What is "Mind?"

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WBraun

climber
May 18, 2014 - 12:22pm PT
You keep saying there's no Authority yet keep pointing to your authority .....
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 18, 2014 - 12:29pm PT
than I've failed in my writing

I am a proponent of the physicalist point of view, but I have not said that there is a definitive answer to the question 'What is "Mind?"'

if you want to play "gotcha" then I'm not that interested... if you want to discuss the difficulties of the two viewpoints on answering the question I think it would be more interesting

if you think you have THE answer, then you won't be open to a discussion
rrider

climber
Mckinleyville, Ca
May 18, 2014 - 12:35pm PT
Ed, that did not fail; it was eloquent, and needed to be said.
WBraun

climber
May 18, 2014 - 12:37pm PT
If you want to play "gotcha"


That was your interpretation.

I just made an observation .....
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
May 18, 2014 - 12:37pm PT
No Braun.

As Fart pointed out above there is the idea then there is the force of charisma that blows the horn.

Not for the life of me do I detect an emphasis on Ed claiming authority rather than process.

At the risk of provoking a blown gasket or two, I'd just like to point out that the authoritarian personality tends to focus on the force of charisma as the only force work anything, which likely accounts for the de emphasis on evidence and substantiation for any of the myriad of authoritarian world views, while gravitating like a moth to flame to the most hair brained concepts and ideas so long as it launches forth from a giant personality.

Like joseph Smith and the freakingly crazy success of mormonism
Tvash

climber
Seattle
May 18, 2014 - 12:48pm PT
It's kind of wonderful that we argue about concepts that require the most honed (or smoothed, depending on one's POV) portions of the most sophisticated, most recently evolved parts of our brains - with pure reptilian brain responses - shaming and showboating, mostly.

For me, the nanosecond someone trots out their credentials to shore up an argument that apparently, in their view, cannot stand with such propping, my only response is to feel embarrassment for them - a classic 'as-if', emotion induced feeling, according to Demasio. Again - wonderful!

I think this observation strengthens my support for an evolutionary take on the nature of consciousness, but then, I would think that, wouldn't I?

Once one wades through all the swagger and circumstance, however, good things do emerge. I'm enjoying a good read on the topic (I got lucky - because WOW there is a whole lot of chaff on the topic out there) on the new Kindle I finally ponied up for - both things I'd long planned to do. For whatever reason, this thread tipped over the edge from idea to action - and that makes my life management systems happy.



WBraun

climber
May 18, 2014 - 12:51pm PT
Bruce you knuckle head.

I said he's pointing to his authority which is the sum substance of physicalist point of view.

I didn't say he WAS authority.

You can't even read and need to knee jerk onto every cliff you come to and jump off and then splat on to the pavement below.

You're the coyote in road runner.
Tvash

climber
Seattle
May 18, 2014 - 12:58pm PT
And now this from our sponsors:

For me, the difficulty lies in considering subjective consciousness - my experience of the color 'blue', for example, as not being any different (other than scale and complexity) from any other attribute of a physical processes that produce the same - the charge and timing of a synaptic firing, for example.

It 'feels' different. I want it to be different - but is it, really? Can it be? Does the obvious fact that it resides in my mind, and my mind alone require it to be different?

No. That doesn't mean it isn't different, but subjective uniqueness certainly doesn't prove that it is.

I'm neither neurologist nor philosopher, but I've found that the best debaters are those who can figure out a way to represent complex ideas by cooking them down to their essential questions, without resorting to unleashing a Woonami of abstruse jargon as bludgeon for 'the win'.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
May 18, 2014 - 12:59pm PT
thanks for the clarification.... i think. All the same I'm still not sure Ed is claiming any sort of supreme authority, personality or idea. As he said "What is Mind" is uncertain at best. I believe is merely advocating a continued pursuit of process, or even a discovery of process if it ever comes to that. Thats my take and Maybe Eds is in fact different, but either way I really doubt he thinks that the best charismatic persuasive effect wins!

