• Alkis Piskas
    388
    In the 3 months I have been using TPF and read about a hundred of posts, I came to the conclusion that people in here, in their greatest majority, believe that all mental activity is happening in the brain. This obviously means that there's nothing else in a human being or life than a body, since the brain is part of it and it is it which according to these people directs their lives and existence. I am a democratic person and respect the opinion of the majority. But I cannot help asking some questions:

    The first, and very obvious question is, "If you are a body, then why do you say 'my body', 'I have a body', and so on?" You can't be a body and have a body at the same time, can you?

    So, a second question follows as a consequence, "If you have a body, then what are YOU?"

    At this point, a lot would answer (I know that, it happens often), "Ah, the 'I', the 'self' is an illusion. It's a product/projection of the mind (meaning 'brain', of course)". To them I respond,"Is that which is YOU at this moment, who does this and that, YOU who have grown up from a baby and did all these things in your life, YOU who was a good student, YOU who have won medals in athletics and prizes in contests, YOU who got married and had children, YOU who became a president of a company, YOU whom will still be in the memories of people who knew YOU, after you pass away, YOU ... Is all that an illusion? That is, YOU don't exist and have never existed?"

    Do people who communicate with you feel that they communicate with a brain or with a person? Right this person, is YOU. YOU, as a human being, the same YOU since you were born, not your body, which is in constant change. You can trace YOURSELF in your mind since you were a child to this moment. It is always ONE thing. You may have felt millions of different emotions, various injuries and sickness since you were a child, but it is still, always YOU who have been subjected to all that.

    So, what is this YOU? It is the spirit, soul, elan vital and other names people have given to the vital princeple, the animating force and the identity itself of the human being.

    Thinking that you are your body is like a car driver who gives so much importance to his car (he can't live without it, etc.) that he eventual believes he is that car! On a higher level, the driver knows he is separate from his car but he still believes that his body drives the car. Yes, like a robot in science-fiction movies! Which made me think of another question regarfing the impossibility of the idea that the person is his body: In that case sience could clone persons, not just their body, but every trait of their personality, their behavioral characteristics, their medical history, all their memories, in short the whole package! Well, good luck with it!

    Now, one can examine the subject using theories belonging to the philosophy of mind, and more specifically "dualism": "the theory that the mental and the physical – or mind and body or mind and brain – are, in some sense, radically different kinds of thing." (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). But this is not in my plan. My intention was only to prove that the belief of "We are out bodies" is nonsensical and unsubstantiated. And I'm really surprised that most people in here prefer to stick to such a belief than, not to believe but, just leaving another door open to the explanation of the mind-body connection. I can understand that this is not Science's task, since for it only material things exist, but for independent philosophical thinkers?
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    My intention was only to prove that the belief of "We are out bodies" is nonsensical and unsubstantiated.Alkis Piskas

    And not proven by being caught in the infelicitous quicksand of felicitous language. On topics like these, as with much philosophy, and as with much of a lot of things, to get to substance you have to break through language, else exactly as with a misused and misunderstood tool, you block and obstruct your own way.
  • Jack Cummins
    3.5k

    I think that your question is interesting and it involves the personal aspect of the mind and body problem . We are embodied beings, but personal identity is so much more. My own view is that the body is a starting point from which we begin, but the scope of imagination may be the starting point for so much more, which includes the sensory aspects of existence and experience, but the scope may go beyond into the outer regions beyond the limits of the physical aspects which arise in brain as the physical hardware of consciousness.
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    Well the issue is not so much how we feel about the issue but what the evidence is. Do we have any reliable evidence of minds existing without bodies? Do we have any evidence of personal identify being possible without experience; a body and mind? People sometimes get too hung up on words like 'you' and 'identity' and are taught habits of classification that reify ideas in sometimes absurd ways. I don't think of the idea of self as solid but more as an insubstantial, fragile series of recurring patterns and evolving tastes and behaviours that can be diminished and formed by any number of external influences and organic failures.
  • Laguercina
    15


