Thursday, June 9, 2011

333: The materialist Brain 1

Today we have arrived at a quintessential point in our quest into the Mystery of the Brain. Today we'll begin the study of materialism.

We can start with two questions:
1. What does it MEAN to say that everything is physical?
You could call this an ontological question. We ask what there is in reality.

2. Is it TRUE to say that everything is physical?
This you could regard as an epistemological question. Here we ask how we can obtain knowledge of the material world.

The first question, depending on the emphasis, can be understood in two ways.
One: What does it mean that EVERYTHING is physical
Two: what does it mean that everything is PHYSICAL.

As an ontology materialism has along history as I mentioned in the previous lecture, not only in Western philosophy, but also in Indian philosophy.

In both cultures it is scorned by all kinds of religious groups. From their perspective for good reasons of course. There is no room for the supernatural in a physical world.

In many previous lectures I have shown you by explaining the phenomenon of our Supersense and by showing results of brain research and neurobiological findings, how we can interpret supernatural things in a material world.

Let me start with a general description of this ontological position. Eventually I hope to give you an acceptable answer to our two questions.

Materialism is the general theory that the ultimate constituents of reality are material or physical bodies, elements or processes.

It is a form of monism in that it holds that everything in existence is reducible to what is material or physical in nature.

It is opposed to dualistic theories which claim that body and mind are distinct, and directly antithetical to a philosophical idealism that denies the existence of matter.

It is hostile to abstract objects, if these are viewed as more than just a manner of speaking .

An implication of materialism is that the diverse qualitative experiences we have are ultimately reducible to quantitative changes in objects or in our physiological functioning.

All the properties of things, including persons, are reducible to properties of matter.

Although the terms referring to psychic states such as intention, belief, desire and consciousness itself have a different sense and use than terms referring to material events,

a consistent materialist would deny that mentalistic
terms have reference to anything other than physical events or physiological changes in our brains.

The enormous advances in the sciences have contributed storehouses of empirical data that are often used to support materialism. I already have presented a lot of this evidence to you.

Many philosophers have been attracted to materialism both because of its reductive simplicity and its association with scientific knowledge.

So, let's investigate what materialism has to offer and how tenable this viewpoint regarding ourselves and the world around us is.

