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Missing in action: Where is the mind?

 
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 05:15 pm
@KaseiJin,
Quote:
unless it is backed up with materially decisive evidence


What is meant by 'materially decisive'? Can a philosophical argument ever be 'materially decisive'? Do you mean, an argument that can be supported by an MRI or a biopsy? Is that 'material'?

What kind of evidence do philosophers appeal to? Ultimately, they can only appeal to reason and experience. They can't really appeal to neurobiology; that is for neurologists to do.

I think the human capacity to impute meaning and to make judgments is irreducible. That means, it cannot be explained in any other terms. We cannot re-create or simulate this ability in machine intelligence, which is why Artificial Intelligence research has essentially stalled. Computers are capable of performing calculations hundreds of orders of magnitude greater that the human brain, but they don't have common sense. They can't make judgments, and they cannot impute meaning. (1)

So to answer the OP, I think the question 'where is mind' is a silly question; as Kennethamy pointed out, even Aristotle shot that one down. No doubt we will have much more to learn from neurobiology but 'where the mind is' will not be part of it.

(1) See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreyfus%27_critique_of_artificial_intelligence
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 05:20 pm
From that Wiki link given above:

Quote:
Dreyfus argued that human intelligence and expertise depend primarily on unconscious instincts rather than conscious symbolic manipulation, and that these unconscious skills could never be captured in formal rules.


This critique applies as much to neuro-reductionism as it does to AI, if you think about it. Attempting to reverse-engineer the nature of consciousness by understanding the way the brain functions is essentially the same kind of enterprise.
stevecook172001
 
  3  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 05:51 pm
@jeeprs,
Quote:
This critique applies as much to neuro-reductionism as it does to AI, if you think about it. Attempting to reverse-engineer the nature of consciousness by understanding the way the brain functions is essentially the same kind of enterprise.


I would contend the complete reverse of the above is the case. If consciousness is merely an emergent property of a myriad of brain functions operating in concert then simulating those brain functions may, in principle, cause an emergence of a simulated consciousness. This could hardly be described as reverse engineering. It seems to me the only way it could be is if one conceived of consciousness as being a phenomenon that is somehow separate from and/or lies underneath (prior to) brain functioning. Whilst you (or I) may feel that to be the case, there is no evidence of it.

Indeed, I would go further and suggest that "consciousness" doesn't really exist as a thing at all, but is just the label we assign to all of those brain functions acting in concert. As it turns out, for very good evolutionary reasons, one of the primary functions of the brain is to recognise patterns. One of the more peculiar consequences of this is that it can recognise patterns in its own functioning. "Consciousness" is just the label we have given to that recognition.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 07:57 pm
@stevecook172001,
Quote:
Indeed, I would go further and suggest that "consciousness" doesn't really exist as a thing at all


I agree. There is no such thing as consciousness, there is no object which answers to the title.

One of the earlier debates I had with KasieJin about this, he produced research papers the aim of which was to show that in monkey brains, certain recognizable patterns emerged in response to exposure to specific imagery. I think the thrust of it is to show that the brain 'represents objects' in a manner analogous to digital media.

Now the argument I put to him at the time was that these 'recognizable patterns' which are taken to represent objects actually require considerable interpretation on the part of the researcher. The researcher is not seeing (say) 'triangle' or 'square', as such. The researcher is seeing a pattern of electrical activity in the neurons which he is then interpreting as a 'representation'. To what extent it actually is a representation I think will always be open to debate. And also, the 'neural pattern' always take place within the context of en entire nervous system, which is situated within an environment. So whether you can abstract the neural image from this complex and say it is a representation is, I think, highly debatable.

The other thing about neural reductionism, generally, is that it is actually perfectly meaningless. I suppose you can argue that the experience of listening to music, falling in love, enjoying the view, solving a puzzle, are 'nothing but' the operations of various neural patterns (situated, again, within a body, within an environment, and in relationship to various other minds). But what does it bring to the understanding of ourselves? How is it meaningful? What is the point of thinking like that?
0 Replies
 
KaseiJin
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jun, 2010 08:04 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:
Anyway, don't worry, I am not going to keep up this argument, . . .

