• TheMadFool
    6.5k
    If the mind is material, how can I explain the following simple arithmetic?

    I weigh around 80 Kg. So

    When I'm alive: My Mind + My Body = 80 Kg

    When I die: My Body = 80 Kg

    My Mind + My Body (when alive) = My Body (when dead) = 80 Kg

    A little algebra and...

    My Mind = 0 Kg, implies my mind has no mass/weight

    1. All things that don't have mass are not physical

    2. My Mind has no mass

    Ergo,

    My Mind is not physical.
  • Banno
    8.9k


    I have an etherial cake mixer.

    My cake mixer has a mass of 1.5 kg when it is turned on.

    When turned off, it has a mass of 1.5kg.

    my cake mixer being turned on has no mass.

    Ergo, my cake mixer being turned on is not physical.
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    Ergo, my cake mixer being turned on is not physical.Banno

    Yes, the on/off state of the cake mixer is not physical. The mind, likewise, is not physical. The mind appears to be a state of the body and not the body itself. Does it remind you of the notion of brain-states? If so, just like the on/off state of your cake mixer can be duplicated onto other cake mixers, the mind too, its various brain states, can be transferred to another body. Soul?
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    Something not being a physical object, but a state of a physical object, doesn't make the thing not a physical thing.

    When you disassemble a lego house into just lego bricks, the house isn't there anymore, but the bricks still weigh the same as the house did. Does that make the lego house non-physical? No, it's just the physical arrangement of physical things, not a thing unto itself; the house hasn't been removed from the bricks, it isn't somewhere else, it's just been transformed from that arrangement that it was, into a different arrangement.
  • Banno
    8.9k
    Yes, the on/off state of the cake mixer is not physical.TheMadFool

    Think on that. Take your time.
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    Think on that. Take your time.Banno

    All I wanted to establish is that the mind isn't physical. Did I succeed?
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    Something not being a physical object, but a state of a physical object, doesn't make the thing not a physical thing.Pfhorrest

    That's just one possibility. In my hasty reply to Banno I forgot to mention that my objective was to show that the mind can't be physical. Please go through the arithmetic in my OP. Also, the other, more intriguing, possibility is that the mind could be an immaterial "substance", if that makes sense.
  • Banno
    8.9k
    I don't think so. There's a physical difference between a cake mixer being on, and it being off. Same seems to go for a brain.

    Suppose a transcendental aspect of the cake mixer - we might call it mixing. Mixing is something that can happen when a mixer is turned on. Sometimes the mixer is turned on, and yet mixing doesn't happen - the batter is missing, perhaps; or is too thick. Arguably mixing doesn't happen when the mixer is turned off.

    Have we shown that mixing is transcendental or non-physical?

    Suppose a transcendental aspect of the brain - we might call it mind. mind is something that can happen when a brain is turned on. Sometimes the brain is turned on, and yet mind doesn't happen - sleep, or anaesthetic. Arguably mind doesn't happen when the brain is turned off.

    Have we shown that mind is transcendental or non-physical?
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    I don't think so. There's a physical difference between a cake mixer being on, and it being off. Same seems to go for a brain.Banno

    Ok. There's a physical difference but I'd like you to look at the math.

    Between a dead me and an alive me there's something missing which doesn't have mass. The same can't be said of an on/off cake mixer - the states on/off are physical states and there definitely will be a change in mass as there's a current of electrons flowing through the cake mixer when it's on - electrons have mass. Right?

    Could be confirmation bias (look a few posts down)
  • Banno
    8.9k
    Right?TheMadFool

    Wrong. There would be a corresponding change in the mass between a living brain, which itself includes electrical current, and a dead brain, which does not.

    Your OP was a distracting thought, but I don't see that it can be carried far.
  • Sir2u
    2.2k
    Wrong. There would be a corresponding change in the mass between a living brain, which itself includes electrical current, and a dead brain, which does not.Banno

    Electrical current and electrons are not quite the same, electrical current is the movement of electrons.

    The electrons would still be in the body but static instead of flowing.

    Hence the only difference between a dead mind and a live one would be the bio-chemical-electrical actions and reactions of the life body. The dead mind would have none of them.
    Movement of electrons does not cause change to weight, to which the OP refers.
    It does possibly cause change to volume through the chemical reactions, but weight and volume are not the same.
  • Banno
    8.9k
    Sure. The site cited mumbled something about relativistic increases due to velocity, or some such. I was playing along for @TheMadFool.
  • Sir2u
    2.2k
    :smirk: :wink:
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    Wrong. There would be a corresponding change in the mass between a living brain, which itself includes electrical current, and a dead brain, which does not.

    Your OP was a distracting thought, but I don't see that it can be carried far.
    Banno

    The "current", if you could even call it that, in a human nervous system is, if you'll allow me a little freedom, chemical in nature as in there's no flow of electrons in the nerves but what's actually going on is a chemical process involving biomolecules that aren't electrons. In short there's nothing occuring at a relativistic level in the garden variety nervous system.

