Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Mind is not reduceable to brain (part 2)

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Empirical Data:
There is No Empirical Data that proves reducibility


            Both sciences and the general public have come to accept the idea that the mind is dependent upon the brain and that we can reduce mental activity to some specific aspect of the brain upon which it is dependent and by which it is produced. Within this assumption neuroimaging studies are given special credence. These kinds of studies are given special credence probably because the tangibility of their subject matter and the empirical data produced creates the illusion of “proof.”[1] Yet EEG and MRI both have resolution problems and can’t really pin point exactly where neural activity is located.” In short, neuroimaging studies may not be as objective as some would like to think. There are still large gaps between observation and interpretation – gaps that are ‘filled’ by theoretical or methodological assumptions.”[2] Learning is not hard wired but is the result of “Plasticity.” This plasticity is what allows us the flexibility to learn in new situations. This means that most of our neocortex is involved in higher level psychological processes such as learning from experiences.[3] Our brains are developed by new experiences including skills acquisition.[4] Exercise and mediation can change the brain.[5]
            Classical psychological reductionism assumes the mind is essentially the brain. Mental behaviors are explained totally in terms of brain function. Mental states are merely reduced to brain states.

But while it may be true that certain psychological processes are contingent on some neurophysiological activity, we cannot necessarily say that psychological processes reduce to ‘nothing but’ that activity. Why not? – Because much of the time we are not dealing with cause and effect, as many neuroscientists seem to think, but rather two different and non-equivalent kinds of description. One describes mechanism, the other contains meaning. Understanding the physical mechanisms of a clock, for example, tells us nothing about the culturally constructed meaning of time. In a similar vein, understanding the physiological mechanisms underlying the human blink, tells us nothing about the meaning inherent in a human wink (Gergen, 2010). Human meaning often transcends its underlying mechanisms. But how does it do this?[6]

Reducing mind to brain confuses mechanism with meaning.[7]
            Raymond Tallis was a professor of Geriatric medicine at University of Manchester, and researcher, who retired in 2006 to devote himself to philosophy and writing. Tallis denounces what he calls “neurohype,”  “the claims made on behalf of neuroscience in areas outside those in which it has any kind of explanatory power….”[8]

The fundamental assumption is that we are our brains and this, I will argue presently, is not true. But this is not the only reason why neuroscience does not tell us what human beings “really” are: it does not even tell us how the brain works, how bits of the brain work, or (even if you accept the dubious assumption that human living could be parcelled up into a number of discrete functions) which bit of the brain is responsible for which function. The rationale for thinking of the kind – “This bit of the brain houses that bit of us...” – is mind-numbingly simplistic.[9]


Specifically Tallis has refernce to experiments where the brain is scanned while the subject does some activity and the differences are attributed to some structure in that part of the brain. Tallis is highly skeptical of this method.


Why is this fallacious? First, when it is stated that a particular part of the brain lights up in response to a particular stimulus, this is not the whole story. Much more of the brain is already active or lit up; all that can be observed is the additional activity associated with the stimulus. Minor changes noted diffusely are also overlooked. Secondly, the additional activity can be identified only by a process of averaging the results of subtractions after the stimulus has been given repeatedly: variations in the response to successive stimuli are ironed out. Finally, and most importantly, the experiments look at the response to very simple stimuli – for example, a picture of the face of a loved one compared with that of the face of one who is not loved. But, as I have pointed out elsewhere (for the benefit of Martians), romantic love is not like a response to a stimulus. It is not even a single enduring state, like being cold. It encompasses many things, including not feeling in love at that moment; hunger, indifference, delight; wanting to be kind, wanting to impress; worrying over the logistics of meetings; lust, awe, surprise; imagining conversations, events; speculating what the loved one is doing when one is not there; and so on. (The most sophisticated neural imaging, by the way, cannot even distinguish between physical pain and the pain of social rejection: they seem to “light up” the same areas!)[10]


Hal Pashler’s study, University of California, San Diego is discussed in an an editorial in New Scientist, he is quoted as saying  “In most of the studies that linked brain regions to feelings including social rejection, neuroticism and jealousy, researchers … used a method that inflates the strength of the link between a brain region and the emotion of behaviour.”[11]

While no empirical data proves reducibility, some empirical data seems to support irreducibility. The mind cannot be reduced to the brain alone.

Some empirical data supports claim:
Irreducibility


            There are, however, empirical data that imply that brain is not necessary to mind. One such datum is the humble amoeba. They swim; they find food they learn, they multiply, all without brains or brain cell connections.[12]  Various theories are proposed but none really answer the issue. Stuart Mameroff (anesthetist from University of Arizona) and Roger Penrose, Mathematician form Cambridge, raise the theory that small protein structures called microtubules found in cells throughout the body. The problem is they don’t cause any problem with consciousness when damaged.[13] Nevertheless, the amoeba is a mystery in terms of how it works with no brain cells. That leads to the recognition of a larger issue the irreducealbity raises the question of consciousness as a basic property of nature. Like electromagnetism, there was a time when scientists tried to explain that in terms of other known phenomena, when they could not do so they concluded that it was a basic property and opened up a branch of science and the electromagnetic spectrum.[14] David Chalmers and others have suggested the same solution for consciousness.


