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OfflineAnnomM
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Why Dualism is Forlorn
    #3503306 - 12/15/04 01:45 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Why dualism is forlorn

The idea of mind as distinct in this way from the brain, composed not of ordinary matter but of some other, special kind of stuff, is dualism. The prevailing wisdom, variously expressed and argued for, is materialism: there is only one sort of stuff, namely matter - the physical stuff of physics - and the mind is somehow nothing but a physical phenomenon. In short: the mind is the brain.

If the mind and the body are distinct things or substances, they nevertheless must interact; the bodily sense organs, via the brain, must inform the mind, must send to it or present it with perceptions or ideas or date of some sort, and then the mind, having thought things over, must direct the body in appropriate action.

The directives from mind to brain are not physical; they are not light waves or sound waves or cosmic rays or streams of subatomic particles. No physical mass or energy is associated with them. How, then, do they get to make a difference to what happens in the brain cells they must affect, if the mind is to have any influence over the body? A change in the trajectory of any physical entity is an acceleration requiring the expenditure of energy. It is the principle of the conservation of energy that accounts for the physical impossibility of "perpetual motion machines" and the same principle is violated by dualism.

Dualism's embarrassment here is really simpler than the citation of presumed laws of physics suggests. How can Casper the Friendly Ghost both glide through walls and grab a falling towel? How can mind stuff both elude all physical measurements and control the body?

Anything that can move physical thing is itself a physical thing(although perhaps a unstudied/undiscovered physical thing).

Accepting dualism is giving up while there is so much more to explore. It does nothing to remove the mystery, but instead preserves it.



This post is based on a paragraph from the book Consciousness Explained by D.C. Dennett.


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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: Annom]
    #3503432 - 12/15/04 02:19 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

It does nothing to remove the mystery, but instead preserves it



Perhaps it's better not to waste time on it? Rejecting dualism leaves two possiblities and not one- the mind's prowess, and the body's prowess.


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OfflineAnnomM
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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: vampirism]
    #3503487 - 12/15/04 02:29 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Rejecting dualism leaves two possiblities and not one- the mind's prowess, and the body's prowess.

Materialism: there is only one sort of stuff, namely matter - the physical stuff of physics - and the mind is somehow nothing but a physical phenomenon. In short: the mind is the brain. Thus the mind is part of the body. The mind is just a name for a brain process or the brain itself. Materialism does absolutely not leave two possibilities!


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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: vampirism]
    #3503524 - 12/15/04 02:37 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

I think it's perfectly fair to mull over this one. It's impossible at this point to say with absolute certainty that dualism is false, but it's quite possible to make a compelling case against it, which is what Annom has done here. What Annom shows is that dualism is more bizarre, and requires us to make more assumptions than the alternative.

You might compare our current understanding of the brain to when we first discovered electricity, and the actual workings of the brain to the supercomputers of the 22nd century.

If you showed a supercomputer to Ben Franklin, he'd likely have a hard time understanding how the force that zapped him in a thunderstorm was able to be harnessed into such an incredible machine. The leap between the two seems positively miraculous, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is.

The brain's organization is likely far more chaotic and confusing than that of a microchip, and it will certainly be a long time before we have anything resembling a solid grasp of how it works, but that doesn't mean that it's impossible, or that we won't, and it's certainly not necessary to bring miracles into the explanation.


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OfflineAnnomM
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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: Phluck]
    #3503581 - 12/15/04 02:48 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Yes. :thumbup: :smile:

It's impossible at this point to say with absolute certainty that dualism is false
True.

and it's certainly not necessary to bring miracles into the explanation.

Yes! You get it! Where is the fun in science and philosophy if a miracle is your explanation. Isn't it way more fun to ask why things are how they are?

Physics is way more fun and interesting than the bible IMO. Even if I didn't care about what is more likely. It's just more fun to find out how things work instead of calling it a miracle.


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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: Annom]
    #3503606 - 12/15/04 02:55 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Indeed, what's there to discover if it's all an unexplainable miracle? Might as well not even get out of bed.


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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: Phluck]
    #3503661 - 12/15/04 03:06 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

i understand that it's perfectly possible, but consciousness is the main key to it IMO. I find it completely useless to base arguments on most-likely scenarios. If all of this is true, ok great i have this conclusion! Now from this conclusion, i can cut out this bit, to come to this conclusion.. mm . Ok well this would never happen, so i can redirect my conclusion here.. and etc etc

Logic is a beautiful tool, but i find it ridiculous in matters which do not warrant it. Here I suppose is another form of the key- materialism is essentially a passing fad, the same as ether. It is both a very common and unjustified belief- how, exactly, can you justify it? Using science? But science admits to only being able to describe physically describable / observable phenomena.

