality [the view that there are no genuine instances of intentionality in the way that it is used by Craig] does not mean that atheism, or even materialism, entails an eliminative view. It is a transparent non sequitur.

The fourth is a little more subtle, but I do think it is an easy objection, and while not one that a lot of people outside of the field pick up, it is something that philosophy students [at least where I studied] are beaten over the head with. Craig actually invokes as a premise in his argument something explicitly disputed by Rosenberg, on the basis that he is simply asserting it. He doesn't at any point address the arguments for Rosenberg's eliminativism, which are precisely what he needs to argue against to establish the second premise. He has begged the question in the most explicit terms possible: Rosenberg doesn't believe that intentional states exist, but given that intentional states exist, they constitute good evidence for the existence of God.

I realize that this is a debate, but given that Craig is one of the philosophers that my theist friends tell me I ought to take seriously, I have to point out how ridiculous these are. A debate context is not a formal paper, but these are the sorts of intellectual standards that ought to be met even in an informal situation like a debate, where we're not dealing with peer review.

Set 2: The Harder Objections (or, reasons that this argument won't fly with people who do philosophy of mind)

First, it is simply not the case that philosophers are puzzled by intentionality. Philosophers of mind puzzle over intentionality, it is very much a subject of lively debate, but it is not something which is completely perplexing. There are those who argue that we do not have adequate answers to problems of intentionality and consciousness, notably David Chalmers and Thomas Nagel. Of course, Chalmers and Nagel are both well-known atheists, which reinforces my previous claim that the entire argument is a non sequitur.

Second, one doesn't even have to be familiar with Rosenberg's position to note that Craig is strawmanning a number of important theorists in philosophy of mind by talking about the "no intentional states" view of consciousness this way. There are a number of prominent eliminativists who have proposed theories of how to talk about mental representation without the use of intentionality as such; they disown the traditional folk psychology of asserting that we have simple beliefs and desires and that those are blunt descriptors of how our mind works; the most notable of these is Paul Churchland, who gives an account of representation in his recent book Plato's Camera; he also presented an account almost twenty years ago in Engine of Reason. The two books treat intentionality more or less the same. While the eliminative account Churchland gives isn't universally accepted, it is widely read.

[A short plug: I'll be giving a paper on Churchland's positive account of representation and a synthesis with the work of Teed Rockwell in October. More on that to come during the summer.]

Thirdly, there are plenty of non-eliminative accounts advanced by other philosophers; many are overtly naturalistic. Deepak Chopra has attributed to John Searle a sort of mysterian view, mistakenly, when what Searle is simply doing is rejecting reductive accounts, like those of Churchland, in favor of a view that takes consciousness to be physically caused, but not reducible to those physical causes. That is to say, while Searle holds that there are no additional causes to consciousness and intentional mental states apart form the physical, he maintains that an account of those causes is not a comprehensive account of consciousness and intentional mental states.

So, what's in this basket so far? Well, it turns out that Craig has (1) misrepresented the state of the discussion in philosophy, (2) mischaracterized his interlocutor's position, as well as an important position among a few atheists in philosophy of mind, and (3) failed to acknowledge other alternatives besides eliminativism advanced by other philosophers. I do think it is worth noting that just as Chalmers and Nagel are atheists, so too are Churchland and Searle.

Set 3: My Objections (or, why this post exists)

I probably would've written this post if I didn't have much to say beyond those first two sets of objections; there are some other folks on the internet who will make some comments, like John across the way, that do some interesting lifting, but I figured something that is hopefully readable, if a bit long, might be useful.

At any rate, I do have a few additional notes that I want to supply, because I do think that the counter-punch against Craig's argument can be much stronger than what intuitively comes up in the first two sets. So the argument fails, as the first two sets of objections demonstrates, and does so spectacularly. But what if it were the case that the folk account of intentional states actually entailed that God were enormously unlikely? That'd be pretty interesting.

