• TheMadFool
    6.5k
    The great astronaut Neil Armstrong (1930 - 2012) was the first person to walk on the moon in the historic year for mankind 1969.

    He must've surely visited the Statue of Liberty too.

    Imagine now that one day Mr. Armstrong is relaxing on his favorite chair at his home and happens to have a vivid recollection of him climbing down the Apollo capsule and taking his first step on the moon's surface and uttering the now famous words, "one small step for man but one giant leap for mankind" and 1 second later (it's possible to do this - try it out) has another vivid memory of his visit to the Statue of Liberty.

    The distance between the Moon and the Earth is 384,400 km and Mr. Armstrong managed to, in some sense, traverse this distance, in his mind, in 1 second. If Mr. Armstrong had done this physically it would mean his speed was 384,400 km/s. The speed of light, which no material object can reach or surpass is 300,000 km/s.

    Since the "speed" of Mr. Armstrong's thought exceeds the speed of light, it follows that the mind is not material. Physicalism is false.

    Comments...

    P.S. Imagine that it's possible to recreate, like the brain-in-a-vat scenario, the exact sensory and mental experiences Neil Armstrong felt when he landed on the moon and when he visited the Statue of Liberty 1 second apart. This raises another issue regarding the reality of the physical world - Mr. Armstrong won't be able to distinguish the simulated reality from actual reality - he would "think" that in the span of just 1 second he went from taking the first steps on the moon to being at the Statue of Liberty, giving his mind a "speed" exceeding that of light.
  • apokrisis
    4.7k
    It takes about half a second to form one mental image and then start replacing it with the next. This is no surprise as neurons conduct their signals at earthbound rates of under 100mph and even way less where the axons are small and uninsulated.

    So the materiality of the mind-brain shows up in the speed at which thoughts and images can be formed, or other things like that the brain uses as much energy as muscle.
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    It takes about half a second to form one mental image and then start replacing it with the next. This is no surprise as neurons conduct their signals at earthbound rates of under 100mph and even way less where the axons are small and uninsulated.

    So the materiality of the mind-brain shows up in the speed at which thoughts and images can be formed, or other things like that the brain uses as much energy as muscle.
    apokrisis

    I'm not too concerned about the material aspect of the mind - let's just say it's too apparent to ignore. What I'm looking at here is the immaterial side to the mind.
  • apokrisis
    4.7k
    What I'm looking at here is the immaterial side to the mind.TheMadFool

    You mean the symbolic aspect? The mind is an organism’s model of the world. To the degree it can symbolically model space and time situations, it is outside of those situations as a point of view. It can switch freely among different memory-based reconstructions.

    There is a physical time and energy cost involved. The imagination has a standard refresh rate. But that cost is the same for any act of reality modelling. So there is no further physical limitation on the switching of views. The leaps from one point of view to another can be as small or large as one likes. The time and energy cost is there, but for the modelling, it is a built-in constant, not proportional to any actual real world physical effort.
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    You mean the symbolic aspect? The mind is an organism’s model of the world. To the degree it can symbolically model space and time situations, it is outside of those situations as a point of view. It can switch freely among different memory-based reconstructions.

    There is a physical time and energy cost involved. The imagination has a standard refresh rate. But that cost is the same for any act of reality modelling. So there is no further physical limitation on the switching of views. The leaps from one point of view to another can be as small or large as one likes. The time and energy cost is there, but for the modelling, it is a built-in constant, not proportional to any actual real world physical effort.
    apokrisis

    The point is simple: Mr. Armstrong's mind is capable of experiencing two worlds at a speed impossible for a material object. One could say that a memory of a place is not the same as physically being at that place but the question is what's the difference between being physically at a place and a memory of that place? Do the two not fade into each other - there's a continuity there, right?

