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How Does Evolution Produce Consciousnes/Reason?
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2021 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
My fiance spotted the one green square immediately.
That's amazing.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2021 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.kuku-kube.com/
How does she do on that? My highest is 38 so far, but I have no idea if that's terrible, great, or something in between.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2021 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a lot better than either of us got (23 and 24). But my phone's screen isn't top of the line (iPhone SE 2020).

I checked out the linked study in WF's article. It seems that the author of the article didn't bother reading his own link. I'm not able to copy/paste it, but basically it says that researchers suspect the reason why many peoples from the tropics don't have a separate word for blue and green is because their eyes have been damaged by an overabundance of UV-B radiation found at tropical latitudes. So it's not that they can't see it because they don't have a word for it; it's that they can't see it because their eyes are literally damaged. And that's why they don't have a word for it.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2021 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only managed a 32 with my cell, despite the touchscreen. The graphics really matter for such a test.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2021 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

33 on my first attempt.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2021 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, I cannot find any references to the Himba being physically impaired with regard to vision.

Zarathustra wrote:
Wayfriend, serious question: do we ever see anything that is objectively real?

No. What we "see" is always and is only a cognitive symbol. It isn't light.

It isn't a sensory signal triggered by light. It isn't a report of a sensory signal triggered by light.

It's a rational interpretation of a report (signaled across linked neurons) of a sensory signal (arising in the eyes) triggered by light. E.g. it is several levels of indirection removed from actual light.

I keep saying, "Real -- but not objectively real." You keep ignoring that.

Cognitive symbols are real. Cognitive symbols that reliably match the physical world are real and reliable and thus useful. But cognitive symbols are only in the mind. Real. But only in the mind.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2021 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not ignoring your distinction, now that you've made it. That's why I specifically asked if we see *anything* that's objectively real, because the way you've characterized "blue" would apply to everything that we see. And now you've confirmed that this is indeed what you think.

If we never see anything that is objectively real, then how are perceptions evidence of objectively real things? What is the difference between seeing an illusion and seeing something real (how would we know)? How does your belief not collapse into solipsism, idealism, or radical skepticism? How do we ever check to see if our "cognitive symbols" match what they symbolize, given that this process of checking must always be through yet more cognitive symbols? On what basis would we distinguish accurate perceptions from misperceptions? How could science be empirical?

I don't believe you. This is a disingenuous epistemology. No one really believes that they don't see the real, objective world--no more than anyone is actually a solipsist. Being unable to explain something is different from an outright denial. You don't actually think you've never seen your wife.

Yes, I know that ultimately our perception are all "in our heads," but so are dreams. Our perception of the world is different from a dream. It's not just a "cognitive symbol." It's a connection to the thing itself. This is how we live our lives. As we live our lives, we do not treat our perceptions as symbols! It is only possible to think of them this way by taking a mental step back from a type of being that we already/always inhabit! *That* is our being-in-the-world, i.e. our reality. Our truth. The move you've made is holding that being-in-the-world at a distance to consider it thematically, conceptually. But it takes an effort, because it's not your "ground state." We ARE in the world. We DO perceive a world. Even when we pretend not to, for the sake of arguments like these. This debate is a "bracketed" activity which resides in a larger context of this "ground state," from which we've taken a step back, conceptually. That's the inauthenticity. It's not an insult, it's an accurate description of the state of affairs here. That's what we're doing. Our being-in-the-world can be forgotten, denied, dismissed, but never escaped (until death . . . ). Our being-in-the-world is not being-in-cognitive-symbols. That's not how we live. That's not our truth.

Consider this hypothetical conversation, concerning slavery:

Is slavery wrong?

Me: "Yes, it's wrong to enslave people."
You: "I don't see a person, I see a cognitive symbol."
Me: "You're being obtuse."
You: "But it's the literal truth. I never see an objective person. Only symbols."
Me: "Then all morality--indeed, all human activity--is nothing more than symbol manipulation. In other words, fiction."
You: "Stop putting words in my mouth!"
Me: "I'm not, if you are nothing more than a cognitive symbol, then I'm putting words in MY mouth."

