Back to Square One: toward a post-intentional future

Scientia Salon

intentionalby Scott Bakker

“… when you are actually challenged to think of pre-Darwinian answers to the question ‘What is Man?’ ‘Is there a meaning to life?’ ‘What are we for?’, can you, as a matter of fact, think of any that are not now worthless except for their (considerable) historic interest? There is such a thing as being just plain wrong and that is what before 1859, all answers to those questions were.” (Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, p. 267)

Biocentrism is dead for the same reason geocentrism is dead for the same reason all of our prescientific theories regarding nature are dead: our traditional assumptions simply could not withstand scientific scrutiny. All things being equal, we have no reason to think our nature will conform to our prescientific assumptions any more than any other nature has historically. Humans are prone to draw erroneous conclusions in the absence of…

View original post 3,389 more words

6 thoughts on “Back to Square One: toward a post-intentional future

  1. Vigorous and bloated – two of the descriptors used by commenters in describing Bakker’s prose and I have to agree. It was a struggle to reach the end.

    I wonder if, though, if rather than some apocalyptic scenario, our subjective view won’t prevail regardless of what science may have to say on the matter. It still *feels* as though I chose the prime rib over the swordfish based on nothing more than my preference at the moment.


    1. I have to agree on “vigorous and bloated”. I reblogged it because I liked the point he made, that we can’t trust our intuitions and traditions about the mind. But, like many of the Scientia articles, he did it with about three times as many words as needed and with pointlessly obscure language.

      I think you did choose the prime rib, at a certain scope of reality. I’m a compatibilist in the sense that we have a will with certain levels of freedom. Just because if we dig down deep enough we find that freedom disappears doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist at a certain level of abstraction. That freedom is as real as the game of football.


        1. Thanks amanimal! I hadn’t seen that one yet, but I think it’s pretty good. Binocularity expresses a concept I’ve tried to describe before, but much more clumsily, usually when trying to convince people the other way, that we can’t depend on our subjective experience to understand consciousness, without denying that that subjective experience is there.

          Liked by 1 person

        1. Fascinating article. Thanks. It matches what Haidt talked about in his book.

          “It’s been interesting to see the decline of organized religion in certain countries, which are usually affluent, safe, and secure. As life gets easier, you could say people get more selfish and less attached to group values.”

          It just seems like the more I read, the more this becomes the common theme. Religion is a mechanism for coping with existential anxiety. I don’t doubt that the rituals help and bond. As Haidt would say, “religion binds and it blinds”.

          Liked by 1 person

Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.