KaseiJin wrote:

. . . I will be honest, and say up front that I emotionally doubt the truth of that desire--based on past history to present.

Dejavu, this is not . . . for it is absolutely nothing new, and absolutely has occurred some 5 times to date. jeeprs, please, I'm down on bended knees, praying pretty please . . . will you, or will you not, my dear posting friend, give it all you've got...to continue thinking over, discussing, arguing, and presenting this matter in all reasonableness? (or do we close house)


jeeprs wrote:

What is meant by 'materially decisive'? Can a philosophical argument ever be 'materially decisive'? Do you mean, an argument that can be supported by an MRI or a biopsy? Is that 'material'?


Please do allow me here, a little more emotional attachment than is usual for me-perhaps, in my plea for such allowance, mentioning that I have basically allowed such for you, in the past.

For one, it is clearly wrong to consider, much less demand, that philosophy necessarily is limited to realm of mystic consideration in the more [theist-based religious belief system line of mental exercise. As I have told you before, in actually exercising pragmatism, one is doing philosophy.

Secondly, if you are not so familiar with procedures and methods used in the neurosciences, do, by all means, allow me to help you grasp an understanding of that with further breath and depth . . . please. (in other words, please, jeeprs do not go discounting an idea you have gather from the works of those whose agendas leave gaps of what is being done, in the absence of that knowledge)

' Materially' is the adverbial form of material, used here (as I often use it in such contexts) in the degree of weight of evidence. If a likelihood for a proposition's being true is below a certain percentage point, that evidence is said to be 'immaterial,' thus, not carrying enough weight to cause any effect on the outcome of the material evidence.

And then, yes. There are combinations of methods used to both see, visualize, count, time, and reconstruct neural activity and cognition; these primarily are (in no particular order):

CT-computed tomography
PET-positron emission tomography
MRI-magnetic resonance imaging
fMRI-functional MRI
MEMRI-manganese-enhanced MRI
EEG-electroencephalography
MEG-magnetoencephalography
SPECT-single photon emission tomography
ICE-intracranial electrophysiology (this can done at the dendrite level, neuron level, or layer area level)
DTI-deffusion tensor imaging
VSD/LSD LM voltage sensitive dye/light sensitive dye light microscopy
TMS
-transcranial magnetic stimulation
RLT-reversible lesion technique (usually as rTMS)
Postmortem investigation
Third person observation and testing
first person reporting

Then, of course, in many studies (and especially meta studies) a number of methods are used, along with clinical record and other studies. All of this is in comparison with empirical knowledge and observation overlaid with first person report, as has been compiled to date, giving the very accurate understanding of the normal brain build/state--which, again, is a large bell curve within a continuum. The evidence provided by these means gives us an average, and material degree of conclusive evidence upon which understanding is built. This is what I had been speaking of in that post.



jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 04:08 am
@KaseiJin,
Well I guess you're right in predicting that I was not going to abandon the argument.

Quote:
For one, it is clearly wrong to consider, much less demand, that philosophy necessarily is limited to realm of mystic consideration in the more theist-based religious belief system line of mental exercise. As I have told you before, in actually exercising pragmatism, one is doing philosophy.


I don't think I have appealed to any 'mystic considerations' in this thread, have I? I am only appealing to philosophical reasoning. I am simply saying that I believe it is impossible to account for the nature, characteristics, and attributes of consciousness solely in terms of the neurological function. There is nothing 'mystical' about this - it is quite straightforward. Consciousness has many capacities which we are nowhere near modelling, explaining, or understanding in terms of MRI's or PETs or EEG's. It is very difficult to model such apparently simple processes as representation and recollection, let alone irony, humor, embarrassment, intuition, insight, and many more mental abilities which a person utilizes in a typical day.

If you believe that consciousness is something like a computer program and that what it confronts are a series of problems which are amenable to logical solutions of the type that computers are able to solve, then the idea of 'modelling' consciousness as a type of computing process in the neural network is at least reasonable. But the mind is not at all like that at all. It draws on various kinds of unconscious, subconscious and somatic processes at every moment.

