• Pristina
    13
    Why should the body be separate from YOU? Isn't the body part of you or maybe even the you (how terribly this may sound to some)?
  • Alkis Piskas
    388
    A racing car driver can feel their car as an extension to their body.apokrisis
    Hi, again. Sorry about the delay but I made a long break ...
    Yes, one can say that. Like a mechanic and his tools, a musician and his instrument, a painter and his brushes, a person and his loved one ... But all this is fugurative. In the example I gave, hypothetical of course, the driver can really believe the he is the car: a severe illusion and mental sickness. Madhouses though are plenty of such cases, and those are not hypothetical!

    So selfhood - as something embodied and biological - is a "selfish" point of view.apokrisis
    "Selfish" like one who is concerned mainly or sometimes only about his own interests, profit or pleasure?

    We fluidly construct a sense of where the limits of agency endapokrisis
    What do you mean by "agency"?

    where the resistance of the world beginsapokrisis
    What kind of resistance is that? Can you give an example?

    It starts from the absolute necessity of being a self in the world.apokrisis
    Have you personally felt that compulsive necessity? Ot was it rather natural thinking, knowing and feeling of being a self? Is trying to know yourself using different means a "selfish" action? Is wanting to be a happy being something "selfish"?

    that involves a constant running judgement about the boundary that divides the world from "us"apokrisis
    Do you indeed feel that?

    So selfhood seems dualistic as it involves this constant construction of the idea of a self in its world.apokrisis
    Are you indeed preoccupied with such a thing?

    If my racing car does exactly what I expect in the way its tyres give at a fast corner, then they feel part of meapokrisis
    The hypothetical example I gave about the driver was not feeling the the car is part of him but that he can really believe the he is the car, which consists a severe illusion and mental condition.

    A neurobiological sense of being an intentional self in a resisting worldapokrisis
    Do you feel that the worlds is resisting you? In what way? It doesn't let be yourself? Aren't you yourself at this moment?

    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.apokrisis
    I consider this way too complicated as far as YOU (which is the subject) is concerned. To talk outside the box, I don't believe that all these reflect your actual life and behavior in the world. I can't believe that you cannot instead use simple reasoning about and experiencing of your existence. Because that would mean that you are more thinking about your life than actually living it!
  • Alkis Piskas
    388
    The believe that they are physical
    — Alkis Piskas
    That seems so weird to me and I wanted to check that it is the case. How they believe they are physical? Material? Can they "touch" them or what?
    dimosthenis9
    I already answered that. But I can explain it a little more or better. If soemone thinks he is a body, it means that everything in him is material. Thoughts too? Yes, thoughts too. This doesn't mean that they can touch them. Neither can they touch their brain. But since they believe that thoughts are produced by and take place in the brain, they must be material, mustn't they? A neurosurgeon may then be able to find them and touch them! (What a stupid thing to say, eh? And this also shows how stupid is to believe that one is a body! Only that people usually don't go that far thinking of such things! Even if t's pure logic!)
    Is this more clear now?

    You aren't the only one who believes thoughts and mind aren't material. I support the same too.dimosthenis9
    Thank God! :grin: (I know, but just hearing it, makes me feel better! :smile:)

    And of course we just exchange views here.That majority thinks different says nothing.dimosthenis9
    Well, I am not sure if "exchange" is a notion that is shared by most in here ...

    Even in cases like this, which you can never be sure since science hasn't reached there yet.dimosthenis9
    Right! Exactly!

    Always a pleasure to "talk" to with you! :smile:
  • Alkis Piskas
    388
    And your whole OP seemed built on that error.tim wood
    How can you reject a whole topic with one such a general and unsubstantiated statement?

    ... Sorry, I believe you can! :smile:
  • Bitter Crank
    9.7k
    But all this is "body" (except "mind", but this is not the issue). Where is that "someone" involved in all this?Alkis Piskas

    The "someone" is a product of the whole body. I could say the "someone" is located in the brain, but the brain is an inseparable part of the whole. The functions of the brain are almost entirely non-conscious. One of the functions of the brain is the manufacture of a self, which isn't "located" anywhere in particular (as far as I know). There are many brain functions that are specifically located, but not this one (as far as we can tell). The self is an emergent entity, and the self is real. It's located in the brain, just like memory or proprioception or the senses. It's just that it isn't located in this or that lump of brain tissue.

