Friday, May 27, 2011

331: The Mind and some Qualia

Although a lot of scientists can be regarded as materialists in one way or another, dualism has still its defenders.

Their main point is that there is more when it comes to the mind or consciousness than just matter.This more is at least of a non-physical nature.

To proof this, we get the next argument. imagine a future scientist who was deaf from birth, but who has acquired a perfect scientific understanding of how hearing operates in others.

This scientist may have been born stone deaf, but becomes the world's greatest expert on the machinery of hearing:

he knows everything that there is to know within the range of the physical and behavioral sciences about hearing.

Now suppose that they succeed to restore his ability to hear. The man knows every detail of the process of hearing and yet he learns something new:

It is suggested that he will then learn something he did not know before, which can be expressed as what it is like to hear, or the qualitative or phenomenal nature of sound.

Nowhere in the physical or material process of hearing you find that private experience of what it is like to hear.

Thence it is claimed that conscious experience involves non-physical properties.

It rests on the idea that someone who has complete physical knowledge about another conscious being might yet lack knowledge about how it feels to have the experiences of that being.

This qualitative nature of our experiences from a subjective perspective is called the quale, most of the time discussed in plural: qualia.

If two brains perform exactly the same process: we both see something red, for instance, then the extra, which can not be deduced from the physical process, is the fact that it is MY experience and YOUR experience.

Although the processes may be identical there yet is something in the mind added, namely, the qualitative features of "what it is like" FOR ME to experience the color red.

It may sound to you as highly technical philosophical bickering, but the basic idea is that a 100% materialistic explanation of our consciousness is not possible. There is more.

Thus we must conclude that there are in our world at least two different properties: physical and non-physical.

The qualia issue has led to complex debates and argumentations since the famous article by Thomas Nagel "What is it like to be a bat?" from 1974.

The debate rages still on, but is till now controversial and inconclusive. Therefore it is not yet a refutation of our attempt to come to a materialistic interpretation of the mind.

We have to find an explanation of the subjectivity of the mind in a physicalistic sense. And there is something else…..

Our mind, our thoughts are always ABOUT" something. Mental states seem to have causal powers, but they also possess the mysterious property of intentionality

— being about other things — including things like Zeus and the square root of minus one, which do not exist.

Physical objects and processes lack this intentionality - this aboutness - How are we going to explain that…..perhaps in the next lecture.

