The Immortality Project

#1
http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/28956

John Martin Fischer, distinguished professor of philosophy and principal investigator of The Immortality Project, and Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin, the postdoctoral fellow on the project, will discuss their forthcoming book, “No Proof of Heaven: The Significance of Near-Death Experiences.” They will be joined by some of the scholars participating in The Immortality Project.
I was curious to see what Dr Mitchell-Yellin had written about the subject and found this paper: http://philpapers.org/archive/MITTNE-2.pdf

Interesting conclusions:
Our critique of the two versions of the NDE argument against physicalism consists of two main claims. First, we have argued that it has not been established that physicalism is unable to explain NDEs, or even that there is good reason to increase our confidence in the need for non-physical explanations of NDEs.
So the conclusion is...
if we arbitrarily / unjustifiably / uncritically assume physicalism as the default philosophical position, then we can go on and show how there is no good reason to increase our confidence in any other alternative. <Double Facepalm> :D

Heads I win, tails you loose.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#2
Interesting conclusions:

"Our critique of the two versions of the NDE argument against physicalism consists of two main claims. First, we have argued that it has not been established that physicalism is unable to explain NDEs, or even that there is good reason to increase our confidence in the need for non-physical explanations of NDEs."

So the conclusion is...
if we arbitrarily / unjustifiably / uncritically assume physicalism as the default philosophical position, then we can go on and show how there is no good reason to increase our confidence in any other alternative.
I don't reach that conclusion from their statement. They don't seem to be making a philosophical assumption.

~~ Paul
 
#3
I don't reach that conclusion from their statement. They don't seem to be making a philosophical assumption.

~~ Paul
They are talking about physicalism, which is a philosophical system. And in the quote bucky posted they are indirectly arguing for physicalism through assuming that physicalism can explain NDE's. They also try to strengthen that point by saying that they believe that theres nothing that would favor non-physicalistic systems and explanations. So of course they are making assumptions here. These are rather subjective assumptions aswell.
 
#4
http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/28956



I was curious to see what Dr Mitchell-Yellin had written about the subject and found this paper: http://philpapers.org/archive/MITTNE-2.pdf

Interesting conclusions:


So the conclusion is...
if we arbitrarily / unjustifiably / uncritically assume physicalism as the default philosophical position, then we can go on and show how there is no good reason to increase our confidence in any other alternative. <Double Facepalm> :D

Heads I win, tails you loose.


There is only one answer to this dilemma, They need to face Alex on the Skeptiko show.
 
#5
http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/28956



I was curious to see what Dr Mitchell-Yellin had written about the subject and found this paper: http://philpapers.org/archive/MITTNE-2.pdf

Interesting conclusions:


So the conclusion is...
if we arbitrarily / unjustifiably / uncritically assume physicalism as the default philosophical position, then we can go on and show how there is no good reason to increase our confidence in any other alternative. <Double Facepalm> :D

Heads I win, tails you loose.
Bucky, the link you provided seem to lead to another paper by these philosophers, which does not tackle NDE (at least, it worked this way for me :eek:). I found an alternative link to the NDE-related paper.

Reading it now - the section about veridical experiensies is ridiculous. These guys appear to follow the steps of Dr. Gerard "Gerry" Woerlee in assuming that Pam Raynolds could hear the conversation. Somehow. They don't know how, but still hope she could. Gosh, I can't read it without laughing. :D
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#6
They are talking about physicalism, which is a philosophical system. And in the quote bucky posted they are indirectly arguing for physicalism through assuming that physicalism can explain NDE's. They also try to strengthen that point by saying that they believe that theres nothing that would favor non-physicalistic systems and explanations. So of course they are making assumptions here. These are rather subjective assumptions aswell.
They are not assuming that physicalism can explain NDEs. They are arguing (a) that it has not been shown that physicalism is unable to explain them, and (b) they don't think a good argument has been made that a nonphysical explanation is needed.

Granted, the second argument suggests that they believe we can focus on a material explanation. But Bucky's statement:

"if we arbitrarily / unjustifiably / uncritically assume physicalism as the default philosophical position, then we can go on and show how there is no good reason to increase our confidence in any other alternative."

is unjustified and has the conclusion backward.

~~ Paul
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#7
Reading it now - the section about veridical experiensies is ridiculous. These guys appear to follow the steps of Dr. Gerard "Gerry" Woerlee in assuming that Pam Raynolds could hear the conversation. Somehow. They don't know how, but still hope she could. Gosh, I can't read it without laughing. :D
The timelines I've seen of the Reynolds case don't convince me that she could not have heard something. But more important, we know nothing about what happened afterward.

~~ Paul
 
#8
They are not assuming that physicalism can explain NDEs. They are arguing (a) that it has not been shown that physicalism is unable to explain them, and (b) they don't think a good argument has been made that a nonphysical explanation is needed.

Granted, the second argument suggests that they believe we can focus on a material explanation. But Bucky's statement:

"if we arbitrarily / unjustifiably / uncritically assume physicalism as the default philosophical position, then we can go on and show how there is no good reason to increase our confidence in any other alternative."

is unjustified and has the conclusion backward.

~~ Paul
I dont agree with that interpretation of their statement. They are assuming that physicalism can explain them. Yep.
 
