Thursday, June 23, 2011

337: The material Brain continued

So we have arrived at 1700, where two individual persons had an enormous impact on our conception of matter: Descartes and Newton.

According to the conception of matter introduced in the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century, it is not the case that there are many distinct types of material substance, each with its own essential and irreducible nature

Rather, there is only one universal type of matter, with universal essential properties or ‘attributes’. All material bodies (and, for some, all entities whatever) are to be understood in terms of the motion of this fundamental matter.

According to this view, introduced or at least popularized by Descartes and followed by Newton, matter is a passive substance, incapable of inducing its own action. All action of matter must be caused by an external agent.

There was a deep rooted conviction, that all changes of material objects were caused by an outside force. A kind of billiard ball causality.

This of course led to the fundamental question: who kicked the first billiard ball in the universe. For Newton, matter consists of ultimate particles, atoms, which are discrete, localized, inert, ‘solid, massy, hard, impenetrable, movable’ and extended.

This kept a place free of a First Mover, a being that kicked the first billiard ball. In this sense physics wasn't a threat to religious beliefs at all, for the First Mover was God himself.

What is most amazing to me is, that the searching and inquisitive mind of the homo sapiens comes to the conclusion, that his reality is composed of atoms.

Already among the ancient Greek Philosophers, who had no microscopes or a CERN, philosophers like Leucippus (first half of 5th century BCE) and Democritus (born about 460 BCE) hold the belief that reality was composed of atoms.

We are so used to this idea, that we hardly see how amazing this insight is, which was now at the verge to be proven true.

While Descartes defined matter as extension, Newton introduced the concept of mass as the basic characteristic of matter.

The mass of a body is its inertia or resistance to change of motion. More precisely, it is a property of the body that determines the body’s acceleration under the influence of a given force.

Mass can therefore be measured either by the amount of force necessary to impart to the body a given motion in a given time or by the acceleration produced by a given force.

Again one of those incredible products of the human brain. When you think about the impact it had on the development of science.

Now it is becoming difficult for me. I am a philosopher, not a physicist, but so much I understand, that Newton related mass and energy.

In the 20th century Albert Einstein did it all over again and reshuffled these ideas.Einstein displaced the seventeenth-century model of mechanical action as the universal pattern for intelligible physical processes by a new model based on electromagnetic theory.

Finally, the theory of quantum mechanics, first formulated between 1926 and 1932 by Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, and P. A. M. Dirac, has radically undercut one last presupposition, which had underlain physical science since the time of Galileo.

Just as mass has ceased to be entirely distinct from energy, so the particles of Newton’s physics have ceased to be absolutely distinct from the forces of attraction and repulsion acting between them.

All these conceptual changes about matter have a profound impact on sciences like biology and neurobiology.

It leads to new answers on the fundamental question how matter can produce a mind and there we are only just at the beginning of finding the answers.

