• GLEN willows
    93
    What is human behavior? Is that some sort of material object?

    Don't start...haha.
  • Possibility
    2k
    I’m not denying your ability to play nice - but it requires someone like @Wayfarer - who is not easily antagonised, and forgiving of throwaway comments such as “But you’re still wrong haha!” - to break down your defences. There’s no negativity or condescension in Wayfarer’s posts, yet interestingly it continues to crop up in yours.

    I realise it can be risky to propose a discussion, to put your thoughts out there unbidden, so I do admire your attempt. You’ll see I’m a little reluctant myself in that department. For future reference, if you had simply posted the question, without the passive-aggressive preamble, it might have garnered a more positive response.

    I’m happy to enter discussions with you about philosophy - I think you may have an interesting perspective to contribute here. And there are a large number of participants on this forum who have the capacity for open-minded and charitable discussions. Most will get defensive and interpret some comments as attacks, as I’m sure you do too, but they’re just as quick to calm down when misinterpretations are respectfully pointed out.

    So my question to you is: have you wondered why you resort to nastiness and condescension in your own posts? Do you believe your response should reflect the lowest level of interaction?
  • Olivier5
    2k
    . You're right - we all push people's buttons and I can be passive-aggressive although I HATE admitting it haha.GLEN willows

    I used to love pushing the buttons of materialists, if you’re game.

    It's hard for me - being socially not exactly "astute - to sometimes find a balance.GLEN willows

    It’s hard for all of us, but fortunately, failure to communicate properly is not lethal.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    If you have a feeling, you have a feeling. Materialism just argues all those feelings are creations of neurons interacting. They are still feelings.GLEN willows

    Not just materialism. Everyone can agree that feelings are the creations of neurons firing. Because when the neurons don't fire you don't have the feelings. That can't be coincidence.

    If a feeling isn't a part of the brain, what is it? If it's a separate thing, NOT part of the brain, but can affect the brain, how does that occur?GLEN willows

    How about: A separate thing that does not affect the brain only appears to?

    But instead, you want to make it so that feelings ARE a material. Then I'd have to ask you what you mean by "matter". More specifically, what is NOT matter? If you cannot answer that question that means that you simply defined everything as matter from the get-go. So of course you will reach the conclusion that.... everything is matter (materialism).

    This is the position I call "thingism". It's materialism which is reached by making it so that "matter" is such a widely applicable word, that you might as well have just said "thing". Hence, thingism.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    I think this is a perfect illustration of what Isaac was saying. For me, I didn't detect any hostility in GLEN's comments or post. Body language is missing and crucial it seems.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    According to materialism, this ought not to happen, all of the causation should be from matter up to mind, not from mind down to matter.Wayfarer

    Shouldn't it? Otherwise how would you square it with the conservation laws (energy, momentum, torque, etc). Or are those in doubt for you? Genuine question, not rhetorical.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.1k

    I believe that if we approach others on the internet in an attitude of hostility we are not going to achieve any meaningful interaction. I have not been on any other forums apart from this one, and when I write comments and threads I am wanting the best possible philosophy discussions. Obviously, this involves a certain amount of argument but this can be constructive. I did not join the forum for nastiness, to give or receive it. I have seen too much of that in daily life and that has often led me away from groups. So, I wish to engage with others who are looking for genuine philosophy debate and the best option I see is when someone does not seem to be coming from that angle it is better to move on and engage with another person instead.
  • GLEN willows
    93
    I've had far more nasty things thrown at me than “But you’re still wrong haha!” (the "haha" put there to clearly show I'm teasing, it also followed me being extra deferential, so that was the joke.).

    But that's neither here nor there. The real problem, as Wayfarer himself said, was that I opened with a thread about materialism which he called a "pretty atrocious philosophy (if it actually is a philosophy)" and "I don’t think there’s much support for it amongst the regulars." And I LIKE Wayfarer, as my posts show.

    That's the real problem...I'm just in the wrong place. My masters is on materialism and neuroscience - the blending of philosophy and science is to me the most exciting area in academia these days. I'm passionate about it, and in fact the prof who is supervising my masters with is on the cutting edge of it all, so I lucked out. (and he's a fan of Bennet and Churchland).

    Nonetheless, I'm willing to go against the grain in discussions, but it seems like a pretty steep hill to climb, and will I learn anything new about my chosen area? Seems doubtful.

