Problems I have with most atheists...

pkremida
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Problems I have with most atheists...

Even though I am one of them. Are these stereotypes? Yes. But they are just the attitude of most atheists I meet, unfortunatly.

1.) Cynicism - Living in a world where everyday you are literally *surrounded* by people who believe in imaginary things can be pretty frustrating. One of the things that turned me to atheism was the realization that there is no point in focusing on any life but this one, and to take advantage of it because you only get one and are infinitly lucky to be alive considering the literally infinite number of people who are never born. When I meet atheists who are atheist because of how dark and dreary they see the world, it makes me sad for them. Is the world a screwed up place? Certainly. Sulking only makes it worse and perpetual.

2.) Nobody thinks beyond atheism. Atheism is, to me, the next step in the evolution of "spiritual" though. Hear me out. I realize "spiritual" is a word that has all sorts of magical/supersitious connotations, but I assure that is not what I mean by the word "spiritual". I will try and loosely define it as your experience of finding meaning, your life journey, your heart of hearts learning that it does. It's kind of like saying "heart", as a matter of fact. When I say "heart", it can mean two things. One is your physical, beating organ. The other is almost indefinable. It's your intuition, your love, all these things. Now, I cannot define "heart" in terms that are very objectively sound and/or satisfying to everybody, but everybody knows what I'm talking about when I say "heart". If you don't, I feel sorry for you, and might even argue elsewhere that you are not qua human.

It is obvious to any rational person that our old time supersitious beliefs cannot withstand the scruitiny of rational inquiry and thus should be discarded. This includes religion and superstitious definitions of what "God" is. But have you ever considered defining God in a new way that does not involve some judging, bi-polar, monarch ass swinging his finger at you and causing disease? Think about the profound mental experiences that so many thousands of people (myself included) have claimed to have. Their interpreations of the cause may differ, but no matter what the interpretation (subconcious, Allah, etc.) we are only speculating. What about how conciousness arose from nothing?

I have my ideas (answers?) to these questions, and I'd be happy to discuss them to anybody who is interested. On the radio show or on the message boards.

Be well,

-Peter


SilkyShrew
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Considering you seem to be

Considering you seem to be making generalizations about people who have one particular thing in common, yeah, that would mean that it is a list of stereotypes.

1 - It seems to me that people all too frequently mistake an atheist pointing out the problem of evil as being a cynical view of all life. That is simply not so. I'm sure you'll find that many of the atheists on this site and others have other things that they talk about and do that they find quite fulfilling and it makes them happy. The problem of evil is pointed to as something that makes an all-powerful, benevolent god an impossibility. Just because we say, "hey, this doesn't add up because of the bad things that happen in the world," doesn't mean that we haven't seen very good things in the world as well.

2 - Most will likely understand what you mean about "heart" - in otherwords you are carrying on a tradition that was started through the misidentification of what organ was responsible for particular emotions. The association you have with one emotion and the emotion of "spirituality" (yeah, its an emotion ) ... the "spiritual" response people report feeling during particular activities manifests itself in the brain much like other emotions, through chemical changes and the firing of particular synapses causing physiological responses in our bodies. Just because I recognize that about human emotions does not make me "not quite human," it just makes me a human that realizes that what makes me laugh, cry, or have an elated response when watching my children play, or seeing pretty things in nature is something that occurs in my brain (some of which we know quite a lot about, and some of which we are still learning about).

If we wanted to re-define god, and find a belief in that definition, it would then make us not atheists. There is no evidence that your conscious experience is due to anything but neurological and biological processes. It is a nice experience, and I'm glad to have it, but that does not mean it has to come from some supernatural default explanation.

-SilkyShrew


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SilkyShrew wrote:Considering

SilkyShrew wrote:
Considering you seem to be making generalizations about people who have one particular thing in common, yeah, that would mean that it is a list of stereotypes.

1 - It seems to me that people all too frequently mistake an atheist pointing out the problem of evil as being a cynical view of all life. That is simply not so. I'm sure you'll find that many of the atheists on this site and others have other things that they talk about and do that they find quite fulfilling and it makes them happy.

It is the theist with an anti-humanist, cyncial view of life. It is the theist who cannot place any value on human life, who undermines morality by replacing moral action for it's own sake with 'moral' actions done for rewards.

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The problem of evil is pointed to as something that makes an all-powerful, benevolent god an impossibility. Just because we say, "hey, this doesn't add up because of the bad things that happen in the world," doesn't mean that we haven't seen very good things in the world as well.

Agreed. His point here is a non sequitur.

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2 - Most will likely understand what you mean about "heart" - in otherwords you are carrying on a tradition that was started through the misidentification of what organ was responsible for particular emotions. The association you have with one emotion and the emotion of "spirituality" (yeah, its an emotion ) ... the "spiritual" response people report feeling during particular activities manifests itself in the brain much like other emotions, through chemical changes and the firing of particular synapses causing physiological responses in our bodies. Just because I recognize that about human emotions does not make me "not quite human,"

Ironically, your ability to know about yourself is what makes you human!

I love it when someone holds that being rational is inhuman.... ratoinality is the benchmark of humanity. And rationality does not imply that one cannot enjoy life. You enjoy life more when you are able to be rational... irrational people tend to die off.

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it just makes me a human that realizes that what makes me laugh, cry, or have an elated response when watching my children play, or seeing pretty things in nature is something that occurs in my brain (some of which we know quite a lot about, and some of which we are still learning about).

If we wanted to re-define god, and find a belief in that definition, it would then make us not atheists. There is no evidence that your conscious experience is due to anything but neurological and biological processes. It is a nice experience, and I'm glad to have it, but that does not mean it has to come from some supernatural default explanation.

-SilkyShrew

Very fine post.

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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pkremida
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I don't deny that any

I don't deny that any emotional state is caused (or correllated with) neurological, biochemical processes in the brain. Nor did I appeal to any sort of superstitious or supernatural entity.

Consider happiness.

Is happiness merely serotonin in the brain. Certainly, it *is* serotonin in the brain, but what about just the inner experience of it. Just because something *causes* happiness does not make it *happiness in itself*. There is the inner, immaterial realm of experience and emotions that is definable only on its own terms. Does happiness exist without serotonin? Certainly not. The reverse is also true. These are two separate yet intimatly connected things. My point is (and if you read about Ken Wilber's quadrants it will make this much more clear) that equating emotional states as merely chemical reactions is a fallacy. Your every day experience of your very conciousness is immaterial.

On the problem of evil. It is still such a pointless argument. Keep in mind, I *am* atheist. All it does is make it unlikely that a very specific God doesn't exist. Big deal. Of all the infinite number of possible Gods, you just pointed out that it is highly unlikely to exist. You didn't prove anything, negatives cannot be proven. Which is why when a theist challenges me to "prove God doesn't exist", I promptly hit them with a clue bat. Smiling

These are just *most* of the atheists I have met in my life. Of course I have read and met many other very kind atheists, just like I have met the same of any other belief system. I wasn't generalizing about people I have not met, I was commenting on people I *have* met.


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pkremida wrote:Even though I

pkremida wrote:
Even though I am one of them. Are these stereotypes? Yes. But they are just the attitude of most atheists I meet, unfortunatly.

1.) Cynicism - Living in a world where everyday you are literally *surrounded* by people who believe in imaginary things can be pretty frustrating. One of the things that turned me to atheism was the realization that there is no point in focusing on any life but this one, and to take advantage of it because you only get one and are infinitly lucky to be alive considering the literally infinite number of people who are never born. When I meet atheists who are atheist because of how dark and dreary they see the world, it makes me sad for them. Is the world a screwed up place? Certainly. Sulking only makes it worse and perpetual.

That's "angst", actually. You'll find angst occurs in those who are religious as well as those who are not. It is not only certain non-believers going through life sulking and miserable. Some religious people believe in god simply for the reason of "God has to exist because only a God that hates me so much could cause my life to be so bad."

Meh, life is what you make of it.


pkremida
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goescrunch wrote: That's

goescrunch wrote:

That's "angst", actually. You'll find angst occurs in those who are religious as well as those who are not. It is not only certain non-believers going through life sulking and miserable. Some religious people believe in god simply for the reason of "God has to exist because only a God that hates me so much could cause my life to be so bad."

Meh, life is what you make of it.

Agreed.


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todangst wrote:It is the

todangst wrote:
It is the theist with an anti-humanist, cyncial view of life. It is the theist who cannot place any value on human life, who undermines morality by replacing moral action for it's own sake with 'moral' actions done for rewards.

