• Bartricks
    2k
    Thinking is not a brain process. It is a 'mental' process. A process that minds - and minds alone - engage in.

    Whether minds and brains are one and the same kind of object is a philosophical question.

    I have argued that minds are not brains, because minds are indivisible and something indivisible is simple and something simple is immaterial, whereas minds, being divisible, are material.

    So it would seem that our minds are demonstrably not our brains and that mental processes are not physical processes in the brain.
  • BrianW
    936


    Mental processes occur in brains. Again, no brain => no mental processes. Fact.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    I just refuted you. Deal.
  • BrianW
    936
    I just refuted you. Deal.Bartricks

    No. Science refuted you.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    No it didn't. I. Refuted. You.

    The less they know, the less they know it.
  • BrianW
    936


    You have no proof that the mind is anything but a concept. Unless you can prove it beyond its existence as a concept.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    You still blurting out pronouncements?

    There's a stack of evidence that the mind is not the brain - I presented one piece, there's plenty more - and none whatever that the mind is the brain.
  • TheMadFool
    4.7k
    Nothing is not a thing. So saying it is indivisible is a category error.Bartricks

    If nothing, is not a thing and the mind is a thing then observe they are exactly identical with respect to the properties you listed. You'll have to provide me with a property that distinguishes the two and demonstrate how the category error is apt to the issue.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    If nothing, is not a thing and the mind is a thing then observe they are exactly identical with respect to the properties you listed. You'll have to provide me with a property that distinguishes the two and demonstrate how the category error is apt to the issue.TheMadFool

    Nothing is not a thing - there's no serious dispute about that. I mean, it is there in the word itself - 'no-thing'. Nothing. Not a thing. Nothing.

    They are not identical. For one thing, my mind is a thing and nothing is not. Big difference. Doesn't actually get bigger than that.
    Also, my mind thinks. That's one of its properties - it thinks things. Nothing doesn't. And so on.

    I suggest that you are confusing 'immaterial' with 'non-existent' and 'material' with 'existent'. Not the same.
  • BrianW
    936


    An argument that the mind (something not proven) is not the brain, is not evidence of what the mind is. You've said what the mind isn't, now inform us about what it is and how you came upon that revelation. Otherwise, all of the conclusions connected to that premise of mind would be baseless conjecture.

    Scientific endeavours have connected thinking and mental processes with the brain. How have you arrived at the mind instead?
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Why would I explain any of that to someone who doesn't know the first thing about how to argue and just issues ignorant, arrogant pronouncements?

    You - you - need to engage with one of my arguments. Until or unless you can provide reason to believe one of the premises of one of them is false, you're not doing that.
  • tomatohorse
    8
    ↪tomatohorse
    One possibility is that "mind" is a word we use to describe the sum output of all human brain processes.
    — tomatohorse

    That's not how the word is traditionally used and it is not how I am using it. It means 'that which bears our conscious experiences".

    So, it refers to an 'object' not a 'process'.
    Bartricks

    Thanks for the response, and for that clarification. But I would still contend that my basic approach still applies. I'm basically arguing for a form of nominalism with respect to the mind/body problem. The brain is the "noumena," if you will, and the mind is the "phenomena." The mind is your own subjective experience of what the brain is doing, but it is not a thing that exists in itself, objectively. Much like how the color is your experience of a wavelength of light in the visible spectrum.

    Where I see this fitting into the current discussion is that your argument for the mind's simplicity is "the mind is simple because I experience it to be so." And this is certainly a valid observation. However, this experience - the experience of a mind - can be subsumed by a nominalistic interpretation as well. This means that your argument of loses quite a bit of its punch, because now we have an alternate explanation for the evidence you are presenting.
  • BrianW
    936


    None of your arguments inform as to what the mind is. They just report that it's not the brain and that mental processes and thinking take place in it. However, you clearly fail to define or delineate its identity.
    Science has a clear definition of the brain and its functions, and among them are the mental processes.

    You claim humans have a mind. Where is it in humans? How is it perceived?
  • Bartricks
    2k
    But you're not addressing my argument if you change the meaning of the word 'mind' to your favoured interpretation.

    For instance, let's say I say "banks are financial institutions; all financial institutions are corrupt; therefore banks are corrupt" and you reply "one meaning of the world 'bank' is 'turn'".

    I reply "that's not what I meant by 'bank' - I mean by a 'bank' a 'financial institution').

    You counter-reply "I still think my point stands. Banks are turnings. And understood as such, they are not corrupt"

    It's to refuse to engage with my argument.

    Now, call it whatever you want - call it a mind, call it a bank, call it a flibbertigibbet - but conscious experiences are borne by something. They are called 'mental states' - states are always 'states of something'.