The late Sir John Eccles, a neuroscientist who won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1963 for his work on brain cell connections (synapses) and was considered by many to be one of the greatest neuroscientists of the twentieth century, was perhaps the most distinguished scientist who argued in favor of such a separation between mind, consciousness and the brain. He argued that the unity of conscious experience was provided by the mind and not by the machinery of the brain. His view was that the mind itself played an active role in selecting and integrating brain cell activity and molded it into a unified whole. He considered it a mistake to think that the brain did everything and that conscious experiences were simply a reflection of brain activities, which he described as a common philosophical view:

'If that were so, our conscious selves would be no more than passive spectators of the performances carried out by the neuronal machinery of the brain. Our beliefs that we can really make decisions and that we have some control over our actions would be nothing but illusions.[15]

Top Down Causation
confirming irreducibility

            Or downward causation, as seen in last chapter: “Top-down causation refers to the effects on components of organized systems that cannot be fully analyzed in terms of component-level behavior but instead requires reference to the higher-level system itself.” [16]




*problem of binding

            There is a problem with understanding what it is that binds together the unity of a conscious experience. We have many different kinds of conscious faculty at work in the process of being conscious, symbolic thinking, literal thinking, sense of temporal, sense of reality, and physical perceptions. Somehow it all gets brought together into one coherent sense of perceptions. How are the individual aspects, such as color, form, the temporal, and united into a coherent whole experience? Unification of experience is not achieved anatomically. There is “no privileged places of structures in the brain where everything comes together…either for the visual system by itself or for sensory system as a whole ” [17] McDougall took it as something that physicalilsm can’t explain.[18] Dennett and Kinsbourne recognize the phenomena marking top down causation and acknowledge it, they spin it as undermining unity.[19] The old approach was to assume there must be an anatomical center for binding. Without finding one the assumption was that it couldn’t be explained. Modern explanations of unity are based upon a functional approach.

The essential concept common to all of them is  that  oscillatory electrical activity in widely distributed neural populations can be rapidly and reversibly synchronized in the gamma band of frequencies (roughly 30-70 Hz) thereby providing a possible mechanism for binding.” (von der Malsburg 1995). A great deal of sophisticated experimental and theoretical work over the past 20 years demonstrates that mechanisms do exist in the nervous system and they work in relation to the normal perceptual synthesis. Indeed Searl’s doctrine of biological naturalism has now crystallized neurophysiologically in the form of a family of global workspace theories, all of which make the central claim that conscious experience occurs specifically and only with large scale patters of gamma band oscillatory activity linking widely separated areas of the brain. [20]


In other words if consciousness was reducible to brain chemistry there should be an anatomical center in the brain that works to produce the binding effect. Yet the evidence indicates that binding mechanisms must be understood as functions of various areas outside either the brain (nervous  system) or  in different parts of the brain which means it can’t be reduced to just a physical apparatus but is systemic and that is indicative of top down causation.

* Projective activity in perceptual process

            Our brains act as a sort of “word generating virtual reality system.”[21] That is the brain is constantly projecting and updating a model of the perceptual environment and our relation to it. Top down cross modal sensory interactions have been recognized as the rule rather than the exception, in perceptions, as several studies indicate (A.K. Engle et al, 2001; Shimojo and Shams 2001). [22] Evidence indicates that the ultimate source of projective activity may originate outside the brain. A great deal of knowledge is put into action for use in understanding language and in writing. Some researchers have advanced the view that the fundamental form of projective activity is dreaming.[23]

*Semantic or intentional content; word meaning and other form of representation.

This has been dealt with traditionally through reductionism. Representations were said to work by resembling things they represent. This was disproved by Goodman and Heil (1981). [24] In cognitive psychology there is a rule of thumb that meanings are not to be conceived as intrinsic to words, they are defined by the functional role they play in a sentence.  The major approach to the problem used now is connectionism, from dynamic systems theory. The meaning of a given response such as settling of a network into one of its attracters or firing of a volley of spikes by a neuron in the visual cortex is identified with the aspect in the environment that produces the response. This account can’t deal with abstract things or non existent things. There’s nothing in the environment to trigger it. Responses do not qualify as representations nor signs as symbols. “That something,” as Searl so effectively argued (in 1992) “is precisely what matters.”[25]


