Saturday, June 4, 2011

332: The Brain and the Mind

I don't know what you think about it,but sometimes philosophers can drive you crazy with their discourse.

When you think, something is obvious and just a matter of common sense, then there comes a philosophers with his question mark and hits you on the head with it.

In the Mind - Body problem this is definitely the case. We work and live night and day with our body and mind and it all feels so common. And yet…….

We have seen that our language isn't that accurate at all to describe what seems so common to us. Dualism leaves us behind with a number of questions.

The most important one it the problem of the interaction between the mental and the physical. We know that they interact, but not as Descartes claimed, as two different substances.

We now know as a matter of fact that there is no mind when there is no brain. Thus the mind has a physical understructure: the brain.

That however does not answer the question HOW the mental and the physical interact. It doesn't tell us how aspects of our mental life are related to aspects of our brains.

It also doesn't answer the question how it is possible that such different features can work together. Dualism is still looking over our shoulder.

At least we can take it as a matter of fact that the mind and the brain are correlated, run in parallel. We should be able to find out things about the brain by seeing how the mind works. We should be able to find out things about the mind by seeing how the brain works.

A classic example is the case of Phineas Gage. In September 1848, Gage was working on the railroad when a blasting charge sent an iron rod through his head.

The man wasn't even unconscious immediately after the accident. He survived, even tho a part of the frontal lobe was seriously damaged.

But although he recovered physically completely, his personality had changed. Before the accident he was a most efficient, capable and reliable railroad employee.

After the accident …to quote his physician:"He is fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity (which was not previously his custom), manifesting but little deference for his fellows, impatient of restraint

or advice when it conflicts with his desires, at times pertinaciously obstinate, yet capricious and vacillating, devising many plans of future operations, which are no sooner arranged than they are abandoned in turn for others appearing more feasible." - end quote

While common sense tells us that we have a mental and a physical life, that they are distinct from each other and yet interact, is this dualistic view almost completely rejected in cognitive science and neurobiology.

We need a substitute for dualism. There are only a few options. The most generally accepted theory now is monism as formulated by materialism.

Materialism assumes that there is only one reality, the reality as described in sciences as physics, chemistry, biology.

Still materialism is regarded as an unattractive ontology. In that sense it has a long history. Not only in Western culture, but also in for instance Indian philosophy there was a materialist school of thought.

Well established in the 6th or 8th century A.D and a school of thought that has been scorned by religious leaders in India and remains on the periphery of Indian philosophical thought.

In Western philosophy the forms of materialism extend from the ancient Greek atomistic materialism through eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scientifically based theories, to recent sophisticated defenses of various types of materialism.

In general, the metaphysical theory of materialism entails the denial of the reality of spiritual beings, consciousness and mental or psychic states or processes, as ontologically distinct from, or independent of, material changes or processes.

Since it denies the existence of spiritual beings or forces, materialism typically is allied with atheism or agnosticism. A reason why there has been a lot op opposition against materialism.