    I waded into the wrong pond, that's all. My mistake was sticking around too long, once I'd seen the way the wind was blowing. I'll move on.

    Thanks for you time and thoughts.
  • GLEN willows
    93
    Agreed. Again, my question was "why say something bad instead of something good when cloaked with anonymity?" And my personal belief is human behaviour is essentially more negative and self-serving than good and charitable. Not everyone obviously.

    Anyway...I appreciate your comments..
  • Possibility
    2k
    I didn’t detect any hostility, either. But I DID detect passive-aggressiveness - and despite denying it to me, he’s admitted as much to others. Not everyone picks this up - that’s the point. If they take offence, it’s them being overly sensitive, but it’s thinly veiled nastiness that enables one to play both the victim and the aggressor. A defence mechanism against bullying.

    I realise you’re teasing, but if you genuinely want a ‘good and charitable’ discussion then I would expect you to model it.

    I would disagree that you’re in the wrong place, unless what you’re looking for is agreement rather than philosophical discussion. I’ve been quietly going against the grain here for a couple of years now, and thoroughly enjoyed learning from the discussions I’ve had. I think it’s precisely when we disagree that the most fruitful discussions can be had. I’m not expecting anyone to agree with me here - I’m expecting to learn by striving to understand different philosophical positions in relation to my own.

    I think your focus on materialism and neuroscience may be useful here - I’d certainly appreciate both in some of the discussions I’ve had. Are you familiar with Feldman Barrett’s work? I’m also interested in recent collaborations of science and philosophy, particularly the interaction of quantum theory with theories of consciousness.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.1k

    Obviously you have to choose whether you stay on the forum or not. It sounds like you have an outlet for your philosophy exploration in your present studies. Personally, I wish that I had an outlet but the only real channel for my ideas at the moment is this forum, so I wish to make the best use of it as I can. When I first blundered onto the site, I was fortunate that the recipients in my first couple of weeks showed no hostility. I see this as fortunate because I would have probably just have not logged in again at all and it does bother me that I can imagine that some may encounter initial hostility and withdraw from the forum for this reason.

    It took me a while to get to know how to use the forum, about how some engage and about how much I feel safe to self disclose, and how much is relevant. After being on the forum for about 5 months I do get demoralised when I see what appears to be banter, but I just try to ignore this, and I do believe that I am able to gain plenty of meaningful exchange, but it is about finding it. I think this takes time and patience.

    I would imagine that you have a lot to contribute, but I would imagine that you need to be selective and find the right thread discussions for you, or you could even risk creating another one rather than just this particular one. I would imagine that a lot of people are extremely interested in serious discussion about neuroscience, as it throws so much light on debates about the nature of consciousness.
  • Miguel Hernández
    66
    "Why do human interactions on the internet tend to skew negative, as opposed to positive? What does this say about human behaviour?"GLEN willows

    - Out of desire to change roles. We pretend to be who we are not. We would wish we were less diplomatic. The Internet makes up for our frustrations.
    - Like a game. We like to say things that we do not feel, simply because they are part of the possible discourse.
    - As self-affirmation. We want to impress others, by leaving the usual anonymity to which we are condemned.
    - By shared idiocy. There is too much fool in the world. Every idiot in the world is not willing to pass in silence while the world praising people who have proven to be talented. A Confederacy of Dunces, bro.

    ************************
    Conclusion: At thirty, everyone bites. Especially in the savannah.

  • baker
    1k
    Humanses are a pugilistic species. The internetz merely tunes out the noise that generally prevents us from seeing people in their typical pugilistic mode IRL.
  • praxis
    3.3k
    I would disagree that you’re in the wrong place, unless what you’re looking for is agreement rather than philosophical discussion. I’ve been quietly going against the grain here for a couple of years now, and thoroughly enjoyed learning from the discussions I’ve had. I think it’s precisely when we disagree that the most fruitful discussions can be had. I’m not expecting anyone to agree with me here - I’m expecting to learn by striving to understand different philosophical positions in relation to my own.

