Edward Feser, in his blog post, Popper contra computationalism, explains a flaw in any argument that the brain is a conscious computer operating according to the laws of materialism. First he shows that a purely physical system operating according to the laws of materialism, such as a computer, cannot explain rational thought. Then he points out that since materialism cannot explain rational thought, any argument asserting materialism is true cannot be considered rational. Therefore, the materialist's assertion that the mind is a purely physical system such as a computer is irrational. In other words, there can be no justification to believe in materialism or that the mind is a computer.
Feser shows that materialism cannot explain our ability to reason:
- Materialism says that thinking is ultimately a mechanical process. Like a computer running a program, thought is a transition from one physical state to another caused by known laws of physics.
- Such a transition occurs due to physical laws not due to any inherent meaning in the physical states.
- But a "thought can serve as a rational justification for another only by virtue of" it's "meaning"....
- "If materialism is true, ... there is nothing about our thought processes that can make one thought a rational justification for another".
- "If materialism is true none of our thoughts is ever rationally justified."
- "This includes the thoughts of materialists themselves."
- "If materialism is true it cannot be rationally justified", materialism "undermines itself".
If you believe the brain is a conscious computer, it is irrational of you to believe anything. If you believe anything, you must believe materialism is false, the brain is not a conscious computer, and the mind is not produced by the brain.
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