The Discussion

[13:15] herman Bergson: Thank you :-)
[13:16] herman Bergson: If you have a question or remark....go ahead..
[13:16] Kyra Neutron: are those avatars real here?
[13:16] Kyra Neutron: do they feel ?
[13:16] Kyra Neutron: do they exist in the universe?
[13:17] Bejiita Imako: this s a thing O wonder about sometime
[13:17] Kyra Neutron: let me finish bejiita...
[13:17] Mick Nerido: The deaf scientist would not understand what he hears it has to be "learned"
[13:17] Bejiita Imako: if me and my riend both feel happy do we feel the same
[13:17] Bejiita Imako: do we have the same experience
[13:17] Bejiita Imako: the reaction however is the same
[13:17] Kyra Neutron: id care what you experience :)
[13:17] Kyra Neutron: simple que
[13:17] Kyra Neutron: simple answer
[13:17] Kyra Neutron: do the avatars exist here
[13:18] Kyra Neutron: ?
[13:18] Bejiita Imako: so that make me think that we also must feel in a similar way
[13:18] Kyra Neutron: yawns...and leaves the scene to the prima donna
[13:18] herman Bergson: If you mean an identical experience Bejiita...the answer is no...
[13:18] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): kyra avatars exist in our minds here and there
[13:18] Kyra Neutron: ty gemma!
[13:18] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): an avatar is like a mask
[13:18] Bejiita Imako: interesting question indeed
[13:18] Sousinne Ceriano: The avatars have no mind, no brain, no existence beyond their connection to the person behind them, and the image as an in-world interface.
[13:18] Kyra Neutron: so is that mean..somehow..those avatars are real in a way?
[13:19] Bejiita Imako: for example if we think something is fun we laugh but does it feel the same for all
[13:19] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): right
[13:19] Doodus Moose: Kyra - no, they're simply puppets
[13:19] Sousinne Ceriano: Yes, they are a form of communication, like someone talking.
[13:19] Bejiita Imako: that it feels good is for sure but similar
[13:19] Bejiita Imako: h
[13:19] Kyra Neutron: but yet..this is a cybernetic environment…
[13:19] Sousinne Ceriano: Communication exists,.
[13:19] herman Bergson: It is a bit odd to suppose that avatars have a life and a mind....
[13:19] Kyra Neutron: we are cybernetic...
[13:19] Kyra Neutron: just like the "square root of minus one".
[13:19] Alaya Kumaki: i am not sure the the physics laws exposed the matter as lacking of intentionality, there, if i think about permissivity and permeability phenomenons, , but i don't recall who brought that,,,
[13:19] Sousinne Ceriano: Not quite, eh?
[13:19] herman Bergson: Avatars…like a viewer are only tools
[13:19] Mick Nerido: The AV is a puppet yes
[13:20] Kyra Neutron: see the point herman...
[13:20] herman Bergson: created by and for us to communicate
[13:20] Bejiita Imako: the avatar is just a way to connect but since its a real person behind it the avatar will transfer our feelings rl
[13:20] Bejiita Imako: thats how I see it
[13:20] Sousinne Ceriano: Unless the person behind it is AFK.
[13:20] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:20] herman Bergson: In that sense they don't differ from a hammer or a vacuum cleaner
[13:20] Kyra Neutron: shakes head..
[13:20] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:20] Doodus Moose: Bejiita - communicate minus the body language and subtilities of human expression
[13:20] Alaya Kumaki: Permittivity is determined by the ability of a material to polarize in response to the field, and thereby reduce the total electric field inside the material. Thus, permittivity relates to a material's ability to transmit (or "permit") an electric field.
[13:21] Kyra Neutron: if you any of you stand up when i say i will fuck you little bejita...
[13:21] Alaya Kumaki: i saw that the first time as a door to realize that matter isn't inanimate from intentionality
[13:21] Kyra Neutron: nothing...just a vacuum cleaner right?
[13:21] Kyra Neutron: :)
[13:21] Kyra Neutron: gigles
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: hahaha
[13:21] Sousinne Ceriano: Yes, nothing.
[13:21] ShinKenDo: well in here we get something like a body language
[13:22] Doodus Moose: Shin- we're all in the same position :-)
[13:22] ShinKenDo: we somehow transform our ego int this puppet and make it feel
[13:22] ShinKenDo: so
[13:22] druth Vlodovic: alaya, I'm not sure the ability to affect things implies intentionality
[13:22] ShinKenDo: this here is a bridge
[13:22] Ciska Riverstone: other way round Shin?
[13:22] Alaya Kumaki: its not the affecting, it's the an intention
[13:22] herman Bergson: We just use this means to communicate with eachother
[13:22] Kyra Neutron: the thing is
[13:22] Alaya Kumaki: the permisivity is an intention,
[13:22] Sousinne Ceriano: I find this part of the dualist discourse rather tiring, merely an attempt to allow the theist faith to survive in an area where science has not yet set up its theories.
[13:22] Kyra Neutron: what you say VACUUM CLEANER
[13:23] Kyra Neutron: is your identity
[13:23] Kyra Neutron: yourself
[13:23] Alaya Kumaki: in my view and the myth that matter is without it, is for me promitive
[13:23] Kyra Neutron: your poor existance
[13:23] Kyra Neutron: :)
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: yes, and to get the avatar to transfer our feelings require that the operator pushes the right buttins sort of
[13:23] herman Bergson: yes...only vacuum cleaners dont communicate...they have another function:-)
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: or nothing wil happen
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: sl is a comunication tool that do what we tell it to do just like any machine
[13:23] Kyra Neutron: i am truly sorry bejita
[13:23] Sousinne Ceriano: And beside, vacuum cleaners are loud, disgusting things.
[13:23] Kyra Neutron: but a moderate
[13:23] Kyra Neutron: person
[13:23] herman Bergson: But I think we are drifing away from the actual subject of today :-)
[13:23] Kyra Neutron: is lack of controlling its avatar
[13:24] Kyra Neutron: as a robotic handle
[13:24] Alaya Kumaki: i am talking about the matter that isn't tranformed by human,,,,, and dead
[13:24] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): was waiting for that
[13:24] Kyra Neutron: you are just good as your poor ego
[13:24] Kyra Neutron: in that ava
[13:24] ShinKenDo: so 2 avas sits on a bench and wach a digital sunset.. dont we feel something in this scene?
[13:24] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): trying to recall the point of the lecture
[13:24] Sousinne Ceriano: You feel it. The avatar doesn't.
[13:24] druth Vlodovic: ok, what do you mean by permissivity? the ability of a thing to exist within a certain environment?
[13:24] herman Bergson: The issue of today is that experiences may seem identical in a material way in two different persons...
[13:25] Kyra Neutron: sous...maybe you shall breath air more..and look at walls less?
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: the operator behind the machi does
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: machine
[13:25] Kyra Neutron: we live here...
[13:25] herman Bergson: but each person adds his subjectivity to it....
[13:25] herman Bergson: His "what is it like for me to hear…"
[13:25] ShinKenDo: we even say .. we are home...
[13:25] Alaya Kumaki: if counsciousness merge from matter,,the exprience of the matter in term of counsciousness is,,, not something we can experiment,,,, as our
[13:25] herman Bergson: this means that in fact these mental states are NOT identical...
[13:25] Alaya Kumaki: yes , we do experiment it
[13:25] Kyra Neutron: :) yesh
[13:26] Kyra Neutron: experiment
[13:26] druth Vlodovic: the subjectivity is often the result of differences in their senses (material) or previous experience (the mind conditioned to react differently to stimuli)
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: speaking about vacuum cleaners i really need to clean up this place tomorrowu usually do that fridays
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: but had a lot of friends here before so place is a bit extra messy now
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: heheh
[13:26] herman Bergson: This is a problem we'll have to deal with in further lectures...
[13:26] Doodus Moose: Professor - in stress school we called it "Actions, Beliefs & Consequences"
[13:26] Alaya Kumaki: lol
[13:26] Kyra Neutron: like giving a drug to the monkey..and measure the body temperature?
[13:26] Mick Nerido: Is like lanquage if you don't understand it it is juat noise
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: sort of
[13:27] Kyra Neutron: weird..i never herad vacuum cleaners are capable of making friends :)
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: chinese for ex i cant make anything but strange sounds out from
[13:27] Doodus Moose: 2 people see the same action, they react from their individual life experience, then take separate consequences
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: no words
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: just sounds
[13:27] Kyra Neutron: lamp and fridge friends?
[13:27] Kyra Neutron: :)
[13:27] Mick Nerido: We all get the same sound waves but our minds interpit them differently
[13:27] Alaya Kumaki: its intresting that you brought that today herman, caus e yesterday i found a document on dennnets intentionality
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:27] Alaya Kumaki: didnt read it , only one chapter, yet
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: a useful tool simply
[13:28] herman Bergson: Yes Dennett is related to this subject too...
[13:28] herman Bergson: Chalmers even more....
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: the vaccum cleaner is my friend when it make cleanup easy and nice here around
[13:28] herman Bergson: If I am not mistaken...
[13:28] Sousinne Ceriano: And yet, there is little reason to assume that people feel, or see, different things when given identical stimuli.
[13:28] Kyra Neutron: wrong? the vacuum cleaner is "bejiita"
[13:28] herman Bergson: Chalmers even took it so far, that he suggested that our idea of reality isn't correct...
[13:28] Sousinne Ceriano: When someone is angry, they act the same way.
[13:28] Alaya Kumaki: the comparative was made between dennets and fodor
[13:28] Doodus Moose: Sou - a friend of mine got in a bad auto accident, and responds to auto brake lights _very_ differently than the most of us
[13:29] herman Bergson: Consciousness should be a real part of it too...
[13:29] Kyra Neutron: yes..primitive feelings..
[13:29] druth Vlodovic: if they react differently then we can assume the experience is different, for instance, one person smelling mature might cover his nose and another will ignore the smell
[13:29] Alaya Kumaki: yes the reality , concept is not correct, i also think that,,
[13:29] ShinKenDo: so now i know a avatar fairly well ... can determine if she is in a good or bad mood.... i learnd to read her usage of certain attachments.. which she choose un concourse… and i .. i behave in a way.. chose emoticons or as that fits my mood... so we "know each other" theoreticaly.. llike the deaf man who know all about hearing... so when i meat the person behind the ava ... will i sitt like this? or use a coat and a goggle on my neck? PERHAPS because ... its now a part of me.. yesterday i tried a new skin .. and shape... this was horrible i could not recognise my selfe
[13:29] herman Bergson: almost like a Cartesian substance
[13:29] Sousinne Ceriano: Different from what you would respond like if you had been through the same accident?
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: hmm that we react to different things is for sure
[13:30] druth Vlodovic: probably, any experience is largely determined by the experiencer
[13:30] Kyra Neutron: well..this is cause we identify "selves" via forms
[13:30] herman Bergson: To say that A and B are identical means according to Leibniz his principle
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: for ex i love olives but a friend of me hates them
[13:30] herman Bergson: that every true statement of A is a true statement of B
[13:30] Kyra Neutron: as another likes to identify via "vacuum cleaner"
[13:30] Kyra Neutron: :)
[13:30] Alaya Kumaki: the experience my hot be similar, they subjectivity might not be
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: haha
[13:31] herman Bergson: and when subjectivity is added to our concept of consciousness....this creates a problem....
[13:31] Kyra Neutron: this also define..hate and love..
[13:31] Kyra Neutron: aren't they same?
[13:31] Alaya Kumaki: well form the objectivation aspect and a subject object,,its a problem
[13:31] Sousinne Ceriano: That there is a filter of biology and previous experiences between us and the stimulus doesn't mean our responses aren't the same.
[13:31] herman Bergson: the material origine may look identical...we all have brains....
[13:31] druth Vlodovic: subjectivity might just be due to the complexity of the system
[13:32] herman Bergson: but we all have only OUR own brain
[13:32] Kyra Neutron: and where is it?
[13:32] Florencio Flores: hi qwark
[13:32] herman Bergson: In that sense no two brains are alike
[13:32] Mick Nerido: I like abstract expressionism you may hate it
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: hi Qwark
[13:32] Alaya Kumaki: since the subject brain,,is matter, where is the subjectivity if not in the matter itself
[13:32] herman Bergson: yes Alaya...THAT is the quintessential question....
[13:33] Florencio Flores: that was deeper alaya
[13:33] Qwark Allen: hello, finally i arrive in +/- time
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: )
[13:33] Doodus Moose: Alaya steers the boat back on course :-)
[13:33] Sousinne Ceriano: It is exactly there, in the matter itself.
[13:33] herman Bergson: therefore qualia are discussed and some even still claim that the mind has non-physical qualities
[13:33] Mick Nerido: Matter is mind?
[13:33] Kyra Neutron: .....
[13:33] Sousinne Ceriano: Mind is matter. Everything is.
[13:33] Kyra Neutron: an easier question
[13:33] Kyra Neutron: what is non-physic
[13:33] Alaya Kumaki: i think that the mind has both quality
[13:34] herman Bergson: If it was that simple that matter generates the mind....
[13:34] Alaya Kumaki: not one or the other, in exclusion relation
[13:34] druth Vlodovic: people like to claim that there are non-material aspects of the brain because they like to believe in souls, and continuity after death
[13:34] Alaya Kumaki: as waves and particles
[13:34] herman Bergson: matter is deterministic in its causality
[13:34] Kyra Neutron: energy
[13:34] Kyra Neutron: matter or not?
[13:34] ShinKenDo: i like to get the word Brain in contact with the word membrane in quantum physics...... strings who vibrate .. and form the matter are like single notes in a opera .. and brains are melodys maid of those notes... somehow selfconscious..
[13:34] Sousinne Ceriano: No. it is not, professor.
[13:34] Kyra Neutron: ....
[13:34] Mick Nerido: matter=energy
[13:34] herman Bergson: and we believe that we are NOT deterministic in our mind.....that we have a free will for instance
[13:35] Kyra Neutron: pure energy
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: the higgs boson is supposed to be the difference between what is matter and what is energy
[13:35] ShinKenDo: its both at the same time
[13:35] Kyra Neutron: energy vibrates and the frequency defines the matter..
[13:35] ShinKenDo: yes
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: light have no mass but other particles have mass = matter
[13:35] herman Bergson: We'll gonna discuss all this kind of questions in coming lectures
[13:35] Alaya Kumaki: i believe in a certain freedom of the will but not a fukl one
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: interesting theory
[13:35] ShinKenDo: and matter defines the range of frequency
[13:35] Sousinne Ceriano: This is only a problem if you either only look at the macro scale or only the micro scale.
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: is very different indeed
[13:36] Sousinne Ceriano: But the brain is not only one or the other. The mid-level structure there MEANS something.
[13:36] druth Vlodovic: it comes from the idea that if we are deterministic then we are just machines, an un necessary connection to my mind
[13:36] Kyra Neutron: what a freak idea..
[13:36] Alaya Kumaki: the mecanical perspective is a made up anyways
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes druth...
[13:36] Sousinne Ceriano: Certainly, there are limits to our free will.
[13:37] Kyra Neutron: if a human can be anything is only animal...
[13:37] herman Bergson: We'll discuss free will extensively ....
[13:37] Sousinne Ceriano: I can't spontaneously turn into a bottle of cola, for example, no matter how badly I want to.
[13:37] druth Vlodovic: we do not become less human just because all we are is in this world (however large it may be)
[13:37] druth Vlodovic: that is a religious fear
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: to be able to act we must have knowledge sort of analogous to programming for a computer but a computer can not really think
[13:38] Kyra Neutron: nvm
[13:38] Kyra Neutron: you simply deny what you made of
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: it just calculates numbers without knowing what it actually really does
[13:38] Sousinne Ceriano: And yet, with the right structure, we would have a computer that thought.
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: a computer just se lot of on and off
[13:38] herman Bergson: true bejiita....
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: 1 and 0
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: nothing more
[13:38] Mick Nerido: We are al on computers now
[13:38] Kyra Neutron: because
[13:38] Kyra Neutron: we cant calculate
[13:39] Kyra Neutron: and predict
[13:39] herman Bergson: Yes Mick and WE do the thinking, not the computer:-)
[13:39] Kyra Neutron: or generate
[13:39] Sousinne Ceriano: It is not a question of "consciousness magic". Structure equals function... and that does not invalidate free will.
[13:39] Kyra Neutron: as a 4 gb ramed computer can does
[13:39] ShinKenDo: so ... somehow in order to survive we had to separate us from others? well ... actually we cant 2 persons GROW as one... would bee a interesting experiment.. Twins.. 24/7 conectet via modern communication equipment... so each see and hear what the other is dooing... and if the one is kissing a girl ... would the other not feel something =?
[13:39] Mick Nerido: It is an extension of our minds
[13:39] druth Vlodovic: "nothing more" implies that what we are is insufficient, shameful in fact
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: the computer can do things very fast BUT it need a human to tell it EXACTLY what to do
[13:39] Kyra Neutron: no
[13:39] Florencio Flores: bye everyone
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: then it does that and nothing more
[13:39] Qwark Allen: ˜*•. ˜”*°•.˜”*°• Bye ! •°*”˜.•°*”˜ .•*˜ ㋡
[13:39] Florencio Flores: need to leave
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: cu fo
[13:39] Kyra Neutron: bye flore
[13:39] Florencio Flores: ☆*¨¨* ♥*''*BEJIITA!!! *''* ♥:*¨¨*☆
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: flo
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:40] herman Bergson: Well a lot of ideas and remarks....
[13:40] Florencio Flores: bye bejiita, kyra and qwark and all
[13:40] ShinKenDo: bye florencio
[13:40] Alaya Kumaki: we can say that the pc, experiment ourself using it
[13:40] druth Vlodovic: it's similar to the argument as to why life "must" have a purpose, because without meaning it is meaningless, as though this is negative in some way
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): confusion
[13:40] Mick Nerido: No Shinkendo
[13:40] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): bye Florencio
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: computers are machines, they cant act on their own, unless a bug in the programming give the cpu wring instructions about what to do
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: can be really dangerous sometimes
[13:41] Alaya Kumaki: but we created that pseudo subjective pc
[13:41] Kyra Neutron: alaya traces good :)
[13:41] herman Bergson: I would suggest.....let's think it all over .....
[13:42] herman Bergson: My head is a a bit spinning now :-)
[13:42] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): I will reread the blog
[13:42] herman Bergson: So I would thank you all for your participation again....
[13:42] ShinKenDo: this is a rather un informed speaking Bejiita.. new sciences have discovered that CHAOS can happen if a cycle is repeated enough.. in a perfectly fine computer environment wich causes the program evolve on its self
[13:42] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): and try to make sense of the whole discussion
[13:42] druth Vlodovic: thank you herman
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:42] herman Bergson: Yes too :-)
[13:42] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: really interesting this time
[13:42] Alaya Kumaki: lol
[13:42] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ^_^
[13:42] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Bye, Bye ㋡
[13:42] ShinKenDo: we call it Gost in the shell
[13:42] Qwark Allen: i got here late no idea about the subject
[13:43] Doodus Moose: that's why i come here - to get my brain beat up.
[13:43] Kyra Neutron: bye gemma
[13:43] Qwark Allen: ehehhe
[13:43] Mick Nerido: Thanks everyone
[13:43] Alaya Kumaki: there is not a whole one,,,, just a partial one, me think
[13:43] Kyra Neutron: a few good spins
[13:43] herman Bergson: haha Doodus :-)
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: aa about malicious computers, here is a really good example of computers wreaking havoc with disastrous result
[13:43] Bejiita Imako:
[13:43] ShinKenDo: Thank you Herman
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: thanx hermann - bye all
[13:43] Qwark Allen: ˜*•. ˜”*°•.˜”*°• Bye ! •°*”˜.•°*”˜ .•*˜ ㋡
[13:43] Kyra Neutron: not malicious only...
[13:43] Qwark Allen: ¸¸.☆´ ¯¨☆.¸¸`☆** **☆´ ¸¸.☆¨¯`☆ H E R MA N ☆´ ¯¨☆.¸¸`☆** **☆´ ¸¸.☆¨¯`
[13:43] Alaya Kumaki: see yu next time herman
[13:44] herman Bergson: Bye Alaya :-)
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