The discussion

[13:23] herman Bergson: Thank you.....
[13:24] herman Bergson: If you have any question or remark...the floor is yours as always :-)
[13:24] BALDUR Joubert: smile..without our material body we have no idea of supersense
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: wb Berg
[13:25] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ty...
[13:25] Mick Nerido: Materilists would say there is ONLY the body
[13:25] herman Bergson: Supersense is just a name for our inclination to believe in the supernatural
[13:26] herman Bergson: Mr. STevens!!!!!!
[13:26] herman Bergson: This is not a dancehall
[13:26] BALDUR Joubert: can say a lot words.. but as mentioned in former lectures..this doesn't proof the contrary:)
[13:26] Evie1: lol
[13:26] Evie1: Put bluntly, the view is just this: Everything that actually exists is material, or physical.
[13:26] Stevens Beaumont: i am sorry
[13:26] Stevens Beaumont: i stop immediately
[13:27] BALDUR Joubert: steve..lokk for stop all animations:9
[13:27] herman Bergson: move it...plz!!! go outside!
[13:27] Mick Nerido: Yes Evie
[13:27] Evie1: I think he is moving it
[13:27] druth Vlodovic: ok, one argument against non-materialism, in regards to having souls, is the effect that physical/chemical changes to the brain can have on personality
[13:28] BALDUR Joubert: why is that against materialismedruth
[13:28] druth Vlodovic: presumably a spirit/soul would have it's own personality and be immune to physical alterations
[13:28] herman Bergson: What do you mean by that Druth?
[13:28] herman Bergson: Yes Baldur, my question too...
[13:28] druth Vlodovic: um, I meant the opposite
[13:29] BALDUR Joubert: grin no reason to yellat her....
[13:29] Mick Nerido: There is no scientific evidence for anything behind the material world
[13:29] BALDUR Joubert: smile..mick ..may be scientific evidence is not all the answers?
[13:30] Evie1: The ontological doctrine that states that everything that exists is, or depends on, matter ....
[13:30] druth Vlodovic: you're just afraid of excess electrons finding your computer
[13:30] Mick Nerido: true Baldur
[13:30] BALDUR Joubert: well evie we can't deny mater
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: hmm frying the drive is no good
[13:31] herman Bergson: Yes Evie1 ...what actually exists is only matter
[13:31] herman Bergson: and states the matter is in
[13:31] BALDUR Joubert: no what we can see as exsistant is matter...
[13:32] BALDUR Joubert: wehat our senses can't grasp .. could be there too
[13:32] herman Bergson: We'll elaborate on this subject enough to understand the strong and weak points of this ontology
[13:33] herman Bergson: .
[13:33] herman Bergson: It probably doesn't seem to bother you at all that the supernatural is trashed???!
[13:33] BALDUR Joubert: smile..but we have to use our mind -brain with what its got..and that is matter...
[13:34] BALDUR Joubert: not trashed..just kept aside as long as we don't know more
[13:34] herman Bergson: Yes Baldur...that matters a lot :-))
[13:34] herman Bergson: ohh....
[13:34] Mick Nerido: Belief is different then proof
[13:34] BALDUR Joubert: so we should stick to the matter and leave the supernaturalxoption open:9
[13:35] herman Bergson: You expect knowledge of the supernatural in the future, Baldur?
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: I guess
[13:35] Evie1: does materialism mean the end of spirituality ?
[13:35] herman Bergson: That is an odd idea....leave the supernatural open
[13:35] BALDUR Joubert: lol.. i never expect anything..but thingsxmight happen......
[13:35] herman Bergson: That depends Evie1....
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: for one thin we can for example deny the supernatural properties of magic
[13:35] druth Vlodovic: spirituality can be the exploration of self and finding peace and meaning in your life
[13:36] druth Vlodovic: without the inherent politics of religion
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: cause thats breaking of physical laws and that we know is impossible
[13:36] herman Bergson: ontologically yes, as a psychological feature of the brain no
[13:36] herman Bergson: Our brain is wired in such a way, that we are just inclined to believe in supernatural things
[13:37] BALDUR Joubert: bej... quantum physics have no physical law exlanation:9
[13:37] herman Bergson: this is based on the feature of the brain/ want to see structure in its environment....the drive to explain...
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: qantum physics is a bit strange but still to magic
[13:37] Evie1: hmmmm
[13:37] herman Bergson: and where there is no explanation..the mind comes up with one
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: but what quantum physics is is fixed numbers with nothing in between
[13:38] BALDUR Joubert: well herman when man started to think.. abstract-he could think of everything.. even supernatural
[13:38] druth Vlodovic: the supernatural is usually simpler and more satisfying than the real
[13:38] Mick Nerido: It's a good story
[13:38] BALDUR Joubert: smile bej-the nothing in between is the interesting point:)
[13:38] herman Bergson: Yes Druth....that is what makes it so attractive...
[13:38] BALDUR Joubert: like good sex druth?
[13:39] Evie1: The mind governing all has another vibration within the whole aspect. The mind focuses our energies to a material outcome of all our experiences. Or it focuses for a spiritual outcome of our experiences. The two seldom work together to produce an outcome of growth within the spirit.
[13:39] druth Vlodovic: umm
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: i d say supernaturality is so our brains can get relaxed and not think itself to pieces about things we cant understand for the moment
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: then we make up our own explanations and rest our minds on them
[13:39] herman Bergson: I would agree Bejiita :-)
[13:40] BALDUR Joubert: explanation is the word bej...,language and communication
[13:40] herman Bergson: .
[13:40] Evie1: but when we focus on the material things we forget about the spiritual side
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:40] Mick Nerido: We are finite beings in an infinite universe..
