• Wayfarer
    11.9k
    How does determining the meaning change the course of action?khaled

    I might decide your reply is not worth responding to. Then I won’t respond. The ‘mechanism’ is not really a mechanism, to call it that is itself reductionist. Anyway the Australian Open final is playing, over and out.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    I might decide your reply is not worth responding to. Then I won’t respond. The ‘mechanism’ is not really a mechanism, to call it that is itself reductionist.Wayfarer

    Sure and that decision, and the thought that the decision had causal power, were both results of certain neural changes. Not the other way around. No top down action occurred. None that you have been able to show. Even though I outlined the conditions for showing it, the examples you gave did not satisfy.
  • Wayfarer
    11.9k
    Never will. Have a look at the Schopenhauer quote on my profile. And goodnight.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    Never will.Wayfarer

    Sure it will. If you can find a neuron firing without any physical cause. We can then attribute that to a mind doing something top down. The condition is specific. But you haven't given an experiment that satisfies it.

    And as far as I can tell the only "experiment" you gave was never done and you assumed its conclusion. And even if it was done, and the conclusion was what you wanted, it would still not contradict my position.

    Have a look at the Schopenhauer quote on my profile.Wayfarer

    The quote argues against materialism. Which is not what I am arguing for. For the third time... I really liked the quote when I read it the first time actually.

    I'm arguing against "top down" causation from minds to brains. Because it is simply telekinesis.
  • Olivier5
    2k
    That's not a logical principle.khaled
    It's a principle of physics though.

    The weather can affect me but I can't affect the weather. — khaled
    The weather you are exposed to can affect you, and in turn you can somewhat control the weather you are exposed to. For one thing, you can travel to sunnier shores. For another, you can take shelter to reduce your exposure to adverse weather, eg cold or rain. Certain species hibernate to skip the colder months.

    And what would the mind affecting the body look like, exactly?

    It would look very familiar, like a normal conversation between people, like a sportsman running an obstacle course, like a mathematician writing down on paper the proof of a theorem, or like two chess players fighting over the board. None of these simple, familiar event can be understood without recourse to some capacity of symbolic language (and thus abstract human thoughts) to produce physical outcomes.

    How do you square it with conservation of momentum and energy?
    I don't know, but it squares well with the principle of action-reaction.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    It's a principle of physics though.Olivier5

    Sure but we’re not talking about physics are we?

    In fact we’re talking about something non physical. A mind. Asking whether or not it causes physical changes.

    None of these simple, familiar event can be understood without recourse to some capacity of symbolic language (and thus abstract human thoughts) to produce physical outcomes.Olivier5

    False. All of them can be understood in terms of a sufficiently advanced neurology and biology. Since that’s all they are. Neurological events leading to certain physical outcomes. The burden of proof is on you to show that the mind has any room to interfere here.

    I’m not denying that we have a symbolic language and abstract thoughts. I’m denying they interfere in the causal chain. Because if they do then they contradict conservation laws.

    If you want to say the mind does something physical, and that the mind is non physical, we should expect to find movements in the brain with no detectable cause (since they were caused by a non physical mind). That would contradict conservation laws. So that’s evidence to suggest minds don’t cause physical change.

    On the other hand, the only evidence to suggest that minds cause some physical change, is that physical changes are always preceded by certain thoughts. For example: when I feel like raising my hand, that is followed by my hand rising. However, this does not imply causation.

    I don't know, but it squares well with the principle of action-reaction.Olivier5

    Well that’s a problem innit?

    And the principles of action-reaction only has any meaning when referring to physical things bumping into each other. It makes no sense to apply it to mind production. “Action” does not include the production of minds. It only includes physical things affecting physical things. And hence, brains affecting minds does not lead to minds affecting brains. Because brains affecting minds isn’t a physical action to begin with, so is not subject to action-reaction. And neither is the other way.

    But regardless, this is confused. The principle of action reaction implies the conservation laws and vice versa. So you can’t satisfy one and not the other. And the position that minds cause physical changes satisfies neither. As it would imply an “action” without any reaction. A force, that has no detectable source (since it was caused by the mind) and consequently no opposing equal force.
  • Olivier5
    2k
    Sure but we’re not talking about physics are we?

