What is "Mind?"


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Trad climber
Golden, CO
May 23, 2019 - 03:44pm PT
I get behind. I just now read zBrown's post and link. I very much disagree with this.
To be clear: the combination problem is the key component of the more general ‘hard problem’ of consciousness. The combination problem is the main problem facing both materialist and panpsychist approaches to consciousness today because both have struggled to explain how simpler constituents combine into a unitary consciousness. There have been various approaches to solving the combination problem, but none that have proposed, in my view, a fully satisfactory philosophical solution alongside a proposed research programme.
What I disagree with is the presumed equivalence of the two views. Although it is true that we don't know, exactly, how we ultimately make our decisions, we have lots of evolutionary examples of simple things evolving into complex things and complex things being built of component parts. Hundreds of thousands of examples I would have to think. Doesn't seem like much of a conceptual leap to propose that mind is built of component parts. To be clear, this is a diametrically opposing view of mind as being built from the ground up rather than having always existed or something (panpsychism).

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
May 23, 2019 - 03:44pm PT
[Click to View YouTube Video]

Come, come with me to the old churchyard
I so well know that paths 'neath the soft green sward
Friends in there that we want stay regard;
We can trace out their names in the old churchyard
Mourn not for them, for their trials are o'er
And why weep for those who will weep no more?
For sweet is their sleep, though cold and hard
Their pillows lay deep in the old churchyard
I know that it's vain when our friends depart
To breathe kind words to a broken heart;
And I know that the joy of life is marred
When we follow lost friends to the old churchyard
But were I at rest 'neath yonder tree
(Oh), why would you weep, my friends, for me?
I'm so weary, (so way) and worn, why would you retard
The peace that I seek in the old churchyard?
Why weep for me, for I'm ready(anxious) to go
To that haven of rest where no tears ever flow;
And I fear not to enter that dark lonely tomb
Where our Savior has lain and conquered the gloom
I rest in the hope that one bright day
Sunshine will burst to these prisons of clay
And (old)Gabriel's trumpet and then voice of the Lord
Will wake up the dead in the old churchyard.
Songwriters: Traditional / Olivia Clio Chaney
The Old Churchyard lyrics © WARNER/CHAPPELL MUSIC LTD

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
May 23, 2019 - 03:54pm PT
Don't worry, Greg.

No one is ever going to propose a fully satisfactory philosophical solution, let alone alongside a proposed research programme.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - May 23, 2019 - 04:02pm PT
Doesn't seem like much of a conceptual leap to propose that mind is built of component parts.

Every example you can possibly make for a bit torrent version of mind, built up from smaller parts, is based on external objects, to which this model works well save the origin of those parts, the smallest of which arose out of a vacuum.

When you directly observe mind, you can identify elements like feelings and thoughts and sense data, but you can't tease them out of the whole, which is seamless.

Another problem with thinking of mind as "always being there," or always existing, is that mind never existed in the way you are considering in the first place, as some stand alone or separate thing or phenomenon existing within physical reality.

The rational mind can get jiggy with the belief that physical reality exists separate from mind, but not the other way around, which is making the same mistake.

May 23, 2019 - 05:12pm PT
No one is ever going to propose a fully satisfactory philosophical solution,

NOT TRUE .... it's already been done billions of years ago.

The gross materialists always are in extremely poor fund of knowledge and never do any REAL research .....

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
May 23, 2019 - 06:18pm PT
it's already been done billions of years ago.

I was talking about human philosophers, and overreaching to make my feelings clear.

You are one of the good ones, Werner. Glad to hear that you may show up on the Happiegrrrl forum.

Ice climber
May 23, 2019 - 06:38pm PT
I joined Jan's new thread, thanks Happie

But I had to sign up as WBraun [what was my (or his) mind thinking?]

