## The simplest things

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• 1.9k
And, mind is what we, humans, refer to our awareness-response mechanism. So I guess you were right all along, consciousness is indivisible. :wink:

Er no. I never said "consciousness is indivisible". I said my 'mind' is indivisible. Mind. Not 'consciousness'. Consciousness is a 'state' of a thing, not a thing itself. I am conscious. I am not consciousness.

Oh, sorry, I forgot, you need to go check if 'science' confirms that.
• 1.9k
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.

It is not a 'proof', but 'evidence'. Appearances, whether sensible or rational, are prima facie evidence of the reality of what they represent to be the case. That's a principle of intellectual inquiry without which you'd be unable to argue for anything at all. For instance, it is on the basis of rational appearances that we recognise this argument form:

1. P
2. If P then Q
3. Therefore Q

to be valid.

Our reason represents us to be indivisible, which is prima facie evidence that we are. That 'prima facie' means not that it is a proof - we could discover that we have more powerful prima facie reason to discount these particular rational appearances (not 'all' rational appearances - that'd be self-undermining - but 'these' rational appearances). But it means that the burden of proof is on the person who wishes to deny that premise - they have to provide apparent countervailing evidence, otherwise they're just being dogmatic.

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:

I have twice now explained why this is obviously not so.

First, it is a conceptual truth that 'nothing' is not a thing. By contrast my mind is a thing.

Here's an argument for that (if one were needed):

1. If there are mental states, there is an object - a thing, called 'a mind' - that they are the states of
2. There are mental states
3. Therefore there is an object - a thing, called 'a mind' - that they are the states of.

And minds think, whereas 'nothing' does not.

That's no. 3. Three times now I have explained why minds are not 'nothing'. 3 times!

You're clearly just dogmatically assuming that if something is not material, it does not exist.

The evidence is that this is not so. The thing you're thinking with - the thing your reason tells you both exists and is indivisible, and thus simple and immaterial - is 'not material' yet 'is' existent
• 4.7k
It is not a 'proof', but 'evidence'

Appearances, whether sensible or rational, are prima facie evidence of the reality of what they represent to be the case. That's a principle of intellectual inquiry without which you'd be unable to argue for anything at all. For instance, it is on the basis of rational appearances that we recognise this argument form:

Here, you're trying to blur the line between the conventional meaning of "appearance" and truth. Appearances are deceptive and therefore we rely on rationality as you have. I could say that your "evidence" for the mind being indivisible is suspect because you claim that, quote, "it appears to be". Nevertheless, this appearance seems so common, everyone seems to have it, that I don't wish to dispute it for the moment. However, there is a possibility that this impression of the mind being indivisible is just an appearance - a mass delusion.

I have twice now explained why this is obviously not so.

First, it is a conceptual truth that 'nothing' is not a thing. By contrast my mind is a thing.

Here's an argument for that (if one were needed):

1. If there are mental states, there is an object - a thing, called 'a mind' - that they are the states of
2. There are mental states
3. Therefore there is an object - a thing, called 'a mind' - that they are the states of.

And minds think, whereas 'nothing' does not.

I could easily rephrase your argument as follows:

1. If there are mental states, there is an object - a material thing, called a brain - that they are the states of
2. There are mental states
3. Therefore there is an object - a material thing, called a brain - that they are states of

You have yet to prove that it's not the brain that's thinking and that the mind is not a brain-state and has an existence distinct from the physical. The only way you can say that the mind is distinct from the brain is to show that it's immaterial and that requires your indivisibility argument but that as we know applies to nothing too. Basically you'll have to admit that your immaterial mind is nothing.
• 934
First, no - if the steering mechanism fails 'I' lose the ability to steer the car. Second - congratulations on completely missing the point.

