Saturday, February 27, 2016

Glenn and Jerry's

1. Jerry Walls was recently interviewed by Chris Date. Glenn Peoples posted a response to Jerry. Glenn is a physicalist and annihilationist while Jerry promiscuously combines elements of Molinism, open theism, universalism, and Purgatory. Multiple choice heresy on both sides.

2. It's not surprising that Glenn got the better of the argument. Jerry is winging it while this is Glenn's hobbyhorse. 

3. Glenn faults Jerry for continuing to deny the evidence for annihilationism in the church fathers after he was corrected. If, however, the only evidence for this claim was the interpretation of church fathers provided by annihilationists, then that's a circular argument from authority. I'd prefer an independent referee. (Mind you, I don't think what this or that church father believed is probative.) 

4. Glenn makes Platonism the fallguy. But there are several problems with that objection:

i) Some annihilationists are dualists. Although I think physicalism is a more economical version of annihilationism, Glenn himself (along with Peter Grice, as I recall), took umbrage at my saying so.

ii) More to the point, we need to be careful about presuming that a given belief must be indebted to some prior source. For one thing, that flirts with an infinite regress. Someone had to be the first person to think it. 

iii) In addition, there are only so alternative explanations on certain issues, so there's no reason to presume that a given belief must be indebted to some prior source. Rather, there's a limited way of thinking about some issues. The logical possibilities are restricted. And intelligent people will keep reinventing the same options. That can happen independently on multiple occasions in time and place. 

For instance, Indian philosophy often parallels Greek philosophy. A similar range of questions and answers respecting metaphysics and epistemology. That's not because one influenced the other. Rather, all people inhabit the same world. Have access to the same evidence. Smart people think of the same questions. And there are only so many possible answers. 

5. Regarding the specific issue at hand, by Glenn's own admission, belief in immortal souls was commonplace in the ancient world. Why is that? Here are two possibilities:

i) Evidence of crisis apparitions. From what I've read, that's very widespread. Even if you think that's superstitious, it reflects popular belief. No Platonism required. 

ii) Likewise, from what I've read, you have "primitive" cultures that interpret dreaming as astral travel. During sleep, the soul leaves the body and roams freely–which implies that the real you (consciousness, personality) is independent of your body. A universal OBE. 

My point is not that astral travel is a correct interpretation of dreaming, but that such interpretations will arise spontaneously. Has nothing to do with Platonism–unless Platonism is, itself, influenced by astral projective interpretations of dreaming. 

Rather, dreaming is universal, people are fascinating by dreams, and they will inevitably posit a mechanism to explain dreams. In this case, a "folk" explanation. 

1 comment:

  1. "Glenn makes Platonism the fallguy"

    Not true. I said that there are many possible sources. As you said: "by Glenn's own admission, belief in immortal souls was commonplace in the ancient world," and not just in platonism. I said so.

    Do better please. :)