Ontology of Love and God

July 12, 2006 at 12:25 am Leave a comment

At the ARC Philosophy Club meeting during a discussion on the nature (ontology) of love, the position was taken that love, and indeed all mental states, are simply ontologically reducible to the brain.

(By ontological reduction, I mean a simply relationship. For any given world w, if there are no brains [in a loose sense of the word, such that it is consistent with functionalism] in w, then there are not minds. Put more simply: For any w, ~Bw –> ~Mw.)

As a Christian, I think this sort of ontological reduction is problematic for a number of reasons, but it is problematic in a special way with regard to love and God. I pointed out that a Christian would argue that even if materialism was granted with regard to human minds, it would still be false for God and thus love would also not be reducible to a particular brain state, or even solely to the brain, i.e. there are other instances of love which are not ontologically dependent to brains (or thinking machines if the functionalist prefers).

A couple of members objected that there was not sufficient empirical evidence to rely on God to help construct an ontology of love. Of course this statement is very problematic (and dogmatic) because it ignores at least four things, (a) the problems associated with an overly-empirical epistemology, (b) inductive [and deductive] evidence for God’s existence, (c) too narrow a definition of empirical evidence, ignoring things like mystic and religious experience and finally, (d) reformed epistemology, which is not as easy to deal with as some think.

These are all very good reasons for the Christian to be skeptical of such an objection to Christian theism (a la Plantinga).


Entry filed under: metaphysics, social philosophy.

Baggini, Philosophizing and Blogging Existential Absurdity and the Meaning of Life

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