No. Your ability still exists and can be easily realised by steering a different but fully functional car. Hence, your ability is not diminished

Er no. I never said "consciousness is indivisible". I said my 'mind' is indivisible. Mind. Not 'consciousness'. Consciousness is a 'state' of a thing, not a thing itself. I am conscious. I am not consciousness.

Oh, sorry, I forgot, you need to go check if 'science' confirms that.

You call that which is indivisible, mind. I call it consciousness. Science calls it energy. Etc. Etc.
Like I said, you were right. Do you have a problem with that, too?
• 934

Or you can have it this way:

Consciousness is the state of indivisibility and indivisibility is the state of consciousness.

Consciousness <=> Indivisibility.
• 1.9k
Here, you're trying to blur the line between the conventional meaning of "appearance" and truth.

No, I am describing a principle known as 'the principle of phenomenal conservatism'. Like I say, it underpins all inquiry.

You the one confusing the distinction between appearance and truth. Strictly speaking appearances are not 'true' or 'false', but 'accurate' or 'inaccurate'. Truth and falsehood are properties of 'beliefs', rather than appearances.

Appearances are deceptive and therefore we rely on rationality as you have.

Now you're just stipulating - on the basis of no evidence whatsoever - that the principle of phenomenal conservatism is false.

No, appearances 'can' be deceptive. Not 'are'. 'Can be'. But the default is that they are accurate, not that they are inaccurate.

If you think otherwise, you won't be able to argue for your position.

Anyway, this is all by-the-by - if the only way you can attack my arguments is by trying to call into question the whole project of arguing - the whole project of reasoning about reality - then you are effectively admitting that my arguments are formidable.

What you need to do is attack a premise, not attack philosophy tout court.
• 1.9k
I could easily rephrase your argument as follows:

1. If there are mental states, there is an object - a material thing, called a brain - that they are the states of
2. There are mental states
3. Therefore there is an object - a material thing, called a brain - that they are states of

No you couldn't! That's a 'different' argument because it has different premises!!

All you can conclude from the fact there are states, is that there is 'some thing' that they are the states of. Whether it is a material or immaterial thing is what needs to be shown, not assumed.

So that is not - absolutely not - my argument, but a completely different argument with a flagrantly question begging first premise!

Like I say, you don't know how to argue responsibly.
• 1.9k
You call that which is indivisible, mind. I call it consciousness. Science calls it energy. Etc. Etc.
Like I said, you were right. Do you have a problem with that, too?

Er, yes, obviously I have a problem because it is false. Baby steps. Consciousness is a mental state. Mental 'state'. That means 'state of mind'. A 'state of mind' is a - ooo wait for it - a. state. of. a. mind. State of a mind, not a mind. State of a mind, not a mind. State of a mind. not a mind. State of a mind. Not a mind.

The mind is the thing. Consciousness is a state of it. Write that out a thousand times. Then tattoo 'mind' on your left hand and 'state of mind' on your right so that you remember that they're distinct.
• 934
Er, yes, obviously I have a problem because it is false. Baby steps. Consciousness is a mental state. Mental 'state'. That means 'state of mind'. A 'state of mind' is a - ooo wait for it - a. state. of. a. mind. State of a mind, not a mind. State of a mind, not a mind. State of a mind. not a mind. State of a mind. Not a mind.

The mind is the thing. Consciousness is a state of it. Write that out a thousand times. Then tattoo 'mind' on your left hand and 'state of mind' on your right so that you remember that they're distinct.

Long story short, it seems you have your own meanings for whatever you choose to express, while others have theirs. Current education has its own definitions of mind, mental states, consciousness, etc which you choose to ignore. I have no problem with that, I have done it and still do it, too. What matters is what is logical a.k.a the significance of what is being expressed and its right relations.

What I'm saying is, that which is indivisible, I name it, CONSCIOUSNESS.
• 1.9k
No, I am using the word 'mind' conventionally. It is conventionally used to denote the object that bears our conscious experiences.

The philosophical debate is over what kind of an object it is - material, or immaterial.