The end.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2021 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

wayfriend wrote:
[…]

Zarathustra wrote:
Wayfriend, serious question: do we ever see anything that is objectively real?

No. What we "see" is always and is only a cognitive symbol. It isn't light.

It isn't a sensory signal triggered by light. It isn't a report of a sensory signal triggered by light.

It's a rational interpretation of a report (signaled across linked neurons) of a sensory signal (arising in the eyes) triggered by light. E.g. it is several levels of indirection removed from actual light.

I keep saying, "Real -- but not objectively real." You keep ignoring that.

Cognitive symbols are real. Cognitive symbols that reliably match the physical world are real and reliable and thus useful. But cognitive symbols are only in the mind. Real. But only in the mind.


To me, this sounds like you hew pretty closely to classical Enlightenment philosophy. If such is indeed the case, do you appeal to something like either Preestablished Harmony or Occasionalism in order to bridge the dualistic gap? Or then again, perhaps to something more Spinozistic?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2021 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So then... I started with this:
Fist and Faith wrote:
May as well move the conversation to here at this point.

Always trying to wrap my head around this whole topic. The only thing I seem to be able to do is go back to basics, as I understand them. I don't know if my terminology is correct, in the eyes of the scientific community or world at large. But I hope you understand.

Liquidity is a property of the universe. I call it a macro property. It is the result of micro properties; properties that govern particle interactions.

Consciousness is a property of the universe. It is a macro property. It may also be the result of micro properties. If so, these properties may or may not be properties that govern particle interactions.

Liquidity, and the micro properties that give rise to it, are physical properties. We can study these properties through our physical senses and sciences.

Consciousness, and the micro properties that give rise to it (if micro properties give rise to it), are not physical properties. It does not seem that we can study them with our physical senses and sciences. They are mental properties, and we can study them with our mental senses and sciences. Are there other ways we can study them?

Color is a combination of physical and mental properties. Particles interacting in certain ways do so whether or not there is any consciousness perceiving the process. However, blueness does not exist without consciousness perceiving the process.
wf, I'm not sure what you're getting at with all of these:
wayfriend wrote:
If blueness is real, then unicorns and Frodo are real.

But if they are only real as figments of imagination, then so is blue.
wayfriend wrote:
Objective reality is electromagnetic radiation falling within a certain range of frequencies.

But that's not what blue is. That's only what causes blue. Sugar is not sweetness. Nor is a needle it's sting.
wayfriend wrote:
The only reasonable conclusion is that "blue" is not objectively real, it is only a mental phenomenon. *

------
* This is not to say it is not real. Apparently, I need to say that.
wayfriend wrote:
I keep saying, "Real -- but not objectively real." You keep ignoring that.

Cognitive symbols are real. Cognitive symbols that reliably match the physical world are real and reliable and thus useful. But cognitive symbols are only in the mind. Real. But only in the mind.
OK. Though real only in the mind, not objectively real, blue is real. Is that leading somewhere?


On another matter... Frodo and blue are both "real only in the mind", "not objectively real", real things. Is there any difference between them, in regards to realness? Do they fall into different categories in some way?

Edit: I know Frodo and blue exist for different reasons. Blue is an interpretation of an aspect of objective facts. Frodo is its own (how to say this?) imaginary, objective fact. I'm wondering if those things, or anything else, make the nature of their reality different in any way.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2021 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
OK. Though real only in the mind, not objectively real, blue is real. Is that leading somewhere?

I don't know ... it came up, I responded. But it is certainly related to consciousness.

Fist and Faith wrote:
On another matter... Frodo and blue are both "real only in the mind", "not objectively real", real things. Is there any difference between them, in regards to realness? Do they fall into different categories in some way?

I wonder that myself.

Something I read once stuck with me.

In Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson wrote:
[Enoch Root says] "I would argue that inside your mind was some pattern of neurological activity that was not there before you exchanged e-mail with me. The Root Representation. It is not me. I'm this big slug of carbon and oxygen and some other stuff on this cot right next to you. The Root Rep, by contrast, is the thing that you'll carry around in your brain for the rest of your life, barring some kind of major neurological insult, that your mind uses to represent me. When you think about me, in other words, you're not thinking about me qua this big slug of carbon, you are thinking about the Root Rep.

[...] "If you think of the Greek gods as real supernatural beings who lived on Mount Olympus, no. But if you think of them as being in the same class of entities as the Root Rep, which is to say, patterns of neurological activity that the mind uses to represent things that it sees, or thinks it sees, in the outside world, then yes. Suddenly, Greek gods can be just as interesting and relevant as real people.

"Why? Because, in the same way as you might one day encounter another person with his own Root Rep so, if you were to have a conversation with an ancient Greek person, and he started talking about Zeus, you might - once you got over your initial feelings of superiority - discover that you had some mental representations inside your own mind that, though you didn't name them Zeus and didn't think of them as a big hairy thunderbolt-hurling son of a Titan, nonetheless had been generated as a result of interactions with entities in the outside world that are the same as the ones that cause the Zeus Representation to appear in the Greek's mind."

So first off, know that the character's name is Enoch Root, hence "Root Rep" is a representation of Enoch Root.

But back on topic. Enoch says that we have internal, mental representations of people we know, that we use to think about them. Specifically, people who are objectively real. And we also have internal representations of things that are less real, like Frodo or Zeus or Unicorns, that we use to think about them. Our mind uses the same tools to think about them - their objective reality, or lack of, makes little difference to the way we think.

And -- better -- he points out that there's isn't a clear line between objectively real and not. He posits that our mental representations may arise from observations and hypotheses about those observations. Like dark matter, we infer that there is something to think about, and we create a representation of it. Sometimes we infer things that really exist, and sometimes we infer things that don't, but which make sense to us -- such as gods, or ghosts, or bigfoot -- to explain things that we see.

(I have talked with many people on Kevin's Watch. They seem real to me. They probably are. But to some degree, exchanging posts only allows me to infer that they exist. I have never met them. If I see them in a zoom call, to some degree it is still an inference, albeit a more reliable one. Taken to an extreme, even if you stand in front of me and I am looking right at you, I am inferring you exist because of some effect on my corneas, although it is a very reliable inference.)

And then -- best -- Root suggests that even these less real mental representations may be shared by many people. We all observe the same things, we all form hypotheses about them. When we communicate with each other, we can discover we share common mental representations of these inferred phenomenon, and through communication we refine them until they look the same in each of us.

By now you can see how this pertains to our discussion.

Blue and Frodo and Unicorns are not equally real. But mentally we consider them in the same ways. Our brains work on mental representations of them.

And, furthermore, the fact that we all share a mental representation of blue doesn't necessarily prove it is objectively real!

I want to talk more about how visual perception works, but I'd like to find a good reference. But, suffice it to say, what we see is as more a matter of cogitation than responses to stimulii. There is analysis and recognition and a very great deal of assumption based on past memories involved. (Babies need to LEARN how to see.) But it boils down to the idea (as I have been saying) that "blue" is more like a mental representation than it is like a range of wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation.

That is NOT what consciousness is, of course.

But I think it is a fundamental building block of consciousness. It is not just the ability to have mental representations of objective reality, of inferred reality, and of imagined reality. It is the necessity of perceiving the world using mental representations.

Because the biggest inferred mental representation that we have is I.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2021 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In THE BEGINNING OF INFINITY, David Deutsch wrote:


<setting: a dream converstation Socrates is having with the god Hermes>

SOCRATES: But surely you are now asking me to believe in a sort of all-encompassing conjuring trick, resembling the fanciful notion that the whole of life is really a dream. For it would mean that the sensation of touching an object does not happen where we experience it happening, namely in the hand that touches, but in the mind--which I believe is located somewhere in the brain. . . . And whenever I think I am seeing a vast, brilliantly illuminated landscape, all that I am really experiencing is likewise located entirely inside my skull, where in reality it is constantly dark!

