• Manuel
    2.6k
    No? Why would I do that?khaled

    You said: "She slapped him because she was angry”, “She slapped him because <insert causal chain leading to slap here>”. Same thing."

    You said it's the same thing.

    I could just do this as I have been.

    But if this is what you think then why were you asking “how” neurons produce experiences?
    khaled

    I think in terms of different levels of abstraction. Manifest reality is the ordinary level of everyday life. Neuropsychological explanations are a higher level of abstraction.

    What I have in mind when I ask that question is that it seems to me that a lot is left missing. You can say that stimulating X and Y area of the brain is the same as seeing a tree. I think that while in principle you could stimulate the brain to do this, we know way too little about the brain.

    The how question is related to emergence. What is the relationship between neurons and seeing color, or smelling wood, etc.,, etc.
  • Manuel
    2.6k


    I never got an answer. What's your ontology? :)
  • Manuel
    2.6k


    Could you say a little more? Saying love in and of itself is a bit confusing.
  • 180 Proof
    8.7k
    "Certum est, quia impossibile" ~Tertullian

    ... I prefer the not so easy question: what necessarily is not there?180 Proof
    Could you expand on that?

    Like listing some examples, or describing how such an approach works, more or less.
    Manuel
    Apologies for the delay in responding.

    In sum: We cannot agree on 'what there is' because any determination – ontological commitment – reflects our interests/biases or some domain with which we're engaged. Thus, the history of incommensurable, divergent, metaphysics. I've pursued, therefore, an inquiry based on what we must agree on rationally: the Principle of Non-contradiction. (NB: Even dialetheism or paraconsistent logic implicitly accept the PNC axiom in so far as such systems deny it.) From there I'm working through, or working out, an apophatic modal-metaphysics (or negative ontology à la "negative theology"); and once 'what necessarily is not there' (i.e. the impossibles) is determined as a principle? category? set-membership rule?, I speculate that the remainder – whatever is not determined 'impossible' as such – is 'what there is' (i.e. the possibles [re: irrealism, actualism ]), no doubt as Spinoza (or Einstein) would say, sub specie aeternitatus.

    Two links below from an old thread, same topic, unfortunately without much engagement by others with my speculations.

    (i) denial of impossible worlds

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/351534

    (ii) elaboration on 'non-necessary facts' –

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/352403

    Thoughts?
  • khaled
    3.4k
    You said it's the same thing.Manuel

    Yea. And I’d still use the former. Since they’re the same thing anyways I don’t have to explain the neurological state that is anger when simply saying “angry” will do.

    I think that while in principle you could stimulate the brain to do this, we know way too little about the brain.Manuel

    So your objection is more empirical and fundamental. I don’t know much about neurology so idk if it’s founded or not.

    I never got an answer. What's your ontology?Manuel

    What exists? Why stuff of course! In other words I’m a monist. I think the only things that exist are physical though I hesitate to use the word because it’s basically lost all meaning. “Quantum wave states” have no position, speed, defined mass, color or smell but we still call them physical.
  • Manuel
    2.6k
    Thoughts?180 Proof

    As presented in those threads, it's a bit difficult for me to follow. I mean, if you accept say, the Many Worlds hypothesis of quantum mechanics, then that's one thing: what would be included in these worlds is very hard to say, we can't go into another world to see what they may or may not contain. I'm assuming that in these other possible worlds airplanes could not be made completely out of the stone, such as the one's we have here. Likewise for other such postulates.

    I'm not good at logic, sadly. So I don't follow what you mean when you say:

    "the world is not the world' (i.e. nothingness, absolute absence / nonexistence) is an impossible world, or a way the world necessarily could not have been ...

    ..... if impossible worlds do not exist, then 'the world is not the world' does not exist; and if 'the world is not the world' does not exist, then possible worlds exist; therefore possible worlds necessarily exist."

    That is, I think you could stipulate possible worlds based on Everett's theory. Or it can be used as a heuristic to come up with thought experiments: if we were further away, or closer to the sun, we could not exist.

    I think the difficulty in these topics is attempting to separate what belongs as a construction of the mind as opposed to what's there absent us, which is extremely difficult, maybe impossible.

    I think I do follow your facts argument though. I'd agree in so far as the world is not made out of facts, but of different kinds of things. We use facts to attempt to describe these things, but we can phrase these fact in many different ways.
  • Manuel
    2.6k
    So your objection is more empirical and fundamental. I don’t know much about neurology so idk if it’s founded or not.khaled

    In part, yes. Why stop at neurons? Hammeroff says that consciousness is due to microtubules located inside axons. Apparently these microtubules react to quantum states. I don't understand this. But it could be the case. So while we are saying that neurons cause a specific reaction, it could be that what's responsible for us seeing a tree are actually quantum events.