    That thing - the thing that mental states are the states of - is what I am calling 'the mind'. That's orthodox usage. But by all means use another term if you want.

    For the simple fact is that that object -the mind, the flibbertigibbet, the bank, whatever label you want to put on it - is indivisible, and thus simple, and thus immaterial and uncaused.

    "the mind is simple because I experience it to be so."tomatohorse

    You have put quote marks around that, yet that is not a quote from me. I did not say it. I said that my mind is represented to be indivisible by my reason. That's quite different. I don't know what it means to 'experience indivisibility'. It isn't, I think, an object of experience. No, my reason 'tells me' - that is, 'represents' my mind to be indivisible. And it is from its indivisibility that I infer its simplicity.
  • TheMadFool
    4.7k
    Nothing is not a thing - there's no serious dispute about that. I mean, it is there in the word itself - 'no-thing'. Nothing. Not a thing. Nothing.

    They are not identical. For one thing, my mind is a thing and nothing is not. Big difference. Doesn't actually get bigger than that.
    Also, my mind thinks. That's one of its properties - it thinks things. Nothing doesn't. And so on.

    I suggest that you are confusing 'immaterial' with 'non-existent' and 'material' with 'existent'. Not the same.
    Bartricks

    I think that's the point. It seems that you're making a thing out of nothing. BrianW reminded me of the brain - the organ that has been proved to be that which thinks.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Er, no. I literally just told you the ways in which a mind - which is a thing - differs from nothing. And you then reply that I am making a thing out of nothing. Sheesh - can you read?

    Nothing is not a thing. My mind is. Big difference. So, my mind is not nothing.

    My mind thinks. Nothing doesn't. Big difference. So my mind is not nothing.

    And on and on.

    But don't let a proof get in the way of a conviction. Good job!
  • TheMadFool
    4.7k
    Er, no. I literally just told you the ways in which a mind - which is a thing - differs from nothing. And you then reply that I am making a thing out of nothing. Sheesh - can you read?

    Nothing is not a thing. My mind is. Big difference. So, my mind is not nothing.

    My mind thinks. Nothing doesn't. Big difference. So my mind is not nothing.

    And on and on.

    But don't let a proof get in the way of a conviction. Good job!
    Bartricks

    :lol: :up:

    Firstly, modern science has proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it's the brain that thinks. We've even mapped out the regions of the brain concerned with specific mental activity. Ergo, you must realize that you will have to move your business into the immaterial and your arguments on the mind being immaterial rest on 1) indivisibility and that I've brought to your notice is insufficient to make a clear distinction between the mind, considered immaterial and nothing. That's why in my humble opinion, you're trying to make a thing of nothing.
  • BrianW
    936


    The mind is divisible by the fact that when you die it will disintegrate. Unless you also want to prove existence of mind and thoughts beyond that, too.

    Also, if the mind is indivisible, then it would be the building blocks of reality and everything within. Therefore, not only would mental processes take place in it, everything would exist in and through it. Reality would be mind. I have arrived at that by reasoning out, if the process of cause and effect were to be reversed for everything and anything existent, then the fundamental resultant (origin) MUST be that which is indivisible.

    Me thinks you conflate concept of mind with actuality of mind and, consequently, doth protest too much.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Firstly, modern science has proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it's the brain that thinks. We've even mapped out the regions of the brain concerned with specific mental activity.TheMadFool

    No it hasn't! All science has shown - and this is hardly recent - is that events in the brain affect what goes on in the mind. If one thing affects another, that does not show they're the same thing! For instance, your responses are making me cross. That is, they are causing in me a certain mental state. Now, that doesn't show that I am your responses, does it! Or that your responses are my mental states. Yet by your logic it would.

    Ergo, you must realize that you will have to move your business into the immaterial and your arguments on the mind being immaterial rest on 1) indivisibility and that I've brought to your notice is insufficient to make a clear distinction between the mind, considered immaterial and nothing. That's why in my humble opinion, you're trying to make a thing of nothing.TheMadFool

    I don't know what you're talking about.
  • TheMadFool
    4.7k
    No it hasn't! All science has shown - and this is hardly recent - is that events in the brain affect what goes on in the mind. If one thing affects another, that does not show they're the same thing! For instance, your responses are making me cross. That is, they are causing in me a certain mental state. Now, that doesn't show that I am your responses, does it! Or that your responses are my mental states. Yet by your logic it would.Bartricks

    I like Sam Harris' account of the problem dualists face when they transfer consciousness to something immaterial. Harris states that damage to certain parts of the brain results in a specific loss of function corresponding to that part. So if your speech center is damaged, you lose the ability to speak. Now, if one thinks the mind survives death then it must mean that the entire brain shutting down is of no consequence for the mind. Yet, if neuroscience has proven anything it's that our mental functions are localized in the brain and if damage to parts of the brain result in loss of function, it follows that when the entire brain is damaged, as in death, the mind should cease existing.

