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Missing in action: Where is the mind?

 
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 Jan, 2010 05:24 pm
@Pemerson,
Quote:
I don't think we need necessarily to know what the mind is, but, what is its function in relation to the body-brain.


If you take as a starting point that "body-brain" is itself a functional mental construction, then you will see where I'm coming from. It is not clear from your post whether you understand that, or a related point that "we" and "our future" are also such constructions. As for "levels of higher consciousness" some writers have argued that "striving" for them is counter-productive to their attainment.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 11:42 am
Has physical evolution made our brains more advanced, thereby increasing our capacity to percieve existence? Is it so one sided? How could a such living thing as consciousness even come from something as dead as matter in the first place?
Maybe it didn't.
What if the worlds true nature wasn't material? What if it's consciousness?
Beyond the world we percieve with our senses we know there is something else. A world of atoms and even a world within atoms as well. We understand that the conscious image of experience that is human existence is an image formed by the consciousness itself. One of the purposes of physics is to determine what lies beyond.
And one of the discoveries made was that a physical particle isn't actually a material thing at all. It is configurations of probability manifesting as particle. It's logical to ask, manifesting to what? The obvious answer is consciousness. An observer.
So without observer there would not be particle. Only probability and potential of particle. In other words, up until any given thing is actually observed, all possible outcomes were just as likely as the one observed. In fact, the only difference between the actual outcome and all other probable outcomes was that it was observed.
This means that consciousness shapes the world. What we see is what we make for ourselves to see. That the world appears as it does, seemingly unconscious at large, is a result of the nature of our specific consciousness. It is those potential possibilities as interpreted by our consciousness. But consciousness is shaped by sentience. What we are able to sense is generally thought of as the whole of reality. Dimensions of space we are unable to sense would simply not exist to us. Or more correctly said perhaps; dimensions of space that were not needed for us to percieve a coherent and desirable existence would not be there.
But the possibility that reality can exist in as much as ten dimensions is being explored. For us to percieve it, it takes only four dimensions. But for it to happen there has to be ten. We can envision how we went from three dimensions to four. When our human consciousness became self aware. Before that time didn't exist, only three dimensional space.
Will we perhaps expand our vision to more dimensions in the future?



0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 10:32 pm
@Pemerson,
Consciousness is the hardest nut to crack. No matter what we do regarding our effort to understand it, we are doing it as an expression of consciousness. Does that complicate the effort infinitely? Are we studying the problem by means of the problem? Can we stand apart from and objectify consciousness? I prefer to simply see it as it appears each second as a non-problematical given. If anything is "foundational" that is it.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 01:23 am
@JLNobody,
...which is Heidegger's position. But for "nut-cracking" I recommend the attempt by Maturana.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Mar, 2010 02:04 pm
@JLNobody,
Quote:
No matter what we do regarding our effort to understand it, we are doing it as an expression of consciousness.


Then maybe a conscious effort to understand consciousness is no more effective than any other action. Perhaps is doesn't matter what you do, just that you do something.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  2  
Reply Sat 15 May, 2010 11:10 pm
Let me repeat myself: a central function of the brain is to mind, and one of mind's activities is the self-conscious notion of itself as a brain braining.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 01:32 pm
@JLNobody,
How do you like the dictum attributed to Plutarch?
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."
0 Replies
 
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 12:03 am
@Cyracuz,
Hi,

I believe that the mind is located near the head or brain if you like, as a quantum field hovering like an aura maybe a dense field of massless neutrinos
0 Replies
 
Victor Eremita
 
  3  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 12:11 am
I think the mind is hosted on a Linux server in the centre of the universe. It is being transmitted through space and being received by our brains (the receiver).
0 Replies
 
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 02:26 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

But where is the mind?

Isn't asking that rather like asking "Where is space?" Space isn't something that is somewhere; space is where some things are; and perhaps mind is also where some things are. Another dimension, indeed. We are all at once in space, time, and mind.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 04:12 pm
@Twirlip,
for that matter, where are Newton's laws? Einstein's? Number 6? or 8? Where are your manners? Where you are trying to go with this? Oh I see, no answers to any of the above, well let's all move back to the savanah.