The reason I keep referring to Artificial Intelligence research in this context is that it is very hard to replicate the operations of intelligence in an instrument we understand pretty well, namely the digital computer, let alone in the human brain, which is the most complex single object in the known universe.
Quote:
"It is much easier", AI pioneer Terry Winograd said, "to write a program to carry out abstruse formal operations than to capture the common sense of a dog".

A dog knows, through whatever passes for its own sort of common sense, that it cannot leap over a house to reach its master. It presumably knows this as the directly given meaning of houses and leaps — a meaning it experiences all the way down into its muscles and bones. As for you and me, we know, perhaps without ever having thought about it, that a person cannot be in two places at once. We know (to extract a few examples from the literature of cognitive science) that there is no football stadium on the train to Seattle, that giraffes do not wear hats and underwear, and that a book can aid us in propping up a slide projector when the image is too low.
(Logic, DNA and Poetry, Steve Talbott, Antimatters Journal Vol 4, No4)

Quote:
Secondly, if you are not so familiar with procedures and methods used in the neurosciences


I joined a philosophy forum, and am interested in philosophy. Really I have no desire to disparage you, or neurosciences, at all. I am sure that all humanity is indebted to the discoveries of the neurosciences, and that you are very knowledgeable about the discipline. I just fail to understand its relevance to philosophy, on the grounds that I think all such presumptions must be materialist, i.e. 'reducing mind to brain'. I will always argue against that idea, but it is nothing personal.

Anyway, if you can explain a neurological model for irony or humour, then I shall certainly be willing to admit the error of my ways.
KaseiJin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 07:28 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:

Well I guess you're right in predicting that I was not going to abandon the argument.

To be most honest, of course (and I trust you'll be able to feel it) my primary concern would not be so precisely concerned with "was not" (though what had been a probable future at that posting is what has made the past tense now) but with the 'will not,' (as in time continuing) At any rate, I'll play that out a little.

I will stick rather tightly to the thread's theme and topic. Firstly, I will present the range of the more realistic and pragmatic working definition for the term 'mind,' as follows:

Quote:
1. memory; recollection or remembrance 2. what one thinks; opinion 3. a)that which thinks, perceives, feels, wills, etc.; seat or subject of consciousness b) the thinking and perceiving part of consciousness; intellect or intelligence; c) attention; notice d) all of an individual's conscious experiences e) the conscious and the unconscious together as a unit; psyche. (Webster's New World Dictionary 2nd. Ed.)

Mind is the aspect of intellect and consciousness experienced as combinations of thought, perception, memory, emotion, will and imagination, including all unconscious cognitive processes.

1. The element or complex of elements in an individual that feels, perceives, thinks, wills, and especially reasons; 2. the conscious mental events and capabilities in an organism; 3. the organized conscious and unconscious adaptive mental activity of an organism
( Stedman's Medical Dictionary)[color]


What I will demonstrate, is that mind is exactly and only a brain event. Additionally, I will argue that we are talking about mind, and we are talking about brain, and we are making assertions and claims regarding these--for which reason and purpose, we will surely want to make accurate and supportable claims.


stevecook172001
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 11:59 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:

Well I guess you're right in predicting that I was not going to abandon the argument.

Quote:
For one, it is clearly wrong to consider, much less demand, that philosophy necessarily is limited to realm of mystic consideration in the more theist-based religious belief system line of mental exercise. As I have told you before, in actually exercising pragmatism, one is doing philosophy.


I don't think I have appealed to any 'mystic considerations' in this thread, have I? I am only appealing to philosophical reasoning. I am simply saying that I believe it is impossible to account for the nature, characteristics, and attributes of consciousness solely in terms of the neurological function. There is nothing 'mystical' about this - it is quite straightforward. Consciousness has many capacities which we are nowhere near modelling, explaining, or understanding in terms of MRI's or PETs or EEG's. It is very difficult to model such apparently simple processes as representation and recollection, let alone irony, humor, embarrassment, intuition, insight, and many more mental abilities which a person utilizes in a typical day.

If you believe that consciousness is something like a computer program and that what it confronts are a series of problems which are amenable to logical solutions of the type that computers are able to solve, then the idea of 'modelling' consciousness as a type of computing process in the neural network is at least reasonable. But the mind is not at all like that at all. It draws on various kinds of unconscious, subconscious and somatic processes at every moment.