    In fact we’re talking about something non physical. A mind. Asking whether or not it causes physical changes.
    khaled

    We are talking of the mind-body problem in a scientific, i.e. 'physical' conceptual frame. That is precisely why you raise physical laws such as the conservation of energy in this discussion. Otherwise, drop that argument.

    What is the mind, is part of that whole question. You can't assume the answer before solving the riddle. You cannot assume it is some metaphysical or supernatural thing. It looks very natural to me.

    All of them can be understood in terms of a sufficiently advanced neurology and biology.khaled

    I don't think so. Biology is not that advanced.

    The burden of proof is on you to show that the mind has any room to interfere here.

    The very concept of 'proof' requires or assumes that human thoughts and language can say something meaningful and true about the world. It therefore assumes the existence and effectiveness of human minds, and has no meaning outside this assumption.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    What is the mind, is part of that whole question. You can't assume the answer before solving the riddle. You cannot assume it is some metaphysical or supernatural thing. It looks very natural to me.Olivier5

    Natural? Sure.

    Physical? Definitely not.

    Does your mind have momentum? Mass? Velocity?

    If it has any of these things that means I can physically pick it up. I struggle to see how the word “mind” can ever be applied to something you can pick up. I’m sure you’d agree with me there.

    Otherwise are you pushing for a materialist view?

    I don't think so. Biology is not that advanced.Olivier5

    Sure. But once it becomes that advanced....

    We are talking of the mind-body problem in a scientific, i.e. 'physical' conceptual frameOlivier5

    If by this you mean a “materialist frame” then no, that’s not what I’m talking about.

    That is precisely why you raise physical laws such as the conservation of energy in this discussion. Otherwise, drop that argument.Olivier5

    I don’t know exactly what “that” means. But I raise them because they contradict the view that the mind does things “top to bottom”. Which is your and wayfarers view.

    First, do you agree that they contradict? And if they do, what evidence do you have that top to bottom interference occurs that is so powerful, that it makes it worth throwing these laws in the trash (because that’s what you would be doing by admitting top down action)?

    The very concept of 'proof' requires or assumes that human thoughts and language can say something meaningful and true about the world. It therefore assumes the existence and effectiveness ofOlivier5

    The assumption that thoughts and language say something meaningful and true, is not the same as the thought that they effectively cause physical changes. You can have the former without the latter.
  • Olivier5
    2k
    Natural? Sure.

    Physical? Definitely not.

    Does your mind have momentum? Mass? Velocity?
    khaled

    My mind has a certain velocity, not very high. I am trying to improve it by playing blitz chess.

    Does light have a mass?

    I struggle to see how the word “mind” can ever be applied to something you can pick up.khaled

    You can't pick it up, I agree, but you can lose it.

    Biology is not that advanced.
    — Olivier5

    Sure. But once it becomes that advanced....
    khaled

    Once it become more advanced, it will provide further proof of the ability of the human mind to understand the world, and itself...

    First, do you agree that they contradict?khaled

    I don't.
    The assumption that thoughts and language say something meaningful and true, is not the same as the thought that they effectively cause physical changes. You can have the former without the latter.khaled

    You can't have the former without the latter. It would imply that for a human being, knowing the truth about some case is irrelevant to whatever he or she can do about the case, i.e. that knowledge is powerless. But if this is true, if truth and knowledge are indeed powerless, why do you even bother with them, Khaled?

    Because intuitively you suspect that knowledge is power.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    My mind has a certain velocityOlivier5

    What’s the direction and how many meters per second are we at?

    Does light have a mass?Olivier5

    Sort of.

    Once it become more advanced, it will provide further proof of the ability of the human mind to understand the world, and itself...Olivier5

    Sure. When was that in dispute?

    I don't.Olivier5

    Why not?

    Is it not the case that a mind causing something would mean there is a movement for which there is no physical cause?

    And is that not an example of a net increase in momentum?

    Which part of the argument do you have issue with?

    It would imply that for a human being, knowing the truth about some case is irrelevant to whatever he or she can do about the caseOlivier5

    Sort of. Explained below.

    i.e. that knowledge is powerless.Olivier5

    Doesn’t follow.

    Think of it this way. Let’s call physical events P and mental events M.

    P1 causes M1. M1 being knowledge of how to bake a cake. And P1 being reading a book about it for example.

    You think that then, M1 goes on to cause P2, the baking of the cake. That’s an interactionist picture.

