To what extent is evidence important in philosophy?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by DaveC426913, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Straw man argument to justify insult. There's plenty science has yet to nail down that I don't find any reason to be skeptical that it will. Things like, say, cold fusion do not seem to require nailing down imponderables.
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Yes, or just about anything else......

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    1. How can mind-brain interaction occur? There is no conceivable mechanism whereby a totally non-physical mind could affect the material body. If the mind and body are totally different types of things, how can they intermingle and interact with each other? Response: The mind is not totally non-physical. It is non-material, but has the character of a structured energy field that interacts with physical processes. The evidence supporting this view, presented earlier, includes phenomena from NDEs and from phantom limb interactions. In addition, see the following section on “Interaction of the non-material mind with physical processes”.
    2. How does brain injury also impair the non-physical mind? When the brain is damaged in some way, mental faculties are always compromised or impaired to some degree. If the mind is a completely separate substance from the brain, how does brain injury also impair the mind? (Churchland, 1988). Response: The mind is not a completely separate substance from the brain. It has the character of a structured energy field that interacts with physical processes, in particular with neurons. Impairment is due to interference with the interface between the neurons and the corresponding structures of the mind.
    3. How can the mechanism for interaction between the brain and mind explain phenomenal experience? Even if a mechanism for causal interaction could be found, the mechanism for interaction itself would not explain conscious experience any more than neurological mechanisms do (Chalmers, 1996). Response: The mind is itself the locus of phenomenal experience. All interactions with the mind entail phenomenal experience. The evidence supporting this view, presented earlier, includes phenomena from NDEs and from phantom limb interactions.
    4. How does this view avoid the Cartesian Theater in the brain? An interactionist dualist theory posits that the brain informs the mind of perceptions and the mind directs the brain in appropriate action. The mind is thus like a “homunculus” in the brain. There is no interior homunculus observing the results of neural activity and giving commands in a “Cartesian Theater in the brain”, as such theories imply (Dennett, 1991). Response: The mind’s structures unite directly with neural structures without an intermediate stage of “interpretation”. All neural activity interacts directly with the mind, resulting in phenomenal experience. Even stimuli of very short duration result in phenomenal experience, albeit subliminal.
    5. How is this view not a category-mistake? How is this not just a “ghost in the machine”? A theory that places “mind” and “body” together in relation to one another as terms of the same logical category makes a category-mistake, since they are not of the same logical category. There is no hidden entity, the “mind”, inside a mechanical “body” (Ryle, 1949). Response: Both the mind and the material body are objective, spatially extended entities, one a non-material field and the other a material object, which unite together to form a cohesive unity. There is no category-mistake of relating entities belonging to different logical categories: both mind and body are objective aspects of reality that relate to each other through physical interaction. There is no “ghost in the machine” because the mind is closely united with the body through a physical interaction relationship.
    6. Doesn’t this view violate causal closure of the physical? Causal interactions between a non-physical entity and a material body would violate the “causal closure of the physical world”. The interaction of a non-physical entity would introduce an influence on a physical system which would violate the principle that all physical effects can be ultimately reduced to physical causes. Response: The mind is a field (region of space) that interacts with physical processes, and thus has physical attributes, implying that at some level, the field of the mind acts as a physically causal entity. As a consequence, the domain of what constitutes “the physical” must necessarily be expanded to include minds. Causal closure of the physical world is maintained.
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Engineering is not science. Your failures of imagination do not establish the existence of imponderables.
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    Brain death is not the same as coma, because someone in a coma is unconscious but still alive. Brain death occurs when a critically ill patient dies sometime after being placed on life support. This situation can occur after, for example, a heart attack or stroke. The heart continues to beat while the ventilator delivers oxygen to the lungs (the heart can initiate its own beating without nerve impulses from the brain) but, despite the beating heart and warm skin, the person is dead. Since the brain has stopped working, the person won’t breathe if the ventilator is switched off.
    Signs of brain death
    Some of the signs of brain death include:
    • The pupils don’t respond to light.
    • The person shows no reaction to pain.
    • The eyes don’t blink when the eye surface is touched (corneal reflex).
    • The eyes don’t move when the head is moved (oculocephalic reflex).
    • The eyes don’t move when ice water is poured into the ear (oculo-vestibular reflex).
    • There is no gagging reflex when the back of the throat is touched.
    • The person doesn’t breathe when the ventilator is switched off.
    • An electroencephalogram test shows no brain activity at all.
    Back to top
    Brain death is not the same as coma
    Brain death differs from other states of unconsciousness in important ways. For example, coma is similar to deep sleep, except that no amount of external stimuli can prompt the brain to become awake and alert. However, the person is alive and recovery is possible. Brain death is often confused with a persistent vegetative state, but these conditions are not the same either. A persistent vegetative state means the person has lost higher brain functions, but their undamaged brain stem still allows essential functions like heart rate and respiration to continue. A person in a vegetative state is alive and may recover to some degree, given time. Brain death means the person has died.
    Back to top
    Brain death - anguish for the family
    Because life support machines maintain the person’s breathing and heart rate, they are warm to the touch. This gives the illusion that the person is still alive. Family members may hold a false hope that the person is just comatose and could wake up with time or treatment. It is important for the medical staff members to fully explain that brain death is final, and that the person is dead and has no chance of ever regaining consciousness again.

