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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 13

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
Personally, my views about the ground-state of consciousness and being derive from a theistic view of reality. But I thought I would post one comment that expresses my question about the meaning of the term "physicalism" as discussed at the Stanford Encyclopedia:

12.2 Hempel's dilemma
One might object that any formulation of physicalism which utilizes the theory-based conception will be either trivial or false. Carl Hempel (cf. Hempel 1969, see also Crane and Mellor 1990) provided a classic formulation of this problem: if physicalism is defined via reference to contemporary physics, then it is false — after all, who thinks that contemporary physics is complete? — but if physicalism is defined via reference to a future or ideal physics, then it is trivial — after all, who can predict what a future physics contains? Perhaps, for example, it contains even mental items. The conclusion of the dilemma is that one has no clear concept of a physical property, or at least no concept that is clear enough to do the job that philosophers of mind want the physical to play.​

This paragraph is preceded and succeeded with much more information that I have not time to able to dive into to learn adequately. But it seems to me that use of the term physicalism requires a very tight initial definition, otherwise, the arguments will indeed go round and round till everyone pukes. What the heck, modern "science" says that the universe consists of 96 percent of unknown stuff - dark matter, dark energy - that no one has yet observed, but that physical observations seem to require. Personally, I think mental reality - consciousness and being - indeed are based on actual "stuff", but that "stuff" will never be adequately examined by us humans.
Exactly.

It is self evident that mind and matter interact but it doesn’t follow that mind is matter (physicalIsm) not that matter is mind (idealism).

it simply begs the question: how are the mind and body related? Ie the mind body problem.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
That quote seems nifty, but doesn't really say anything significant, because it is in and of itself entirely self-referencing. It's like saying "All groups who never disagree that everything is as it should be will always agree that things are as they should be." There is a wider universe outside that ketchup bottle.
It does say something significant; a significance that you don’t seem to grok just yet.

for instance your claim that bc mind and matter interact, mind must therefore be physical.

as if claiming that mind is physical is trivial. It’s clearly not as all other physical processes can be described objectively. Mind cannot.

so although mind clearly has some relation to the physical processes we know and love, it’s not clear what that relationship is.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
We've been through the issue of "Why type questions" already. They're interesting to ponder but generally have no single definitive answer, the exception being purely logical problems e.g. Why do triangles form when three three straight edges are connected with three vertices? But even then one could still ask, "But why do they call that a 'triangle' instead of a trimigilibob?"

For consciousness we've already supplied more than one answer as to why, e.g. "Consciousness evolved ( assuming it did evolve ) because like most products of evolution it provides an an advantage that increases the likelihood of survival." Or maybe it's the case that there is a purposeful design to this universe, the creator of which deemed ( for whatever reason ) that consciousness should be included.

Then those researchers are missing the point and nobody can explain it to them until the light bulb goes on for them. Or maybe they actually do know, but either enjoy perpetuating, or are compelled for some reason, perhaps peer or academic pressure, to perpetuate the myth that it ( the HPC ) can be "solved".

As @marduk's logic appears flawless, there appears to be no question that consciousness is physical. I have not heard any convincing counterpoint to marduk's logic, but if you can think of anything, by all means, post it up. In the meantime the argument of whether or not consciousness is physical can be treated as solved, and we can move on to address your more important points.

Information implies meaning, and meaning implies a set of rules, and a set of rules implies a rule maker, and a rule maker implies at the very least, some sort of intelligence. But intelligence ≠ consciousness, so hypothetically an entire universe could be the product of a vastly powerful and intelligent entity that has no conscious experience at all. Information per se can be nothing more than the hieroglyphics of a long dead civilization on some abandoned planet where no consciousness exists. If a tree falls in the forest and .... ( you get the idea ).
Indeed. Naturalizing information is well turning out to be just as hard as naturalizing consciousness and subjectivity. Seems to be a hard problem.

hm. That’s interesting, no?

@constqnce your paper on this topic you just shared isexcellent. Comments soon.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
Indeed. Naturalizing information is well turning out to be just as hard as naturalizing consciousness and subjectivity. Seems to be a hard problem.

hm. That’s interesting, no?

