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Author Topic:   Materialism
Dr Adequate
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Posts: 15928
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Message 46 of 114 (738253)
10-07-2014 11:54 AM
Reply to: Message 45 by 1.61803
10-07-2014 10:18 AM


Re: Music
Yes ... but if you destroyed all the recordings of (say) In the Hall of the Mountain King, burned all the scores, and shot everyone who's ever heard it, would it still go on existing "as a non-physical idea"?
This message is a reply to:
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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 15928
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 47 of 114 (738254)
10-07-2014 12:02 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by Faith
10-07-2014 7:05 AM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
Don't even get to see you write it, see your fingers plunk the keys that make the little marks that I can read as words. No big mystery, yeah, but the point is that the physical agencies of all of this are performing quite incidental mechanical mindless actions, while the main thing is that you are conveying your mind to mine by these mechanical actions. You, your mind, not your fingers, etc. The material part is just a tool of your mind, the mind is really the main thing.

But if you then traced the causal chain back further, you'd find more physical events, you'd find electrical impulses going from his brain to his fingers, and then back still further you'd find neurons firing in his brain, and back still further you'd find photons from his computer screen hitting his retina ...

I've never seen why mental materialism, as applied to humans, is anathema to so many religious people. Why should the mind, or the "soul", not be instantiated as meat? --- especially since it evidently is.


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ringo
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Joined: 03-23-2005
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Message 48 of 114 (738256)
10-07-2014 12:59 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by Faith
10-06-2014 12:20 AM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
Faith writes:

Second, there is thought to be a capacity some people have for seeing into the spiritual realms, that others don't have or don't have as well developed....


And there are chemically-induced ways for seeing what other people don't see. LSD. Mental illness.

As in the case of crop circles, if we have one explanation that works, do we really need another one?


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PaulK
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Message 49 of 114 (738260)
10-07-2014 4:12 PM
Reply to: Message 45 by 1.61803
10-07-2014 10:18 AM


Abstract and Concete
A symphony is an abstract entity.

A performance would be an instantiation of that abstraction - in concrete form.

Sheet music would be a representation of the abstraction, also in concrete form.

A CD would be the same, but playing a CD would produce another concrete instantiation of the abstraction.

I do think that it would be rather difficult to say that the abstraction exists even if there are neither instantiations or surviving representations (including memories).

Does this help ?


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1.61803
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From: Lone Star State USA
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Message 50 of 114 (738261)
10-07-2014 5:07 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by Dr Adequate
10-07-2014 11:54 AM


Re: Music
No it would not exist without a medium.

"You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end. Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative" William S. Burroughs

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Faith
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Posts: 24846
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 51 of 114 (738262)
10-07-2014 5:10 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by Dr Adequate
10-07-2014 12:02 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
But if you then traced the causal chain back further, you'd find more physical events, you'd find electrical impulses going from his brain to his fingers, and then back still further you'd find neurons firing in his brain, and back still further you'd find photons from his computer screen hitting his retina ...

Yes, you'll find all that but in all that finding you're not going to find the mind itself. Ah the doggedness of the materialist is impressive. You'd find all those things happening in the apparatus that houses and conveys the thoughts of the mind, but the thoughts themselves, the contents of the mind itself, no, because the mind is its own thing, and it is not material. Granted it is intimately connected with the material apparatus and without it couldn't be communicated at all, at least in this material world, ahem, and the apparatus is useless without the mind to operate it too. Dead bodies are so sad, there is really manifestly "nobody there."

I've never seen why mental materialism, as applied to humans, is anathema to so many religious people. Why should the mind, or the "soul", not be instantiated as meat? --- especially since it evidently is.

Evidently is? What on earth are you contemplating when you say that? What it "evidently" is, is NOT meat.

I wasn't a Christian until my mid-forties, and before that I already despised all those notions of mind as material that I'd encountered mostly in behaviorist ideas. You don't have to be religious to object to such notions. Sane atheists can see the point just as well. It's really indisputable that mind is not material in any sense at all. If you measure it at all what you are measuring is what the apparatus does in connection with its activity, not the mind itself. Come on Dr. A, I've always considered you to be a sane atheist.