    In contrast, a current flowing in a wire in a machine, like your cake mixer, consists of actual electrons which the link I provided claims travels at relativistic velocities causing a change in the mass of the appliance like your cake mixer.
  • Banno
    8.9k
    Seems to me you are pressing too hard on a relatively insignificant point in order to carry your OP.
  • fishfry
    1.6k
    My Mind is not physical.TheMadFool

    I have read that scientists have measured human bodies at the moment before and after death, and can't detect the soul or spirit. I'm not sure this proves that there isn't one, or that it isn't somehow a product or at least byproduct of a physical process.

    What's an analogy? A bunch of people get together and form a bowling team. A bowling team exists in the world. It's part of a league, it pays its entrance fee, it shows up together at tournaments. See the film The Big Lebowski for a fuller discussion of these matters.

    Yet if we weigh the bowlers individually; and we weigh the team; we will find that no matter how finely we take our measurements, we will always find that the "team" has no weight other than what can be accounted for by the individual bowlers.

    So there are abstractions that are real, and have existence and import in the world, but that are not physical. The the law is only the weight of the lawbooks. But the books are not the law. The law is a weightless, nonphysical abstraction.

    Likewise perhaps the mind. Still, I agree that the mind is special in some way and your argument's not bad.
  • apokrisis
    4.7k
    There would be a corresponding change in the mass between a living brain, which itself includes electrical currentBanno

    Electrical current flowing in the brain? And the electrons are firing along at relativistic speed while we are still awake and alive?

    :rofl:
  • Radians
    3
    All things that don't have mass are not physical

    I'm not sure that's necessarily true. Photons, for instance, are usually considered to not have mass. The mind is probably not made of photons, of course, but the idea of a massless physical entity--or at the very least one with mass so small that it hardly affects your mass--doesn't seem illogical.

    But I don't know what physicalists claim the mind is made of, and whether that substance is massive enough to validate your argument.
  • Banno
    8.9k
    Lies to children.
  • apokrisis
    4.7k
    Between a dead me and an alive me there's something missing which doesn't have mass.TheMadFool

    Sure. What goes missing is entropy dissipation at the organismic level. You no longer turn any food shoved in your mouth into useful work.

    But leave your dead body a few hours. It can become a feast for other hungry "minds".

    Weigh a well-rotted corpse, along with its oozing and vapourous losses due to decomposition. The total biomass might well be more for a time before it leaches away into the ground. All that extra "mind" might actually add mass.
  • apokrisis
    4.7k
    Lies to children.Banno

    One way to spend your Saturdays.
  • darthbarracuda
    3k

    This begs the question. You have to already assume the mind and body are separate things in order to be able to subtract the body from the mind.

    The brain before death = 1.5 Kg.
    The brain after death = 1.5 Kg.

    The brain when awake = 1.5 Kg.
    The brain when asleep = 1.5 Kg.

    There is no problem when the mind is part of the brain. Sometimes the brain is online, and sometimes it is not.

    The solution to the mysterious mind-body psuedo-problem is not to separate mind and matter, but to redefine what matter/mind are so one becomes the other.
  • apokrisis
    4.7k
    Sometimes the brain is online, and sometimes it is not.darthbarracuda

    The brain is always "online" if you are alive. All neurons are firing all the time even in your deepest sleep. They have to as otherwise all the biological structure would fall apart. Functioning holds it together.

    What gets shut down is the integrative coherence of what is going on. An awake state depends on the precise modulation of neural firing rates. It all has to come together like an orchestra playing a tune. Deep sleep is then more like an orchestra disjointedly tuning up for a few hours.

    The weight of the brain is always a wrong measure to discriminate anything useful. The right physical measure - the meaningful one - is entropy dissipation.

    And even a sleeping brain runs pretty hot - just as an orchestra tuning up still makes an energetic racket.

    So an awake brain has to be measured in even more subtle entropic terms - the Bayesian Brain approach that measures its global level of integrative coherence in terms of a free energy principle.

    What gets measured here is the brain's ability to resist the world's surprises. While sleeping, we have limited awareness and thus a limited ability to predict the events of the world. While awake, that is what the brain is doing. Trying to out-predict reality. And then having to stop and learn - attend and think - when the predictions fail.
  • csalisbury
    2.6k
    One way to spend your Saturdays.apokrisis
    He said, knowing the right way to spend a Saturday was, of course, relieving the growing pressure of a system-in-a-vacuum, by compulsively describing it to others. Scan the available threads and choose a receptive one. Saturdays. He was on the wrong side of 1/mounting-irritability-due-to-others-incorrigibly-failing-to-properly-contextualize-according-to-the-triadic-system and the storm clouds looked real bad this time. Past memories of having the wrong vibe at barbecues howled at his heels. Could people sense it? The system shuddered in its casing 'why aren't you explaining me online!!' He imagined a gallery of Peirce and people he knew in biosemiotics being like hey man why were you in on this if you weren't ready to post about it on the forums. He looked at the rose in the glass cake-case: wilting. It was time to come back.
  • apokrisis
    4.7k
    If you want to be funny, it has to achieve the kind of "surprisal" I was just speaking about.