@constqnce your paper on this topic you just shared isexcellent. Comments soon.
And by naturalizing we of course mean “putting into objective, mechanical terms.”
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
Information implies meaning, and meaning implies a set of rules, and a set of rules implies a rule maker, and a rule maker implies at the very least, some sort of intelligence. But intelligence ≠ consciousness, so hypothetically an entire universe could be the product of a vastly powerful and intelligent entity that has no conscious experience at all. Information per se can be nothing more than the hieroglyphics of a long dead civilization on some abandoned planet where no consciousness exists. If a tree falls in the forest and .... ( you get the idea ).
Re how meaningless physical structures come to have meaning.

(this is a project @Pharoah was working on)

EAB77752-3030-4AD3-96E8-58D3AAD16F8E.png
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
It does say something significant; a significance that you don’t seem to grok just yet. for instance your claim that bc mind and matter interact, mind must therefore be physical. as if claiming that mind is physical is trivial.
I don't recall saying anywhere that I think the issue of the physicalness of mind is trivial. If anything I'm trying to get across that someone here on our forum has contributed what appears to be a solid solution to this question that has not been realized by a number of others who are still wrestling with it, and that if it were realized, then we could put that piece of the puzzle into place and leave it there instead of constantly taking it out and arguing over whether or not it fits ( when it does ).
It’s clearly not as all other physical processes can be described objectively. Mind cannot. so although mind clearly has some relation to the physical processes we know and love, it’s not clear what that relationship is.
Unfortunately, the lack of an objective description for mind doesn't negate the logic that mind must nevertheless be physical. At one time there was no "objective description" for gravity. It was just God's will that things should fall. For that matter we still don't know how the fundamental forces of nature are imparted on the world. There are just theories and models.

However, in at least some modes of philosophical physicalism, including mine, these are all physical phenomena. You are of course entitled to hold a different perspective on physicalism than I do. But the question then becomes, which model appears to be the most coherent? One with a conundrum that fails to explain how something we don't fully understand cannot be physical, but belongs to some other non-physical realm? Or one that recognizes that because consciousness interacts with the physical within our realm, it must also be a physical phenomena?

Take your pick, but denying the latter in favor of the former rejects the logic of the reasoning, and is therefore less coherent. Now both views could be entirely wrong. Perhaps nothing is actually physical or mental, but something else we don't have a clue about, but I think that rather unlikely, so until there is some evidence to suggest both alternatives are wrong, I'm left to choose between ones that make more sense or less sense, so I choose the former.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
It is self evident that mind and matter interact but it doesn’t follow that mind is matter (physicalIsm) not that matter is mind (idealism).
it simply begs the question: how are the mind and body related? Ie the mind body problem.
There is no need, as was asserted, for an airtight definition of physicalism that either includes or excludes the fields of science, including physics, in order to prove points about the physical. Such points can be made by recognizing much more general states of affairs. So the claim that such a definition is required is a mere proclamation for which there are exceptions. Consequently it fails. Also, the fields of scientific exploration, including physics are glaringly non-trivial. Together these expose Hempel's Dilemma as false.

To add, it isn't necessary for some future scientific discovery to be made in order to prove a truth about the present. The truth can be known before we have the means to demonstrate it. Perhaps a good analogy here would be Archimedes Principle. He argued that things floated not because they were lighter than water, but because the weight of water displaced was greater than the weight of the floating object. However the story goes that many engineers of the day simply refused to believe it, and it was many years before ships made of steel would prove him correct.

For the physicalness of consciousness, all we need to accept is that the nature of separateness is such that when two types of things are completely separate in every way, there can be no interaction of any kind between the two, otherwise by definition, they are no longer separate. Therefore if some interaction, including an awareness of the other occurs, the two types things can no longer be considered separate types of things, even if we don't know the means by which the interaction has occurred. Consequently, if there is sameness, then it must be the case that there is in reality only one type of thing, and that the differences are in context or formulation rather than nature.

So the point here, is that logic can tell us that something must be the case, whether we have the tools to demonstrate it yet or not. There are other examples as well, and the issue of minds and the physical appears to be yet another. It just takes a mind capable of grasping the logic to get it. The one caveat here is of course, subjective idealism, where the reverse is believed to be the case. In other words, if minds and bodies can interact, then maybe everything is mental instead of physical. There's no way I know of to prove that subjective idealism is or isn't the case. It just seems far too unlikely to me to be true.

Lastly, like Archimedes Principle, the obviousness that consciousness must be physical is only obvious in retrospect of the realization, which makes it seem trivial. However, in practice, it's anything but trivial. The realization is important. Then after being realized, we can see that it is the question that is trivial, and move on to more important questions. First however, it needs to stop taking flak from philosophers who are analogous to ancient boat builders who insisted that bronze ships could never float.
 
