3 of 4
3
brain is mind
Posted: 13 September 2007 03:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  731
Joined  2007-06-20
psikeyhackr - 13 September 2007 02:24 PM

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.

Wait a minute.  Why specifically atheists?

 Signature 

PC

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 September 2007 06:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2424
Joined  2007-07-05
the PC apeman - 13 September 2007 03:39 PM
psikeyhackr - 13 September 2007 02:24 PM

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.

Wait a minute.  Why specifically atheists?

Isn’t it obvious?  LOL

There is this word: ‘GOD’.  Which atheists say has no reality to back it up and yet many people called THEISTS by atheists would say it does.  How many of these theists claim to have seen God or heard God?  Where did they get their concept of God.  They only got it from words passed to them from other people.  So this is an obvious example of words creating a false paradigm of reality.  Assuming the atheists are right of course, and the atheists know they are.

psik

 Signature 

Fiziks is Fundamental

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 September 2007 09:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  731
Joined  2007-06-20

Okay, but to whom must atheists make this concession?  Or did you mean theists must concede that?

(ETA: My apologies to you if I’ve been whooshed.)

[ Edited: 13 September 2007 09:54 PM by the PC apeman ]
 Signature 

PC

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 September 2007 10:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2424
Joined  2007-07-05
the PC apeman - 13 September 2007 09:49 PM

Okay, but to whom must atheists make this concession?  Or did you mean theists must concede that?

It would merely be acknowledging the obvious to humanity in general it doesn’t have to be to anyone in particular.

Since it means the theists would have to be delusional their concessions would be irrelevant.  LOL

psik

 Signature 

Fiziks is Fundamental

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 September 2007 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  573
Joined  2007-08-21

Well if the language we use conditions our thoughts, then we all have this restraint equally as we all use some sort of language to communicate.

 Signature 

Vi veri veniversum vivus vici

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 September 2007 04:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  252
Joined  2007-07-12
mckenzievmd - 11 September 2007 01:12 PM

Wandering,

I think you’re right that the terms aren’t interchangeable, so clearly there is some difference between them. The link has some interesting arguments I haven’t fully considered. I might fall under the category of predicate dualism in that I believe all we describe as mind ultimately stems from the physical materials of the brain, but I find the shorthand descriptions of mind, self, free will, etc very natural and useful and unlikely to be dispensed with regardless of their underlying truth.

A small argument for substance dualism :

Dreams and memories exist.

In dreams and memories, we see pictures.

There is no way to photograph these pictures, see them with a microscope, fmri, or any device.

(Inside the brain, these mental pictures do not appear. If there were a small person that would live inside the brain, he would not be able to see those pictures)

(In the future we might be able to simulate these pictures, but simulating is not a direct measurement)

‘Made from atoms’ is a neccessary quality of ‘material’.

These pictures are not made from atoms.

If one sees an image of his mother, one cannot identify the atoms which this image of the
mother is made from.

Thus, these pictures are not material.

Thus, stuff exists that is not material.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 September 2007 09:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15401
Joined  2006-02-14
wandering - 16 September 2007 04:43 AM

A small argument for substance dualism :

Dreams and memories exist.

In dreams and memories, we see pictures.

There is no way to photograph these pictures, see them with a microscope, fmri, or any device.

(Inside the brain, these mental pictures do not appear. If there were a small person that would live inside the brain, he would not be able to see those pictures)

(In the future we might be able to simulate these pictures, but simulating is not a direct measurement)

‘Made from atoms’ is a neccessary quality of ‘material’.

These pictures are not made from atoms.

If one sees an image of his mother, one cannot identify the atoms which this image of the
mother is made from.

Thus, these pictures are not material.

Thus, stuff exists that is not material.

This is a bad argument. One could make the same conclusion about substance-dualism for TV transmissions. TV pictures exist while in the form of radio waves. But there is no way to photograph them while they are in that form, and if you did they would look nothing like TV pictures when displayed on a TV screen.