    You have to start the listener on one path and then reframe things in a way that shows it can be understood in quite another. The aha! of a rapid reorientation tickles the pleasure spot of the brain.

    Of course if you want to mock, that's a different exercise. Similar, but you want to produce an aha! realisation that connects to fear and anxiety instead. Your desire is to enforce your social norm.

    Ask Banno for tips. He has mocking down to an art. As evidenced a couple of posts back.
  • Saurabh Bondarde
    9
    Yes! I had this dilemma about concept of soul since quite some time but increasingly I find myself to discover that there isn't any special sauce or magic power or soul. It's all tied to the basic rules of universe like the 4 forces of nature (gravity/electromagnetic, strong & weak nuclear forces) and some few laws/constants (relativity, quantum mechanics etc.) that we as humans are still trying to uncover. We still are far from the 'theory of everything' but I'll try to paint a picture.

    The way I see it is that everything in the universe moves towards a more stable state and increase entropy. The initial big bang triggered this motion based on a set of laws/forces/constants (The billion dollar question is why did this happen n etc.). Anyways, after the initial start we have all these particles which found stability to form atoms and then molecules. Fast forward and we have nebulae/stars/planets and in the soup of oceans on early earth, a particular chemical reaction(s) resulted in more stability/entropy. On that path the environment naturally moves towards repeating this reaction - the initial roots of replication or reproduction. Continuing further we have the first cell animals and then it is the story of evolution as Darwin discovered.

    So from this viewpoint, all actions by living beings are simply a very complex process trying to simply move towards a stable state and increase entropy. The depth of the process can be seen to the level that these organism (or structures) evolved to have 'self consciousness' which is very interesting. We can think on our own existence with this power.

    The complexity of the process is indeed astonishing - a slow but steady constant process over the 4 billion years of earth's life and ~13 billion years of the universe.

    Would like to hear what others think about this.
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    Seems to me you are pressing too hard on a relatively insignificant point in order to carry your OP.Banno

    Well, after doing some research it appears that electrons don't travel at relativistic speeds in an electrical appliance as I thought. My bad.

    Nevertheless, as you agreed when you said "my cake mixer being turned on is not physical", the mind is also not physical.

    Having said that, the mind must be some kind of pattern in matter (the body/the brain) and a pattern is most definitely not physical, right?

    Comparing the mind to your cake mixer's on state, the mind could be a function of the brain just as the cake mixer starts operating when it's switched on. Here I'd like to ask a question: take your cake mixer, the mind (brain if you like), and the muscles. Which organ system, the muscles or the brain, would you say is a better match for your cake mixer? The muscles are a better match for your cake mixer right? They're, unequivocally, physical - there's no doubt at all on that issue. However, when it comes to the brain, the mind has a distinct quality of being something other than just physical - we can't see/touch/hear/weigh our thoughts. This, in my humble opinion, demonstrates, quite clearly, that since your cake mixer is better compared to our muscles rather than our brains for the reasons I gave above, you're guilty of a false analogy. You're aiming too high with your cake mixer, my friend.
  • csalisbury
    2.6k
    Not trying to be funny - it's too pointed to be funny, I'd imagine - and too pointed to be properly mocking either. It's trying to understand a way-of-thinking that seems to have systematically self-mutilated its capacity for that 'aha' of rapid reorientation. The above is my best imaginative attempt at understanding what it's like to have reached that point. Not funny or mocking, but certainly intended to provoke. It seems to me you have a loud and firm internal (inescapable?) voice that quickly stifles anything approaching surprise, and the pleasure you would get from surprise is transposed into the lesser serotonin hits that attend any firm affirmation of your incapacity to be surprised. It's not funny to me; it's scary. It's like a spider in a hole.
  • apokrisis
    4.7k
    Not trying to be funnycsalisbury
    Success!

    The above is my best imaginative attempt at understanding what it's like to have reached that point.csalisbury
    Fail!

    Not funny or mocking, but certainly intended to provoke.csalisbury
    Troll!

    t's not funny to me; it's scary. It's like a spider in a hole.csalisbury
    Hyperbole!

    It seems to me you have a loud and firm internal (inescapable?) voice that quickly stifles anything approaching surprise...csalisbury

    Alternatively I have put in the work and know what I'm talking about. And I am up for well-crafted counter-arguments. Are you up to providing them though?

    Your parody only illustrates your own confusion about anything I have said. And I've said it all so extremely simply for your benefit too. :wink:
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