(that was addressed to the post at large, not Twirlip, still trying to find my footing here....)
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 04:23 pm
@jeeprs,
Welcome to A2K.

I think if you read the full thread you will find that previous posters have moved well away from from the original rhetorical question. The specific significance of the question is that it raises the issue of the "locality of consciousness", which reductionists might argue is "in the brain". However, "non-locality" findings in physics together with holistic theorists such as Bohm have significantly changed the philosophical background to the question.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 04:43 pm
@fresco,
Why thanks Fresco! I did scan it, but I think my response, though intentionally ironic, is still relevant. An interesting philosopher of cognition, Alva Noe, has written a book on exactly this topic, Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain. His homepage is at http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~noe/ (I was going to link it to his name but haven't figured out how to embed hyperlinks yet)
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 04:56 pm
@fresco,
It's interesting that a question about the locality of the mind evolved straight into locality of consciousness. The mind is only part of consciousness, albeit the part that allows us to remember experience and find meaning in it.

If you hold out your hand and notice how it feels (proprioceptors), that's not generally thought of as an mental experience.. it's experience all the same. Calling it "the feeling of my hand" is a mental experience.

Location is an idea. It's a resident of the mind, right?
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 04:58 pm
I think the mind really is just the brain - it's construct, it's connections, it's chemicals. Is the mind the same as a personality? If a brain is damaged in specific places, the personality that goes with it can be completely changed.
0 Replies
 
stevecook172001
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 05:03 pm
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
We know where the brain is. It has physical form and a location.
But where is the mind? Is mind merely a process, a result of the "brainengine" converting organic matter into conscious thought? If so, where does it take place? Heat from a fire has location. A speeding car has direction. Mind, as far as i know, has neither. It is not limited by physical conditions because it is not within the four dimensional space of physical existence. It is somewhere else. Where or what is this place?


You have absolutely no evidence for the above assertion (in bold).

Starting from the position of an acceptance of a material universe (based on all falsifiable evidence), there follows the assumption of the the mind being no more than a material function of brain activity. In other words, whatever the mind is, it can be no more than a part of the physical brain.

The only way one can conceptualise it differently from the above is to invoke some kind of metaphysical mind that exists outside of time and space, as you appear to have done. However, to reiterate, there is absolutely no empirical evidence for this and so any amount of contorted philosophical rhetoric, no matter how well argued or internally logically consistent, is foundationed on little more than wish fulfilment.
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 05:34 pm
@stevecook172001,
You are correct that it is an assumption that the mind is no more than a material function of brain activity.

That the mind holds a viewpoint on four dimensional space and time implies that it is separate from it. It doesn't make much sense for the observer and the observed to be the same thing, does it?
stevecook172001
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 05:55 pm
@Arjuna,
Quote:
You are correct that it is an assumption that the mind is no more than a material function of brain activity.

That the mind holds a viewpoint on four dimensional space and time implies that it is separate from it. It doesn't make much sense for the observer and the observed to be the same thing, does it?


It is, of course, a quite remarkable phenomenon that that brain is able to conceptualise it's own existence in space and time. However, just because this feels like a very odd state of affairs and is difficult to explain is no-good reason to drift of into metaphysical wish-fulfilling fantasies. Surely, we start from the simplest explanation based on the best evidence we have, do we not?

The best evidence we have is that all human cognition originates and ends in the physical form of the human nervous system. Therefore , whatever we conceptualise the mind to be, that conceptualisation must begin from the assumption that the mind is no more than a physical function of that nervous system.

Anything else, in the complete absence of evidence , is just making stuff up.
Arjuna
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 06:56 pm
@stevecook172001,
I think I understand your viewpoint.

For the sake of getting to know you better, could you explain your confidence that the material world is not a product of wish-fulfilling fantasy?
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 06:57 pm
@stevecook172001,
Let me ask you this question: what would be counter-factual to your hypothesis. When you say there is 'no evidence' for any view other than physicalism, if there were evidence, what would it consist of, do you think?
 

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