    I think that, no, nothing follows from M1. Instead P2 is also caused by P1.

    To say that knowledge is pointless or powerless is to say that even if M1 occurred, P2 wouldn’t occur. That is not the case in either of our pictures.

    Even in my view, if M1 occurs, it necessarily follows that P2 will occur. Even though M1 doesn’t cause P2 directly or indirectly

    So, in a sense, M1 is powerless on its own yes. But its mere occurrence also implies that P2 will occur. So in that sense knowledge is power. As any time it occurs, some action based on it follows or becomes available.

    You can say M1 implies P2. But not M1 causes P2. As that would be telekinesis.
  • Olivier5
    2k
    Does light have a mass?
    — Olivier5

    Sort of.
    khaled

    No, it doesn't.

    ---

    Once it become more advanced, it will provide further proof of the ability of the human mind to understand the world, and itself...
    — Olivier5

    Sure. When was that in dispute?
    khaled

    When you said:

    All of them can be understood in terms of a sufficiently advanced neurology and biology. ... The burden of proof is on you to show that the mind has any room to interfere here.khaled

    ------

    Is it not the case that a mind causing something would mean there is a movement for which there is no physical cause?

    And is that not an example of a net increase in momentum?
    khaled

    And what proof do you have of the "net" part? How do you know it doesn't consume say chemical energy?
  • khaled
    2.6k
    When you said:

    All of them can be understood in terms of a sufficiently advanced neurology and biology. ... The burden of proof is on you to show that the mind has any room to interfere here.
    Olivier5

    I don't understand how that leads to saying that the human mind can somehow not understand the world and itself. So I don't see the dispute.

    And what proof do you have of the "net" part? How do you know it doesn't consume say chemical energy?Olivier5

    If a movement is consuming chemical energy then it's a physical thing that is causing it no? Where does the mind come in when chemical energy is converted to some mechanical energy?
  • Olivier5
    2k
    don't see the dispute.khaled

    You said: biology will one day prove that the human mind "does not interfere"; and yet biology itself is a product of the human mind. Any time biologists find something, their mind "interferes". Any time they write down a paper, their mind acts on the world.

    Where does the mind come in when chemical energy is converted to some mechanical energy?khaled

    In the decision to do so, apparently.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    You said: biology will one day prove that the human mind "does not interfere"; and yet biology itself is a product of the human mind.Olivier5

    Correct.

    Any time biologists find something, their mind "interferes". Any time they write down a paper, their mind acts on the world.Olivier5

    Non sequitor. It could be the case that the workings of their minds are a side effect. It remains to be seen that they are causal.

    Again, M1 can imply P2 but doesn’t necessarily cause it. A desire to understand biology can imply a bunch of different things from writing papers to conducting studies. But that alone doesn’t prove it is causal.

    In the decision to do so, apparently.Olivier5

    That’s not answering the question.

    What role does the mind fulfill? Chemical energy gets converted to electrical energy in batteries, do you need a mind there too? Is the battery “deciding” to work?
  • Olivier5
    2k
    Again, M1 can imply P2 but doesn’t necessarily cause it.khaled

    Or it can cause it... Or make it more likely. I am not aware of anything in this world that would or could be non causal, that could not have any effect on anything else... That looks like magic thinking to me. It would also break the law of action-reaction, as I explained already.

    What role does the mind fulfill?khaled

    Making decisions.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.3k
    One of my first exposures to really nasty interaction on the internet was in the comment-section under YouTube classical music videos. Who knew so many people had such very very strong, and inordinately negative opinions about violinists, oboists, conductors, composers, whole orchestras, and (especially) lead opera performers?

    Anonymity is certainly one element in the negative sniping; another is a feature of rhetoric: Subtraction is easier than addition. It's just easier to fault another's opinion than it is to validate and make positive contributions. Or, writers think they come sounding more incisive and discriminating in making negative arguments (or comments) than in positive ones.

    Moderators help a great deal. Eliminating habitual flame-throwers helps a great deal.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    Making decisions.Olivier5

    Sure. And what physical impact does that have, precisely? How do you go from the decision to the movement? Where on the causal chain of the movement is the decision?