    I think your focus on materialism and neuroscience may be useful here - I’d certainly appreciate both in some of the discussions I’ve had. Are you familiar with Feldman Barrett’s work? I’m also interested in recent collaborations of science and philosophy, particularly the interaction of quantum theory with theories of consciousness.
    Possibility

    Well said. :clap:
  • praxis
    3.3k
    Well, they’r considered ‘bad guys’ by me, for the reasons I’ve given.Wayfarer

    Were you beaten up by a gang of marauding Dennettians as a child or something? Your anti-materialism seems a little irrational at times.
  • Olivier5
    2k
    All this being said, there might be something in the subjects of philosophy that irrates people. From Socrates to Descartes to Nietzsche, many philosophers have passed for assholes.
  • Olivier5
    2k
    Nonetheless, I'm willing to go against the grain in discussions, but it seems like a pretty steep hill to climb, and will I learn anything new about my chosen area? Seems doubtful.GLEN willows

    We eat materialists for breakfast on this forum. Ha ha
  • Wayfarer
    11.9k
    According to materialism, this ought not to happen, all of the causation should be from matter up to mind, not from mind down to matter.
    — Wayfarer

    Shouldn't it? Otherwise how would you square it with the conservation laws (energy, momentum, torque, etc). Or are those in doubt for you? Genuine question, not rhetorical.
    khaled

    They're not in doubt, but they have limited explanatory scope.

    According to materialism, everything is reducible to physical laws, so it rejects 'top-down' explanations. Dennett calls them (derisively) 'sky hooks'.

    When it comes to neurobiology, you would expect that changes to the brain would have cognitive or affective consequences. That's 'bottom-up' causation, and it's not controversial. But the fact that intentional actions can change neural configuration goes against that. That's 'top-down' causation.

    Your anti-materialism seems a little irrational at times.praxis

    Our society presumes that materialism must be true. A lot of people don't know what the word means, and wouldn't be able to explain it if you asked them, but it's like the popular wisdom of the age so it's ingrained into the way they think about life. It's like what 'everyone knows' must be true. And no, I was never 'beaten up' by materialists, but I did form the view at a very young age that it's a mistaken understanding.

    I LIKE Wayfarer, as my posts show.GLEN willows

    Aw, shucks..... :yikes:

    I do try and refrain from sarcasm or getting to heated in online debates, but it's something I had to learn. I used to throw grenades quite often, i.e. make deliberately provocative statements. And I've stayed away at times, but I usually come back, because it's a form of interaction I really like. I think anyone interacting on these forums has to learn to let things go by, you can't leap in and set everyone straight, and when the emotion starts to rise, then that's the time to practice 'mindfulness of breathing'. Yes, you can represent an unpopular or minority attitude, I often do, but try and maintain a sense of detachment about it. That itself is part of the discipline of philosophy.

    Where forums are useful is understanding how others think AND understanding what you yourself are trying to articulate.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    They're not in doubtWayfarer

    intentional actions can change neural configurationWayfarer

    Are contradictory statements. I’m interested in where you get the second. Because I’m not so sure that it’s “intentional actions change neural configuration” as much as “neural reconfiguration comes with the sense of intent” and I’m curious how your source would show that it’s not simply the second.

    And what does “limited explanatory scope” mean? They work sometimes and other times not?

    Also isn’t this a form of strong emergence that you’re suggesting here? A bunch of atoms come together and somehow that form a “mind” which cannot be reduced to or explained by the atoms and has the ability to change them “top down”.

    I’m fine with the “forming the mind” bit, it’s the bit about how that mind can then go back and change the atoms that bugs me. I just can’t conceive of it. It would be like mixing a bunch of gases in a balloon and then noticing that at the right concentrations, for some reason, the conservation laws start to break down. The gas moves randomly then just.... stops for a second.... then resumes. And this is explained by “The mixture created a mind which can then go back and alter the mixture”. Just seems like nothing short of magic.
  • Nikolas
    205
    "Why do human interactions on the internet tend to skew negative, as opposed to positive? What does this say about human behaviour?"GLEN willows

    The closer deeper philosophical ideas are to being objectively true, the more they will be hated. Consider why Jesus and Socrates had to die. They revealed the human condition and the path to freedom for what it is so had to be hated. From the Cave allegory:

    [Socrates] And if there were a contest, and he had to compete in measuring the shadows with the prisoners who had never moved out of the cave, while his sight was still weak, and before his eyes had become steady (and the time which would be needed to acquire this new habit of sight might be very considerable) would he not be ridiculous? Men would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes; and that it was better not even to think of ascending; and if any one tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the offender, and they would put him to death.

