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Missing in action: Where is the mind?

 
 
kennethamy
 
  3  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 06:59 pm
@Cyracuz,
It is a prejudice that everything is somewhere. Aristotle wrote that if the eye were the body, then its soul (the mind) would be vision. The eye sees, but vision does not reside in the eye. It resides nowhere.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 09:22 pm
@stevecook172001,
Quote:
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.

What does 'physical' mean in this sentence?
0 Replies
 
Soul Brother
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 09:43 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

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?


I believe the mistake with this is that the mind is not "somewhere" or in any "physical dimensions", the reality that we experience is one of a subjective nature that is only a representation of physical actuality, therefore all of our individual unique realities are in our minds. As such I would say that our minds do not exist in reality but rather reality exists in our minds.
0 Replies
 
KaseiJin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 10:07 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:

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.


jeeprs. . . for crying out loud, why, oh me oh my, why did you have to go and drag in that 'cowboyish' of a philosopher who has now been (upon further clarifications from elsewhere) shown to not quite have a very good grip on some real, and very solid evidence from the neurosciences?

The mind is of course a brainbuild/state matter, and that alone (1). A being (especially-- if we were to wish to narrow the scope of inquiry--a primate) is capable of 'mental' function only in that that being has synaptic connectivity and volume, backed up by a fantastic number of biochemical substances, in the form of certain cortical and subcortical structures.

As we have been, and are still very much in process of, hashing out (and, as time happens, others who have been here at this present forum will begin to see in the form of 'camps,' or 'poles,' among us newcomers) the person (and as I've once PMed you before, not THAT long ago, this is not necessarily directed personally at you, jeeprs) who emotionally wishes to avoid the far greater evidence of such a conclusion, that that's 'all there is to mind and consciousness,' will of course, by the nature of such a position, fail to see the validity of the understanding.

1. While I am couching this is the absolute at the moment, I do not deny the need for environments, nor the essence of the reality of embodiment within the neural loops, maps, or clusters of precise function.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 11:46 pm
@KaseiJin,
Quote:

jeeprs. . . for crying out loud, why, oh me oh my, why did you have to go and drag in that 'cowboyish' of a philosopher who has now been (upon further clarifications from elsewhere) shown to not quite have a very good grip on some real, and very solid evidence from the neurosciences?


Hey Alva Noe is a Professor of Philosophy at UC Berkeley. Just 'cause all the guys in white coats don't understand philosophical argumentation, no reason to call him a cowboy!

I will tell you straight up, mind is not something that can be defined at all in my book. Whatever definition you dream up, mind is doing the defining. If you call something 'physical', that is the result of a mental operation. There are various ways of speaking about mind, and whole schools of 'philosophy of consciousness', with some idealists, some materialists, some neurobiologists, and others, all of whom have their particular view of the matter. But I think the nature of mind will always remain elusive. In many ways, the Steve Cook gambit of 'declaring it physical' is just a way of avoiding all the difficulties involved in it. But that is what materialism always does: plays dumb. Hard to argue with.

Anyway, don't worry, I am not going to keep up this argument, as it will no doubt continue until the heat death of the Universe, unless I come up with something new, I will keep out of the loop and follow some other topics that I might have something more useful to contribute to.
stevecook172001
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 04:14 am
@Arjuna,
Quote:
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?


This is a legitimate enough trap to set and I do accept that at the quantum level the material world begins to become more than a little shakey. However, until and unless any quantum phenomena can be shown to be inplicated in removing human cognition from ordinary (classical) reality, there are no resonable grounds to assume the the human "mind" is anything other than a material aspect of the reality.
0 Replies
 
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 04:34 am
@jeeprs,
Quote:
Show me a dead brain, and I'll show you a dead mind.

Now that's what I call a hostage to fortune! Very Happy
Minimal
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 05:14 am
@Cyracuz,
Descartes argued the seat of consciousness was the pineal gland; last time I checked that was a modulator of melatonin.

Point being, there is no specific neuron we can name "consciousness" or "mind". It is like asking which brick is the house. It just does not work like that.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 05:37 am
@Twirlip,
Quote:
Show me a dead brain, and I'll show you a dead mind.

How can there be such a thing as a dead mind? Oh, yeah, I know, you can become a materialist Wink
0 Replies
 
stevecook172001
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 05:39 am
@Minimal,
Descartes argued the seat of consciousness was the pineal gland; last time I checked that was a modulator of melatonin.