The Discussion

[13:23] Jerome Ronzales: lovely
[13:24] herman Bergson: Thank you....
[13:24] Jerome Ronzales: ♪♫♥ Applauds!!! ♥♫♪
[13:24] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks...the floor is yours
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:25] muzar Resident accepted your inventory offer.
[13:25] herman Bergson: Hello Muzar :-)
[13:26] Higgs Boson (muzar): hi :)
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: hehe the higgs boson himself
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: hi :9
[13:26] Higgs Boson (muzar): you found me XD
[13:27] Simargl Talaj: Does monism appear anywhere prior to the mechanization of life and the Industrial revolution?
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: seems so
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: must be from LHC run last night
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:27] herman Bergson: Oh yes Leucippus and Democritus were already monists..
[13:27] Simargl Talaj: It seems as if seeing machines immediately causes humans to leap to the idea that we too are machines.
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: its an interesting question indeed
[13:27] Higgs Boson (muzar): i hate the LHC it causes headaches ^^
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: how can matter generate a mind and consciousness
[13:28] herman Bergson: Oh Simargl..that has a funny tradition in the Philosophy of mind....
[13:28] Simargl Talaj: Do you suppose it was the presence of machines that gave monism "traction" It didn't get much in antiquity…?
[13:28] Qwark Allen: electricity
[13:28] herman Bergson: Leibniz compared the mind with a windmill....
[13:29] Simargl Talaj: metaphor or really meaning it was a material mechanism?
[13:29] herman Bergson: then later it was compared with a switchboard of the telephone..
[13:29] herman Bergson: and today the mind is compared or thought to work like a computer
[13:29] Doodus Moose: ...the latest flawed paradigm
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: aa yes
[13:29] Alaya Kumaki: it may have been form the propagation of the tools itself, when they presented those to the people, they proposed a perspective of life as mechanic,
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: computers were indeed called mechanical brains when they first appeared
[13:30] herman Bergson: Yes they believed in the we now believe in the computational mind
[13:30] Qwark Allen: some already have decoded the language of the brain
[13:30] Simargl Talaj: again , metaphor, analogy, does not imply monism, the belief that being is *only* material
[13:30] Simargl Talaj: not necessarily imply
[13:30] Simargl Talaj: does it?
[13:30] Alaya Kumaki: yes it was decided,
[13:30] herman Bergson: We ill elaborate on these issues in other lectures of course
[13:31] herman Bergson: No no Simargl....
[13:31] herman Bergson: Monism means that there is only one thing...matter....
[13:31] herman Bergson: and today..some believe that we can build a mind with material things...
[13:32] Simargl Talaj: You reject that possibility?
[13:32] herman Bergson: Ok for leibniz it wasn't a question: Can the windmill be conscious...?
[13:32] Qwark Allen: in 20 years the computers will have the same kind of speed and amount of calculations, as the brain
[13:32] herman Bergson: But is a question: can a computer be conscious?
[13:32] Qwark Allen: per second
[13:32] Mick Nerido: Ray Kurzweil "The Singularity is near"
[13:33] Qwark Allen: i think by then Ai will be possible
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: interesting idea
[13:33] Simargl Talaj: I suppose it will be as hard to prove a computer is conscious as it is to prove that I am conscious. What do you have to go on? Only my outputs.
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: a windmill is impossible cause pureley mechanical but a computer hmm
[13:33] Ixax Xigalia: If consciousness is perception, yes. If it is more, then no.
[13:34] herman Bergson: Will be a nice subject....AI and conscious computers, Bejiita :-)
[13:34] Mick Nerido: Kurzweil says the universe will become on big mind
[13:34] herman Bergson: .
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: but i think for consciousness to happen there must be receptors involved to generate that and computer chips haven't these receptors
[13:34] herman Bergson: Well Mick.....
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: just switches
[13:34] herman Bergson: This I already mentioned before…referring to Chalmers...
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: but if you built something that could represent it in some way inside the machine
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: but the question is how
[13:35] herman Bergson: He believes that our theories on physics are incomplete...
[13:35] herman Bergson: that consciousness is also a property of matter...
[13:36] herman Bergson: A difficult concept and I haven't studied the details of it yet....
[13:36] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): what do we loose if we loose conciousness? do we loose matter then?