*problem of Intentionality

            Intentionality is the ability of representational forms to be about things, to reflect meaning and to be about events and states of affairs in the world. [26]  The problem of intentionality has plagued both psychologists and philosophers. Intentionality is inherently three ways, involving the user, symbols, and things symbolized. Searl tells us that intentionality of langue is secondary and derives from the intrinsic intentionality of the mind. “Intentionality can’t be obtained from any kind of physical system including brains.”[27]

*The Humunculus Problem

            The Homunculus was a medieval concept about human reproduction. The male was said to have in him little men just like him with all the basic stuff that makes him work that’s how new men get born. In this topic it’s the idea that we need in the mind another mind or brain like structure to make the mind work. The problem is it keeps requiring ever more little structures to make each one before it work; in endless regression of systems. Kelly and Kelly et al site Dennett’s attempt to solve the homunculus problem in the form of less and less smart homunculi until the bottom level corresponding to heard ware level end the recursion so it’s not infinite. (Dennett 1978)[28] Searl (1992) responds that there has to be something outside the bottom level that knows what lower level compositions mean. Cognitive models can’t function without a homunculus because they lack minds, as Kelly tells us.[29]


No homunculus problem, however, is posed by the structure of our conscious experience itself. The efforts of Dennett and others to claim that there is such a problem, and to use that to ridicule any residue of dualism, rely upon the deeply flawed metaphor of the Cartesian theater a place where mental contents get displayed and I pop in separately to view them. Descartes himself, James, Searl and others all have this right: conscious experience comes to us whole and undivided, with the qualitative feels, phenomenological content, unity, and subjective point of view all built in, intrinsic features. I and my experience cannot be separated in this way. [30]




[1] Brad Peters, Modern Psychologist, “the Mind Does not Reduce to the Brain.” On line resource, blog, 2/4/12
URL: http://modernpsychologist.ca/the-mind-does-not-reduce-to-the-brain/   visited 5/3/12
Brad Peters, M.Sc. Psychologist (Cand. Reg.) • Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
[2] Ibid.
[3] ibid
[4]Schore, A. N. Affect regulation and the origin of the self: The neurobiology of emotional development. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (1994).
See also: Siegel, D. J. The developing mind: How relationships and the brain interact to shape who we are. New York, NY: Guilford Press. (1999).
[5] Peters, ibid.
[6] ibid.
[7] K. Gergen, The accultured brain. Theory & Psychology, 20(6), (2010).  795-816.
[8] Raymond Tallis New Haumanist.org.uk Ideas for Godless People (blog—online researche) volume 124 Issue 6 (Nov/Dec 2009) URL: http://newhumanist.org.uk/2172/neurotrash  visited 5/9/12
[9] ibid
[10] ibid
[11] quoted by Tallis, ibid.
[12] Science Research Foundation, “Science at the horizon of life,” independent charitable organization in UK 2007-2012. On-line resource, UFL:  http://www.horizonresearch.org/main_page.php?cat_id=200  visisted 5/2/12
[13] ibid
[14] ibid
[15] ibid
[16] Mary Anne Meyers, “Top Down Causation, an Integrating Theme…” Templeton Foundation Symposium, Op cit. (no page number listed).
[17] Edward F. Kelley and Emily Williams Kelley, et al, Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century. Boulder, New York, Toronto: Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Inc, 2007/2010, 37.
[18] Ibid. 38, referring to W.McDougall, Proceedings of scientific physical research 25, 11-29. (1911/1961)..
[19] ibid. 38 refers to Dennette and kinsbourne in Consciousness Explained. (op cit) 183-247
[20] ibid, sites C.Von der Malsburg, “Binding In Models of Perception and Brain Function.” Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 5, 520-526. also sited Crick 94; Dehaene and Naccache,  2001; Edelmon and Tononi, 2000; Engle, Fries and Singer 2001; W.J. Freeman 2000, and others.

Engle, Fries, Singer cited in Pub Med: See comment in PubMed Commons below
 2001 Oct;2(10):704-16.

Abstract


Classical theories of sensory processing view the brain as a passive, stimulus-driven device. By contrast, more recent approaches emphasize the constructive nature of perception, viewing it as an active and highly selective process. Indeed, there is ample evidence that the processing of stimuli is controlled by top-down influences that strongly shape the intrinsic dynamics of thalamocortical networks and constantly create predictions about forthcoming sensory events. We discuss recent experiments indicating that such predictions might be embodied in the temporal structure of both stimulus-evoked and ongoing activity, and that synchronous oscillations are particularly important in this process. Coherence among subthreshold membrane potential fluctuations could be exploited to express selective functional relationships during states of expectancy or attention, and these dynamic patterns could allow the grouping and selection of distributed neuronal responses for further processing.

