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brain is mind
Posted: 13 September 2007 07:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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zarcus - 12 September 2007 01:03 PM
GdB - 12 September 2007 10:34 AM

quote]

That is a good idea. If brain produces mind, and we can rid of it because mind is just what a brain does, than we can do away with velocity too, because that is just what a car does.

GdB

That’s not the same.

Thanks for the argument.

Let me make another one:

The mind thinks.
The brain fires neurons.

GdB

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Posted: 13 September 2007 09:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Mind and brain each have different properties, at least conventionally. The brain has physical properties like mass, extension, material composition, etc. The mind has (for want of a better term) “mental” properties, like beliefs, desires, feelings, qualia, etc.

One tactic is to claim that each mental property can be identified with some complex physical property (E.g., pain = c-fibers firing, or somesuch thing). The mental properties are only manners of speaking about the physical properties, basically. This is David Armstrong’s approach, IIRC.

Another tactic is to claim that the properties are not—at least not necessarily—identifiable; they are different and both sorts are real. However the mental properties “supervene upon”, or depend upon, some physical substrate or other. So both “pain” and “c-fibers firing” are real properties, and pain in extraterrestrials supervenes upon “n-fibers firing”, and in Data it supervenes upon the execution of some program in a positronic brain, etc. Had there been no physical properties at all, there could be no mental properties. And of course, the mental properties depend upon a certain high structural complexity in the substrate. This is something like Jaegwon Kim’s approach.

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Posted: 13 September 2007 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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.

[ Edited: 20 October 2007 02:50 PM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 13 September 2007 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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zarcus - 13 September 2007 10:58 AM
GdB - 13 September 2007 07:49 AM
zarcus - 12 September 2007 01:03 PM
GdB - 12 September 2007 10:34 AM

quote]

That is a good idea. If brain produces mind, and we can rid of it because mind is just what a brain does, than we can do away with velocity too, because that is just what a car does.

GdB

That’s not the same.

Thanks for the argument.

Let me make another one:

The mind thinks.
The brain fires neurons.

GdB

You’re welcome. The brain “thinks”.

Does the car drive? Or the driver?
Or:
Is the car burning gas? Or the driver?

GdB

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Posted: 13 September 2007 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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What is considered the “mind” is what are the products of a behaving brain.

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Posted: 13 September 2007 11:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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GdB - 13 September 2007 11:02 AM
zarcus - 13 September 2007 10:58 AM
GdB - 13 September 2007 07:49 AM
zarcus - 12 September 2007 01:03 PM
GdB - 12 September 2007 10:34 AM

quote]

That is a good idea. If brain produces mind, and we can rid of it because mind is just what a brain does, than we can do away with velocity too, because that is just what a car does.

GdB

That’s not the same.

Thanks for the argument.

Let me make another one:

The mind thinks.
The brain fires neurons.

GdB

You’re welcome. The brain “thinks”.

Does the car drive? Or the driver?
Or:
Is the car burning gas? Or the driver?

GdB

False analogy.

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Posted: 13 September 2007 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Hi Zarcus,

What I trying to point at: you do the thinking, not your brain. Your brain is just processing chemicals. Doing away with ‘mind’ is like doing away with trees, or calculations, or winning a game. On the low physical levels, all these ‘things’ do not exist.

I like the supervenience variety of Doug most.

GdB

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Posted: 13 September 2007 11:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Hello GdB,

“You” are the product of your brain. With the automobile analogy I could say that the brain is the car and driver. When the car dies that does not necessarily mean the driver dies also. We could point out cryonics, but that is a suspended ideal of the “brain” waiting for the correct “anti-freeze”. But, when the brain is “dead”, “you” are dead.

So, there is no way to separate “you” from your brain.

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Posted: 13 September 2007 11:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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zarcus - 13 September 2007 11:23 AM

So, there is no way to separate “you” from your brain.

Hi Zarcus,

I never said that. What I want to state, is that ‘mind’ is a concept we can say something about, and even that it really exists. However, completely dependent on the brain, there you are right. Forget about the car, that was ‘a quicky’. But e.g. it is perfectly possible to do science about trees, without ever referring to cells molecules or quarks. Same about the mind. So I wouldn’t throw the concept away. I never meant something like ‘eternal living soul’.

GdB

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Posted: 13 September 2007 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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GdB,

I am arguing primarily that the concept of “mind” should be expunged from being mentioned in scientific context. The idea of retaining the concept in discussions such as “belief” I think are simply wrong.

As an example I would point to studies on depressed patients. Leaving aside medications and serotonin levels, and over generalizations.

A common feature in depressed individuals is negative “self talk”. A person believes the thoughts that automatically appear that in turn cause unproductive behaviors. This cycle is extremely hard to break, but it can be mitigated slowly by disputing the negative thoughts. In essence changing your beliefs about yourself. I realize I am keeping this simple, but I am going to assume you are familiar with the subject, if for no other reason it has been widely available in the media.

