• Wayfarer
    12.1k
    Who said coincidence?khaled

    is not causal. It just coincides with the turningkhaled
  • Isaac
    4.3k
    if I engage in an argument with you, then nothing physical has passed between us.Wayfarer

    Then what are the sounds, electrical signals, ink marks or whatever forms the substrate of your conversation?

    Those are the activities of the mind. And insofar as that effects the body, for example in psychosomatic medicine or by causing neurological changes, then that is 'top-down causation'.Wayfarer

    They don't. Not without breaking fundamental laws of physics. You're positing a system which defies the laws of physics - despite being well within the purview of physics ("causing neurological changes" - a physical event). If something defying the laws of physics isn't reason to look elsewhere, then what is? Are you seriously suggesting that "It seems that way to me" is a stronger argument the "It is consistent with all the laws of physics"?
  • khaled
    2.7k
    Then I misspoke. It is not coincidence. You can go back and check why as I explained in the last comment.

    I said “coincides with” but I didn’t mean it was a coincidence. I meant “accompanies”.

    But do you actually intend to address what I’m saying? I’m dedicating an awful lot of time and typing into this so if you’re only going to give cursory responses to half of what I type like these I don’t think there is much point in continuing.
  • khaled
    2.7k
    They don't. Not without breaking fundamental laws of physics. You're positing a system which defies the laws of physics - despite being well within the purview of physics ("causing neurological changes" - a physical event). If something defying the laws of physics isn't reason to look elsewhere, then what is? Are you seriously suggesting that "It seems that way to me" is a stronger argument the "It is consistent with all the laws of physics"?Isaac

    Given that we agree there, what’s your stance? Epiphenomenalism? Something else? Are you a dualist in the first place? I’m curious.
  • Olivier5
    2k
    I am not arguing, really, just saying I don't know what the mind is 'made of', what's its composition and mechanisms. I am not ready to call it physical or not physical because this word has no clear meaning to me. I prefer the word 'natural'.

    What I believe is that the mind is perfectly natural, and that it exists for a reason. It does things. That's why we have one. Same as for your nostrils, your hair and your feet: you have them for a reason, they serve a purpose.

    I believe the purpose of the mind is to integrate information from all sources to support decision making.

    I also believe that everything in this universe is connected via cause-and-effect to other things. So to me, the idea of a thing (the mind) having no effect on other things is simply impossible. The mind as you describe it (a dead-end of causality) appears to me a logical impossibility. Not to mention that it'd be totally useless...
  • Wayfarer
    12.1k
    do you actually intend to address what I’m saying?khaled

    What 'you are saying' constantly changes, so it is impossible to address it.

    I don’t think there is much point in continuing.khaled

    I agree.
  • khaled
    2.7k

    this word has no clear meaning to me.Olivier5

    It’s what physicists study.
    What I believe is that the mind is perfectly natural, and that it exists for a reason. It does things. That's why we have one. Same as for your nostrils, your hair and your feet: you have them for a reason, they serve a purpose.Olivier5

    I don’t really buy the argument from evolution.

    You can remove a persons nostrils or feet. And they will have a lower chance to survive. But you can’t remove a mind.

    It seems to me that minds come “free of charge” with a sufficiently advanced organism. They’re not like feet that require energy and cell replacement. They don’t have a cost. So it would make sense for them to exist and serve no purpose.

    I believe the purpose of the mind is to integrate information from all sources to support decision making.Olivier5

    I would flip it. When you integrate enough information minds pop out. Or something like that.

    So to me, the idea of a thing (the mind) having no effect on other things is simply impossible. The mind as you describe it (a dead-end of causality) appears to me a logical impossibility.Olivier5

    Logical? Again, cause and effect is not a logical principle.

    But I can understand if you said “seems absurd”.
  • khaled
    2.7k
    What 'you are saying' constantly changes, so it is impossible to address it.Wayfarer

    Then either I am misspeaking or you’re misinterpreting because what I have in mind has been constant.