HERMES: Is that so absurd? Where do you think all the sights and sounds of this dream are located?

SOCRATES: I accept that they are indeed in my mind. But that is my point: most dreams portray things that are simply not there in external reality. To portray things that are there is surely impossible without some input that does not come from the mind but from those things themselves.

HERMES: Well reasoned, Socrates. But is that input needed in the source of your dream, or only in your ongoing criticism of it?

SOCRATES: You mean that we first guess what is there, and then—what? – we test our guesses against the input from our senses?

HERMES: Yes.

SOCRATES: I see. And then we hone our guesses, and then fashion the best one into a sort of waking dream of reality.

HERMES: Yes. A waking dream that corresponds to reality. But there is more. It is a dream of which you then gain control. You do that by controlling the corresponding aspects of the external reality.



We do not gain control over Frodo or unicorns, because those are not real. However, we DO gain control over blue objects--a control we can verify through the mental representations of these blue objects. While it is also possible to gain control over mental representations of Frodo and unicorns, this control is absolute, i.e. we can modify them to our heart's content, precisely because there is no objective object to which they correspond, constraining our efforts.

This process of interaction with mental representations of blue objects (i.e. control/constraint) itself marks out an objective reality e.g. through "laws of interaction," through which we infer things such as the laws of physics and the basic spatio-temporal structure in which the blue object resides. While our contact with this objective reality is mediated through mental representations--meaning that it's not immediate or direct--it is contact nonetheless.

wayfriend wrote:
Enoch says that we have internal, mental representations of people we know, that we use to think about them. Specifically, people who are objectively real. And we also have internal representations of things that are less real, like Frodo or Zeus or Unicorns, that we use to think about them. Our mind uses the same tools to think about them - their objective reality, or lack of, makes little difference to the way we think.
There is a huge difference in the way we think about unreal things and real things. I've just outlined one above.


wayfriend wrote:
And -- better -- he points out that there's isn't a clear line between objectively real and not.
A line which you've repeatedly stated here *is* clear! I'm the one who has been saying over and over that it's not.

wayfriend wrote:
I am inferring you exist because of some effect on my corneas, although it is a very reliable inference.)
How is it reliable?

wayfriend wrote:
Blue and Frodo and Unicorns are not equally real.
I'm glad you finally agree (contradicting your earlier statements).

wayfriend wrote:
Because the biggest inferred mental representation that we have is I.
And what is that a representation of?
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2021 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
There is a huge difference in the way we think about unreal things and real things. I've just outlined one above.

That's not what you outlined. What you've outlined is that there are some things we can interact with and therefore verify their existence. But that's NOT on the topic of how we think about them. That's on the topic of how reliably we can infer their nature.

I am unable to "control" many things that I nevertheless accept as objectively real. The blue sky, for example.

I am able to "control" many things that I do not accept as objectively real. E.g. My Mario Cart. My impressions of Frodo. Which evidence of Unicorns I accept as proof of their existence.

Zarathustra wrote:
Wayfriend wrote:
And -- better -- he points out that there's isn't a clear line between objectively real and not.

A line which you've repeatedly stated here *is* clear!

Oh boy are you misrepresenting me. It's so fun!

I am saying there that there isn't a clear line about how we construct mental representations of objectively real and not. Which is to say, the existence of a mental representation doesn't prove objective reality.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2021 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WF, I may be misunderstanding what you say, but I'm not trying to misrepresent it. Your clarification helps.

Wayfriend wrote:

Zarathustra wrote:

There is a huge difference in the way we think about unreal things and real things. I've just outlined one above.