    more at link:

    So, if a person is brain dead, then what level of consciousness exists?
    And what state is the mind in?
  8. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Really? Applied science is not science? Didn't you just say something about an ignorant doofus?
    Can you show that the hard problem of consciousness is not an imponderable?
    Do you even know what "imponderable" means?
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
  9. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    As it happened, I watched a movie on the weekend about the effects sport such as Boxing, Football [Grid Iron and the Rugby codes] where numerous head knocks are rather prevalent and the diagnosis by Dr. Bennet Omalu.
    The movie was called "Concussion" starring Will Smith as the good doctor.
    Dr. Omalu's medical paper on Webster, titled "Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in a National Football League Player," was published in the peer-reviewed journal, Neurosurgery, in 2005. His initial paper on NFL concussions can be read in its entirety online via Laskas' official website here. In this paper, Omalu called for further study from the NFL and a heightened awareness among NFL players of the potential dangers of repeated brain injury.

    "This case highlights potential long-term neurodegenerative outcomes in retired professional National Football League players subjected to repeated mild traumatic brain injury. The prevalence and pathoetiological mechanisms of these possible adverse long-term outcomes and their relation to duration of years of playing football have not been sufficiently studied. We recommend comprehensive clinical and forensic approaches to understand and further elucidate this emergent professional sport hazard."

    Despite the years of research and two respected papers published on the subject, the NFL continued to deny Dr. Omalu's findings. The NFL's Dr. Ira Casson of the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury committee dismissed the validity of Omalu's work during a press conference in 2007, saying, "The only scientifically valid evidence of chronic encephalopathy in athletes is in boxers and in some steeplechase jockeys. It's never been scientifically, validly documented in any other athletes."

    Now in 2015, the cases of known CTE are well into the double digits, and the condition has been acknowledged, if reluctantly, by the NFL. However, 10 years after Omalu's initial paper on NFL concussions was published, his original call for more studies remains valid. Based on initial reactions to Concussion, many are hopeful that an increased spotlight on CTE will help bring about change in the NFL.

    D'Brickashaw Ferguson, a NFL player currently playing for the New York Jets, wrote a piece for Sports Illustrated after seeing Concussion, expressing his shock, disappointment, and mixed feelings after having been exposed to the real story behind CTE. "I fear the unavoidable truth is that playing football has placed me in harm's way, and I am not yet sure of the full extent of what it might cost me," he wrote. Clearly, football players deserve to be educated on the risks they run playing football. Despite being published 10 years ago, Omalu's work remains relevant and worth a read.

    I really don't believe much more can be said.