If you call 'concsiousness' 'mind' then a) you are using a well-known term in a misleading way and b) you are simply not talking about what I am talking about.

If I say "banks are financial institutions and they're corrupt" you are not even addressing me if you say "banks are the sides of rivers and they are wet".

I mean by 'mind' - the 'object that is bearing our conscious experiences'. If you mean something else, start up your own thread and use the word 'mind' there to mean 'butterscotch biscuits' or whatever. My arguments - the arguments here - do not apply to your meaning, but to mine.

Now, unless you think conscious states can exist absent any object that they are the state of - in which case you're very confused - you accept that there is an object that bears conscious states. Call it Rupert if you want. I call it 'the mind'. The debate - the philosophical debate - is over what kind of an object it is. IF you're not interested in that debate, go away.
• 934
No, I am using the word 'mind' conventionally. It is conventionally used to denote the object that bears our conscious experiences.

So has the word consciousness, brain, thoughts, etc, etc. Convention does not make it absolute. What is convention on one's side of town is not so on others.

If I say "banks are financial institutions and they're corrupt" you are not even addressing me if you say "banks are the sides of rivers and they are wet".

I have kept the relation to the significant factor, which is indivisibility. So, it's more like I said,
treasuries are financial institutions and they're corrupt.

I mean by 'mind' - the 'object that is bearing our conscious experiences'.

And, I mean by consciousness, that which is indivisible.

The philosophical debate is over what kind of an object it is - material, or immaterial.

Everything is material to itself and can only be immaterial to something less subtle (tenuous) than itself. The materiality and immateriality of something cannot be a fundamental description of anything. For example, magnetic force is immaterial to our sensations, yet it is material to its own kind. If immateriality is based on any gradation of intangibility and inertness (unreactive-ness), then it is not necessarily derived from indivisibility.

Immateriality does not automatically infer indivisibility.
• 1.9k
If I say "banks are indivisible" and you reply "cornflakes are indivisible" then you are not addressing me. Sinking in yet?

If you mean by 'consciousness' what I mean by 'mind', then you should use 'mind' not 'consciousness' as I'm the one who's made the argument. This is especially so given that I use 'consciousness' to refer to 'the state of consciousness' (like, you know, everyone else does).

Now, the mind - which is an object - is indivisible. And from that we can conclude that it is therefore simple and immaterial and uncaused.
• 1.9k
Immateriality does not automatically infer indivisibility.

You mean 'imply' not 'infer'.

And I did not claim that immateriality implies indivisibility. I argued that indivisibility entails immateriality.
• 934
If I say "banks are indivisible" and you reply "cornflakes are indivisible" then you are not addressing me. Sinking in yet?

If the meaning of indivisibility is identical, then banks and cornflakes are just synonymous names. Get it?

If you mean by 'consciousness' what I mean by 'mind', then you should use 'mind' not 'consciousness' as I'm the one who's made the argument. This is especially so given that I use 'consciousness' to refer to 'the state of consciousness' (like, you know, everyone else does).

Not unless I had a point to make. If mind meant to everybody what you say it does, then the contrast in the various arguments in this thread and even beyond would not exist. I mean, just by googling mind I begin to get different definitions and explanations. Therefore, I don't 'buy' your conventionality idea.

You mean 'imply' not 'infer'.

No. I meant infer. I gave an example of my observation of certain phenomena and from it deduced that possibility.

I argued that indivisibility entails immateriality.

Unless, immateriality here refers to subtlest or most tenuous. Otherwise, by being an existence (an object or 'thing'), it must have substantiality of some degree to be able to be interactive and for complexity to be able to arise from its simplicity. My point is immateriality implies a kind of relativity of conditioning and is often used to compare different states such as physical vs non-physical (spiritual) depending on context.

What I'm saying is, something can be indivisible and material. If indivisibility does not negate materiality, then that point about immateriality becomes moot.
• 1.9k
If the meaning of indivisibility is identical, then banks and cornflakes are just synonymous names. Get it?