And I'm not kidding about authoritarian personalities. Thats why they like to yell and threaten you with guns. Very persuasive technique when substance is lacking

^^^^ what Tvash said. Communication is almost everything. If the bullet is the truth, the gun and shooter deliver it, or not.
WBraun

climber
May 18, 2014 - 01:07pm PT
I'm still not sure Ed is claiming any sort of supreme authority

I didn't say he was either.

There was no "Supreme Authority" anywhere in my post.

Just plain "authority"

Try to focus dude is what Largo was trying to say in most of his posts also.

You keep trying add sh!t here and there that isn't there.

Two monks come to a river.

They meet a beautiful young woman there.

The senior monk carries her across the river and then sets her down, then leave and go on their journey.

A short while later ...

The neophyte monk tells the senior monk "We monks do not deal with women".

The senior monk then says; "Then why are you still carrying her" .....
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 18, 2014 - 01:07pm PT
I said he's pointing to his authority which is the sum substance of physicalist point of view.

no, I didn't say that, however, I asked that we might discuss both the points the physicalists make, and the points made by the panpsychists.

I don't think that "authority" is the "sum substance" of the physicalists point of view, unless I don't understand your use of "authority." There are basic points that both viewpoints make regarding the question that do not refer to the other viewpoints failure.

Tvash

climber
Seattle
May 18, 2014 - 01:09pm PT
I like watching little things hit other little things.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
May 18, 2014 - 01:21pm PT
righty o I think I can follow that one ( just take my word for it) but if I didn't would you be sure that missing "the truth" was my failure or yours? What I'm always hearing is the complaint / observation / assertion that the "materialist" just doesn't get it. The spiritualist can get the mechanics of the material just fine but the door to the magic world of woo is just beyond the ken of the science guy.

An intriguing idea, yet like the story of a stock promoter or Mormon soothe sayer, maybe just a little convenient in the sales pitch. Bullets kill in a very material way. If there is indeed something else to it, maybe we'll find out after our brains are blown out but if you really want to convince us here and now you simply gotta up your communications game if you can't up your evidence game. I think thats what Tvash was getting at.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 18, 2014 - 01:25pm PT
you could ask the fundamental question: is "consciousness" an intrinsic property of the universe?

and justify your answer. If the answer is an "opinion" than it should be stated as such, if it is a "proof" then provide the supporting information.
Tvash

climber
Seattle
May 18, 2014 - 01:41pm PT
What each region of our neurological system does is reasonably well known from studying people with damage to that system. Most of us on this thread (save the religious, perhaps) agree that if you kill the relevant tissue, the carnival stops.

The question, it seems, is whether or not the newly shorn sheep fantasy I'm currently entertaining - WITH APPROPRIATE MORAL DISGUST, OF COURSE - is all that much different than the light emitted when a lamp is turned on. Does that subjective thought inhabit an extra-physical space beyond the neural machinations that obviously (from brain injury studies) produce it, or is it just 'light from a lamp' that is trapped inside my head (currently, but perhaps not forever, given the pace of technology).

This is, indeed, a very interesting question.

Separate from this central question, there is also a bit of junk science being presented - the body as receiver/prism/woo-ometer for some universal sentience field - an idea pulled from the more general 'quantum physics is weird, and so is consciousness, so let's mix and match' bucket. This kind of stuff exemplifies the very animal desire to be out in front of the pack with a truly 'novel' idea (that, like religion, is conveniently immune from testing) - and for the less innovate, to subscribe to such 'alternative' ideas. I'm not so sure such ideas constitute a serious run at doing the 'heavy lifting' to solve the problem, however. Our body-brains as Higgs Bosons for that universal sentience field? I don't know about you, but that's a re-purposing that seems a bit too convenient to be taken very seriously to me.

It's an old idea - the amorphous, universal spiritual 'energy' - the ever nebulous 'something out there I can feel but I can't articulate'.

But a 'sentience field' that pre-existed the evolution of sentient beings?