    Because we are "embodied beings" (existing only in flesh) our 'self' can't be located anywhere else.
  • Pristina
    13
    If soemone thinks he is a body, it means that everything in him is material. Thoughts too? Yes, thoughts too. This doesn't mean that they can touch them. Neither can they touch their brain. But since they believe that thoughts are produced by and take place in the brain, they must be material, mustn't theyAlkis Piskas

    I think I'm a body. What's wrong with that? I don't consider my brain or the physical world as an essential part of me although I am bound to them in an unentangable way. This doesn't mean I am pure matter. There is more than matter alone. There is something inside of matter. Call it soul.
  • Pristina
    13
    The "someone" is a product of the whole body. I could say the "someone" is located in the brain, but the brain is an inseparable part of the whole.Bitter Crank

    I disagree. The body itself (without the brain) is you. There is nothing in your brain that is you. You are not your brain but your body. Your body stands in an ununtiable connection with your brain (inner world) though. Like it is also connected with the physical world. That is, you stand in connection, or in between these two worlds (inner and outer).
  • Alkis Piskas
    388
    The second, and very obvious question is, "If you are a mind or a soul, then why do you say 'my mind or my soul', 'I have a mind or I have a soul', and so on?" You can't be a mind or a soul and have a mind or a soul at the same time, can you?praxis
    Thank you for your response to the topic.

    Very good question and point! :up:
    I can think of 3 reasons:
    1) They don't actually believe that they are a spirit. Most probably, they don't even know what a spirit is. OK, this is simple. Nothing more to say here.
    2) They have an idea about being a spirit, most probably because they read a lot about that, esp. Eastern philosophy, but they have not realized it for themselves. It has not become part of their reality.
    3) They know they are a spirit but it comes out automatically, as a habit of language. (And no one reminds them! :smile:) I can say this with certainty since I did it too in the past for some time even after I realized I was a spirit and not a body. You see you can't get rid easily of some language traps like these. Also hearing often people saying "my/your/his spirit" reinforces your habit. It's contagious!
    (A very common parallel example: "The sun rises"! :smile:)
  • Alkis Piskas
    388
    we don’t have any sense of what “body” means. Or material, or physical.Xtrix
    Thank you for your response to the topic.

    The word "body" has a lot of meanings, of course. But its meaning here is very clear: "The physical structure, including the bones, flesh, and organs, of a person or an animal." (Oxford LEXICO)
    So, I don't think we have to make a big deal out of this. There are more important issues to solve! :smile:
  • Voidrunner
    5


    A remote consciousness would like to raise awareness about plausible deficiencies contained within the original post. Frankly speaking, I failed to locate a sound counter-proof for the thesis “we are only our bodies” in your post. You might have hinted that some physicalists can be incoherent, yet it doesn’t say anything against the concept on its own.

    1.Your reconctruction

    Because I was pretty confused by the “obviousness”, I decided to formalize your reconstruction of your opponents’ view.

    P1. All mental activities take place in the brain
    P2. The brain is a part of the human body
    P3. The brain directs all the existence of a human
    K. There is nothing else in a human being/life than a body OR The only thing that is in a human being/life is a body

    In this explicit form it becomes clear that the conclusion simply doesn’t follow from the premises. P1-P3 suggest, if true, that all mental activities take place in (a part of) the human body and that a part of the human body directs the existence of the human.

    Further than that we can’t conclude that all mental activities direct all the existence of a human. If a happens in b and b causes c, does it mean that a causes c? Probably not with necessity. A should be identical with b, so that we can say that a always causes c, if b causes c is true. Now, the brain, although indisputably consists of or rather contains mental activities, isn’t equal to those activities(imagine a dead person's brain in a formalin solution).

    Just as in the previous example, the conclusion K can’t be reached given the three premises without another supporting one. The additional premise should be like this: the identity of a human(or everything a human is) is the entirety of his mental activities. Without this fourth premise the argument remains simply non-existent. Also, it seems that P3 is obsolete. It could be that P3 intended the content of P4, but the differences in wording and meaning appear to me vast enough for the premises to not be interchangeable.