    Sure, you can say that. It may be true. It doesn't reach the level of psychology or of manifest reality: saying that quantum events cause me to see a tree may be true. I can't talk about intentionality, the status of fictional objects, how social institutions differ from apparent order in nature, how consciousness binds objects as belonging to one group or another, etc. So these are just different domains of enquiry, or so it seems to me.

    What exists? Why stuff of course! In other words I’m a monist. I think the only things that exist are physical though I hesitate to use the word because it’s basically lost all meaning. “Quantum wave states” have no position, speed, defined mass, color or smell but we still call them physical.khaled

    Here we entirely agree. It's a better alternative than substance dualism. So it's does not say much, but how so many different events can be made of one type of stuff is pretty crazy to me.
  • 180 Proof
    8.7k
    I appreciate you reading my posts. FYI, though, Everett's MWI, like modal realism, has absolutely nothing to do with my concerns. Apparently, the preface summarizing the what and the why (including wiki links to irrealism & actualism) isn't helpful. My treatise certainly requires a longer treatment but for now all I can offer are brief dense sketches suitable for online fora. Well, okay, then to answer the OP in, for me anyway, oversimplified terms:

    What there is?
    There are contingent ways the world could have been (i.e. contingent versions of the world), or can be described (i.e. narrated, measured, mapped, modeled), that are constituted by contingent facts.

    There aren't any 'non-contingent (i.e. necessary) facts in this ontology' – which I'd attempted to sketch-out reasons for in my previous post.

    Also, by contingent I mean 'always can, but not necessarily, be otherwise or not all'.

    Nixon could have been impeached, removed, prosecuted and died in prison.

    You could have been raised speaking Mandarin.

    Nature can be described via poetry.

    Nature can be described via ecological systems.

    Time can be described phenomenologically (re: duration).

    Time can be described chronometrically (re: clocks).

    This post could have been posted a decade ago and written in Swahili and read by someone other than you.


    Etcetera ...
    — e.g. contingent versions / descriptions of the world
    These belong to the set of what there is.
  • Manuel
    2.6k


    I think I understand your point a bit better. So things and the world could have been otherwise. These possible worlds belong can be thought of as belonging to a class of potential descriptions for each particular world.

    When you say there are no necessary facts for this world. Do you have in mind something along the lines of: had the variables during the big bang been a bit different, we would not exist?

    If that's roughly on the right track, then what could not exist in any possible world? I'm thinking that circular triangles are impossible, irrespective of the world. Unless you'd go along the lines of saying, we lack the cognitive capacity to think of such an object.

    It's quite interesting.
  • 180 Proof
    8.7k
    When you say there are no necessary facts for this world. Do you have in mind something along the lines of: had the variables during the big bang been a bit different, we would not exist?Manuel
    Yes.

    If that's roughly on the right track, then what could not exist in any possible world?
    'Necessary, or non-contingent, facts' – as I pointed out – because such notions are contradictory (or contain inconsistent predicates or they're unconditional-unchangeable). Btw, I use "possible world" to mean contingent version / description of this world – not some separate, other world or worlds.
  • bongo fury
    1.3k
    Fave quote,

    You may decry some of these scruples, and protest that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in my philosophy. I am concerned, rather, that there should not be more things dreamt of in my philosophy than there are in heaven and earth.Goodman, Fact Fiction and Forecast

    Casual plagiarism.
  • fdrake
    5k
    Sometimes in other forums, philosophy of mind sections are literally only about neuroscience. It should then be called brain philosophy, which is fine. But so far as I can see, current brain science says very, very, very little about the mind. Which is strange, admittedly. Still, if we "reduce" mind to brain, we lose out on almost everything.Manuel

    What would an answer to that request be like? I mean how would you know you've had such an answer. I could say - your occipital cortex starts a chain of neural firings which, on average, lead to reports consitent with what we describe as 'seeing a tree'. Why isn't that an answer, what's missing?Isaac

    Maybe one part of "what's missing" is regarding the scope of useful condensations of the information. On a day to day basis you don't have access to someone's brain, but you do have access to someone's behaviour.

    That raises the question of how to admit the utility of folk psychology heuristics without making them the be all and end all of one's philosophy of mind. So, whatever symmetry there is between brain events and psychological/intentional events can surely be leveraged both ways without reducing either domain to the other in all contexts? Two examples:

    EG 1: if I associate a class of behaviours (say tunnel vision in panic attacks) with a class of brain events (decreased correlation of emotional processing flows with cognitive flows and disruption of function of the visual cortex), I can still use some folksy descriptors of tunnel vision "extreme focus on one thing, significance of mild threats elevated, misclassification of events into threats" even if "focus", "significance", "threats" and "misclassification" are really somewhere between metaphors and models. Even if the models are wrong, they're still useful (Tukey Box).