The Discussion

[13:23] herman Bergson: Next lecture we'll elaborate more on the modern developments of materialist thought
[13:23] herman Bergson: thank you
[13:24] herman Bergson: If you have any question or remark...the floor is yours :-))
[13:24] druth Vlodovic: people typically connect materialism with purposelessness and purposelessness with hopelessness and despair
[13:24] herman Bergson: there is a strong tradition in teleologic thinking Druth.....
[13:25] herman Bergson: besides that...people think in terms of time.....they think of a future....
[13:25] herman Bergson: goals....directions....
[13:25] Rayne Queller: who are all these people?
[13:26] druth Vlodovic: sorry, what is the tradition in teleologic thinking?
[13:26] herman Bergson: the basic idea is ontologically that everything has a purpose....
[13:26] Alaya Kumaki: yes the future promisses
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: a
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:27] herman Bergson: Especially religions are supporting those ideas....afterlife...paradise...72 virgins etc
[13:27] Rayne Queller: does that not imply that the target calls the arrow, rather than the bow string pushes the arrow?
[13:27] Mick Nerido: If you don't believe in spirits then matter alone is very amazing...
[13:27] druth Vlodovic: ok, then the purpose becomes more important than reality, or reality is considered unreal
[13:28] herman Bergson: Sometimes Druth yes....
[13:28] herman Bergson: and indeed Mick...matter as such is amazing....breathtaking complex
[13:28] Alaya Kumaki: their promise land , is and building it,,,as an utopia
[13:29] BALDUR Joubert: no..realitiy that can't be understood, becomes a reality of its own druth
[13:29] herman Bergson: if you look at all biochemical processes in the brain.....
[13:29] herman Bergson: incredible how that ticks :-)
[13:29] Mick Nerido: Just look at the periodic table of elements!
[13:29] herman Bergson: ok..let's keep it simple ^_^
[13:30] herman Bergson: We have knowledge of these processes....
[13:30] Qwark Allen: there will be more elements on the universe then the ones we know
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: and the smallest elements of matter like the ones they study at ex CERN, when u go down to that low level its amazing how matter is really built up
[13:30] BALDUR Joubert: look at out ancestors.. the biochemical processes were the same..
[13:30] BALDUR Joubert: but they didn't think the way we did..
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: why are it these small particles
[13:30] herman Bergson: But we have no explanation for its ingenuity...
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: really amazing
[13:30] BALDUR Joubert: with the same brain
[13:30] Rayne Queller: all things that I have ever seen have progressed causally in linear time from past to future. If we assume a telos, we must account for some force that influences events prior in time. That a future event in some way effects the present or past.
[13:30] herman Bergson: yes baldur ...
[13:31] Mick Nerido: Before we knew how complex matter is we had simpler ideas like spirits etc.
[13:31] RF Axel: Common sense, isn't? :)
[13:31] herman Bergson: The point is that there are no indications there there even exists a TELOS...
[13:32] RF Axel: Does materialism require that the current understanding of physical laws be complete?
[13:32] herman Bergson: We are just here ...with our common sense , yes :-)
[13:32] Rayne Queller: The notion of a spirit really does not explain anything, this spirit is an unknowable factor. It's constiution is unknown, it's mechanism is unknown, it's relation to matter is unknown.
[13:32] druth Vlodovic: if ghosts exist someday we'll have a scientific explanation for them
[13:32] Qwark Allen: all that doesn't explain the mind
[13:33] herman Bergson: No RF...then would physical science be complete now....
[13:33] BALDUR Joubert: smile.. that somethinbg is unknown doesn't mean its not possible
[13:33] Qwark Allen: it`s just not a question of matter
[13:33] druth Vlodovic: if we acknowledge that there are many things yet to discover then we can start discovering them
[13:33] Qwark Allen: or we will be all like a brick
[13:33] herman Bergson: if you look at astronomy....we know still so little
[13:33] Alaya Kumaki: the telos, separated? from the beeing as a spices to be it and to be alive as long as possible is the only telos i know of
[13:33] RF Axel: I don't believe we really understand Time, yet...
[13:33] Rayne Queller: It seems fallacy to assume that if you can't account for some event with known principles and elements, that postulating a mysterious unknown principle assures that this unknown and worse unknowable, would have the properties necessary to account for the original unknown
[13:34] herman Bergson: Do you mean by "spirit" the Mind Ryane
[13:34] Qwark Allen: there is no time
[13:34] Qwark Allen: we invented time
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: time is just a definition for things that aren't occurring at the same time
[13:34] BALDUR Joubert: great quark..we invented herman too then
[13:34] Rayne Queller: what I mean is if the known brain matter can't account for mind. Then what makes yout thing that some unknown, unknowable, and undiscovered "Spirit" will be able to account for it
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: a measurment of how far between events
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: its not a force
