• JoeyB
    9
    I need to get someone else's perspective on this.

    What would life be like without a body i.e. you are just a brain/mind/consciousness.

    You might find this easier to visualise as;

    You are born in a body without any senses. You are kept alive by artificial means, but you don't know it.

    No external stimulus, no language, nothing. What do you think life would be like?

    Empty white space devoid of anything?

    Or perhaps you would build a universe in your mind, develop language, and eventually end up reading posts on a philosophy forum?

    Curious to get some insight. If you're not a figment of my imagination of course.
  • Marchesk
    3.4k
    Or perhaps you would build a universe in your mind, develop language, and eventually end up reading posts on a philosophy forum?JoeyB

    Then you could refute Witty's private language argument, except nobody else would know.

    I don't think a brain cut off from the senses would amount to anything coherent in thought or experience.
  • Gus Lamarch
    102
    Empty white space devoid of anything?JoeyB

    Pretty sure - read sometime ago in a scientific paper - that if this brain had the life, the existence that an human normaly has, it would eventually adapt - if the consciouness didn't go mad in the process - to this new kind of existence of only perceiving the world with the "power" of psyche. This is one of the problems of future body transplant. What if we constructed a artificial body - not organic - and just putted the still alive brain of a person in it, and then connected the nervous sistem to this encase. It would eventually learn to live again like a child learns when it is growing up, or it would break completely?

    Or perhaps you would build a universe in your mind, develop language, and eventually end up reading posts on a philosophy forum?JoeyB

    Every mind is already its own world. We pick information from the physical world, and process it to our own "conscious world".
  • Graeme M
    52
    My feeling on this is that a brain devoid of input would have very little experience as we know it. Perhaps some essential instinctual modes of "thought" might be found but it wouldn't comprise anything useful. Brains aim to extract information from the environment to guide behaviour, so if there isn't any information I can't see how the brain would do anything useful. Worse, I think that without language the kinds of inner experience of "us" that we take for granted would simply fail to show up.

    In this respect, perhaps an insight might be to recall Helen Keller’s words in her essay “Before the Soul Dawn”:

    “Before my teacher came to me, I did not know that I am. I lived in a world that was a no-world. I cannot hope to describe adequately that unconscious, yet conscious time of nothingness.

    I did not know that I knew aught, or that I lived or acted or desired. I had neither will nor intellect. I was carried along to objects and acts by a certain blind natural impetus. I had a mind which caused me to feel anger, satisfaction, desire. These two facts led those about me to suppose that I willed and thought. I can remember all this, not because I knew that it was so, but because I have tactual memory. It enables me to remember that I never contracted my forehead in the act of thinking. I never viewed anything beforehand or chose it. I also recall tactually the fact that never in a start of the body or a heart-beat did I feel that I loved or cared for anything. My inner life, then, was a blank without past, present, or future, without hope or anticipation, without wonder or joy or faith.”

    And her awakening upon beginning to know language, when she first appreciated the relationship between a finger-movement against her palm and the idea of ‘water’:

    “That word startled my soul, and it awoke, full of the spirit of the morning, full of joyous, exultant song. Until that day my mind had been like a darkened chamber, waiting for words to enter and light the lamp, which is thought”.

    (As an aside, notice here the striking contrast between the non-world of conscious unconsciousness first described and the bounding, fulsome world of metaphor that springs forth in that final paragraph, metaphor enabled by language).

    And this from someone lacking but sound and sight and not the other inputs of sensation such as touch and feel and taste and internal body states.
  • Relativist
    1.4k
    You are born in a body without any senses. You are kept alive by artificial means, but you don't know it.

    No external stimulus, no language, nothing. What do you think life would be like?
    JoeyB
    I imagine there would be no organized thoughts - it would be a life more similar to a lower life form.
  • Outlander
    160


    Basically this. Born meaning with the brain of an infant. There'd be no way to progress. Hence a controversial political arguement I seek to avoid.

    Now as an adult... could be different. Not to say better. By far. Not hard to imagine really. Just casually lay in bed and keep your eyes closed for a few hours. Of course, you couldn't say anything. Or hear anyone. Sounds like a future dystopian jail honestly.
  • remoku
    29
    Very much like a flower head with no stem.