    EG 2, if I learn my partner "hates garlic", that gives me some of their behavioural tendencies and lets me incorporate that into how I treat them. If I'm a hard reductionist or eliminativist or one of those brands, that doesn't stop me from believing "my partner hates garlic" in whatever metaphorical/analogical register mental events lay (to be later mapped to neural ones) and acting upon it.
  • Isaac
    7.4k
    What I have in mind when I ask that question is that it seems to me that a lot is left missing. You can say that stimulating X and Y area of the brain is the same as seeing a tree. I think that while in principle you could stimulate the brain to do this, we know way too little about the brain.Manuel

    Again, how are you reaching this conclusion absent of a thorough survey of that which neuroscience does, in fact, know about the brain?

    Also, if seeing a tree were more than certain neural activity, then what is the more that it would be? As has already been pointed to...

    if “seeing a tree” is an experience independent from the physical state, how does it influence it and seem influenced by it? Same with “anger”. How did the emotion move the arm (I would simply say that the emotion is precisely the neural event that moved the arm)?khaled

    Nothing is made clearer by invoking some 'missing piece' from the neurological explanation. If anything the situation becomes more complicated. Much like introducing magic into a novel, once you've allowed your main character to read minds, or travel in time, or pass through walls to get them out of some tricky spot you're left having to support those possibilities with an increasingly unstable system of props and caveats. I can't think why anyone would want to bring that upon themselves. We have a clear connection between the brain and all mental events (via scans, lesion studies, probes...) so far every mental event has been linked to a neural one. We could say "ah, but they're only linked, it does not prove that one just is the other", but why? If we can explain the existence of these mental phenomena, and their relationship to the brain, using the simple argument that one just is the other, then why would we want to avoid doing so. What does it gain us?

    You're not any less able to talk about social institutions, poetry, politics etc. even if we adopt a model where all these things can be explained by the interaction of neurons, to do so entirely would be too complicated to even contemplate. The weather can be explained in terms of movement of air molecules, but it's a lot easier to talk about pressure gradients and temperature. But to ignore or contradict such detailed models where they do have some use would be equally daft.

    I thought you were coming from a Churchland perspective. Alex Rosenberg would argue in this manner.Manuel

    Then I think you've also misunderstood the Churchlands' and Rosenberg's arguments. Perhaps cite the claims you have in mind, might help explain where you're coming from.
  • Manuel
    2.6k

    I think Goodman's irrealism is quite good but it seems not to have had that much of an impact in philosophy. Not that I think it's all correct, but his argument has merit.

    What that quote says is important: we would not want to muddy our enquiry into the nature of the world with literal unicorns or dragons a much else.

    But how do we determine what's not part of the world? We are part of the world, so it's hard to eliminate ourselves altogether from any given picture. That's always been a problem for me. We can say physics tells us about this and I won't protest in the least. But there is the problem of how we discover these things and how we are lead to postulate what we do.

    So even physics is tied to the physicist in some manners.
  • Manuel
    2.6k
    Again, how are you reaching this conclusion absent of a thorough survey of that which neuroscience does, in fact, know about the brain?

    Also, if seeing a tree were more than certain neural activity, then what is the more that it would be? As has already been pointed to...
    Isaac

    I cited the fact that we have mapped all 302 neurons in C Elegans. We don't know why the thing moves. I don't think that is very promising for our prospects in neuroscience.

    What more is there to seeing a tree than the movement or excitation of certain neurons? What I take the tree to mean, how I categorize it, how I relate to it, etc. It comes from the brain all right, but these things are assumed, not discovered.

    There's the problem also that neurons might be the wrong place to look, in that case we might have to look at microtubules. But then it goes down to the level of physics. You would not be wrong in saying that seeing a tree is nothing more that the complex behavior of quantum phenomena. I don't think that says much at all.

    My answers aren't satisfying to you, or they are evasive, but I can't think of something else to say. It seems evident to me that science can only say so much. We don't know what 95% of the universe is made out of, we call it "dark matter" and "dark energy", but we have no clue what it is. What makes you possibly think that neuroscience is in a better state?
  • Manuel
    2.6k
    That raises the question of how to admit the utility of folk psychology heuristics without making them the be all and end all of one's philosophy of mindfdrake

    That's a hard topic. I'd guess that some aspects of folk psychology can and have been incorporated by the sciences. Others like "belief", "intentionality" and related concepts may not be reducible to science at all.

    EG 2, if I learn my partner "hates garlic", that gives me some of their behavioural tendencies and lets me incorporate that into how I treat them. If I'm a hard reductionist or eliminativist or one of those brands, that doesn't stop me from believing "my partner hates garlic" in whatever metaphorical/analogical register mental events lay (to be later mapped to neural ones) and acting upon it.fdrake

    That's a useful way to think about it. It's not possible to get rid of such a vocabulary. There's too many words to find a corresponding scientific concept to.
  • Isaac
    7.4k
    Maybe one part of "what's missing" is regarding the scope of useful condensations of the information. On a day to day basis you don't have access to someone's brain, but you do have access to someone's behaviour.fdrake

    Yes, I think that's true - in that it's missing from a neurological account. But that would be a matter of translation wouldn't it? The question the folk psychologist should be asking of the neuroscientist in that context is more like "but what does that mean for me?". The accusation would be "You've not translated that", rather than "you've not accounted for something".