    The reason why I highlighted the misrepresentation was that in order to prove an argument wrong it should at least be in a form of one. After that it’s enough to prove why at least one of the premises is false. The fact that the initial criticized argument wasn't properly formulated already undermines the relevance of your critique.

    2.Your first question

    Appealing to conversational habits is a weak strategy to criticize a concept. If a person has a certain position and this person happens to express something using wordings that seemingly contradict his initial position, it might show the logical incoherence of a particular individual at best(though doesn’t say anything against the concept itself). Otherwise, we get futile statements like: “Since you, as an atheist, are using the expression “thank god”, you are contradicting yourself”. In other words: one saying that he has a body isn’t equivalent to this person actually having a body. Just as it’s not the same to say “I have a headache” and actually having a headache.

    Apart from this, your first question suggests, that ownership of something implies the difference of owner and possession. With respect to this condition, there is still no contradiction in the sentence:”I am a specific part of a body and I have an entire body at use/under control”. The contradiction arises only due to an equivocation of “a part of a body=mental activities in the brain” with “a body”. Although the inner happenings of the brain are part of the human body, they’re not equivalent to it and can’t be used synonymously.

    3.Your second question

    Should you agree with 1. And 2., the second question couldn’t arise at all. The answer was already given in the hidden premise you forgot to/didn’t mention. According to your opponents’ view, the identity of a human being is the entirety of his mental activities, which evidentially include memories, qualia, sensations, etc. And the addition of the so-called illusionary nature of the “self” doesn’t matter much, since it changes nothing with the premises. Looks more like an excuse for your opponents to indulge themselves in an incoherence, trying to remain “human” in the conventional sense (whatever this may mean to them).

    Sadly, you didn’t provide anything in favor of the idealism of human identity, since stating that "something is like this" is no proof without the “, because…” part. Your driver analogy presupposes a non-physicalist approach and is, due to a lack of argumentation for the approach, of little use.

    4.Your third question

    Lastly, the premise that "the identity of a human is the entirety of his mental activities" indeed suggests that, were it to happen, an artificial recreation of a certain cluster of mental activities would signify the birth of a new identity. Even if that entity doesn't correspond with our expectations of a human mind, we will still have no choice other than to call it a human being according to the initial criteria. Hence, it is irrelevant whether or when scientists will be capable of cloning. What actually matters is the justification of the criteria.

    I hope my points were clear and helpful. Let me know if I made any mistakes.
  • Alkis Piskas
    388
    don't think you can escape the dualism by merely asserting that you're not "discussing" it.Ciceronianus
    I would love to do that, but then I'm afraid it would take a few pages! :smile: And most probably no one would read them! (A couple of responders have not even read the (whole) topic!)
  • Alkis Piskas
    388
    The "someone" is a product of the whole bodyBitter Crank
    OK. Thank you.
  • Alkis Piskas
    388
    I think I'm a body. What's wrong with that?Pristina
    Nothing. But can you please tell me why you say "I don't consider my brain ...." Can you be a body and still have a body at the same time?

    Thank you for your response to the topic.
  • Xtrix
    2.1k
    The word "body" has a lot of meanings, of course. But here I think it's meaning here is very clear: "The physical structure, including the bones, flesh, and organs, of a person or an animal." (Oxford LEXICO)
    So, I don't think we have to make a big deal out of this. There are more important issues to solve! :smile:
    Alkis Piskas

    That’s my point— there aren’t important issues to solve, because the problem is meaningless.

    The “physical structure”, for example, means what? What is physical? Mostly this is used to refer to anything we more or less understand. It’s honorific.

    If we simply want to play games with words, fine. But if no one can offer a technical notion of “body,” then asking whether or not this is the same as something else is a matter of how we want to define it. You say the body is X, fine— someone else says it’s Y, fine.

    In science, things don’t get defined out in space. Nor in philosophy— if we’re serious.
  • RogueAI
    760
    But if you consideranger as a specific configuration of physical stuff, "He stormed out because he was angry" makes sense.khaled

    Anger is a configuration of physical stuff? That makes sense??? So how does that work? You take matter and arrange it in just the right way, run some electricity through it, and...anger?
  • dimosthenis9
    351
    But since they believe that thoughts are produced by and take place in the brain, they must be material, mustn't they?Alkis Piskas

    For me that's the mistake they make. For me it's not that mind exists on its own. Mind requires for sure brain. Brain (physical) generates something non psychical. Imo at least. Or if not generates, at least interacts for sure with something non-physical.