330: The Brain and The Manifest Image

While studying some literature I came across an elucidating description of the purpose of what I try to achieve with this project:

reconciling our common-sense, traditional conception of ourselves with the scientific understanding of human nature.

The American philosopher Wilfrid Sellars captured the tension between these conceptions in particularly vivid language.

According to Sellars,modern philosophy seeks to reconcile the ‘manifest image’ with the ‘scientific image’ of man .

The manifest image is the image that we all take for granted.Human beings are persons,

with conscious thoughts and desires, freedom of the will and, consequently, responsibility for our actions.

The scientific image appears as a jarring repudiation of these assumptions. Human beings are nothing but physical systems,

composed of simple biochemical components arranged in dazzlingly complex, self-maintaining configurations,

constructed from genetic blueprints selected for and passed down in evolution, under the influence of countless environmental variables.

How can such systems have conscious thoughts and desires? How can such systems freely choose their actions in light of their conscious thoughts and desires? How can such systems be responsible for what they do?

What you see among philosophers is a tendency to reject either the manifest image or the scientific image regarding the mind.

Descartes (1596 -1650), one of the first, definitely rejected the scientific image of the mind.

According to his theory of Cartesian Dualism, the mind is a non-physical, non-mechanical substance that interacts with the brain to cause behavior.

All the rest of the world was mechanical and therefore subjected to the laws of physics. Here the scientific image could be applied.

And that has put us up with the typical problem of Dualism: how can mind and body interact, when they are such different realms?

Interactionism is the view that mind and body — or mental events and physical events — causally influence each other.

That this is so is one of our common-sense beliefs, because it appears to be a feature of everyday experience.

This belief in the interaction between the mental and the physical is based on something stronger than predicate dualism: property dualism.

Whereas predicate dualism says that there are two essentially different kinds of predicates in our language,

property dualism says that there are two essentially different kinds of property out in the world.

In the case of mind, property dualism is defended by those who argue that the qualitative nature of consciousness

is not merely another way of categorizing states of the brain or of behavior, but a genuinely emergent phenomenon.