    The difference I see between the two is that in the first we have a (hopefully) faithful relationship between the two via an accurate translation (as both your examples show), in the second there's scope for all manner of additional entities to be created and manipulated. If X neurological process just is Y folk psychology, then we have a good translation. I think the problem comes when there's common element in the framings. Say, for example something as basic as causality (which exists both in folk psychology frames and in neuroscience ones). Here, if neuroscience shows that A follows B but the nearest folk psychology translation would have B follow A, I think we have a breakdown of translatability. There's little that can be done to rescue the folk psychology of B following A because the concept of how one thing follows another is common to both frames so can't have any function applied to translate it.

    (I'm thinking particularly of models of socially mediated perception or emotion here, as examples)

    One could say that B(folk) needs to be translated to A(neuroscience, and vice versa to keep 'follows from' intact, and I don't think that's necessarily impossible... just not sure how the folk psychologists would take it.

    It seems to me that there's a fundamental difference between the inclusive project of relating folk psychology to neuroscience (an admirable task) and the conservative project of upholding folk psychology against neuroscience. It's not always easy to tell who is doing which at first blush, but I'm not yet ready to be so charitable as to assume all comers are of the former persuasion (but maybe that's just my general captiousness - bringing a sledgehammer to the castle tour again!)
  • Isaac
    7.4k
    I cited the fact that we have mapped all 302 neurons in C Elegans. We don't know why the thing moves.Manuel

    We do. It moves because some external trigger sets off a chain of neural signals which evetually lead to acetylcholine being released from motor neuron cells into the neuro-muscular synapse which causes the protein channels to open in the membrane of the neighbouring muscle cell. The resultant ion diffusion alters the structure of tubules within the cytoplasm of the cells causing them to contract. So it moves.

    I can't think where you're getting the idea from that we don't know why it moves.

    What I take the tree to mean, how I categorize it, how I relate to it, etc. It comes from the brain all right, but these things are assumed, not discovered.Manuel

    I can't make sense of this sentence, I'm afraid, perhaps you could rephrase it?

    There's the problem also that neurons might be the wrong place to look, in that case we might have to look at microtubules. But then it goes down to the level of physics. You would not be wrong in saying that seeing a tree is nothing more that the complex behavior of quantum phenomena. I don't think that says much at all.Manuel

    Really, that seems wildly dismissive of all the work physicists have done. Why would you say it doesn't say much?
  • Manuel
    2.6k
    We do. It moves because some external trigger sets off a chain of neural signals which evetually lead to acetylcholine being released from motor neuron cells into the neuro-muscular synapse which causes the protein channels to open in the membrane of the neighbouring muscle cell. The resultant ion diffusion alters the structure of tubules within the cytoplasm of the cells causing them to contract. So it moves.Isaac

    Sure. You're speaking about stimuli and reaction. I'm talking about will. We can stimulate many organisms to do one thing or another, that doesn't tell us about the will, or why it moves from one side to the next. In the case of human beings, when we speak of will, science either denies it exists or tells us nothing about it.

    You can speak of stimulating a finger to go up, but it's very different from moving your finger. It's a bit like Wittgenstein once asked:

    "What is left over if I subtract the fact that my arms goes up from the fact that I raise my arm?"

    I can't make sense of this sentence, I'm afraid, perhaps you could rephrase it?Isaac

    I take it that as human beings, we begin with consciousness. What do I mean by such a word? Simply this: the words you are reading, the thought that comes to your mind when I speak of a "tree" or a "pink elephant", the keyboards you can choose to focus on as you type in your keyboard, the light coming out of a window, etc.

    I take it that, skeptical games aside, this is evident. Nevertheless these words have meaning as you read them, you can think of a pink elephant in your mind, perhaps weakly perhaps vividly.

    You already know that a tree is not a building, nor a piece of plastic. When you go outside and walk, you can pick out a tree and not confuse it with a streetlight and so on. This process of putting things in proper context, of categorizing it accordingly, of understanding that you see a tree is something already given in consciousness.

    You can't take these things away and study the world "value free" as it were. It always accompanies most thoughts about things. This can't be studied by looking at the brain because it's always presupposed. It's like trying to think away a mirage on a hot desert day, you know it's a mirage, but you can't take it out of your head, it's still a phenomenon for you.

    Really, that seems wildly dismissive of all the work physicists have done. Why would you say it doesn't say much?Isaac

    Democritus based on a good observation said that: " The Intellect speaks first: There seems to be colour, there seems to be sweetness, there seems to be bitterness. But really there are only atoms and the void."

    The basic point would be similar, all is atoms and void. One could say that our understanding of atoms has gone way beyond anything Democritus could have dreamed of.