[13:34] herman Bergson: Yes Qwark.....the philosophy of time is more than one bookshelf :-)
[13:34] Mick Nerido: Time is relative to velocity
[13:34] Qwark Allen: time is relative
[13:34] RF Axel: And, if the multiverse exists, in a physical sense, and some sort of interaction is possible, dosn't that add a whole extra layer of possibilities?
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: but some call the time the 4 th dimension
[13:35] Qwark Allen: there are places in the universe where time just does not exist
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: but here is then a physical law i cant get
[13:35] BALDUR Joubert: whats gravity........
[13:35] herman Bergson: Just be IN time for the next lecture and everything will be ok :-))
[13:35] Mick Nerido: time is the 4th dimention
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: when u approach the speed of light time stops
[13:35] Rayne Queller: the only way we can conclude this things is if we equate all unknowns as being the same.
[13:35] Qwark Allen: we don`t understand gravity
[13:35] Qwark Allen: no one knows what it is
[13:36] Rayne Queller: as if you and i both have closed boxes, mine is unknown and yours is unknown, thus they must contain the same thing
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: how can that be?
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: and it has been proven that clocks on high speed jets go slower than the clocks on the ground
[13:36] Alaya Kumaki: in fact i am thinking that the possibility of an unknown laederships, invisible was much more rrelated to the time of navigation and d eportation of people in foreign land, and having got a message that they will return andtake care of the colonies... a material promises , nothing supernatural, but the later ''phone game distortion '' made it mythologic rather than historic...
[13:36] herman Bergson: the beetle in the box...:-)
[13:36] Rayne Queller: That is a fallacy
[13:36] Qwark Allen: in a black hole there is no time
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: really strange if time is just a measuring value and not a force that can be affected
[13:36] Qwark Allen: time in earth is different at ground or at 360 km
[13:37] Qwark Allen: that is why the gps are daily sinchronized
[13:37] Rayne Queller: mind is "suposedly unknown" and so I postulate this notion of "Spirit" than is also unknown and God is defined as unknown. Thus Mind is spirit is God.
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: because the speed can impossibly affect the mechanics in the clock
[13:37] Rayne Queller: that is the fallacy I see.
[13:37] Qwark Allen: maybe it`s gravity
[13:37] herman Bergson: Let us return to the mind...the inventor of time :-)
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: or the electronics
[13:37] Alaya Kumaki: soory for the lenght herman, i forgot,,,, not being here often recently
[13:37] Alaya Kumaki: i will stick 2 one line
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: also why cant anything go beyond the speed of light?
[13:37] herman Bergson smiles at Alaya
[13:37] Qwark Allen: where the gravity field is more intense , seems to work faster the time
[13:37] Mick Nerido: what we are doing here with our the question
[13:38] RF Axel: Is the brain during life something from which the mind develops?
[13:38] Qwark Allen: we are talking about materialism
[13:38] herman Bergson: THAT RF is the quintessential question here....
[13:38] Qwark Allen: seems mind doesn't fit there
[13:38] druth Vlodovic: mind is an effect of material processes
[13:38] BALDUR Joubert: and why not qwuark:?
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: reativity theory is the only physical law i cant grasp but u see it clearly when u watch the LHC in action
[13:39] RF Axel: New born babies don't seem to have much of a mind...
[13:39] Qwark Allen: because you can`t measure it
[13:39] herman Bergson: I still think that John Searle showed the best interpretation of the problem
[13:39] Alaya Kumaki: so the time, waiting, for the colonies, the expectation,,,, can be create all the time,,, but the end , is not alwyas fully controlled
[13:39] herman Bergson: I'll discuss that definitely in a special lecture
[13:39] herman Bergson: No RF they haven't…..
[13:39] RF Axel: What shape might you consider a mind to be, if that is a reasonable/sensible question?
[13:40] BALDUR Joubert: rf..not only new born babies
[13:40] Alaya Kumaki: we don't controlled the outcome, but we can modulate our expectation
[13:40] herman Bergson: Actually that is only a reasonable question when the mind spacial extension has....
[13:40] Mick Nerido: I think our brains evolved to the degree they did because the best problem solvers survived and passd on that trait
[13:41] herman Bergson: That is....when the mind is a material thing
[13:41] Rayne Queller: what exactly is a non-material thing?
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: forces ex
[13:41] herman Bergson: That does not exist...a non material thing.....
[13:41] Rayne Queller: and how exactly does a non-material thing account for the mind, in ways that the material brain does not?
[13:42] herman Bergson: a think is by definition something object...
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: electromagnetic energy like light is not matter
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: have no mass
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: energy is not matter
[13:42] Rayne Queller: right, well then if a non-material thing does not exist, then mind is brain