[13:36] herman Bergson: But well get to Chalmers too here
[13:36] Doodus Moose: good one, Beertje
[13:37] herman Bergson: no.....Beertje...just a specific configuration of matter I would say
[13:37] Simargl Talaj: Ancient Hindus had a concept of the atom. But also asserted the existence of elemental forces that maintained existence, including Love and Joy. Not everyone jumps from the atom to the grossest absolute materialism :)
[13:37] Doodus Moose: i remember tests on dying people to measure any loss of mass
[13:37] Mick Nerido: Mater cannot be destroyed only converted into energy
[13:37] Simargl Talaj: Doodus, what is lost is organization.
[13:37] herman Bergson: True Simargl..
[13:38] herman Bergson: Yes Doodus..the missing 6 grams :-)
[13:38] Alaya Kumaki: it seems that the biologist have had less chance for their perspective than the engineer
[13:38] herman Bergson: But that si a questionable thing.....
[13:38] Alaya Kumaki: why?
[13:38] Simargl Talaj: If there is a is a sort of rigid housekeeping that puts all the mated socks in the right drawer.
[13:38] herman Bergson: Not a single religion will accept it...for it means that the soul that leaves the body has to be material!
[13:39] Doodus Moose: Simargi :-)
[13:39] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): unseen material
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: like dark matter
[13:39] Simargl Talaj: SOme religions described the spirit as a sort of material, an esoteric material, an ether.
[13:39] herman Bergson: unseen but with mass, so weight Beertje
[13:39] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): yes that's what i ment to say
[13:40] Alaya Kumaki: but with mass?
[13:40] herman Bergson: Yes Simargl.....but it seems not to fit into our theories of physics...
[13:41] herman Bergson: No one ever succeeded to catch a soul and investigate it
[13:41] Ixax Xigalia: I recall that people have been weighed during death and lose a bit when they die.... have to find that reference.
[13:41] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): doesn't mean it doesn't exist
[13:41] Mick Nerido: But noe science says matter is only4% of the universe
[13:42] herman Bergson: And what is the rest Mick?
[13:42] Mick Nerido: Dark matter
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: drak matter
[13:42] herman Bergson: and what is that?
[13:42] Mick Nerido: ?????
[13:42] Qwark Allen: no one knows
[13:43] herman Bergson: It is very well possible that our theories of physics are incomplete....
[13:43] Qwark Allen: they are incomplete for sure
[13:43] Simargl Talaj: dark matter is matter possessing properties of gravity but lacking other properties which make normal matter detectable apart from gravity.
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: damn shift key
[13:43] Mick Nerido: it would seem so
[13:43] Qwark Allen: probably in the future we`ll have different kind of theory about it
[13:43] Doodus Moose: Qwark - Bingo!
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: the hopes look not so good for susy anyway the guys at cern days
[13:44] herman Bergson: Patricia Churchland says in her book Neurophilosophy that our concepts will be completely revised ....regarding the philosophy of mind....
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: but the question is then what the dark matter is or if it even exist or if we just have made a miscalculation somewhere
[13:44] herman Bergson: Like we now don't use a single concept that was used in th eMiddle Ages regarding witchcraft...
[13:45] Mick Nerido: And are we the only intelligent beings in the universe?
[13:45] Qwark Allen: there is something for sure, that is stretching the universe we know
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: seems strange that there is some weird stuff that is 94% that we cant see feel omeasure
[13:45] Qwark Allen: what we will find out
[13:45] herman Bergson: So...still amazing discoveries ahead, I guess...
[13:45] Qwark Allen: got to keep the mind open
[13:45] Qwark Allen: :-)
[13:45] Mick Nerido: An exciting time
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: cause matter have substance, neutrinos are only hard to detect cause they are so extremeley tiny
[13:46] Qwark Allen: indeed
[13:46] herman Bergson: Maybe it is time for a new Einstein...
[13:46] Simargl Talaj: Yes to Churchland, as Explanations of mind properties are found more and more in the *material*.
[13:46] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): of course we have a lot to discover..we are only at the beginning of understanding this
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: but cern have shown that neutrinos should have mass
[13:46] herman Bergson: Absolutely Beertje...especially in the field we are discussing now...the brain and the mind
[13:47] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): isn't it wonderful that we may discover such a lot?
[13:47] Doodus Moose: what color are atoms ? oh, never mind....
[13:47] herman Bergson smiles
[13:47] herman Bergson: Yes Doodus...and which atom is really wet?
[13:47] Qwark Allen: oxygene is green