    And no it did not cause me to type this!

    Anyways good luck spoonbending. (Joking)
  • Isaac
    4.3k
    Given that we agree there, what’s your stance? Epiphenomenalism? Something else? Are you a dualist in the first place? I’m curious.khaled

    Epiphenomenalism of a sort. I think minds are a model we make of the processes in our brains. Models are (mostly public) constructs which act to minimise surprise in the variables of hidden states. When certain neurons are firing and we want to minimise the surprise in the hidden states (we don't literally know which neurons are firing) we create a model which we call thoughts, which proceeds according to the rules of the model - logic, aesthetics etc. This then minimises surprise at the condition of the subsequent hidden states.

    Since what we talk about as 'reality' consists entirely of these models, I don't have a problem with calling the mind 'real'. But since our best model of physical stuff (like neurons) requires things like the law of conservation of momentum, I don't think we would have a very useful model if we said that 'mind' was the sort of thing that could affect neurons. that would require us to make too many changes to the models of physical reality, for no good reason.
  • khaled
    2.7k
    When certain neurons are firing and we want to minimise the surprise in the hidden states (we don't literally know which neurons are firing) we create a model which we call thoughtsIsaac

    Wouldn’t that require us to know what neurons are before making words that describe their hidden states? But clearly words such as “anger” are older than “Amygdala”

    Only part I disagree with really, that the model “thoughts” and “minds” is used to talk about neuron firings. If it was I would think you need to know what neurons are before talking about thoughts.
  • Olivier5
    2k
    You can remove a persons nostrils or feet. And they will have a lower chance to survive. But you can’t remove a mind.khaled

    You can lose your mind. You can also temporarily suspend its operations. It's called sleep.

    [Minds] don’t have a cost.khaled

    Why do you think people have to sleep? Sleep is quasi universal in the animal kingdom yet nobody knows why... Even insects sleep. It could be that minds suck up a lot of energy, or something else that gets depleted after a while, needing restauration. Sleep may be the price to pay for minds.

    Logical? Again, cause and effect is not a logical principle.khaled

    Nit picking. There is no place for causal dead ends in my world view. Any thing that exists can have an effect on other things. Otherwise how do we know it exists???

    Something that has no effect on other things ought to be untraceable.
  • Isaac
    4.3k
    Wouldn’t that require us to know what neurons are before making words that describe their hidden states? But clearly words such as “anger” are older than “Amygdala”khaled

    Yeah. Our models are changing all the time. Before neurons we would have had very different models.
  • khaled
    2.7k
    You can lose your mind. You can also temporarily suspend its operations. It's called sleep.Olivier5

    I meant you can’t remove JUST the mind. You can’t create a philosophical zombie.

    Plenty of physical changes happen when you sleep. You can’t remove the mind without making these changes. The mind is not some “extra sauce” added to the brain that you can choose not to add. It comes with it. And if you change the brain up enough you lose it (such as when you sleep)

    Why do you think people have to sleep?Olivier5

    Definitely not to rest our minds, but our brains and bodies.

    It could be that minds suck up a lot of energy, or something else that gets depleted after a while, needing restauration. Sleep may be the price to pay for minds.Olivier5

    Maybe. Or maybe it’s just the cost of brains and bodies.

    Otherwise how do we know it exists?Olivier5

    I can imagine a pebble in space that is still and so far away from anything that it’s effect is negligible.

    If such a pebble existed we would know it exists by seeing it.
  • khaled
    2.7k
    Before neurons we would have had very different models.Isaac

    So, the word “anger” had a different meaning before neurology?

    What do you mean?
  • Isaac
    4.3k
    So, the word “anger” had a different meaning before neurology?khaled

    'Meaning' is a slightly different matter. I hold a broadly Wittgensteinian view that the meaning of a word is found by looking to its use. This might not be exhausted by the label we give to some predictive model. That would, most likely, only be one of many uses, and so one of many meanings. In regards to that specific use though (labelling a particular predictive model), then yes.