    Following the publication of Dr. Omalu's work, Neurosurgery received a letter signed by three scientists demanding that the paper be retracted. According to "Game Brain," all three of the scientists were associated with the NFL, hired as members of their Mild Traumatic Brain Injury committee. Neurosurgery denied their request, and, just over one year later, published Dr. Omalu's second paper, "Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy In A National Football League Player: Part II." In this work, Omalu based his further research on his second detected case of CTE, discovered during the autopsy of former NFL player Terry Long. The full text of Omalu's second paper does not appear to be easily accessible online, though Laskas' official website also has a link to "Part II." (That link directs users to an article about Laskas and Omalu titled "The People v Football.")
  10. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    Since the 1920s, it has been known that the repetitive brain trauma associated with boxing may produce a progressive neurological deterioration, originally termed “dementia pugilistica” and more recently, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). We review the 47 cases of neuropathologically verified CTE recorded in the literature and document the detailed findings of CTE in 3 professional athletes: one football player and 2 boxers. Clinically, CTE is associated with memory disturbances, behavioral and personality changes, Parkinsonism, and speech and gait abnormalities. Neuropathologically, CTE is characterized by atrophy of the cerebral hemispheres, medial temporal lobe, thalamus, mammillary bodies, and brainstem, with ventricular dilatation and a fenestrated cavum septum pellucidum. Microscopically, there are extensive tau-immunoreactive neurofibrillary tangles, astrocytic tangles, and spindle-shaped and threadlike neurites throughout the brain. The neurofibrillary degeneration of CTE is distinguished from other tauopathies by preferential involvement of the superficial cortical layers, irregular, patchy distribution in the frontal and temporal cortices, propensity for sulcal depths, prominent perivascular, periventricular and subpial distribution, and marked accumulation of tau-immunoreactive astrocytes. Deposition of beta amyloid, most commonly as diffuse plaques, occurs in fewer than half the cases. CTE is a neuropathologically distinct, slowly progressive tauopathy with a clear environmental etiology.
  11. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    This is where you guys completely fail to understand the difference between correlation and causation. Yes, since the brain is the ONLY link between the mind and body, it is trivial that damage to the brain will affect observable behavior. If half your keyboard is broken, people online are probably going to think you're a bit disabled too. But you have to show evidence that the brain causes the mind in order to claim that brain damage affects anything but observable behavior. Just like you have to show evidence that your keyboard affects your actual communication skills in order to claim it being broken affects anything but your online behavior.
    Magical Realist likes this.
  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Do you believe that brain-damaged people have perfectly functional minds, then, but that their brain damage impairs the expression of that mind to the outside world?

    Like a perfect mind trapped in a disabled body?
  13. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Mostly, but like I've said elsewhere, "The brain obviously has memory storage, programmable routine handling, and computing capabilities. ...But souls can take a kind of damage as well, hence religious morality."
  14. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    So, if a person is brain dead, then what level of consciousness exists?
    And what state is the mind in?

    Obvious answer to both questions is, when you are brain dead, no level of consciousness or mind exists.
    Science makes obvious logical assumptions based on history and observations......
    [1] We assume and conclude that the Universe over large scales is homogeneous and isotropic................[cosmological principle]
    [2] We logically assume and conclude that abiogenisis, either local Earth based or via Panspermia, is logically the reason for life: It is the only scientific answer.
    [3] We assume and conclude that the brain, the mind and consciousness are inexorably connected and are one aspect of the same thing: Experience and observations in genetics studies.

    To say it is "trivial" that damage to the brain will affect observable behavior, is nothing more then a cop out.
    If a person is brain dead, all three are zero.
  15. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    There is a difference between consciousness (the external observation) and mind (the internal, subjective experience). Obviously, the mind of a brain dead person no longer has contact with the body, the brain being the only means for contact.

    [1] There is ample evidence to support the cosmological principle.
    [2] Again, being the only scientific theory is not evidence in support of a claim. Where is your evidence?
    [3] Again, correlation does not imply causation. Where is your evidence?

    One has to ask why you feel the need to say "assume and conclude"? If you have concluded something is true, there is no need to make assumptions. And if you must make assumptions, you obviously haven't come to a firm conclusion.