Point being, there is no specific neuron we can name "consciousness" or "mind". It is like asking which brick is the house. It just does not work like that.
Yep, I would agree with the above. Frankly I don't think the question of where the mind is as a sensible question in the first place.

I would hazard a guess that the "mind" is an emergent pehomenon, in the same way as "flying" is an emergent phenomenon arising from having several hundred physical components bolted togerther and then throwing them off a very large hill. You can take apart a hang-glider down to it's last single nut and bolt and you won't find "flying". You will only wittness that penomenon as an emergent one.
0 Replies
 
KaseiJin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 09:05 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:

Hey Alva Noe is a Professor of Philosophy at UC Berkeley. Just 'cause all the guys in white coats don't understand philosophical argumentation, no reason to call him a cowboy!


jeeprs; have you forgotten the content of our having gone over this particular matter before? I would think--if you were to think back on it in an effort to recall--that there would be no reason to appeal to Dr. Noe's position in academia; that's well understood. To simply brush off points within the counter evidences against a portion of his conclusion (1) with the assertion that those in the sciences do not adequately enough understand the positions he has argued, is a very meaningless gesture--unless it is backed up with materially decisive evidence.

jeeprs wrote:
I will tell you straight up, mind is not something that can be defined at all in my book.


OK; that's fair enough, in that it is your personal (perhaps we could say 'pet') definition, however I would still say that one would have to demonstrate the validity of such a definition in manner that matches the third person agreement (done by accumulating first person experiences) and in a way that is pragmatic to actual, down-to-earth daily living.

jeeprs wrote:
Whatever definition you dream up, mind is doing the defining. If you call something 'physical', that is the result of a mental operation.


I would like to really, really think about that, then. Do you really think that by admitting that brain works, one can then jump to the conclusion that we are wrong in thinking that brain works? That, is the element of the sentence you have offered, is it not? Besides, you have automatically inserted a definition of mind which stands in opposition to the standard English definition, and any demonstrable pragmatic definition (since you seem no to accept what is found in the first two to four entries in any good dictionary) as though such were a valid counter argument; I'm not convinced of the correctness of such an argument.

On that second statement; should we try to convince ourselves that (for example) the food we must consume, so as to keep the earth element that is us going, is a non-physical thing, just something of something which we cannot know anything about? There is a very specific, pragmatic and most logical reason why there is that English term 'physical' (and it's etymological beginnings have extremely little weight in our present day 'definition-by-usage' sense), and to assert that the word is empty and meaningless is most surely a hopeless cause.

jeeprs wrote:
Anyway, don't worry, I am not going to keep up this argument, as it will no doubt continue until . . .


I do understand, jeeprs, and hope you will trust me on that one; yet I will be honest, and say up front that I emotionally doubt the truth of that desire--based on past history to present.

Twirlip wrote:

Quote:
Show me a dead brain, and I'll show you a dead mind.

Now that's what I call a hostage to fortune! Very Happy

It is in no way a trick question, Twirlip, in asking how you got that quote, there. How did you get it?

Minimal wrote:

Descartes argued the seat of consciousness was the pineal gland; last time I checked that was a modulator of melatonin.

Yes, it releases melatonin on prompts from the circadian clock-like function of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (which receives direct projection from the retinas [retinohypothalamic tract])

Minimal wrote:
Point being, there is no specific neuron we can name "consciousness" or "mind".


Not only is this statement completely lacking in leverage (for usage towards any argument) but evidences a certain misinformed position, as well.


1. A portion of his presentation in that book, and his argument, is against solipsism (and an element of non-realistic philosophical thinking), and regarding these...and a few other points which he does make, I see no major contending counter evidence, and do agree with what he as put forth.

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Minimal
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 09:21 am
@KaseiJin,
KaseiJin wrote:

Yes, it releases melatonin on prompts from the circadian clock-like function of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (which receives direct projection from the retinas [retinohypothalamic tract])


Good to know.

KaseiJin wrote:
Not only is this statement completely lacking in leverage (for usage towards any argument) but evidences a certain misinformed position, as well.
[/size]


Show me the specific neuron that is "consciousness". Show me "consciousness". It is physical but it certainly not one singular neuron but a system of complicated structures to create the organ of mind, the brain. It is an emergence of structures, a synthesis of parts.

Following your reasoning a cell is a person.