    You are nothing but your body. The brain is not part of you. It merely constitutes your inner world. Matter is more strange than you think. Than your thoughts show you. Matter's nature can't be known, though it can be felt. You are what you eat.
  • Ciceronianus
    1.9k
    Now, one can examine the subject using theories belonging to the philosophy of mind, and more specifically "dualism": "the theory that the mental and the physical – or mind and body or mind and brain – are, in some sense, radically different kinds of thing." (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). But this is not in my plan.Alkis Piskas

    So you don't accept that dualism? Are you neither your body or your mind, but something which is neither?
  • dimosthenis9
    351


    I haven't understand this and since you keep following the discussions from the threads you open. If you can save me some time and answer me this. Since I read many posts from your threads but not enough as to clarify this :

    Do most people here on TPF agree that thoughts, ideas etc (mind in general) is non psychical? Or the majority believes it belongs to psychical world(material) ?I don't mean if they think that brain is mind or not?Or if thinking takes place in brain.
    But to that specific question. About thoughts(mind) and psychical-material.

    From the responses you got from all the 3 threads you opened about that issue what you got? I know I m being lazy here but I m curious about what most here believe. But even if you don't respond it's cool.
  • 180 Proof
    5.6k
    Yeah, of course I am not merely, or identical with, "my" body. "I am", in fact, the emergent, recursively continuous, output of this body's interactions with its environment.
  • Laguercina
    15
    "I am", in fact, the emergent, recursively continuous, output of this body's interactions with its environment.180 Proof

    In fact according to your factuality.
  • dimosthenis9
    351
    "I am", in fact, the emergent continuous output of this body's interactions with its environment.180 Proof

    And all that interaction you think it leaves that "output" you mentioned the same?? I mean your body continuously interact with the environment. All that interaction and the "feedback" that your body - brain gets, leaves the output still the same? Output = body again then?

    If yes I think you should just say "I m my body" then. And end of story.Why you needed to add the environment interaction factor?
    Just asking.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.7k
    If you have a body, then what are YOU?Alkis Piskas

    Someone who has a body. Like, everybody we know, including you.

    Embodiment is not a trivial matter. Embodiment has very ancient roots, and there is continuity across time. Life on earth arose once; it didn't arise repeatedly after extinctions. Some creatures survived horrendous environmental conditions, and everything that is alive now (and embodied) are descendants of the survivors.

    Complex animals with complex central nervous systems. Muscles, blood, skin, bones, brains, minds.

    There is nothing "mere" about bodies. We are amazing systems.
  • 180 Proof
    5.6k
    I don't understand the question.
  • apokrisis
    5.4k
    Thinking that you are your body is like a car driver who gives so much importance to his car (he can't live without it, etc.) that he eventual believes he is that car! On a higher level, the driver knows he is separate from his car but he still believes that his body drives the car.Alkis Piskas

    This is an important starting point. A racing car driver can feel their car as an extension to their body. We can all feel the world around us in ways such as we know when something is within our personal space and when it is just beyond our reach.

    So selfhood - as something embodied and biological - is a "selfish" point of view. It starts from the absolute necessity of being a self in the world. And that involves a constant running judgement about the boundary that divides the world from "us". We fluidly construct a sense of where the limits of agency end, and where the resistance of the world begins.

    If we float in a sensory deprivation tank, the resistance of the world disappears, and so to does our sense of being embodied evaporate in disorienting fashion.

    So selfhood seems dualistic as it involves this constant construction of the idea of a self in its world. There is a world out there with all its opportunities and challenges. And it is matched by a biological sense of agency and intentionality.

    If my racing car does exactly what I expect in the way its tyres give at a fast corner, then they feel part of me because I've already predicted the precise sensation of that giving as something that was going to happen due to my intention to make that action. The skid is being imposed by "me" on the "world" - within my dualistically-framed neurobiological model of what is going on.

    So no need for any spooky psychic essences. It is just the logic of being an organism that models its world. To have agency requires making a constant self-other discrimination in terms of "everything I intended and predicted" vs "everything that then resisted or caught me by surprise".