In other words, although the scientific image looks so plausible and we so easily can point at flaws in the manifest image, it doesn't mean that we can dispose of dualism that easily.

To be continued…. (^_^)

The Discussion

[13:23] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks..go ahead :-)
[13:23] RF Axel: Can't you argue that physics gives way to chemiry when you get complex interactions of atoms, and chemistry gives way to biology similarly?
[13:23] herman Bergson: Yes RF...
[13:23] RF Axel: So, maybe biology gives way to mental phenomena?
[13:24] herman Bergson: it is a common concept that micro systems create new states in macro systems...
[13:24] herman Bergson: Like water molecules 'create' liquidity inunder certain circumstances...
[13:25] Mick Nerido: In an infinite universe, that science has yet to fully discover how it works the mind body dualism is also up for discussion...
[13:25] Doodus Moose: "a mind is not a container to be filled, but a fire to be set alight"
[13:25] RF Axel: And the movement of molecules creates 'heat'?
[13:25] herman Bergson: in that sense....our brain can "create' the minds as a feature of its matter
[13:25] Doodus Moose: there seems to be a "fire" burning in our minds that is not simply biologically deterministic
[13:26] Mick Nerido: Fire + soul
[13:26] Mick Nerido: =
[13:26] herman Bergson: We have a natural inclination to think in dualistic terms about ourself....the manifest image
[13:26] herman Bergson: the scientific image tells a different story, it seems
[13:27] RF Axel: Or, the world is a mostly consistent illusion created to entertain and educate our spirits? :)
[13:27] herman Bergson: That is the Matrix RF :-)
[13:27] Doodus Moose: again, our concern for others is simply biological development?
[13:27] Doodus Moose: ... or abstraction?
[13:28] herman Bergson: I would call that biological Doodus....a product of evolution
[13:28] herman Bergson: We are social animals
[13:28] RF Axel: "Other" is dangerous - overcoming that and increasing the size of "us" is arguably moral development?
[13:28] Kyra Neutron: just in right time...yes we are animals :)
[13:28] Doodus Moose: some more than others :-)
[13:29] Kyra Neutron: wana feel the hooves?
[13:29] herman Bergson smiles
[13:29] Kyra Neutron: :)
[13:29] Doodus Moose:
[13:29] herman Bergson: Behave Kyra :-)
[13:29] Kyra Neutron: grins..ok ok
[13:29] Kyra Neutron: :)))
[13:29] RF Axel: So, when does the desire to treat pigs as fellow being overcome the smell of bacon? :)
[13:30] Doodus Moose: at about mealtime, methinks
[13:30] Julie Bluebird (lolli.bluebird): Ha ha ha
[13:30] Kyra Neutron: when you lower yourself to animal state?
[13:30] herman Bergson: We are animals +
[13:30] RF Axel: I could claim robots would transcend the animal state. :)
[13:30] RF Axel: state*
[13:31] Mick Nerido: could robots be conscious?
[13:31] Kyra Neutron: and we are more than animals...? hmm what can it be? sun...stars...universe...oh my ...god itself? o.O
[13:31] herman Bergson: Well...that is still questionable RF
[13:31] herman Bergson: No Kyra...simply Consciousness :-)
[13:31] RF Axel: It seems likely that robots could behave in a way that migt be thought to be conscious.
[13:31] Kyra Neutron: you are %90 percent unscouious…
[13:32] Kyra Neutron: strange
[13:32] herman Bergson: It may look like that RF but it isn't consciousness at all
[13:32] Kyra Neutron: referring to robots...
[13:32] RF Axel: Conscious, rational, thought is "expensive" - you don't have enough resource to actually think about things, most of the time. :)
[13:32] Kyra Neutron: the scients are aiming to capture soul and make it "eternal"
[13:33] Kyra Neutron: which leads humanity ending as cyborgs...
[13:33] RF Axel: Most of your behaviour is learned habits/reflexes, and, you hope that when you learned them enough rationality went into the learning.
[13:34] herman Bergson: Yes I read about that Kyra....not a pleasant future, I would say...
[13:34] herman Bergson: besides it implies a big problem..
[13:34] Kyra Neutron: long
[13:34] Kyra Neutron: :)
[13:34] Doodus Moose: think of all the batteries needed !!
[13:34] herman Bergson: if humans get eternal life....and you continue to have children....all eternally staying on this planet....
[13:35] herman Bergson: How do you plan to manage that?
[13:35] Kyra Neutron: children..eggs...
[13:35] Kyra Neutron: as the new brave world
[13:35] RF Axel: You may find more of what makes you "you", actually in tools you use, "Google" is just the start of that, instead of inside your head.
[13:35] Kyra Neutron: but a robotic one...
[13:35] Kyra Neutron: not biological designed first
[13:35] Kyra Neutron: (lag)
[13:36] RF Axel: Books are arguably cyborg extensions, as it writing/reading...
[13:36] Doodus Moose: RF - yes. what's on your hard drive, or your inventory here in SL
[13:36] RF Axel: as is*
[13:36] Kyra Neutron: books..are not body parts
[13:36] Kyra Neutron: and dont let you transfer to another place...or time..
[13:37] herman Bergson: Well before we get lost in a cyborg thing, lets focus first on the brain - mind relation :-)
[13:37] Kyra Neutron: so no cyborgs ...
[13:37] Kyra Neutron: books are the form of pure human intellect..
[13:37] Kyra Neutron: oks..brain-mind
[13:37] RF Axel: How much of our mind is in our bodies and artifacts?
[13:38] herman Bergson: We still have no real understanding of the realtion between brain and mind
[13:38] RF Axel: Do the positions of (familiar) things around you act as part of your mind, your mental behaviour?
[13:38] Mick Nerido: Consciousness is just the brains best effort to understand itself...
[13:39] herman Bergson: That may be so Mick, but that doesnt explain to us what Consciousness is
[13:39] RF Axel: There is some evidence that the brain attempts to model & predict the world.
[13:40] RF Axel: And, one of the things the brain models is the body (and hence itself).
[13:40] herman Bergson: Oh sure RF...
[13:40] Mick Nerido: As in insight ... perhaps we are beginning to wake up to a new reality slowly...
[13:40] RF Axel: So, identity is the realization that there is self and other? And, consciousness is the modeling of self?
[13:41] Kyra Neutron: or identity is only the way of "alienation" ?
[13:41] herman Bergson: Identity and Self are difficult concepts RF
[13:41] Mick Nerido: Yes self and other being connected
[13:42] Kyra Neutron: nods
[13:42] RF Axel: I suspect that identity is a constructed thing, though, we may perceive it as unitary.
[13:42] herman Bergson: The self is hard to define....
[13:42] Kyra Neutron: easy...
[13:42] Kyra Neutron: let me
[13:42] herman Bergson: We'll get to that chapter later :-)
[13:42] Kyra Neutron: what you felt?
[13:43] herman Bergson: Nothing?
[13:43] Kyra Neutron: :)
[13:43] Doodus Moose: :-0
[13:43] RF Axel: Self is the bit of the world that bumps into things, and falls over stuff in the dark? :)
[13:43] Kyra Neutron: oks..the things that threaten your territory..are others..
[13:43] Kyra Neutron: you do not FEEL yourself
[13:43] herman Bergson: I would say that that is the body RF
[13:44] Kyra Neutron: :)
[13:44] RF Axel: Lots of people equate body (boundaries) with self... Though, they may add possession (like cars) to that...
[13:45] Kyra Neutron: rf
[13:45] Mick Nerido: We are all one, self separates, conciousness attempts to reconnect
[13:45] Kyra Neutron: self and others are between living things
[13:45] herman Bergson: Yes RF,but that is a matter of psychology....that is not a philosophical analysis of the self
[13:45] Kyra Neutron: objects are the "hands" of yourself also
[13:45] Kyra Neutron: including cars
[13:45] Kyra Neutron: chairs
[13:45] Kyra Neutron: etc...
[13:45] RF Axel: There is evidence that people treat tools as extebsions of "self".
[13:46] Kyra Neutron: so they are fun
[13:46] Kyra Neutron: :)
[13:46] herman Bergson: Not a single psychologist ever has done research on The Self
[13:46] herman Bergson: on features of the person , yes..
[13:46] Kyra Neutron: it is a simple fact
[13:46] Kyra Neutron: "you"
[13:46] RF Axel: Neuro psychologies are quite interested in the boundaries of "self". :)
[13:46] herman Bergson: intelligence, emotions, drives etc...
[13:46] Kyra Neutron: do not feel yourself as "threat"
[13:46] RF Axel: psychologists*
[13:46] Kyra Neutron: this is why cancer can cover your body.
[13:46] Kyra Neutron: because it is simply you.
[13:47] Doodus Moose: ?
[13:47] Kyra Neutron: i defined what is "self".
[13:47] Kyra Neutron: rest is up to you
[13:47] herman Bergson: I suggest that we spend special lectures to Teh Self and Personal Identity....
[13:47] RF Axel: Cancer is bit of you stopping paying the together game with the rest of you...
[13:47] RF Axel: bits*
[13:47] herman Bergson: It already has a long history in philosophy......:-)
[13:47] RF Axel: playing*
[13:48] Kyra Neutron: oks..starting with jason bourne?
[13:48] Kyra Neutron: would love to attend one on that class
[13:48] herman Bergson: Ye sok...The Bourne Identity first...
[13:48] Kyra Neutron: great ! :)
[13:48] RF Axel: Poor Bourne...
[13:48] Kyra Neutron: me will be the priest!
[13:48] Kyra Neutron: :))))
[13:48] herman Bergson: ok...
[13:49] Kyra Neutron: ah come on rf...i ll honor bourne with the high white collar !
[13:49] herman Bergson: Then ..let me thank you all for your participation....
[13:49] RF Axel: So, mind, I claim, can functionally extend beyond the body. And, not in a psychic/mystical way.
[13:49] Doodus Moose: my mind hurts
[13:49] herman Bergson: Thursday we'll continue our quest into the brain - mind...
[13:49] Kyra Neutron: bows...uw..herman...
[13:49] herman Bergson: Class dismissed..^_^
[13:49] Kyra Neutron: hopefully me wont be around to mess :)
[13:49] Doodus Moose: thanks, Professor
[13:49] Julie Bluebird (lolli.bluebird): Thank you herman , very interesting.
[13:50] Mick Nerido: Thanks for messing with my mind
[13:50] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): very interesting and difficult subject
[13:50] Kyra Neutron: waves :)
[13:50] herman Bergson: My pleasure Mick ^_^
[13:51] Doodus Moose: i just saw the two philosophers on "the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy" last night, and had a good laugh
[13:51] Doodus Moose: (or not)
[13:52] herman Bergson: Havent seen it myself Doodus
[13:52] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): i have to go...thank you Herman for this intersting lecture
[13:52] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): jump for joy?
[13:52] Doodus Moose: time - to..... depart.......
[13:52] herman Bergson: Bye Beertje :-)
[13:52] Doodus Moose: byeeeee!!!!
[13:53] herman Bergson: No the classic Linden Jump for you :-)
[13:53] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): laughs:))
[13:53] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): goodnight..i will see you thursday
[13:53] RF Axel: Thanks for talk.
[13:53] Julie Bluebird (lolli.bluebird): Thanks again and nice meeting you herman :-)
[13:53] herman Bergson: My pleasure Julie
[13:54] herman Bergson: I hope you liked it
[13:54] RF Axel: I need to present something to a philosophy class on "consciousness", and, I'm a bit apprehensive. :)
[13:54] Julie Bluebird (lolli.bluebird): Hopefully see you again. Bye for now
[13:54] RF Axel: But, you talk have given me a few ideas. :)
[13:54] RF Axel: your*
[13:54] herman Bergson: Bye Julie
[13:54] herman Bergson: go to my blog...
[13:54] herman Bergson:
[13:55] herman Bergson: there you find all lectures
[13:55] RF Axel: Yes, I plan to re-read your blog.
[13:55] Julie Bluebird (lolli.bluebird): Thanks for the invite - nice lecture and people :-)
[13:55] herman Bergson: this project started with lecture 266
[13:55] RF Axel: Mostly I'm going to go for the scientific approach, I think.
[13:55] RF Axel: Thanks for pointer.
[13:55] Doodus Moose: it can take many forms - from readily understandable, to head-smokers
[13:56] Doodus Moose: like i said - my mind hurts :-)
[13:56] Julie Bluebird (lolli.bluebird): it's all the building you o probably in the day time :-)
[13:56] Doodus Moose: too many moving things - so many collisions :-)
[13:57] Julie Bluebird (lolli.bluebird): Ha ha ha
[13:57] Julie Bluebird (lolli.bluebird): I'd better go before I outstay my welcome.
[13:57] Doodus Moose: it's close to mealtime (again) over here.
[13:58] Doodus Moose: well - you know where you can find me :-)