Or percieved rewards ... and isn't it interesting that the uncertainty of the reward and the perceived distance play out for some theists, often times much like distant rewards in other behavior responses? As in, distant rewards are less motivating than immediate ones ... so even though they say they have particular moral stances, they don't always live up to them.

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Agreed. His point here is a non sequitur.

Non sequitur Smiling

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Ironically, your ability to know about yourself is what makes you human!

One element, yes.

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I love it when somhttp://www.rationalresponders.com/forums/sapient/atheist_vs_theist/problems_i_have_with_most_atheistseone holds that being rational is inhuman.... ratoinality is the benchmark of humanity. And rationality does not imply that one cannot enjoy life. You enjoy life more when you are able to be rational... irrational people tend to die off.

And yet ... I've been referred to as "SPocK" as if it was an insult ...

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Very fine post.

Thank-you.

pkremida wrote:
I don't deny that any emotional state is caused (or correllated with) neurological, biochemical processes in the brain. Nor did I appeal to any sort of superstitious or supernatural entity.

I don't think it was claimed that you did.

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Consider happiness.

Is happiness merely serotonin in the brain. Certainly, it *is* serotonin in the brain, but what about just the inner experience of it.

Actually, there is more involved than just serotonin - the brain is a complex chemistry set ... it isn't really the case that just one chemical changing in its amount of presence in your brain is going to lead to what you commonly experience as happiness, there are other chemicals whose alteration will be a factor in how you experience things as well. However, that wasn't your point ... are you trying to say that you have something beyond your brain that has this experience of happiness? I doubt it. Without your brain you would not experience happiness. You don't experience emotions outside of your brain or in any inner place that is not your brain and body (the body is only relavant so far as you feeling an emotion and experiencing things like laughter through your throat and mouth, sadness as a tightening of the chest or throat, or even anger through the tensing of your muscles in your arms, shoulders, neck, back, legs and buttocks.

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Just because something *causes* happiness does not make it *happiness in itself*. There is the inner, immaterial realm of experience and emotions that is definable only on its own terms.

There is no evidence that there is an "inner, immaterial realm" to emotions or human experience. Do you have evidence for such? My guess is that you don't - so why believe that there is such?

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Does happiness exist without serotonin? Certainly not. The reverse is also true. These are two separate yet intimatly connected things. My point is (and if you read about Ken Wilber's quadrants it will make this much more clear) that equating emotional states as merely chemical reactions is a fallacy. Your every day experience of your very conciousness is immaterial.

Actually, we reach the conclusion that emotions are dependent on the brain state of an individual through direct evidence. There is not evidence that there is an immaterial consciousness in humans or animals or anything, for that matter.

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On the problem of evil. It is still such a pointless argument. Keep in mind, I *am* atheist. All it does is make it unlikely that a very specific God doesn't exist.

Actually there is quite a few gods that it disproves - any gods that are claimed to be omni benevolent and all-powerful.

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Big deal. Of all the infinite number of possible Gods, you just pointed out that it is highly unlikely to exist. You didn't prove anything, negatives cannot be proven.

There is actually a philosopher that has pointed to negatives that can be proven, apparently, but I'm not enough of an expert to say much about it, I have simply heard of them. I'm sure someone better versed in philosophy can give some input on that.

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Which is why when a theist challenges me to "prove God doesn't exist", I promptly hit them with a clue bat. Smiling

These are just *most* of the atheists I have met in my life. Of course I have read and met many other very kind atheists, just like I have met the same of any other belief system. I wasn't generalizing about people I have not met, I was commenting on people I *have* met.

It is still a generalization and you seemed to be missing the point behind what they had been saying...

I wonder, why is making such a point important to you, regardless of if you are right or wrong?


pkremida
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SilkyShrew wrote: are you

SilkyShrew wrote:

are you trying to say that you have something beyond your brain that has this experience of happiness? I doubt it. Without your brain you would not experience happiness. You don't experience emotions outside of your brain or in any inner place that is not your brain and body (the body is only relavant so far as you feeling an emotion and experiencing things like laughter through your throat and mouth, sadness as a tightening of the chest or throat, or even anger through the tensing of your muscles in your arms, shoulders, neck, back, legs and buttocks.

You completely missed my point. Serotonin (or whatever variant of chemicals and such) is not qua happiness. There is the inner experience of it! You want evidence? Next time you are happy, it's right fucking there. There is the cause of happiness (neurological impulses) and there is the experience of it (happiness!). I can't believe you would claim that there is no evidence for this. Silly hard materialists...

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Actually, we reach the conclusion that emotions are dependent on the brain state of an individual through direct evidence. There is not evidence that there is an immaterial consciousness in humans or animals or anything, for that matter.

Again, the evidence is self-evident. Unless I am talking to an automaton? How are you even thinking if you have no conciousness? Give me a break.

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Actually there is quite a few gods that it disproves - any gods that are claimed to be omni benevolent and all-powerful.

No, only omni benevolent. It could be all powerful and indifferent or even malicious.

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There is actually a philosopher that has pointed to negatives that can be proven, apparently, but I'm not enough of an expert to say much about it, I have simply heard of them. I'm sure someone better versed in philosophy can give some input on that.

His name is Austin Dacey. I saw him speak at a theological debate at Purdue. He was good except for this trying to prove negatives nonsense. He claims there are two ways. One is by showing that it is a logical impossibility. The other, and this is the way he "disproves" God, is by looking and if you don't find it you can reasonably conclude it is not there. The example he uses: It is your birthday and your roomate has promised you cake. You come home expecting to smell the smells of cake baking in the air. If find no evidence of a cake, then you can reasonably conclude there is none. Of course, this example cannot apply to an entity which is inherently a hidden being.

Is there evidence for God? No. That is why I am atheist. Dacey's argument only shows what is highly unlikely. Even in the Cake example, there are alternative locations for the cake.

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It is still a generalization and you seemed to be missing the point behind what they had been saying...

I wonder, why is making such a point important to you, regardless of if you are right or wrong?

No, it isn't a generalization. I am talking about people I *have* met, and seeing if others can relate. My point? There is spiritual/mental/experiential (whatever the hell you want to call it) growth beyond atheism that does not negate reason. Old religion has been destroyed and rendered irrelevant by critical reason and the scientific method. Religious folks need to let go of their archiac beliefs, atheists need to keep thinking beyond theirs. Quantum physics has disproven hard scientific materialism that most atheists seem to cling to, not to mention determinism. Keep thinking.


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clarity of terms

Is happiness merely serotonin in the brain. Certainly, it *is* serotonin in the brain, but what about just the inner experience of it. Just because something *causes* happiness does not make it *happiness in itself*. There is the inner, immaterial realm of experience and emotions that is definable only on its own terms. Does happiness exist without serotonin? Certainly not. The reverse is also true. These are two separate yet intimatly connected things. My point is (and if you read about Ken Wilber's quadrants it will make this much more clear) that equating emotional states as merely chemical reactions is a fallacy. Your every day experience of your very conciousness is immaterial.

There were also a few other comments recently made that have to do with experience and it's supposed self-evident basis in immateriality. For those of you following all this, here is a classic case of naturalistic dualism at its finest and I have little doubt that pkremida would find great joy in reading David Chalmers.

Unfortunately for Mr. Chalmers and the young lady here, the problems for said position are rather numerous and have already been outlined by Dennett, Owen Flannagan and a few others. The core of the problem has to do with a certain naive understanding of language and a misunderstanding of the term "self."

Language, as outlined by J. Jaynes and others, has a certain proclivity towards dualism as words are easily misconstrued as existing in themselves and therefore having a life all their own. however, words are indexical, they merely point to something and have no necessity in being real. For those having studied the ontological proof of god, this point should be helpful. Hence, for the present discussion, when someone says "I" or "me" there is an assumption made that the term has much the same meaning as rock or plane, as if it points to some separate entity, when in fact, much like even rock and plane, it merely points to a relation or section of space/time in material reality (Bertrand Russell excellently discusses this). At no time should the terms begin to take on a life of their own, but should be kept in mind that they point to something in particular.