The reason I keep referring to Artificial Intelligence research in this context is that it is very hard to replicate the operations of intelligence in an instrument we understand pretty well, namely the digital computer, let alone in the human brain, which is the most complex single object in the known universe.
Quote:
"It is much easier", AI pioneer Terry Winograd said, "to write a program to carry out abstruse formal operations than to capture the common sense of a dog".

A dog knows, through whatever passes for its own sort of common sense, that it cannot leap over a house to reach its master. It presumably knows this as the directly given meaning of houses and leaps — a meaning it experiences all the way down into its muscles and bones. As for you and me, we know, perhaps without ever having thought about it, that a person cannot be in two places at once. We know (to extract a few examples from the literature of cognitive science) that there is no football stadium on the train to Seattle, that giraffes do not wear hats and underwear, and that a book can aid us in propping up a slide projector when the image is too low.
(Logic, DNA and Poetry, Steve Talbott, Antimatters Journal Vol 4, No4)

Quote:
Secondly, if you are not so familiar with procedures and methods used in the neurosciences


I joined a philosophy forum, and am interested in philosophy. Really I have no desire to disparage you, or neurosciences, at all. I am sure that all humanity is indebted to the discoveries of the neurosciences, and that you are very knowledgeable about the discipline. I just fail to understand its relevance to philosophy, on the grounds that I think all such presumptions must be materialist, i.e. 'reducing mind to brain'. I will always argue against that idea, but it is nothing personal.

Anyway, if you can explain a neurological model for irony or humour, then I shall certainly be willing to admit the error of my ways.


Show me a dead brain and I will show you a dead ironist

Show me a dead brain and I will show you a dead humorist

Show me a dead brain and I will show you a dead consciousness

Show me a dead brain and I will show you a dead mind

Given a complete lack of evidence to the contrary to be the case, it is incumbent on you to suggest how consciousness might exist independently of the material brain.

We can, of course, quite legitimately get into a myriad of arguments about how exactly a conscious mind might arise as a consequence of the material brain or even debate whether such things as "consciousness" or "mind" even exist. But, to reiterate, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever for their existence outside of this material constraint no matter what contorted philosophical rhetoric is employed.
Khethil
 
  2  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 01:10 pm
It's probably a good idea to keep an open "mind" on this one, I'll add.

But for me personally, if I think of all the processes that go into what we collectively call "consciousness" I might come up with processes such as decision making, memory, sensing, feeling, emotion and instinct - all as a constantly-interacting mix that together constitutes consciousness. You could also go the route by looking at its antithesis: Unconscious and get a good idea what we're talking about.

I really liked the "University" example. All these components, acting in concert represent what we call the university. We know that the functioning brain is awash in bio electric traffic from and to all parts at a fantastic rate. I believe its within this dynamic of interaction that lies the person who recognizes me and says, "Hi, how are you doing?"

The insult that this all is "reductionist" doesn't much stick. I point to an apple and proclaim, "Its reductionist to call that a fruit!"; yet, that is what it is. As we define or define elements of a-thing, is it "reductionist" to say what we know (or belief) such is? I realize that for those who want to believe past the physical that this might sound unappealing, but this is our/my opinion - the way I believe such to be.

I recognize that what constitutes this reality is - for all I can tell - material or physical. The ancient egyptions believed that the purpose of the brain was to produce mucosa for the nose because they didn't know and had no reason - given their understanding - to believe otherwise. The fact that we have yet to place all that is consciousness on a Power Point Presentation means, unfortunately, that for many it'll remain a narcisisstic point of mystical fascination. That's fine - I'm fascinated with its abilities too - but just because I can't see "wind" by itself, doesn't mean it's reductionist to view it as moving components of air.

Could the consciousness be something more than the sum total of the brain's abilities? Absolutely! For me, and at present, I've no reason to believe otherwise.

Thanks
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 04:05 pm
@stevecook172001,
But, Steve, show me a dead television set, and I will not be able to show you anything. The broadcast is going out as it always does, but this particular tuner is defunct, and incapable of receiving anything.