I think that there is a good case that such arguments can be constructed, and should be. And if Craig takes the form seriously, and takes the existence of intentional states seriously, then he has to take the arguments against the existence of God from the existence of intentional states seriously. It's pretty audacious, but I have some reasons for the suspicion.

One of the most important reasons, for me, to be skeptical of the versions of God advanced by Craig is that they entail that God has a set of mental states and that there was, prior to the existence of the Universe, some content to those mental states. In fact, the original version of my arguments against God via embodied cognition is essentially an argument from a weak [meaning non-committal] understanding of intentionality to the non-existence of any god who has intentional mental states. While that version is just a sketch, there's a reason that I'm working along that line, and think that it will be productive.

There are a lot of things that can be said about minds that do directly contravene the notion of a god who has such a mind absent the existence of physical states; a notion absolutely central to Craig's cosmological account. It turns out that philosophers of mind largely agree that features of mental states are contingent upon features of the physical states; the particulars of an intentional mental state are among those features. For example, your thoughts about your significant other are contingent upon certain features of your brain state; the features that go into that account are [at least partially] determined by some features of the brain state that are engaged during the process of recollection or imagination. I'm generalizing a bit to save space, but hopefully you get the idea.

The point is that absent a physical brain and neural substrates, the sorts of claims that Craig is making about the intentionality of God apart from the existence of the Universe are patently absurd. He would have to posit that the god in his cosmology has an entirely different sort of mind such that it could engage in spatial or temporal representation without the areas that we associate with mapping those features of our world. But then again, Craig is comfortable asserting that God can represent spatial and temporal vectors without space and time... so maybe his position is ultimately probably even shakier.

Hopefully this has prefaced some of the objections to Craig in an interesting way. I've tried to be comprehensive, but also to save some space, so hopefully I've balanced the two satisfactorily. Those who have questions or comments, feel free to drop them below.
 

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  • 2/3/2013 10:59 AM Gman wrote:
    Nicely done, but I wish you had spent a bit more time on the arg. from ignorance objection.

    I attended the "Towards a Science of Consciousness" conference in Stockholm a while back and came back with my naive assumption - that consciousness was just another problem that science would one day solve - seriously shaken.

    Now I can't imagine what set of materialist facts would convincingly explain consciousness. And I regard eliminativism, at least in part, as a way to simply dodge this question while ignoring what it is that makes the brain more interesting than, say, the pancreas.

    But I'm also equally convinced that "Goddidit" isn't a satisfying explanation either. I think Craig is simply using the same ploy Intelligent Design has used for years: science can't explain X, so we win (but don't ask us for our explanation of X).
    Reply to this
    1. 2/17/2013 11:11 PM Philosotroll wrote:
      There's a lot of literature around the issue of eliminativism; I'm at a University where most of the people are on board with the claim that you cannot give reductive accounts of consciousness, including some of the pioneers of those arguments [Thomas Nagel being the most famous].

      I have some reasons for disagreeing with Nagel and some of my other instructors, but I don't really get into them here because I don't think it's all that relevant to showing why Craig's argument is not very good. If you're interested, I'm happy to work up some posts prefacing why I reject those anti-reductionist arguments, and help restore that lost assumption. One of my current papers in progress deals with establishing the viability of that assumption, and while it can be made in a naïve way, I think that there are non-naïve reasons to hold it.
      Reply to this
  • 2/3/2013 1:22 PM LW wrote:
    So WLC is now adding "intentionality" into the same quiver as "objective morality".

    I am not a philosopher, so maybe I'm not grokking the subtleties of his posturings, but I have always wondered why he doesn't just trot out the entire gamut of brain-sourced phenomena.

    E.g., memory, language, emotions, creativity, learning... Why not cite all of those as "evidence"?

    Because clearly his underlying argument for everything is "Science can't explain it, therefore God."
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  • 2/3/2013 4:53 PM deverettf wrote:
    Nice post.