What they point to is determined largely upon your metaphysic, whether explicit or implicit. The emphasis on "personal experience" that pkremida keeps harping on is reminiscent of the romantics and subjectivism that seems to have run rampant in american circels over teh past few decades. The issue here is that any singular "experience" you have is impossible to be used in any logical justification for a self in any way removed from the relational system of the brain and all of material reality. To use such an example is inchoherent not only because, neurologically you aren't discussing the event itself but rather a reconstruction of it, but also as to the fact that there is no coherent sense in which you can discuss singular events and get a seamless "self" out of it. This is why dualism is so damning, because it requires an unchanging entity that in some way makes sense out of the disparity of experiences, when in fact it is precisely the different experiences and our ability to narratize that creates the semblance of continuity.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


SilkyShrew
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pkremida wrote:SilkyShrew

pkremida wrote:
SilkyShrew wrote:

are you trying to say that you have something beyond your brain that has this experience of happiness? I doubt it. Without your brain you would not experience happiness. You don't experience emotions outside of your brain or in any inner place that is not your brain and body (the body is only relavant so far as you feeling an emotion and experiencing things like laughter through your throat and mouth, sadness as a tightening of the chest or throat, or even anger through the tensing of your muscles in your arms, shoulders, neck, back, legs and buttocks.

You completely missed my point. Serotonin (or whatever variant of chemicals and such) is not qua happiness. There is the inner experience of it! You want evidence? Next time you are happy, it's right fucking there. There is the cause of happiness (neurological impulses) and there is the experience of it (happiness!). I can't believe you would claim that there is no evidence for this. Silly hard materialists...

Next time I experience it, it will be (as always) felt in my brain and body.

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Again, the evidence is self-evident. Unless I am talking to an automaton? How are you even thinking if you have no conciousness? Give me a break.

Firstly, I said "immaterial" consciousness. As in, there is no evidence that there is anything beyond my body and brain through which I experience emotion.

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Actually there is quite a few gods that it disproves - any gods that are claimed to be omni benevolent and all-powerful.

No, only omni benevolent. It could be all powerful and indifferent or even malicious.

No, the argument rests on the notion of an all-powerful AND omni-benevolent god. There are other depictions of deities that are limited in powers but are considered good and those that are all powerful, but are malicious. The argument does not work for those types of deities (though, it does make a good point as to the ethics of worshipping such a deity that is malicious). The argument is limited to refuting those that fit both the criteria of an omni-benevolent and also all-powerful god.

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His name is Austin Dacey. I saw him speak at a theological debate at Purdue. He was good except for this trying to prove negatives nonsense. He claims there are two ways. One is by showing that it is a logical impossibility. The other, and this is the way he "disproves" God, is by looking and if you don't find it you can reasonably conclude it is not there. The example he uses: It is your birthday and your roomate has promised you cake. You come home expecting to smell the smells of cake baking in the air. If find no evidence of a cake, then you can reasonably conclude there is none. Of course, this example cannot apply to an entity which is inherently a hidden being.

Is there evidence for God? No. That is why I am atheist. Dacey's argument only shows what is highly unlikely. Even in the Cake example, there are alternative locations for the cake.

No offense, but I will try to look to the source for the explanation, I think there may be something that I am missing in this explanation.

Lack of evidence is why I lack belief in a deity and also why I lack belief in an immaterial experience of emotions ...

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No, it isn't a generalization. I am talking about people I *have* met, and seeing if others can relate. My point? There is spiritual/mental/experiential (whatever the hell you want to call it) growth beyond atheism that does not negate reason. Old religion has been destroyed and rendered irrelevant by critical reason and the scientific method. Religious folks need to let go of their archiac beliefs, atheists need to keep thinking beyond theirs. Quantum physics has disproven hard scientific materialism that most atheists seem to cling to, not to mention determinism. Keep thinking.

Please point to where science has disproven materialism and has shown that there is experience beyond our brain and bodies. I am naturally skeptical of such an idea. How does this relate to if an atheist uses the problem of evil as an argument in debate?


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If you are just your brain

If you are just your brain and body, then why do you even refer to it as "your" body? In other words, you posses this body and brain, but what is the possesor?


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pkremida wrote:SilkyShrew

pkremida wrote:
SilkyShrew wrote:

are you trying to say that you have something beyond your brain that has this experience of happiness? I doubt it. Without your brain you would not experience happiness. You don't experience emotions outside of your brain or in any inner place that is not your brain and body (the body is only relavant so far as you feeling an emotion and experiencing things like laughter through your throat and mouth, sadness as a tightening of the chest or throat, or even anger through the tensing of your muscles in your arms, shoulders, neck, back, legs and buttocks.

You completely missed my point.

No, I think you missed her point. However, let's stick to your comments concerning immateriality:

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Serotonin (or whatever variant of chemicals and such) is not qua happiness. There is the inner experience of it!

And how do you know that this 'inner experience' is anything other than how you experience these neurotransmitters? Can you explain just how you 'experience' an 'immaterial mind' without stealing the concept of materialism?

If not, what sense can we make of your claim?

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You want evidence? Next time you are happy, it's right fucking there.

You call that 'evidence'? Your emotional insistence that it 'feels' that way?

And how would you know how to compare how a materialist sensation of a physical brain 'ought to feel' vs how an immaterialist 'sensation' of an 'immmaterial mind" ought to feel?

It seems here that all you have is an argument to personal incredulity.

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Actually, we reach the conclusion that emotions are dependent on the brain state of an individual through direct evidence. There is not evidence that there is an immaterial consciousness in humans or animals or anything, for that matter.

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Again, the evidence is self-evident.

The evidence that consciousness is immaterial is self evident?

Did you really mean to say that?

If you did, you're confused. I'll show you:

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Unless I am talking to an automaton? How are you even thinking if you have no conciousness? Give me a break.

That only proves that consciousness qua consciousness is axiomatic... it shows us that that consciousness is required to question the existence of consciousness - ergo the axiomatic nature of consciousness is affirmed through retortion.

Nothing about the axiomatic nature of consciousness supports the claim that consciousness is immaterial.

There's literally no reason to believe that consciousness is immaterial - one only has arguments from ignorance vis the current state of neuroscience, combined with arguments to personal incredulity, which themselves are based on the irrational premise that one can 'know how a immaterial mind oughta feel'

If you do think that consciousness is immaterial, can you answer these three simple questions for me:

1) Can you show that anything exists other than matter or energy?
What are its "properties" - i.e. is it something natural? If not, how can we 'know" or "infer" anything about it. If we can't, what use is your 'hypothesis"? If it has no use, then why are we having this conversation?

2) How does something that is neither matter nor energy interact with our natural world?

3) How do you avoid violating the principle of conservation of energy? If no physical energy or mass is associated with "immaterial things", then there is a serious problem: a fundamental principle of physics is that any change in any physical entity is an acceleration requiring the expenditure of energy - but if these things have no matter or energy, where does the energy come from? what you have here is something akin to the impossibilty of perpetual motion - energy from nowhere. Dan Dennet states that these questions represent the fatal flaw in any dualistic argument (i.e. to immateriliaty) (- 1990 Consciousness Explained.)

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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reason_passion wrote:Is

reason_passion wrote:
Is happiness merely serotonin in the brain. Certainly, it *is* serotonin in the brain, but what about just the inner experience of it. Just because something *causes* happiness does not make it *happiness in itself*. There is the inner, immaterial realm of experience and emotions that is definable only on its own terms.

Really. Then get to it: explain to us how you can experience something immaterial.. and be sure not to steal the concept of materiality while doing so. To help you out, you can just answer the three questions above...

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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pkremida wrote:If you are

pkremida wrote:
If you are just your brain and body, then why do you even refer to it as "your" body?

For the same reason that we say 'god bless you' when someone sneezes - because socially inculcated behaviors continue on long after the original philosophical or theological motive is no longer considered a valid view of reality.

To actually hold to such archiac cultural behaviors as an implicit acceptance of the original underlying motive is simply irrational....

Oh, I just caught this comment from you, from another post:

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Quantum physics has disproven hard scientific materialism

Not sure why you feel the need to use the term 'hard' materialism as opposed to plain materialism... seems you want to create a strawman here and imply that materialism is somehow a dogma.

Anyway... leaving that aside, can you demonstrate just how quantum physics 'disproves' materialism? Can you cite me a physicist who holds that there is proof of immateriality?

Oh, and assuming that 'hard materialism' has been disproven, I'm guessing you'll be able to answer the questions above....

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that most atheists seem to cling to, not to mention determinism.

Quantum indeterminancy hasn't exactly overthrown determinism.... induction is alive and well.... as for using the term 'cling'... you're arguments reek of unfounded rhetoric - why must you use the term 'cling' when there are clearly rational reasons for holding to determinism?

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Keep thinking.

Start thinking. Drop the rhetoric, and get to giving us a rational argument.