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: energy
[13:42] herman Bergson: so the expression non-material thing is a contradiction in itself
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: energy is a field
[13:42] Alaya Kumaki: we never could track an idea in the brain so far,, is a thought material??
[13:42] Rayne Queller: Electromagnetic force is a property of matter
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: yes but it isnt matter in itself
[13:42] herman Bergson: well...we have particles and we have waves
[13:42] RF Axel: Now, if you throw in the Simulation Hypothesis, then an external physical reality (where minds are real) could be simulating ours, and, those mind controlling simulated bodies?
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: but a property yes
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: matter emit energy
[13:43] druth Vlodovic: we can expand the definition of "material" to include anything we can explain using mathematics
[13:43] BALDUR Joubert: well said druth
[13:43] herman Bergson: Yes Druth....
[13:43] Alaya Kumaki: than i accept the materiality, aspect of electromagnetism, but we cannot track ideas, down,,, witout somespecial apparatus, even atoms,, and even atoms,, are we sure of the apparatus, if ours cannot be fully faitfull to what is??
[13:43] Rayne Queller: the roundness of a ball is not the ball? I don't see how a property is not the thing which that property is attributed to
[13:43] Rayne Queller: there is no roundness without the ball.
[13:43] druth Vlodovic: if our minds exist outside our bodies then how can changes to our bodies affect our minds?
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: th = natures language
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: th is a bit trickier cause everything as know can be described with mathematics
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: that why u can cerate everything with computers
[13:44] herman Bergson: Chalmers even suggested to bring in consciousness in the equation
[13:44] Rayne Queller: If minds exist outside the body, then of what are they composed?
[13:44] Mick Nerido: The lanquage we are using is a mind construct
[13:44] Rayne Queller: if mind is an EMF feild, then we should detect it
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: computers use math to simulate just everything , sound pictures ect
[13:44] Alaya Kumaki: if we seee atoms , we can track down ideas,,, one day....
[13:45] herman Bergson: Indeed Ryane
[13:45] RF Axel: The language we are using is a mutual agreement, to attempt to convey meaning. :)
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: well u can measure brain waves
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: though control os possible with spec equipment
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: thought
[13:45] Alaya Kumaki: its a mutuall agreement, as tool done to moove object buy our brain waves only, and its working
[13:45] herman Bergson: Francis Crick even suggests that the 40mHz frequency is what makes the mind in the brain
[13:46] RF Axel: Messing up people's brains, hence minds, with magnetic fields, for example?
[13:46] Rayne Queller: where one creates an imprint on the other
[13:46] BALDUR Joubert: right on the problem mick. here we use words .a mind construct...
[13:46] Rayne Queller: computers can only model sound and images with "math" because states of semi-conducter chips are directy linked to speaker vibrations and computer monitors.
[13:46] Rayne Queller: math in and of itself does not contain information about sound or pictures
[13:46] Mick Nerido: I saw brain auras while on acid lol
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: yes its just switches
[13:46] herman Bergson: We can influence the brain with electricity yes
[13:46] Alaya Kumaki: but than its still to objectified,, in my sense , the subjective part (said as this is still an object) is a bias, and language to form what is, dialectically is also bias
[13:46] Qwark Allen: not really rayne
[13:47] BALDUR Joubert: and evberyone uses it the way he thinks it could be used ..but words are communication tools..
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: it does if u make binary algorithms for how to represent a sound wave with numbers
[13:47] Qwark Allen: it`s cause of math that we can share sound and pics here
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: thats how all digital audio work
[13:47] druth Vlodovic: words are just symbols with no meaning until we interpret them
[13:47] Rayne Queller: we sent a record into space, if the aliens don't have a human record player, they will not be able to decode what is on it
[13:47] RF Axel: I sometimes see auras when very tired - is that just my visual system getting confused?
[13:47] BALDUR Joubert: no druth..until we agree on their meaning
[13:48] herman Bergson: I would say so RF :-)
[13:48] druth Vlodovic: meaning I can't tell you anything you don't already know :)
[13:48] Qwark Allen: if they have inteligence will be a question of time to know how to reproduce it
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: yes thats true
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: u need the data and then the correct algorithms and eqipment for coreectly trancfer it to menaingful information
[13:48] Rayne Queller: since the record is more directly mechanical, they may be able to build a player, but they would not know how to decode an MP4
