In a comment to his OP, I do take the idea to that conclusion (of course), and I might as well share it with you (or course). But the *main* point of this post is to demolish the *denial* of what Reppert wrote --
If mental states are physical states, then the truth about what someone believes should follow necessarily from the state of the brain/physical world. But it doesn't. If we line up all the physical facts, we have every atom traced, the argument from The brain is in state X therefore he must believe, say, that God exists, cannot follow necessarily. The state of the physical always leaves the state of the mental indeterminate. But what my thought is about is determinate, not indeterminate. Therefore my belief is not a physical state.
Me, taking the idea to its logical conclusion:
... and thereby do we know that naturalism and materialism and indeed atheism (*) is false.An even better word to have used than 'determinism', even if I have to coin it myself, is 'machinality'.
(*) For, it isn't the physicalism that shows naturalism and materialism to be false, it is the determinism.
Contrary to the assertions of some of the God-deniers who admit the inescapable problem with 'materialism', yet vainly imagine that there is some 'atheism' out there free of the flaw (*), the flaw -- the logical entailment of the denial that we ourselves even *can* exist -- the flaw goes deeper than mere 'materialism'; the flaw is in God-denial itself.
What is at the heart of 'atheism'? What does it *mean* to say that "God is not"? The heart of 'atheism', the meaning of God-denial, is the assertion that there is no Person -- no Agent -- who is "the ground of all being". That is, whatever it is that may properly be said to be "the gound of all being", that thing is not a person, is not an agent, and, consequently, does not, and cannot, posses the properties that distinguish persons from non-persons and agents from non-agents.
One of the properties that distinguish persons from non-persons and agents from non-agents is freedom; in fact, freedom is the main characteristic of agency. As agent is active, rather than passive; and agent is not merely acted upon, but rather, acts. An agent is free to initiate novel causal-webs, rather than merely being acted upon by pre-existing causal-webs.
When God-deniers deny the reality of God -- deny that God, a Person, an Agent, is *the* fundamental reality -- then they are denying that it is even possible for there to be *any* agents and *any* persons. When God-deniers deny the reality of God, they are asserting that *everything* that is is a machine, a passively deterministic entity, whether or not it has any material component.
To deny the reality of the Divine Person(s) is also -- necessarily -- to deny the reality of human persons; this is why I keep saying that "You are the proof that God is!"
Some God-deniers try to get around that cardinal difficulty of atheism (and disproof of it) by ad hoc positing that perhaps 'Mind' or 'Consciousness' or some similar concept is "fundamental to reality", and as 'atheism', per se doesn't (appear to) deny the possibility, that therefore 'atheism' isn't seen to be necessarily false, and is off the hook for internal incoherence.
But, there is no such thing as 'Mind', nor any of the related concepts to which they ad hoc appeal, unless there is an actually existing mind. When the God-deniers try this particular stunt, what they are really doing is trying to after-the-fact smuggle God into the foundation of their world-view, via the cellar door, while continuing to shout out the front door and all the windows that there is no God.
(*) Not that they *ever* do more than vaguely wave their hands and declare the problem solved to their satisfaction.
John Moore, denying Repper's reasoning (as, being a God-denier, he *must*):
Yes it does. If we line up all the physical facts, with every atom traced, then we can see precisely what the brain believes. We can see how particular sensory inputs will activate particular neural pathways and eventually produce motor output such as a speech act saying "I believe X."Let us try to pretend that Mr Moore really believes what he is asserting (he doesn't). Moveover, let us try to pretend that what he is asserting really is the truth about reality, and about human beings (it isn't). What would it *mean* were these things true? What would be the logical entailment of these assertions were they true?
I wish I could understand why Victor says it doesn't. Please provide more explanation.
Looking at a computer circuit, we can see that particular inputs inevitably lead to particular outputs. That's how the electrical circuit works. The brain is also a kind of electrical circuit. It is hugely complex and made of different stuff, but the brain still looks entirely physical. If we knew what every atom was doing, we could predict exactly what the brain would do.
Victor Reppert: "If mental states are physical states, then the truth about what someone believes should follow necessarily from the state of the brain/physical world. But it doesn't." (I suspect that Mr Reppet means something very different from what he actually wrote; but I also believe that most readers will *get* what he means.)
John Moore: "If we line up all the physical facts, with every atom traced, then we can see precisely what the brain believes. We can see how particular sensory inputs will activate particular neural pathways and eventually produce motor output such as a speech act saying "I believe X.""
By his *own* assertion, Mr Moore doesn't actually believe what he is asserting -- for, in the world-view he pretends to believe, there is no such thing, nor can be, as 'belief'. God-deniers *use* words such as 'believe' and 'choose', while emptying them of any meaning at all.
Rather, both he and Mr Reppert are simply making noises (or typing letters) because their particular brain-states, at this particular moment in the unfolding history of the material world, compel their mouths (or fingers) to produce those noises (or typed letters). In a moment, Mr Moore's brain-state may well change -- perhaps he will hear the sound represented by the letters "tomato", and that sound will set in motion a series of brain-state changes -- such that his brain-state will then compel him to "contradict" what he has just said.
Who can say? Certainly not Mr Moore, for he -- by his own admission -- knows nothing, nor believes anything, nor can do either.
If Mr Moore's assertion -- for he offers no *argument* -- (and the world-view behind it) were indeed true, then his act of asserting it is utterly meaningless, as is Mr Reppert's argument to the contrary.