    I can't understand why the materialists from the original view "that mind cannot exist without brain" (which I also find true) jump to the conclusion "so mind is psychical!". There is a huge logical gap here.

    Why they can't accept the possibility that physical creates something that it's obvious non psychical!
    Instead of that, they find more logical to consider thoughts as material! And I find it totally weird.
  • khaled
    3.1k
    You take matter and arrange it in just the right way, run some electricity through it, and...anger?RogueAI

    Yes. This configuration can be brought about by cocaine for example.
  • dimosthenis9
    351
    Because we don’t have any sense of what “body” means. Or material, or physical.Xtrix

    You mean that probably material world is much different than what we perceive from our senses? So that's why you think the base mind/body is false? Got it right or you meant something else?

    But what it amounts to is something like “the mind/ectoplasm problem”Xtrix

    What you mean with ectoplasm?
    And if you believe that material world might be more that we can see. ,Why and how can we be sure that what we "call" "perceive" mind is how mind is indeed?That there isn't "more" of it also? Similar to the way that material world might be different from what we perceive.
  • Xtrix
    2.1k
    You mean that probably material world is much different than what we perceive from our senses?dimosthenis9

    No, I'm saying that we don't have a technical notion of what "material" means.

    But what it amounts to is something like “the mind/ectoplasm problem”
    — Xtrix

    What you mean with ectoplasm?
    dimosthenis9

    That's my point, actually. What do we mean by "body"?

    We can define ectoplasm in all kinds of ways if we want to. That doesn't mean there's a "mind/ectoplasm" problem.
  • RogueAI
    760
    So, how does that work? How does configuring matter a certain way give rise to the subjective experience of being angry? Is electricity necessary?
  • dimosthenis9
    351


    Oh OK.I got something totally different then.

    So you think that since we can't define the exact words we can't talk about these things at all?
    I think it's more like that both persons should clarify their definitions from the beginning and agree on a common base of what they will mean when they will use the word body. And that's it.

    I find totally unfair not to be able to talk about such things. With that "word game" we would end up not being able to talk about anything at all,at the end!
  • apokrisis
    5.4k
    But all this is fugurative.Alkis Piskas

    No. It makes the point that the boundary between self and world is perceptually constructed. It is a fact of the modelling. And this is well known psychophysics.

    What do you mean by "agency"?Alkis Piskas

    The usual meaning. The feeling of being free to choose and act on your own behalf.

    Are you indeed preoccupied with such a thing?Alkis Piskas

    I don’t have to be preoccupied as it is the very habit of psychology that constitutes this “me”.

    We all have a history that makes us routinely who we are. And then occasionally we might get jolted into a more questioning state. Your foot slides on a muddy step and there is panic and disorientation.

    The hypothetical example I gave about the driver was not feeling the the car is part of him but that he can really believe the he is the car, which consists a severe illusion and mental condition.Alkis Piskas

    A common symptom of schizophrenia is this loss of sharp and secure boundaries between self and world. The fact that a normal level of embodiment can be disrupted is what shows that it is normally a continuous perceptual construct.

    To talk outside the box, I don't believe that all these reflect your actual life and behavior in the world. I can't believe that you cannot instead use simple reasoning about and experiencing of your existence. Because that would mean that you are more thinking about your life than actually living it!Alkis Piskas

    I am giving you the psychological explanation of why we feel about selfhood the way we do. The construction is so basic that it is an unthinking habit.

    It is only by learning about the science that you might start to notice these things.
  • apokrisis
    5.4k
    Oh. Wait. I mis-read. You said a self and its world, modeling, where I took it as a self and the world, being modeled. With this new understanding, I disagree, insofar as the self and its world as a unified modeling relation does exist. Otherwise, what would suffice as causality for any model at all?Mww

    I don’t think you understand me as that reply makes no sense.