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Nuclear physicists have seen

Nuclear physicists have seen subatomic particles actually disappear based on the observer. Quatum physics has shown reality to be a probalistic model, not a deterministic one. Quarks move in choatic patterns, and since they are the basis for all matter, puts the deterministic model into question.

As far as inner experience goes, I just broke out the Ken Wilber and I'm going to try to explain this the best I can, even though you have already made up your mind, and seem to have no interest in ever changing it. May I suggest putting the condescending tone to the side when trying to show one the light? You will catch more bees with honey, you know. In another post you refuted this by bringing up that tons of liberals listen to Rush Limbaugh. Right, can you tell me how many just listen and get infuriated and how many listen are converted? Just because somebody is listening doesn't mean they are understanding/empathising/agreeing. But that's another issue. My point is, be nice. Even on the internet it is fun.

On to my explanation of inner experience. Which is really Ken Wilber's...

All modes of observation can only represent things that can be seen with the physical senses or their extensions (microscopes, telescopes). They are all, all of them, how the universe looks from the *outside*. The are all the *outward forms* of evolution, and not one of them represents how evolution looks from the *inside*, how the individual entities feel and perceive and cognize the world at various stages.
For example, take the progression: irritability, sensation, perception, impulse, image, symbol, concept...We might believe that cells show protoplasmic irritability, that plants show rudimentary sensation, the reptiles show perception, paleomammals show images, primates show symbols, and humans show concepts. That may be true (it is true, I think), but the point is that *none* of those can be seen from the outside. We can only see their effects. Our view (thus far) show only the outward forms of evolution, and none of the corresponding "interior prehensions" of the forms themselves (sensation, feelings, ideas, etc.)
So how we have viewed the world is not wrong, but just terribly partial. They leave out the insides of the universe.
And there is a reason for this. The general systems sciences seek to be empirical, or based on sensory evidence (or its extensions). And thus they are interested in how cells are taken up into complex organisms, and how organisms are parts of ecological environments, and so on - all of which you can *see*, and thus all of which you can investigate empirically. And all of which is true enough.
But they are not interested in - because their empirical methods do not cover - how sensations are taken up into perceptions, and perceptions give way to impulses and emotions, and emotions break forth into images, and images expand to symbols...The empirical systems sciences cover all of the outward forms of all that, and cover it very well; they simply miss, and leave out entirely, the *inside* of all of that.
Take, for example, the mind and the brain. Whatever else we may decide about the brain and the mind, this much seems certain: the brain, according to MacLean, is a triune brain with a reptilian, paleomammalian, and neomammalian levels. But my mind does not look like that. I know my mind from the *inside*, where it seems to be seething with sensations and feelings and images and ideas. It looks nothing like the triune system I just described, which is simply how my brain looks.
In other words, my mind is known interiorly "by acquaintance," but my brain is known exteriorly "by description" (William James, Bertrand Russell). That is why I can always to some degree see my own mind, but I can never see my own brain (without cutting open my skull and getting a mirror). I can know a dead person's brain simply by cutting open the skull and lookinga t it - but then I am not *knowing* or sharing that person's mind, am I? or how he felt and perceived and thought about the world.
The brain is the outside, the mind is the inside - and, a similar type of exterior/interior holds for everything in evolution. And the empirical systems sciences or ecological sciences, even though they claim to be holistic, in fact cover exactly and only one half of the Kosmos. And that is especially what is so partial about the web-of-life theories: they indeed see fields within fields within fields, but they are really only surfaces within surfaces within yet still other surfaces - they see only the exterior half of reality.
Understand, that when I say "immaterial", I just mean that which cannot be observed by that other than the observer.
This may seem strange. How, for example, can we know the insides of a cell? The "interiority" of a cell? The answer, I believe, rests on the fact that cells are a *part* of us, we *embrace* cells in our own compund individuality. That is, *nothing* in the preceding stages of evolution cam be ultimately foreign to us since thay are all, in various degrees and ways, *in* us, as part of our very being. (This is based on some of Habermas's evolutionary theories, which Wilber covers and interprets at length)
Spinoza, Leibniz, Schopenhauer, Whitehead, Aurobindo, Schelling, and Radhakrishnan are just a few of the major theorists who have explicity recognized that the within of things, the interiority of individual holons, is in essence the same as *conciousness*, though of course they use different names with slightly different meanings.

Does this clear things up? Instead of just assuming that I am irrational (I am not, I am very strictly rational. Perhaps I am not expressing myself clearly and carefully enough, but my beliefs are perfectly rational. I would argue more rational than yours , but then that's the point of argument now isn't it?) just ask questions for clarity.

I would also like to point out that "god bless you" and "I experience my neurons" are completely different social phenomenon. The deeper question I wish to ask is *what* are you? What defines a *you*? A person? If it is just what can be observed by the outside, then there is very little that separates your personhood from that of a cadaver or automaton.

Look, I am an atheist just like you. I just have a different view of atheism. I would appreciate if you wouldn't be so hostile and condescending in your responses, and I assure you that you will create more rational people in the world that way. After all, you quote Socrates in your sig. The Socratic method still works!


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pkremid wrote: Nuclear

pkremid wrote: Nuclear physicists have seen subatomic particles actually disappear based on the observer. Quatum physics has shown reality to be a probalistic model, not a deterministic one. Quarks move in choatic patterns, and since they are the basis for all matter, puts the deterministic model into question.

Unfortunately this is another case in which someone with little to no educational background picks up a theory and runs with it, without knowing what they're actually talking about. Quantum theory is mathematics at its finest and even those theorists who propose it are very careful in saying that at best it may describe reality only at the subatomic level. While it is true that the fundamental thinking that the universe is deterministic has been altered by quantum theory, it in no way has been done away with. Newtonian physics is still accurate, but only in context. The problem is one of language, i.e. the descriptive devices used to describe larger forces like gravity simply do not work at the subatomic level and hence a new paradigm needs to be created.

pkremida wrote: The are all the *outward forms* of evolution, and not one of them represents how evolution looks from the *inside*, how the individual entities feel and perceive and cognize the world at various stages.

Mr. Wilbur is unfortunately, at least how his thinking is being shown here, completely unaware of his own metaphysical assumptions. Again, as was mentioned in my previous post in which I quoted pkremida and then refuted her claim, a point lost on the other in this discussion, Wilbur is another case like Chalmers of a naturalistic dualism. To begin discussion of any "entities feelings and perceptions" is to ignore the various means by which organisms differ. In the haphazard way that these words are being used, it infers that all entities think, feel and perceive like humans do, which is patently absurd. A rock has no more ability to perceive than a leaf does, not in any sense that makes perception intelligible. Granted, Mr. Wilbur may be going down the path of Liebniz's windowless monads, but I hope not as that was thoroughly debunked by Kant.

pkremida wrote: In other words, my mind is known interiorly "by acquaintance," but my brain is known exteriorly "by description" (William James, Bertrand Russell). That is why I can always to some degree see my own mind, but I can never see my own brain (without cutting open my skull and getting a mirror).

Having recently finished a study on James and Russell, it is a sad thing here to see their names associated with a theory they would in no way agree with. Again, if my previous post had actually been read and addressed, there would be no point here. Words are largely indexical in usage, they "point to" something, but that something does not necessarily possess independent existence. James and Russell would only agree with this theory of Wilbur's in the sense of being an examination of the different lingual paradigms being used, but not as saying there is any metaphysical difference between the mind and brain.

pkremida wrote: The brain is the outside, the mind is the inside - and, a similar type of exterior/interior holds for everything in evolution.

Not much more needs to be said about this than already mentioned. The assumption here, again, is that there is a metaphysical difference between mind and brain, a fact not at all substantiated. The mistake here is in assuming that simply because a word is being used it must imply some sort of ontologically independent existence, but that is completely unwarranted as seen in the example of a unicorn, a creature that can be described but does not in fact exist in any sense outside of an imaginative construct.

As a sidepoint, it is curious here to point out that in all of the language being used to describe the mind, it all has to do with physical directions; the mind is "inside" , implicitly giving credence to the point that the mind is simply an indexical term pointing to a process going on in the brain and not a thing in itself.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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What about memories,

What about memories, imagined objects or scenerios, mental fantasy? These are certainly observed, but only by the observer. So there are things that are real that are not material and only exist to the subject. We might be able to do some sort of brain scan in order to see which neurons are firing in the brain as these mental images arise, but only the individual can see the image. Thing like these, and emotions, have physical causes in the brain. But the physical observable part is only half of the equation, the experiential part is the other half. Love is not a material thing we can observe. We can see its physical manifestation and the brain and the effects of love, but we cannot see love itself (this is true for other emotions). I don't have to appeal to any supernatural or mystical thing to know that I have the inner experience of sensation, emotion, and mental images which can only be observed by me.