However, there are those who argue that mind and body aren't separable, that the mind is the workings of the body, and that's an interesting argument, an argument against Descartes who made a dualism of the problem. It's pretty much what you're saying I think. It doesn't make mind material but it does make it inseparable from the physical apparatus. Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind, and Arthur Koestler, The Ghost in the Machine, both wrote on this. I don't claim to understand all these arguments all that well, philosophy doesn't usually make a lot of sense to me, but anything that refuses to make mind material in itself always grabbed my attention against all the materialist nonsense I found around me.

ABE: Considering the mind as merely the workings of the body or brain isn't at all satisfying to me though. Mind is still patently its own thing, something you can never know by knowing the activities of the body. It's original, a bazillion kinds of thoughts and ideas are produced through exactly the same kind of physical apparatus.

I suppose in a way it is similar to the problem of music that was just brought up on this thread. The music wouldn't exist without the physical doings of all that goes in to producing it, but the music is clearly NOT the physical doings themselves. And again, a bazillion kinds of music can be produced through the same kind of physical apparatus.

And by the way, the music itself originates in Mind, too, all aspects of it, from its composition to its performance. /ABE

I wouldn't have thought mind and body were separable before I became a Christian but now I do of course, as scripture is clear that at death the soul or spirit returns to God while the body is lifeless, but that we'll be reunited with our bodies at the event called The Resurrection. And then there are those experiences people have had of being separated from their bodies, such as during operations, which seem to have some credibility.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


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Replies to this message:
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NoNukes
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Posts: 9537
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 52 of 114 (738268)
10-07-2014 6:51 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dr Adequate
10-04-2014 10:02 PM


Here is a link to an article asking a similar question:

https://philosophynow.org/issues/42/What_is_Materialism

quote:
Materialism asserts that everything is or can be explained in relation to matter. This would be straightforward enough if we had a clear and stable idea of matter. But do we?

Unfortunately, we dont.


I think you're question about ghostium relates to the question asked here.

quote:
we have arrived at a picture that takes mass and energy to be central, that makes shape unnecessary, and makes position in space problematic. Since Einstein, many physicists have regarded matter as a lumpy form of energy. And quantum physics, with its Uncertainty Principle and probability waves, severs any necessary connection between being material and having some particular shape at some definite location. A materialist influenced by Cartesian physics offers us a very different picture of the world than a materialist influenced by quantum mechanics. The point is that the laws of physics (or, rather, our versions of them) are open to change. This means that our current concepts of matter (mass and energy) may change as well.

The solution seems to be to define matter as whatever physicists finally say it is. That's probably pretty close to my view.

quote:
The commitment to interventionism and exemptionism are obvious in the case of supernatural and religious phenomena. Gods, ghosts, witches and magicians intervene in the physical world by summoning forces and energy unknown to physics. Neither can immortal souls can be understood in terms described by science.

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him. Galileo Galilei

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 15928
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 53 of 114 (738273)
10-07-2014 8:18 PM
Reply to: Message 51 by Faith
10-07-2014 5:10 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
Yes, you'll find all that but in all that finding you're not going to find the mind itself. Ah the doggedness of the materialist is impressive.

Less inspiring is the laziness of the dualist, who supposes that a thing exists precisely because he's given up looking for it.

Unless the dualist can find a break in the causal chain, somewhere where the laws of physics get mugged along the route from the photons leaving the screen to the fingers hitting the keyboard, then the mind is simply what the brain does.