Mr Moore is *explicitly* asserting that minds are produced by, are effects of, brains. He is *explicitly* asserting the he, and Reppert, and you and me, are machines. In this case, physical/material machines. He is *explicitly* asserting that we are passively determined at every instant by the prior history of the material/physical world. He is *explicitly* asserting that we do not, and cannot, choose to do this or that (recall: even if he uses that word, he first empties it of any meaning), but rather that whatever "speech act", say, we may perform is merely the mechanical-and-inevitable result of prior material states.
Usually, God-deniers try to not be this explicit about what God-denial actually entails.
Some semi-prominent 'atheists' like to make the devistating "argument" that Christians "belong at the kids' table"; for, after all, we persist in believing "irrational" things.
But, the truth is that until a man acknowledges that God is (which is a different matter from whether Jesus the Christ is God), he not only has no place a "the adults' table, but also not at "the kids' table". Rather, the God-denier belongs on the floor, with the other non-rational animals.
By the way, this is a little game of which God-deniers (and leftists and DarwinDefenders) are inordinately fond-- "I wish I could understand why Victor says it doesn't. Please provide more explanation." -- I call it "Deny and Demand": deny the explanation you have been given without ever engaging it, and demand another.
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Shackleman: "Granted, I think "emergence" lacks much merit, but I still think you've left room for them to retreat to it."
It only looks that way because people (you, in this case) are used to -- have been conditioned to -- allow them to do that. Somehow, materialists took over the intellectual life of the West two or three *centuries* ago. By this point in time, we're all so used to the implicit materialism into which we're born, that we rarely *examine* the underlying assumptions and entailments ... nor question the moves made by the intentional materialists.
Shackleman: "Have you not left room for the atheist to claim that agency can "emerge" from a universe which exists initially without agency? I think that's what they'd do, and point to "evolution" as the driving force to get them there."
'Emergence' is a Great Word of Magick amongst materialists and atheists. But, in reality, it's even more empty than the word 'instinct' used by butterfly col ... I mean, evolutionist biologists.
Allow me to first illustrate the issue by means of an aphorism (that I just made up) which is also an analogy and a metaphor -- "A tiger may emerge from a jungle ... proveded there is already a tiger in the jungle." (Do note my use of 'may': the tiger has some choice in the matter).
The atheist, whether or not he cops to being a materialist, who tries to escape this logical entailment of the denial of the reality and personhood of God (to wit: denial of the reality of the human person) by appealing to 'emergence' is akin to the man who states that there is no tiger in the jungle, but that, nonetheless, purely by chance occurrance, one might emerge from it at any time.
Now, consider this --
Let us posit the existence of some initial state of affairs, some world -- which may or may not be material (this point is important) (*) -- in which all events/occurrances are the mechanical effects of logically prior (**) events/occurrances. This is simple cause-and-effect: the logically prior event(s)/occurrance(s) is(are) the cause(s) of the logically subsequent event(s)/occurrance(s), the effect(s), necessarily.
Thus -- for this is just another way of stating the above paragraph -- given the condition of this 'world' at state 'S0', then it is mechanically inevitable that its condition at state 'S1' will be as it will be. That is, state 'S1' is fully determined by state 'S0'. This necessarily applies no matter which state one chooses to account as being state 'S0'.
Look again at what Mr Moore said -- what I have said above is *exactly* what he said, just more general-in-application, less linked to materialism, and more precisely stated.
But, notice: this world I have described is merely an abstract description or model of what the 'atheist' claims is true of *this* world, and of us. This world I have described is the theoretical instance of what the 'atheist' says is the truth about the particular instance in which we find ourselves -- thus, if the theoretical instance cannot fully account for the particular instance, then the theory is at best incomplete. The theory may also be flat-out wrong.
So, which is it? Is the 'atheist' theory flat-out wrong, or is it just incomplete? (Hint: it's flat-out wrong)
Look again at the theory -- state 'S1' is fully determined by state 'S0'. Thus, state 'S2' is fully determined by state 'S1', and state 'S3' is fully determined by state 'S2', and so on, world without end.
When the 'atheist' tries to appeal to 'emergence' to "explain" the existence in this theoretical world of entities which are *not* fully determined by the world's prior states, then he is rendering his theory-of-the-world incoherent --which is to say, Self-contradictory, which is to say, necessarily false (and not merely incomplete). For, while a set of self-consistent statements may be nonetheless false, no set of self-contradictory statements can ever possibly be true.
When the 'atheist' tries to appeal to 'emergence' to "explain" the existence in this theoretical world of entities which are *not* fully determined by the world's prior states, then he is saying that somewhere between state 'Sn' and state 'Sn+1' a *POOF* occurs, and out of absolutely nowhere, with absolutley no cause, that which was never in the world, not even as a potential, just appears.
And, of course, if the inattentive listener lets the 'atheist' get away with that bit of Magick, it turns out that the "agency" he has poofed into the world isn't *actually* agency: it's just the word 'agency' applied to mechanical necessity. As I said before, 'atheists' do (and must) empty such words of content and meaning, for the meaning contradicts their world-view.
(*) This 'world' may, or may not, be wholly material, or at least have a material component along with an immaterial component, ot may be wholly immaterial -- it doesn't matter. All that matters is that this world is logically consistent, that no part of it contradict the whole; for, if it is not logically consistet, if it is not coherent, then it cannot be a world.
(**) And perhaps temporally prior, but that's not important; just as this 'world' may be wholly immaterial, so, too, may it be a-temporal. All that is absolutely required of it is that it be logically consistent.