[21] ibid
[22] ibid, 40, he sites A.K. Engle et al, 2001; Shimojo and Shams 2001;
[23] ibid,  41-42 sites Rodolfo Llina’s and Pare’ 1996 Llina’s and Ribary, 1994.
[24] Ibid, 42 see Heil 1981
[25] ibid, 43 see Searl 1992
[26] ibid
[27] ibid, see also studies, puccetti 1989; Dupuy 2000 discussion of issue form opposing points of view).
[28] Ibid see Dennett 1978 and Searl 1992)
[29] ibid
[30] ibid, 44









39 comments:

Jesse said...

Hello Metacrock,

What do you think of this excerpt? Is it relevant to your discussion at all?:

"...the mind is not just a product of brain activity. If it were, it would be impossible for changes in psychological functioning to bring about changes in the brain, in the same way that it would be impossible for changes in the images on a computer screen to bring about changes to the circuitry of a computer. This highlights the fact that the psyche is a phenomenon in its own right, with its own features, its own structures and patterns. It can’t be entirely reduced to neurology. It has to be studied in its own terms."

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/out-the-darkness/201701/why-the-mind-is-more-the-brain

Jesse said...

Here's an article I wrote on a similar subject:

https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2019/11/the-human-mind-robots-and-self-awareness.html

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

yes I think that is reliant

Jesse said...

What I meant to ask is whether or not you think that excerpt from Psychology Today is supportive or gives credence to your argument at all? Sorry for the lack of clarification on my part, needed to be a little more specific.

The Pixie said...

Joe: There is No Empirical Data that proves reducibility

But there is warrant to think it is true. And that is good enough, right?

Joe: Both sciences and the general public have come to accept the idea that the mind is dependent upon the brain and that we can reduce mental activity to some specific aspect of the brain upon which it is dependent and by which it is produced.

And we have warrant to do so.

Joe: Within this assumption neuroimaging studies are given special credence.

Why should they not? They are good science. You only object tyo them because they do not support your pet theory.

Joe: Yet EEG and MRI both have resolution problems and can’t really pin point exactly where neural activity is located.” In short, neuroimaging studies may not be as objective as some would like to think.

Can you talk us through your logic here? Why does the current lack of resolution imply a lack of objectivity?

Joe: Specifically Tallis has refernce to experiments where the brain is scanned while the subject does some activity and the differences are attributed to some structure in that part of the brain. Tallis is highly skeptical of this method.

Tallis makes a fair point, but his objections do not help your case at all. The experiments clearly show different parts of the brain are involved in different processes. What Tallis says - quite reasonably - is that is more complicated than that, and that other areas are also involved. This is perfectly consistent with the view that mind depends on the brain, and argues against thinking occurring outside the brain.

Joe: There are, however, empirical data that imply that brain is not necessary to mind. One such datum is the humble amoeba. ...

Interesting that you consider the behavior of an amoeba to be evidence of thought (I am curious of the evidence they can learn). You should also check out jellyfish, which also have no brain.

But so what? They still use a system built on matter, on molecules interacting. There is nothing supernatural going on here; no support for the claim that thought processes can occur outside the body.

The Pixie said...

Jess: "...the mind is not just a product of brain activity. If it were, it would be impossible for changes in psychological functioning to bring about changes in the brain, in the same way that it would be impossible for changes in the images on a computer screen to bring about changes to the circuitry of a computer. This highlights the fact that the psyche is a phenomenon in its own right, with its own features, its own structures and patterns. It can’t be entirely reduced to neurology. It has to be studied in its own terms."

It is an interesting article, but it does not help Joe's case. It is trivially easy to see that the mind affects the world. I am thinking these words before I type them. However, that does not suggest the thoughts exist outside of the brain.

I guess an analogy - which relates to Joe's point about downward causation - is how the environment is made up of numerous systems, so clearly the environment, at a higher level, is affected by the systems at a lower level. But conversely, there is downward causation, with the high level environment affecting the syststems that make it up.

Or if you prefer, the software running on a computer is the higher level, and the states of the bits in the chips are the lower level. The software is really just a certain configuration of bits, but nevertheless, the software can itself affect how bits are configured when running.

The point of the article is that doctors tend to just worry about the state of the bits in the chips, when they should also be looking at the software running.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Tallis makes a fair point, but his objections do not help your case at all. The experiments clearly show different parts of the brain are involved in different processes. What Tallis says - quite reasonably - is that is more complicated than that, and that other areas are also involved. This is perfectly consistent with the view that mind depends on the brain, and argues against thinking occurring outside the brain.

He specifically opposes the idea that mid is reduceable to brain. Mind is dependent upon brain but that is not the same as being reduceable.


Joe: There are, however, empirical data that imply that brain is not necessary to mind. One such datum is the humble amoeba. ...