    But that's talking about the constituents of matter magnified to such an enormous extent, that is seems to be highly unlikely that physics can say much about mind. It says a lot about matter and the other stuff the universe is made of and is amazing for it.

    However Democritus finished that famous quote by saying: "The senses reply: Poor Intellect, do you hope to defeat us while from us you borrow your evidence? Your victory is your defeat."

    Physics is amazing, while saying almost nothing of mind. Neuroscience is extremely useful, while not being able to say much about the self, psychic continuity, etc.

    I'd like to claim originality for that idea, but it comes from a brief paper by Strawson: https://www.academia.edu/37649217/Dunking_Dennett
  • Isaac
    7.4k
    You're speaking about stimuli and reaction. I'm talking about will.Manuel

    How do you know those are two different things?

    when we speak of will, science either denies it exists or tells us nothing about it.Manuel

    No. https://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=neuroscience+of+volutary+action&btnG=

    You can speak of stimulating a finger to go up, but it's very different from moving your finger. It's a bit like Wittgenstein once asked:

    "What is left over if I subtract the fact that my arms goes up from the fact that I raise my arm?"
    Manuel

    No. Wittgenstein's aphorism asked the question (albeit with an implication), yours answered it.

    You can't take these things away and study the world "value free" as it were.Manuel

    Indeed. So how does philosophy magically duck that problem then? The very theorising you're doing right now, the one in which you're trying to dismiss the role of neuroscience is itself replete with the already-embedded assumptions by which you conduct any such theorising. Either no study can say anything at all or you must concede that it is, after all, possible to say something useful about the mind despite the fact that one is using a mind to do so.

    seems to be highly unlikely that physics can say much about mind.Manuel

    Why would your assessment of the likelihood be of any use here. You're not a physicist. If a physicist thinks it likely their subject can say something about mind but you don't, what merit would there be to following your judgement over the physicist's? They should surely know their own subject's capabilities better than you.

    Neuroscience is extremely useful, while not being able to say much about the selfManuel

    https://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=neuroscience+of+self+identity&btnG=

    You seem consistently to confuse a subject's not saying anything you like the sound of with its not saying anything at all.
  • Manuel
    2.6k
    How do you know those are two different things?Isaac

    Are you implying they are the same? It seems to me crystal clear that they're vastly different. Having you're finger move by an electrical shock is the same as you willing to move the finger? Press you palm with any object and watch your fingers move. Afterwards move your fingers by yourself. Is that in any way the same thing?

    NoIsaac

    Again. It is stipulated. And from that perspective, one can study however one wishes. Either we have free will and you can find some way to see if neuroscience as anything to bear on the subject. Or we lack it and we go to neuroscience to prove that we don't have it.

    In either case it's stipulated.

    Indeed. So how does philosophy magically duck that problem then? The very theorising you're doing right now, the one in which you're trying to dismiss the role of neuroscience is itself replete with the already-embedded assumptions by which you conduct any such theorising. Either no study can say anything at all or you must concede that it is, after all, possible to say something useful about the mind despite the fact that one is using a mind to do so.Isaac

    I'm mentioning specific things: "self", "psychic continuity", "categorization", etc. What's given in experience and must form a part of it for us to form an intelligible world at all.

    Of course there are aspects in which neuroscience reveals some things about cognition: the example of Dehaene and how long it takes us to become aware of stimuli in the environment.

    Or Libbett's experiments which show our brains activate before we do something consciously.

    Neuroscience has managed to show which areas are responsible for speech production as well as areas associated with speech comprehension Wernicke's area. And so on.

    So I don't see why you imply that I'm saying that "no study can say anything at all".

    The topic of self, psychic continuity and categorization are still with us thousands of years later. But that doesn't touch the point: we could not theorize at all if did not have these things as given. When we speak of the self, at no point do you lose consciousness or stop categorizing, it's always there on every topic.

    You'll say that now we know what causes speech or vision, it's X part of the brain that's the cause. But X part of the brain is not part of what we experience as consciousness. We experience speech and vision as manifest activity, not non-mental processes. That these non-mental processes are essential for speech or vision, no one could doubt, but we have linguistics and vision science, which are different than neuroscience. Why do we have these fields? Why don't linguists just study the brain and forget about sentence structure?

    Why would your assessment of the likelihood be of any use here. You're not a physicist. If a physicist thinks it likely their subject can say something about mind but you don't, what merit would there be to following your judgement over the physicist's? They should surely know their own subject's capabilities better than you.Isaac

    Which physicist would be crazy enough to say appeal to physics to explain the mind? Who? Sean Carroll? Carlo Rovelli? Brian Greene? Brian Cox? Art Hobson? None of them says anything remotely close to that all. Perhaps you'd like Carroll's The Big Picture, he covers plenty of philosophy as well as many areas in science, quite sympathetic to Dennett too.

    I trust physicist for physics. Not for psychology.

