Profile

Cover photo
Matt McCormick
Works at CSUS
Lives in Sacramento
303 followers|1,221,477 views
AboutPostsPhotosYouTube

Stream

Matt McCormick

Shared publicly  - 
1
Add a comment...

Matt McCormick

Shared publicly  - 
 
Evil Demonology and Artificial Intelligence
Eliminativists eliminate. 
In history, the concepts and theories that we build about the world form
a scaffold for our inquiries.  As the
investigation into some phenomena proceeds, we often find that the terms, the
concepts, the equations, or even whole th...
Eliminativists eliminate. In history, the concepts and theories that we build about the world form a scaffold for our inquiries. As the investigation into some phenomena proceeds, we often find that the terms, the concepts, the equations, or even whole theories have gotten far enough out of ...
1
Add a comment...

Matt McCormick

Shared publicly  - 
 
Building Self-Aware Machines
The public mood toward the prospect of artificial
intelligence is dark.  Increasingly,
people fear the results of creating an intelligence whose abilities will far
exceed our own, and who pursues goals that are not compatible with our
own.  See Nick Bostrom...
The public mood toward the prospect of artificial intelligence is dark. Increasingly, people fear the results of creating an intelligence whose abilities will far exceed our own, and who pursues goals that are not compatible with our own. See Nick Bostrom's Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, ...
1
Add a comment...

Matt McCormick

Shared publicly  - 
1
Add a comment...

Matt McCormick

Shared publicly  - 
1
Add a comment...

Matt McCormick

Shared publicly  - 
1
Add a comment...

Matt McCormick

Shared publicly  - 
 
Why Would an AI System Need Phenomenal Consciousness?
In my last post on Jesse Prinz, we learned about the
distinction between immediate, phenomenal awareness in consciousness in
contrast to our more deliberative consciousness that operates with the contents
of short term and longer term memory.  From
moment t...
1
Edwin McCravy's profile photo
 
I have been corresponding (debating) with Theodore M. Drange, whose book is included in your bibliography.  I label myself as "a theological noncognitivist", (TN), not "an atheist".   Ted's latest email was a copy and paste of part of your writing.  I have made a few comments on the copy-and-paste below of my response to his email:
 
In a message dated 12/28/2015 2:39:56 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, tmdrange@earthlink.net writes:

TD
This is the treatment of TN in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (under "Atheism"):

MM
Matt McCormick (I looked up who wrote it)

5. Cognitivism and Non-Cognitivism
In 20th century moral theory, a view about the nature of moral value claims arose that has an analogue in discussions of atheism.  Moral non-cognitivists have denied that moral utterances should be treated as ordinary propositions that are either true or false and subject to evidential analysis.  On their view, when someone makes a moral claim like, “Cheating is wrong,” what they are doing is more akin to saying something like, “I have negative feelings about cheating.  I want you to share those negative feelings.  Cheating.  Bad.”

MM
A non-cognitivist atheist 
 
EM
I hate that terminology because we TNs are in such disagreement with people who ordinarily label themselves "atheists".  It conflicts with your terminology too.
 
MM
denies that religious utterances are propositions. 
 
 
EM
I take "proposition" there to mean "declarative sentence, not as the gibberish "the thing that exists separate from a declarative sentence to which speakers use in order to cause their declarative sentence to do an activity known as 'expressing'" as you have the illusion of a belief in.  
 
MM
 They are not the sort of speech act that have a truth value.  
 
EM
As you see by the word "speech act", MM says what has a truth value in not something that EXISTS as you say, but something that OCCURS -- an ACT!
 
TD
They are more like emoting, singing, poetry, or cheering.  They express personal desires, feelings of subjugation, admiration, humility, and love.  As such, they cannot and should not be dealt with by denials or arguments any more than I can argue with you over whether or not a poem moves you.  There is an appeal to this approach when we consider common religious utterances such as, “Jesus loves you.”  “Jesus died for your sins.” 
 
EM
MM errs here with his Jesus-talk.  TNs claim to be cognitivistic with respect to Jesus-talk which refers to a man who allegedly did magical acts 2015 years ago.
 
 
MM
 “God be with you.”  What these mean, according to the non-cognitivist, is something like, “I have sympathy for your plight, we are all in a similar situation and in need of paternalistic comforting, you can have it if you perform certain kinds of behaviors and adopt a certain kind of personal posture with regard to your place in the world.  When I do these things I feel joyful, I want you to feel joyful too.”

EM
I think MM agrees with me that TNs don't claim that adult non-Mormon theists believe in any god, but have an illusion that they do.
 
MM
So the non-cognitivist atheist does not claim that the sentence, “God exists” is false, as such. 
 
EM
McCormick labels "God exists" as "a sentence", which TNs would have to say contradicts the lexicographer's
 
sen·tence
[ˈsen(t)əns] 
NOUN
a set of words that is complete in itself, typically containing a subject and predicate, conveying a statement, question, exclamation, or command, and consisting of a main clause and sometimes one or more subordinate clauses.

because theological nocognitivists do not claim that "God exists" does any activity labeled "conveying a statement".  Also it contains the word "word" which in the same dictionary is defined as:
 
  
word1
[wərd] 
NOUN
a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown with a space on either side when written or printed.

and since TNs would never label "God" as "a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing",  they would neither label "God"  as "a word", nor "God exists" as a sentence.  
 