    Also, consider it from the point of information - both the physical perception of a place and the memory of that place are basically information to my reckoning. Granted that memory can be said to be incomplete information - bodily sensory data are missing and most memories are usually visual in nature. However, experiencing a landscape, the sun setting on the horizon, etc. are purely visual in nature - no other sensory systems are stimulated. If so, there's no difference between seeing a moonscape and recalling it, no? That means Mr. Armstrong recalling a moonscape vividly is equivalent to him being there. Ergo, when he remembers a particular moonscape followed by the image of the statue of liberty, he does traverse the physical distance between them, effectively giving him an impossible physical speed. :chin:
  • Banno
    8.9k
    original.jpg

    istock-480400112.jpg?itok=GaEZfDPk


    SO your argument is that because these two images are next to each other, it follows that this page is not material. Physicalism is false.
  • apokrisis
    4.7k
    One could say that a memory of a place is not the same as physically being at that place...TheMadFool

    Case closed then surely?

    ....but the question is what's the difference between being physically at a place and a memory of that place? Do the two not fade into each other - there's a continuity there, right?TheMadFool

    Well obviously no. There is every kind of physically-relevant difference. For a start, for one you need to be wearing a space suit, the other you would want to be in your tourist clothes. And you wouldn't want to mix the two up. While in the comfort of his own home reliving the memory, Mr Armstrong could wear what the hell he liked without making a material difference.

    As @Banno says, a picture of a thing does not "fade" into the actuality of that thing. It stands - for us - as a sign of some experience (or semiotic state of interpretance).

    So yes, the "mind is not physical" in some general way. But calling it immaterial as opposed to material doesn't really work. Cartesians have been banging their heads against that wall for long enough now to show it is a failed approach.

    I'm making my usual too-subtle point that the "mind" is about a modelling relationship that an organism has have with the world to be in that world. The mind thus has to have a physical basis - neural signals take time and energy. But also, by making the cost of that physical basis a constant tax on symbolic thought, the thinking becomes costless and free ... effectively.

    The thinking just has to pay for itself by pragmatically producing the means that underwrite its existence. The organism must have food and water, plus all of the other things that make life possible and worth living.

    So your OP highlights the fact that recalling different scenes looks to have zero physical cost. I am adding the key rider that this is only actually a zeroed common physical cost.

    In the end, that makes a world of difference to this whole mind~matter debate.
  • jorndoe
    1k
    Don't think this works, .
    Imagining standing on the Moon ≠ standing on the Moon.
    The memory ≠ the remembered (as you also noted).
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    Don't think this works, ↪TheMadFool.
    Imagining standing on the Moon ≠ standing on the Moon.
    The memory ≠ the remembered (as you also noted).
    jorndoe

    Ok. I'll ask you a question. What's the difference between Neil Armstrong's memory of the moonscape which he saw when he landed on the moon in 1969 and him going back to the moon and seeing that same moonscape?
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    Case closed then surely?apokrisis

    I asked this question to jorndoe and I'll ask you the same thing: what's the difference between Neil Armstrong recalling the moonscape he saw back in 1969 when he was actually on the moon and him returning to the moon and seeing that same moonscape?
  • jorndoe
    1k
    Well, for one, while on his sofa at home remembering back, he wouldn't need an oxygen tank. :)
  • apokrisis
    4.7k
    Start by telling me what isn't different. I'm not sure how you think anything is the same.

    Besides, the moon landing was faked. It was all shot on a Hollywood backlot and they burnt the set straight after. It's now a golf driving range.
  • Wayfarer
    9.9k
    Wrong astronaut! Edgar Mitchell had a profound epiphany on return journey from the moon:
    Space exploration symbolized for Mitchell what it did for his nation—a technological triumph of historic proportions, an unprecedented demonstration of scientific achievement, and extraordinary potential for new discoveries. What Mitchell did not anticipate was a return trip that triggered something even more powerful. As he gazed at Earth floating in the vastness of space and contemplated the history and hopes of humankind on that lonely blue sphere, he was engulfed by a profound sense of universal connectedness.

    “I realized that the story of ourselves as told by science—our cosmology, our religion— was incomplete and likely flawed. I recognized that the Newtonian idea of separate, independent, discreet things in the universe wasn’t a fully accurate description. What was needed was a new story of who we are and what we are capable of becoming.”...