Interesting that you consider the behavior of an amoeba to be evidence of thought (I am curious of the evidence they can learn). You should also check out jellyfish, which also have no brain.

they hunt, plan things of that nature

But so what? They still use a system built on matter, on molecules interacting. There is nothing supernatural going on here; no support for the claim that thought processes can occur outside the body.


that is extremely naive to think that the issue is realty one of ghost in the machine, soul doesn;t have to do quantifiable work to be real

2:41 AM

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

The Pixie said...
Jess: "...the mind is not just a product of brain activity. If it were, it would be impossible for changes in psychological functioning to bring about changes in the brain, in the same way that it would be impossible for changes in the images on a computer screen to bring about changes to the circuitry of a computer. This highlights the fact that the psyche is a phenomenon in its own right, with its own features, its own structures and patterns. It can’t be entirely reduced to neurology. It has to be studied in its own terms."

It is an interesting article, but it does not help Joe's case. It is trivially easy to see that the mind affects the world. I am thinking these words before I type them. However, that does not suggest the thoughts exist outside of the brain.

You keep talking about my position what the hell do you think that is? where did i say the mind exists outside the bran?

I guess an analogy - which relates to Joe's point about downward causation - is how the environment is made up of numerous systems, so clearly the environment, at a higher level, is affected by the systems at a lower level. But conversely, there is downward causation, with the high level environment affecting the syststems that make it up.

No analogy is 100% symeterial

Or if you prefer, the software running on a computer is the higher level, and the states of the bits in the chips are the lower level. The software is really just a certain configuration of bits, but nevertheless, the software can itself affect how bits are configured when running.

The point of the article is that doctors tend to just worry about the state of the bits in the chips, when they should also be looking at the software running.

my point is that consciousness transcends mere brain function, Reductionist want to merely asssert brain function is coniousness,

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Peters: "But while it may be true that certain psychological processes are contingent on some neurophysiological activity, we cannot necessarily say that psychological processes reduce to ‘nothing but’ that activity."

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Jesse said...
What I meant to ask is whether or not you think that excerpt from Psychology Today is supportive or gives credence to your argument at all? Sorry for the lack of clarification on my part, needed to be a little more specific.

I think it supports my argument

Jesse said...

"My point is that consciousness transcends mere brain function, Reductionist want to merely asssert brain function is coniousness."

That is the same thing I was getting at. Thank you.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

good point

The Pixie said...

Joe: He specifically opposes the idea that mid is reduceable to brain. Mind is dependent upon brain but that is not the same as being reduceable.

And that proves what?

Ultimately I think you are trying to support the claim that the soul (something that is in some sense you and that continues to exist after death) is real - even if you never say that. That is the point where you disagree with atheists.

I agree that the mind cannot be reduced to the brain; I think it is an emergent property of the brain. But I reject the idea that their is anything that is actually you that survives your death, because, as you say, the mind depends on the brain. When the brain dies, the mind dies too.

So are you arguing for an entirely materialist emergence of the mind? Or are you really arguing for the soul?

Joe: that is extremely naive to think that the issue is realty one of ghost in the machine, soul doesn;t have to do quantifiable work to be real

So you are arguing for the existence of something that potentially has zero impact on the universe?

Sure, we can make up any nonsense. We can pretend there are zeta-particles that whizz around the universe but have zero effect on it. No one can prove us wrong. And neither can anyone ever show we are right and our theory will never be any actual use.

Joe: that is extremely naive to think that the issue is realty one of ghost in the machine, soul doesn;t have to do quantifiable work to be real

Are you sure? What happened to your downward causation?

Joe: You keep talking about my position what the hell do you think that is? where did i say the mind exists outside the bran?

I think your position is that the soul exists, and this post is a confused attempt to support that claim. I think you want prove the mind supervenes on the brain, a perfectly materialist position, and then claim that actually that proves the soul exists, when it does no such thing.

Joe: my point is that consciousness transcends mere brain function, Reductionist want to merely asssert brain function is coniousness,

In the same way software transcends mere hardware? That is, a purely materialist system, with one thing supervening on the other?

Or are you really claiming there is a supernatural element involved here?

Come clean, Joe. What is it you are trying to do here?

The Pixie said...

From the first reference you cited:

"Let us first agree on one point – that our biological nervous system must be somehow involved in the process that gives rise to the actions of the mind. That is, we cannot have a ‘mind’ unless we have a functioning nervous system. To think otherwise would entail some kind of ‘dualism’ – believing that the body and mind can exist independently of one another. Our believing, for example, that when the physical body dies, a separate part responsible for controlling the body (e.g. a soul), would not die with it, but would somehow transcend its physical limits. Such leaps of faith may be fine for the religious crowd, but they are not part of a rational or scientific approach to such matters. So we are not concerned here about whether the mind is tethered to the body (we will assume it is), but about accurately describing how they relate to one another.

This is very much arguing for my position - materialm/emeregence - and not for any supernatural or theistic view.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Joe: He specifically opposes the idea that mid is reduceable to brain. Mind is dependent upon brain but that is not the same as being reduceable.

And that proves what?