    ....YOU who became a president of a company, YOU whom will still be in the memories of people who knew YOU, after you pass away, YOU ... Is all that an illusion?Alkis Piskas

    A neurobiological sense of being an intentional self in a resisting world is what roots us in an embodied and enactive way in physical reality. But as humans, we are also cultural and technological beings. We form intentional models of our world that go beyond genes and neurons to be now also self-other judgements encoded in words and numbers.

    So we become very concerned with the idea of the social and technological boundaries between what constitutes the intentional/predictable part of our experience, and what constitutes the resisting/unpredictable part - the other to ourself.

    Does our selfhood extend outwards socially so that we feel at one with our group. Or instead, are we being thrown back on ourselves even to the point we don't know who we are? Are we alienated even from our own agency, are we awkward and unpredictable even in regards to our own social setting?

    So again, selfhood arises just as a logical necessity. Brains are there to model the world. Or to be more accurate, to model a "world" in which we are there as the "other" of the world. What gets modelled - in a continuously fluid and adaptive way - is a sense of being present as an intentional point of view existing in a zone of complete predictability, and that being juxtaposed to various degrees against a world that is by contrast, resisting and uncertain.
  • Laguercina
    15
    I have read the book "We are our brain", only to come to the conclusion that the guy who wrote it was an ugly brainf....r. No wonder he thinks he is his brain. But to say "we" are. as in the title of that book shows an brainocentric attitude.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    3k
    to model a "world" in which we are there as the "other" of the worldapokrisis

    Sorry, I can't resist: is this the transcendental unity of apperception?

    (@Mww?)
  • dimosthenis9
    351


    Drop it then. I can't make it any clearer.
  • Laguercina
    15
    So, what is this YOU? It is the spirit, soul, elan vital and other names people have given to the vital princeple, the animating force and the identity itself of the human being.Alkis Piskas

    Do you experience an identity crisis? If you look in the mirror, who do you see? Your body! That's you! Yor in the middle, in between, the inner world (inside the brain) and the physical world. You can't be separated from both. So, dance in between them and listen closely...
  • apokrisis
    5.4k
    Sorry, I can't resist: is this the transcendental unity of apperception?Srap Tasmaner

    A serious answer would be no - not if the unity is understood in terms of a synthetic bundle of experiences.

    The argument here is semiotic or dialectical. Self and other arise as complementary distinctions. So it is not about being able to add up a bunch of individuals and assign them to a collective category. It is about the deeper thing of always having to form any categorical judgement as a unity of opposites. It is about a reciprocal relationship, not an additive one.

    The self emerges as the limit on the world. And the world, in turn, emerges as the limit of this self. So we end up with a semiotic story - von Uexküll's Umwelt.
  • Mww
    2.7k
    to model a "world" in which we are there as the "other" of the world
    — apokrisis

    Sorry, I can't resist: is this the transcendental unity of apperception?

    (@Mww?)
    Srap Tasmaner

    A serious answer would be no.....apokrisis

    Agreed, because of this:

    .....not if the unity is understood in terms of a synthetic bundle of experiences.apokrisis

    According to a certain speculative metaphysics, the unity of apperception is represented by “I think”, the “I” of which in turn, is the representation of the transcendental ego, which in its turn, is the representation for the conception of consciousness, which....(sigh)....in its turn, is the unity of all our representations under a single self. Or, which is pretty near the same thing, the synthetic bundle of all our experiences.

    To model a world in which we are there as the other of the world, merely reconciles the impossibility of the model containing that which models.
  • NOS4A2
    4.9k


    Though we generally use possessive determiners to refer to the body, none of it means we are not our body. Just point to yourself and see whether your finger lands on mind or body.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    3k
    the impossibility of the model containing that which modelsMww

    Why is it impossible?

    I mean, there are obvious ways in which we do model ourselves, as I'm sure @apokrisis would be happy to explain.

