Monday, October 05, 2009

Moreland's Consciousness and the Existence of God

I'm reading through J.P. Moreland's Consciousness and the Existence of God. Moreland is defending the truth of the conditional statement: If irreducible consciousness exists (or is regularly correlated with physical states), then this provides evidence (to a degree Moreland specifies in ch. 2) for God's existence. (xi)
Moreland is one of the best teachers I have ever encountered. His writing is crisp-clear. He's a brilliant thinker. This book goes into goes into great depth that shows familiarity with the relevant issues. Ultimately it works as an example of abductive reasoning: 1) irreducible consciousness exists; 2) the best explanation for irreducible consciousness is either theism or naturalism; 3) it's not naturalism; 4) therefore, theism is the most probable explanation for the existence of irreducible consciousness.
Moreland, therefore, must establish the antecedent clause of the above conditional, which he believes he does by going into painstaking detail re. the possibilities.
I see Moreland as going at what is, on philosophical naturalism, the "really hard problem" of first-person subjective consciousness, and claiming that, on theism, the "hardness" of the problem is seen as what we should expect to see if theism is true.
Moreland concludes: "I have argued that if property/event dualism is true, it provides evidence for the existence of God." (175) To understand how he arrives at this the entire book must be read and, along the way, one gets an incredible introduction to the hard problem of consciousness.