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Farlig Gulstein

Paranormal Maven
Randall said:
There is no need, as was asserted, for an airtight definition of physicalism that either includes or excludes the fields of science, including physics, in order to prove points about the physical. Such points can be made by recognizing much more general states of affairs. So the claim that such a definition is required is a mere proclamation for which there are exceptions. Consequently it fails. Also, the fields of scientific exploration, including physics are glaringly non-trivial. Together these expose Hempel's Dilemma as false.
Randall, sorry dude, I never said "airtight" and my intent when I said that one needs a "tight" definition to discuss the issue of physicalism, or any other such similar topic, is so that other people can actually clearly understand one's argument. But you've misunderstood my intent, and you've misrepresented my phrasing. Plus your "rebuttal" above (against an argument I never made) comes across as mostly rhetoric with no substance. Wow, you can prove your position by recognizing "general states of affairs"? And just what are those "general states of affairs"? Then you incorrectly represent my position. Again, I say that unless one provides a clear definition of what one means by the term "physicalism", then everyone engaged in the discussion is apt to argue past each other for ever and ever. Even then you say "there are exceptions" without providing any such exceptions. So, why engage in any discussion with you. You misrepresent my words, but bluster on and then pronounce "Consequently it fails." and I'm not even sure I know what you are talking about. Finally, it is my guess that in high philosophical discussion there is a rather fine nuance for the word "trivial" that does not equate to worthless. So, I do not think you've exposed Hempel's Dilemma as false, only that you are an impassioned if unskilled rhetorician.
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Randall, sorry dude, I never said "airtight" and my intent when I said that one needs a "tight" definition to discuss the issue of physicalism, or any other such similar topic, is so that other people can actually clearly understand one's argument. But you've misunderstood my intent, and you've misrepresented my phrasing. Plus your "rebuttal" above (against an argument I never made) comes across as mostly rhetoric with no substance.
I know you never made the statement. I was only responding to the contents of the link you posted. Specifically Hempel's Dilemma. So don't take it personally. I even clicked the like for your post because it contained a reference and some independent thought rather than mere proclamation or opinion.
Wow, you can prove your position by recognizing "general states of affairs"? And just what are those "general states of affairs"?
I mentioned them in the post. Basically we can generalize about the state of affairs that we call physical because there is so much that is obviously physical in the world including our bodies and the environment around us. We don't need to name every physical thing in the universe to accept that there is a type we call physical. The only exception would be if one were to argue that none of what we assume to be physical is actually physical, but is in reality something else. However there's no evidence to support that notion, even if it cannot be proven to be incorrect.
Then you incorrectly represent my position.
I'm not incorrectly representing "your position" because I'm not assuming anything is necessarily "your position" in the first place. I'm only responding to "a position" that has been presented for discussion. That is, unless you want me to take some specific part of what you posted as your position, in which case I'd need you to be more specific about exactly what that is.
Again, I say that unless one provides a clear definition of what one means by the term "physicalism", then everyone engaged in the discussion is apt to argue past each other for ever and ever.
Yes we need some understanding and common ground. So it's not that your basic point has no value ( it does ). In fact I've invoked the need for clearer definitions many times, so I fully appreciate the reasoning. However it's also the case that sometimes a very general definition is sufficient for the purpose at hand, while a more involved definition unnecessarily complicates it.
Even then you say "there are exceptions" without providing any such exceptions.
The exceptions to the requirement for any hard-line, detailed, clearly defined, whatever you want to call it, definition of what constitutes the physical, is the general understanding of what constitutes the physical. That includes all those general states of affairs that we assume to be physical such as all the myriad things around us in the environment that we assume to be physical, e.g. our bodies, the planet, the stars, and other worlds, along with the array of phenomena and forces that go along with all of that.

We could go on for weeks naming all the specifics, which would be pointless, because as I say, these "general states of affairs" are largely self-evident. They need no special philosophical definition of "the physical" in order to validate the logic that @marduk makes about the nature of these types of things and the logical consequence of their interaction with consciousness.
So, why engage in any discussion with you. You misrepresent my words, but bluster on and then pronounce "Consequently it fails." and I'm not even sure I know what you are talking about.
If you're not sure you know what I'm talking about, then it's probably better to reserve judgement about it until you do.
Finally, it is my guess that in high philosophical discussion there is a rather fine nuance for the word "trivial" that does not equate to worthless.
I get that. No need for explanation there.
So, I do not think you've exposed Hempel's Dilemma as false, only that you are an impassioned if unskilled rhetorician.
It seems you're upset because you feel I've attacked you rather than simply addressed the content of your post. That is not the case. What you might consider doing is contemplating the issue until you recognize that even a casual understanding of the physical as a type of thing in the world is good enough to validate @marduk's logic.

