Mind and Matter

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Mind and Matter

Postby Ierrellus » Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:23 pm

I've been interested in the mind/matter issue for the past thirty years. After reading reviews of Thomas Nagel's "Mind and Cosmos" (2112), I have ordered a copy in hopes that the book can offer fresh insights on the topic. If you have already read "Mind and Cosmos", feel free to correct any misconceptions I may have about it from my cursory reading of reviews.

According to the reviews Nagel's primary concern in this work is with the failure of modern science, given its impressive history of invention and discovery, to explain what is mind. He does not believe neoDarwinism or physical chemical reductionism can discover what is mind. And, although he believes in some version of teleology, he does not believe in intelligent design.

Without reference to reductionism or intelligent design, how can Nagel tell us what mind is like?
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby James S Saint » Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:57 pm

Ierrellus wrote: how can Nagel tell us what mind is like?

As always, first define "mind".

One of my psy profs proclaimed that the mind does not exist. I asked him what he means by "mind". After some hesitation, he laughed and announced "How can I tell you what it is if it doesn't exist! :lol: " I later asked how he can tell me that it doesn't exist if he doesn't know what it is.

It took me about 45 minutes debating with the entire psy dept staff (about 8 profs) before he finally caught on. It seems a difficult thing for the human mind to realize that if it doesn't know what a word means, it doesn't know anything else about it either.

Once you know what it is, there is a means for discovering "what it is like".
Last edited by James S Saint on Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
Else
From THIS age of sleep, Homo-sapien shall never awake.

The Wise gather together to help one another in EVERY aspect of living.

You are always more insecure than you think, just not by what you think.
The only absolute certainty is formed by the absolute lack of alternatives.
It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
As long as the authority is secretive, the population will be subjugated.

Amid the lack of certainty, put faith in the wiser to believe.
Devil's Motto: Make it look good, safe, innocent, and wise.. until it is too late to choose otherwise.

The Real God ≡ The reason/cause for the Universe being what it is = "The situation cannot be what it is and also remain as it is".
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby Ierrellus » Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:17 pm

Thanks, James for your amusing and insightful anecdote.
Is it a failure of modern science that we do not know what mind is?
When I try to describe mind, I'm stuck in the scientific explanations. I see mind as an aspect of animal brains that evolved into self-consciousness., into an it that transacts with whatever is other than itself in order to survive--the this that must interact with the that. So I see self consciousness as the origin of the ought in the is. But this description of things in motion tells only what the things do, not what they are. Definitions would be easy if all could agree that a thing is what it does.
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby James S Saint » Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:19 pm

Ierrellus wrote:Thanks, James for your amusing and insightful anecdote.
Is it a failure of modern science that we do not know what mind is?

It is a failure of society, not Science. It is not up to Science to decide what words mean. Once a rigid definition is established, Science can then discover a great deal of detail concerning it. Thus "God" is never given a rigid definition.

Ierrellus wrote:When I try to describe mind, I'm stuck in the scientific explanations. I see mind as an aspect of animal brains that evolved into self-consciousness., into an it that transacts with whatever is other than itself in order to survive--the this that must interact with the that. So I see self consciousness as the origin of the ought in the is. But this description of things in motion tells only what the things do, not what they are. Definitions would be easy if all could agree that a thing is what it does.

I prefer the definition:
Mind == the coordinated functioning of a central nervous system.

So in the case of a mind, it is what it does. What type of matter is used to physically establish that functioning does not matter.
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
Else
From THIS age of sleep, Homo-sapien shall never awake.

The Wise gather together to help one another in EVERY aspect of living.

You are always more insecure than you think, just not by what you think.
The only absolute certainty is formed by the absolute lack of alternatives.
It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
As long as the authority is secretive, the population will be subjugated.

Amid the lack of certainty, put faith in the wiser to believe.
Devil's Motto: Make it look good, safe, innocent, and wise.. until it is too late to choose otherwise.

The Real God ≡ The reason/cause for the Universe being what it is = "The situation cannot be what it is and also remain as it is".
.
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby WendyDarling » Fri Jan 27, 2017 12:50 am

Mind of the soul body= house of the eternal memory (mainframe hard drive) May explain why trauma victims retain their long term memories.
Mind of the biological body=what James said. House of the short term memory which may explain why only 5-8% is used and central nervous system trauma (brain damage) kills it.

Hey, I'm not even wearing my crazy pants today.
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby Meno_ » Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:30 am

WendyDarling wrote:Mind of the soul body= house of the eternal memory (mainframe hard drive) May explain why trauma victims retain their long term memories.
Mind of the biological body=what James said. House o
f the short term memory which may explain why only 5-8% is used and central nervous system trauma (brain damage) kills it.


Hey, I'm not even wearing my crazy pants today.


Hey, if You don't mind, it don't matter!
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby Meno_ » Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:44 am

But, seriously, if there is a distinction, not only between the soul and the body, the soul or ethereal body from the one we see, and finally a simulated difference not only between the hard and the soft drive within these distinctions, but, the difference between the cosmic and mechanical drives , then, as much as I would want to validate these, and want to believe them, something tells me there is something tenuous in this attempt.