Believing that the brain originates consciousness is exactly analogous to that. It is like looking into the television for where the show is.

The idea that we can make any coherent statements about the nature of conscious experience by the analysis of neurobiology is completely discredited. If you brought up a human infant in complete isolation from the environment, in the dark, tube-fed, said infant would never develop consciousness. Consciousness only develops in the context of a brain, in a live human body, in a real environment. This is why embodied cognition and neuro-anthropology are rapidly becoming the preferred disciplinary matrixes within which to examine the nature of consciousness.

Besides, how does a live brain generate irony, humour, meaning, and so on. Oh I know, it evolved. Right. Well I am extremely skeptical about the thoroughness of that explanation also. I certainly believe it did evolve, but I think the current theoretical matrix within which it is explained, does not come up with anything like the detail that is needed to understand the subtle attributes of human consciousness. So I am not proposing an alternative explanation for it. I am saying it is not known.

But in any case the 'dead brain' argument is not going to cut it.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 04:12 pm
@KaseiJin,
Quote:
What I will demonstrate, is that mind is exactly and only a brain event.


I have been meaning to ask, KJ, what would be a defeater for this argument? What kind of data would falsify this hypothesis? I have something in mind (no irony intended) but I would be interested to see your input on it before I go looking for it.

Incidentally, I am in general agreement with the definition you have given of mind. Mind can be defined in the way you have suggested, and if it is defined that way, there are many things that can be said about it. As you well know, however, I believe there are other levels of both mind, and 'explanation', so I can't take that particular definition as exhaustive or inclusive.
stevecook172001
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 04:32 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:

But, Steve, show me a dead television set, and I will not be able to show you anything. The broadcast is going out as it always does, but this particular tuner is defunct, and incapable of receiving anything.

Believing that the brain originates consciousness is exactly analogous to that. It is like looking into the television for where the show is.


Whilst the above is a colourful metaphor, it has absolutely no evidential basis for comparison to how a brain works or how consciousness might operate. It's just wish fulfilment on your part. You want it to be like that, in other words. That's fine, of course, as long as you can demonstrate plausibly why is should be like that.

But, you can't.

Quote:
The idea that we can make any coherent statements about the nature of conscious experience by the analysis of neurobiology is completely discredited. If you brought up a human infant in complete isolation from the environment, in the dark, tube-fed, said infant would never develop consciousness. Consciousness only develops in the context of a brain, in a live human body, in a real environment. This is why embodied cognition and neuro-anthropology are rapidly becoming the preferred disciplinary matrixes within which to examine the nature of consciousness.


But, neurobiology by and large does not attempt to make (on your terms) any coherent statements about consciousness. What you appear to be saying here is that neuroscience is not able to explain your wish-fulfilling conception of what "consciousness" might be. That’s a bit like a religious believer berating science for not explaining how "God" exists. Science does not attempt do so because it's impossible to apply a rational explanation for an irrational phenomenon (other than providing an explanation for why a psychological need for such a phenomenon might exist)

Quote:
Besides, how does a live brain generate irony, humour, meaning, and so on. Oh I know, it evolved. Right. Well I am extremely sceptical about the thoroughness of that explanation also. I certainly believe it did evolve, but I think the current theoretical matrix within which it is explained, does not come up with anything like the detail that is needed to understand the subtle attributes of human consciousness. So I am not proposing an alternative explanation for it. I am saying it is not known.


A living brain generates irony and other complex psychological phenomena via a complex interaction between the physical, information-processing system that the brain is and the material environment that is providing the information. Some aspects of that information processing are informed by hard-wired information-processing predispostions in the brain. Some aspects of it are informed by purely learning. However, the very capacity to learn is a hard-wired predisposition that has evolved in the brain over time.

In any event, your suggestion that consciousness does not develop without a stimulating environment conducive to such development is hardly an argument for consciousness existing outside of those material constraints is it?
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 05:14 pm
@stevecook172001,
Quote:
But, you can't.