    Re. the fourth "easy" objection you present: couldn't we see Craig as giving an argument from incredulity as opposed to simply asserting that intentional states exist? He doesn't simply assert, after all, that there are intentional states, but notes that (a) it's obvious that we think about all sorts of stuff; and (b) our thinking about stuff is sufficient for intentionality. Clearly, the thought goes, Rosenberg has gone off the deep end if he is to deny this!
    Reply to this
    1. 2/17/2013 11:17 PM Philosotroll wrote:
      This is a way of reading the argument, the problem is that (a) is actually circular based on the way that Craig has defined intentionality. "We have thoughts that are about things, therefore we have intentional states, provided that intentional states are thoughts about things." That's not exactly compelling.
      Reply to this
  • 2/3/2013 5:12 PM Tanukisan wrote:
    I have never been able to understand why Craig is taken so seriously; personally, I've never found his arguments very convincing. His dis-interment of the Kalām argument has done nothing, in my opinion, to re-invigorate it; a desiccated corpse is still a desiccated corpse, however much makeup one applies to the skin. As far as I can see, any attempt to "prove" the existence of any god, Christian or otherwise, inherently begs the question.
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  • 2/4/2013 5:57 AM That Guy Montag wrote:
    I'd like to take issue with your Set 3 Objection.

    So my understanding of content is something like content is a formal system under a translation. Your argument assumes however that this system as a whole is what constitutes a mind, but wouldn't it be possible to have a purely formal system isolated from the outside world without needing the translation? Sure it would lack the intentions, but it could happily chug away building formal systems and not caring about translating them to the real world. Technically isn't this exactly what we've got with say all those weather modelling machines that help us predict hurricanes, or theoretical physicists and mathematician dreaming up different ways of explaining what we already know or toying with existing formal rules and only *then* thinking of ways to tie it to the world. We then get something like those ridiculous claims that God is "pure possibility" or Leibniz's God existing before time, playing through all the possible worlds in order to choose the best one.

    The biggest puzzle I can see for WLC here would be that we've then lost control of intentional states: from here it's hard to see why we should think God is a better explanation for their existence barring something like a Sellarsian Space of Reasons move. This is basically because this is pretty much the position the eliminitavists start from from what I understand. On the other hand I can't see your objection about God needing a brain shaped mind or a world to fill out the content holding out either. Have I maybe missed something?
    Reply to this
    1. 2/17/2013 11:21 PM Philosotroll wrote:
      This is an interesting line, and I'm happy to toy with it a bit if you want to go down that rabbit hole. The problem is that, if we take the empirical data regarding mentation seriously, there are good reasons to think that mental content is very heavily related to the world [even more intimately than being instantiated by sense-data, on my account].

      Fleshing out that set of interrelations is one of my personal projects that I think is interesting, so you're definitely accurately swinging at one of my assumptions. I agree that your scenario is possible; we just have reasons to think this is not the case.
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      1. 2/18/2013 4:32 AM That Guy Montag wrote:
        Now *that* is interesting because I'm involved in arguing for something similar in a defence of verificationism. The quickest way to put it is that I think the world is something like an essential pivot that enables us to move from one possibile interpretation of a sentence to another and there are various arguments for why we need something like this for semantics. The defence of verificationism is that this is the most natural way to understand the things the Positivists *actually* say about the principle and not "being instantiated by sense-data" which is the traditional caricature.

        So the question is are you coming at this from the semantic side or somewhere else like say extended cognition? Also, what exactly is the nature of this evidence you hint at?
        Reply to this
      2. 2/18/2013 9:25 AM Philosotroll wrote:
        The evidence is large in embodied cognition. I'm fond the extended cognition approaches, but I'm not sure how sold I am on a lot of the data. Seems highly speculative to me.

        Just taking, for example, the study of vision; there are large parts of, say, the direction of attention which appear to be offloaded onto features of the world, at least in part. Attention is directed, both in important social cases [like joint attention] and more subtly, by features of the world. Noë argues for it compellingly in Action in Perception, but there are a number of psychologists who seem to strongly support it in talking about attention more generally.