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I truly wonder sometimes if

I truly wonder sometimes if certain people are capable of rational criticism. In no way was I saying that you were appealing to a supernatural cause to describe feelings, etc. In fact, I explicitly said that what you were promoting was a type of naturalistic dualism as put forth historically by Liebniz and more recently by David Chalmers.

Again, I find huge misunderstanding here about neurology and blatant assumptions about metaphysics that aren't being explicitly acknowledged. You assume that since experiences are individualistic then they must be immaterial as someone cannot do a brainscan and see it for themselves. This assumption only works if you believe that experience has a one-to-one relationship with neurons, a position that has long since been given up since the advent of studies and theorizing of Edelman in his "theory of neuronal group selection". Emotions, and experience in general (a point here concerning experience, as there is no such thing as experience in the sense of a thing in itself, but only particular experiences qualifiedly described) are aspects of neuronal processes and in no way must coincide with any particular neuronal structure or group of neurons.

Again, you are not paying attention to how you are using words. In saying you "observe" what is going on "inside" your head, what exactly do you mean by that? The terms, if loosely used, automatically create a bias towards a separate entity viewing the inner workings of teh brain, but this is an assumption and is not a necessary way of looking at things. Brain cysts in the frontal lobes of patients have shown to have the effect of removing the entire ability of cognitive reporting, the so-called "inner viewing" that you are describing. If you were correct, absolutely no change to the brain should affect the ability of someone to describe themselves, when this in fact is not the case.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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I'm capable of rational

I'm capable of rational criticism. Perhaps we don't understand each other. Or maybe I don't understand you. Or maybe you just don't understand me. Either way, let's play nice, shall we?

I don't understand how I am assuming that mental images or immaterial. I do not mean this as a criticism, I seriously do not understand. Could you explain further? By one-to-one relationship with neurons. do you mean a gap between self and brain, or mind and body? What are the theories/discoveries of Edelman and how do they refute this type of view of a one-to-one relationship?

Now, I am going to go on and respond based on what I understood of your post. If I misunderstood you, I am sorry. As far as the questions go, just answer them as if I am the most extreme of dullards, I have no problem having new things explained to me simply. I am only interested in believing what is true. And if what I believe is not true, then I am happy to cast it aside.

I am only saying that when the neuronal process, or whatever physical manifestation of [insert experience here] happen, that is the view from the outside. But then there is the view from the inside of [insert brain state here] which is only seen/felt/experienced by the subject. I actually am not a proponent of any sort of dualism (I have read several books on the mind/body problem, took a course on it as part of my philosophy degree), I am only a propenent of the inner side of outside events. I have always associated dualism with appealing to a sort of supernatural thing. Like Descartes' link between the brain and the soul at the base of the skull. That is why I said that. I believe that the inner and the outer are one in the same phenomenon, and you cannot have one without the other.

When I claim to observe what is going on inside my head, I mean that I am aware of and can think critically about of my thoughts, mental images, emotions, etc. I am only talking about self awareness, and awareness of self awareness, and so on. I do not believe that I am separate from my brain, I believe that I experience the workings of my brain. Language does make this difficult to express without implying a sort of dualism. My brain is me. The workings of it are me. The view of these workings that only I experience are my view only. When my brain undergoes a process and i see "kite" in my mind's eye, i am the only one that can see it. That is, my brain is the only thing that can see it. The image I see in my mind's eye is the inner view of the neuronal process, the neuronal process is the outer view.

Your point about cysts does not refute what I am trying to express. Since the outer view (neuronal process) is not possible with those cysts present, then neither is the inner view, since they are one in the same phenomenon "seen" from a different angle. I am finding it very hard to express this in a way in which the language does not seem to imply a sort of dualism. I'll try it this way - Neuronal processes are only one half of a whole phenomenon. There is the half that anybody can see, and that half is the neuronal processes. There is the half that only the processor can see, that is the experience of any brain state by the brain. It is immaterial in the sense that this half of this one thing cannot be objectively verified. It can only be subjectively verified. The material world can be seen by all. The "immaterial" world can be seen by only one. But these two things, inner and outer, are two different halves of one thing.

Does this clear things up? Have I misundestood you? Or have you misunderstood me?

Again, I am only interested in believing what is true. If what I believe is shown to be false then I will happily cast it aside.


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pkremida wrote:Nuclear

pkremida wrote:
Nuclear physicists have seen subatomic particles actually disappear based on the observer. Quatum physics has shown reality to be a probalistic model, not a deterministic one.

No, it's shown that the quantum level is probablistic - not 'reality'. It's a fallacy of composition to apply these results to the macro level.

So you've not given us anything that unseats determinism... which is good... because if you did, then there' be no point in us talking.... seeing as neither of us could expect to be able to cause a change in the other's thinking...

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Quarks move in choatic patterns, and since they are the basis for all matter, puts the deterministic model into question.

Again, this is known as a fallacy of composition. You are applying a phenonemon observed on the subatomic level to the macro level world. You've not justified leaping from the quantum level to the macro level.

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As far as inner experience goes, I just broke out the Ken Wilber

Ah yes! The purveyor of the ultimate one-ness, and the ultimate destroyer of evil Satan of reductionism!

Seriously, I've read several of his works, going back to 1996. I do hope you realize how poorly informed he is in the sciences, particularly biology (amazingly enough) and how much of a strawman his arguments against materialism are....

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and I'm going to try to explain this the best I can, even though you have already made up your mind,

Quit making judgements about me, please.

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and seem to have no interest in ever changing it.

All I'm doing is challenging you to back up your claims. Odd that you read this as dogma on my part.

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May I suggest putting the condescending tone to the side when trying to show one the light?

You're the one who asserted a bunch of things as if they were dogmas that the world must simply accept uncritically.... I'm just challenging you on your claims.

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You will catch more bees with honey, you know.

I guess this rule only applies to me and not you?

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In another post you refuted this by bringing up that tons of liberals listen to Rush Limbaugh. Right, can you tell me how many just listen and get infuriated and how many listen are converted?

The point here was to demonstrate that contentious behavior draws attention. Notice how much you're focusing on what you consider to be contentious behavior. See?

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On to my explanation of inner experience. Which is really Ken Wilber's... All modes of observation can only represent things that can be seen with the physical senses or their extensions (microscopes, telescopes). They are all, all of them, how the universe looks from the *outside*. The are all the *outward forms* of evolution, and not one of them represents how evolution looks from the *inside*, how the individual entities feel and perceive and cognize the world at various stages.

I wouldn't deny that we can make a distinction between behaviors and first person phenomenology. But I want to stress to you here that nothing about this distinction points to there being anything other than matter.... there's no argument for immateriality here... first person experience is 'experience' - i.e. how a material, sentient brain feels itself....

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For example, take the progression: irritability, sensation, perception, impulse, image, symbol, concept...We might believe that cells show protoplasmic irritability, that plants show rudimentary sensation, the reptiles show perception, paleomammals show images, primates show symbols, and humans show concepts. That may be true (it is true, I think), but the point is that *none* of those can be seen from the outside.

Well, what you mean is that we can't detect these things from the third person perspective - i.e. the behavioral approach.

Well, yes, we can't know these things phenomenologically - i.e. in a 1st person perspective, that is true... But clearly, it's an overstatement to say that NONE of this can be known from the outside.... if that were true, then how would we know about such things as celluar irritability in the first place? By the logic Wilber gives, I'd need to be a one celled organism in order to know about celluar irritability, wouldn't I?

So cleary we are able to infer some things about the 'inside' from looking from the outside... So clearly Wilber is overstepping himself here.... About all that is valid in Wilber's view is that the pure materialist view leaves out phenomenological data -But materialists know this! They simply choose to focus their gaze here.... and Wilber acts as if there are no materialist combining behavioral methods with phenomenological methods... which is simply silly....

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So how we have viewed the world is not wrong, but just terribly partial.

Oh no, not Wilber's complaint about the 'bloody monological gaze of materialism'!

The only problem with his claim - for him - is that it's false. Sells books though....

Now, it may be that science focuses more on behavior than it does on phenomenology, but it's simply a strawman to say that science doesn't do what it can to deal with both. Wilber treats both concepts as if they are at war with each other..... as if materialists refuse to consider holism or phenomenology, and oppose it like muslims opposing infidels! The reality is that holism and phenomenology are tools in the toolkit of science, just as behaviorism and reductionism are! I can't tell you how many studies that I myself have been involved in that look at both behavioral and phenomenological data.... in fact, the pragmatic method is quite popular in psychology today... and that's just my field...

