Body or mind (or both?)

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by proteus42, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. proteus42 Registered Senior Member

    Let's start with a simple, everyday observation: we do not have the power to move any physical thing by a unmediated act of will, except for our limbs or eyes - things within the boundaries of our body. On the other hand, the physical state of our body also influences the state of our mind, eg. a simple drop in blood pressure can suspend consciousness in us pretty quickly. How is this relationship between body and mind possible?

    The question is fascinating and three possible answer seems to be open: 1) try to reduce the mind to the body (very popular approach); 2) try to show that everything is Mind (also quite popular, people denying objective reality live in this rubric together with radical solipsists); 3) as opposed to a
    reductionist strategy (which except for the simplest cases can't be done without leaving some essential feature of the thing to be reduced unexplained and, as a result, silently delivered to oblivion) accept the existence of the two realms and try to find an explanation how they can influence each other (the dualist solution; unpopular in scientific and solipsist circles but quite widespread among people in the streets).

    1) denies the interaction between mind and body and declare the brain "reality" and the mind "illusion." But this can only be a metaphor as "illusion" as such presupposes mind: whatever can have an illusion must have a mind. 2) has its obvious problems with other minds, and its utility value is nil (except perhaps giving some psychological comfort to the subject entertaining it). 3) doesn't try to deny our everyday experience, but it's hard to see how it could connect the two realms.

    What is your opinion?​

    (Oh yes, there's a fourth option: no matter, no mind. That's for enlightened

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  3. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    I believe in the third category.

    Our mind is created in our brain, and our brain is created by our mind.

    I believe that the mind can influence the changes when they happen, can change small variables that makes the changes go out differently than it would if they only were controlled by the physical. There are a certain amount of uncertainty and this can be controlled by the mind.
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  5. Hoth Registered Senior Member

    All three theories are nonsense, which is why people still talk about them. Answers are too simple, nonsense pleases the masses and sounds more meaningful -- ironically, nonsense allows people to have the secure feeling that they know what they're talking about. Neutral monism is the only reasonable non-paradoxical solution. Try Wittgenstein or Kant for answers... Russell was close also, though logical atomism was a bit of a misstep. Mind and body are both perceptions of sorts -- they're interpretations of reality. Kant liked to describe this by the forms of intuition, Wittgenstein described in terms of the microcosm (our world) as a part of the macrocosm (the objective world, which is neither mind nor matter since both mind and matter are interpretations inside the microcosm).
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  7. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    Ok, you are of course right in that everything we can experiance (soft, hard, light, dark, color) are all interpretations in the mind based on what the eyes see, what the hands touch etc. each feeling and experiance may be something else than what we experiance. (for example, do color exist in the physical world? Isn't color only a wavelength of light?).
  8. proteus42 Registered Senior Member

    Neutral monism cannot be the answer. Doesn't neutral monism postulate that only
    sensations exist, and minds and material things are nothing but assemblages of
    sensations (I recall William James and Russell saying something like that)? Do
    you really find it plausible to say that sensations come first, and only then
    brains and minds? Neutral monism's notion of sensation seems to stretch the
    boundaries of the concept "sensation" to such an extent that it finally covers
    everything. But if history had taken a different course and no animals had
    developed on earth, without sense organs and nervous systems present, would
    there be sensations floating about in the universe?? That's just too
    much for me.

    The same problem here: sensations don't interpret themselves on any reasonable
    sense of the concept. Then whence the interpreter? And what reality are you
    talking about that perceptions are the interpretations of? According to NM, the
    only reality is sensations themselves.
  9. proteus42 Registered Senior Member

    Colours are part of physical reality but physics is not interested in them for several understandable reasons. First, colours don't help to explain those phenomena physics is interested in. Second, colours are not intersubjective enough to base any physical theory on them (some people can't see colours or see things a having different colours than other people). Physics is not very happy about data that are liable to change quite unpredictably when the observer changes. So physicists left out colours of their theories at a very early stage of research.

    No it isn't. They are correlated but not the same. There is a more or less predictable statistical correlation between wave length and the colour sensation it induces in people with a healthy eye but there are exceptions to the general rule. People with certain kinds of eye disease can't see certain colours. The right way to put this is that electromagnetic waves in the right range can, under normal conditions, induce colour-perceptions in people, but this is far from saying that those waves and colour itself are the same.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2004
  10. Pete It's not rocket surgery Registered Senior Member

  11. proteus42 Registered Senior Member

    Thanks for the link. Right now I don't have the opportunity to buy the book, but it seems interesting. Could you somehow summarize (roughly) how the explanation based on emergence go?
  12. Pete It's not rocket surgery Registered Senior Member

    Here is an online essay that provides an introduction to the topic:
    :Exploring Emergence (Active essay - Java required)

    Here is a scholarly journal that publishes peer reviewed articles on Emergence, with specific application to Organisational issues:
  13. machaon Registered Senior Member

  14. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

    4) mind and body are different aspects of the same thing, which is fundamentally more sophisticated than the sum of its parts (3D parts).

    I can't get past that thought itself is a degree of freedom, as in a fundmental like length, an "internal dimension" so to speak. I think a component of matter interacts with this 'internal dimension' and that somehow whatever it is that makes things be alive (I believe it's actually analagous to a force like gravity in an internal dimension and label it "the life force" maybe "the organic force" is better. hmm) "takes advantage" (in the sense that it is a successful evolution exploit) of this aspect of of matter to allow self observation and persistence in time. so really it's just that matter consists of more dimensions than we can readily observe which allows us to actually be creatures of at least 4 dimensions.

    I'd say that if string theory is on the right path at least, then the matter than comprises our bodies is actually a pattern in who knows how many dimensions, each of which could be evolutionarily exploited in who knows way to satify whatever the configuration of that energy across those dimensions inherently must given the properties of the universe.

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