        That's just one datum, really, as related to vision, but hopefully gives an indication of where I'm coming from.
        Reply to this
  • 2/8/2013 8:02 PM Squirrelloid wrote:
    I think the biggest argument against this, as against most of Craig's positions, is that he doesn't seem to understand what an "explanation" is. 'God is the best explanation of X' is laughable on face, because God doesn't explain anything. He's a black box. Explanations should make things clearer, not more incomprehensible. I could equally well insert 'The Flying Spaghetti Monster' or 'The Invisible Pink Unicorn (BBHH)' or the 'Jabberwocki' as the best explanation for intentional states, and it would make about as much sense. Nothing in Craig's argument conveys why intentional states make *God* specifically more probable.

    Also, I find it funny you indict Craig for spreading (policy debate term for throwing lots of arguments out), but really you should also be appalled at his opponents' inability to deal with this tactic. Its a basic feature of limited time frame debate. And given you could raise the exact same objections to 90% of Craig's positions (namely, the argument is both invalid and unsound on face), there's really no excuse for letting him get away with it. Maybe he'll be a tougher opponent when he actually makes a good argument (and i'll believe that when i see it), but as of now I just cringe whenever i try to listen to one of his debates.
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  • 4/16/2013 10:03 PM augustine wrote:
    "He has begged the question in the most explicit terms possible: Rosenberg doesn't believe that intentional states exist, but given that intentional states exist, they constitute good evidence for the existence of God."

    I think you may have misunderstood Craig's argument. I believe he is arguing from the proper basicality of our experience of intentionality (similar to our properly basic knowledge of the existence of the past or the external world) and that Rosenberg's eliminative materialism is self-referentially incoherent when it argues that intentional states are illusory since an illusion is "about" something and is therefore itself an intentional state. As Craig wrote after the debate here: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/god-and-the-applicability-of-mathematics#ixzz2QgLQITg4

    Craig: "Since God is an unembodied mind, the existence of minds fits much better into a theistic worldview than into a non-theistic worldview. Rosenberg’s conclusion that intentional states of consciousness do not exist is, given our experience, patently false. His answer that my experience of intentionality is an illusion is self-defeating. For since an illusion is itself an intentional state (we have an illusion of something), it is self-referentially incoherent to say, as Rosenberg does, that the experience of intentionality is illusory. An illusion of intentionality implies intentionality. Given the reality of intentional states of consciousness, theism seems much more probable than atheism."

    This would be similar to the refutation of the verification principle in logical positivism, which is similarly self-referentially incoherent.
    Reply to this
    1. 4/16/2013 10:51 PM Philosotroll wrote:
      I understand Craig's argument just fine; the articulation you give [and that Craig iterates in the article you link to] is something I respond directly to in the above post, in section two, which gives the first articulation of the incompatibility of Craig's assertion with the content of contemporary discourse in philosophy of mind. The point I am making in the first section is that Craig has simply asserted as a premise something which his interlocutor objects; this is obviously bad philosophical form, and he should know better.

      In response to your point, Craig can say, "On introspection, we can see that our mental states have intentional content!" But prominent philosophers of mind already acknowledge as a datum the phenomenological feature Craig is talking about; they already acknowledge the introspection. The point is that there is no intentionality as such; that the shape of our mental contents matter-of-factually is not the shape of the contents as observed in introspection. The fact that Craig thinks that introspection proper is sufficient to establish the truth of a claim that mental states behave in such-and-such a way suggests that he hasn't read the expansive body of literature in philosophy of mind on errant reporting; even phenomenologists, and people who take reporting to be an incredibly salient datum in assessing mental states, think that such a simple move is hopelessly naïve. [See Searle or Nagel for some general approaches that take phenomenology more seriously than the reductionists like Churchland and, I assume, Rosenberg.]

      The more I read Craig and his followers comment on this stuff, the more I'm suspicious that they haven't read any of the philosophical literature on the subject, or even secondary sources dealing with the material. To say that simple introspection into the contents of our mental states is a response to eliminativism is basically ignoring everything that's been written on mental representation in the last several decades by philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists. The reason I spend so much time in section two giving an introductory survey of the literature is that familiarity with the contents of the literature sufficiently blocks the sorts of claims that Craig makes about how the eliminativist positions function.