    If you stimulate real negativity, it may be that you are on the right track.
  • Wayfarer
    11.9k
    Well, first, in response to 'intentional actions changing neural configurations', that was a reference to a famous experiment whereby measurable changes were observed in subjects brains, due to their imagining that they were practicing piano scales. No actual piano! But the field of research in neuroplasticity has many such examples. A popular books on it (one I'm meaning to read!) is Train your Mind, Change your Brain.

    From a philosophical perspective, when it comes to the nature of the mind, we're dealing in conceptual models, as I said before, mostly descended from Cartesian dualism, which posit 'mind' and 'matter' as separate domains. While this is not inherently mistaken as a model or metaphor, there are implications that have to be understood.

    Scientific method works where it can objectify, quantify, and predict. Those are the fundamental elements of the method, which are universal in scope - they can be applied to anything. Correction - to any object, or collections of objects, or observable systems. Phenomena generally, let's say, with which we have a subject-object relatonship.

    But 'mind' does not appear anywhere within the domain of phenomena. It's not objectively measurable or perceptible. We can infer that others have minds like our own, and that animals have simpler minds. But we don't know what mind is - which is why Dennett feels compelled to eliminate it! It's the ultimate 'inconvenient truth' - it's right in the middle of everything, but it can't be quantified or objectified and hence is always out of the scope of science, even as a matter of principle. That's the entire story behind Daniel Dennett, there's nothing to it beyond that.

    t would be like mixing a bunch of gases in a balloon and then noticing that at the right concentrations, for some reason, the conservation laws start to break down. The gas moves randomly then just.... stops for a second.... then resumes. And this is explained by “The mixture created a mind which can then go back and alter the mixture”. Just seems like nothing short of magic.khaled

    Accounting for life and mind is where reductionism breaks down. There's a discontinuity, a leap, between the inorganic, the living, and the imaginal realms. This is one of the reasons that biology has shifted from chemical paradigm, to an information paradigm - that the basis of living organisms can't be reduced to physical laws, such as conservation laws etc, but that a genuinely novel principle is required, nowadays envisaged in terms of information. That already is a break from materialism, without venturing into anything particularly spooky. That's the direction it's going. Old school materialism is pretty well broken down by science itself, nowadays.

    //ps//and, yes, magic might indeed be part of it :gasp: //
  • NOS4A2
    4.4k


    "Why do human interactions on the internet tend to skew negative, as opposed to positive? What does this say about human behaviour?"

    Most likely because we are interacting with screens instead of human beings. So much of human interaction is missing from the equation to begin with.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    Well, first, in response to 'intentional actions changing neural configurations', that was a reference to a famous experiment whereby measurable changes were observed in subjects brains, due to their imagining that they were practicing piano scales. No actual piano! But the field of research in neuroplasticity has many such examples. A popular books on it (one I'm meaning to read!) is Train your Mind, Change your Brain.Wayfarer

    Sure but even that doesn’t prove that it was “mind altering matter” so much as “mind being altered as a side effect to matter altering matter”. I don’t see how the lack of piano helps.

    Scientific method works where it can objectify, quantify, and predict. Those are the fundamental elements of the method, which are universal in scope - they can be applied to anything. Correction - to any object, or collections of objects, or observable systems. Phenomena generally, let's say, with which we have a subject-object relatonship.Wayfarer

    Sure but the brain is an object. And saying the mind alters the brain, above and beyond the brain altering the brain, would be contradicting the theories we found work everywhere else. As it would suggest that the conservation laws break down in the brain. If they don’t break down in the brain, then the mind isn’t doing anything is it?

    ps//and, yes, magic might indeed be part of it :gasp: //Wayfarer

    When I see matter work differently within the human body than literally everywhere else in the universe, I’ll believe it.

    It’s not that I want to eliminate minds or that I like the thought that my mind is just a side effect, no, I want to be convinced otherwise but I can’t. Makes no sense to me.
  • Wayfarer
    11.9k
    I don’t see how the lack of piano helps.khaled

    A piano is physical. The idea of a piano is not.

    Of course, you might then say that ideas are neuroconfigurations, and here’s where the basic problem lies. We look at all such questions through ideas, we have to have an idea to even decide what is ‘physical’. That is the sense in which the ideal precedes the physical, although I don’t expect you would agree.

    the brain is an object.khaled

    The brain as an object is an entirely different thing to an embodied brain. Neuroscience and philosophy are different disciplines.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    The brain as an object is an entirely different thing to an embodied brain. Neuroscience and philosophy are different disciplines.Wayfarer

    But the claim was that the mind alters the brain above and beyond the brain altering the brain. If so we should expect to see some movement or other in the brain that has no detectable cause (because it was caused by the mind). This is an empirical claim not a philosophical one. One that I haven’t found any evidence for and plenty of evidence against.