Oh, and again, none of this is a support for the existence of immateriality...

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They leave out the insides of the universe.

Not really. A behavioral focus can take place at any level... we can focus on the societal level, the level of the individual, or even within the individual - the organ level, the celluar level.. or as you have earlier, the micro and quantum levels.... each is 'inside' of the other....

Yes, this doesn't give us insight into the first person perspective... that is why we must combine the third person view with the phenomenological report from the first person view.

But again, none of this supports the existence of immateriality.

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And there is a reason for this. The general systems sciences seek to be empirical, or based on sensory evidence (or its extensions). And thus they are interested in how cells are taken up into complex organisms, and how organisms are parts of ecological environments, and so on - all of which you can *see*, and thus all of which you can investigate empirically. And all of which is true enough.

Which is why actual science is multi-modal..... science need not be simply behavioral/external in the sense that Wilber mistakenly believes it is. Science can and does also look into phenomenology. It's a myth that concepts like reductionism and holism must be 'at war' with each other, and that science is mainly reductionist. Both concepts are tools that can be used by the same investigator while looking into the same phenomenon.

Wilber's critique of science was one of my problem with Wilber - particurarly in 'Brief History of Everything" - his view of science was a straw man.... In fact, to further demonstrate how woefully unprepared he was to criticize science, you'll find that he actually endorsed irreducible complexity in BHOE. He even uses the 'half a wing' argument and he claims, straight out, that 'most everyone today takes a teleological perspective on evolution!' Bullshit! What a holon!

As smart as he is, he's flawed on many issues... which ought to expected considering how difficult it is to be an expert on 'everything''

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But they are not interested in - because their empirical methods do not cover - how sensations are taken up into perceptions, and perceptions give way to impulses and emotions, and emotions break forth into images, and images expand to symbols...

ll of the concepts you have discussed are amenable to empiricism.. in fact, how could we even know these concepts existed unless we were able to 'sense' them?! Sensations are physical. Perceptions are physical - photons, sound waves, are physical things, striking physical organs in our physical bodies. Imagary takes place in physical brains - in neurons. Ablate a neural area and you eradicate a cognitve ability.

Emotions, impulses, these are physical. Everything you've mentioned here is empirical, and amenable to scientific investigation. There are branches of neuroscience or fields like semiotics that deal with all of these issues. Each one of them. The idea that science not interested in these things because empirical methods do not cover them, is not just false, its blatant ignorance parading as reason...

There's also a stolen concept fallacy in all of this... to talk of sensing or feeling is to talk of matter.

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Take, for example, the mind and the brain. Whatever else we may decide about the brain and the mind, this much seems certain: the brain, according to MacLean, is a triune brain with a reptilian, paleomammalian, and neomammalian levels.

All of these strata of the brain, up to the neo cortex, are physical.

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But my mind does not look like that.

Again, you'ret presuming that you *know* how a physical brain 'ought' to feel as opposed to how an immaterial mind 'ought' to feel.

If you actually do, then you can answer my three questions.

Your presumption, of course, is rationally groundless. It's just an argument from personal incredulity, based on a false presumption.. it's just a feeling you have....

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I know my mind from the *inside*, where it seems to be seething with sensations and feelings and images and ideas.

All of this is physical.

If you disagree, give an argument supporting immateriality.

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It looks nothing like the triune system I just described,

Really? Why not? Give me a postive ontology for immateriality, so we can make the comparison.

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In other words, my mind is known interiorly "by acquaintance," but my brain is known exteriorly "by description" (William James, Bertrand Russell).

Again, all you are doing is describing first person vs third person experience. This does nothing to demonstrate immateriality.. it merely shows that it feels different to be you, as oppposed to a chair across the room from you.

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That is why I can always to some degree see my own mind, but I can never see my own brain (without cutting open my skull and getting a mirror).

You've not shown that your is differnt from your brain. You've only asserted that it feels different.... but you can't explain how matter ought to feel vs how immateriality ought to feel...

If you have an argument otherwise, give it. So far, you've confused first person vs third person as an argument for immateriality...

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I would also like to point out that "god bless you" and "I experience my neurons" are completely different social phenomenon.

No shit?

The point of the analogy was to show that we accept social terms like 'my brain' without necessariy endorsing the original intent - in this case, an acceptance of dualism.

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The deeper question I wish to ask is *what* are you?

No, what you are really trying to do is play word games based on the fact that "I/me/mine" speech is dualistic.

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What defines a *you*? A person? If it is just what can be observed by the outside, then there is very little that separates your personhood from that of a cadaver or automaton.

again, your argument is based on interpreting first person/third person distinctions as evidence for immateriality....

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Look, I am an atheist just like you. I just have a different view of atheism. I would appreciate if you wouldn't be so hostile and condescending in your responses,

I'm sorry if you feel attacked.... but you do put forth your claims as if they are unquestionable and blatantly obvious... so perhaps that plays a role here in how you interpret my supposed hostile intentions... maybe you're feeling a bit hostile and condescending yourself?

Anyway, I invite you to drop all of that and just focus on the issues...

Here's a paper I wrote on wilber years ago:

http://www.candleinthedark.com/wilber.html

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


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pkremida wrote:What about

pkremida wrote:
What about memories, imagined objects or scenerios, mental fantasy? These are certainly observed, but only by the observer.

How do you observe something immaterial? Inquiring minds.. er, brains want to know.

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So there are things that are real that are not material and only exist to the subject.

Sorry, but this is a non sequitur. The fact that there is a difference in how you experience your neural activity from how a scientist viewing your neurons views it, does not make your experience immaterial. It only means that you sense your neurons differently as a physical brain, as opposed to a set of eyes merely visually observing neural activity.

There's nothing here that supports immateriality.

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We might be able to do some sort of brain scan in order to see which neurons are firing in the brain as these mental images arise, but only the individual can see the image.

if he 'sees' an 'image' then he's having a physical experience.... an interaction in his physical brain....

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Thing like these, and emotions, have physical causes in the brain. But the physical observable part is only half of the equation, the experiential part is the other half. Love is not a material thing we can observe.

- How do you know when you are in love then?

Wouldn't you have to feel your feelings and interpert them with yoru brain? Aren't these processes physical, even if you keep them secret?

- How do you know when someone else is in love then?

Wouldn't you need to observe their behaviors, compare it to 'non love behaviors' and infer something from these behaviors?

- How could we ever know anyone was in love?

See above.

- How would you know love exists?

Wouldn't you have to learn it, through observation - which is physical, or hearing about it, which is audible/lingustic?:

- How could you know that that experience you are having, is equitable to what I think 'love' is?

which involves what I just said above...

See the problems here?

Every aspect of 'love' is material... the neurochemicals, your body's interpretation of them, your cognitions, and your behaviors. We know about love because "love' is how we interpret a set of physical behaviors, from the neurochemical level to the cognitive level to the interpersonal level....

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We can see its physical manifestation and the brain and the effects of love, but we cannot see love itself (this is true for other emotions).

No. If this were, there would be no psychology. Fortunately, emotions, like all other existents, are physical - so we have means to detect them.

We shouldn't call something 'immaterial' when we really just mean 'subjective' - although most emotions are actually inter-subjective rather than intra-subjective.

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I don't have to appeal to any supernatural or mystical thing to know that I have the inner experience of sensation, emotion, and mental images which can only be observed by me.

But this only makes it subjective, not immaterial.

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


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reason_passion wrote:pkremid

reason_passion wrote:
pkremid wrote: Nuclear physicists have seen subatomic particles actually disappear based on the observer. Quatum physics has shown reality to be a probalistic model, not a deterministic one. Quarks move in choatic patterns, and since they are the basis for all matter, puts the deterministic model into question.

Unfortunately this is another case in which someone with little to no educational background picks up a theory and runs with it, without knowing what they're actually talking about. Quantum theory is mathematics at its finest and even those theorists who propose it are very careful in saying that at best it may describe reality only at the subatomic level. While it is true that the fundamental thinking that the universe is deterministic has been altered by quantum theory, it in no way has been done away with. Newtonian physics is still accurate, but only in context.

Precisely, his argument is a fallacy of composition.

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pkremida wrote: The are all the *outward forms* of evolution, and not one of them represents how evolution looks from the *inside*, how the individual entities feel and perceive and cognize the world at various stages.

Mr. Wilber is unfortunately, at least how his thinking is being shown here, completely unaware of his own metaphysical assumptions.


