I find two major problems in this part of the argument. First, there is
no need to invoke "philosophical naturalism" in connection with
evolution. Methodological naturalism, the recognition that we deal with
natural explanations in science because supernatural explanations are
untestable, is what is involved. MN is equally compatible with
materialism, idealism, pantheism, non-reductive physicalism, dualism,
etc. That MN is not the same as philosophical naturalism is denied by
apologists who think that a little lie will benefit their "truth."
As to the justification of Truth or whatever notion is related, the need
is exaggerated. Have you ever found a proof of induction? The only
justification is that it works, unless I call in a bunch of assumptions
that I cannot prove that provide a "proof" that I like. How can one prove
that the labels we put on things represent what they really are?
I rest in God's hands. But this is faith. Others who do not share my
faith in God have other beliefs underlying their intellectual endeavors.
But they are all based on faith, something that St. Augustine first
recognized: credo ut intellegam. This recognizes human finitude and
inspires humility, something that seems to be lacking in many.
On Fri, 19 Aug 2005 14:13:09 -0400 janice matchett
".........Finally, it seems to me that there is one respect Daniel
Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea is vastly more dangerous than Dennett
realizes. According to Richard Rorty,
the idea that one species of organism is, unlike all the others, oriented
not just toward its own increated prosperity but toward Truth, is as
un-Darwinian as the idea that every human being has a built-in moral
compass--a conscience that swings free of both social history and
individual luck." [ 12 ] "
Rorty's pronouncements ____do not always inspire maximum confidence____,
[a huge understatement] but here he seems to be on to something
(although like Dennett he fails to see the real danger here).
He says that two ideas are unDarwinian: that we have a mind oriented
towards the Truth and a conscience that puts us in touch with right and
Now Dennett does try to deal with the second from the Darwinian
perspective (although what he really tries to explain is not how there
could actually be such a thing as right and wrong, good and bad, from
that perspective, but how it is that we think there is such a thing.)
But the other part of Rorty's suggestion is where the real intellectual
danger in Darwin's dangerous idea lies (at any rate if Rorty's "Truth" is
just ordinary everyday truth). Why so? Here I can only hint at the
argument. [ 13 ]
Darwin's dangerous idea is really two ideas put together: philosophical
naturalism together with the claim that our cognitive faculties have
originated by way of natural selection working on some form of genetic
According to this idea, then, the purpose or function of those faculties
(if they have one) is to enable or promote survival, or survival and
reproduction, more exactly, the maximization of fitness (the probability
of survival and reproduction).
Furthermore, the probability that our cognitive faculties are reliable
(i.e., furnish us with a preponderance of true beliefs) on Darwin's
dangerous idea is either low or inscrutable (i.e., impossible to
Received on Sat Aug 20 00:34:06 2005
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sat Aug 20 2005 - 00:34:09 EDT