Then you will see that as a consequence, more complex versions aren't necessary, which means that when you see a more user-specific definition used to defend some particular position or another, it's likely the case that the definition used has been designed specifically to validate the arguer's position, rather than apply to the world in general. So forgive me if I'm naturally suspicious of them.
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Not a bit. In fact I'm amused by your antics here on this post as moderator.
Glad to hear you're not personally offended. I'm not sure what you mean by "antics", but I was just having a heck of a time getting my post to format correctly and went through about a dozen edits to get it right. So you might be right with the "unskilled rhetorician" remark. What was really weird is that at one point it looked like I was posting as you, so I had to go back and try to reconstruct your original post, and then post mine after it. I must have clicked something wrong someplace along the way. It was a real mess. Seems okay now.
 
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Soupie

Paranormal Adept
If anything I'm trying to get across that someone here on our forum has contributed what appears to be a solid solution to this question that has not been realized by a number of others who are still wrestling with it, and that if it were realized, then we could put that piece of the puzzle into place and leave it there instead of constantly taking it out and arguing over whether or not it fits ( when it does ).
Are you suggesting that Marduk is the first person in the 2000+ history of the mbp, let alone this thread, to notice that the mind and body interact?

re analyzing and modeling the mind objectively. no, it’s not like the problem of gravity. Statements like that are what lead us to believe that you don’t have a grasp of the problem, usi.

the mbp and the related hp are special problems. The solutions of which will require some new understandings and possibly some new discoveries.

we KNOW the mind and body “interact.” We know they are related. We have NO definitive idea how.

you can say the mind is physical all you want, but in order to do so you must modify the generally accepted understanding of physical. if you want to say that consciousness is somehow fundamental like the forces, that’s fine. But it would be a radical claim.

If you want to claim that consciousness weakly emerges from physical processes, fine, but you have to explain how or least offer an idea.

if you want to claim that consciousness strongly emerges from physical processes then you have to convert us to your religion.

proclaiming that consciousness is physical does none of the above.

what does it mean for you to say consciousness is physical?
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Are you suggesting that Marduk is the first person in the 2000+ history of the mbp, let alone this thread, to notice that the mind and body interact?
What I'm saying is that @marduk was the first one I've encountered who not only noticed, but also put the logic together that as a consequence reveals that if we think of us and the world around us as physical, then consciousness must be physical as well. It is possible that marduk read this someplace else rather than deducing it himself. I don't know. Maybe someone should ask him.
re analyzing and modeling the mind objectively. no, it’s not like the problem of gravity. Statements like that are what lead us to believe that you don’t have a grasp of the problem, usi.
Counterpoint like the above is not valid counterpoint. It requires reasons for why you say "No" or think I don't understand. When I use a fundamental force like gravity or EM as an analogy, it should give you a clue that I do understand that relationship to the issue ( fundamentalness ). So either you're messing with me or it's you who needs to do a bit more contemplation. Hopefully it's the former.
the mbp and the related hp are special problems. The solutions of which will require some new understandings and possibly some new discoveries.
No argument there.
we KNOW the mind and body “interact.” We know they are related. We have NO definitive idea how.
None of that precludes the understanding that they are both physical in nature. So we can avoid that question in the future and perhaps make more progress elsewhere by not wasting our time on it. That's all I'm saying.
you can say the mind is physical all you want, but in order to do so you must modify the generally accepted understanding of physical. if you want to say that consciousness is somehow fundamental like the forces, that’s fine. But it would be a radical claim.
Assuming you get marduk's logic, and the points I've been making about that, you should see that no modification of the "generally understood" meaning of "physical" is required. All that is required is an understanding of the meaning of sameness and separateness with respect to types of things. So to me it looks like you don't see the logic. If you do, then please elaborate on your counterpoint making specific reference to that reasoning. Mere denials and proclamations to the contrary aren't sufficient.
If you want to claim that consciousness weakly emerges from physical processes, fine, but you have to explain how or least offer an idea.
Neuroscience offers plenty of data by way of direct correlation. From that and the reasonable assumption that every normal person experiences consciousness about the same way, we have literally billions of examples. This is more than sufficient to hypothesize that consciousness is in some way at least mediated, if not the direct result of brain/body processes. I would have thought we'd established at least that much here by now.
if you want to claim that consciousness strongly emerges from physical processes then you have to convert us to your religion. proclaiming that consciousness is physical does none of the above.
Right. Knowing that consciousness must be something physical doesn't explain how it got here or gets here. However because you don't seem to agree that nobody knows how other forces and phenomena of nature got here either, if I mention them as examples, they won't be of any significance to you, and therefore I am at a loss as to how to make further progress with you on this aspect of the subject. The best I can do at present is say that our consciousness ( the human kind ) got here the same as the rest of us, via nature and evolution. Nowhere have I invoked any God.
what does it mean for you to say consciousness is physical?
That is the question we should have started-off with, and perhaps one of the best. It reflects @Farlig Gulstein's concern over a clear definition for the word "physical", which is something I think we covered in the distant past more than once. I won't rehash that history here. Suffice it to say, that rather than getting bogged down in a drawn-out definition of the word "physical", marduk's logic only requires two components and a little brain power:
  1. A general understanding of what constitutes the physical e.g. "Our bodies and the environment around us are physical."
  2. The understanding that logically, types of things that are separate in every respect cannot interact.
By applying the above to the question of whether or not consciousness is something physical, we are left with the inescapable conclusion that because consciousness interacts with the physical, it cannot be separate from it, and therefore we are left with only two possibilities. Either consciousness is physical, or everything we assume to be physical is actually mental.