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: hehe the qwark color concept isn't about color at all if you refer to that
[13:48] Doodus Moose: heheh
[13:48] herman Bergson: Talking about color.....
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: its just a ref term but i haven't learned all about it yet
[13:48] Qwark Allen: nitrogene is blue
[13:48] Ixax Xigalia: haven't verified this, nevertheless:
[13:48] herman Bergson: all those beautiful colorful pictures of the nebulae in the universe....all fake...
[13:49] Simargl Talaj: artificial colorings:)
[13:49] Qwark Allen: +/-
[13:49] herman Bergson: the universe isn't so colorful at all...
[13:49] Qwark Allen: the thing is, our eyes can`t see much of the light spectre
[13:49] Simargl Talaj: it is very colorful. It is more colorful than we can see.
[13:49] herman Bergson: yes Simargl...was agreat disappointment for me to learn about that :-)
[13:49] Qwark Allen: yes sima
[13:49] Simargl Talaj: not less
[13:49] Doodus Moose: yet - the colors in astro photos are equated to hydrogen atoms, etc
[13:50] Qwark Allen: not really herman, you can still have hope
[13:50] herman Bergson: yes they have their reasons Doodus :-)
[13:50] Mick Nerido: birds see more colors the mamels
[13:50] Qwark Allen: there is lots of color, we just can`t see most of it
[13:50] Qwark Allen: that is why they had those colors
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: and different animals see different spectras
[13:50] herman Bergson: .
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: some even see infrared
[13:50] Qwark Allen: some in ultraviolet
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:50] Simargl Talaj: Perhaps some day we will have artificial senses that do convey many unseen colors.
[13:51] Doodus Moose: we need to be mindful of the limits of our perception
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: we already have that
[13:51] Doodus Moose: ...i have a subwoofer that plays 15hz at 95 db
[13:51] herman Bergson: Well...I think that we now can have some idea of what matter is....
[13:51] Simargl Talaj: Which we cannot now even imagine...more blue than blue, red past red.
[13:51] Mick Nerido: some eyes might see dark matter lol
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: heat cameras see radiation
[13:51] Doodus Moose: ...something we can't hear played very loudly
[13:51] Qwark Allen: omg dodus
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: and a digital camera can see the light from the invisible infra beam in a remote or ir laser as a white dot
[13:52] herman Bergson: WE'll continue our quest into the brain and mind, now we know what matter is...
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: cause its unaffected by the color filters in the camera sensors and hence white
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: almost at least
[13:52] herman Bergson: particles, waves, foce fields...????
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: mu LHC will hopefully give more answers soon
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:52] herman Bergson: somehow this matter must generate the mind....
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: we havent discovered all yet
[13:53] Qwark Allen: i need to go
[13:53] Qwark Allen: see you thursday
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: much more to learn i think
[13:53] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): not every matter can be seen
[13:53] Qwark Allen: ty heerman for nice class :-)
[13:53] Doodus Moose: bye, Qwarl
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: cu Q
[13:53] CONNIE Eichel: yes, nice class :)
[13:53] Qwark Allen: going for party :-)
[13:53] herman Bergson: So Thank you all for your participation again.....
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: interesting again
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: VERY
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:53] Simargl Talaj: Thank you Herman.
[13:53] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ^_^
[13:53] Mick Nerido: Thanks Herman
[13:53] Doodus Moose: A great session, class & Professor :)
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: nice Herman
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: ok cu all soon
[13:54] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman it was very interesting as usual
[13:54] CONNIE Eichel: jazz time, bye all :)
[13:54] herman Bergson: My pleasure Bejiita...thank you
[13:54] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): bye Connie
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:55] 방랑자 (tauto): thank you herman, and all.
[13:56] herman Bergson: You are welcome Tauto
[13:56] Doodus Moose: don't forget the SL8 birthday, folks!
[13:56] herman Bergson: Allow me to say that the colors of your dress are fabulous, Ixax
[13:56] bergfrau Apfelbaum: i I send you multicolored greet! by the universe. : -) see u thursday!
[13:56] Doodus Moose:
[13:56] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ty herman:-) and class!
[13:57] Doodus Moose: byeeee!!!!!!

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