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Monday, May 23, 2011

329: The Brain and a defence of Dualism

Discussion about dualism tends to start from the assumption of the reality of the physical world, and then to consider arguments for why the mind cannot be treated as simply part of that world.

The reason for this is, that common sense tells us that there is only this physical world around us, where we live in. We have no evidence of the existence of anything non-physical.

This leads to the almost "default option" of some kind of materialist ontology in which the mental and the physical are one category eventually.

However, because this is philosophy, the arguments never stop. We still can ask ourselves the question: is there a justification for treating the mind as different of our physical world?

The position Descartes (1596 - 1650) took is almost abandoned. The idea that there are two real substances, a physical and a non physical, is not corroborated by any scientific research.

Actually, this is a trivial statement, because how can you observe non-material things, when the theories to interpret observations are completely deduces from the laws of physics?

Yet there are words in our language that make perfect sense, but don't belong to the realm of physics. At least, not yet.

The hardest concept for a modern materialist theory is "consciousness". How do molecules produce what we call consciousness?In its wake follow the whole range of meaningful psychological or mentalistic predicates.

A predicate operates only on the linguistic level. It describes some typical feature of for instance an object: "the grass is GREEN" or "I feel HAPPY".

What is the philosophical hot potato here? A full description of the world should eventually be formulated in pure physical statements, a materialist says. Thus, all predicates should be derived from the realm of the physical.

This means that all psychological or mentalistic predicates eventually have to reduced to physicalistic predicates. Is this going to work?

This means that psychological predicates carry no more information than the physicalistic to what they are reduced (translated).

An example of what we believe to be a true type reduction outside psychology is the case of water, where water is always H2O: something is water if and only if it is H2O.

If one were to replace the word ‘water’ by ‘H2O’, it is plausible to say that one could convey all the same information. But that doesn't work in a lot of sciences.

Take 'hurricane' or 'infectious disease'. Impossible to reduce these terms to always one and the same set of physicalistic predicates. No two hurricanes are alike….and yet identified as hurricanes.

These words are classified as functional terms rather than natural kind terms. That means, we use these words rather to tell what such a specific state as a hurricane or disease DOES.

In that way we can describe our world with our language. Not two hurricanes are the same, but in what they do they are pretty alike: cause a lot of damage. The same with infectious diseases.

There is no particular description, using the language of physics for instance, that would do the work of the word "hurricane" like "H2O" does the work of the word "water".

To get back to where we started, we could conclude then, that we have descriptive words in our language of their own kind, with which we scientifically describe our world.

In our case on the one hand psychological or mentalistic predicates and on the other hand physicalistic predicates.

And the tough nut the materialist has to crack is to answer the question what these psychological predicates describe in our world, if they can not be reduced to physicalistic predicates.

It does not mean, that psychological predicates describe real things, in the sense that when I say "I feel happy" you could dissect me and find this feeling of happiness somewhere in my body.

It means that a full description of the world apparently needs to make use of more than only physical predicates. We have to use these psychological predicates too. In other words, we have at least Predicate Dualism.

I guess, now you have enough to think about ….. what is language here doing? And is this reduction to physicalistic predicates really a must for genuine materialism. We'll learn in the future.

Tho it can be said that nowadays materialism seems to be a kind of "default option", it doesn't mean that Dualism has thrown its towel in the ring already. So, we are not yet done with dualism.