I can, but it is a book-length argument, and I really don't have time to go into all the intracacies. So just to state my position succinctly, I will never accede to genetic or neurological determinism, materialist accounts of human nature, or the idea that scientific accounts of consciousness are superior to those found in the various philosophical and spiritual traditions.
KaseiJin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 05:38 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:

Incidentally, I am in general agreement with the definition you have given of mind. Mind can be defined in the way you have suggested, . . . As you well know, however, I believe there are other levels of both mind, and 'explanation', so I can't take that particular definition as exhaustive or inclusive.


Appreciate the come back on that, jeeprs. Now I do intend to be quite strict with the processing here, this time, and will ask you to spell this out so that we can clear up the definition. In maintaining a good, well-developed, and mature methodology in our discussion, we cannot allow for mid-stream shifts of sense in the definition we are using, so that'll have to taken care of firstly. (and that, in itself, may end up taking up a page or so, I'd bet)

You laid out your points very clearly, stevecook172001, and I do appreciate your contributions.

Now . . ., I have just noticed (on the extra window I'd opened to be able to see beyond the 'posting window' back into the thread, that there as been a kind of (I'm gonna call it this) a fatal response. Due to the nature of that, I'll probably shift in my posting outlook disposition, and, additionally, will very likely shift back over to the other thread (since more of a foundation has been laid there, and the more proper build of argument (connective flow from bottom-up) is already in place.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 06:44 pm
I might go back to that other thread, but one of the books I think I will cite is Why Us? How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves, by James le Fanu.

In it, he makes the argument that both the Human Genome Project and neuroimaging technologies have together failed to explain 'what makes us human'.

I have read this book and found it very convincing. A couple of observations: neither he nor I are ID theorists. His book does not make a case for a god in the populist sense. Second, his book takes a lot of time and cites a lot of literature; it is very difficult to compress it into a few paras on a forum.

Finally, one of Le Fanu's points is purely philosophical. 'Scientists', he writes, 'don't do wonder'. Theirs is an attitude to life in which I find there is an unstated hostility to anything deemed mystical or spiritual. Now I can understand how useful that attitude is, in regards to the investigation of physical forces and objects. I understand how the dead hand of tradition has often stifled genuine scientific curiosity and progress. I get all that. But on the other hand, the nature of human consciousness is a completely different order of question to that of the composition of matter (which incidentally is still unfinalised) or the forces which govern physical masses.

Anyway I will come back to that other thread with some 'material evidence'.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 06:48 pm
@stevecook172001,
Quote:
In any event, your suggestion that consciousness does not develop without a stimulating environment conducive to such development is hardly an argument for consciousness existing outside of those material constraints is it?


But you can make an argument that the material constraints within which consciousness develops are themselves the outcome of something very like 'mind' in the first place. It would seem to me that the alternative is to appeal to some kind of bottom-up causality: that somehow molecules and chemicals spontaneously generate intelligence as a kind of chemical reaction. I prefer the pan-psychist view that intelligence is something like a latent characteristic of the universe which becomes actualized through the physical processes of evolution. 'What is latent become patent'.
0 Replies
 
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 07:04 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:


Finally, one of Le Fanu's points is purely philosophical. 'Scientists', he writes, 'don't do wonder'.

Yea, so we arrive at: 'prove to me that my assumptions are incorrect.'

One's assumptions no doubt have practical value. I'm not too interested in disproving them, even if I could.

A few philosophical steps down on the assumption ladder: I am interested in wondering and exploring. I'm starting to think a group with that shared interest would be nice. Maybe?
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 07:18 pm
@Arjuna,
Quote:
I am interested in wondering and exploring. I'm starting to think a group with that shared interest would be nice. Maybe?


I couldn't possibly disagree - but isn't that what us philosophers do? As distinct from the neuro-bots who are busy trying to show up wonder on an MRI scan? Very Happy
KaseiJin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 10:11 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:

I couldn't possibly disagree - but isn't that what us philosophers do? As distinct from the neuro-bots who are busy trying to show up wonder on an MRI scan?


