Propositional Attitudes
Posted: 14 October 2011 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Anyone have any good reads on this subject?

Particularly how do we gain knowledge? If I have a true belief about something and it is based on physical mechanisms how can it qualify as knowledge?

Personally this kind of musing is what I consdier part of the probelm with philosophy and linguistic musings about reality - forest/tree problem.

Obviously the brain has different structures and ways in which to gain information from the external world and it must intergarate that somehow. Part of this information ability is pattern recognition. The real world events seem to be abstract representations instantiated in the nervous system including the Brain. The information is then reasoned about and organized into linear thought patterns (language, logic, math, etc.). These are what become our beliefs (the ‘is’, ‘truths’, and ‘facts’) and desires (the ‘ought’, wants and needs). The whole ‘ought’ world is based on the brains ability to infer perfection (an ideal world) from the real world of imperfection (the ‘is’ and the ‘facts’). Both are what we as individual value - the latter is what we make out to be absolutes or objective values. Sure we can have false beliefs but our abiltiy to use diffrent methodologies helps us overcome errors in knowledge. Do or should ‘beliefs’ even qualify as knowledge? Why is this important in the mind/body problem?

For me it seems simple enough - As the brain goes so does the mind and all of it’s knowledge about physical world. Show me a mind without a brain and then we can start to get all fancy with these arguments and thought experiments - otherwise it is just another game we play in our heads abstracting and idealizing the information the organism takes in - which has no real world correspondence.

[ Edited: 14 October 2011 02:37 PM by VeridicusMaximus ]
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Posted: 30 December 2011 11:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Show me a mind without a brain and then we can start to get all fancy with these arguments and thought experiments - otherwise it is just another game we play in our heads abstracting and idealizing the information the organism takes in - which has no real world correspondence.

No one appears to have responded to this post.  I will. I think that the term “mind” is a much less useful abstraction than most of the rest of the people of the world think, as it is so ubiquitous in our language. Much more precise and useful in terms of understanding is to speak in terms of behavior, including verbal behavior, and covert verbal behavior as we not only can all pretty much agree that we have at least subjective evidence that these exist, but neurologists now can show evidence of neurological correlates for each of these kinds of behavior as they occur.  “Mind” remains a purely abstract concept. We could go further and show objective evidence, even neurological correlates for perceptual behaviors that do correspond differentially for what is in the immediate environment outside of one’s skin. However, experiments on attention have shown that there is generally not a perfect 1:1 correspondence between what an individual percieves and what is in a given environmental circumstance. Often even, our brain functions such that our perception is “filled in” based on previous familiar perceptions.  Given all that, I am not sure if you are proposing that abstractions should never be used?  or that we should make an effort to reduce the use of abstractions in discussions?

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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