    It would also break the law of action-reaction, as I explained already.Olivier5

    Your explanation was faulty. You can’t apply physical laws when talking about minds. It’s as ridiculous as claiming your mind has a mass or color.
  • Olivier5
    2k
    Your explanation was faulty. You can’t apply physical laws when talking about minds. It’s as ridiculous as claiming your mind has a mass or color.khaled

    My explanation was correct, but your mind causes nothing to happen at all, not even understanding, so it has many limitations.
  • binon20464
    2
    it tells you humans are pussies, the same way you give a man a mask and he will become everything he imagined, you can also see it as your whole life youve given a name, who you are, where you live, how you behave and giving a man anonymity goes deep into roots of our ancestors giving us a break of modern life and taste of something new, reason why a lot of people want to be more free and not care as much and envy people who are relaxed and dont care because everyday we are pushed into caring what we wear, how we look and what we are doing, in reality we werent made to do that, to answer your question what it tells about a human? depends, if he is a pussy he is a pussy, if he wants a break he wants a break, if he wants not to care he wants not to care, is one better than the other? there is time and space for everything
  • binon20464
    2
    and there is statistic over 80% online comments coming from psychopathic kids guess that also answers the question
  • khaled
    2.6k
    My explanation was correct, but your mind causes nothing to happen at all, not even understanding, so it has many limitations.Olivier5

    When you can’t defend your position your resort to ad Homs as if that accomplishes anything.

    Respond to the question or don’t bother

    Sure. And what physical impact does that have, precisely? How do you go from the decision to the movement? Where on the causal chain of the movement is the decision?khaled

    And, no. For the reasons I outlined above, action reaction doesn’t apply here.

    You can’t apply physical laws when talking about minds. It’s as ridiculous as claiming your mind has a mass or color.khaled
  • Wayfarer
    11.9k
    And even if it was done, and the conclusion was what you wanted, it would still not contradict my position.khaled

    To all intents and purposes, you seem to be arguing for materialism, but then you say that you're not arguing for materialism. So it's hard to counter an argument that seems self-contradictory.

    If I physically approached you and gave you a drug, or hit you in the head - not that I would - then something physical would have occured and it would have very likely have physical consequences.

    But if I engage in an argument with you, then nothing physical has passed between us. Only words which you interpret and agree with or disagree with. The rules which govern the relationships of words are grammatical, semiotic and linguistic. They're not physical laws, and they operate independently of them.

    That's why I don't understand how you can say that such things as reasoned argument are physical, or can be seen as 'neural events'.

    If you say that ideas are physical, then I think the burden of proof lies with you.


    A philosophical dualist would argue that there are two levels - the physical level, which is governed by and responds to physical effects. In respect of neurobiology physical effects include the effects of drugs or surgery or injury to the brain. That is ‘bottom-up causation’.

    The other level is the level of meaning, language, and reason. That is not governed by physical laws, but by grammatical rules and conventions of meaning - semiotics, syntax, grammar. Those are the activities of the mind. And insofar as that effects the body, for example in psychosomatic medicine or by causing neurological changes, then that is 'top-down causation'.

    Do you recognise the need for two levels?

    I really liked the quote when I read it the first time actually.khaled

    So, what happened?
  • Wayfarer
    11.9k
    I’m not denying that we have a symbolic language and abstract thoughts. I’m denying they interfere in the causal chainkhaled

    Another thing - all of these inventions that surround you, including the one that you’re using to read and respond to these arguments - they are the consequence of symbolic language and abstract thought, are they not? They don’t grow on trees or fall miraculously from the sky. People invent them, and they invent them, because science enables them to make discoveries, to uncover previously-unknown properties of matter and energy through the use of symbolic reasoning. So if ‘the causal chain’ is ‘something that results in the construction of a device’, how can you deny that symbolic language and abstract thought interfere in the causal chain? Left to it’s own devices, a natural causal chain would not result in any devices whatever. Just more babies.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    they are the consequence of symbolic language and abstract thought, are they not?Wayfarer

    No they are not. Symbolic language and thought coincide with our inventing and use of such devices. They do not cause it. That is my hypothesis. Yours is that they do have an effect. But you do not think something like telekinesis is possible. So how, exactly do they have an effect? How does a thought result in movement? Because to me, that's nothing short of telekinesis.

    I agree that actions follow thoughts. I do not see proof that the thoughts are causal however.