    After returning to Earth, he left NASA, grew a beard and divorced his wife. He founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which advocated exploring the universe by means of inquiry that lay outside of science and religion. He sought out South American shamans and Haitian Vodou priests, promoted the benefits of Tibetan Buddhist lucid dreaming, visited the homes of people who claimed their children could bend spoons with their minds. He went on Jack Paar’s talk show with the self-proclaimed psychic Uri Geller. Two more marriages came and went. He got deep, very deep, into theories about extraterrestrials. He had a posthumous cameo in the cache of John Podesta’s hacked emails that WikiLeaks published this year, which included messages Mitchell sent to Podesta (a U.F.O. buff) asking him to discuss the possibility of disclosing the federal government’s records of alien contact. He signed the emails “6th man to walk on the Moon.”

    The Institute of Noetic Sciences is still going strong, its website can be found here.

    (There was an amusing episode of The Crown in which Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who was fascinated by the lunar landing, arranged a private audience with the three astronauts, and was profoundly disappointed by the jejune conversation that ensued. )
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    Well, for one, while on his sofa at home remembering back, he wouldn't need an oxygen tank. :)jorndoe

    Right. Consider then the matter of reality simulation. Neil Armstrong is placed in a chair at his home, electrodes connected to his brain a la The Matrix and is fed two detailed sets of sensory of data (including his method of breathing) - one being at the statue of liberty and the other being on the moon 1 second apart. Would he be able to distinguish the simulation of his being in these two places from actually being in these two places? No. This means, in my humble opinion, that what we call reality and anything else for that matter is nothing but information (perceived through the senses). Given this is so, the simulation is equivalent - it has the same net amount of information as the real deal - to reality and ergo, Neil Armstrong's experience of a Matrix-type simulation of the moon at a particular time and of the statue of liberty 1 second later is also equivalent to having physically been in these two places. If so, his speed as he moves between New York and the moon exceeds the speed of light.
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    Start by telling me what isn't different. I'm not sure how you think anything is the same.

    Besides, the moon landing was faked. It was all shot on a Hollywood backlot and they burnt the set straight after. It's now a golf driving range.
    apokrisis

    Look at my reply to jorndoe above.
  • apokrisis
    4.7k
    Consider then the matter of reality simulation.TheMadFool

    Recall my previous reply which says it is correct to think that the brain's experience of reality is "just an information processing model". So sure. Matrix away.

    But the brain is still a physical device that needs to be plugged into an energy supply. The cost of doing business - modelling the world - is zeroed, not actually "weightless" and zero. It just means one state of experience physically costs the same as any other state.

    The actual real world cost of this experiential modelling is of course that it has to be useful. It has to stop us walking over cliffs or trying to fly off high buildings. We have to be able to sustain a life, and avoid becoming dead.

    So the information cost of any brain state is reasonably minuscule - like pumping a few weights. But the consequences of wrong actions resulting from those states can be massive. Terminal. Call in the corpse recycling squad.

    In dreams, the brain lives. But its states have no consequences like that. The same in your Matrix simulation. The same in a vegetative coma. The states it forms all weight the same at a neural level, but the results are weightless. They produce neither a gain nor a loss - so long as someone takes over your physical feeding and care if this disconnected state is prolonged.
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    Recall my previous reply which says it is correct to think that the brain's experience of reality is "just an information processing model". So sure. Matrix awayapokrisis

    So, you agree?
  • apokrisis
    4.7k
    Are you agreeing with me?
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    Are you agreeing with me?apokrisis

    If you agree with me then, I agree with you I guess.
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    Can Neil Armstrong tell the difference between a mind simulation of the moon and actually being there on the moon? He can't, can he? Doesn't that imply the sameness of the two?
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    The more interesting question seems to be this: did Neil Armstrong actually go to the moon?
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    SO your argument is that because these two images are next to each other, it follows that this page is not material. Physicalism is false.Banno

    You could say that but an image on a page is different to an image in the mind because actual experiences are mental images.
  • apokrisis
    4.7k
    If you agree with me then, I agree with you I guess.TheMadFool

    Why guess. Parse what I wrote and find out.