That's not what you outlined. What you've outlined is that there are some things we can interact with and therefore verify their existence. But that's NOT on the topic of how we think about them. That's on the topic of how reliably we can infer their nature.
Let's just acknowledge that this is a tricky topic and none of us are experts and we can all tighten up our language. With that said: if we are interacting with mental representations (which you've said is all we can interact with)*, then this interaction is a way of thinking about those representations. In fact, there is no other way to interact with mental representations except through some process of thought. So that's what I've outlined. But I think you're finally starting to catch on. Yes, this does indeed ALSO amount to physical interaction with a physical object, which is the entire problem I've been trying to point out with your argument. SOME forms of "interacting with mental representations" are ALSO "interacting with objective objects," and therefore MORE than just "interacting with mental representations."

Wayfriend wrote:
Which is to say, the existence of a mental representation doesn't prove objective reality.
I agree. However, some mental representations are representations of objective reality, and our proof lies in how we interact with them.

Bottom line: we transcend our subjective experience. Somehow, we do this, despite the fact that our experience is subjective. Therefore, the mere fact of the possibility of transcendence itself means that there's not a clear line between objective/subjective, because we cross it! So there must be something within our perceptions (or mental representations) that contains this access, because that's the only route we have and all we ever experience of the world. And this access is: how we interact with them and the way this interaction discloses patterns/laws which imply and constitute an objective world. Objectivity is sort of "in between" our various subjective mental representations, for it is precisely in how they fit together that this objective world is disclosed (at least for the ones that represent the objective world; not the fictions).


Wayfriend wrote:
I am unable to "control" many things that I nevertheless accept as objectively real. The blue sky, for example.
We can control aspects of the sky. For instance, we can leave contrails with airplanes, we can do skywriting, we can use air for lift and thus fly, etc. Just because our control is not absolute doesn't mean we don't have some control over this thing; in fact, that lack of absolute control is one of the defining characteristics that distinguishes it from purely mental representations, which we can utterly control.

Wayfriend wrote:
I am able to "control" many things that I do not accept as objectively real. E.g. My Mario Cart. My impressions of Frodo. Which evidence of Unicorns I accept as proof of their existence.
Your Mario Cart is a real (objective) bit of computer code corresponding to a real (objective) group of pixels on a screen. Your impressions of Frodo are completely under your control precisely because they aren't objective (unless you're talking about pictures of Frodo, which you can control within limits).

*[or what you've said amounts to this, e.g. when you said that we never see anything objective. "Interaction" can only be perceptual, even if we're talking about touching things (touch is another sensation), and all perceptions are mental representations. Therefore, all we ever interact with are our mental representations.]
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2022 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cobbling this together from the last several posts of the other thread:
Fist and Faith wrote:
Avatar wrote:
Fist and Faith wrote:
Avatar wrote:
Fist and Faith wrote:
Avatar wrote:
Zarathustra wrote:
Mind affects matter. We've known this for at least 100 years with the double slit experiment in quantum physics. We just haven't come to grips with this reality yet. It will take a new paradigm.
Yes, I agree that mind does affect matter. You need look no further than the placebo effect for evidence of that as far as I'm concerned. Very Happy
You need look no further than any and every choice I make that affects matter. Which is a significant percentage of my choices. If I chose to brush a grain of salt off the table, my mind affected matter.
Well, yes...I was thinking less about direct physical action though. Very Happy
But how do I brush the salt away? By moving my arm. How does my mind make my arm move? How does my mind cause the release of ions, or whatever the hell the first physical step in the process of moving my arm is?
Oh, I'm not disagreeing. Just wouldn't have thought of lumping in physical action (and it's concomitant neural processes) into the concept of mind affecting matter. Was thinking more about the "reality is affected by our thoughts / beliefs" kind of thing. Very Happy
Not sure you get what I'm saying, Av. My mind makes a decision to move my finger. And it makes that happen. It is literally matter moved by thought. How does it do that?
I just read this in Galileo's Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness, by Philip Goff:
Quote:
The case many philosophers make against dualism is essentially the same form as the above case against an interventionist God. Imagine an immaterial mind were impacting on the brain every second of waking life, by initiating physical processes that caused limbs to move in accordance with the wishes of the conscious mind. When the mind wants to raise the right arm of the body, for example, it causes a change in the brain that will begin a causal process resulting in the raising of the arm. Each event that is directly caused by an immaterial mind will lack a physical cause. In this sense, each impact the mind has on the brain will be an anomalous event, a little miracle.

