Critique of Bertuzzi’s Powerful Arguments for Dualism

Excellent display of how trivial and silly most of academic philosophy has become, although admittedly these wouldn’t be the brightest representatives. But before the video even starts Cameron has introduced his confusion into the mix by conflating soul with nonphysical. It is possible that if duality were true, it would not consist of anything like a soul, and certainly not an eternal soul, but rather some mysterious state where consciousness inheres, but for an apologist, this is really the only important issue.

Sadly, the video is mistitled as there were no credible, let alone powerful arguments for duality. The first argument by Dustin is a simple tautology. It also suffers from false suppositions and terms, which I will get to later, but for now the issue is that he assumes a difference between “mental states” and “physical states” in order to conclude that difference. Roughly, he posits a material landscape and contrasts it with a mental representation of that landscape and our ability to construct other possible but imaginary landscapes from that representation. He points out that there are an infinitely greater number of possible imaginary landscapes than there are material, and therefore the imaginary states are unconnected and substantially different from physical state.  The problem, of course, is he erroneously compares the physical state of the landscape itself to the nonphysicality of each imagined landscape when the issue is the physicality of the consciousness that produces these imagined landscapes. That the process of consciousness can produce multiple thoughts about an object in no way implies the consciousness producing the thought isn’t physical or that the thoughts themselves are not physical.  Common printers can produce many copies or variations of a representation, yet the printer is as physical as are the outputs. In other words, the thoughts themselves can be physical even if they concern an idea that doesn’t physically exist.

Justin’s argument is mired in the obsolete metaphysics of mereology and never even gets off the ground. It also shares the same false assumptions and terms with Dustin’s arguments, which I will now address. At the beginning of the video where they attempt to define terms as well as later in their arguments they falsely assume neurons and atoms to be the fundamental layer of existence; an assumption that underlies the failure of their arguments before the logic of their arguments even comes into play. Almost all physicists accept quantum field theory as the deepest state of existence that we know, especially since being confirmed by the production of a Higgs Boson. This replaces the idea of material with waves along fields. The question of consciousness is not one of whether or not we can find it inherent in what we perceive as the material nature of neurons and atoms, but whether the most fundamental state of reality as waves can yield an understanding of a physical existence of consciousness. There is, in fact, a great deal of similarity between brain activity and quantum wave physics, including a freedom from deterministic causality and its mode as waves.  At this deepest level, where any real substance differences would have to have their basis, there is no such thing as substance, essence, or matter, which means they are chasing illusions. This error is behind their definition of non-reductive physicalism as “existence of neurons and atoms and nothing else.” Brian Greene has some excellent videos I could recommend to those three to attempt to catch up with the rest of the 21st century. As a side note, I enjoy the irony that Pythagoras seems to have gotten the ultimate nature of reality as resonance right from the very beginning.

The point is there is no good reason to assume a soul or non-physical consciousness for two compelling reasons. First there is not a shred of evidence that such a thing exists, but rather the idea can be traced to a Cartesian metaphysical error. The fact is we never encounter consciousness apart from a functioning brain. ( ) And second, the new mysteries of the physical universe now coming to light hold out promise of answering this question within a better understood concept of physical.

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