Well, I get something from that, but what I get is about your intelligence, not about my argument. Have you been putting money in cornflake packets again?

No. I meant infer. I gave an example of my observation of certain phenomena and from it deduced that possibility.

No, you meant 'imply', you just don't know that that's what you meant, because you don't know what a lot of words mean, such as 'bank', 'cornflake', 'indivisible', 'mind', 'imply' and 'infer'.
• 4.7k
No you couldn't! That's a 'different' argument because it has different premises!!

All you can conclude from the fact there are states, is that there is 'some thing' that they are the states of. Whether it is a material or immaterial thing is what needs to be shown, not assumed.

So that is not - absolutely not - my argument, but a completely different argument with a flagrantly question begging first premise!

Like I say, you don't know how to argue responsibly.

Why couldn't I? I presented to you a counter-argument with a contradictory conclusion and you don't accept it. I employed your modus ponens form and an argument form is necessarily universal in application and can appear in as many arguments on as many different topics as possible. In short your "couldn't" indicates I've done something impossible which is not the case.
• 1.9k
Your argument was a) not a version of my argument (you represented it to be), b) not sound, c) flagrantly question begging.

The only similarity between your argument and mine is that your argument is valid (like mine) and it shares the same second premise.

You can construct valid arguments until the cows come home. What you need to do is construct one that is plausibly sound and not flagrantly question begging (that is, one that does not just stipulate on the contested issue as opposed to appealing to rational appearances).

So, here's a really rubbish argument.

1. If there are mental states, there is a million mile long crocodile that they are the states of
2. There are mental states
3. Therefore there is a million mile long crocodile that they are states of

What is that shit? It's valid. But it's shit because premise 1 is grossly implausible. It is not an a priori truth of reason - that is, it is not something that our reason says is true, independent of experience. And there seems no reason provided by any experiences we have had either. So it is just stupid.

By contrast, my first premise says only this: if there are mental states, there is an object that they are the states of.

Now that 'is' an a priori truth of reason. The idea of there being mental states existing by themselves doesn't make sense - it is akin to thinking that a physical object's shape can exist absent the object whose shape it is. Imagine going into a shop and seeing an object you like and asking how much it is. $40 you are told. Oh, I haven't got$40 on me - how much for the shape alone? You'd be asked to leave, yes? Because what you've asked is crazy - it makes no sense.

Why? Because 'shape' is a state of a physical object. Physical objects have shapes. Shapes are not things, even though many things are shaped.

Likewise, mental states are states of an object. They are not things in their own right - they are 'states of a thing'.
What kind of an object they are the states of is what subsequent reasoning about this can reveal. You can't just stipulate.

So again, your argument is a) not a version of mine; b) unsound; c) question begging.
• 4.7k
Thank you for the lesson in logic but what I meant to convey was that it's uncertain whether your premise: If there are mental states, there is an object - a thing, called 'a mind' - that they are the states of or my premise: If there are mental states, there is an object - a thing, called 'a brain' - that they are states of is true. My premise pins thoughts/thinking on the brain and your premise chalks it up to the mind. Your premise requires that the mind be immaterial since you disagree with me and I claim that it's a material object - the brain - that does the thinking. The only method that's available to you is to then show the mind is indivisible but even nothing is indivisble. You'd then be required to show that there's a difference between mind and nothing and the way you've done that is by claiming that the mind thinks and nothing doesn't but this is exactly the point of contention isn't it - is it an immaterial mind that thinks or is it the brain that thinks? I sense a circularity here.
• 1.9k
If there are mental states, there is an object - a thing, called 'a mind' - that they are the states of or my premise: If there are mental states, there is an object - a thing, called 'a brain' - that they are states of is true.

Again, one of those - mine - is an a priori truth of reason. Or do you think that it makes sense that a mental state could exist absent an object that it is the state of?