The Discussion

[13:24] herman Bergson: Thank you :-)
[13:24] BALDUR Joubert: criticism on what you said : you said there are words which make perfect sense....
[13:24] herman Bergson: Any question or remark...the floor is yours
[13:24] BALDUR Joubert: sense yes but why and how perfect...
[13:25] Alaya Kumaki: is that meaning that immanence of our psychologic and consciousness exist? as the from only?
[13:25] Mick Nerido: The dualist view is ancient and the language reflects it...
[13:25] herman Bergson: Yes Baldur...that is the what way make mentalistic words sense
[13:25] Ciska Riverstone: we use the word water for h2o with bacteria in and without
[13:25] BALDUR Joubert: second. feel happy is biochemically measurable…
[13:25] Ciska Riverstone: yes Mick
[13:25] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i think that is a manner of speaking
[13:25] Alaya Kumaki: the form only, immanent consciousness?
[13:26] herman Bergson: To Baldur....
[13:26] herman Bergson: that is actually the whole issue....
[13:26] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): you said..i feel happy, but for you it can be a different feeling then for's not for everybody the same
[13:26] herman Bergson: there is a correlation between MRI scan results and the I feel happy" statement
[13:27] herman Bergson: Yes Beertje...that too is an issue....
[13:27] herman Bergson: I can write DOG dog DoG....
[13:27] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yes we went through that before
[13:27] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): feelings
[13:27] herman Bergson: How many words did I type?
[13:28] Mick Nerido: Someday we may be able to measure degrees of "happiness" scientifically
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: must get used to this smaller keyboard
[13:28] BALDUR Joubert: q
[13:28] Alaya Kumaki: can words works as a scan does? spelling happiness?
[13:28] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): large hands bejiita??
[13:28] Ciska Riverstone: how mick? we can only measure the material aspect -but we do not know how another person really feels?
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: bought a smaller keyboard that i can have n the lap and thus lay against the tv screen
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: the table s 90n degrees to it
[13:29] Alaya Kumaki: its true, we cannot really find out unless the pother person manifest it clearly cisca
[13:29] BALDUR Joubert: smile..ciska..we come to the i-subjective problem?
[13:29] Alaya Kumaki: manifestation, in physical...
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: jupp
[13:30] Mick Nerido: We could measure seratonan levels and match it to a test subjects feelings
[13:30] herman Bergson: yes Ciska refers to the famous article of Nagel about how does it feel to be a bat?
[13:30] BALDUR Joubert: smile..we can find out what we have in common..but not what is going on exactly..
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: us have often thought about this as well
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: when i feel good and my friend feel good don we feel exactly the same feeling
[13:31] herman Bergson: Well...calm down plz......
[13:31] herman Bergson: :-)
[13:31] BALDUR Joubert: if we takle the question beyond the neuron lever to the atomic level, we agree at loss:9
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: but since we react to the feeling in much the same ways should be kind of similar i guess
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: and also other people
[13:31] herman Bergson: your remarks touch an dozens of subjects and questions that will be treated here in future lectures...
[13:31] Doodus Moose: yes,, Baldur
[13:31] Alaya Kumaki: yes we have the same range of feeling actually
[13:31] Ciska Riverstone: yes bejiita but this is and stays an assumption
[13:32] BALDUR Joubert: lol... looking forward to 2015
[13:32] herman Bergson: pretty optimistic Baldur..thnx
[13:32] BALDUR Joubert: well i'm too old to think any further:9
[13:32] herman Bergson: Let's get back to the main issue of today....
[13:33] Mick Nerido: There are several H20 like heavy water
[13:33] herman Bergson: the point is that we have a meaningful language with psychological and physicalistic predicates
[13:33] BALDUR Joubert: h202
[13:33] herman Bergson: that language makes sense and describes our world
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: heavy water is not H20 its D20
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: D= deuterium
[13:34] herman Bergson: but when our world is only matter...eventually we could reduce all statements to physical statements
[13:34] Mick Nerido: we need new words
[13:34] herman Bergson: and the question is.....can this be done..?
[13:34] BALDUR Joubert: bows my head in shame bejiita
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:35] herman Bergson: yes Mick...that is what Patricia Churchland says....
[13:35] herman Bergson: Like we explained things in the Middle Ages using words of witchcraft...
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: however d is H but a different isotope
[13:35] Kai Boissay: im sure language can describe our world but not everyone can understand it the same way.
[13:35] Mick Nerido: If it's all physical it can be written as a formula
[13:35] herman Bergson: we now have the language of physics...
[13:35] herman Bergson: the language of witchcraft is completely gone
[13:35] BALDUR Joubert: but it must be understood the same way
[13:35] Alaya Kumaki: what does poetry is saying, , is it physical?
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: a and magic as well
[13:36] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): language is a living changes constantly
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: magics = breaking of physical laws = impossible
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes Beertje.....because our look at the world changes scientific insights etc.
[13:36] Alaya Kumaki: breaking laws it was? i didnt know that
[13:37] Alaya Kumaki: i thought that it was illusion tricks
[13:37] BALDUR Joubert: so.... what could be understood by physics doesn't mean it can have logical conclusions about the philosophy of who we are and why we are and how we know we are
[13:37] herman Bergson: yes Ayala....real magic ignores all laws of physics...
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: Magic is the claimed art of manipulating aspects of reality either by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult laws unknown to science
[13:37] Mick Nerido: Advanced tech seems like magic
[13:37] Alaya Kumaki: real ? magic was real?
[13:38] BALDUR Joubert: davids copperfield?
[13:38] herman Bergson: no...magic was imagination only
[13:38] Alaya Kumaki: lol
[13:38] herman Bergson: A Harry Potter world :-)
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: but with todays parelerators u can do alchemy, transformone basic element to another
[13:38] Alaya Kumaki: language solicit imagination always
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: particle accelerator
[13:38] Mick Nerido: A person from say the 15th century would think SL was magic
[13:39] herman Bergson: He would not recognize it Mick..
[13:39] BALDUR Joubert: language is a problemn
[13:39] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): Catweezel
[13:39] Mick Nerido: No recognise or understand it?
[13:39] herman Bergson: Yes ^_^
[13:39] Alaya Kumaki: maybe it was some science, but not understood, as when you drink tea,, you become energetic, one may imagine that you have been given strength ....
[13:40] Alaya Kumaki: imagination is also a problem
[13:40] BALDUR Joubert: our mind is 500 or more years behind words used today
[13:40] Doodus Moose: Baldur :-)
[13:40] BALDUR Joubert: imagination is what got us to where we are..:)
[13:41] herman Bergson: the Man from the MIddle Ages has no language for what he sees in our world...
[13:41] Alaya Kumaki: well if we make a physical language, can we exclude imagination from the language?
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: no, he would certainly thing that our stuff is pure magic
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: a computer for ex
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: a thinking machine
[13:41] BALDUR Joubert: carnap was concious of the lack in our language..
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: and even electricity
[13:42] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): we can't understand the language used in the middle ages either
[13:42] herman Bergson: We never can exclude imagination Ayala.....that is hard wired into our brain
[13:42] Mick Nerido: And all this is just matter not magic
[13:42] BALDUR Joubert: not for technology..but philosophy
[13:43] herman Bergson: At least now we have a nice problem derived from dualism
[13:43] herman Bergson: Dualism is so deeply embeded in our language...
[13:43] BALDUR Joubert: imagination os the capacity of your brain to connect to neurons containing information which are not subject to logic
[13:44] BALDUR Joubert: but can create new ideas
[13:44] herman Bergson: That is a way of putting it Baldur
[13:44] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): imagination brought us here..were we are now
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: isn't that just describing the process?
[13:45] herman Bergson: You could say that scientific method puts the result of our imagination to the test
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: we have something which we can sense but not explain
[13:45] Mick Nerido: The philosophical question is why is there consciousness?
[13:45] herman Bergson: yes Mick...a huge question....
[13:46] herman Bergson: if all is can matter produce what we experience as consciousness
[13:46] BALDUR Joubert: a well known philosopher says the i-identification is a continuous process
[13:46] herman Bergson: you mean personal identity Baldur?
[13:47] Mick Nerido: Matter is only about 1% of the universe
[13:47] Alaya Kumaki: this is what i was thinking about consciousness as a captation tool,, inside us,, immanent ,
[13:47] Alaya Kumaki: but not an object
[13:47] herman Bergson: That doesn't matter Mick...we aren't even 0.00000000000000001% of the universe :-)
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: acording to scientists the matter we can see and interact with is only 4 %
[13:48] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): suddenly i feel very! small...
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: but how can there be 96% of some strange stuff that is invisible a cannot be felt or detected at all
[13:48] herman Bergson smiles
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: that dark matter
[13:48] Alaya Kumaki: its relative, you can look at the bacterias and feel big
[13:48] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): and micro stuff
[13:48] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): out in space etc
[13:48] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i have to leave now
[13:48] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): I sorry..
[13:48] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): I'm Sorry!
[13:48] Mick Nerido: How could we think that 96% of the unknown is not affecting us?
[13:48] herman Bergson: I think that this is of little concern regarding the mind - body problem fortunately :-)
[13:48] Doodus Moose: Bejiita - but isn't that stuff "pointed to" by mathematics?"
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: ok cu gemma
[13:49] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): bye gemma:)
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: bye gemma :)
[13:49] Jerome Ronzales: tata
[13:49] BALDUR Joubert: you know how many bacterias are on and in your body?
[13:49] herman Bergson: Bye Gemma:-)
[13:49] Alaya Kumaki: byby
[13:49] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): iecks..
[13:50] BALDUR Joubert: about a hundred times more than your body cells
[13:50] herman Bergson: ok...sound like we have reached the end of our discussion on the present subject...:-)
[13:51] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your participation....
[13:51] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ^_^
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: was interesting like hell once again
[13:51] Mick Nerido: Thanks great class
[13:51] Doodus Moose: again, i won't sleep soundly, Professor :-)
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: Thank you Herman
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: oo btw LHC is just about to set a new world record
[13:51] herman Bergson: thank you Mick
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:51] herman Bergson: ok...which one Bejiita???
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: 768 niminal bunches
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: previous record was 480
[13:52] BALDUR Joubert: any new erkenntnisse after the discussion? herman will translate erkenntnisse:)
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: a big increase
[13:52] herman Bergson: Knowlodge = Erkentniss
[13:52] Alaya Kumaki: i can se if there is a bunck of it , on cartain par of my body after a bruise baldur
[13:52] Doodus Moose: "insights"
[13:52] BALDUR Joubert: smile close but not right doodus
[13:53] herman Bergson: yes Doodus...maybe better translation
[13:53] Doodus Moose: Google Translate
[13:53] BALDUR Joubert: insights
[13:53] BALDUR Joubert: ty
[13:53] herman Bergson: insight os the correct translation indeed
[13:54] herman Bergson: Well Bejiita least I understand the difference in numbers :-)
[13:54] BALDUR Joubert: words are so interesting... insight compared to knowledge...
[13:54] herman Bergson: Was my typical Dutch mistake Baldur...
[13:55] herman Bergson: in Dutch we have KENNIS = not Erkentniss
[13:55] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): maar inzichten
[13:55] Alaya Kumaki: poetry
[13:55] BALDUR Joubert: smile..i noticed reading that many are sloppy with the meaning of words when they have a theory and try to prove it
[13:55] herman Bergson: Insight is the correct translation
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: aaa
[13:56] herman Bergson: SL is a very good place for language education :-)
[13:56] Alaya Kumaki: depends if you like english
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: yes , much things u can do in here
[13:56] Doodus Moose: :-)
[13:56] herman Bergson: C'est vrai Ayala :-)
[13:57] Alaya Kumaki: i like old english..mostly
[13:57] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): i learned english here in sl..i didn't speak a word
[13:57] herman Bergson: Lucky me, I happen to like it :-)
[13:57] Alaya Kumaki: not modern one
[13:57] herman Bergson: wow...Beertje
[13:57] Kai Boissay: english isnt my first language and this is my first time attending this class , and its very interesting.
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: aa ok
[13:57] Alaya Kumaki: bravo beertje
[13:57] herman Bergson: Can be a challenge indeed Kai
[13:57] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you:))
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: ㋡

