Thursday, February 4, 2010

A fun argument for dualism

I'm told that a version of the following argument is somewhere in C.S. Lewis:

  1. (Premise) Our embodiment is universally seen as funny.
  2. (Premise, justified inductively by 1) Our embodiment is objectively funny.
  3. (Premise) The essence of the funny is incongruity.
  4. (Premise) If materialism is true, there is no incongruity in our embodiment.
  5. (Premise) If materialism is false, then dualism is true.
  6. There is incongruity in our embodiment. (2 and 3)
  7. Materialism is false. (4 and 6)
  8. Dualism is true. (5 and 7)

9 comments:

Andrew said...

Why think (1)?

Alexander R Pruss said...

How common jokes involving bodily functions are.

Andrew said...

I guess my humor is a bit dry. Although I find the fact that my wife (who is 8 months pregnant) belches 10x more than your average 4th grade boy (pregnancy does some weird/funny things to the body), kinda humorous....does that count?

(Not to mention the fact that it is almost guranteed that people will stare at pregnant women's bellies because they look so "funny")

brian_g said...

I think C.S. Lewis made this argument.

TD Hinkle said...

I was inclined to think this was just a joke, but actually there might be something revealing about how awkward we feel in our own bodies. Maybe.

brian_g said...

"Almost the whole of Christian theology could perhaps be deduced from two facts (a) That men make coarse jokes, and (b) That they feel the dead to be uncanny."

--C.S. Lewis Miracles

Andrew said...

Also, I think I would reject (5)...

David said...

I think that in (3)"incongruity" must be taken as "what people regard as incongruous". Taken this way,(4) need not be true. Even if materialism is true, people might still think that it was incongruous. Materialism doesn't entail that people take materialism to be fitting.

Alexander R Pruss said...

David:

Something is objectively funny only if there really is an incongruity there. Otherwise, it's only subjectively funny--it is seen as funny, but isn't. So what you're really objecting to is (2).