    To all intents and purposes, you seem to be arguing for materialism, but then you say that you're not arguing for materialism. So it's hard to counter an argument that seems self-contradictory.Wayfarer

    I'm arguing for epiphenomenalism if anything.

    That's why I don't understand how you can say that such things as reasoned argument are physical, or can be seen as 'neural events'.Wayfarer

    When have I said so? That's rubbish.

    Do you recognise the need for two levels?Wayfarer

    Sure there are mental things and physical things. What I don't recognize is that there is top down causation. Because no proof of such a thing has been provided. And I outlined how it can be provided.

    So, what happened?Wayfarer

    The quote didn't contradict anything I thought and it was very concise and straightforward. So I liked it.
  • Wayfarer
    11.9k
    How does a thought result in movement? Because to me, that's nothing short of telekinesis.khaled

    'So, at this intersection, I thought, I've been here before, I remember that KFC store. We turn right here.'

    I turned right.

    Apparently this is telekinesis. Next, I'll try spoon-bending. I might be able to make a buck from it.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    Apparently this is telekinesisWayfarer

    Yes it is quite apparent.

    You want to say that the thought caused some chemical reaction in your brain. And that in turn eventually caused the turning. That first step is telekinesis.

    So we humans have telekinetic powers within our own brain only. The second you step outside of it our minds suddenly lose their magical ability to make things move and to cause neurons to fire.

    That's what I don't get about interactionism.

    In my view, that thought that you've been there before, remembering the KFC store, and turning right, all of it happened, and is real, and is immaterial (except the turning right bit). But is not causal. It just coincides with the turning. Whatever your brain is doing as you are having the thought, that's what causes the turning, not the thought. What is wrong with that picture? Because you're making fun of it but I don't see why. What's absurd?
  • Wayfarer
    11.9k
    What's absurd?khaled

    That my memory of the route does not cause me to take it. That I only turn right ‘as a coincidence’. That nobody can ever do anything intentionally.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    That my memory of the route does not cause me to take it.Wayfarer

    What proof do you have that it did? That remembering the route precedes taking it? That’s not proof of causality.

    That I only turn right ‘as a coincidence’.Wayfarer

    Who said coincidence?

    Think of it this way. Let’s call physical events P and mental events M.

    P1 causes M1. M1 being remembering the route. And P1 being seeing the KFC.

    You think that then, M1 goes on to cause P2, the turning. That’s an interactionist picture.

    I think that, no, nothing follows from M1. Instead P2 is also caused by P1.

    To say that it is a coincidence is to say that even if M1 occurred, P2 wouldn’t occur sometimes. That is not the case in either of our pictures.

    Even in my view, if M1 occurs, it necessarily follows that P2 will occur. Even though M1 doesn’t cause P2 directly or indirectly

    Just because M1 doesn’t cause P2 doesn’t mean P2 is a coincidence.

    That nobody can ever do anything intentionally.Wayfarer

    How is the turning not intentional in my view? You had the intention to turn. You then turned. What is missing?

    As for your view, it suggests that we have limited telekinetic powers. That’s what I find absurd there. If you think it doesn’t suggest that then please explain how it doesn’t. I’ve told you why I think it does.
  • Olivier5
    2k
    When you can’t defend your position your resort to ad Homs as if that accomplishes anything.khaled

    You started the ad hom. Don't cry me a river now. You called my ideas ridiculous and faulty, without any other argument that "minds are not physical", which is itself a pretty ridiculous argument because it assumes you know what the mind is made of...

    So stop calling others ridiculous, and start putting your mind at work.
  • khaled
    2.6k
    You called my ideas ridiculous and faulty,Olivier5

    Sure and you’re welcome to call my ideas ridiculous and faulty. But that’s different from saying “you’re incapable of understanding”. Which is what you did.

    And I assure you, I’m not crying.

    But if I seemed antagonistic I apologize. I seriously didn’t mean to.

    without any other argument that "minds are not physical", which is itself a pretty ridiculous argument because it assumes you know what the mind is made of...Olivier5

    I didn’t think that was in dispute. Me and wayfarer have been talking about non physical minds this whole time when you came in. And when I asked “are you arguing for materialism” you didn’t answer so I assumed the answer is “no”. Aka that minds are not material.

    So... are you arguing that minds are physical? In that case then there would be no issue with minds interacting with brains and vice versa. But I don’t see how materialism makes sense.
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