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

328: The Brain tackles Dualism

The general idea we have about ourselves is, that we have a mind and a body. They normally work together. It made Descartes (1596 -1650), a French philosopher, wonder.

Mind and body were such different things. For instance, a mind is indivisible, hence indestructible, while a body is infinitely divisible.

The mind is free. I can think and experience whatever I want, while the body is determined. It is a series of causal processes. I have to eat, if I don't want to starve.

The mind is only "unfree" in the sense that it can not stop thinking, which brought Descartes to his famous "cogito, ergo sum". This typical feature of the mind proved our existence.

My mind is directly and privately accessible for me. No one can see my thoughts, but my body is public. Everyone can see me.

Thence Descartes had to conclude that the mind had to be something completely different from the body. You even can think of the mind without that body.

So he stated that there are two kinds of substances in the world, a mental and a physical. The essence of the mental is "thinking" or consciousness, while the essence of the physical was extension.

According to Descartes, the mental and the physical are entirely different realms. One is a realm of things that obey physical laws and occupy space. Another is a realm of ideas, sensations, and feelings that don’t even exist in space.

The philosopher Gilbert Ryle (1900 - 1976) referred to this Cartesian Dualism and view of the mind as "the ghost in the machine" and this is exactly the situation.

Our physical body is subjected to the laws of nature, while the mind, being not physical, is not. This observation leads to the most important objection to dualism.

Descartes himself was well aware of the objection, which was: How can a non-physical substance influence a physical substance. There is not a single law of nature that answers that question.

He literally has tried to find the answer by dissecting real human brains. He discovered that in the brain everything comes in pairs, a left and right hemisphere and so on, but at the base of the cortex he found one single little part: the pineal gland.

There it was where mind and body touched each other. However, this was a weak answer, because the question was not WHERE mind and body were in a causal relation, but HOW the causal process could take place.

This causality on which the laws of physics are based leads to another problem with dualism. This physical causality means that the body is determined. Every process is predictable.

But the mind is free. We have a free will. But when everything in the physical world is determined what difference makes a so called free will then?

I have direct access to my mind, but when you think of it….it is the only mind I can go to. Are there also other minds in the world? How can I be sure about that?

But not only other minds are a problem. If I am locked in my own experiences, my own mind, how can I ever really know anything of the external world? In that way we end up with Skepticism.

And when I stop thinking, do I stop to exist then too? When I am unconscious or asleep, what is my condition then?

And then there is the "I" in the "I think, therefore I exist". Where did Descartes find that "I"? What is it? Where does it come from.

There have been written complete libraries about all these questions for Dualism and dualism had no answer.

How to proof that the mental and the physical are two separate realms, which really exist and where the laws of physics only apply to one of these realms?

In other words, there is hardly any scientist nowadays who believes that the mind is some kind of exclusive substance next to physical substance.