    You seem consistently to confuse a subject's not saying anything you like the sound of with its not saying anything at all.Isaac

    If that's how you interpret it, fine.
  • Isaac
    7.4k
    Having you're finger move by an electrical shock is the same as you willing to move the finger? Press you palm with any object and watch your fingers move. Afterwards move your fingers by yourself. Is that in any way the same thing?Manuel

    Those things being different doesn't imply that they're not both caused by stimuli and response. Having a finger move by electric shock is different to fainting, but that doesn't mean one of them has to be modelled differently in terms of causation.

    Either we have free will and you can find some way to see if neuroscience as anything to bear on the subject. Or we lack it and we go to neuroscience to prove that we don't have it.

    In either case it's stipulated.
    Manuel

    How is it stipulated? One can quite coherently ask the question of whether we have free will from a neuroscientific perspective. We could look for signals driving physiological events associated with decisions (like moving an arm) and see if they are accounted for by preceding signals. How's that 'stipulated'?

    I'm mentioning specific things: "self", "psychic continuity", "categorization", etc. What's given in experience and must form a part of it for us to form an intelligible world at all.Manuel

    You're assuming the contents of your experience are features of collective experience. I have no idea what you mean by "psychic continuity", I don't feel like I have a consistent 'self' and for me 'categorisation' is distinctly post hoc. It's monumental arrogance to just assume whatever world view you happen to have is somehow foundational to any enquiry just because it's how you happen to see things.

    we could not theorize at all if did not have these things as given. When we speak of the self, at no point do you lose consciousness or stop categorizing, it's always there on every topic.Manuel

    Right. an issue which affect philosophy and neuroscience equally. so I'm not seeing why neuroscience is being singled out as the one unable to talk about those things.

    We experience speech and vision as manifest activity, not non-mental processes. That these non-mental processes are essential for speech or vision, no one could doubt, but we have linguistics and vision science, which are different than neuroscience. Why do we have these fields? Why don't linguists just study the brain and forget about sentence structure?Manuel

    Because it would be extremely complicated to do so. I've already answered that question, and so has @khaled in a separate post. Why are you still asking it? the existence of a simpler way of talking about something doesn't prove the more complex way is false, just, you know, more complex.

    Which physicist would be crazy enough to say appeal to physics to explain the mind?Manuel

    We weren't talking about explaining the mind. You said..

    Physics is amazing, while saying almost nothing of mind.Manuel

    Now you disingenuously change the claim to physics 'explaining the mind'.

    If that's how you interpret it, fine.Manuel

    It's not an interpretation. I've supplied evidence of hundreds, if not thousands, of papers from well respected, peer reviewed journals talking about the subjects you specified.
  • Manuel
    2.6k
    Those things being different doesn't imply that they're not both caused by stimuli and response. Having a finger move by electric shock is different to fainting, but that doesn't mean one of them has to be modelled differently in terms of causation.Isaac

    Causes and effects are one thing: If a person sees a flashlight, there pupils will dilate. That's a clear sign of cause and effect. That's something we normally wouldn't do in normal life, put a flashlight in front of your eyes. If for whatever reason, you choose to look at a flashlight, you are using your will to continue looking at the flashlight. That's different from causes and effects.

    How is it stipulated? One can quite coherently ask the question of whether we have free will from a neuroscientific perspective. We could look for signals driving physiological events associated with decisions (like moving an arm) and see if they are accounted for by preceding signals. How's that 'stipulated'?Isaac

    Do you believe we have free will, experiments aside? If you do, then you'll look at how that's possible using neuroscience. If you don't, like Sam Harris, he'll look to neuroscience to prove his point.

    You're assuming the contents of your experience are features of collective experience. I have no idea what you mean by "psychic continuity", I don't feel like I have a consistent 'self' and for me 'categorisation' is distinctly post hoc. It's monumental arrogance to just assume whatever world view you happen to have is somehow foundational to any enquiry just because it's how you happen to see things.Isaac

    Psychic continuity is what Locke described: when we look at an object at time t1, we take to be the same object at time t2. In other words, when you go outside and see a bird in the sky, you will continue to see it as the same bird through out the time span you are looking at it. Maybe I'm a total Martian, but I can't help but recognize the tree outside my window as the same tree the next day. I can't get rid of it if I wanted to.

    I'll grant you the "self" argument, people are different in these regards.

    You're telling me that when you visit a place for the first time, you don't already know what a river or a statue is? You take time after seeing a place to think to yourself that's a tree and not a light post?

    the existence of a simpler way of talking about something doesn't prove the more complex way is false, just, you know, more complex.Isaac

    Good, we agree here.

    Now you disingenuously change the claim to physics 'explaining the mind'.Isaac

    Apologies for my verbal faux-paux, I sincerely did not intend to do that. But the point remains. I don't know of a physicist who claims that physics tells us anything substantive of the mind, that was not already obvious years ago: that it's physical.