    Is it just the regress that worries you? (Can't model myself modeling myself...)
  • Present awareness
    94
    The first, and very obvious question is, "If you are a body, then why do you say 'my body', 'I have a body', and so on?" You can't be a body and have a body at the same time, can you?Alkis Piskas

    Ownership is an illusion. The bubble of ownership is easily popped by the simple act of dying.
    Consciousness seems to arise in the brain. Brain waves may be monitored to assess different states of consciousness. Waking states, dream states, coma states and brain dead states. If you are not your brain, then why do you disappear when you go into a coma?
    Consciousness is aware of thoughts, emotions, memories, input from the five sense organs and constructs a hologram of what it considers to be YOU at this moment. Who you were and who you might be, exists within this hologram as well, but nowhere else.
    The million dollar question is where and how does this consciousness arise in the first place?
  • Mww
    2.7k
    the impossibility of the model containing that which models
    — Mww

    Why is it impossible?
    Srap Tasmaner

    Model and modeler is a relation. If the model contains the modeler, the modeler becomes a part of the model rather than being in a relation to it. The categorical error of confusing quantity, the schema here being unity, for relation, the schema properly being causality. The modeler causes the model, therefore cannot be a quantity in it.

    To model a real thing such as a world, is to intuit its constituency as phenomena. None of the constituency of my self, predicated as they are on purely speculative principles, can be intuited as phenomena, hence no model of the self is possible, at least by intuition alone. We are certainly entitled to think the logical necessity of a self, simply because without it exceptions to the principle of cause and effect are tacitly allowed, an abhorrent contradiction. But still, a logical necessity is not a model.
  • Pop
    1.4k
    My intention was only to prove that the belief of "We are out bodies" is nonsensical and unsubstantiated.Alkis Piskas

    A "self" as you are describing ( We ), is an emergent phenomena. It firstly needs language, then a whole host of socially derived ideation, such as to arrive at a self awareness in terms of this ideation, to present a self concept via language ( Wittgenstein ) . In the end you find a "self" is information about the way information has organized itself.

    Information is not something immaterial. It requires something material to entangle itself into. Brains and neuroplasticity do this somehow. :smile: as do these arrangements of letters you read right now.

    It makes no sense to speak of an immaterial mind, just as it makes no sense to speak of immaterial information. It is possible to imagine an entirely informational world ( absent of matter ), and I think this is what an immaterial mind is, but I think it is important to understand this imagination too is the result of a physical neural process, though it may just be organized patterns of connected energy.

    If you are asking what is the underlying thing that causes all this to happen, as in what is the source of self organization in the universe? Then there is a hole in understanding - you can posit what you like to fill that blank. Possibly forces? They are immaterial - in that we do not see or hear them, only feel them, similar to emotions.

    The interesting thing is, regardless of what you posit to fill that blank, it will only change how you relate to it. What you punt on will change and limit the possibilities of reality for you, it will not change the facts of the matter. In Yogic logic, it is possible to overcome this predicament, to some extent, by calling it consciousness. So in Yogic logic, there is only consciousness and information, embedded in matter, so reality is something various and open ended, which seems to be consistent with observation.
  • apokrisis
    5.4k
    If the model contains the modeler, the modeler becomes a part of the model rather than being in a relation to it.Mww

    But a human, as a psychological being, is formed by at least four levels of semiosis - genes, neurons, words and numbers. So the modelling is both hierarchical and increasingly abstract in terms of its worlds and its selves.

    The self and its world as a unified modelling relation don't exist at some single scale. They exist - in modern humans - at levels that are meta- to each other. We can't make the questions of selfhood simpler than they in fact are.

    So an animal lives in its world genetically. It has a body that is the kind of self that works in a basic metabolic way. The genome is a self which is "conscious" of the biochemistry that is its world of energy and entropy gradients over eons of adaptive history.

    Then an animal with a sufficiently evolved nervous system becomes a model of its environment. It is now the kind of self that lives in a world of prey and predators, a world with a near and a far, a world with its obstacles and affordances - a world that is generally outside its "self".

    Pile on top of that the linguistic and mathematical semiotics of humans.

    The neurobiological self, with its matchingly neurobiological "world", or Umwelt, becomes a cultural self in a cultural world.

