OK, Ian. It is my understanding that the following is your proof that materialism is bunk. It is part of your response to Stimpy on page 5. I'll be commenting it along the way:
For the final time I provide my argument refuting materialism. This time read it and understand it.
Let me address the reason why I think materialism is unintelligible. What we need to do is take a look at materialism to see if it is internally consistent. Now the particular question I would like to address is why should we suppose that other peoples’ bodies are "inhabited" by conscious minds (or why phenomenal consciousness is associated with brains). Your argument no doubt will be that materialism stipulates this to be so; it is an axiomatic premise of materialism.
No, other conscious minds are not part of the axioms of materialism. Their existence is a deduction.
But this makes your definition of materialism an arbitrary one. A metaphysic which glosses over awkward facts. Allow me to explain.
It seems to me that materialism should stipulate that the physical exhausts reality. That once we have completely described the Universe in physical terms then we have said all that can be said about the Universe or reality.
No. First of all, materialism has no view on whether or not the Universe can ever be completely described. Secondly, it is my understanding that the axioms of materialism are just that reality is:
4. and that it is possible to acquire reliable information about it from our observations.
(It is possible the above axioms are in fact the axioms of Science and that materialism has fewer axioms. Stimpy?)
But what is the physical? It seems to me that it should be everything, that, at least in principle, can be observed by anyone with appropriate faculties and suitable instruments. In other words all that is objective exists, or to put it another way, all that is discernable from the third person perspective exists. This will also include things which can only be indirectly seen (although strictly speaking I reject the direct/indirect dichotomy). This then includes such entities as electrons, because although they can only be "indirectly" seen they nevertheless play fruitful roles in our theories describing the world ie we need to hypothesise electrons in order to explain certain aspects of reality.
I believe the definition of "physical" is that anything which interacts with something physical, is physical.
Now there is something peculiar about conscious experience which marks it off from all other existents. It is simply this. It cannot be observed or detected by anyone with appropriate faculties and/or suitable instruments!
See my link in previous post.
Thus according to my prior definition of the physical it is not a physical existent. Thus I may have toothache to take an arbitrary example. But you cannot observe that toothache, all you can observe is the effects of the toothache, the grimace of pain for example. Conscious experiences in other words are irreducibly private.
Conscious experiences obviously aren't private. They can be directly shown on a TV monitor.
Now you will no doubt say that by observing the grimace, or at least by observing the neurons fire, then you are observing the toothache since materialism holds that the toothache and its neural correlates are one and the same thing, or at least aspects of the same thing. But an objective examination of this toothache will necessarily leave out the subjective irreducibly sensation of pain. The actually sensation of pain does not figure into the physical facts about the pain according to our prior definition of the physical. Nor can we infer the sensation of pain since, unlike an electron, the (phenomenological) pain does not play a part in any description of our behaviour. The pain per se cannot play a part because pain per se is not part of the objective publically accessible realm. Only the neural correlates of the pain can play any fruitful role in our theories.
I can't say at what point pain transducers will be available, but transducing the phenomenal experience of "seeing" from a 1st person perspective to a 3rd person perspective, is already available. See previous link.
metaphysic is internally inconsistent, or he must arbitrarily include phenomenological consciousness within his world picture. But if he opts for the latter then the whole prima facie plausibility of his world view crumbles away. No longer can he say that for something to exist it must be in principle be directly observable or play a fruitful role in some theory about the world, because this then necessarily precludes phenomenological consciousness. He
has to expand the notion of the physical to even include things that cannot be directly or even indirectly detected, even in principle!
As shown in the link, phenominal consciousness experienced by creature X can be observed by any number of 3rd parties.