    The point there is that there is the one general thing of a self-world modelling relation. It is a technical term for what is going on that biosemioticians and the theoretical biologist Robert Rosen would use.

    So it is in fact a model of the causality of living and mindful complex systems - in Rosen’s words, of systems closed in their efficient causation. Or as Howard Pattee puts it, systems with an epistemic cut. It is a mathematical claim with mathematical generality.

    Then the point I was making is that the modern human psychological self is constructed of four distinct levels of semiosis. That is why it becomes such a confusing thing.

    I live in at least four worlds. There is my genetic world - the selfhood that is my immune system, metabolism and other stuff way below my neural world of perceptual awareness.

    Then I live in the consciously experienced world that is constructed by neural semiosis.

    Then there is the sociocultural world that I experience through sharing language as a world-constructing code. This socially constructed world includes me as now a self-conscious being. I stand outside myself and see myself from a sociocultural perspective as a player in that larger realm.

    On top of all that, there is the rational and mathematical self-world model that takes shape through science and philosophy as a new level of human culture and world-making. I see the world around me - both my perceptual environment and my social environment. And on top of that, I experience a rather Platonic sense of the world and of being that comes from a habit of high level abstraction.

    This leads to the making of rather self conscious statements about consciousness and self consciousness - the view of the self as a natural and social creature from the further vantage point that is a self now placed in a world of scientific and philosophical arguments.

    So the sources of the self get stacked up and most people don’t even realise the fact.

    But the science of semiosis does provide the truly meta view.
  • DanLager
    25
    Nothing. But can you please tell me why you say "I don't consider my brain ...." Can you be a body and still have a body at the same time?Alkis Piskas

    My brain is not part of my body. It's a mere aid. So I am my body. I don't have a body, I am my body. I have an inner world that I can use and that shows me things, like ideas or thoughts. It lets me perceive the physical world and it makes me feel. I am more than just matter. Matter is an abstraction. Something is taken away from it which is obviously present. Physics is nice but the vision that only quantum fields exist is an empty (though enjoyable) view.
  • praxis
    4k
    They have an idea about being a spirit, most probably because they read a lot about that, esp. Eastern philosophy, but they have not realized it for themselves. It has not become part of their reality.Alkis Piskas

    Eastern (Buddhist) philosophy is about realizing emptiness and pretty much the opposite of what you appear to be indicating.

    Still don’t get how being and having a body is fundamentally different from being and having a spirit, btw.
  • Mww
    2.7k


    OK. Thanks.
  • khaled
    3.1k
    So, how does that work? How does configuring matter a certain way give rise to the subjective experience of being angry?RogueAI

    Just like last time, you assume dualism in your questions.

    What makes you think that there exists a subjective experience, a “mental stuff” of being angry?

    No, the certain configuration IS what we refer to when we refer to an experience. It’s not something that “brings about an experience”, it is it. This configuration = Anger.

    Any time we say “He was angry” it can be translated as “He had this specific physical configuration”. Usually including shallow breaths, frowns, and other things.

    Is electricity necessary?RogueAI

    Seems that way. Considering the ones that don’t have it display “dead” not “angry”.
  • Pop
    1.4k
    However, I am talking about "youself" and "himself" , which are totally different things. What I am talking about is YOU. Just YOU. The person I am replying to at the moment I am writing these lines. YOU is the person himself, his identity, the human being, a living unit. It is very concrete, as far as the language is concerned as well as a reality. There's no "emergent phenomena" involved!
    If this is not clear for someone, I am sorry, I can't do anything more.
    Alkis Piskas

    Do you think a lobotomy would change your mind about this?

    It is all about emergence, from the moment you are born to what you are at present is one continuous emergent process, enmeshed within the evolution and emergence of everything in the biosphere, in a continuous process of moving forward in time.
  • RogueAI
    760
    Just like last time, you assume dualism in your questions.khaled

    I'm an idealist. I think there is only mind and thought. That makes more sense than assuming there is only physical stuff. You can be wrong about physical stuff existing. I cannot be wrong about mind and thought existing.

    What makes you think that there exists a subjective experience, a “mental stuff” of being angry?

    Are you denying mental states and subjective experiences exist? That's absurd.