      So... yeah, I'm not at all impressed by Craig's further exposition on the subject. I think it makes him look even more witless on philosophy of mind.
      Reply to this
      1. 4/17/2013 9:08 AM augustine wrote:
        So would you say that Rosenberg is similarly unfamiliar with the literature you reference since I don't recall him citing it in his response to Craig's argument? If the literature provides such a readily-available refutation, it seems odd that Rosenberg would not have used it.
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      2. 4/17/2013 9:34 AM Philosotroll wrote:
        Rosenberg says in the debate that he doesn't feel obligated to respond extensively on that point because it isn't relevant to the subject of the debate. [See 1:16:00-1:18:30] I happen to disagree with Rosenberg on that point; I think that if certain claims about mind obtain then the sort of god that Craig argues for is disallowed. But that's a position that requires some sophisticated argumentation and would require a lot more time to lay out and defend than he had after the initial rebuttal. [He also may very well disagree with me that such a position is a philosophically strong one.]

        There's also a rhetorical reason for not doing this. Most folks don't want to actively belittle their interlocutor or those in the audience who came out of an interest in or allegiance to that interlocutor. So saying, or even implying, "The position you just advanced requires a profound ignorance of basically everything written on the subject matter." is not likely to ingratiate you with either group. I'm happy to say it because (a) I don't care as much about ingratiating myself with folks as saying things I suspect to be true and (b) I'm writing in a medium which allows for more active antagonism.

        By the way, I note in the post [and this is still true] that I don't know precisely what Rosenberg's account of eliminativism is like. I assume it is like the Churchlands' for a handful of reasons, but it may turn out not to be all that sophisticated a view. He may not be aware of the literature either. However, during the clip I recommended above, he correctly notes that the preponderance of people working in neuroscience reject the traditional and neo-dualist views in favor of reductionism, so I doubt he's that unfamiliar.
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  • 4/17/2013 4:53 PM augustine wrote:
    Given the belittling criticism of Craig that I recall Rosenberg giving in his opening speech, I doubt he had a reluctance to similarly criticize Craig's intentionality argument.

    I am not a philosopher, but it seems to me what is going on in the debate is that Craig is reasonably well-versed in dualism--considering that it is not his AOS--and gives an argument from that perspective in the very limited time available to him. (Since he has co-authored books with one of the pre-eminent philosophers of dualism, J.P. Moreland (see Moreland's work here http://www.jpmoreland.com/books/god-and-consciousness/ and this major tome edited by Craig with a chapter by Moreland here http://www.amazon.com/Blackwell-Companion-Natural-Theology/dp/1444350854/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366231673&sr=1-1&keywords=blackwell+companion+to+natural+theology), I doubt he is unfamiliar with the literature on philosophy of mind).

    But it is the obligation of Craig's opponent to draw attention to any flaws or lacunae in Craig's initial argument, which might then trigger a more detailed and nuanced exchange. But Rosenberg didn't do that (which is frustrating for a layman like myself, since it makes the debate less informative). So I don't think you can blame Craig for not surveying the entire field of non-dualist thought during the time allocated to him in the debate, or assume he is "ignorant of basically everything written on the subject matter").
    Reply to this
    1. 4/17/2013 5:31 PM Philosotroll wrote:
      I'm not going to spend too much time defending Rosenberg's performance in the debate. I thought it was fine, but I thought his tact was much to gentle for what Craig deserved. Clearly we have a difference of opinion on the direction in which Rosenberg's criticisms were inadequate.

      If your argument is that Craig is "well versed in dualism" by virtue of having read Moreland, then I don't know what to tell you. Moreland's book is not considered an important contribution to the philosophy of mind, and doesn't stand out among authors who openly articulate some sort of dualist position. But, of course, he can't invoke Chalmers or Kripke or Nagel since all of them reject his view that theism is the best explanation of intentionality; and those are the dualists. [Especially notable for Kripke, who is speculated about as a theist; that's another issue, though.]

