Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oppy, Moreland, and the Common Apologetic Strategy

Over at the Secular Outpost, Graham Oppy recently noted a series of exchanges he's been having with J.P. Moreland on the argument from consciousness for theism. One of Oppy's main points in the post is that a naturalist can (a la Chalmers) take consciousness or proto-conscious representational properties as fundamental features of the natural world, thereby undercutting the argument from consciousness.[1] As Oppy puts it:

The most important point to note -- vis a vis this discussion -- I think, is this: The worst case for the naturalist is one in which 'conscious state' is an ideological primitive, with an ideologically primitive connection to 'neural state' (or the like). But, for theists like Moreland, 'conscious state' is evidently an ideological primitive -- for, of course, Moreland thinks that God is conscious, and does not suppose that God's consciousness is explained in terms of something else -- and the connection between consciousness and the rest of God's 'state' is also ideologically primitive. So, on a proper accounting of theoretical costs, the worst case for the naturalist is no worse than par with the view that Moreland defends.

And as Oppy points out, Moreland completely ignores this reply, choosing instead to argue that less "liberal" forms of naturalism can't account for consciousness.

I think this is an excellent demonstration of the failure of what I have called the Common Apologetic Strategy.
[1] I've tried to make this point as well. See, for example, here and here.

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