You could make the same argument about video in a computer chip. Go where you like in the chip, you won’t see the images.

You could make the same argument about pictures described in prose. Open a novel, you don’t see little photographs.

Actually, there is a lot of very good research on mental imagery that shows it to be a physical phenomenon, occuring in the visual cortex of the brain. For example, experiments with mental rotation show that people tend to rotate mental images at a particular velocity, and this takes place in the right cerebral hemisphere. See HERE for example.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 September 2007 06:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  252
Joined  2007-07-12
dougsmith - 16 September 2007 09:26 AM

This is a bad argument. One could make the same conclusion about substance-dualism for TV transmissions. TV pictures exist while in the form of radio waves. But there is no way to photograph them while they are in that form, and if you did they would look nothing like TV pictures when displayed on a TV screen.

You could make the same argument about video in a computer chip. Go where you like in the chip, you won’t see the images.

You could make the same argument about pictures described in prose. Open a novel, you don’t see little photographs.

Actually, there is a lot of very good research on mental imagery that shows it to be a physical phenomenon, occuring in the visual cortex of the brain. For example, experiments with mental rotation show that people tend to rotate mental images at a particular velocity, and this takes place in the right cerebral hemisphere. See HERE for example.


Well, lets take the video in the computer chip, you won’t really see the images inside the computer chip. I think, that is one of the reasons, it makes no sense to say that the video ‘is’ the computer chip.  We can say that the video is encoded by the computer chip, but it does not mean that the video is equal to the information in the chip. If two things have two different properties, it makes no sense to say that they are the same.

In the same way, I don’t understand what can it mean that “mental imagery occurs in a certain place in the brain”. Obviously, you won’t actually see the mental imagery with an fMRI, so the word “in” does not really fit here. “In” is a word suitable for spatial relationships. You might say that mental imagery is encoded, or caused by a certain place in the brain, and I am fine with that. It does not contradict the point that it is different from the brain.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 September 2007 07:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15401
Joined  2006-02-14
wandering - 18 September 2007 06:34 AM

In the same way, I don’t understand what can it mean that “mental imagery occurs in a certain place in the brain”. Obviously, you won’t actually see the mental imagery with an fMRI, so the word “in” does not really fit here. “In” is a word suitable for spatial relationships. You might say that mental imagery is encoded, or caused by a certain place in the brain, and I am fine with that. It does not contradict the point that it is different from the brain.

OK, but you can go with Jaegwon Kim’s version of supervenience dualism and agree to the claim that mental properties are not identical to physical properties. Then you’d say that the mental images supervene upon the visual cortex, roughly speaking. That sort of ontology captures all you need. But it denies that there are two substances ... there’s only one sort of substance, physical stuff. Without the physical brain, the mental properties cease to exist as well.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 September 2007 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  252
Joined  2007-07-12

If by supervenance, you mean ‘to be dependent on’, I have no problem with that. I can’t think of a good argument why the mind should be able to exist seperately from the brain. Also, I cannot think which evidence would prove it. So, the mind cannot exist without the brain.

But, if A cannot exist without B, it does not rule out the idea that A and B are two different substances.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 September 2007 11:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15401
Joined  2006-02-14
wandering - 18 September 2007 10:31 AM

If by supervenance, you mean ‘to be dependent on’, I have no problem with that. I can’t think of a good argument why the mind should be able to exist seperately from the brain. Also, I cannot think which evidence would prove it. So, the mind cannot exist without the brain.

But, if A cannot exist without B, it does not rule out the idea that A and B are two different substances.

Yes, supervenience is a relation of dependency. It’s a way to capture the notion that mental properties are different from physical ones without going the substance dualist route of Descartes. And it needn’t only be used for mental properties. One could say that being a living thing supervenes on certain organizations of chemicals, for example. So does being a rabbit or a chair or a can of beans or ...