The areas of activity by the brain can be recognized in depressed individuals. When the negative “self talk” has been greatly diminished by disputing, there is a recognizable change in the behavior of the brain. What I am referring to are brain scans, even though I understand the limitations with brain scans with pin pointing areas and the usefulness for treatment in depression, the fact is there are still change. When the limitations are better understood and more large scale studies can be done, I would argue the progression will continue (with the over optimist still missing the boat) and we will continue to show a more diverse change in firing patterns. 

It is, in my opinion, to simple to say “well, one had to make up their mind to dispute the negative thoughts”. I say this because no one is completely self dependent. No one was born, then left to their own devices to create their own set of beliefs without “outside” influence. There have Behaviorist explanations for depression, based on a reinforcement model, and also Evolutionary explanations to the “fitness” of the beliefs. There are obviously others, but I am guessing we will slowly evolve into a consilience of models.

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Posted: 13 September 2007 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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zarcus - 13 September 2007 12:15 PM

GdB,

I am arguing primarily that the concept of “mind” should be expunged from being mentioned in scientific context. The idea of retaining the concept in discussions such as “belief” I think are simply wrong.

Thanks four your reaction, this one helped. It is true, that many people associate a lot more with ‘mind’ then I am inclined to do. This is disturbing. My point, which seems a small point compared to the example you give about depressed persons, is that you do not get rid of the mind by equalling it with brain. The two are simply not the same.

Just one afterthought: People might not be helped by saying they are just a brain. But I think philosophical discussions will often be be no help for psychiatric patients.

GdB

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Posted: 13 September 2007 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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drkoepsell - 13 September 2007 01:33 PM

While all known minds adhere in brains, it is not inconceivable that other or future minds will adhere in something else.  If we produce artificial intelligences, then it will be erroneous to equate all minds with brains, unless you wish to say “artificial brain” which seems inexact.  I have no problem using the word mind, which because of this potential, and unknown potential minds in other media, seems perfectly reasonable.

David,

Although that is very interesting it relies on one assumption. Why would the product of artificial intelligence necessarily be construed as needing either the words “brain” or “mind” to explain the phenomena. It’s also possible that what is devised needs a different word altogether.

If we were to duplicate the brain in exact form, then it would simply be a brain. If it was in lesser (or greater) form then equating “mind” to the product would be misleading because we would then rely on the word as defining the outcome of something artificially produced.

This does not disavow the idea that a future artificial intelligence would be undeserving of “rights” in some form, only a recognition of something outside of what is the brain.

[ Edited: 13 September 2007 01:56 PM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 13 September 2007 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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drkoepsell - 13 September 2007 01:33 PM

While all known minds adhere in brains, it is not inconceivable that other or future minds will adhere in something else.  If we produce artificial intelligences, then it will be erroneous to equate all minds with brains, unless you wish to say “artificial brain” which seems inexact.  I have no problem using the word mind, which because of this potential, and unknown potential minds in other media, seems perfectly reasonable.

I agree with this one. We possibly will never ‘meet’ a mind without a brain, but theoretically it is possible, be it AI or aliens.

GdB

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Posted: 13 September 2007 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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zarcus - 13 September 2007 01:52 PM

interesting it relies on one assumption. Why would the product of artificial intelligence necessarily be construed as needing either the words “brain” or “mind” to explain the phenomena. It’s also possible that what is devised needs a different word altogether.

If we were to duplicate the brain in exact form, then it would simply be a brain. If it was in lesser form then equating “mind” to the product would be misleading because we would then rely on the word as defining the outcome of something artificially produced.

This does not disavow the idea that a future artificial intelligence would be undeserving of “rights” in some form, only a recognition of something outside of what is the brain.

I think we can call something (well then somebody…) having a mind when we can communicate with it in a way that is like talking with somebody else. More or less the Turing test. Reacts as if he has a mind, means he has one. I conclude that other people have minds, because they react as I do, I can talk with them. Yeah, in the end, my mind was made by other minds.

GdB

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Posted: 13 September 2007 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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The reason they are not interchangeable is not just one of style but the fact that we use mind to represent subjective stuff (thoughts, feelings, drives) and brain to refer to the mechanism that generates mind. So I understand and agree with your position. What being a vet has to do with this, I don’t see though.  question If by “even as a vet” you’re suggesting that I’m not really in the medical field, well them’s fightin’ words! wink

Mind is at the very least our subjective experience of the functioning of the brain.  I think an important question is the extent to which the mind can control or reprogram the brain.  This brings up the issue of to what extent the mind/brain is an information processing system.

In dealing with words this brings up the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapir-Whorf_hypothesis

I think atheists must concede that words can create concepts in people’s minds which do not correspond to reality.  It is a question to what extent this can be called neurosis or even insanity.

Since I worked in the computer department of a hospital for a few years I must confess that my opinion of doctors is not that great.  It is as though they have made a social position of high status for themselves and they trade on that even though plenty of them are unethical dummies protecting their guild.

psik

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