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Believing in Leprechauns

Owen Flanagan in Chapter 3 of The Bodhisattva's Brain uses an entertaining metaphor to explain why he disagrees with the Dalai Lama and others when they say they "feel" that mind is not entirely a physical neural phenomenon:

... the caveat permits a Buddhist or anyone else to believe pretty much whatever they want especially if the demand is that there is disproof, where disproof means something demonstrative. You, the reader, could believe right now that there are leprechauns hoisting these very letters on the page before you, but who move too fast to be caught in the act. You can't disprove it. ...

So, Flanagan argues, one should not accept what he calls "The Caveat" that some non-scientific people make use of, the distinction between "... not finding something and finding its nonexistence ..." as an escape-hatch for whatever mystical beliefs one would like to maintain.

But alas, as in other areas Flanagan beats this horse for dozens of pages. Maybe that's just what philosophers do ...

^z - 2013-06-10