I've picked my side from the choicesd above, and it's not subjective idealism, but maybe that's a little too presumptuous and I should abstain from taking either side. But either way the main issue of whether or not we are dealing with two fundamentally different things has been settled. The answer is "No".

Consequently the differences we are dealing with are other types of differences akin to the differences between solids like river rocks, and more ethereal phenomena like EM fields, both of which are generally deemed to be within the realm of the physical world. Interestingly, no matter how closely we look at the material structures of the brain, we will never see the EM fields it produces either. In your estimation, does that mean EM fields aren't physical too? With a little luck, that question should have set off a little spark someplace.
 
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Soupie

Paranormal Adept
All that is required is an understanding of the meaning of sameness and separateness with respect to types of things. So to me it looks like you don't see the logic. If you do, then please elaborate on your counterpoint making specific reference to that reasoning. Mere denials and proclamations to the contrary aren't sufficient.
The HP is explaining how the mind could be physical. Can’t say it any clearer than that.

it’s not hard to explain how any other known phenomenon could be physical, except for consciousness.

Appealing to the fundamental forces is not helpful bc everything we know of as physical reduces to one of the forces.

except for consciousness.

Consequently the differences we are dealing with are other types of differences akin to the differences between solids like river rocks, and more ethereal phenomena like EM fields, both of which are generally deemed to be within the realm of the physical world. Interestingly, no matter how closely we look at the material structures of the brain, we will never see the EM fields it produces either. In your estimation, does that mean EM fields aren't physical too? With a little luck, that question should have set off a little spark someplace.
I don’t mean “seeing” in the strict sense but in the objective sense. Em fields can be measured and modeled objectively. Mind cannot. They are not equivalent at all.

claiming that the forces and consciousness are both fundamental and therefore physical doesn’t help us understand their relationship at all.

re the instance that consciousness is physical. Yes, sure, great. I don’t see anyone in this thread arguing otherwise. Or even arguing for dualism. I agree, let’s move on from that (unless someone else wants to argue for it).

so... let’s talk about the hard problem instead!
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
The HP is explaining how the mind could be physical. Can’t say it any clearer than that.
Explaining how consciousness is physical and determining that it is physical without knowing how, are two separate things. Also, as I've said before, we don't know "how" anything could be physical. We just accept that it either is physical or if we're a subjective idealist that it's all mental. But we don't really know what exactly either situation is made of on a fundamental level or for sure how any of it got here to begin with. All we have to work with are the relationships between the various "things" or "phenomena" we have labeled "physical".
Appealing to the fundamental forces is not helpful bc everything we know of as physical reduces to one of the forces. except for consciousness.
The appeal to the fundamental forces is used not as an explanation for consciousness, but to show the faulty logic of assuming that because we cannot see a physical thing associated with the material of the brain doesn't mean it's not there or must be something non-physical.
I don’t mean “seeing” in the strict sense but in the objective sense. Em fields can be measured and modeled objectively. Mind cannot. They are not equivalent at all.
We don't know that EM fields aren't the physical makeup of the conscious experience. However we do know that the brain and consciousness are intimately correlated along with EM fields, so although that isn't "proof" that consciousness is "in there", it is at least a reasonable set of circumstances upon which to form a hypothesis.