As I explained at length, just as it makes no sense to think that an object's shape could exist absent the object whose shape it is, so too it makes no sense to think that a mental state can exist absent a mind that it is the state of.

Your premise is obviously 'not' an apriori truth of reason. You've just built into it an arbitrary stipulation about the kind of object in question.

So you haven't reasoned - you haven't constructed an argument made purely of apparent a priori truths and observations and then seen what conclusion you get to. No, you've just stipulated in one of your premises that minds are brains.

So, once more, your argument is question begging and implausible.

Consider two detectives. They're at a crime scene and they discover a red hair on the knife that was clearly used to kill Marjory. The first detective infers from this that Marjory's killer most likely had red hair. That's all he infers, because that's all that piece of evidence permits him to infer.
The other detective infers not just that Marjory's killer most likely had red hair, but that Marjory's killer is called Ken. The second detective is a bloody idiot, yes? The red hair does not licence that inference - it is an unreasonable inference. Yes, it is 'possible' the killer is called Ken, because Ken is a name and killers have names. But the discovery of the red hair does not give the detective any special reason to think the killer is called Ken.

You're reasoning like the second detective. If there are mental states, that licences us to conclude that there is an object that is bearing them, but it doesn't licence us to conclude that the object in question is a brain. It might be a brain, because a brain is an object. But the existence of mental states - like the red hair - does not licence you to draw that conclusion, only to infer that there is some kind of an object (an object whose precise nature we've yet to determine) that is bearing it.
• 4.7k
Again, one of those - mine - is an a priori truth of reason. Or do you think that it makes sense that a mental state could exist absent an object that it is the state of?

Firstly, I'm more than a little concerned about you using the word "mind". Some people consider the mind to be a function of the brain, an emergent pheonomenon or something like that. You seem to speak of the mind as if it's distinct from brain processes - having an independent existence of itself.

As far as I can see, your only attempt to prove that the mind exists separately from the brain has been based on the indivisibility of the mind but now you run into the problem of being unable to differentiate the mind from nothing since nothing too is equally indivisible.

When I raised this concern you responded with the assertion that the mind thinks but nothing doesn't think. My question is how do you know that it's the mind and not the brain that does the thinking and that the mind is not just a brain process? Your response will probably be based on the indivisibility of the mind which is necessary to prove the mind is an indepedent immaterial thing but then that leads us back to the problem of the mind, in your terms, being exactly identical to nothingness.

You: The mind is indivisible. Therefore it's immaterial
Me: Nothing is also indivisible. So, nothing = mind
You: No. The mind thinks but nothing does not
Me: How do you know that it's not the brain that thinks?
You: The mind is indivisible. Therefore it's immaterial. Therefore it can't be the brain that thinks.
Me: Nothing is also indivisible. So, nothing = mind
You: No, the mind thinks but nothing does not
Me: Your whole argument rests on indivisibility and I've shown that your concept of mind based on it is identical to nothingness.

You can see the circularity right?
• 1.9k
You are just reasoning fallaciously.

This is valid:

1. If p, then q
2. P
3. Therefore q

This (how you are reasoning) is not:

1. If p, then q
2. Q
3. Therefore p.
• 4.7k
You are just reasoning fallaciously.

I think that makes two of us.
• 101
A few questions.

Do we draw from the structure of the universe - it's simulation - in some way? Or is it projected?

If yes, everything does boil down to something simple.

We also simplify the complex.

If an unknown theory becomes known, does it become simpler?
• 1.9k
er, no. You - you- keep affirming the consequent. I have not. My arguments are all valid.
• 4.7k
er, no. You - you- keep affirming the consequent. I have not. My arguments are all valid.

:ok: :up:
• 4.7k
er, no. You - you- keep affirming the consequent. I have not. My arguments are all valid.

Thanks for staying with me so far. Really appreciate it
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