The problem is figuring out if the supervenient properties really have any causal powers in themselves, and what those powers would be. It seems that the real causal work is done by the physical properties down at the micro level, and that the causal powers of mental states are just manners of speaking about the causal powers of neurons, etc. But then, supervenience talk often seems like a sort of manner of speaking. At any rate, if you’re interested in it and want to wade through some complex essays on the topic, I’d recommend reading some of Kim. (I wouldn’t buy it though; get it out of the library).

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 September 2007 02:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1161
Joined  2007-07-16
wandering - 18 September 2007 10:31 AM

I cannot think which evidence would prove it. So, the mind cannot exist without the brain.

But, if A cannot exist without B, it does not rule out the idea that A and B are two different substances.

kind of like the heart and blood.

 Signature 

“Unsustainable systems can’t be sustained.” ~ Robert Jensen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 September 2007 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4097
Joined  2006-11-28

Supervenience sounds a lot like an idea I sort of like, emergent properties. I am a materialist, but I think reductionism can go too far. Sometimes, the properties of a system fundamentally cannot be understood or predicted based on a thorough understanding of the materials or elements that compose it. The brain is a great example of this.

The mental pictures you talk about, wandering, sound like qualia—the inner, totally subjective experiences of each of us. The key question about these in this discussion is do they exist, and if so how are they somehow separate from, even if dependant on, the material of the brain. I’m not convinced they exist in any real sense. The homunculus sitting in what Dennett calls the Cartesian Theater of the mind is what our experiences feel like, or how we describe them as feeling. But there realy is no such place, and there probably are no such pictures. If that is so, then the problem of whther they are immaterial is, well immaterial. I tend to think our subjective, introspective understanding of the nature of mind is actually pretty inaccurate, though it is useful, and it isn’t going away any time soon. But I keep seeing subjects (e.g. mind/brain, free will, the self) in which problems arise and are debated that seem to me to stem entirely from our impressions of how our minds work. And the better science understands how it really works, the less accurate those impressions seem to be, and the more of those problems disappear.

 Signature 

The SkeptVet Blog
You cannot reason a person out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place. 
Johnathan Swift

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 September 2007 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15401
Joined  2006-02-14
mckenzievmd - 18 September 2007 05:46 PM

Supervenience sounds a lot like an idea I sort of like, emergent properties. I am a materialist, but I think reductionism can go too far. Sometimes, the properties of a system fundamentally cannot be understood or predicted based on a thorough understanding of the materials or elements that compose it. The brain is a great example of this.

I’m onboard with you here, Brennen, so long as we’re talking about an issue of epistemology. That is, the properties of the system can’t be understood that way because we aren’t smart enough (or we don’t have enough information) to do so. If we had godlike powers of perfect knowledge, we could predict what the emergent properties would be.

Otherwise this sort of emergentism begins to sound too much like discarded notions of vitalism in biology: that in order to be alive, an object had to have the property of “vitalism” in addition to the physical, molecular properties. Molecular biology, biophysics and other studies show this to be entirely in error, and vitalism is a form of pseudoscience.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 September 2007 01:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4097
Joined  2006-11-28

I suspect it may be just an epistemological phenomenon, but I do wonder if there might be some literal truth to the idea that the “whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” Complex systems, we presume, are perfectly predictable with a perfect understanding of the relevant variables, though in practice most are not actually predictable since we can’t hope to manage the volume of information and calculation involved. But I wonder if ideas like chaos theory or QM might hint at some real difference between components in isolation and systems. I don’t have any real evidence this is true, and so I remain skeptical of my intuitive sense that it might be, but I don’t know that it is a closed case. And I’m not sure how one would prove it wither way, beyond developing the ability to accurately predict the behavior of any system, such as the brain, perfectly, which seems unlikely. This is the core of my position in the free will debates—Hard determinism (provisionally) but with a recognition that in practice the heuristic models we use may be as or more useful than the formal analysis of something as complicated as the brain because we can’t yet (or can’t?) apply the formal models well enough to get detailed, reliable predictions.

 Signature 

The SkeptVet Blog
You cannot reason a person out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place. 
Johnathan Swift

Profile
 
 
   
3 of 4
3