Mind Body Dualism

by Coded Logic 58 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • John_Mann
    Cofty, that's the view of eliminative materialism. Materialism is divided in three views: reductionist, revisionist and eliminativist.
  • cofty
    if you never had the thought in the first place then none of the actions or material reconfigurations could follow

    A spiderling does not have to be shown how to build a web and yet they will build one that looks identical to every other web built by every other spider of the same species.

    Same goes for a swallow's muddy nest and a million other examples of animal architecture from insects, birds, fish and mammals.

    No thought necessary. Just genetic programming. 100% material process - nucleotides to nest.

  • John_Mann
    I think there's something beyond "matter and mind". My guess is something like the will proposed by Schopenhauer. I'm not a dualist neither an eternalist.
  • slimboyfat

    Cofty are you arguing that humans are not really conscious or that ants are conscious? Just because a creature can build without consciousness doesn't deny that humans build as a result of consciousness. Besides when a human builds something after having thought about it, it is a far different thing than when a creature builds on instinct.

    John Mann yes I agree there is something more going on.

  • cofty
    Just because a creature can build without consciousness ... SBF

    So you admit that thoughts are not always a necessary precursor to matter getting rearranged.

    Just a few weeks ago you were asserting that rocks were conscious. Now you are conceding that animals can perform amazing feats of architecture without consciousness.

  • Saintbertholdt
    ...Because ultimately it must affirm the conscious mind simply not exist at all (eliminative materialism).

    How very Buddhist of you to reason like that. However as Cofty has pointed out:

    I have never encountered anybody who denies consciousness. That is different from saying that consciousness is a property of our brains.

    I have posed the following question to SlimBoyFat in a previous thread: 'What is the alternative to Science?' I'd like to simplify it a bit more by restating the question in different language more appropriate to this thread: What is the alternative to reductionism?

    Slimboyfat didn't answer me but if it was me that had to answer this question I would look for the answer in the opposite of reductionism, in other words Holism.

    But Holism (The whole is greater than the sum of the parts) is already included in reductionism in the form of emergent properties. So Holism just forms a part of reductionism.

    Footnote: To see emergent properties in action see the software: Game of Life (golly 2.6) and how emergent properties can be generated using simple rules.

    But how is Holism useful? There are very good examples of this in scientific history. Historically Chemistry was being probed and prodded independent of Physics. The rules were discovered of how chemicals and compounds interact and today there are libraries full of these chemical heuristics. Yet today we accept that Chemistry is at its most base Physics. This means that chemical reactions can be described in terms of physics alone. Yet this makes explaining even the most basic chemical reactions a complicated affair. So chemists tend to stick to the discovered rules or emergent properties.

    So what am I saying? I am saying that Holism or emergent properties are useful in describing new things in simple rule based ways even if we don't understand the underlying levels below this new thing. HOWEVER reductionism fills in the gaps and shows that there exists a continuum in this universe:

    Mathematics -> Physics -> Chemistry -> Organic Chemistry -> Systems Chemistry -> Biology -> Ecology and so on (There are many sub categories which have been left out to maintain clarity)

    Slimboyfat: Do you want to know more? It goes much deeper than this.

  • Coded Logic
    Coded Logic
    Coded I think one of the problems with viewing ideas and other non-material things as epiphenomenal (or emergent properties) is that it gives priority to matter in a way that is unjustified and still amounts to reductionism.

    I'm afraid I don't quite follow what you're objection is here. When I'm talking about emergent properties I mean physical aspects emerging from physical systems. I don't see that as giving priority to matter in an unjustified way.

    When I play video games on my X-box it runs extremely complex simulations. But I don't think that my X-box is somehow transcending physical reality. Rather, it's using its physical components to produce an emergent physical system. I feel the same is true of our thoughts and our feelings. They are very much grounded in the physical laws of reality and its material process'.

    As the saying goes, the map is not the territory. Rather, it's a representation of the territory. But nobody would say maps are "immaterial". Likewise our thoughts are not the thing we are thinking about (unicorns, space ships, winning lottery tickets). But it doesn't mean thoughts are immaterial.

  • slimboyfat

    Coded, maps and territories are physical. A thought is not physical. If you believe that a thought is identical to the physical processes in the body that accompany the thought then that truly is reductionist. Reminds me of the joke statement: your thoughts aren't real, you only think they are.

    So you admit that thoughts are not always a necessary precursor to matter getting rearranged.

    Cofty of course not. A flood can demolish a house just as a human can. And ants can build things just as humans can build things. Are you saying there is no difference in any of these examples? It sounds like you are saying consciousness doesn't really exist or it doesn't impact the material world.

    Just a few weeks ago you were asserting that rocks were conscious. Now you are conceding that animals can perform amazing feats of architecture without consciousness.

    i don't think I think that rocks are conscious. But I don't think we can rule out a cosmic sense of self. There are gradations to these things. But we were talking about thoughts. Essentially a human thinks "I will knock that house down" or "I will build a house". I do not think an ant or a flood is capable of anything comparable.

  • cofty
    a human thinks ..."I will build a house". I do not think an ant .. is capable of anything comparable.


    Puffer Fish


  • slimboyfat

    Saint it is not clear what the alternative to materialism or reductionism is. But nevertheless dualism and materialistic reductionism both seem inadequate. Some have suggested holism as an alternative but there are problems with that way of talking too.

    So Holism just forms a part of reductionism.

    I love the irony of that comment.

    Nagel has made a sort of paradigm shift argument in relation to materialism. That we are at the stage where problems with the prevailing materialist view are becoming more apparent, but that a viable alternative has yet to emerge.

    Do you think thoughts exist?

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