#9
I dont agree with that interpretation of their statement. They are assuming that physicalism can explain them. Yep.
I'm curious upon what you base this statement. If you had said that they hope physicalism will explain NDEs then I would agree with that. However, they quite explicitly state that they do not assume that to be the case:

We thus think that no good reason has been offered to accept either conclusion. We shall argue for holding out hope that future scientific examination of the relevant issues will provide physical explanations of the phenomena.
They acknowledge that we cannot with current techniques provide a scientific explanation for consciousness. They make the point that we don't know what future technologies will enable us to determine.
Our complaint is not that van Lommel is wrong to scrutinize common assumptions behind physicalist views about consciousness.14 Rather, it is that he is hasty in drawing the conclusion that physicalism is false on the basis of this scrutiny.
They do not claim that that physical explanations have explained NDEs but that "physical explanations should remain on the table." Further, they do not argue that non-physical arguments should be abandoned.

They write:
First, we have argued that it has not been established that physicalism is unable to explain NDEs, or even that there is good reason to increase our confidence in the need for non-physical explanations of NDEs.
When they refer to increase our confidence I interpret this is saying not we should not at this stage assume either is correct:

Second, we have argued that appeal to a conception of consciousness as non-physical brings along daunting problems of its own. For all we have said here, physicalism may be subject to insurmountable difficulties (especially as regards the subjectivity of experience). We have, however, been at pains to show that the list of problems facing physicalism does not include the NDE argument against it (in either its weaker or stronger form).
In other words, presently both approaches have significant problems!

To bring the point home they state:

It is worth pointing out that we have not taken a stance on the correct standard for belief. Our claim is not that one should accept a physical explanation of NDEs, or else remain agnostic about how they are to be explained. We have left it open whether one should aim to believe only verified truths, or whether it is appropriate to believe claims on the basis of pragmatic considerations, as well as evidence.35 Given the latter standard, our claim that it is an open question whether there is an adequate physical explanation of NDEs need not forestall belief in an explanation that appeals to the non-physical.
This paper brings up a number of interesting subjects of discussion! We should go through it!
 
#10
I'm curious upon what you base this statement. If you had said that they hope physicalism will explain NDEs then I would agree with that. However, they quite explicitly state that they do not assume that to be the case:



They acknowledge that we cannot with current techniques provide a scientific explanation for consciousness. They make the point that we don't know what future technologies will enable us to determine.


They do not claim that that physical explanations have explained NDEs but that "physical explanations should remain on the table." Further, they do not argue that non-physical arguments should be abandoned.

They write:


When they refer to increase our confidence I interpret this is saying not we should not at this stage assume either is correct:



In other words, presently both approaches have significant problems!

To bring the point home they state:



This paper brings up a number of interesting subjects of discussion! We should go through it!

I kinda guessed that one of your little group there would respond like that sooner or later. Its like a bait. It really is.

Our critique of the two versions of the NDE argument against physicalism consists of two main claims. First, we have argued that it has not been established that physicalism is unable to explain NDEs, or even that there is good reason to increase our confidence in the need for non-physical explanations of NDEs.
Thats the part i was talking about. I dont really care if they state a thousand times that they dont want to argue for anything - i can do that aswell while not doing so. They are stating right here that it is not established that physicalism is unable to explain NDEs. And thus they argue in favor of physicalism while stating that they got no confidence in non-physical explanations. They also made assumptions here regarding that. I was stating before that they assume that physicalism can explain NDEs. Assumptions are usually based on beliefs and stuff like that. We are propably talking about the same thing. I never wrote that they stated they know.

This paper brings up a number of interesting subjects of discussion! We should go through it!
Wait a second, i need to get out of here before you start with that.
 
#11
I kinda guessed that one of your little group there would respond like that sooner or later. Its like a bait. It really is.



Thats the part i was talking about. I dont really care if they state a thousand times that they dont want to argue for anything - i can do that aswell while not doing so. They are stating right here that it is not established that physicalism is unable to explain NDEs. And thus they argue in favor of physicalism while stating that they got no confidence in non-physical explanations. They also made assumptions here regarding that. I was stating before that they assume that physicalism can explain NDEs. Assumptions are usually based on beliefs and stuff like that. We are propably talking about the same thing. I never wrote that they stated they know.



Wait a second, i need to get out of here before you start with that.
I must admit this hit me like a slap in the face. I had no idea that you were not interested in discussions with me and viewed me in this manner. While I believe you have misinterpreted what they wrote you have made yourself perfectly clear and I now get the message. I will refrain from engaging you going forward.

Take care.
 
#12
I must admit this hit me like a slap in the face. I had no idea that you were not interested in discussions with me and viewed me in this manner. While I believe you have misinterpreted what they wrote you have made yourself perfectly clear and I now get the message. I will refrain from engaging you going forward.

Take care.
Wth are you talking about? The last sentence wasnt 100% serious. Did i forget the emoticons? I may do not want to involve myself in that discussion any further, surely, but thats not realted to you as a person. Its related to the topic. I know what you and paul are trying to tell me here, i just dont agree with it. So i believe theres no point for me discussing the paper. That is all.

I dont even know what you think i implied with what i wrote.
 
Last edited:
Top