This appeal to emotion--and it is ONLY emotional tagging--is totally ridiculous, jeeprs, in that it is being allowed to lead to an attempt at drawing conclusions which are very baseless, actually. I would really, really hope that you could rein in such nonsensical emotionally stemmed comments, because they lead to no good. I can tell you that your hippocampus volume can very accurately be measured, and quite well hypothesized on as to activity degree due to connectivity, and then can be listened to by electrodes and disengauged by deep brain stimulation. And why? All because of the act of wondering.

Do you now have a little better understanding of the truthfulness of my earlier concern? It is more than only wrong to suggest, much less demand, that mystic concerns are the rule of thumb by which discussion of things related to that organ in our cranial cavities are to be measured. We now have circumstantial evidence of such a tendency, betrayed by your emotionally spurred words. I am asking, please, jeeprs, that we make an effort to do honest wondering, and that will entail a certain control over mere emotional involvement. (your temporal lobes [especially left medial] is obviously very healthy, and well connected with your subcortical limbic structures)




ps. James le Fanu's work appears to be a little off-the-wall-ish . . . I would be interested in seeing his arguments, however. I'll answer to his concerns, as best I can, then, with the likes of:

The Journal of Neuroscience; The Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience; The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America; Science; Consciousness and Cognition; Brain and Cognition; Cognition; NeuroImage; Frontiers in Neuroscience; Journal of the Neurological Sciences; Trends in Neurosciences; Trends in Cognitive sciences; Nature; Brain and Development; various annuals from The New York Academy of the Sciences; Dana Foundation press releases; etc., etc.

... and texts/books like:
The Cognitive Neurosciences 4th ed (2009) M. Gazzaniga ed.in chief (MIT press); The Neurology of Consciousness-Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropathology (2009) Laureys and Tononi eds (Academic press); Cognition, Brain, and Consciousness-Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience 2nd ed (and first) (2010 & 2007) Baars, Gage eds. (Academic press); Handbook of Functional Neuroimaging of Cognition (2006) Cabeza & Kingstone eds. (MIT press); Clinical Neuroscience-The Neurobiological foundations of mental health (2005) Lambert & Kinsley eds. (Worth press); Evidence-Based Neurology-Management of Neurological Disorders (2007) Candelise ed. in chief (Blackwell publishing); Treating the Brain-What the Best Doctors Know (2009) Bradly (Dana press); Sex Differences in the Brain (2008) Beckor, Derkley, Geary, Hampson, Herman, Young (Oxford); Sensory Transduction (2007) Fain ed. (Sinawer Associates); Neuroscience-Exploring the Brain 3rd ed. (2007) Bear, Connors, Paradiso (Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins); Neuroanatomy-Text and Atlas 3rd e. (2003) Martin (McGraw-Hill); Human Physiology 10th ed. (2006) Widmaier, Raff, Strang (McGraw-Hill); and a few more, not to mention a number of encyclopedias.
Minimal
 
  2  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 11:53 pm
@jeeprs,
From what I have gleaned from this discourse - keep in mind I am currently eating lunch and selectively scanning posts -, I am getting the impression jeeprs rejects eliminative materialism[1]'s dismissal of alternate description of "mind" outside neurobiology.

I think the difficulty here is how we are treating this understanding of mind too much like an objective and subjective dichotomy. I believe this is unnecessary to some extent. Although we are objective, that is having physical causation, we have subjective cognition. You can dissect and analyse the basis and this will lay the empirical understanding for what allows for this emergence of subjective cognition. The parts versus the whole.

We have this ontological separation between objective foundation and subjective emergence, chemicals and emotions. However, they are both the same. Although we understand how something functions at a mechanical level, this does not necessarily leave us constrained to such in terms of description. Pragmatically speaking, we do not go "I feel happy because of the increase of dopamine in my system." I think jeeprs argues there is this separation, or disparity, between knowledge of objective foundation (that is the dopamine) and how we personally describe the chemical foundation ("happy"). Philosophy is personal to some extent and I do not believe jeeprs is making the allusion to mysticism as the only philosophical description of "mind" but suggests there is no need to limit our description of "mind" to the jargon of neuroscience -- purely reductionistic terminology. We can in fact use holistic terms such as "happy", "sad" and even, dare I say it, "mind".

You two seem to be literally arguing over labels.
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliminative_materialism
 

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