    Of course, you might then say that ideas are neuroconfigurations,Wayfarer

    No, I would say that the idea of the piano did nothing. It was the brain doing things, which resulted in the idea of the piano. The idea of the piano itself is a side effect not a part of the causal chain.

    We look at all such questions through ideas, we have to have an idea to even decide what is ‘physical’. That is the sense in which the ideal precedes the physical, although I don’t expect you would agree.Wayfarer

    Sure. But yes I don’t agree. I don’t think the ideal precedes the physical. The ideal results from the physical but doesn’t affect it. Just coincides with it. That makes the most sense to me. What’s the problem with that?
  • praxis
    3.3k
    Your anti-materialism seems a little irrational at times.
    — praxis

    Our society presumes that materialism must be true. A lot of people don't know what the word means, and wouldn't be able to explain it if you asked them
    Wayfarer

    Apropos, that doesn’t make sense. You can’t assume what you don’t know or understand. Most people are religious, if that suggests anything about societal presumptions of philosophical materialism, and according to a Gallop International poll, only 13% claim to be convinced atheists.
  • Book273
    335
    If consciousness isn't in the brain:

    - why do changes to the brain change consciousness?

    - how do thoughts/ideas cause our arms to lift, punch a guy we hate, etc
    GLEN willows

    I will support consciousness as outside the brain.

    To answer your first question, brain changes resulting in consciousness changes, I propose the following for consideration: the brain is the medium through which we are able to directly control our bodies, and therefore, our ability to communicate our consciousness. It stands therefore that changes to the medium of control will result in perceived changes to consciousness. Perhaps consciousness does not, in truth, change due to changes in the brain, however, if, as a result of a brain change, one is no longer able to communicate at their previous level of consciousness, then, to an observer, consciousness has changed, when in truth, the ability to demonstrate said consciousness has changed.

    To address your second question, subconscious learning is responsible for thought/desire leading to action. Your body learned to react to thoughts and desires before the brain learned formal language, effectively removing these "basic" processes from the formal though pathways which we have grown accustomed to. We plan our movements along a pathway, consciously, when there are choices available to us regarding those pathways. For example, I want to go get a coffee (desire) should I take the stairs (pathway A) or the elevator (pathway B) to the coffee shop? The path is optional, however, walking is required on either path and the control of my legs and balance is not part of my formal consciousness, however is part of my subconsciousness; as otherwise I would continue to walk on you chosen path even if I lost consciousness, similarly to how we continue to breath and have a heart beat even when unconscious. Our formal consciousness operates much too slowly to process all of the requirements of movement otherwise. This is why martial artists practice their moves so much, so that the body remembers what to do in response to a perceived threat subconsciously and reaction time does not rely on the very slow formal consciousness processing. Think about how fast you move your hand if you think about pulling it away as quickly as you can. Then recall the last time you spilled boiling water on it, and the reaction time associated with that. Subconscious reaction is much faster than formal consciousness reaction. Bruce Lee did not stop to consider all the implications of the possibilities of the actions of his opponents, his body reacted to their movements faster than formal consciousness could process the movement. Practice and conditioning in harmony.
  • Wayfarer
    11.9k
    No, I would say that the idea of the piano did nothing. It was the brain doing things, which resulted in the idea of the pianokhaled

    If ‘the idea’ had been injected, or ingested, as a physical substance, which caused changes to the brain, then I would agree. But the suggestion is, it was changed by an act of thought.

    That makes the most sense to me. What’s the problem with that?khaled

    ‘What makes sense’ is an idea, not anything physical.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    But the suggestion is, it was changed by an act of thought.Wayfarer

    But you haven’t shown that. It could also be the case that the thought coincided with the neural change. Not that it caused it. For it to have caused it:

    we should expect to see some movement or other in the brain that has no detectable cause (because it was caused by the mind). This is an empirical claim not a philosophical one. One that I haven’t found any evidence for and plenty of evidence against.khaled

    What makes sense’ is an idea, not anything physical.Wayfarer

    When did I say otherwise?

    I’m not disagreeing that we have non physical ideas. I’m disagreeing that they can have physical effects. That they can be part of the causal chain.
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