    No, the certain configuration IS what we refer to when we refer to an experience. It’s not something that “brings about an experience”, it is it. This configuration = Anger.

    Think of a sunset. Is there a sunset in your brain? Then mental states aren't the same thing as brain states. When you were a child, and you didn't know anything about brains, you knew what anger was. Do you think an alien race that can't feel anger can know what it's like to be angry just by studying our brains?

    Any time we say “He was angry” it can be translated as “He had this specific physical configuration”. Usually including shallow breaths, frowns, and other things.

    That's a poor translation, since anger is also a feeling. When you're angry do you feel a certain way? Of course you do. Isn't the essence of pain not nerves firing, but rather it feels bad? Pain hurts? Isn't that what makes torture so bad? Because someone is experiencing intense suffering?

    Is electricity necessary?
    — RogueAI

    Seems that way. Considering the ones that don’t have it display “dead” not “angry”.

    Why is electricity necessary for experience? What is it about moving electrons that is required for the feeling of pain to exist? Of course you don't know, so there are two moves you can make: there's no such thing as the "feeling of pain" or "we don't know but we'll eventually find out". Both are unsatisfying answers. Your theory produces absurdities and suffers from explanatory gaps.
  • khaled
    3.1k
    I'm an idealist. I think there is only mind and thought. That makes more sense than assuming there is only physical stuff. You can be wrong about physical stuff existing. I cannot be wrong about mind and thought existing.RogueAI

    So what is a rock, in your view? Does it exist independently from my thoughts about rocks? And how does it do so? I think there is merit in investigating your view as well as mine.

    Are you denying mental states and subjective experiences exist?RogueAI

    I am denying that they are any more than a pattern.

    I'll use an analogy: A computer program is no more than a specific arrangement of ones and zeros. In the same way a mind is no more than a specific arrangement of matter.

    In both cases, you can't pick the thing up, it has no mass (computer program or mind, arrangements have no mass), yet that doesn't make it its own substance, rather a pattern of physical stuff.

    Think of a sunset. Is there a sunset in your brain? Then mental states aren't the same thing as brain states. When you were a child, and you didn't know anything about brains, you knew what anger was. Do you think an alien race that can't feel anger can know what it's like to be angry just by studying our brains?RogueAI

    Please explain why what I said necessitates the existence of sunsets in our brain.

    Imagine if someone told you: "Programs are definitely more than patterns of 0s and 1s, that's absurd. When you shoot someone in a video game, is there a gun in your computer? When you were a child you didn't know anything about programming, yet you could still play videogames" How would you respond to them?

    When you were a child, and you didn't know anything about brains, you knew what anger was.RogueAI

    That's debatable, but shouldn't be in opposition to my position anyways.

    Isn't the essence of pain not nerves firing, but rather it feels bad?RogueAI

    Those are the same thing.

    Imagine that same person saying: "Isn't the essence of shooting someone in a video game the blood and gore? Definitely not just a couple of 1s and 0s flipping, that's absurd".

    Why is electricity necessary for experience? What is it about moving electrons that is required for the feeling of pain to exist? Of course you don't know, so there are two moves you can make: there's no such thing as the "feeling of pain" or "we don't know but we'll eventually find out". Both are unsatisfying answers. Your theory produces absurdities and suffers from explanatory gaps.RogueAI

    "Why is electricity necessary for computer programs? What is it about moving electrons that is required for video games to exist? Of course you don't know, so there are two moves you can make: There's no such thing as "video games" or "we don't know but we'll eventually find out". Both are unsatisfying answers. Your theory produces absurdities and suffers from explanatory gaps."

    I'll say it again, but when someone says "There is no such thing as feelings of pain" they aren't saying that feelings don't exist, they're saying they're not what you think they are. They aren't an independent existence, they're a pattern. So far you keep saying that there is an explanatory gap, but I don't think there is one.

    On the other hand, if all that exists are really just thoughts of rocks, how come it seems like rocks stick around when no one is thinking of them? How come we can both look in the same area and spontaneously both think that there is a rock there at the same time! Quite a terrific coincidence that we chose to both daydream up a rock in the same place at the same time. What is the source of all this constancy?

    I was never an idealist, but I was at least a dualist at one point and idealism continues to make no sense to me.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.