The Discussion

[13:25] herman Bergson: Thank you :-)
[13:25] herman Bergson: The floor is yours ^_^
[13:26] Ciska Riverstone: but there is no explanation what it is then
[13:26] Mick Nerido: Descartes thought the soul resided in the pineal gland...
[13:26] Ciska Riverstone: is there?
[13:26] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i think they are finding so many connections in the mental ability to control parts of the body
[13:26] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): using for people who have lost limbs etc
[13:27] herman Bergson: explanation for what Ciska?
[13:27] Doodus Moose: indeed, MIT has controllers where people can move things by thinking
[13:27] Ciska Riverstone: for what we called mind up to now
[13:27] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:27] herman Bergson: oh yes..there is...:-)
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:27] herman Bergson: but we havent yet come to that...
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: have seen such things
[13:28] herman Bergson: it is the whole reason of this project :-)
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: kind of interesting
[13:28] Ciska Riverstone: so at the moment you want us to accept that there is something else you are going to explain later on - right?
[13:28] herman Bergson: No Mick...the soul was not in the pineal gland according to Descartes
[13:29] herman Bergson: of course Ciska..
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: ok
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: I'll wait for the alternative then ;)
[13:29] herman Bergson smiles
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:30] herman Bergson: I don't give all my treasures away that easily Ciska...
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:30] Ciska Riverstone: well you want me to give something up
[13:30] Ciska Riverstone: so i have to get something for it
[13:30] Ciska Riverstone: thats economics ;))
[13:30] herman Bergson: But ..main point today is...substance duality
[13:30] Ciska Riverstone: (teasing of course)
[13:30] Mick Nerido: The world is so filled with opposites light and dark, male and female, mind and body that leads to dualism
[13:31] Doodus Moose: the nature of light itself, lends to dualism
[13:31] herman Bergson: The idea that the mind is another kind of substance than molecules
[13:31] Mick Nerido: Yes Doodus
[13:31] Ciska Riverstone: i think its just a matter of language... buddhism for example speaks of bodymind
[13:31] herman Bergson: waves and particles..isnt it Doodus
[13:32] Doodus Moose: correct
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: yea
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: s
[13:32] herman Bergson: but that is just a technical issue, I would say
[13:33] Doodus Moose: again, how would Descartes describe the situation where a person could move a mouse cursor with some equipment attached to his head?
[13:33] herman Bergson: you cant compare that to the mind - body relation, I would say
[13:33] Mick Nerido: Matter may not be what it seem with so much unknown in the universe ie. dark matter and dark energy
[13:33] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:33] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): he would faint
[13:33] herman Bergson: Yes Gemma!
[13:34] herman Bergson: Well...the question ..."What is matter" is a complete different story Mick...
[13:34] herman Bergson: It has no effect on our problem today, I think
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: mh... if we consist of matter and matter is in our brain... and our mind is our brain
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: matter matters.
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone whispers: no?
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:35] herman Bergson: yes Ciska...
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: well matter study is a fav hobby for me
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:36] herman Bergson: we have to assume that what we call the mind is just a feature of the brain..
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: and antimatter for that part as well
[13:36] Flo (flora.jewell) is now known as Flora Jewell.
[13:37] Mick Nerido: And quantum physics is an issue also
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: yes Mick think so too
[13:37] herman Bergson: well..only to some extend Mick...
[13:37] Mick Nerido: Just plating devils advocate
[13:37] herman Bergson: it doesn't change the fact that the mind is a feature of the brain
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: no not at all
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: it asks how
[13:38] herman Bergson: it may be involved in the discussion about free will
[13:38] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): complex
[13:38] herman Bergson: We will get to that certainly
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: very, Gemma
[13:38] herman Bergson: Yes Gemma....
[13:39] herman Bergson: I sometimes don't know where to begin....
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: can imagine that
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: mm
[13:39] herman Bergson: .
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: aaa puh new keyboard works again
[13:39] herman Bergson: there are so many issues , all related to each other
[13:39] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: hit num lock on my new mini keyboard, no wonder it started behaving strang
[13:39] herman Bergson: But I'll do my best ^_^
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): :_)
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: complex as the linkings in the brain ;)
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: and we appreciate that !
[13:40] herman Bergson: Well..yet this is an important issue..dualism...
[13:40] herman Bergson: it means...if we reject it as an explanation of the mind...
[13:41] herman Bergson: then there is not such a thing as a material body and an immaterial mind
[13:41] Jerome Ronzales: is it right to say that Dualism is a Absolutism?
[13:41] herman Bergson: it also means...and that was what Descartes hoped to save...there is no immaterial soul
[13:42] herman Bergson: no Jerome..makes little sense..I am sorry
[13:42] Mick Nerido: And yet there is an immaterial quality to the mind
[13:42] Jerome Ronzales: ok
[13:43] herman Bergson: I will disagree with you Mick.. :-)
[13:43] herman Bergson: that sounds like property dualism
[13:43] herman Bergson: that means...
[13:43] herman Bergson: mind substance...
[13:43] herman Bergson: but the mind is a property ,,a special property of the brain
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: Mick - maybe we see it like that cause we see that matter reacts to the same things in the same way wether decisions seem not to
[13:44] herman Bergson: it is not the brain itself..but a special "mind" property
[13:44] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): can you locate the mind property?
[13:45] herman Bergson: Well Beertje...that has taken a while...
[13:45] herman Bergson: the egyptians didn't give a dime for the brain...
[13:45] herman Bergson: their Pharaos were burried without a brain
[13:45] Mick Nerido: We can see the brain at work with brain scans
[13:45] herman Bergson: The Greek thought it was located in the chest or abdomen..:-)
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: yes but we still do not know why it fires which neuron - as far as i know mick
[13:46] herman Bergson: In the Middle Ages they began to believe that the mind was in the head
[13:47] herman Bergson: No. I wouldn't say so Ciska...
[13:47] herman Bergson: We really know where what functions are located where in the brain
[13:48] herman Bergson: Look at the charts on the wall for instance
[13:48] herman Bergson: That doesn't mean we understand the brain as such...:-)
[13:49] herman Bergson: But we have soem insight
[13:49] Doodus Moose: we might all use the same parts to walk, but what is "programmed" in the reasoning section is somewhat individual
[13:49] Mick Nerido: There is global theory and another that says specific areas do specific functions
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: i meant the individual thing - yes doodus
[13:51] herman Bergson: OK...let's conclude that we are not inclined to accept substance dualism as an option to explain the mind
[13:51] herman Bergson: at least...that is MY point of view
[13:51] Doodus Moose: :-)
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: oki
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: oki
[13:51] herman Bergson: Deal Bejiita ^_^
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:52] Mick Nerido: Ok, but was Spinosa's mind better than Descartes? ")
[13:52] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: its for sure an interesting topic
[13:52] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): different maybe
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: definitivly gemma
[13:52] herman Bergson: better means that you have criteria to test the difference
[13:53] herman Bergson: wehat are they Mick?
[13:54] Mick Nerido: They both lived in Holland, most of their lives also...funny
[13:54] herman Bergson smiles
[13:55] herman Bergson: Both didnt wear wooden shoes or loved tulips :-)
[13:55] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): WaaaHaHAhahAHA! AhhhhHAhahhAHhahHAH! haha!
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: hahahahahahahahaha
[13:55] Bilthor Esharham: hahahahahaaaa
[13:55] herman Bergson: so I guess they were equal partners in this matter
[13:55] Bilthor Esharham: *** HOHOHO THAT IS A GOOD ONE !!! ***
[13:55] Mick Nerido: They found a friendly intellectual community I would guess
[13:56] herman Bergson: Oh yes..
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:56] herman Bergson: But the fact that the one had another idea than the other doesnt make him bette or worse..
[13:57] herman Bergson: scientifically you could ask the question....who was closer to how things really are
[13:57] herman Bergson: but in those days they only had their own brain....
[13:57] herman Bergson: their imagination..
[13:58] Mick Nerido: Good point herman
[13:58] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:58] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): herman
[13:58] herman Bergson: like even the Greeks like Democritus, when I am not mistaken, imagened that the world was a collection of atoms
[13:58] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i should make it thursday
[13:58] herman Bergson: Or Leibniz thought it were monads
[13:59] herman Bergson: Glad you were back again Gemma..missed you
[13:59] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:59] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:59] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): had a good time away tho
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: hehehe
[13:59] herman Bergson: Sure :-)
[13:59] Ciska Riverstone: :) great gemma
[13:59] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): saw lots of birds
[14:00] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): 22 species of warbler
[14:00] Doodus Moose: :-0
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: aa ok
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: nice
[14:00] Mick Nerido: Where?
[14:01] herman Bergson: Well..I gues it is time to dismiss class then...
[14:01] Bejiita Imako: ah
[14:01] herman Bergson: Now that Gemma is gone ^_^
[14:01] Bejiita Imako: again very interesting
[14:01] Bejiita Imako: gave me some more to think about ㋡
[14:01] Ciska Riverstone: very interesting - thank you herman
[14:01] herman Bergson: thank you Bejiita
[14:01] Doodus Moose: Thanks, Professor :-)
[14:01] Mick Nerido: Bye, thanks
[14:01] Ciska Riverstone: bye Mick
[14:01] Bejiita Imako: tine to head on I guess
[14:02] Bejiita Imako: cu soon again
[14:02] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you was very interesting again
[14:02] Ciska Riverstone: bye all
[14:02] Bejiita Imako: hugs
[14:02] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[14:02] Ciska Riverstone: bye Bejiita
[14:02] Doodus Moose: ....surrounded by .......particles......
[14:02] Bilthor Esharham: Very interesting...very thanks professor......)))
[14:02] Jerome Ronzales: bye´
[14:02] herman Bergson: Tahnk you Bilthor
[14:02] herman Bergson: Thank
[14:03] Jerome Ronzales: bye professor
[14:03] Jerome Ronzales: bye all~
[14:03] Bilthor Esharham: bye bye....Auf Wiedersehen
[14:03] herman Bergson: Bye Jerome
[14:03] Jerome Ronzales: cya next time~
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