That's like building a better forklift with theology, as someone here put it before.


Every single thing in this Universe must pass through your mind to be interpretted. Every conclusion is a product of it. Not only is dualism not disprovable, it is no more provable than the alternative. So why, exactly, try?


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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: vampirism]
    #3503792 - 12/15/04 03:36 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Dualists don't search for an explanation. That's part of dualism. They call it a spiritual energy(or something), that's the same as calling it a miracle.

Quote:


Here I suppose is another form of the key- materialism is essentially a passing fad, the same as ether. It is both a very common and unjustified belief- how, exactly, can you justify it?



Materialism is the best theory. There is not a single reason to suspect more. I 'believe' in the best theory.

Answer these questions:
How can Casper the Friendly Ghost both glide through walls and grab a falling towel? How can mind stuff both elude all physical measurements and control the body? If something can interact with this world, it has to be part of this world. Everything that influences us has to be part of the same world. I call that the material world.

Anything that can move a physical thing is itself a physical thing(although perhaps a unstudied/undiscovered physical thing), do you agree?

Quote:

Not only is dualism not disprovable, it is no more provable than the alternative. So why, exactly, try?



There is not a single reason to suspect that there is something spiritual/mind stuff.
If you claim something, you are the one who should give good arguments. The material world does exists. If you claim that there is more, you are the one who has to come with arguments.


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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: vampirism]
    #3503828 - 12/15/04 03:42 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Not only is dualism not disprovable, it is no more provable than the alternative. So why, exactly, try?

But we don't know if dualism is disprovable or not. We don't yet have enough of an understanding of the mind to say either way. The only way we can find out is by trying. I can't think of any way to prove dualism, but with enough research and study, it may be possible to prove the opposite.

So why not try?


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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: Annom]
    #3503902 - 12/15/04 04:00 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:


Materialism is the best theory. There is not a single reason to suspect more. I believe in the best theory.




..To currently exist in a form that you accept and judge to be the best. It is still unprovable, no matter how much more provable it may seem, compared to anything else.


Quote:



Anything that can move a physical thing is itself a physical thing(although perhaps a unstudied/undiscovered physical thing), do you agree?





This is seemingly an obvious question+answer thing, but I say no-- Because you are defining physical based on unsound principles. I propose that physical existence is nothing but illusion, although it is quite persistent ( yes i know i basically stole one of einstein's quotes ).

How will I define movement? Well I can certainly be moved by things that don't exist. What if my mind conjures up something that doesn't exist, and that then controls me? Physically my body may be moving things, but because of something that may or may not exist. In short, un-physical things can have observable ends in this Universe, but yet they do not exist. Of course it's being executed by something, but aren't those just the means? The physical hand of the ethereal body ? The problem here is that it could be.

first let me answer a few things
Quote:


How can Casper the Friendly Ghost both glide through walls and grab a falling towel?



because he is a cartoon

Quote:

How can mind stuff both elude all physical measurements and control the body?


Outside of answering "because the brain contains the mind!" I can at least one hole- How do you know mind stuff controls the body?

Quote:

If something can interact with this world, it has to be part of this world.


permanently?

Quote:

Everything that influences us has to be part of the same world.


Why? It appears you are assuming your conclusion to get to your conclusion.



Quote:


There is not a single reason to suspect that there is something spiritual/mind stuff.




No? Explain consciousness and point of view then. You cannot prove them physically.

Quote:

If you claim something, you are the one who should give good arguments. The material world does exists. If you claim that there is more, you are the one who has to come with arguments.



I'm not claiming anything, I'm poking holes in what is fundamentally a useless argument. There is no objective evidence to support objectivity - it's just not possible. Sure, there's plenty of subjective evidence, but then there's a similar and opposite subjective evidence saying that there's evidence for things outside of the physical realm.


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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: Phluck]
    #3503919 - 12/15/04 04:06 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:


So why not try?




You have a somehwat of a point. IMO it is useless. I would prefer to spend my time on others things.