That's God talkin' through ya.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 18, 2014 - 03:19pm PT
if you strip away all your unnecessary prose, what you are left with is the opinion that there is no need for nature to have the intrinsic property of "consciousness"

you can't say it isn't true, and by construction those that argue that it is true obviously base that argument on a foundation that is not false (that is the nature of our logical discourse).

you point out, perhaps counter to your opinion, that universal fields exist and that they play a fundamental role in the universe we perceive. The Higgs field gives rise to mass (in the simplest exposition), it pervades all of the universe. It is at least consistent with recent measurements, directly, and the consequence of a number of inferences based on an interpretation of the physical observations that were made 40 to 50 years ago.

we face a similar possibility that the various fields that are necessary to explain our current cosmology might be lurking out there to be found, and that they have a profound influence on our physical universe.

but this would be a "physicalists" interpretation of "universal consciousness" that is not what the argument is about (though it is interesting to contemplate as a possible reconciliation). The reason that this isn't likely is simply that we do not know, empirically, that "consciousness" is universal. We have a lot of reasons to think it is not a necessary attribute of the physical universe (we haven't had to invoke it to explain that universe, except in the case of "consciousness").



the possibility that "consciousness" exists beyond the physical is the issue that properly describes the panpsychists argument.

I think the physicalist objection to this is the hypothesis that anything that results in a physical action has a physical cause.

Thus the panpsychists discussion of "thought" or "experience"? If it is not physical, then it is not necessarily subject to physical cause.
Tvash

climber
Seattle
May 18, 2014 - 03:52pm PT
To be fair, none of the prose here is necessary.

But unnecessary ad hominems aside (guilty, although I consider mine more in the satire category, which necessarily requires a bit of humor as a sweetener), I never used the word 'true', nor would I presume to, so there's that strawman left out standing in its universal field.

I would observe, as you have Ed, that it's a matter of evidence. No evidence for the sentience field, plenty for the Higgs, etc. Ideas with no evidence get less love. Are universal gravitation and dark energy weird? Yes. Are they completely understood? No. Does this weirdness inform the possibility of a universal sentience field? No more than a universal ice cream field, really. IS THERE ICE CREAM ON OTHER WORLDS?

This could be yet another internet case of violent agreement, I think.

And I'm not so sure this is only a 'physicalist' vs 'non-physicalist' one. It seems there's a layer in between - a pure subjective experience of consciousness that has a physical cause (kill the neurons, kill the experience), but due to its inherent subjectivity cannot be studied through the scientific method. This is a 'can't objectively study the last (subjective) step' problem, not a 'no physical causality' one.

I don't subscribe to this, but I'll admit that it is a bit of a Gordian knot at this point.

We may never be able to 'port' one's consciousness into another, given the uniqueness and inseparability of each body + nervous system, but molecule by molecule matter replication or completely artificial (replication ready) bodies may be possible in the future, so who knows?

Back to your point and to further belabor mine: things that obey no physical laws are, by definition, magic.

I don't believe in magic.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 18, 2014 - 04:00pm PT
once again, I think you intentionally use a disparaging term "magic" which is the power of supernatural influence.

the interesting limitation is that supernatural influence of the non-physical is allowable to a physicalist.

once again, if things like "consciousness" are not physical, then they could be susceptible to supernatural influence, magic.

thus the line of argument regarding the nature of "consciousness" or "mind" or "thought" or "experience." Are these things physical?

Tvash

climber
Seattle
May 18, 2014 - 04:02pm PT
One man's disparaging is another's brevity and accuracy, and that's OK. I do use the word magic because that is the most concise, appropriate word for the job. Euphemisms aren't my thing.

FYI - I think you meant to write the opposite with regards to physicalists.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 18, 2014 - 04:09pm PT
a physicalist has really nothing to say regarding the unphysical...

the physicalist may doubt that there is anything "unphysical" but obviously if the domains are separate and not interacting then the physicalist would probably not care, obviously. Maybe think of reading fiction, do you care if it is real or not? true or not?

---

as far as language goes, if you want to get your point across, you must consider you audience. it's a matter of intent, if you want to aggravate your audience you use one set of words, if you want to co-opt your audience you use another...

you also used the word "believe," where does that fit into your scientific methodology?
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