    You would hover above ground via some special simulation effect, or by some other means.

    Any news would be a information deposit, and you unconsciously react, tensing, growing.
  • TheMadFool
    5.9k
    The general opinion on what a mind is seems to be that which thinks and thinking is at all times about something. Granted that thinking under most circumstances seems to be outwardly directed i.e. the mind "prefers" the status of an observer it doesn't rule out the possibility that the mind would make a subject of itself - turning its gaze inward and recognize its own existence. Assuming of course that there is no necessity for a not-self (the external) to know the self (the internal).
  • jamalrob
    2.4k
    What would life be like without a body i.e. you are just a brain/mind/consciousness.

    You might find this easier to visualise as;

    You are born in a body without any senses. You are kept alive by artificial means, but you don't know it.
    JoeyB

    When you say "you", you're referring to me, and I am a body, which very importantly includes a brain. Are you presuming, without argument, that I and you are brains or minds first, and only bodies by a lucky accident of evolution?
  • JoeyB
    9


    You picked up on some bias' in my question that I had not :)

    However;

    How can you be so sure you are a body "which very importantly includes a brain"?
  • jamalrob
    2.4k
    How can you be so sure you are a body "which very importantly includes a brain"?JoeyB

    Everything speaks for it, and nothing against it.
  • JoeyB
    9


    I personally downloaded your consciousness into a computer, after you died (in the traditional sense) on May 24th 2020.

    The technology to do so has not yet become apparent to the mainstream, but I am a pioneer.

    You think nothing has changed, but you are living in an exact simulation of your life before death.

    Everything you ever were, or will be, is in my code.

    Now you have something that speaks against it. Please prove me otherwise.
  • jamalrob
    2.4k
    Now you have something that speaks against it.JoeyB

    No, I think what you've given me is a popular idea from science fiction, which some "pioneers" think might be actually possible, but which we have no reason to think actually is.
  • JoeyB
    9


    I could choose a less popular idea if you prefer?

    The point was that you cannot be sure you are "a body, which very importantly includes a brain."
  • jamalrob
    2.4k
    The point was that you cannot be sure you are "a body, which very importantly includes a brain."JoeyB

    I think I can, and I am. And I answered this already.
  • JoeyB
    9


    I don't want to fall out as you provided me insight into my own bias and I am grateful for that.

    However, the question was "how" do you know?

    You have not answered this already.
  • JoeyB
    9
    I've just realised this is your forum :lol: I'll see myself out
  • jamalrob
    2.4k
    Disagreement is all right. Don't take it personally.

    I think I did answer it. If nothing speaks for your hypothesis, and everything against it, then why am I the one who's gotta do all the proving?
  • jamalrob
    2.4k
    I've just realised this is your forum :lol: I'll see myself outJoeyB

    I'm a benevolent caretaker. Carry on.

    EDIT: Welcome to the forum :-)
  • JoeyB
    9
    Thank you for the welcome :)
  • jamalrob
    2.4k
    so I deflectJoeyB

    So we're just deflecting at each other now.

    One way you could go is to argue that because it's possible, as far as I know, that I am just a brain in a vat hooked up to some cables, or just an encoded consciousness in your computer, as you described, then there's always some doubt about the reality of reality. There is nothing I can point to that proves definitively that this is not the case.

    But in my view, that unfalsifiability is not a strength.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.7k
    No external stimulus, no language, nothing. What do you think life would be like?JoeyB

    Brain activity would be severely limited because the brain requires input from the getgo to function--not just normally, but to function at all. Well, the brainstem features would maintain your respiration and heartbeat, stuff like that, but otherwise, you'd be a non-entity.

    What would life be like without a body i.e. you are just a brain/mind/consciousness.JoeyB

    This is the "brains in a vat" deal. Much discussed. It gets at various topics, like solipsism -- I am the only being, others exist in my imagination, etc.

    c465688a7e6322f87aa80f5d2513741f2aced80c.png
  • MonisticIdealist
    6
    Just a brain? It would not be like anything as it's just arrangements of particle-bundles.

    Brains have to be accomplished by consciousness. And it would be the consciousness that feels like something.

    Brains are just patterns of matter.
  • Luke
    697
    I'd probably travel less.
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