But on the other hand, how can you even try to prove it? Let's say you create a perfect mechanical reconstruction of the brain. Software lags far behind hardware in speed of development, and the brain and its devices evolved simultaneously - a replica would take a very very and i stress the word VERY long time. What use is it? It is faux objectivity- you can never escape your own mind. You will have created a point of view, MAYBE.

Well nevermind, I don't expect you to be well versed on what doesn't exist and may or may not be possible.


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OfflineAnnomM
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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: vampirism]
    #3504148 - 12/15/04 05:10 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

To currently exist in a form that you accept and judge to be the best. It is still unprovable, no matter how much more provable it may seem, compared to anything else.



You can't prove that a stone always falls down to earth either. You don't agree that there is a material world: the things we can see, smell, feel, hear, taste, measure and explain? I assume, based on experience, that this material world does exist and since I can't feel, see, hear, smell, taste, measure or explain non-material things, I don't have any reason to think that there are non-material things. 

Quote:

I propose that physical existence is nothing but illusion, although it is quite persistent ( yes i know i basically stole one of einstein's quotes ). 



Could be, but we can still call the world we perceive as material and try to find out how it works.

Quote:

How will I define movement? Well I can certainly be moved by things that don't exist. What if my mind conjures up something that doesn't exist, and that then controls me? Physically my body may be moving things, but because of something that may or may not exist. In short, un-physical things can have observable ends in this Universe, but yet they do not exist. Of course it's being executed by something, but aren't those just the means? The physical hand of the ethereal body ? The problem here is that it could be. 



:confused: It could be because English is not my native language, but don't know what you try to say. Un-physical things can have observable ends in this Universe, but yet they do not exist????

Quote:

Outside of answering "because the brain contains the mind!" I can at least one hole- How do you know mind stuff controls the body?
 



Then we could, in theory, measure the brain and therefor measure the influence of the mind.
Dualism tells that mind stuff controls the body. That's not what I'm saying.

Quote:

permanently?



I don't know. Ask Stephen Hawking :smirk: This is not relevant.

Quote:

Why? It appears you are assuming your conclusion to get to your conclusion. 



You really don't get my point if you ask why. Everything you can move with your hands is part of the material world. If something can interact with something it is part of our world. Why? because else it is not able to interact with our world. We don't call electricity a spiritual thing, even if you didn't know anything about it. Why? Because it interacts with everything around us and thus has to be part of one and the same world.

Quote:

No? Explain consciousness and point of view then. You cannot prove them physically.



Not yet. And it's just more fun to find an explanation than to call it magic!

Quote:

I'm not claiming anything, I'm poking holes in what is fundamentally a useless argument. There is no objective evidence to support objectivity - it's just not possible. Sure, there's plenty of subjective evidence, but then there's a similar and opposite subjective evidence saying that there's evidence for things outside of the physical realm. 



Read Plucks first reply if you want to know what the argument was all about. I don't see any holes  :smirk:

Quote:


But on the other hand, how can you even try to prove it? 



It's not about proving. Nobody is trying to prove that a stone always falls down to earth, but some people tried to find out why a stone falls down to earth. They didn't call it magic and went on with their lives. They didn't call electricity magic and went on with their live. Why would we do that with our mind?


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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: vampirism]
    #3504303 - 12/15/04 05:40 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

You have a somehwat of a point. IMO it is useless. I would prefer to spend my time on others things.

Well, obviously not everyone should be a neurologist. YOU don't have to work at this, but there are lots of people studying the brain as we speak.

Software lags far behind hardware in speed of development, and the brain and its devices evolved simultaneously

I'm not really sure what you mean by this. I don't think the hardware/software comparison necessarily applies to the brain. A good deal of the brain's development happens as it grows and learns.

I'm not talking about replicas either, necessarily, understanding doesn't mean we need to create a device that acts exactly the same as the brain.

Well nevermind, I don't expect you to be well versed on what doesn't exist and may or may not be possible.

What's that supposed to mean?


--------------------
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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: Annom]
    #3504313 - 12/15/04 05:41 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

Annom said:
It's not about proving. Nobody is trying to prove that a stone always falls down to earth, but some people tried to find out why a stone falls down to earth. They didn't call it magic and went on with their lives. They didn't call electricity magic and went on with their live. Why would we do that with our mind?




:thumbup:


--------------------
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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: Annom]
    #3504509 - 12/15/04 06:07 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

I understand what you're saying, but I'm basically saying it's irrelevant. Your argument has holes not in itself, but in its application in comparison to .. well, everything. It's not that I'm saying you are wrong, but I'm trying to knock the ground from under the feet of the argument.