My gut level tells me This may be the case, and sorrily am using a method of inter-forum communication re: a previous thread, and although I see little wrong with such a method, in spite of You
bringing it up, wouldn't such distinctions be as artificially invented conceptual tools as the 'mind' it's self?

In my mind, there may be as many minds as the totality of this present evolutionary epic points to, maybe possessing correspondences within and without others, but if so, wouldn't these correspondences point toward , not away to such conceptual ideas as wormholes, larger channels of inter-galactical communication, that eventually posit some kind of vestibule, where the All subsist?

Or more likely a wholeness of containment contemporaneous with an eternal diversion, always in circulation, as the blood constantly flowing, the brain waves eternally also, giving rise to the possibility of the One Whole thing?

Finality, that distinction may also be overcome in an eternal return of One over the other.
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby WendyDarling » Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:50 am

Who were you addressing jerkey?
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby Meno_ » Sat Jan 28, 2017 2:01 am

WendyDarling wrote:Who were you addressing jerkey?



The 'One=The All', with special emphasis to You, Wendy Darling. But the 'You', could be anyone, if, your idea has channels, such as the one I think, (therefore=exists).
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby WendyDarling » Sat Jan 28, 2017 2:36 am

Stop with your frustration already. I'll send the steps to cross over, the work's up to you. It's like you're afraid to commit to a romance while spouting poetry to the object of your desire. You must venture out of your comfort zone.
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby surreptitious57 » Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:10 pm

James S Saint wrote:
Mind == the coordinated functioning of a central nervous system

My definition of mind is that it is a function of the [ human ] brain
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby Meno_ » Sat Jan 28, 2017 2:58 pm

My definition of mind as brain is that zone, where they cannot be differentiated, where the function of the brain is the mind, qua consciousness, and conversely, the idea of mind is within it's function, as unconsciousness.
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby Arcturus Descending » Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:15 pm

Is it a failure of modern science that we do not know what mind is?


No, the failure would only be if science or philosophy stopped questioning and exploring Mind and simply reduced it to whatever they felt it had to be.

The subject is Mind and Matter.
Can Mind be seen also as matter, in a sense, or simply ethereal - like the scent (mind) of the rose (matter).

Is it a failure of science, philosophy and religion that we do not know "actually" what God is? No.
SAPERE AUDE!


If I thought that everything I did was determined by my circumstancse and my psychological condition, I would feel trapped.


What we take ourselves to be doing when we think about what is the case or how we should act is something that cannot be reconciled with a reductive naturalism, for reasons distinct from those that entail the irreducibility of consciousness. It is not merely the subjectivity of thought but its capacity to transcend subjectivity and to discover what is objectively the case that presents a problem....Thought and reasoning are correct or incorrect in virtue of something independent of the thinker's beliefs, and even independent of the community of thinkers to which he belongs.

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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby Arcturus Descending » Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:34 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
James S Saint wrote:
Mind == the coordinated functioning of a central nervous system

My definition of mind is that it is a function of the [ human ] brain



Does that really "define" mind or is that just one facet of how we see it?
SAPERE AUDE!


If I thought that everything I did was determined by my circumstancse and my psychological condition, I would feel trapped.


What we take ourselves to be doing when we think about what is the case or how we should act is something that cannot be reconciled with a reductive naturalism, for reasons distinct from those that entail the irreducibility of consciousness. It is not merely the subjectivity of thought but its capacity to transcend subjectivity and to discover what is objectively the case that presents a problem....Thought and reasoning are correct or incorrect in virtue of something independent of the thinker's beliefs, and even independent of the community of thinkers to which he belongs.

Thomas Nagel


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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby Arcturus Descending » Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:37 pm

James,

Mind == the coordinated functioning of a central nervous system.


Couldn't that definition also speak of the body?

The Mind itself doesn't always function in a coordinating harmonious way, now does it?
At least not from what I have seen of the "workings" of the mind, it doesn't.
SAPERE AUDE!


If I thought that everything I did was determined by my circumstancse and my psychological condition, I would feel trapped.


What we take ourselves to be doing when we think about what is the case or how we should act is something that cannot be reconciled with a reductive naturalism, for reasons distinct from those that entail the irreducibility of consciousness. It is not merely the subjectivity of thought but its capacity to transcend subjectivity and to discover what is objectively the case that presents a problem....Thought and reasoning are correct or incorrect in virtue of something independent of the thinker's beliefs, and even independent of the community of thinkers to which he belongs.

Thomas Nagel


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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby surreptitious57 » Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:36 pm

Arcturus Descending wrote:
surreptitious57 wrote:
My definition of mind is that it is a function of the [ human ] brain

Does that really define mind or is that just one facet of how we see it?

The definition is mine but is not everything defined by how we see it?

Can you give a single example of something not defined in this way?

How can we understand anything outside of our own perspective?
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby WendyDarling » Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:58 pm

jerkey wrote:My definition of mind as brain is that zone, where they cannot be differentiated, where the function of the brain is the mind, qua consciousness, and conversely, the idea of mind is within it's function, as unconsciousness.