In other words, a nonphysical mind "intervening" in the brain is not much different in principle than a nonphysical God intervening in the body through healing. In both cases, something nonphysical-God or an immaterial mind-initiates a change in the physical world. In both cases, that change will have no physical explanation, and in that sense will be anomalous. Perhaps the only difference is that in the dualist case, the anomalous events would be much more frequent, due to the regular causal interactions between the mind and the brain. It would appear as though a poltergeist were playing with the brain.

It's hard to believe that such anomalous events would not show up in our neuroscience. There would be all kinds of things going on in the brain for which we had no neuroscientific explanation, precisely because they were caused by the interventions of the nonphysical mind. As we examined the brain, we would find "gaps" in the chains of physical causation where the mind had made a change in the brain. If a nonphysical God intervened in the world regularly, then Her presence would be obvious, because many things would happen which had no physical explanation. Similarly, if a nonphysical mind intervened regularly in the brain, then its presence would be obvious, because there would be a multitude of happenings in the brain each of which lacked a physical cause.

The problem for the dualist is that we don't seem to find anomalous events in the brain. Perhaps we wouldn't expect to when we knew very little about how the brain worked. However, although our neuroscientific understanding of the brain is very far from perfect, we now know how neurons work and we have a good understanding of the role different parts of the brain play in processing information and generating behavior. In none of this detailed investigation have we discovered anomalous events in the brain. Of course, it could be that we just keep missing them. But this seems more and more improbable as time goes on and they fail to turn up.

There are few things we can demonstrate with absolute certainty, and one never knows what will show up in future research. However, at this stage of inquiry, many philosophers and scientists feel reasonably confident that the failure to find anomalous happenings in the brain is strong evidence against dualism.
I'm saying such anomalous happenings are happening, all the time. Why is it not being seen this way? Let me try to break down my thinking here, to at least some degree. Tell me where I go wrong.

1) Brain states are not mind states. That is, the state of all the neurons, particles, etc. - all that comprises the physical brain - is not a thought. The state of all that comprises the brain does not, due to the laws of physics, lead to the next brain state, which is the next thought. Our thoughts do not move due to the laws of physics. Our thoughts are separate from the laws of physics.

2) My thought to pick up that (whatever) envelope off the desk is not due to a brain state. That brain state does not, inexorably, lead to the next brain state, which begins the process of moving my arm. I am not moving my arm because of the laws of physics. I am moving my arm because of a decision that was made by that which is separate from the laws of physics.

3) And yet, that which is separate from the laws of physics reaches into the realm that is governed by the laws of physics*, tweaks an ion (or whatever the hell starts the process), and begins the process of moving my arm. My arm does not move without all of those particles interacting in the ways the laws of physics describe.

4) If we could examine every particle in our bodies, we could see the very beginning of the process of me moving my arm. Before I made the decision to pick up the envelope - before I even knew the envelope was there - there could be no hint among all my particles that I was going to move my arm to pick it up. Yet, if we could see it all in such detail, at some point, the very first part of the process of moving my arm takes place. Isn't that the anomalous happening???


*I don't believe my mind is separate from the brain, and reaches in to move my arm. That's just how I worded it there, for lack of better words. I don't know what words to use. I believe the mind is the physical brain, but this aspect of the brain is not subject to the laws of physics. It seems a paradox. The brain is physical, so, subject to these laws. And we can see it all the time. Electrical impulses; synapses; molecules of this and that being released and taken up; on and on. We can clearly see how so many things work. How they will work. We know that if we do X (physical damage, injection of a chemical, whatever), Y will result. And yet, this physical thing has consciousness; thoughts that are not due to the laws that it cannot exist without.

