Locke's Parity Thesis about Thinking Matter: A Response to Williams
|J. P. MORELAND a1|
a1 Biola University, 13800 Biola Ave., La Mirada,
California 90639, U.S.A.
Recently, Clifford Williams has attempted to argue for the plausibility
of a Christian form of physicalism. To make his case, Williams appropriates
claims by John Locke regarding the possibility of thinking matter to argue
Williams calls the parity theses: (1) God can make matter and nonmatter
think or not to think. Given God's omnipotence, the justification
for (1) is: (2) there
is no contradiction in asserting either that matter or nonmatter thinks
or that they
do not think. If we expand thinking to include other morally and religiously
operations of the mind, then we get: (3) God can make either a purely material
being or a nonmaterial entity to have moral and religious characteristics.
Williams infers that: (4) there is an equal amount of mystery in thinking
there is in non-thinking matter. In response to Williams, I argue that
arguments for the parity theses fail and his Lockean style argument must
a failure. To show this I, first, state Williams' Lockean parity argument
criticize the three arguments he offers for its most important premise.