    We learn that we are the "I's" and "me's" at the centre of our social narratives. We live in a world made of "you", "us" and "them". Our linguistic model speaks of a collective world that thus contains our selves, along with many other selves, who are also part of the continuity of identity and agency that constitutes our selfhood, or contrariwise, form the social "other" that would resist our wishes and norms.

    And then as logic, maths, philosophising, and the other rationalising/abstracting habits of modern humans evolved these past 2000 years, we get the world of physics and computation, matched by the kind of abstracted and universalised notions of selfhood that such a form of semiosis demands as its "other".

    We get the Newtonian, Darwinian and Turing selves that are quite at home in world where everything has become a quantity rather than a feeling.

    So of course, the linguistic self can be seen as being in conflict with the abstract self. We have romanticism vs rationalism. This is just evidence that all the levels of semiosis, and their accompanying worlds, and their accompanying selves, might not be so perfectly integrated. The history of being human might not yet have made sense of our selfhoods. It could be an unfinished, and even unfinishable, project.

    Does it even make sense to imagine an uploaded cyber mind future, or an AI next step?

    Well, that kind of question can't even be addressed until one understands selfhood correctly as the logic of a dichotomistic modelling relation - the outcome of the necessity of an epistemic cut or schnitt between the "subjective" modeller and the "objectively" modelled.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    3k
    The modeler causes the model, therefore cannot be a quantity in it.Mww

    Okay, in my simplistic way, this is what I'm thinking. Suppose I'm sitting at the kitchen table with my son, and I say, "Draw us." He draws a couple stick figures sitting at a table, one bigger one smaller, and the smaller one bent over drawing. That's a model of us, and he's included, right? He could even draw a tiny version of the in-progress drawing, but there's no way to have it stay up to date, and he can't keep drawing smaller and smaller versions, because that goes on forever. But that's just granularity, isn't it? At some point he can just stop, and the model itself -- the drawing -- is just symbolized, in the same way he and I are just symbolized.

    But to do that is to model himself (along with me) as part of the world, not himself as modeler -- rather the way Frege points out that talking about a concept is talking about it as an object, rather than as a concept. Maybe, except he has symbolized himself making the model, represented here just as a symbol.

    But I also want to say that recognizing yourself as part of the world is not such a bad thing to do. To see yourself as both concept and object, not just one. And to see your model too as part of the world, not just an odd pair of glasses you look out at the world through.
  • Alkis Piskas
    388
    And not proven by being caught in the infelicitous quicksand of felicitous languagetim wood
    Thank you for your response.
    However, I can't undestand this "poetic" passage. But certainly there are no arguments in it.

    to get to substance you have to break through languagetim wood
    Of course that would be ideal. Should we arrange for a live meeting to show you in action what I tried to express in words? :smile:

    Well, next time, besides only eloquent stuff and criticism, which offer only for displeasure, bring in also some arguments against or in favour of my position so that there can be some discussion. :smile:
  • Gobuddygo
    28
    But a human, as a psychological being, is formed by at least four levels of semiosis - genes, neurons, words and numbers.apokrisis

    Genes are not involved in semiosis. The only contain information about amino acids to be put together in a certain order. The formed proteins have their own semiosis. Genes are merely part of a giant curled up structure (the 2 meter long acids in the nuclei, even 23 of them!). In every cell of our body (let's talk redux) the is a portion of this molecule used. To form specific proteins. You can say, and I'm talking Lamarckian now, that we and all organisms on Earth (though there are exceptions) are the masters of the altruistic obedient genes (contrary to the selfish ones of Dawkins).
  • Alkis Piskas
    388
    the scope may go beyond into the outer regions beyond the limits of the physical aspects which arise in brain as the physical hardware of consciousness.Jack Cummins
    Thank you, Jack, for your eresponse.
    Fortunately, I agree with your position, which is very nicely expressed. (I say "fortunately", because my eye has been scared by the overwhelming physicalism (if not materialism) that characterizes this place! :smile:)
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