Quote:

I assume, based on experience, that this material world does exist and since I can't feel, see, hear, smell, taste, measure or explain non-material things, I don't have any reason to think that there are non-material things.




What if you can sense them? Some people would claim to. You cannot objectively show that they cannot. Basically, the entire argument falls on your assumption. You are effectively trying to cast your subjective view into an objective one to match like-minded people's.

Quote:



Could be, but we can still call the world we perceive as material and try to find out how it works.




Yes, you can do that, but saying it is objectively physical for everyone is silly. Can you show that the world you are perceiving is the world that I am perceiving?


Quote:

It could be because English is not my native language, but don't know what you try to say. Un-physical things can have observable ends in this Universe, but yet they do not exist????




I'm proposing that they might. As another analogy- a 3d thing moving through 2d space. The 3d thing would be the ethereal thing, the 2d interpretation would be the physical interpretation. Perhaps the ethereal can be perceived, but as an imaginary collective of physical effects. This is stretching reality a bit from a general view of it, but what if, for example, evolution were an actual thing that we have to infer?

Time is another example. Time does not physically exist, yet you see it's effects constantly. The physical measurement of time is in relative terms of motion, not time.

Quote:

Then we could, in theory, measure the brain and therefor measure the influence of the mind.



Yes, but what would be interpretting the data and making the conclusion? Your mind. You can never escape this fact- this is where I would introduce existentialism. You will have subjectively proven to yourself that your brain generates your mind.


Quote:

You really don't get my point if you ask why.



No, I'm attacking the basis for your argument. Yes, you can label relative things and examine them, but can you then make comments on all of reality and the Universe based on this?


Quote:

It's not about proving. Nobody is trying to prove that a stone always falls down to earth, but some people tried to find out why a stone falls down to earth. [/quote[
And there are multiple seemingly-conflicting ways to explain the same thing. I was once told that in the middle east, they say "if god wills it, it will happen". If you ask them why a rock falls, they will say "because god willed it."

You're asking why, but you should be asking how. My claim is that how is very subjective and that why is unanswerable. When asked how, a supposed looney may go into odd frequencies and whatnot, and explain the ethereal force which can be inferred from physical things. A scientist would analyze any relevant data and try to figure it out his own way. If both explain the phenomena, then neither can be said to be more right than the other.

As another example, there are people who, when they hear a number or letter, see a color in their head. A different color corresponds with a different character. Some people can smell colors or see sound, especially in altered states. A scientist may try to map out the brain and pay attention to changes to figure out the link between senses or whatnot. The subject, if asked why, might honestly describe a character and color in terms of some feeling. That feeling's execution in the mind would likely correspond to the workings inside that person's brain.

This was an analogy- the body and mind are only representations of something else. Perhaps it is the same thing? I do not think it is physical reality, because physical reality is an analogy of senses.


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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: Phluck]
    #3504514 - 12/15/04 06:08 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

it means you don't know the future. Not like I do either.


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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: vampirism]
    #3504599 - 12/15/04 06:21 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Can you show that the world you are perceiving is the world that I am perceiving?

No, but I can prove that there is some overlap. We're both posting on an internet bulletin board using computers.

Once the vast majority of people are able to see the same. The things that science studies are things that exist in this overlap. The things that can only be perceived by some directly contradict the things that can only be perceived by others.

I've yet to speak to people who don't see things fall to the ground when they are dropped.


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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: Phluck]
    #3504654 - 12/15/04 06:27 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

I've yet to speak to people who don't see things fall to the ground when they are dropped.



Never spoken to a blind person, eh?

I'm just questioning the value of the overlap.


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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: vampirism]
    #3504879 - 12/15/04 06:59 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

The blind person perceives the same thing with different senses.

If the overlap has no value, why has it been the one thing with consistantly applicable information?


--------------------
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Re: Why Dualism is Forlorn [Re: Phluck]
    #3504901 - 12/15/04 07:03 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

yes. It wouldn't be perceived the same way though. There would be no falling rock, there might be a crash or pain or something of the sort.

I'm not saying it has no value. I think it would have no value if it was the only thing that existed, but some say it is the only thing that exists. Lack of evidence does not constitute evidence - I do not think a decision can, and thus should, be made about the nature of reality.


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