Anyone who thinks that they could write a brief history of everything is likely to make more than just a few presumptuous assumptions...

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pkremida wrote: In other words, my mind is known interiorly "by acquaintance," but my brain is known exteriorly "by description" (William James, Bertrand Russell). That is why I can always to some degree see my own mind, but I can never see my own brain (without cutting open my skull and getting a mirror).

Having recently finished a study on James and Russell, it is a sad thing here to see their names associated with a theory they would in no way agree with. Again, if my previous post had actually been read and addressed, there would be no point here. Words are largely indexical in usage, they "point to" something, but that something does not necessarily possess independent existence.

Yes, good points....

Quote:

pkremida wrote: The brain is the outside, the mind is the inside - and, a similar type of exterior/interior holds for everything in evolution.

Not much more needs to be said about this than already mentioned. The assumption here, again, is that there is a metaphysical difference between mind and brain, a fact not at all substantiated. The mistake here is in assuming that simply because a word is being used it must imply some sort of ontologically independent existence, but that is completely unwarranted as seen in the example of a unicorn, a creature that can be described but does not in fact exist in any sense outside of an imaginative construct.

Bingo.

Quote:

As a sidepoint, it is curious here to point out that in all of the language being used to describe the mind, it all has to do with physical directions; the mind is "inside" , implicitly giving credence to the point that the mind is simply an indexical term pointing to a process going on in the brain and not a thing in itself.

Indeed... Again, immaterialists must steal the concept of materialism in every move they make, and every breathe they take.... sorry....

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Again, any immaterialist can

Again, any immaterialist can answer these questions for me:

There's literally no reason to believe that consciousness is immaterial - one only has arguments from ignorance vis the current state of neuroscience, combined with arguments to personal incredulity, which themselves are based on the irrational premise that one can 'know how a immaterial mind oughta feel'

If you do think that consciousness is immaterial, can you answer these three simple questions for me:

1) Can you show that anything exists other than matter or energy?
What are its "properties" - i.e. is it something natural? If not, how can we 'know" or "infer" anything about it. If we can't, what use is your 'hypothesis"? If it has no use, then why are we having this conversation?

2) How does something that is neither matter nor energy interact with our natural world?

3) How do you avoid violating the principle of conservation of energy? If no physical energy or mass is associated with "immaterial things", then there is a serious problem: a fundamental principle of physics is that any change in any physical entity is an acceleration requiring the expenditure of energy - but if these things have no matter or energy, where does the energy come from? what you have here is something akin to the impossibilty of perpetual motion - energy from nowhere. Dan Dennet states that these questions represent the fatal flaw in any dualistic argument (i.e. to immateriliaty) (- 1990 Consciousness Explained.)

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Todangst, I really love the

Todangst, I really love the stuff you write. I'm serious, that is not sarcasm.

I need to re-read your posts to address your points specifically. I think that my last post might make my position more clear, and that I don't endorse and mind/body dualism of any sort.

Thanks for your thoughts.


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Answering questions.

1.) Yes, Conciousness. But it is only known and evidenced experientially. You are asking it to me proven on material terms when it can only be proven on immaterial terms. This is like trying to explain love with math.

2.) It isn't an interaction, it is the same phenomena (brain states) seen from the inside and can only be observed by the observer. You cannot have one the outside without the inside, and you cannot have the inside without the outside. They are two halves of the same thing, unlike any sort of Cartesian mind/body dualism.

3.) There is energy associated with it. It is expressed in the outside view of brain states and neurochemical reactions. The inside, immaterial view would be impossible without the outside material reactions. The immaterial is just one half of a phenomenon that does not violate the principle of the violation of energy. It is a viewpoint that cannot be objectively tested for. We can only see its effects.


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Thought this would be relevant

Among other thigns, what differentiates life from non-life is that in an animate system, something can go wrong, which introduces the possibility of *pathology* into the Kosmos. Prior to the appearance of life, we cannto speak of pathology, of things going wrong; there are no diseased stars, no dysfunctional galaxies, no disordered and victimized rocks. Inanimate nature accomplishes nothing, and is therefore infallible, incapable of making a mistake. But as Polanyi points out, "a living function has a result which it may achieve or fail to achieve." And "Achievement", "Sucess," "attainment," whatever you with to call it, these are *values* that do not exist prior to the appearance of life, and are unexplainable in terms of any principle known to physics. From the standpoint of physics, a living system is nothing more than a statistically rare lump of matter; there is actually no principle in physics that can tell us wheter or not something is "living" much less "meaningful."

Current evolutionary theory also does not speak of such values, in fact, banishes them from its purview. There is no higher or lower, no better or worse, no direction or aim in nature. True, biologists do speak of the value of *survival*, and survival is not a concept that we generally apply to the inanimate. But all survival is nevertheless value-neutral, even tautologous, in the sense that survival is equivalent to survival and does not surpass itself: the survival of bacteria is no better than the survival of human beings (and in fact, ranking biological entities in terms of the value of survivability, human beings would undoubtedly fall below insects, bacteria, and Fidel Castro).

It seems pointless to hold an ideology so counter to the way we actually live in and experience the world. Indeed, no one but the autistic, the sociopath, and the dogmatic materialist actually thinking of life in this bloodless, value-free way. However, even the most uncompromomising materialist cannot really think of himself "as a simply aggregate of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, and other elements to which he is reducible to chemically," but as "a creation consisting of more than the sum of all of these..." In fact, it is more interesting to contemplate the source of a materialist's passion for truth - which, let's face it, is a fervent metaphysical quest, however misguided - than it is to evaluate the fruitfulness or intellectual viability of a belief in blind materialism.

But deep down, no one really believes any of this - the barren idea that one may logically devote "one's life to the purpose of proving that there is no purpose." Beneath the veneer of academic correctness, beneath the counter-reaction to some naive or distorted version of religion inculated in childhood, we all intuitively understand that human beings are by far the most interesting and unexpected fact of evolution, the most philosophically arresting and that only humans can look at themselves and conclude that, after all, it's not so odd that a dead universe should come to life and start wondering about itself.

According to Polyani, even if we agree with standard evolutionary theory that living systems are really nothing ore than "darwinian machines," we must acknoledge taht the operation or any machine relies upon the prescence of two distinct principles. Specifically, a machine involves the imposition of boundry conditions on the underlying laws of physics and chemistry in order to harness theri workings. Analogously, the notes in a musical scale do not by themselves compose a symphony, or the letters of the alphabet compose worlds, sentences, and paragraphs. Rather, at each level of development, a higher principle exploits what is left open on the lower level, imposing boundary conditions on it in order to produce something higher. We cannot understand a great poem or work of music by focusing our attention on the individual notes or words that constitute it. Rather, in order to understand a work of art, we must blind ourselves to its particulars and see past them, toward the wholeness that reveals the meaning of the particulars.

The same is true in our attempt to comprehend the phenomenon of life. All of the parts of a healthy, living entity point toward and converge upon the whole organism. If we study only the parts themselves, we specifically lose sight of what they are pointing toward, their meaning: the living organism. Not only does conventional biology fail to follow the arrow that the particulars are pointing toward and converging upon, but it introduces its own reverse arrow, which points toward the even smaller, less meaningful particulars of physical and chemical reality. But there is actually nothing at all barring us from viewing life as a transcendent, cosmic power, and irreducible, dynamic *whole* that reveals the meaning of the parts that constitute it, parts that we mistakenly thought were just floating around meaninglessly in the universe until life revealed otherwise.


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this is ridiculous

First, it would be incredibly good of you to write something in your own words, for at least then the rest of us could at least say that you have been studying it and understood it in such a way that you could put it back out as your own thought. Instead, this is merely blatant regurgitation that clearly shows an inability of logical analysis. None of the points todangst or I have made have been addressed. instead, you continue quoting people without understanding that they're missing the point over and over again.

It is quite clear that your continued usage of the term "immaterial" is at the very least not being understood by you as meaning what it in fact does mean, i.e. non-material and hence non-natural. Instead, it would seem that you're using it as a reference term to describe that is going on "inside" the body. Not only has this not been properly explained, but all referentially contextual issues that I and todangst have said against this nieve thinking have not been addressed.

Also, while I am aware that you mentioned the fact that you've never heard of dualism as being anything but the Cartesian variety, this is simply a gap in your knowledge. You are, in fact, promoting a type of dualism, it being natural and unfortunately it holds no more credibility than the Cartesian type. Dualism, to exist, must have only one basic point, that being there exists two essential elements of existence that are are metaphysically different. This can be done as witnessed in Leibniz, Schopenhaeur, and the recent Chalmers while maintaining a naturalistic disposition, i.e. without delving into the supernatural.