    It's not an interpretation. I've supplied evidence of hundreds, if not thousands, of papers from well respected, peer reviewed journals talking about the subjects you specified.Isaac

    I've given examples already of neuroscience saying things about how the brain interprets information.
  • Isaac
    7.4k
    That's a clear sign of cause and effect. That's something we normally wouldn't do in normal life, put a flashlight in front of your eyes. If for whatever reason, you choose to look at a flashlight, you are using your will to continue looking at the flashlight. That's different from causes and effects.Manuel

    Just stating how it seems to you at first glance doesn't really help, obviously the argument moved past what appeared to us to be the case at first glance a long time ago. The earth seems flat at first glance. So with...

    If for whatever reason, you choose to look at a flashlight, you are using your will to continue looking at the flashlight.Manuel

    ...what is preventing some preceding cause resulting in the effect of your continuing to look at the flashlight and triggering a sensation that you have 'chosen' to do so?

    Do you believe we have free will, experiments aside? If you do, then you'll look at how that's possible using neuroscience. If you don't, like Sam Harris, he'll look to neuroscience to prove his point.Manuel

    That's just talking about confirmation bias. Again, how is philosophical investigation somehow immune from confirmation bias in a way that scientific investigation is not?

    Psychic continuity is what Locke described: when we look at an object at time t1, we take to be the same object at time t2. In other words, when you go outside and see a bird in the sky, you will continue to see it as the same bird through out the time span you are looking at it. Maybe I'm a total Martian, but I can't help but recognize the tree outside my window as the same tree the next day. I can't get rid of it if I wanted to.Manuel

    OK - we call call that object permanence in cognitive science. There are entire books written about it. So I'm struggling to see how you can support the idea that the cognitive sciences cannot investigate the matter.

    I'll grant you the "self" argument, people are different in these regards.Manuel

    Yep. Hence not "always there on every topic". Your list of 'common' assumptions is growing thin.

    You're telling me that when you visit a place for the first time, you don't already know what a river or a statue is? You take time after seeing a place to think to yourself that's a tree and not a light post?Manuel

    Why would I be telling you that? I'm a grown adult and all of that object recognition work would have been done in early childhood. Do you think we're born knowing what a statue is?

    the point remains. I don't know of a physicist who claims that physics tells us anything substantive of the mind, that was not already obvious years ago: that it's physical.Manuel

    No, the point was that physics (and neuroscience) cannot tell us anything about the mind - you've since retracted that to 'not much, now it's just "I don't know of any" - at least we've now reached a conclusion that we can agree on - you don't know of any physicists or neuroscientists that have have said anything you personally find to be substantive about the mind.
  • Manuel
    2.6k
    If you can't already tell we have will, there's nothing I can say that will make you believe that we do. I thought you were studying free will, not the "sensation that you have chosen to do so".

    Object permanence highlights the point that was already obvious to people like Locke. It doesn't tell you how it arises, nor why we have it. You can call that "saying something" if you wish.

    If statues and trees and everything else were subject to "learning", we would still be debating what they are.

    I said:

    "the complexity of manifest reality cannot be explained by neuroscience, we simply know way too little."

    "brain science says very, very, very little about the mind"

    Also "knowing a tree", "speaking of trees", "classifying trees" aren't explained by anything in current brain science.

    I said that physics says virtually nothing about the mind.

    Now you are mis-interpreting me.

    By all means, continue with neuroscience and physics. I'm not stopping you.
  • Isaac
    7.4k
    If you can't already tell we have will, there's nothing I can say that will make you believe that we do.Manuel

    What kind of argument is that? It amounts to nothing more than "if you don't see things the way I do there's nothing to say". Well then I have to ask what exactly you thought you were going to get out of posting on a public forum?

    I thought you were studying free will, not the "sensation that you have chosen to do so".Manuel

    They are synonymous.

    Object permanence highlights the point that was already obvious to people like Locke. It doesn't tell you how it arises, nor why we have it.Manuel

    Again, what reading have you done on object permanence to be able to judge what it does and does not have to say?

    If statues and trees and everything else were subject to "learning", we would still be debating what they are.Manuel

    Why?

    I said:

    "the complexity of manifest reality cannot be explained by neuroscience, we simply know way too little."

    "brain science says very, very, very little about the mind"

    Also "knowing a tree", "speaking of trees", "classifying trees" aren't explained by anything in current brain science.

    I said that physics says virtually nothing about the mind.

    Now you are mis-interpreting me.
    Manuel

    Nope, it's those exact claims I'm disputing.
  • Manuel
    2.6k
    What kind of argument is that? It amounts to nothing more than "if you don't see things the way I do there's nothing to say". Well then I have to ask what exactly you thought you were going to get out of posting on a public forum?Isaac

    What I am looking for? Many things. Mostly ideas connected with innatism and strands of rationalistic idealism, I'm interested in that so I'd like to find more literature on it. Politics too, specifically international relations, would like to find more sources I have not been able to find. I'm also interested in seeing how other people think. I also find people's differing ethical views quite illuminating.