[13:40] herman Bergson: I wouldn't agree with that Mick....
[13:41] Mick Nerido: smiles
[13:41] herman Bergson: Infinity is a concept created by our own mind.....not by definition something that exists
[13:41] BALDUR Joubert: now..we all werre babies once..what did we focus on....and what did our ancestors- say 1000000 years ago focus on..
[13:41] Evie1: true
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: ahö
[13:42] Mick Nerido: I know it is impossible to explain therefore the supernatural
[13:42] herman Bergson smiles
[13:42] druth Vlodovic: I suspect that we have connections to reality that we don't really know about
[13:42] Clerisse Beeswing: food shelter warmth important
[13:42] herman Bergson: maybe the concept of the infinite is the supernatural part of mathematics :-)
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: might be
[13:42] druth Vlodovic: they are finding that time and matter aren't fixed things, it would be odd if we evolved without the capacity to take advantage of that
[13:43] Mick Nerido: True herman
[13:43] BALDUR Joubert: take advantage? how -and for what?
[13:43] herman Bergson: you all see...
[13:43] herman Bergson: studying materialism is gonna be fun :-)
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: hhe
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: might be for sure
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:44] BALDUR Joubert: sure..we'll be talking about ourselves:)
[13:44] herman Bergson: YEs Baldur...:-)
[13:44] herman Bergson: And we are bloody interesting people :-)
[13:44] CONNIE Eichel: hehe
[13:44] Clerisse Beeswing: true
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: hehe yes
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:45] Evie1: So how can everything be physical ... surely it cannot be
[13:45] druth Vlodovic: I'm not convinced that all "supernatural" events have no basis in fact, but I'm not sure we need a "spirit realm" to explain it all
[13:45] Mick Nerido: Never boring!
[13:45] herman Bergson: Wait.....
[13:45] herman Bergson: Evie1
[13:45] Clerisse Beeswing: true in some ways
[13:45] BALDUR Joubert: isn't spirit realm a product we created druth?
[13:45] Evie1: call em Evie please ... smiles
[13:45] herman Bergson: Why can it not be the case that everything is physical?
[13:46] BALDUR Joubert: like shower cream'
[13:46] herman Bergson: Where does the idea come from that it cant be so?
[13:47] BALDUR Joubert: easy...from not understanding.......
[13:47] druth Vlodovic: from wanting meaning and purpose
[13:47] BALDUR Joubert: but able to think about it
[13:47] BALDUR Joubert: and due to communication
[13:47] herman Bergson: then the supernatural is just our imagination...
[13:47] Evie1: hmmm I meat everything has to be physical sorry (including consciousness
[13:47] herman Bergson: That is ok with me....
[13:47] BALDUR Joubert: that can't be the conclusion herman....
[13:48] herman Bergson: ohhhhhhh....consciousness.......
[13:48] druth Vlodovic: we used to imagine people flying through the air, silly really
[13:48] herman Bergson: Still a big big hurdle to take Evie!
[13:48] herman Bergson: .
[13:48] herman Bergson: on brooms, Druth?
[13:49] druth Vlodovic: ok, I haven't gotten my broom up to speed yet :)
[13:49] BALDUR Joubert: well i think we should stick to the question: what does materialism mean to philosophy.. old and new
[13:49] herman Bergson: I have a Nimbus 2000 ^_^
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: haha
[13:49] BALDUR Joubert: if we accept it. shall we ignore plato and aristoteles'
[13:50] CONNIE Eichel: :)
[13:50] Mick Nerido: Flying is physical now was only imaginary to our ancestors
[13:50] druth Vlodovic: lucky
[13:50] Clerisse Beeswing: lol cool herman
[13:50] herman Bergson: Yes Mick...they just envied the birds
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: im unsure if id dare to fly on a small stick
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: seems not stable at all
[13:51] BALDUR Joubert: with druth i would:)
[13:51] herman Bergson grins at Baldur
[13:51] CONNIE Eichel: hehe
[13:51] herman Bergson: Don't be so obvious Baldur ^_^
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:51] BALDUR Joubert: grins..i thought i said something more intelligent before :)
[13:51] druth Vlodovic: you stay away from small sticks Baldur
[13:52] herman Bergson: But I share your opinion tho :-))
[13:52] BALDUR Joubert: ok druth... sigh
[13:52] herman Bergson: Ok...I think we are all set for this new chapter....
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: gess so
[13:52] herman Bergson: Baldur has to take off on his broom I time to dismiss class
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:53] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your participation and nice discussion
[13:53] Clerisse Beeswing: ahhh I just got here
[13:53] druth Vlodovic: thank you herman
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: another interesting time here ㋡
[13:53] CONNIE Eichel: great class professor :)
[13:53] herman Bergson: I am sorry Clerisse....
[13:53] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman it was very intersting:)
[13:53] Clerisse Beeswing: thanks professor
[13:53] herman Bergson: Thank you Beertje and CONNIE
[13:53] CONNIE Eichel: :)
[13:54] CONNIE Eichel: time to go now, kisses :)
[13:54] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): bye Connie
[13:54] herman Bergson: Bye CONNIE
[13:54] CONNIE Eichel: bye bye :)
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: ok cu all soon again
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:56] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ty herman:-)) and ty class! see u thursday
[13:57] BALDUR Joubert: well..may bei shouldl.ea veyou with the girls herman:)
[13:58] druth Vlodovic: I dunno, is it safe?
[13:58] BALDUR Joubert: lol... you asking me for my opinion?
[13:58] herman Bergson: are right are the only man left next to me :-)
[13:59] BALDUR Joubert: ok i get the maessage lol
[13:59] herman Bergson: Look at that...another girl... Hi oola ^_^
[13:59] oola Neruda: hi herman

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