    Can Neil Armstrong tell the difference between a mind simulation of the moon and actually being there on the moon? He can't, can he? Doesn't that imply the sameness of the two?TheMadFool

    I thought I said it didn’t imply that. Are you now claiming the physical consequences are identical?

    The more interesting question seems to be this: did Neil Armstrong actually go to the moon?TheMadFool

    Maybe the interesting question is why the US didn’t simply stage it all on a Hollywood backlog and save the dough.
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    I thought I said it didn’t imply that. Are you now claiming the physical consequences are identical?apokrisis
    So, you're sure that this world you're experiencing is NOT a simulation? Descartes?
  • apokrisis
    4.7k
    For all practical purposes.
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    For all practical purposes.apokrisis

    But not 100%? Why not? Why the refusal to, perhaps inability to, make the definitive statement: this world is NOT a simulation?
  • jorndoe
    1k
    , even if knowledge was reducible to "information", or qualia was, then that does not entail all is reducible to "information".

    There's a whole class of these kinds of thought experiments ... Brain in a vat (Wikipedia), Dream argument (Wikipedia), Simulated reality (Wikipedia), Simulation hypothesis (Wikipedia), The Matrix as Metaphysics (Chalmers), Zhuangzi (book) » "The Butterfly Dream" (Wikipedia), Zhuangzi And That Bloody Butterfly (Tallis), Maya (religion) (Wikipedia), Evil demon (Wikipedia), Veil of Isis (Wikipedia)

    Consequences of actions in a simulation would have to be implemented in some thorough way to match up with real life, like suicide, starving (not eating) or slapping your neighbor — not symmetrical. If I remember right, death in The Matrix meant death in real life, which seemed a bit odd, but might make for a more entertaining story.

    Oddly enough perhaps, the brain in a vat, simulation thing may run contrary to Mary's room.

    Maybe the deus deceptor, simulation type thing, is wholly possible, don't know. In some ways it seems likely.

    If we're talking epistemics, then we might as well go all out solipsism, yet in this case at least there's an ethical difference — better treat others as sentient even if they aren't, than treating them as not sentient if they are. Not knowing doesn't make a difference in action.

    Guard In Video Game Under Strict Orders To Repeatedly Pace Same Stretch Of Hallway (The Onion)
  • apokrisis
    4.7k
    That’s pragmatism for you. If your thought experiment specifies that there is no possible evidence that could make a difference then that is what you have specified.

    But now you have to do your bit and prove that such a simulation is a realistic exercise. Build the kit that you claim could do this job. Seems like an idle fantasy of someone with minimal scientific understanding to me. A lame plot for a lamer movie. :wink:
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    even if knowledge was reducible to "information", or qualia was, then that does not entail all is reducible to "information"jorndoe

    I don't know where exactly you want to go with that but the problem, if it is one, is that Neil Armstrong can't tell the difference between an exquisitely detailed simulation of his moon landing from his actual experience of being on the moon. If, as you say, it isn't about information perceived through the senses, then there should be some way Neil Armstrong can know the difference between the simulation and the real deal, no?
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    That’s pragmatism for you. If your thought experiment specifies that there is no possible evidence that could make a difference then that is what you have specified.

    But now you have to do your bit and prove that such a simulation is a realistic exercise. Build the kit that you claim could do this job. Seems like an idle fantasy of someone with minimal scientific understanding to me. A lame plot for a lamer movie.
    apokrisis

    One word, Descartes. I don't want to waste your time with my arguments. Refute Descartes' deus deceptor.
  • apokrisis
    4.7k
    Pragmatism simply bypasses Descartes with a wry smile and no backward glance. The ability to doubt is what it uses to justify belief.

    For all practical purposes is a pragmatic approach towards the problem of incompleteness of every scientific theory and the usage of asymptotical approximations - Wiki
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