    Again, what reading have you done on object permanence to be able to judge what it does and does not have to say?Isaac

    I've read some of it. It's intriguing to find out when a baby gets these intuitions and the variety they may have among them in terms of what's the upper limit for gaining these capacities.

    Why?Isaac

    Concepts, our common sense intuitions arise from our genetic makeup, somehow, which is why, aside from philosophical discussions of language, there are no real disputes as to what trees or streetlamps or statues are. These are innate. When it comes to science, the kind of thing you're studying, there you do need to figure out what's relevant, what's not relevant to a particular study.

    That takes considerable effort as you know, so it would make no sense to say that coming up with scientific theories is completely innate. If it were, it stand to reason we would already know how the world works, mind independently.

    Nope, it's those exact claims I'm disputing.Isaac

    I don't think we are going to proceed much more here. It's equivalent to trying to show a determinist we have free will or vice versa. Or trying to argue with a materialist that idealism is true.

    This has veered way off the OP. Which was for people to discuss what they think there is.
  • fdrake
    5k
    This has veered way off the OP. Which was for people to discuss what they think there is.Manuel

    :up:

    I'll try and recontextualize.

    Response to @Isaac:

    Yes, I think that's true - in that it's missing from a neurological account. But that would be a matter of translation wouldn't it?Isaac

    Translation + stress testing of the bridge translation builds. Like Barret's work on emotion - to a large extent a sustained attack on the idea that we should think of emotions as distinct, inherent natural kind categories which our brains simulate, and replacing that view with something more like emotions are an inflection/contextualisation of a state of arousal (how intense is the body+mind's state) and valence (how pleasant/unpleasant is the state). EG rage would be high arousal and unpleasant, but so would terror, and the difference is context.

    The question the folk psychologist should be asking of the neuroscientist in that context is more like "but what does that mean for me?".

    Yes. And the inverse question induced by the translation; said the neuroscientist to the folk theorist - does this make any difference on a day to day basis? Does this make a difference therapeutically?

    The accusation would be "You've not translated that", rather than "you've not accounted for something".

    I think that's true, the difference between "translation" and "accounting" I imagine comes from the overall framing of the issue that someone has, though.

    Recontextualisation of issue:

    I think perhaps the dispute is related to an ontology induced by existential commitments of activities talked about earlier. One way of framing the issue is that if people behave as if there were a thing, and that behaviour wouldn't work as it does without it functioning as if there were a thing, does it make sense to say that thing exists in some sense?
    *
    I realise that's a bit different from looking at what entities are existentially quantified over in statements


    There are persuasive arguments for that - if something behaves as if a model of it were true, then the model can be treated as real/held to be true/is true. Like F=ma or something like that. If the system involved works in accordance
    **
    (accordance is doing a lot of work here, pay no attention to the body in the closet)
    with F=ma, F=ma is true for it. So that system's behaviour generates a commitment to that it acts in accord with that description of it.

    What would the difference be for something like: "celeriac makes my partner feel sick", giving the behavioural inference "they would not buy something with celeriac in it", that being true, and thus my partner's feeling sick acts explanatorily like the m in F=ma does?

    It seems like a hard needle to thread; the pragmatic utility and predictive ability of those commitments vs things like "feeling sick" having a dubious place in the scientific image.
  • schopenhauer1
    7.1k

    What I think an important distinction people often miss in these discussions is the map and the terrain. A lot of it may come down to "what" exactly are properties. If mental states have properties like a photon or a gluon has properties, that would be an odd conclusion because that is saying mentality is just a brute fact of existence, quite the opposite of what materialist conceptions would like to think. Thus, often materialists unintentionality fall into ontologies that posit mentality as somehow fundamental.

    The opposite is when it is all map and no terrain. Stephen Hawking once said famously:
    What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. — Stephen Hawking
  • Manuel
    2.6k
    What I think an important distinction people often miss in these discussions is the map and the terrain. A lot of it may come down to "what" exactly are properties. If mental states have properties like a photon or a gluon has properties, that would be an odd conclusion because that is saying mentality is just a brute fact of existence, quite the opposite of what materialist conceptions would like to think. Thus, often materialists unintentionality fall into ontologies that posit mentality as somehow fundamental.schopenhauer1

    I think you raise quite an interesting point. That's an open question, does matter, at the fundamental level have mental properties? We are aware of matter having mental properties, when modified in certain ways in some biological creatures, especially us, but we don't seem to detect it in physics.

    But then, what we take to be a fundamental feature or property of the mental, consciousness, is not fundamental after all, it could be. It's hard to make sense of such a proposition.

    On the other hand, it could be an emergent phenomenon, not found in the "lower levels". If it is, it's also hard to make sense of that. In either case, what you point out is problematic to solve, if at all possible.
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