Ultimately I think you are trying to support the claim that the soul (something that is in some sense you and that continues to exist after death) is real - even if you never say that. That is the point where you disagree with atheists.

not exactly. not to be pedantic but I see soul as a symbolic truth, The spirit is the thing that lives on after us.


I agree that the mind cannot be reduced to the brain; I think it is an emergent property of the brain. But I reject the idea that their is anything that is actually you that survives your death, because, as you say, the mind depends on the brain. When the brain dies, the mind dies too.

Mind can be housed in a replacement receptical. Replacement brain.

So are you arguing for an entirely materialist emergence of the mind? Or are you really arguing for the soul?

what you really mean to say is "ghost in the machine" (GITM) that is a phrase Philosophers use to disparage the idea of a servile after death. I think e can have survive without a corn ball GITM. Spirit or life fore is what is surviving and consciousness an be supported by transfigure of mind in the form of information,

Joe: that is extremely naive to think that the issue is realty one of ghost in the machine, soul doesn;t have to do quantifiable work to be real

So you are arguing for the existence of something that potentially has zero impact on the universe?

quantification is not impact, non qualififables can have impact.

Sure, we can make up any nonsense. We can pretend there are zeta-particles that whizz around the universe but have zero effect on it. No one can prove us wrong. And neither can anyone ever show we are right and our theory will never be any actual use.

for one thing if minds are removed from this reality and put some plaice in heaven or whatever then why should they have an impact here? that doesn't make them be unreal their impact is in another realm.

Joe: that is extremely naive to think that the issue is realty one of ghost in the machine, soul doesn;t have to do quantifiable work to be real

Are you sure? What happened to your downward causation?

that's in terms of consciousness in a living human,

Joe: You keep talking about my position what the hell do you think that is? where did i say the mind exists outside the bran?

I think your position is that the soul exists, and this post is a confused attempt to support that claim. I think you want prove the mind supervenes on the brain, a perfectly materialist position, and then claim that actually that proves the soul exists, when it does no such thing.

It's not exclusively materialist it's just shared.

Joe: my point is that consciousness transcends mere brain function, Reductionist want to merely assert brain function is copiousness,

In the same way software transcends mere hardware? That is, a purely materialist system, with one thing supervening on the other?

Or are you really claiming there is a supernatural element involved here?

Come clean, Joe. What is it you are trying to do here?

I believe in life after death but I would still make the OP even If I was an atheist.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

From the first reference you cited:

"Let us first agree on one point – that our biological nervous system must be somehow involved in the process that gives rise to the actions of the mind. That is, we cannot have a ‘mind’ unless we have a functioning nervous system. To think otherwise would entail some kind of ‘dualism’ – believing that the body and mind can exist independently of one another.

fear of dualism is an arbitrary anti religious paranoia.



Our believing, for example, that when the physical body dies, a separate part responsible for controlling the body (e.g. a soul), would not die with it, but would somehow transcend its physical limits. Such leaps of faith may be fine for the religious crowd, but they are not part of a rational or scientific approach to such matters.


anti religious garbage. fear of not being thought sophisticated enough,has nothing to do with truth


So we are not concerned here about whether the mind is tethered to the body (we will assume it is), but about accurately describing how they relate to one another.

belief in life after death is no great shame, fear of same is nothing more than an attempt to whistle in the dark,.

This is very much arguing for my position - materialm/emeregence - and not for any supernatural or theistic view.

fear of supernatural is stupid fear of being thought stupider unsophisticated is also stupid,

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

you are afraid to be thought a believer in super natural but you don;t even know what supernatural is.

Anonymous said...

Pix: Ultimately I think you are trying to support the claim that the soul (something that is in some sense you and that continues to exist after death) is real - even if you never say that. That is the point where you disagree with atheists.

Joe: not exactly. not to be pedantic but I see soul as a symbolic truth, The spirit is the thing that lives on after us.

And you would rather argue the semantics than be honest about what it really is you are arguing for.

Joe: Mind can be housed in a replacement receptical. Replacement brain.

Is that what you are arguing for? Or is this just another red herring so you can avoid admitting what this is really about?

Joe: what you really mean to say is "ghost in the machine" (GITM) that is a phrase Philosophers use to disparage the idea of a servile after death. I think e can have survive without a corn ball GITM. Spirit or life fore is what is surviving and consciousness an be supported by transfigure of mind in the form of information,

You just said you want to call it "spirit", now you want to call it "ghost in the machine". Again, you seem more eager to distract than to address the real issue here.

Joe: quantification is not impact, non qualififables can have impact.

So what was your point when you brought it up? Another red herring?

Joe: for one thing if minds are removed from this reality and put some plaice in heaven or whatever then why should they have an impact here? that doesn't make them be unreal their impact is in another realm.

But minds still have an impact where they are. Just as houses, blackholes and photons have an impact where they are, and not on the other side of the universe. So do minds have an impact or not?