Regards,

Minimal.
KaseiJin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 09:38 am
@Minimal,
Appreciate your getting back here, Minimal.
Minimal wrote:

Show me the specific neuron that is "consciousness". Show me "consciousness".

The misinformation-related element of your question, is the reason for the question itself. On what grounds is the question rising from? You are using the noun neuron is singular form, is there any reason to do so?

I have to admit that I totally fail to see how it is that you suggest that 'following my line of reasoning, I would be saying that "a neuron is a person"! (is that you have somehow misread me?)

Yes, the human brain is made up of some 100 billion, or so, neurons--and that is not to mention the numerous glia cells. We have nuclei, formations, and bodies inside of gyri and sulci, inside of areas and fields, inside lobes and cortical sheets, and so on . . . so . . . all the more, why ask a question about a single neuron, as though there were any value, or weight, in doing so? (there isn't)
Minimal
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 09:55 am
@KaseiJin,
Quote:
"On what grounds is the question rising from? You are using the noun neuron is singular form, is there any reason to do so?"


To illustrate there is no specific location where "consciousness" resides. As simple as that. I am stating consciousness is a manifestation of complicated neurological structures, not some localised functionality -- the brain is very much interrelated. "Consciousness" is a descriptor of mental phenomena and mental phenomena have physical causation.

That was the basic intention of my original post. I fail to see why you called "misinformed" when I was stating a general fact.

Quote:
I have to admit that I totally fail to see how it is that you suggest that 'following my line of reasoning, I would be saying that "a neuron is a person"! (is that you have somehow misread me?)


I believe you have misread me, not I good sir. I was dismissing the idea that consciousness resided in one physical locale as Descartes argued -- he might of well argued a singular unit, a neuron, was consciousness. I am stating consciousness is an emergent property of conflation of constituents which contradicts this localised theory of where "consciousness" takes residence.

By quoting me and calling my position, in general terms might I add, "misinformed" you implied to me that you disagreed. By doing so my intuitive reaction was to assume that you felt a singular unit that makes up a large structure, reflects the same properties as the whole -- hence the cell and person being supposedly of equivalence.

Regards,

Minimal.

KaseiJin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 10:09 am
@Minimal,
Minimal wrote:

To illustrate there is no specific location where "consciousness" resides. As simple as that. . . That was the basic intention of my original post. I fail to see why you called "misinformed" when I was stating a general fact.


That does clear up the scenario, and gives me a better perspective of your drive. I had been applying the modifier towards the question itself, that's all--the question can easily (as you too have demonstrated) be shown to be a misinformed one. It will then be good for me to step back once more, and readjust how the flow of posts patterned themselves on my first read...in that, as you have felt, I obviously did miss something along the way.

For the most part so far, then it appears that we hold the same understanding. (and I might add, just for information, that I tend not to argue from absurdity, and for that tendency [perhaps] am prone to occasionally miss such leans if the usage of the question, in its original intent, could correctly be said to have been of such style) Thanks for helping in clearing that up for me ! KJ


0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 10:19 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

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?


The mind is an infinite moral form... The brain is one part of the nervous system... The mind more represents that whole person, the entire nervous system which is as extensive as the vascular system... Every where you have blood you have nerves... Everywhere there is you there is mind...
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 10:23 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

Sorry for my absence from this thread I started. Have had no internet for some time.

Anyway, I guess the short version of the question I am getting at is if mind is a "non-physical" realm.
If the physical world can be said to be a "real" only because there is consciousness to observe it, then can we speak of a "realm of consciousness" which our minds make up part of? Or would there have to be a higher/different consciousness above that again to percieve the multitude of minds sprouting like grass from separate physical bodies?


We conceive out ourselves spiritually.... It is no less than we do with all of reality... So mind is a moral form rather than a physical form, even though it is primarily physical in nature because we conceive of self and mind and soul as spiritual...
0 Replies
 
Mad Mike
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 10:50 am
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?


Where is number? I suggest we look for mind in the same place.
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 10:54 am
@Mad Mike,
And indeed, where is science? Isn't science a bit of mind? Where is the rest of it?

P.S. Good to see you made it through the interdimensional vortex, MM!
Mad Mike
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 12:28 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip wrote:

And indeed, where is science? Isn't science a bit of mind? Where is the rest of it?

P.S. Good to see you made it through the interdimensional vortex, MM!


Actually, I think I saw number and mind and science on my way through there.
0 Replies
 
 

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