The Instigator
Rational_Thinker9119
Con (against)
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The Contender
Feyerabend
Pro (for)
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A Non-Mental Reality Probably Exists

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/20/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 463 times Debate No: 77919
Debate Rounds (4)
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Rational_Thinker9119

Con

If we know anything, that means the mind exists as knowledge is mental. If we doubt anything, that means the mind exists as doubt is mental; ergo we cannot consistently doubt the mind as the mind is needed to doubt in the first place.

So our starting point for knowledge is the mind. It must exist. But, why believe in a non-mental reality? This is a hypothesis that most people believe, the idea that everything that is beyond our minds is non-mental (such as the empirical reality we all experience). However, I find this is a baseless assertion and a violation of Occam's Razor.

My opponent doesn't have to prove with absolute certainty that a non-mental reality exists, just that it is the most likely thing to be true. The burden of proof will be on Pro to see if he can support the claim that a non-mental reality exists.

If I can undermine Pro's arguments sufficiently; the debate will go to me.

Pro will post his argument in the first round (the first round will not just be for acceptance).

In order to assure we have the same amount of rounds to argue and rebut, Pro must only put in his last round:

"No argument will be posted here."
Feyerabend

Pro

Since Dawkins claimed that his form of atheism was not an outright objection of the statement 'God exists' but an assignment of probability it seems it has become the fashion to allow probability assertions to replace outright denials for metaphsical statements. In debates this seems to win the day, those who do not understand the use of probability find probability estimates more de rigeur fail to recognise the difference between necessary truths and contingent possibillities.
Ontological truths and assumptions lie at the bedrock of rational debate. Logical proofs are required before the debate can move on to probability assignements.
Milesians
Thales: Water
Anaximander: The Boundless
Anaximenes: Air
Ionians
Pythagoras: Mathematical Relations
Heraclitus: Change and the Logos

Xenophanes: Anthropomorphism and Pantheism
Parmenides: The One
Zeno of Elea: Paradoxes
Pluralists
Empedocles: Four elements and Two Forces
Anaxagoras: Mind and the Divisibility of Material Ingredients
Atomists
Aristotelian laws of tendencies anima physical objects
Atoms in the Void
The Mind as Material
Augustine Sacred and profane
Cartesian Dualism
Idealism
Calvinism
Rationalism
Hume empricism
Kantian Rationalism
Hegelianism -Spirit as consequence of matter Historical materialism
Marx dialectical Materialism
Hypothetical deductive method
Phenomenology structuralism post-structuralism structuralism constructivism deconstruction
Logical positivism
Physicalism
contemporary science
Instrumentalism

many many others.
My guess is that you are advocating some form of scientific mentalism on the ground that or is it pure mentalism.
Are you equating object with sense datum or as that which is known through sense datum.

2) There is no single argument that refutes empiricism even Quines Indeterminacy of translation claim (cf R.Kirk 'Translation determined') does not decisively defeat empiricism it is, more that empiricism went out of fashion. My aim then is to put some some points together to weigh Empiricism against alternative theories. Empiricism is after all a neat theory limiting the truths we may express to the phenomena that we actually observe. I shall argue
the following .
a) Sensory evidence is not identical with objects, when we refer to objects we are not referring to the sensory experiences we have or have had, the sensory evidence is the
b) That an account of language where reference to sensory data is considered to hold is problematic.
c) Other models can be given which fit better with our intuitions about the correctness or incorrectness of statements.
d) There seems no ground nor need for theories of everything or theories about types of things that are not.
Debate Round No. 1
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

Rebutting My Opponent

My opponent hasn't argued anything yet... His post doesn't really get interesting until here:

"My guess is that you are advocating some form of scientific mentalism on the ground that or is it pure mentalism.
Are you equating object with sense datum or as that which is known through sense datum."

In my view, objects of experience, like a Pepsi can, are aspects of experience itself that we don't identify as ourselves but exist within consciousness regardless. Bernardo Kastrup drives this point home:

"One thing has come up several times in arguments against my position which is Monistic Idealism. The argument is this… Our perceptions of the word are evidence that there is a world outside mind. This argument is based on a logical misunderstanding. Our perceptions are a modality of our flow of subjective conscious experiences. They are only evidence for that modality of conscious experiences, which happen, obviously, in mind. The only thing that perceptions of the empirical world prove is that there is a part of our flow of subjective experiences that we do not identify ourselves with. We identify ourselves with our thoughts and emotions; not our perceptions." - Dr. Bernardo Kastrup [1]

So the empirical world still exists within mind in my view, it just exists beyond the aspect of mind that we identify ourselves with. When we dream for example, an apple in the dream exists beyond the aspect of the dream world we identify with but it is still within mind. In my view, the same goes for empirical reality; the main difference is reality is collectively shared between us and what we call dreams are private. Everything is still mental.

As famous musician John Lennon words it (not that John Lennon is in any way an expert on this, I just liked his wording):

"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality." - John Lennon

My opponent must show this view to be unlikely in order for him to meet his burden of proof.

He claims he is going to argue four things:

(i) "Sensory evidence is not identical with objects, when we refer to objects we are not referring to the sensory experiences we have or have had"

Even if this was true that wouldn't mean that objects are non-mental in nature.

(ii) "That an account of language where reference to sensory data is considered to hold is problematic."

I await the argument for this.

(iii) "Other models can be given which fit better with our intuitions about the correctness or incorrectness of statements."

I await the argument for this.

(iv) "There seems no ground nor need for theories of everything or theories about types of things that are not."

Same as above.

Conclusion

Pro has the burden of proof, and he has done absolutely nothing to show that a non-mental reality probably exists.

Source

[1] Video Source

Feyerabend

Pro

Feyerabend forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

Rational_Thinker9119 forfeited this round.
Feyerabend

Pro

Feyerabend forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

Rational_Thinker9119 forfeited this round.
Feyerabend

Pro

Feyerabend forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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