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Faith
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Posts: 24846
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 54 of 114 (738274)
10-07-2014 8:30 PM
Reply to: Message 53 by Dr Adequate
10-07-2014 8:18 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
Yeah, well when you can reproduce by material means Einstein's thought pattern that led to E=MC2 or all Plato's arguments, or a great piece of music of some famous composer, or great painting by some famous artist etc., or an idea for a viable invention, or even just your own thoughts about what to have for lunch, then I'll take seriously that mind is reduceable to matter.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15928
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 55 of 114 (738275)
10-07-2014 8:46 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by Faith
10-07-2014 8:30 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
Yeah, well when you can reproduce by material means Einstein's thought pattern that led to E=MC2 or all Plato's arguments, or a great piece of music of some famous composer, or great painting by some famous artist etc., or an idea for a viable invention, or even just your own thoughts about what to have for lunch, then I'll take seriously that mind is reduceable to matter.

Er ... those would be things that happened "by material means" in the first place. Unless you can find that elusive magical event, the break in the unbroken chain.


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 Message 54 by Faith, posted 10-07-2014 8:30 PM Faith has responded

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 Message 56 by Faith, posted 10-07-2014 8:54 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Faith
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Posts: 24846
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 56 of 114 (738276)
10-07-2014 8:54 PM
Reply to: Message 55 by Dr Adequate
10-07-2014 8:46 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
Like I said, when you can reproduce the actual contents of mind by material means, rather than merely asserting that such means caused it to happen, then I'll consider that mind can be reduced to matter.
This message is a reply to:
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15928
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 57 of 114 (738278)
10-07-2014 11:54 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by Faith
10-07-2014 8:54 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
What do you mean "reproduce" it? We have the material means, they're called brains. I can in fact reproduce brains, I'll need nine months and some women. I don't see what else you want. It's not like I'm saying "I swear, I saw a brain think once, but now it's gone, you'll just have to take my word for it". We got lotsa brains. I don't have to do anything.

But if you would care to show us a mind without matter, that would be great.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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PaulK
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Posts: 12686
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 58 of 114 (738279)
10-08-2014 1:40 AM
Reply to: Message 51 by Faith
10-07-2014 5:10 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
quote:

Yes, you'll find all that but in all that finding you're not going to find the mind itself. Ah the doggedness of the materialist is impressive. You'd find all those things happening in the apparatus that houses and conveys the thoughts of the mind, but the thoughts themselves, the contents of the mind itself, no, because the mind is its own thing, and it is not material. Granted it is intimately connected with the material apparatus and without it couldn't be communicated at all, at least in this material world, ahem, and the apparatus is useless without the mind to operate it too. Dead bodies are so sad, there is really manifestly "nobody there."

The idea that the mind is a thing apart, operating the brain is pretty much untenable and has been for some time. We know that memory is dependent on the physical brain That brain damage can cause profound changes of personality. And that even the unity of the mind is dependent on physical connections in the brain.

It is arguable that "the mind is software" (in a formal sense) and could be considered to be an abstraction. But that is the only way that the mind could be considered "indisputably non-material" (and even that is disputed) - but that leaves actual instantiations as material.

And of course there is no problem of music, as I explained. Music is only non-material as an abstraction.


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Replies to this message:
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Faith
Member
Posts: 24846
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 59 of 114 (738280)
10-08-2014 2:12 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by Dr Adequate
10-07-2014 11:54 PM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
I can't even show you a mind WITH matter, that's the whole point, and all the brains you can study can't do that either. You can see the brain activity, you can no doubt measure it, put a bunch of electrodes here and there and see the result, but you'll never ever see the mind itself or anything the mind itself is doing.

Of course mind is dependent on the brain but the contents of mind, what mind is, the thoughts people think, there's just no way to impute that to the material substrate, there is no way to account for it at all. It clearly is a thing unto itself despite its connection with brain.


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Faith
Member
Posts: 24846
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 60 of 114 (738281)
10-08-2014 2:16 AM
Reply to: Message 58 by PaulK
10-08-2014 1:40 AM


Re: Mind-Body Problem
The thing is there is a *you* that is using your brain and your body, your fingers etc. to think the thoughts and convey the thoughts you are writing here. This would not be possible without the brain of course, and if the brain is damaged you wouldn't be able to do this, but that still doesn't speak to the fact that the brain isn't initiating what you are writing, YOU are, it's just a tool for YOU. Isn't that what needs to be accounted for?
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