    We now know stuff about anger which we did not know before, and that new knowledge will be integrated into our models.
  • khaled
    2.7k
    This might not be exhausted by the label we give to some predictive modelIsaac

    I don’t think “anger” works as a label of a predictive model in everyday use. Sure, certain neurons firing cause anger, but we don’t use the word “anger” to bring that to mind typically.

    Other than that, sure agreed.
  • Olivier5
    2k
    Definitely not to rest our minds, but our brains and bodies.khaled

    Our bodies can rest without sleeping, so that can't be it. Our brain, maybe, possibly because sustaining a mind is a very tiring thing.

    you can’t remove JUST the mind.khaled

    Comatose people, brain damaged people etc.

    can imagine a pebble in space that is still and so far away from anything that it’s effect is negligible.

    If such a pebble existed we would know it exists by seeing it.
    khaled

    And thus this pebble would have had an effect on us, since we saw it.
  • khaled
    2.7k
    Our bodies can rest without sleepingOlivier5

    Not the kind of rest you get from sleeping. A quick google search came up with this:

    Human growth hormone (HGH), on the other hand, is one of the primary compounds that allows muscles to recover and grow. Among other functions, our bodies need it to actually use the amino acids present in the protein we eat. As it happens, the time when the bloodstream is flooded with the stuff is - you guessed it - during sleep.

    Among countless other examples.

    Our brain, maybe, possibly because sustaining a mind is a very tiring thing.Olivier5

    Or because sustaining a brain is a very tiring thing.

    Comatose people, brain damaged people etc.Olivier5

    Brain damaged people are an example of removing the mind without changing the brain? No. By definition of "brain damaged"

    And thus this pebble would have had an effect on us, since we saw it.Olivier5

    Alright fair enough. I can't think of any other examples of a causal dead end other than minds. But that's not a problem for me since I don't have a problem with causal dead ends existing, or us knowing about them.
  • Olivier5
    2k
    You can't move things to long term memory without sleeping for one.khaled

    These things you move to long term memory when you sleep, do they have a mass, a volume or a number? I guess not, and hence you are talking of mind stuff, of sleep as a maintenance period for minds.

    You see, not everything that exists is breakable into countable units. Take the laws of physics for instance. They have no mass either, so by your criteria the laws of physics are not physical... And yet I think they do exist.

    Brain damaged people are an example of removing the mind without changing the brain?khaled

    Who said anything about not changing the brain? You said the mind can't be removed, and I said it can, period.
  • khaled
    2.7k
    These things you move to long term memory when you sleep, do they have a mass, a volume or a number?Olivier5

    "Moving to long term memory" is nothing more and nothing less than a figure of speech describing a neurological process.

    Take the laws of physics for instance. They have no mass either, so by your criteria the laws of physics are not physical.Olivier5

    Agreed. The laws of physics are not physical. They are models in our minds. They're mental.

    And yes, the laws of physics do not exist in the same way a rock does. They exist as models in our minds and nothing more.

    Who said anything about not changing the brain?Olivier5

    Me. Here:

    I meant you can’t remove JUST the mind. You can’t create a philosophical zombie.khaled

    and here:

    Plenty of physical changes happen when you sleep. You can’t remove the mind without making these changes.khaled
  • Olivier5
    2k
    a neurological process.khaled

    What is the mass of a neurological process?

    I meant you can’t remove JUST the mind.khaled

    A brain-dead or brain-damaged person still has a brain. The organ has not been removed; it's still there but not processing.
  • khaled
    2.7k
    We're going around in circles. I think you can infer the answer to both of those questions from what I said previously. Cheers.
  • Olivier5
    2k
    You are indeed going around in circles, but only because you don't want to go anywhere. Yet you stumbled on an interesting idea which I shall chew on: that of the mind as a process, or set of.
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