So not so much "that which is separate from the laws of physics reaches into the realm that is governed by the laws of physics..." How to word it? The brain exists in two states simultaneously - governed by the laws of physics, and free from the laws of physics. And, in at least some ways, it uses each state to affect the other.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2022 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL, I'm not sure what you're asking me. Very Happy Or at least, to what extent this is related to what I was saying?

Matter was moved by action which was precipitated by thought?

The mechanism by which the matter moves in this case is not intangible though?

When I was talking about the effect of thought on matter in terms of the placebo effect, the mechanism itself is intangible?

The subject gets better because they believed they would get better.

There was no mechanism (the ingestion / absorption / whatever of a substance which would cause the change), but the effect was the same as if there had been.

(Also, I'm not sure we can assume thought is not affected by the laws of physics Wink ... the transfer of electrical charges etc. must be governed by the relevant principles surely? These are the only physics we have...we can't know if we would think differently if the laws of physics were different... Very Happy )

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2022 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

Avatar wrote:
[…]

Matter was moved by action which was precipitated by thought?

The mechanism by which the matter moves in this case is not intangible though?

[…]


This phraseology seems problematic, since it begs the question, "What, exactly, 'moves Matter'?"

And then, either one has to say that "Matter moves Matter", and this seems unintelligible. The best that one could say is that "Matter is Motion, and Motion is Matter."

Or one has to say that "Mind/Spirit moves Matter", in which case Mechanism is ruled out.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2022 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, in this case the mechanism I was referring to was the physical one of the arm reaching out and doing whatever. Smile

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2022 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The question is, why does the arm move? The arm is a physical thing. It moves because of the release of an ion, setting up the electrical potential, blah blah blah. I've read about it a couple times, but can never remember. Nevertheless, there is a beginning point. The arm doesn't just move. Various things take place in order to move the arm. How is this process started? I can think about moving my arm, but not move my arm. I can think about moving my arm, and move it. How do my thoughts get the physical process started? My mind is literally moving matter when it releases the ion, or whatever, to begin the process of moving my arm.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2022 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:


Quote:
In other words, a nonphysical mind "intervening" in the brain is not much different in principle than a nonphysical God intervening in the body through healing. In both cases, something nonphysical-God or an immaterial mind-initiates a change in the physical world. In both cases, that change will have no physical explanation, and in that sense will be anomalous.
. . .
It's hard to believe that such anomalous events would not show up in our neuroscience.

. . .

The problem for the dualist is that we don't seem to find anomalous events in the brain.


The problem with this reasoning can be demonstrated with an analogy to a computer. No, I don't think that our brain is like a computer, i.e. a machine running algorithms. However, its actions are dictated by something in addition to strictly physical principles. Namely, the computer program. A program is not physical. It's pure form. But we have designed computers in such a way that their circuitry can model this form. So when a computer is running, everything that happens in it is following the laws of physics, i.e. "in compliance" with laws of physics, but the overall form that these processes take is caused by the program. The laws of physics didn't write the program . . . not unless you want to say that our physical brains, operating on purely physical causes while writing the programs, are somehow causing every single action in a computer. But what would be the causal mechanism? The program, on some level, is a bunch of symbols. The meaning of symbols isn't physical. Content isn't physical. So pushing the cause back to brains doesn't eliminate the immaterial nature of the cause, it just locates it in the mind.

One could say that a computer program is nothing more than syntax, not semantics, and therefore syntax can be physically modelled and thus it's entirely physical. And that's where the analogy to minds breaks down. But it's only an analogy. My point is that causation can be twofold: it can follow physical laws, like the circuitry in a computer, while simultaneously following a "larger" pattern of order that isn't physical at all, but actually logical. Immaterial structures can be "stacked on top of" physical laws. [I believe this is where emergence comes into play.]

So there is something about physical laws themselves which isn't strictly physical, but rather logical. So there is "dualism" already baked into the system which materialists are ignoring. How does the logic of physical laws connect with the substance of matter? You won't ever find that empirically if you look for it. Does that mean it's a miracle, too?