      Besides, I hope he's read Moreland's work, or is at least roughly familiar with the content. The two men work together, and have for some time, at Biola.

      Unfortunately, saying that he's read Moreland, or that he's edited works which use philosophy of mind in natural theology is a pretty weak block. After all, if it were true that Craig were versed in philosophy of mind, he shouldn't say things which are disallowed by fairly standard arguments in the specific literature on intentionality, and the broader literature on philosophy of mind, like that direct introspection is a reliable guide to the form of mental contents, as though this is a move that we should expect based on how darn perplexed philosophers of mind are.
      Reply to this
      1. 4/17/2013 9:17 PM augustine wrote:
        Whether Moreland's book is considered an "important contribution" or not would seem to be irrelevant as long as it interacts with and references the other scholars you mention, which is does. So if Craig has edited Moreland's work it stands to reason he is familiar with the arguments of those scholars that Moreland interacts with (though perhaps Moreland vs. Rosenberg would be a more interesting debate than Craig vs. Rosenberg).

        I'm not sure what you mean when you say Craig's says things that are "disallowed." If Moreland defends introspection and the "argument from consciousness" in peer-reviewed publications, why is Craig not "allowed" to say the same? I know that view may be a minority view in philosophy of mind (but perhaps not philosophy of religion), but if so, why not just refute it in the debate, instead of ignoring or "disallowing" it?
        Reply to this
      2. 4/17/2013 11:06 PM Philosotroll wrote:
        It doesn't follow from the facts that Moreland's work interacts with scholars in philosophy of mind and that Craig has read Moreland's work that Craig is familiar with said scholars in philosophy of mind. Surely you don't think that familiarity solely with secondary source representations of a theorist is sufficient to claim a familiarity with that theorist. That'd be like saying, "Well, I've never read any Leibniz, but I'm very familiar with his view of monads." No; it's an incredibly complicated position that requires some substantive familiarity with the primary source; again, familiarity which Craig seems to lack.

        By "disallowed" I don't mean that he shouldn't be allowed to say it. I'm saying that, if familiar with the content of the discourse, he would be incapable of regurgitating such things without serious qualification. To say that philosophers of mind are "perplexed" by intentional content is just patently false in reading the literature. They just disagree about the best [generally naturalistic, monistic] explanation. To say that theism offers the best explanation of intentional content in lieu of the absence of other explanations is, again, patently false since there is no such absence. And to say that introspection is a direct refutation of eliminative arguments is patently false when eliminative arguments contain as one of their initial condition the inadmissibility of direct introspection as a privileged data set. Those are the kinds of things that someone who is familiar with the literature should be rationally, i.e. by their own cognitive faculties, disallowed from saying.

        By the way, I've offered in the second section a direct response to the content of Craig's argument, which you're welcome to respond to if you think I'm mistaken. That would've been a response that, were I in Rosenberg's position, I would've given.

        "... it turns out that Craig has (1) misrepresented the state of the discussion in philosophy, (2) mischaracterized his interlocutor's position, as well as an important position among a few atheists in philosophy of mind, and (3) failed to acknowledge other alternatives besides eliminativism advanced by other philosophers..."
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        1. 4/18/2013 9:46 AM augustine wrote:
          Well, maybe someday we can get a debate between Moreland and Churchland on this issue and it won't be a question as to whether either is too far outside his AOS. Thanks for the dialogue, cheers! Great blog, by the way.
          Reply to this
  • 12/2/2013 11:06 AM Drew wrote:
    Although I agree with several others commenting before me that the author should have spent more time discussing the invalidity and dangers of the argument from ignorance, I thoroughly enjoyed the article.

    The author's form, in the midst of many other philosophers with poor form (e.g. Craig, Richard Carrier, and others), is a fresh drink of water. The author approaches Craig's argument in a calm, contemplative manner, and (although somewhat inaccessible to many without some philosophical training) the author's material is lucid and valid.

    A potent argument absent from a brutish presentation is a rare (and refreshing) find.
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