    To say it is trivial that damage to the brain will affect observable behavior is all the evidence supports claiming, unless you claim some necromancing mind-reading capability. We can only externally judge the mind through behavior, so it follows that if the mind cannot communicate to the body, there is no mind-like behavior.
  16. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Stop trying to get out from under: A brain dead person has no consciousness nor mind......
    We are limited in the observable universe, but again logic and reasonability lets us extrapolate without any real threat of contradiction.
    We are the evidence. At one point there was no life: Then there was. Or are you really a closeted ID supporter?
    Again years and years of genetic and brain research, leads to the conclusion that brain, mind and consciousness are one and the same, as per my previous professional paper/article and other stated well known facts mentioned by others.
    Nonsense.....we can make logical assumptions and conclude.
    Please read my previous articles and paper........
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Engineering is not science. You can apply science to it, use scientific knowledge and principles of logic and so forth in it, even undertake a bit of scientific research yourself if you need the knowledge to get the job done, of course - it's a good idea.
    I can - and did - show that recent research has improved our understanding of it. I see no reason to suppose that further progress is impossible. You have provided none.
    Yeah, but it doesn't apply. I also think I know what you mean by it - you mean you can imagine no way to address something or account for it via research and modeling and so forth.
    That simply isn't true. The brain clearly does not "cause" the mind; it's a substrate, and substrates do not "cause" patterns. But destroying a substrate does destroy the patterns it supports.

    And that kind of evidence seems to be important, to your philosophy.
  18. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Really? An endeavor that would likely require physics, chemistry, material science, electrical and mechanical engineering, and new science is not science? LOL! Even "scientific research" isn't science?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Oh, you mean the arm waving where you didn't actual cite or provide anything at all? No need to refute empty proclamations.

    imponderable - a factor that is difficult or impossible to estimate or assess.
    difficult or impossible to estimate, assess, or answer.

    Until you actually get around to showing me something that demonstrates the hard problem of consciousness, qualia, etc. can be assessed, much less answered, your claims are not even wrong. How does science assess why some people find red to be more pleasant that others?

    Anything that is dependent on a substrate has that substrate as a necessary factor in its cause. Just because it may not be sufficient, does not magically make it an unnecessary cause. Or are you claiming the the brain isn't necessary for the mind? Seems you're really only equivocating.

    What evidence? You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means. You seem, by all appearance, to think it means proclamations without any support. Unless you start offering some actual evidence to support your claims, I'm just going to assume you're trolling.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  19. Kittamaru Never cruel nor cowardly... Staff Member

    Then the question, in reality, is not about the brain at all... but rather the existence (and purpose) of a soul - to which I say, what are the brainwave patterns people have?

    I would think it simple, to be honest, but it gets so mired in religion and political discourse that people disconnect it entirely... cest la vie...
  20. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Ah, more drivel.
  21. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Can you explain what it is you are saying is "drivel", and why?
  22. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    I looked it up, it says, "See - Syne".
  23. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    At least that's one version of it. Another says that two things can't have all of their properties in common. (If they did, they wouldn't be two things.) That version seems to implicitly be denying that different substances exist, and interpreting 'things' as bundles of properties (whatever properties are).

    What about Clark Kent and Superman? Lois Lane has the hots for Superman, but not for mild-mannered reporter Kent.

    We might (arguably) have subjective experiences of ourselves. But I certainly have no privately accessible experience of anyone else's mind. (That's why I've always believed that you are a zombie.) The only reason that I have for thinking that other people have minds is the physical behavior of their bodies, including speech and other communicative things.

    I think that the analogy there is similar to your TV and the TV show that it displays. There's a very real sense in which the TV show isn't the same thing as the particular TV that displays the show, just as the neurological system (the brain) isn't exactly the same thing as the functioning of that system (something more abstract). If minds and brains aren't identical, it's possible that functionally identical systems could host different copies of the same mind (just as all the TVs for sale at Best Buy can be showing the same show). Of course those copies would immediately diverge as they have different experiences and make different choices. That would result in several copies of me, living out different life histories.

    Downloading minds into computer systems or into biologically grown clones of one's self is already routine in science fiction. It's obviously impossible in terms of current technology though. (We don't even know how memories are stored, let alone how to copy and transfer them.)
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017

Share This Page