So I think minds are like this. They are certainly produced by brains. But they are not strictly physical, or at least not material, no more than the logical structure of matter's interactions is material. So when we have a flow of thoughts that follow one after another based on the logic or meaning between the content of these thoughts, they are causing each other due to patterns that aren't in the laws of physics, but can be modeled by a system that follows the laws of physics for its basic functioning. So mind is "reaching down" into the brain to cause a physical change that corresponds to the modeling of that next thought. But the atoms/neurons/electrons themselves don't want or intend or necessitate these thoughts. They have no idea what they are modeling (no more than computer circuits know what they are modeling). Only the mind knows this. The laws of physics certainly don't care, much less determine or know, which thought will come next. ANY thought would still conform to the laws of physics, because it would still be an arrangement of neurons firing according to physical laws. But you can't say that ANY thought would logically follow the previous thought. So the next thought we have can't be determined by the current state of our neurons + the laws of physics alone. You have to also take into account something that's not in the laws of physics, i.e. the logic connecting those two thoughts.

So what is the connection or causal mechanism between mind and brain? Where does this "immaterial" thing "touch" the material brain? Well, it's somewhere in matter's capacity to "carry" meaning, to model it, to symbolize it. It's somewhere in the capacity of physical laws to allow immaterial structures to be "stacked on top of" them. What is the physical connection between the word "apple" and an actual apple? There is none. So does this mean a tiny miracle connects them? No. Likewise, what is the connection between a certain brain state and the content of a thought? How does an arrangement of electrical activity symbolize or "carry" the meaning/content of any particular thought? That meaning is immaterial. And yet brain states do this all the time. So are those tiny miracles, too? No.

And this is why we don't see "anomalous events" in the brain. You also don't see the meaning/content of thoughts when you look at the brain. For every mental state, there is a corresponding brain state. It's just as mysterious to say how a mental state causes a brain state, as it is to say the reverse. If it's not miraculous for a brain state to cause a mental state, then neither is it miraculous to say mental states cause brain states. It's disingenuous to discount the latter by pretending we fully understand the former. They are both the same mystery. And yet reductive materialism assumes that we can reduce mental states to brain states, i.e. fully explain how matter can "carry" meaning/content. We can't.

There is something "immaterial" about matter. Or, in other words, we have a primitive, illusory understanding of matter. It's sheer blindness to say that we don't see any anomalies when we look at brains. We ARE the anomaly. We see it every time we see anything.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2022 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Philip Goff wrote:
In other words, Eddington's proposal is that consciousness is the intrinsic nature of matter. It is consciousness, for Eddington, that breathes fire into the equations of physics.

Here is the idea. Physics characterizes mass and charge "from the outside" (in terms of what they do) but "from the inside" (in terms of their intrinsic nature) mass and charge are incredibly simple forms of consciousness. Moving up a level, chemistry characterizes chemical properties "from the outside," but "from the inside" they are complex forms of consciousness derived from the basic forms of consciousness found at the level of fundamental physics. Moving up another level, neuroscience characterizes brain processes "from the outside," but "from the inside" they are states of human experience, incredibly complicated forms of consciousness derived from the more basic forms of consciousness found at the levels of chemistry and physics.
My initial reaction is that this is wrong.

Liquidity is a property of matter. A macro property. It is the result of micro properties; properties that govern particle interactions. Liquidity does not exist within one particle. It didn't exist within one atom, or one molecule. Two water molecules together do not have liquidity. It takes some minimum amount of water molecules to have liquidity. Still, it is the result of certain micro properties.

Consciousness is a property of matter. It is a macro property. If it is like every other kind of macro property, it is the result of micro properties. We might not see consciousness in a particle, atom, molecule, or anything less than certain combinations of different types of molecules, just as we don't see liquidity until the right conditions are met. But the micro properties are there. (Assuming this is how consciousness comes about.)

But I'm not sure I can buy the idea that mass and charge are among those micro properties. Not just because I don't see the connection. Also because it seems wrong that the macro thing that we cannot study with our physical sciences should be made of micro properties that we can.
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