brian423 wrote:danny1987 wrote:By extending sentience to all, do you mean that somehow sentience is some kind of essence permeating everything both living and nonliving? Or do you restrict sentience to living things only?
Out of consistency with my own premises, I'm compelled to allow no essential distinction between the living and the nonliving here. Although life is wondrous enough to justify biology as a distinct discipline within the physical sciences, everything biology observes can be explained in terms of the laws that govern galaxies, garbage heaps, and other lifeless things. I can't allow any magical line of demarcation between what lives and what does not.
At the time I write, you quote William F. Buckley, Jr., in your signature. If you're a conservative Christian intellectual like him, I suppose you might have a problem with the pantheism, panentheism, or animism suggested by my argument. Or, since your current avatar is South Park's Eric Cartman, would you call it New Age hippie crap? It's dangerous to predict a Rational's opinion on anything, but I admit I wonder if I've got you pegged.
Yes I am a conservative Christian like him, and consider him to be one of my own personal heroes. The picture I have of Eric Cartman is because I like the show, and I like the quip on the picture. Just because I have the picture doesn't mean I agree with all or any of Eric Cartman's views. I don't consider all pantheism is to New Age Hippie crap, after all there are pantheists, like Einstein or Spinoza, that I have enormous respect for as thinkers. It's only New Age Hippie crap if it's actually practiced by hippies So your guesses wouldn't be too far off.
Correct me if I misunderstand your concept of sentience, but as I understand it, sentience is what allows us to distinguish ourselves from that which is not ourself. For instance, I know who I am and I know who you are and that I am not you, but if we share the same sentience, then who am I? And that seems to be the rub. We end up with a subject-subject problem. I recently heard about a play that was written about an audience that sat waiting for the play to begin. When the curtain was opened they saw a screen with the actors sitting and facing away from the audience facing a curtain. When that curtain opened the actors saw a screen with others sitting facing away from them facing a curtain. The same thing happened ad infinitum. Eventually the audience began turning around to see if they were actually actors or not. If we stretch sentience out like that we become like the audience, not knowing who we are.