Add to that the circumstance that we can and do measure human conscious experiences objectively e.g. a simple eyesight test. We can safely conclude that consciousness is interacting with our optical and neural pathways, and as a logical consequence must itself be physical. If it were something entirely separate, no such interaction could happen, and no experience of eyesight would occur.
claiming that the forces and consciousness are both fundamental and therefore physical doesn’t help us understand their relationship at all.
I would beg to differ. The logic tells us we can consider consciousness to be every bit as physical as the other sets of phenomena we call physical, and therefore there must be relationships between them, of which many have been established by correlating sets of experiences with states of the brain. This is tremendous progress from the time before neuroscience.
Yes, sure, great. I don’t see anyone in this thread arguing otherwise. Or even arguing for dualism. I agree, let’s move on from that (unless someone else wants to argue for it). So... let’s talk about the hard problem instead!
There is no solution to the HPC. Perhaps I've become a New Mysterian?
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Why do you think there is no solution to the HP? For example, is there something unique about consciousness?

(Must people who think the HP can’t be solved think consciousness is a unique problem and/or is not physical.)
More specifically, As I've stated before, the HP is only trivially answerable e.g. We have experiences because they have proven themselves useful for the survival of our species. Or we have experiences because we are made in such a way that they happen. Beyond that, the question reduces to one of explaining existence per se, which again can only be answered trivially. There can be no non-trivial answer, or if there is, it's well beyond our intellectual grasp. Again, I'm sounding a lot like a mysterian. I wonder if there can be such a thing as a physicalist mysterian?
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
There can be no non-trivial answer, or if there is, it's well beyond our intellectual grasp.
So the mind-body relation is so complex it’s beyond our intellectual grasp?

So there is no discovery that might be made in the next decade or so which might either answer or provide us with a clue of how the mind and body may be related?

Or the mind body problem involves aspects of reality that humans are not intellectually equipped to grok?

What makes you think the mind body relation is beyond our intellectual grasp?
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
So the mind-body relation is so complex it’s beyond our intellectual grasp?
There is the issue of complexity, but I think that part is something that we can manage with the aid of tools such as fine grained neuroimaging and AI simulations
So there is no discovery that might be made in the next decade or so which might either answer or provide us with a clue of how the mind and body may be related?
There's already plenty of evidence that demonstrates how the mind and body are related, e.g. eyesight is related to the body by way of the optical pathways to the visual cortex.
Or the mind body problem involves aspects of reality that humans are not intellectually equipped to grok?
We might be intellectually equipped to grasp it if we were in the right position to do so, but we can't know that given our present situation.
What makes you think the mind body relation is beyond our intellectual grasp?
I don't think the mind/body relation is beyond our intellectual grasp, just like the relationship between electricity and magnetism isn't beyond our intellectual grasp. Someday we might have very detailed descriptions analogous to Maxwell's equations that describe these relationships. The HP is something else.

If we use the dreaded EM analogy, we have very accurate formulas for the relationships between magnetic fields and electric wires wrapped around metal cores. What we don't have is an explanation for is why wrapping an electric wire around a metal core should produce any sort of field in the first place. This is the same type of question as asking why brain material should produce consciousness.

Yes, for EM there are models involving classical notions of electrons, and other models involving virtual photons, but they still don't get any closer to answering the question because we can simply shift the same question onto classical electrons and virtual particles. It also matters not what the subject matter ( particles, fields, materials, consciousness ect. ) is.

Again, it is the type of question that the HP asks. It asks us to explain the existence of not the relationship between. This is the difference between Chalmers "easy problems" and "hard problems". I've attempted to point out in the past that this same strategy can be used for a number of other things as well, e.g. gravitation, but that has been mistakenly deemed to be a strawman in the past. It's not. Because even if gravitation isn't the same situation, it is exactly the same type of situation with respect to the kind of question.
 
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