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Aren't there two separate arguments in this and your earlier post re Dennett?

The first is: Here is this elaborate entity. (The clock/the world.) Who could doubt that it is constructed?

The second is: Here is this idea of an elaborate entity. Only an elaborate entity could have been responsible for this idea.

It strikes me that both arguments are bad, but that the second is worse. I don't think you can get the first by any reasonable modification of the second.


A Rude Indian (called Mohan)

Alan Nelson

Mohan is right that the second cannot support the first. In fact, the second depends on the first (in a Cartesian context anyway). The idea of an intricate entity is itself an intricate entity (at least "objectively"). And the intricate entity that is the idea needs a source/constructor capable of that much intricacy.


Alan, that's certainly an interesting interpretation of Descartes' argument. I thought that ideas are all the same in intricacy (formally?), but different with regard to the intricacy of what they are ideas of (objectively). So I read the argument in the Meditations as supposing that no entity can conceive of anything more intricate than itself except by that thing being responsible for the idea. That's closer to the Eric/Dan reading.


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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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