MM
 Rather, when people make these sorts of claims, their behavior is best understood as a complicated publicizing of a particular sort of subjective sensations.  Strictly speaking, the claims do not mean anything in terms of assertions about what sorts of entities do or do not exist in the world independent of human cognitive and emotional states.  The non-cognitivist characterization of many religious speech acts and behaviors has seemed to some to be the most accurate description.  
 
EM
TN's claims are all negative claims. And as that philosophy prof at CUNY says:
 
"The burden of proof is always on the claim that X exists rather than on the claim that X does not exist."
 
 
MM
For the most part, atheists appear to be cognitivist atheists.  They assume that religious utterances do express propositions that are either true or false.  Positive atheists will argue that there are compelling reasons or evidence for concluding that in fact those claims are false.  (Drange 2006, Diamond and Lizenbury 1975, Nielsen 1985)

EM
As you know, I'm pretty familiar with the gibberish of Drange.  I did not know Nielsen had started having some of your illusions of belief.  Thus I doubt that McCormick has interpreted Nielsen's works as Nielsen intended.
Few would disagree that many religious utterances are non-cognitive such as religious ceremonies, rituals, and liturgies.   Non-cognitivists have argued that many believers are confused when their speech acts and behavior slips from being non-cognitive to something resembling cognitive assertions about God.  
 
EM
McCormick speaks "God" without quotation marks around it as though he believes it refers to something.
 
 
But your "logic" is: 
 
Adult non-Mormon theists' speech resembles cognitive assertions about something labeled "God".  
 
Therefore their speech CONSISTS OF cognitive assertions about something labeled "God".  
 
I am unable to leap to that faith.
 
MM
The problem with the non-cognitivist view is that many religious utterances are clearly treated as cognitive by their speakers[and since] ­they are meant to be treated as true or false claims, they are treated as making a difference, and they clearly have an impact on people’s lives and beliefs beyond the mere expression of a special category of emotions.
 
EM
I agree that that is why TNism cannot get off the ground.  The LPs had their chance, but they blew it with their flawed VP.
 
MM
  Insisting that those claims simply have no cognitive content despite the intentions and arguments to the contrary of the speaker is an ineffectual means of addressing them.  So non-cognitivism does not appear to completely address belief in God.

 
EM
McCormick has not figured out that there is nothing to address to label "belief in God".  There is no reason to believe or even suspect that ANM theists have a belief in a god, but only the illusion of a belief in a god.  A TN should not speak "belief in God".  I may be the only TN on the planet who has thought the matter all the way through, as I believe I have.  You may label me as arrogant for saying that, but I say it because I have yet to find anyone who agrees entirely with me.
 
Edwin McCravy,
Columbia SC
AnlytcPhil@aol.com 
 

 

 
Add a comment...

Matt McCormick

Shared publicly  - 
 
Artificial Intelligence and Conscious Attention--Jesse Prinz's AIR theory of Consciousness
Jesse Prinz has argued for that consciousness is best
understood as mid-level attention. Is Attention Necessary and Sufficient for Consciousness? The Conscious Brain: How Attention Engenders Experience Consciousness, Prinz argues, is best understood as mid...
What's really interesting here is that this neuron became active with quite varied photos and line drawings of Halle Berry, from different angles, in different lighting, in a Cat Woman costume, and even, remarkably, in response to the text “Halle Berry.” That is, this neuron plays a role in the ...
1
Add a comment...

Matt McCormick

Shared publicly  - 
 
Turing and Machine Minds
In 1950, mathematician Alan M. Turing proposed a test for
machine consciousness.  If a human
interrogator could not distinguish between the responses of a real human being
and a machine built to hold conversations, then we would have no reason, other
than p...
1
Add a comment...

Matt McCormick

Shared publicly  - 
 
The F Word
The F Word. I'm speaking to a secular humanists group tonight in Manteca at the Manteca Public Library at 7:00.  I'll be talking about the problems with believing by faith. My presentation is here.
1
2
Tjaart Blignaut's profile photoMarius Dejess's profile photo
3 comments
 
I love to exchange thoughts with you on God existing or not, but I don't see how we can meet; please contact me, mdejess(@)gmail.com.

Host a public free all welcome forum for people to exchange thoughts with you, otherwise you are talking to yourself -- no way to learn other ideas at all.

Best you challenge Craig to a public debate.
Add a comment...

Matt McCormick

Shared publicly  - 
1
1
Add a comment...
Story
Introduction
Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Rochester.  Teaching at CSUS since 1996.  My main area of research and publication now is atheism and philosophy of religion.  I am also interested in philosophy of mind, epistemology, and rational decision theory/critical thinking.  
Bragging rights
My book: Atheism and the Case Against Christ will be out on July 24.
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Sacramento
Previously
Joplin, MO - Rochester, NY - San Francisco, CA - Sacramento, CA - Davis, CA
Links
Work
Occupation
Philosophy Professor
Employment
  • CSUS
    Philosophy Professor, present
Basic Information
Gender
Male