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: until then its just code of binary numbers
[13:49] Qwark Allen: why not?
[13:49] herman Bergson: I suggest we discuss our own mind instead of the mind of an alien we dont know :-)
[13:49] BALDUR Joubert: meaningful ? bejii? or whewre one can agree ?
[13:49] Qwark Allen paid you L$100.
[13:49] Guestboook van tipjar stand: Qwark Allen donated L$100. Thank you very much, it is much appreciated!
[13:49] herman Bergson: We already have troubl eenough to understand that issue :-)
[13:50] Alaya Kumaki: the mutual codes is even not done on earth, anyways,,,we speak all sort of language , and cant understand each spiecies
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: indeed
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: thats also a thing
[13:50] Rayne Queller: because they don't know how it was created in the first place, they don't know what it's supposed to be, and they don't have computer monitors or the micro-processors than convert the codex into images and sounds
[13:50] Alaya Kumaki: even not one another with one single code
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: for ex i cant understand chinese
[13:50] druth Vlodovic: "Dolphins are intelligent, after only a few weeks of captivity they are able to train people to stand beside the pool and throw them fish."
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: thats true rayneƶ
[13:50] Qwark Allen: you are making to many assumptions
[13:51] RF Axel: I understand there are some serious attempts going on to negotiate a workable language with dophins...
[13:51] Rayne Queller: the same reason that you can't plug an MP4 into a Graphing calculator and see the movie play
[13:51] Alaya Kumaki: ah, this is the question , what creats everything and what it the manuel of instruction to repair the mess we did
[13:51] herman Bergson: They have tried that with chimpanses....RF....
[13:51] Qwark Allen: wrong example
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: ucan say like this, first the machine must be made to interpret the data and then our minds must in turn be correctly "programmed to make use of it
[13:51] BALDUR Joubert: smile..there should be more attempts to find a workable language between humans:)
[13:52] herman Bergson: But their brain is just lacking the wireing we have...
[13:52] Rayne Queller: alien technology would very likely be built on a whole different system of drivers and tranlations, codes etc
[13:52] herman Bergson: They have tried that to BALDUR....
[13:52] Alaya Kumaki: our mind interprete the dat, wrongly ,not knowing what is missing into ourself to get the full picture, the question is: how can we create a machine that does it, than...???
[13:52] BALDUR Joubert: failed so far:)
[13:52] Qwark Allen: in fact the most sophisticated language is the whales one
[13:52] druth Vlodovic: this is the danger of believing in the non-material "the mess we made" is no mess, just an alteration of circumstance, we will never be judged on it, but we do need to adapt to the new circumstances we have created
[13:53] Mick Nerido: The world we build is a reflection of our minds
[13:53] RF Axel: Some birds seem to have language capabilities not completely dissimilar to humans...
[13:53] herman Bergson: Hold on.....!!!
[13:53] BALDUR Joubert: judge druth' who's the judge?
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: yes but they don't understand what they say
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: they just try to imitate it
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: parrots and beostars ex
[13:53] herman Bergson: Here we are talkign about the concept of is we have a well defined concept here now...
[13:53] Qwark Allen: they do bejita
[13:53] Qwark Allen: saw one that knows color, shape, number
[13:53] Qwark Allen: was amazing
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: a beostar for ex can sound indistinguisly alike a car engine for ex
[13:53] herman Bergson: I suggest to drop this discussion :-)
[13:54] Qwark Allen: got to go
[13:54] Alaya Kumaki: than i guess we have only lost, how,, and we aren't missing anything in our brain to find out,,,,
[13:54] Qwark Allen: see you thursdays
[13:54] herman Bergson: Leads to nowhere...and can go on for hours....
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: cu
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: Q
[13:54] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your participation :-)
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:54] Qwark Allen: interesting as ever
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:54] Qwark Allen: you welcome
[13:54] herman Bergson: Class dismissed .....
[13:54] druth Vlodovic: ty herman
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: once again interesting discussion
[13:54] RF Axel: What are the properties of mind, that you suspect brain can't provide?
[13:54] Qwark Allen: was misssing it
[13:54] Qwark Allen: ¸¸.☆´ ¯¨☆.¸¸`☆** **☆´ ¸¸.☆¨¯`☆ H E R MA N ☆´ ¯¨☆.¸¸`☆** **☆´ ¸¸.☆¨¯`
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:55] Qwark Allen: :-)
[13:55] Mick Nerido: Thanks Herman and everyone here
[13:55] RF Axel: Thanks for discussion.
[13:55] Alaya Kumaki: it was rich today,, we would need too chat room for that talk....
[13:55] herman Bergson: ooops RF ....that is a complex question......
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: lol
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: hehe yes my keyboard is glowing now
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