quote:Originally posted by robinrohan: John, traditionally, there are 3 different beliefs you can have about the nature of reality (and only 3):
I'm sorry, the dogmatism of this just stopped me in my tracks. Very amusing.
quote:The problem with materialism is that there does seem to be a mental world that is quite different from the physical and we are all aware of it.
And here you crash and burn, unless you can support this statement. If your shole case is that there seems to be amental world, then your case is pretty insubstantial.
quote:It is in this world that we have a sense of self-identity. A computer, being purely physical, presumably has no self-awareness.
Someone has already posed the question of whether Commander Data could exist. You agreed that it is possible, but we don't know for sure. This undercuts your statement above, which you need to be true-- absolutely. Modern computers are nowhere near as complex as a brain, and I suspect brains run on software not yet imagined for man-made machines.
quote:To tell you the truth, I think quantum physics has struck a blow for idealism with its weird interaction between perceiver and perceived.
You mean the part about not being able to know both the position and the momentum of a particle? I don't see what this has to do with mind.
quote:As far as there being a difference between the physical and the mental, I can't conceive of an electrical impulse in the brain being the same thing as a thought
What you can concieve isn't all that relevant, thankfully.
Besides which, the brain doesn't work one impulse at a time. It functions in patterns of impulses. I think neuro-science has proven that much about the brain.
quote:even though without the electrical impulse there would be no thought.
quote:Light bulbs have no thoughts.
And light bulbs are damn similar to brains and to computers?????
quote:Originally posted by robinrohan: But Pavlov's dogs do not suggest that they have memory in the sense I mean it. I mean conscious memory.
You've introduced another term which now needs clarification. Really, this is starting to remind me of the "do chimps have language debates" Essentially, everytime a chimp meets a criteria for language, another researcher redefines the criteria.
quote:I said thoughts are "about" something. You can't have a thought that doesn't have a topic.
Memories have topics, yet are not thoughts according to you. Isn't that what you said earlier? It looks like it is time for more clarification.
quote:A thought is not a physical object obviously--it doesn't have a certain size or width or length or any other physical attribute. It doesn't have a positive or negative charge. It has no mass or velocity.
This is essentially assuming what you wish to prove. If thoughts are artifacts of the brain, this is all false. No fair assuming what you wish to prove.
quote:Time, of course, is another matter. Thoughts presumably take time to happen. So thoughts are present in time but not in space. That makes them peculiar, and unlike physical things.
Again, assumming what you wish to prove.
quote:"feelings"--an emotion as opposed to an abstract idea.
Feelings seem pretty much on par with thoughts to me. How are they different in essense?
quote:My dog whimpers because it feels sad. But I don't think the dog is thinking. It doesn't know why it feels sad. I think a dog's whole consciousness is one feeling after another--feelings of comfort, pain, lacks, cosiness, etc.
I think you need to read up on animal cognition research.
quote:Originally posted by robinrohan: John, I didn't know I had to prove that thoughts have no physical qualities.
I don't think you've yet defined 'thoughts' and 'physical qualities'.
quote:I thought it was obvious.
Never trust the obvious.
quote:So you think that thoughts are physical.
Actually what I think is... well, what I propose propose for consideration is that thoughts are on par with perceptions. What physical qualities do they have? What quality does red have? Redness? Hardly says anthing. We don't actually see light particles. What we see, what we call perception has been translated by numerous physical processes and into electrical impulses in the brain. This can be tracked, albeit very poorly. Thoughts are those same types of electrical impulses.
quote:Originally posted by robinrohan: John, if thought is a "type of electrical impulse," as you say, then it's physical and there is no mystery about the matter whatsover. In evolution, we've got the physical creating more physical things if you are right. This idea also means that there is nothing but the physical. The physical is the only reality we know of. "mind" is an illusion--it cannot be distinguished from "brain," except in the hardward/software sense. Both are physical.
quote:Originally posted by robinrohan: OK, take your #2. That reality is not accessible. It doesn't matter if it is accessible or not by humans--it still has be mental or physical or both.
Why? So far, all you've done is assert this premise.
Everything we see, feel, and know, for Kant, is a mental construct-- reality filtered through the mind. But reality itself is inaccessable. We have no information about it at all, so how is it that you can claim it must be one or the other of your assumptions? It makes no sense. It is a plain and simple gross over-generealization-- a fallacy.
You've not addressed Hume.
And lets add Plato just for fun. Platonic forms do not fit any difinitions you've given of either physical or mental phenomenon.
quote:Show me something that is not one or other of these things.
I don't have to show you something. Your argument makes a bold statement about what is or is not possible. All I have to do to break it is come up with another possibility, which I have done. I have, in fact, introduced the ideas of several important philosophers for this purpose. It then falls to you to analyze and eliminate those possibilities, which you have not done, but merely asserted an opinion without analysis.
Secondly, show me 'mind.' Show me 'matter' for that matter. Show me 'thought itself' You make demands which reflected back towards your arguments will cause trouble.
quote:Originally posted by robinrohan: Shrafanator, I'm not denying that the mind is "based in" the brain and that if you do something to the brain you affect the mind. The question I had was not whether a series of electrical impusles cause thoughts to occur (I agree they do), but whether or not we can equate a cause (electrical impulse) to the product (a thought). A cause is not the same thing as what it causes. The question is whether a thought is non-physical. If it's non-physical then it's hard to see how something physical can create something non-physical, just as it's hard to see how something non-physical (say, a God) can create something physical. If that happens it's a "miracle" in traditional terms, and so the opposite would be too.
