Undefineable wrote:Surely, though, 'soft' materialists at least (epiphenomenalists etc.) can write off awareness as irrelevant to a reality of which it is too insignificant to form part, given that it has yet to be shown capable of causing any of the kind of empirical events that it appears to directly result from.
The basic error of materialism is to invest the so-called "objective realm" with a reality that it imagines exists independently of the act of cognition and apperception by which it assimilated into the mind. Indeed the single claim which most materialists and realists of any type must always make, is that of the so-called 'mind-independence' of reality - that the yardstick of 'what is real' is 'what actually exists in the absence of any viewpoint'.
However as phenomenology has demonstrated, mind has a foundational role in the nature of reality. This doesn't mean that in the absence of mind, or when you loose consciousness, that nothing exists. That is only 'imagined non-existence'. The foundational role of mind is that phenomenal reality exists from a point-of-view. The point-of-view is what unites and relates all the otherwise completely unrelated fragments and aspects of 'reality' into a whole - what 'makes manifest' or 'realizes' the reality. Otherwise, where is one aspect of reality in relation to another? How does anything within it, or the scene itself, have duration? The perception of the spatial relations and awareness of temporal duration, which are essential to the fabric of reality, are brought to the picture by the mind.
(This is also the basis for 'the Matrix' idea, although the Matrix has about the same relationship with the insight from which it is derived, as Star Wars does with actual dynastic histories.)
The problem with this simply is that most of those who call themselves 'materialists' won't understand this point, and they mistake 'not understanding it' for 'refuting it'.