    Sorry for making your cross. You've been kind to be patient. I admire that. Thank you
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Harris states that damage to certain parts of the brain results in a specific loss of function corresponding to that part. So if your speech center is damaged, you lose the ability to speak. Now, if one thinks the mind survives death then it must mean that the entire brain shutting down is of no consequence for the mind.TheMadFool

    I do not deny that doing things to the brain affects what goes on in the mind. That's not in dispute.

    But it is fallacious to infer that from the fact X affects Y, X therefore 'is' Y. Yet that's exactly what you've done. If I stick a pin through my brain, that's likely to affect what goes on in my mind, yes? That does not mean that my brain 'is' my mind.

    So what you're seeing as evidence that the brain is the mind is actually just evidence of fallacious thinking on Harris's part (which is understandable given that his only qualification in philosophy is a BA - yet he insists on writing about philosophical subjects as if he is an expert). And, of course, fallacious thinking on your part and on the part of all those who think that 'science' somehow proves the brain is the mind.

    It doesn't.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    The mind is divisible by the fact that when you die it will disintegrate.BrianW

    No it won't. Disintegrate into what? You're assuming that the mind is the brain. But it isn't. The mind is indivisible, therefore simple, therefore immaterial.

    Complex objects disintegrate. Simple ones do not.
  • BrianW
    936


    If claiming that X is Y does not make it true despite the obvious connections, what makes your claim that mental processes occur in the mind have any validity in contrast to those made by scientists about the brain, especially since you haven't even offered a hint of empirical connection?
  • Bartricks
    2k
    So if your speech center is damaged, you lose the ability to speak. Now, if one thinks the mind survives death then it must mean that the entire brain shutting down is of no consequence for the mind.TheMadFool

    How does that follow? If the steering mechanism in my car fails, then I lose the ability to steer the car. That doesn't mean I am the car, does it? I am not the car. Yet if the steering mechanism fails, that's hardly of no consequence to me - I can't steer the car, and I'm in the car!

    Likewise, if a certain region of my brain gets damaged, then I may lose the ability to speak. That doesn't mean I am my brain. I am not my brain, but I am at the moment stuck in one and without it I am unable to interact with the sensible world. So, if bits of my brain are damanged that's often of the first importance to me, even though I am not my brain.
  • BrianW
    936
    How does that follow? If the steering mechanism in my car fails, then I lose the ability to steer the car.Bartricks

    No. If the steering mechanism fails, then it, the car, looses the 'ability' to be steered.
  • BrianW
    936


    What mental processes would you be referring to that are not affected by damage to the corresponding brain centres and thus perpetuating your notion that the mind is still functional?
  • BrianW
    936
    Actually, consciousness (awareness-response mechanism) is indivisible. Science has proof that even after death, molecules and atoms retain their capacity to interact. In fact, energy, at its most basic sense, is interactive. Science also claims it can neither be created nor destroyed, only translated.

    And, mind is what we, humans, refer to our awareness-response mechanism. So I guess you were right all along, consciousness is indivisible. :wink:
  • TheMadFool
    4.7k


    Sorry, I was a bit distracted.

    Let's look at your main argument

    1.The mind is indivisible

    2. If the mind is indivisible then it's simple, immaterial and uncaused

    So,

    3. The mind is simple, immaterial and uncaused

    The proof for premise 1, is according to you, "it appears to be" which, despite it being couched in a hedge, is easy to confirm through personal experience: I'm aware of my mental processes and also that I exist, distinct from others and actually consider myself to be quite like the driver of a vehicle, steering the body to do my bidding. Also, as you said, there's no sense in which I could talk of a half or a quarter of my mind.

    However, notice something about your immaterial mind. It, based on being simple (indivisible), being immaterial AND being uncaused is exactly identical to nothing. So, now I present you an analogical argument:

    Nothing is immaterial, simple and uncaused and doesn't think
    (According to you) there's a mind that's immaterial, simple and uncaused
    Ergo, by my analogy
    this immaterial "mind" also doesn't think
  • creativesoul
    7.4k
    Minds consist entirely of thought and belief. Thought and belief are complex; not simple. Minds are complex.

    :wink:
  • Bartricks
    2k
    First, no - if the steering mechanism fails 'I' lose the ability to steer the car. Second - congratulations on completely missing the point.
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