Joe: It's not exclusively materialist it's just shared.

Sure. So what you are arguing for here is a point of view materialists hold.

Joe: fear of dualism is an arbitrary anti religious paranoia.
anti religious garbage. fear of not being thought sophisticated enough,has nothing to do with truth


So why cite the article as a reference?

I strongly suspect you read what you expect to read. You expected me to post "anti religious garbage", so that was how you read it. When you found the article on-line, you read it very differently, and so cited it for your post.


Pix

7th Stooge said...

The Pixie wrote:From the first reference you cited:

"Let us first agree on one point – that our biological nervous system must be somehow involved in the process that gives rise to the actions of the mind. That is, we cannot have a ‘mind’ unless we have a functioning nervous system. To think otherwise would entail some kind of ‘dualism’ – believing that the body and mind can exist independently of one another. Our believing, for example, that when the physical body dies, a separate part responsible for controlling the body (e.g. a soul), would not die with it, but would somehow transcend its physical limits. Such leaps of faith may be fine for the religious crowd, but they are not part of a rational or scientific approach to such matters. So we are not concerned here about whether the mind is tethered to the body (we will assume it is), but about accurately describing how they relate to one another.

This is very much arguing for my position - materialm/emeregence - and not for any supernatural or theistic view.


Those aren't the only two alternatives. It may not be supernatural and it may not be materialist either. It may be irreducible to the physical and not necessarily a "ghost in the machine" either.

7th Stooge said...

The Pixie wrote: From the first reference you cited:

"Let us first agree on one point – that our biological nervous system must be somehow involved in the process that gives rise to the actions of the mind. That is, we cannot have a ‘mind’ unless we have a functioning nervous system. To think otherwise would entail some kind of ‘dualism’ – believing that the body and mind can exist independently of one another. Our believing, for example, that when the physical body dies, a separate part responsible for controlling the body (e.g. a soul), would not die with it, but would somehow transcend its physical limits. Such leaps of faith may be fine for the religious crowd, but they are not part of a rational or scientific approach to such matters. So we are not concerned here about whether the mind is tethered to the body (we will assume it is), but about accurately describing how they relate to one another.

This is very much arguing for my position - materialm/emeregence - and not for any supernatural or theistic view.


Those aren't the only alternatives. Consciousness may not be reducible to the physical and still not a "ghost in the machine."

7th Stooge said...

Pixie: Materialism and supernaturalism aren't the only alternatives. Consciousness may be ireducible to the physical and yet not a "ghost in the machine."

7th Stooge said...

testing

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

that's an excellent point Jim I wish you would elaborate.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Our believing, for example, that when the physical body dies, a separate part responsible for controlling the body (e.g. a soul), would not die with it, but would somehow transcend its physical limits. Such leaps of faith may be fine for the religious crowd, but they are not part of a rational or scientific approach to such matters. So we are not concerned here about whether the mind is tethered to the body (we will assume it is), but about accurately describing how they relate to one another.

I am part of that dreaded religious crowd so I am not afraid to believe in life after death,

Anonymous said...

7th: Those aren't the only two alternatives. It may not be supernatural and it may not be materialist either. It may be irreducible to the physical and not necessarily a "ghost in the machine" either.

Can you expand on that? To my mind, either it depends entirely on the material (i.e.., materialist) or it does not (i.e., supernatural); there is no alternative. I am guessing you use the terms differently.

Irreducible to the brain is not a third option, it is a category that encompasses supernatural and part of the materialist position.

If you prefer, we have these three options:

1: Supernatural (there is a component or aspect that does not depend on the physical, and mind is therefore not reducible)

2: Natural but irreducible (which is my guess, and what the author of Joe's first reference clearly holds to)

3: Natural and reducible

Joe is very much arguing for 2 over 3 - and then claiming 1.

Pix

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Irreducible to the brain is not a third option, it is a category that encompasses supernatural and part of the materialist position.


no it's not. You seem to think that anything not reductionist i supernatural, That is absurd, one can have a materialist idea of free will.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

If you prefer, we have these three options:

1: Supernatural (there is a component or aspect that does not depend on the physical, and mind is therefore not reducible)

why dos natural have to mean physical? it;s pretty obvious consciousness is not physical and is not necessarily Sn,

2: Natural but irreducible (which is my guess, and what the author of Joe's first reference clearly holds to)

there are natural irredeemable thing

3: Natural and reducible

Joe is very much arguing for 2 over 3 - and then claiming 1.

for mind

Anonymous said...

Joe: no it's not. You seem to think that anything not reductionist i supernatural, That is absurd, one can have a materialist idea of free will.

I said the exact opposite to that.

Joe: why dos natural have to mean physical? it;s pretty obvious consciousness is not physical and is not necessarily Sn,

I said it depends on the physical, not that it is physical.