Yes, damage to the brain limits our ability to realize/perceive consciousness in another, but that damage/limitation of the physical body does not hinder the mind of the soul body in its remaining conscious, just its outlet, the physical body, of expression has been closed down.
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby Ierrellus » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:51 pm

Thanks for the good posts.
Here's Nagel's full title for his book--
"Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False."
His claim:
"Our own existence presents us with the fact that somehow the world generates conscious beings capable of recognizing reasons for action and belief, distinguishing some necessary truths, and evaluating the evidence for alternative hypotheses about the natural order. We don't know how this happens, but it is hard not to believe that there is some explanation of a systematic kind--an expanded account of the order of the world."
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby Ierrellus » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:02 pm

A third of the way through the book, I'm still getting Nagel's opinion that neither Darwinism nor Intelligent Design can offer full explanation of how we came to be the sentient beings who can think, feel, aspire, etc.
I, personally, believe mind is what brains do, and that this doing incudes experiencing the scent of a rose and being able to communicate accurately the experience.
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby Some Guy in History » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:24 pm

I'd like to think that evolution itself in its varied form following science can account for even a romance to be had even in unconscious unawareness. It would be just another feeling, and if assigned to what crawled out of the primordial soup to eventually evolve it's long, painful way to human form over the ages and eons, it would have to, from the start, be as varied as us in base form. Meaning that the romance of life and existence that stirs the artists soul and heart is what assigns us the most and best thoughts, feelings, aspirations, etc. It is the romance of love at its purest in terms of not applying sex to it, which gives an understanding to lifelong relationships beyond the short-term sexual flings of others of our same species who seemingly don't understand romance of that variety, though they are still very much romantics in their own way to other aspects of life, and love, for them might still exist during each of their sexual flings. And that is also apart of each artists soul and heart. Without Darwinism or intelligent design, this would not be true nor would it be known enough to communicate even inaccurately.
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby Ierrellus » Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:01 pm

There are at least three ways of seeing evolution as history of a quale. One mentioned above and noted by Nagel, is that an entity at its base (Chemistry) contains the necessary ingredients of experience that appear complex in the latest example of the entity (living being). Another is that qualia are emergent properties that appear as the entity has progressed through certain stages. A third is that mind is an epiphenomenon of the brain. Was mind at the beginning of creation? Can mind be used to describe all we can experience of nature?
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby Arcturus Descending » Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:40 pm

surreptitious57


My definition of mind is that it is a function of the [ human ] brain

Does that really define mind or is that just one facet of how we see it?



The definition is mine but is not everything defined by how we see it?


Very often yes. But is this the best way to define a thing? simply as we "see" it?
That might give meaning but not necessarily reality.
For someone who has no idea of the iceberg, someone would define that as some flat kind of thing floating above water.



Can you give a single example of something not defined in this way?


That might be a good question but perhaps a better one would be if you could give an example of an individual who does NOT define something in this way.

How can we understand anything outside of our own perspective?

By going outside of our own perspective. We can do this by realizing that our perspective is not the only one and that others do see things differently and with a broader landscape and perhaps with more validity than what we see with.

Seeing something is not necessarily understanding it. That can just be the beginning of it. We have to go "under" what we see - that's where mind comes in.
SAPERE AUDE!


If I thought that everything I did was determined by my circumstancse and my psychological condition, I would feel trapped.


What we take ourselves to be doing when we think about what is the case or how we should act is something that cannot be reconciled with a reductive naturalism, for reasons distinct from those that entail the irreducibility of consciousness. It is not merely the subjectivity of thought but its capacity to transcend subjectivity and to discover what is objectively the case that presents a problem....Thought and reasoning are correct or incorrect in virtue of something independent of the thinker's beliefs, and even independent of the community of thinkers to which he belongs.

Thomas Nagel


I learn as I write!
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby Ierrellus » Fri Feb 03, 2017 2:52 pm

In examining how certain chemicals could become conscious organisms overtime Nagel embraces teleology but eschews intelligent design. I don't see how the two can be separated.
Nagel claims his take on teleology is from Aristotle. Has anyone else here read about this in Aristotle's works?


As for the notion of an isolate quale, I believe we can communicate, to a large extent, how we feel about what we experience.
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby Ierrellus » Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:53 pm

My take on the Aristotelian/Nagel concept of teleology goes like this--An acorn contains all the necessary ingredients for becoming a tree. This becoming is influenced by the natural conditions of its environment. There is no force outside the acorn that is responsible for its precondition to become a tree. In this sense teleology represents an internal drive toward a goal or a specific outcome. Environment may be fortuitous for the entire growth and development of the acorn, but it has nothing to do with the acorn's innate drive to become a tree.
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Re: Mind and Matter

Postby Ierrellus » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:49 pm

I've finished Nagel's short book and cannot find in it hard evidence that the Darwinian explanation of the development of consciousness in animals with brains is somehow false. As a believer intelligent design, I have no difficulty in describing genetic evolution as purposeful. I have no problem seeing mind as an extension of matter.
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