His “little theater in the mind” concept means that you can’t even know that nature exists. It may just be a movie that’s being played in front of your eyes
Michael Egnor: Sure. It’s a classic debate in philosophy of mind. It goes back really to John Locke: What does perception mean?
Locke argued that what we experience in our minds is our perceptions. And perceptions are essentially pictures of the outside world, that are projected onto our brain in some form.
[Philosopher Daniel] Dennett has called this the “Cartesian theater.” It’s as if there’s a little “us” sitting inside our brains in a little theater, and our eyes are shining movies, and our ears are shining audio, and everything’s coming into this theater …
I think Locke made a terrible mistake. The problem with that way of looking at things is that a completely cuts you off from reality. (00:48:11)News, “How philosopher John Locke turned reality into theatre” at Mind Matters News
Takehome: Aristotle and Aquinas’s traditional philosophical approach, Michael Egnor argues, offers more assurance that we can truly perceive reality.
Here’s a transcript and notes for the first 47 minutes:
How did Descartes come to make such a mess of dualism? Mathematician René Descartes strictly separated mind and matter in a way that left the mind very vulnerable. After Descartes started the idea that only minds have experiences, materialist philosophers dispensed with mind, then puzzled over how matter has experiences.
What’s the best option for understanding the mind and the brain? Theories that attempt to show that the mind does not really exist clearly don’t work and never did. Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor reviews the mind-brain theories for East Meets West: Theology Unleashed. He think dualism makes the best sense of the evidence.
How we can know mental states are real?
Mental states are always “about” something; physical states are not “about” anything. Michael Egnor argues that doing science as a physicalist (a materialist) is like driving a car with the parking brake on; it’s a major impediment to science.
Why neurosurgeon Mike Egnor stopped being a materialist atheist. He found that materialism is just not working out in science. Most propositions in basic science are based on mathematics and mathematics is not a material thing.
How science points to meaning in life. The earliest philosopher of science, Aristotle, pioneered a way of understanding it. Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor talks about the four causes of the events in our world, from the material to the mind.
You may also wish to read: Why the universe itself can’t be the most fundamental thing. Atheist biology professor Jerry Coyne is mistaken in dismissing my observation that proofs of God’s existence follow the same logical structure as any other scientific theory. (Michael Egnor)