Do you not understand the difference?

I suggest you go back and actually READ what I posted, as you clearly have not done that so far.

Pix

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Joe: no it's not. You seem to think that anything not reductionist i supernatural, That is absurd, one can have a materialist idea of free will.

I said the exact opposite to that.

your arguments don;t support it

Joe: why does natural have to mean physical? it;s pretty obvious consciousness is not physical and is not necessarily Sn,

I said it depends on the physical, not that it is physical.

Do you not understand the difference?

I suggest you go back and actually READ what I posted, as you clearly have not done that so far.

that doesn't negate the soul nor does it mean it's orgin has to be physical.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

The old approach was to assume there must be an anatomical center for binding. Without finding one the assumption was that it couldn’t be explained. Modern explanations of unity are based upon a functional approach.



The essential concept common to all of them is that oscillatory electrical activity in widely distributed neural populations can be rapidly and reversibly synchronized in the gamma band of frequencies (roughly 30-70 Hz) thereby providing a possible mechanism for binding.” (von der Malsburg 1995). A great deal of sophisticated experimental and theoretical work over the past 20 years demonstrates that mechanisms do exist in the nervous system and they work in relation to the normal perceptual synthesis. Indeed Searl’s doctrine of biological naturalism has now crystallized neurophysiologically in the form of a family of global workspace theories, all of which make the central claim that conscious experience occurs specifically and only with large scale patters of gamma band oscillatory activity linking widely separated areas of the brain. [20]


* Projective activity in perceptual process

*Semantic or intentional content; word meaning and other form of representation.

*problem of Intentionality

*The Humunculus Problem

"No homunculus problem, however, is posed by the structure of our conscious experience itself. The efforts of Dennett and others to claim that there is such a problem, and to use that to ridicule any residue of dualism, rely upon the deeply flawed metaphor of the Cartesian theater a place where mental contents get displayed and I pop in separately to view them. Descartes himself, James, Searl and others all have this right: conscious experience comes to us whole and undivided, with the qualitative feels, phenomenological content, unity, and subjective point of view all built in, intrinsic features. I and my experience cannot be separated in this way." [30]


Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

My point is you are imposing ideological assumption a fats

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

that should say "facts"

Anonymous said...

Joe: your arguments don;t support it

YOUR arguments support my position.

If you actually read my previous posts you would realise that. I guess that was too much to hope for.

Pix

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

you have not answered the arguments I made in the original post, the one's sketched out above,

Anonymous said...

No, because they support MY position. That is why I said "YOUR arguments support my position."

I listed three alternatives before. I think (2) is correct, and so doers the author of the article you referenced. All of your arguments support that too.

You believe (3), but have no argument as to why we should think (3) is more likely than (2). Plus, the article you cited clearly considers (3) to be nonsense.

If you want to know what (1), (2) and (3) are you will need to go back to read my post. This is a deliberate ploy to get you to actually READ what I post.

Pix

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

the only example of three options I find are these:

1: Supernatural (there is a component or aspect that does not depend on the physical, and mind is therefore not reducible)

why dos natural have to mean physical? it;s pretty obvious consciousness is not physical and is not necessarily Sn,

2: Natural but irreducible (which is my guess, and what the author of Joe's first reference clearly holds to)

there are natural irredeemable thing

3: Natural and reducible

Obviously 3 is my choice sine that would be naturalistic. one can find examples that fit all. three, but in general terms, my choice would be one for explaining consciousness but with special definition of SN, would harmonize with natural.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

three is natural and durable which is what most atheist believe. why would you think I support that?

7th Stooge said...

Anonymous said...
Can you expand on that? To my mind, either it depends entirely on the material (i.e.., materialist) or it does not (i.e., supernatural); there is no alternative. I am guessing you use the terms differently.

Irreducible to the brain is not a third option, it is a category that encompasses supernatural and part of the materialist position.

If you prefer, we have these three options:

1: Supernatural (there is a component or aspect that does not depend on the physical, and mind is therefore not reducible)

2: Natural but irreducible (which is my guess, and what the author of Joe's first reference clearly holds to)

3: Natural and reducible

Joe is very much arguing for 2 over 3 - and then claiming 1.


It may be supernatural, but whether or not it is, there are good arguments to think that it is not physically reducible. It depends on how terms like 'physical' and 'natural' are defined. Since no one really knows for sure what the nature of consciousness is, the meanings of these terms are somewhat in play.

Jesse said...

Hello Metacrock,

Here is another reference that I wanted to point out here:

"...The brain plays an incredibly important role. But our mind cannot be confined to what’s inside our skull, or even our body, according to a definition first put forward by Dan Siegel, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA School of Medicine and the author of a recently published book, Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human."

https://qz.com/866352/scientists-say-your-mind-isnt-confined-to-your-brain-or-even-your-body/