What exactly is your position? Initially, you listed three options: mental, physical, and dualistic. You then criticised two of those: physical and dualistic. And mentioned that quantum physics had struck a blow for the mental. This led me to believe that you believe mind to be primary. Now I find that you are arguing for dualism, which you have already criticised?
quote:Originally posted by robinrohan: A note on Creationists: I've been "arguing" with a few creationists lately out of curiosity to see what they thought, and I think I learned something. I think I realize now how their minds work (if they have minds and if they work). Dumb me, I thought it was about religion, but come to find out they think evolution is a left-wing political conspiracy, and that it is responsible for increasing crime, drug use, high divorce rates, and other societal ills. I had no idea.
[This message has been edited by robinrohan, 11-20-2002]
[This message has been edited by robinrohan, 11-20-2002]
[QUOTE]Originally posted by robinrohan: [B]Language, as I define it, is the ability to create sentences. If you are able to take verbs and nouns and recombine them in ways you have not heard before, you have language.[/quote]
quote:Full consciousness and language are dependent on each other. You can't have one without the other.
I communicate in language, but don't think in it. I think, in fact that language shackles thought, slows it down.
quote:Originally posted by robinrohan: John, the only other possibility you've come up with is "spirit."
Care to say what spirit is if it's not mind?
Care to say what mind is if its not physical?
You are missing the point I'm trying to make. All that I can see you doing is asserting and reasserting your premises without defending them. It is getting a bit silly. Somewhere along the line you have decided that everything in mind, matter, or both and you are grossly glossing over anything that gets in the way.
The Egyptians subdivided the what you'd call mind into several components, for example.
quote:The rest of what you've said consists of positing that we can't know anything
... that we can't know reality actually. This is Kant. For Kant, what we perceive is reality filtered through mind. Concerning reality itself we have no information.
quote:or that we can only know phenomena
Which is not an option for what reasons? Seems to me that you just don't like the idea.
quote:or maybe possibly there's something else out there that we don't know about.
All life capable of space flight is human. True or false?
quote:Originally posted by robinrohan: You present that as an alternative, but 'phenomena' is another word for 'mental objects'.
Funny. I have not offered Kant's phenomena as an alternative. I offered Kant's noumena as such alternative. Kant doesn't divide between mental and physical but between phenomena and noumena. The former being mental object-ish, the latter being unknown. What we consider physical is a CONSTRUCT of the mind-- ie, it is phenomena. This is not the same division you have made between physical and mental.
quote:You haven't offered any different condition of reality.
I haven't offered any conditions meeting your preconcieved idea of what reality ought to be. This is different from not offering any different condition of reality. Virtually every major philosopher has a different conception of the conditions of reality. This is why these people have come to be considered major philosphers, imho.
quote:Your alternatives are just different names for the same thing.
That you wish to press things into one of three categories is precisely my objection.
Lets talk about atoms. The word first appeared among the Classic Greek philosphers. Is this the same as what is meant today? Nope. Not even close. Yet they both discuss the physical so they must be variations of the same thing? Nope. They are radically different concepts. Lumping them together does no justice to either. To the Greeks the atom was solid, an indivisible thing. Today, atoms are not solid at all but energy. Solidity is a the illusion produced by the interaction of electromagnetic forces.
Now take a peek at Berkeley's idealism, and compare it to Leibniz, also classed an idealist by some. The two concepts are as further apart than your mental and physical. Yet you class them the same? That's silly.
Now take Hume. Hume did the blatantly obvious and looked around. What he saw was perception. What he did not see was a 'physical'. Think about a dream. When you dream, you see things but these things are not physical things. Still, they are perceptions-- ie, colors, shapes, textures, whatever. This is what Hume saw when awake as well, and in fact, what I see. Hume, likewise, could find no causality. In fact, he found not much at all. Now for mind, look for it. More perceptions. Words that we call thoughts, images that we call memory, but no observer-- no mind. There must be something watching the show right? Well, if there is we ought to be able to find it. Hume could not. To my knowledge, there is no way out of this radical empiricism. There is no way to bootstrap yourself to any higher understanding. You have to assume your way out of it. (Kant's Prolegomena was an attempt to escape Hume's empiricism. Of course, he did so by assuming some things)
Platonic forms? From my Encyclopedia of Philosphy: "Neither a Platonic Form nor a shape is a mental entity." I don't believe that you will argue that a Form is a physical entity, and so therefore the Form is an option to your physical and mental.
quote:Originally posted by robinrohan: Ok, how about this:
I. Idealism 1a. Plato 1b. Kant 1c. Hinduism
II Dualism 2a. Descartes 2b. Christianity 2c. Islam
III Materialism 3a. Obsidian 3b. Quextal 3c. Bertrand Russell
[This message has been edited by robinrohan, 11-21-2002]
How about, that is all very nice but it isn't an argument?
How about, repetition isn't convincing?
How about, I quote from the EoP that Platonic Forms are not mental constructs and in the very next post you class Plato as an idealist?
How about, you are equivocating on your terms, especially those of idealism and materialism-- which have had many incarnations-- and this I suspect is why you are mixing and matching radically different concepts?
How about, you have ignored everything I have said about Hume?
How about, you have ignored everything I have said about Kant?
How about, you have ignored what I have said about Plato?
How about, you didn't respond to my points concerning the idea of atoms?
How about, you are lumping concepts into such broad classes that the division is meaningless?