Now we gon' have a real mess on our hands


I know the real Bruce has left his material body
But I will do my best to carry on his endeavors


Just What is "WAVE"?


the title is just a pipe dream

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 25, 2019 - 10:30am PT

see also:

Criticality between Cortical States

Antonio J. Fontenele, Nivaldo A. P. de Vasconcelos, Thaís Feliciano, Leandro A. A. Aguiar, Carina Soares-Cunha, Bárbara Coimbra, Leonardo Dalla Porta, Sidarta Ribeiro, Ana João Rodrigues, Nuno Sousa, Pedro V. Carelli, and Mauro Copelli

Phys. Rev. Lett. 122, 208101 – Published 21 May 2019

Since the first measurements of neuronal avalanches, the critical brain hypothesis has gained traction. However, if the brain is critical, what is the phase transition? For several decades, it has been known that the cerebral cortex operates in a diversity of regimes, ranging from highly synchronous states (with higher spiking variability) to desynchronized states (with lower spiking variability). Here, using both new and publicly available data, we test independent signatures of criticality and show that a phase transition occurs in an intermediate value of spiking variability, in both anesthetized and freely moving animals. The critical exponents point to a universality class different from mean-field directed percolation. Importantly, as the cortex hovers around this critical point, the avalanche exponents follow a linear relation that encompasses previous experimental results from different setups and is reproduced by a model.
"These results open new experimental as well as theoretical avenues. On one hand, the present results can guide further development of models for criticality in the brain. On the other hand, it remains to be investigated whether densely recorded activity in awake animals will yield similar results. Moreover, the present results highlight the relevance of intermediate levels of spiking variability for state-dependent processing in the primary sensory cortex. We propose that, if the cortex demands both modes of operation (synchronized and desynchronized) for different functions [30], it might be advantageous to self- organize near and hover over the critical point between them."

see also the synopsis: https://physics.aps.org/synopsis-for/10.1103/PhysRevLett.122.208101

'Their data reveal spiking “avalanches”—spikes that occur in rapid succession and that are preceded and followed by silence. The number of spikes in each avalanche determined the “size,” and the duration of each avalanche determined the “lifetime.” As the rat brains went from a synchronous to an asynchronous state, the team found that the distributions of the avalanche size and lifetime followed power laws, signaling so-called scale invariance—a classic signature of a critical point. Moreover, the exponents of their observed power laws differ from those found in previous experiments, indicating that the phase transition belongs to another “universality class.” The researchers don’t yet know, however, what that class might be.'

so what? interestingly, this provides an surprising result, that the collective activity of neurons in the brain are not stochastic (not news) but they are organized in states of activity, which undergo a transition from one phase to another phase exhibiting properties of phase transitions that are well characterized in statistical mechanics. The nature of the phase, and the actual phase change itself is the surprise, as it apparently belongs to a new class of phase transitions. But they do rule out the previous paradigm of the phase transition between "active" and "quiescent" states by "mean-field directed percolation (DP)"

This is a tiny bit of evidence supporting the notion of emergence, that is the transitions of the brain neuronal activity in the organized activities of the brain constituents (the neurons and their connectome) to states that are not apparent at that microscopic level.

This bit of evidence doesn't answer the OP question, of course, but certainly supports the hypothesis of the brain exhibiting behavior from the coordinated activity of its bits that seems "more than" the sum of the bits (individually).
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 25, 2019 - 05:59pm PT
on the possibility of proving something thought to have been impossible to prove...
maybe Gill can make some interesting images with it... for some other time and place, of course.


Jensen polynomials for the Riemann zeta function and other sequences

Michael Griffin, Ken Ono, Larry Rolen, and Don Zagier


In 1927, Pólya proved that the Riemann hypothesis is equivalent to the hyperbolicity of Jensen polynomials for the Riemann zeta function ζ(s) at its point of symmetry. This hyperbolicity has been proved for degrees d≤3. We obtain an asymptotic formula for the central derivatives ζ⁽²ⁿ⁾(½) that is accurate to all orders, which allows us to prove the hyperbolicity of all but finitely many of the Jensen polynomials of each degree. Moreover, we establish hyperbolicity for all d≤8. These results follow from a general theorem which models such polynomials by Hermite polynomials. In the case of the Riemann zeta function, this proves the Gaussian unitary ensemble random matrix model prediction in derivative aspect. The general theorem also allows us to prove a conjecture of Chen, Jia, and Wang on the partition function.


Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
May 25, 2019 - 07:12pm PT
Thank you, Ed. Much more interesting than whether an omnipotent God could make a rock too heavy for Him to lift. And should remind people that it is easy to say that such-or-such is impossible.

May 25, 2019 - 07:49pm PT
Nothing is impossible to prove, as everything can be proven.

God has been proven since Time Immemorial.

The gross materialists are always in very poor fund of knowledge ....

May 25, 2019 - 09:46pm PT
"maybe Gill can make some interesting images with it..."

That's a sophisticated result, but my images arise from compositions of more complicated functions than polynomials. Even the one I'm working on now (f(z)=az+b+c/z) may be "too holomorphic" to work.

I am pleased with the civilized tone of Happie's forum, and will be posting to her threads.

Santa Ana
May 25, 2019 - 10:07pm PT
jogill noted RZ function demonstrates Quantum Entanglement. Still human eyes I read don't perceive more than 256 colors. Why do we need color cards advertising millions of colors when our minds and eyes don't perceive that many?

Boulder climber
May 26, 2019 - 08:45am PT
As someone who literally grew up around math department I appreciate this joke:

Q: Why do they keep maintaining Math departments at universities?
A: Because it's cheaper than locking them up in insane asylum

Social climber
Southern Arizona
May 26, 2019 - 09:16am PT
eeyonkee: Can mental speculators join? I mean, that's my whole game.

Very good, funny. :-) Other than Werner, we're all mental speculators.

Be well.

Social climber
Southern Arizona
May 26, 2019 - 09:36am PT
MH2: Much more interesting than whether an omnipotent God could make a rock too heavy for Him to lift.

Neither supportive nor antagonistic to the idea of God, the image you paint is simply that: a conceptual image. If there were God, then surely God would be beyond all conceptualization.

We have the same kind of problem in contemplative studies. Searchers are looking for experiences, clever intellectual solutions to conceptual descriptions, or narratives that somehow makes everything pure, pretty, and parsimonious. That may indeed be religion, but in my understanding, it's a very casual characterization. I mean if one reads the scriptures and scholars closely, one finds far more nuanced and complex speculations than those.

(If you want real fire-and-brimestone descriptions of religious enlightenment, check out Volume 1 of the 3 volume set of Lama Tsong Khapa's, "The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment," written in the late 1300s, also known as the Lamrim Chenpo. This is what HHDL follows and teaches. Very strict in the first volume, but in the third volume, a pretty darned clear description of a path to enlightenment. There are as many of those as there are stars in the sky.)

May 26, 2019 - 11:00am PT
"A: Because it's cheaper than locking them up in insane asylum"

The housekeeper of a famous mathematician was asked "What does your employer do for a living?" She answered "He scribbles on pieces of paper, then wads them up and throws them in the trash."

(I have a pile of about 20 pieces of paper sitting on the table beside me that need to be chucked. But in old age it's more fun than doing crossword puzzles, at which I am inept.)

Ice climber
May 26, 2019 - 08:56pm PT
Somebody please remember to post the date(s) of the

What is "MIND?" Arm wrestling competition

On Jan's new thread

Hopefully definitive_wise this event will be conclusive

I will compete with one hand tied behind my back

Do ya


Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
May 27, 2019 - 12:24pm PT
The all-powerful God paradox is a koan.

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
May 27, 2019 - 04:13pm PT
the fragility of life

So Caroline Gleich reached the summit of Everest on the 24th. On instagram she described the experience as magical and intense and that the "climbing up high" reminded her of the fragility of life.

The fragility of life. That was a main takeaway from my "deep sedation" experience a couple weeks ago, as well. That fragility being mental, too, not just physical.
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