I'm glad to see Hardcastle be explicit about the roots in logical positivism that her suggestion for what counts as "naturalism" possesses. It's interesting that certain segments of phil. of mind and psychology seem to be the last bastions of sympathy for it. Some quite fascinating sociological tale must by lying around here waiting to be found and told.
I'm no etymologist, but I'm surprised to hear that the term "naturalism" arose out of Logical Positivism. I had always heard Darwin and other anti-vitalists, and anti-creationists, referred to as espousing a "naturalism", and it never seemed to be for LP reasons. In any case, for what it's worth, it seems to me the term plays a different role currently. Here's how Antony Flew defines it in "A Dictionary of Philosophy":
In general, the philosophical belief that what is studied by the non-human and human sciences is all there is, and the denial of the need for any explanation going beyond or outside the universe. All such naturalists since Darwin insist especially upon the evolution, without supernatural intervention, of higher forms of life from lower, and of these in turn ultimately from non-living matter.
Chalmers position quite clearly falls under this conception of naturalism. I'm not quoting Flew as an authority here. He is, however, at least a disinterested party without a rhetorical axe to grind. I agree with Stan Klein's assessment that this is a "semantic" issue without a lot of substance. Unfortunately, the substance it does have is rhetorical, and that can be quite important in a dialogue. Being branded a "nonnaturalist" about consciousness is a good way to get ignored or taken lightly, so it is fairly important to use the word in a considered way. I assume that these dialectical consequences are at least part of the reason that Hardcastle wishes to brand Chalmers' position as "nonnatural", and, equally, why it is important not to let the move pass too quickly, without resistance.
I was also happy to hear Hardcastle say she has thought hard about the superempirical aspects of science and explanation. She should then be able to say something more constructive than dismissive about Chalmers position. Given the deep understanding she has of these things, I was surprised to see her dismissive caricature of Chalmers argument as:
1) I can't imagine such-and-such, therefore
C) Consciousness is non-physical.
I was even more surprised to read her JCS piece where she seemed to be calling for materialists to merely circle the wagons and talk amongst themselves. I'm not sure if Hardcastle has read Chalmers book, or just his precis' in the JCS piece. In case she has not, let me say that the book contains quite a bit more meat, and does not have the form of argument she attributes to Chalmers. The argument is more closely characterized as:
From 1, 2, and 3 Chalmers concludes that materialism is false, and that an explanation of consciousness, to be complete, will have to posit some brute facts over and above those revealed by physical or functional theories. Along the way, Chalmers addresses the kinds of worries about conceptual analysis that people usually have, discussing at some length why the kind presupposed by his arguments doesn't fall prey to the usual worries.
I should note that Penrose and Hameroff's theory is dualistic by Chalmers lights. The reason is that they posit experience as fundamental, thus putting it in as an axiom added to the standard physical story. Given that the P&H theory is testable, this is enough to dispose of Hardcastle's objection that no dualist theory she knows of is testable.
I'm looking forward to seeing Hardcastle bring her years of experience and reflection to bear on Chalmers actual position, rather than the misstating of it her and some others have fallen into.
I'm also glad to hear Hardcastle say she thinks superempirical virtues are important in evaluating theories. However, I was disappointed to read this:
Superempirical virtues are used in evaluating theories, of course. Saying a theory needs empirical support or to be tested does not say this is the *only* way we have for evaluating theories. (So, Gregg's questions are easily answered by appeal to these virtues.) However, "I can't imagine this" or some other intuitive reaction like that is *not* a superempirical virtue. Nor are other aspects of "conceptual analysis."
I take it that is a virtue of the theory of eletromagnetism that it, in conjunction with chemical theory, explains the properties of light. I also take it that the fact that it is an explanation is not a *purely* empirical matter. For instance, physicists routinely deduce properties of "elecromagnetic phenomena" and check these against properties possessed by "light." Surely, that involves truths of meaning, and having a proper prior acquaintance with light (i.e. having a sense of what "light" refers to so one knows where to go and what to do to find out if the electromagnetic theory adequately accounts for it)?
After all, how else would one check the theory if one couldn't deduce consequences from the meanings of the terms, or figure out where in the world to go to find out if those consequences hold. That is conceptual on both ends. Furthermore, it is not a purely *empirical* matter that light has been explained, and that we do not need an ontology that goes beyond present physics to do so. The reason we have this compatibility is because, roughly, "We couldn't imagine a world in which such-and-such electromagnetic facts were true, but in which such-and-such known facts about light would not be true." Therefore, the facts from electromagnetic theory fix the known facts about light, and they do this via their *meanings*.
This seems to clearly be a *superempirical* virtue of the theory of electromagnetism.
Q: Does Hardcastle think the various relations of explanation in 'X explains Y' statements are purely empirical relations, or do they have conceptual roots?
On the assumption that the relation of explanation is, at least partly, conceptual, I propose that it is a virtue of such stories that they hold this relation to some target fact. Indeed, it seems to be a superempirical virtue par excellence.
The superempirical virtues generally include things like simplicity, consilliance, coherent, parsimony, and things like this. There is a large literature of these virtues and how they are supposed to work already existant in philosophy. I need not reivent the wheel here.
I want to point out two things:
I have however devoted a large portion of my publishing career to answering the sorts of questions Gregg proposes: "'What is identity, and what conditions does an identity claim have to meet to be true? What kinds of explanations are there? Are all kinds of explanatory connectons compatible with materialism?' And so forth......." I don't want to reinvent that wheel either here.
I'm sorry if it annoys Hardcastle that not everyone shares her analyses of these things. Given that these are the kinds of pivotal issues Chalmers arguments balance on, I'm sure we can all benefit from Hardcastle's thoughtful contributions. I'm looking forward to seeing her address the details of the actual arguments Chalmers puts forward, dropping the rhetorical tricks about "naturalism", the Churchlandian-caricature of Chalmers arguments as having the form of arguments from ignorance ("I can't imagine...."), and the "circle the wagons, let's talk only amongst ourselves" call to materialists.