Again, in this post, you blatantly refuse to acknowledge the excluded middle fallacy that you are promoting. This, no doubt, is due to simply cutting and pasting from other people, but I would think you'd actually read the previous posts to know that todangst and I have pointed out the fallacy in thinking there must be some kind of "inner reality" or blind materialism, without any option in-between. The fact is, you've created a paradigm that only the most socially inept physicist would agree to, namely, that all of life is mere purposeless matter without any hope at all of meaning. First of all, the purpose behind science is not to give meaning, but rather to describe and analyze so saying that it doesn't give meaning is like faulting a toilet for not washing your hands when you're done, that's not its point. Second, meaning is not inherent in the cosmos, it is a creation of ourselves, human beings, the only known creature capable of thinking of its own existence in the way that we do. hence, to be a materialist is not to necessarily give up meaning, as the two points answer different questions; materialism answers the metaphysic question, meaning answers the ethical question.

Please do try to actually read the posts and think about your position, perhaps by beginning to see your unvoiced assumptions and not quoting other thinkers like they were holy men.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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the idea that you alone

the idea that you alone experience emotions and mental images, in your nebulous "mind", and merely looking at a brain doesn't allow someone else to "see" that going on is an incomplete point and proves nothing. why? because the machine has not yet been invented that can keep a human brain alive while at the same time, delving into it at the cellular or even atomic level, tapping into active neuron groups, and then transmitting and organizing the impulses into an image on a screen.
this all also ignores the fact that outward sight is merely a transmission of light-energy data from the receptors in the eyes to the brain, which then processes that and forms what you see. so sight is not in your eyes, it's a function of your brain. your eyes merely collect the data. so since the brain contains the imaging properties, so could it, in conjunction with its imaginative functions, create its own imagery without any ocular input.
the answer to the question of what is the possessor of "my body", is the brain, while "my brain" is the result of exactly the kind of misunderstanding of 'consciousness' that pkrmedia is having right now.
'what you are', your 'self', is the organization of processes, at first influenced by environmental factors, and then built upon with the addition of 'experiences' (memory), this organization finally being referred to as a 'personality'.
hah, i've lost my self in introspection, which way is out? Eye-wink

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The questions:

pkremida wrote:
Todangst, I really love the stuff you write. I'm serious, that is not sarcasm.

I need to re-read your posts to address your points specifically. I think that my last post might make my position more clear, and that I don't endorse and mind/body dualism of any sort.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Well, ok, but you still do seem to be arguing for immateriality... and I'm guessing you aren't an idealist... so you accept the existence of matter, too, right?

Anyway, let's look at how you dealt with the questions:

1) Can you show that anything exists other than matter or energy?
What are its "properties" - i.e. is it something natural? If not, how can we 'know" or "infer" anything about it. If we can't, what use is your 'hypothesis"? If it has no use, then why are we having this conversation?

Your response:

pkremida wrote:
1.) Yes, Conciousness.

Sorry, but you can't just assume something is immaterial, and then assert it as an example. There's at least two logical fallacies in this:

1) You (implicitly) assume that consciousness is immaterial through an argument from ignorance - presumablyt because, in your estimation, neuroscience has not given an adequate account of consciousness.

2) You then beg the question that consciousness is immaterial, and then assert consciousness as an example of immateriality!

But you can't do that. You must first provide an ontology for your theory! By this, I mean that you have to first tell me what immateraility is, before you begin asserting that things are immaterial. And to do that, you must speak of immateriality in positive terms... now, as to how you can do that.... I haven't the foggiest...

Quote:

But it is only known and evidenced experientially. You are asking it to me prove on material terms when it can only be proven on immaterial terms.

I have an ulterior motive: I want you to see the problem here: that you can't give a postiive account of immateriality without stealing the concept of materiality. So, if you can't speak about immateriality in a coherent fashion, then how can you make any use of the term in any theory of the mind, or any theory at all?

Quote:

This is like trying to explain love with math.

This is a common response, however, it's based on another false presumption. Love is in fact a behavior - a set of cognitions, a set of actions - emotional reactions, interpersonal actions. We've already discussed this. And behaviors are physical. You can quantify behaviors. We can explain love, with math - at least in part. Miss X loves me, and I know this because she tends to do behaviors X, Y, and Z with me, more often than a stranger does. And so on...

But leaving that aside, if you want to complain that my question leads to a category error, (and you can) then please provide an alternate means of discussing immateriality. If you can't, then you must concede tha the term is incoherent, as it is a negative term devoid of any universe of discourse.

By this I mean the following: if you can only tell me what immateriality isn't, and there's nothing left over for it to be, then well, what's left for it to be?

Now onto question 2

2) How does something that is neither matter nor energy interact with our natural world?

Quote:

2.) It isn't an interaction, it is the same phenomena (brain states)

Then you must concede that functionalism gives the more parsimonious explanation, as it does not require any reference to incoherent terms like 'immateriality'

Quote:

seen from the inside and can only be observed by the observer. You cannot have one the outside without the inside, and you cannot have the inside without the outside. They are two halves of the same thing, unlike any sort of Cartesian mind/body dualism.

It seems like you are trying to argue for some form of supervenience. But I think that functionalism explains the 'mind' better as a function of the brain itself. So I don't see anything here that supports immateriality.

You only seem to be saying that there is a difference in experience from 1st person and 3rd person perspective. Materialism allows for this too.

question 3:

3) How do you avoid violating the principle of conservation of energy? If no physical energy or mass is associated with "immaterial things", then there is a serious problem: a fundamental principle of physics is that any change in any physical entity is an acceleration requiring the expenditure of energy - but if these things have no matter or energy, where does the energy come from? what you have here is something akin to the impossibilty of perpetual motion - energy from nowhere. Dan Dennet states that these questions represent the fatal flaw in any dualistic argument (i.e. to immateriliaty) (- 1990 Consciousness Explained.)

Quote:

3.) There is energy associated with it.

Then it is matter. E= MC2

Quote:

It is expressed in the outside view of brain states and neurochemical reactions. The inside, immaterial view would be impossible without the outside material reactions. The immaterial is just one half of a phenomenon that does not violate the principle of the violation of energy.

Sorry, but this is just a naked assertion! If immaterality isn't matter, then it cannot produce any action, in any way, without violating the principle.

Quote:

It is a viewpoint that cannot be objectively tested for. We can only see its effects.

If you can see it's effects, you can objectively test it. If you can see it's effects, then it is a cause. If it is a cause, then it requires energy.

I don't expect anyone to actually answer any of these questions, I consider it more a kobayashi maru test.... I enjoyed reading your comments.

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reason_passion wrote:First,

reason_passion wrote:
First, it would be incredibly good of you to write something in your own words, for at least then the rest of us could at least say that you have been studying it and understood it in such a way that you could put it back out as your own thought. Instead, this is merely blatant regurgitation that clearly shows an inability of logical analysis. None of the points todangst or I have made have been addressed. instead, you continue quoting people without understanding that they're missing the point over and over again.

It is quite clear that your continued usage of the term "immaterial" is at the very least not being understood by you as meaning what it in fact does mean, i.e. non-material and hence non-natural. Instead, it would seem that you're using it as a reference term to describe that is going on "inside" the body. Not only has this not been properly explained, but all referentially contextual issues that I and todangst have said against this nieve thinking have not been addressed.

Yes. His argument seems to conflate 1st person perspective with 'immateriality' - because of the inability of a 3rd person perspective to experience first person perspectives. But the fact that there is a difference between how you and I might potentially experience the neurons in my brain doesn't prove that first person experience of neurons is immaterial. It merely means that looking at a neuron isn't the same as being a set of neurons.

Also, he appears to reject dualism outwardly, why still implying it in his arguments... so I'm not sure if he's going for something along the lines of supervience...

Quote:

Also, while I am aware that you mentioned the fact that you've never heard of dualism as being anything but the Cartesian variety, this is simply a gap in your knowledge. You are, in fact, promoting a type of dualism, it being natural and unfortunately it holds no more credibility than the Cartesian type. Dualism, to exist, must have only one basic point, that being there exists two essential elements of existence that are are metaphysically different. This can be done as witnessed in Leibniz, Schopenhaeur, and the recent Chalmers while maintaining a naturalistic disposition, i.e. without delving into the supernatural.

Thanks for this info and for your analysis.

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it may also do well to

it may also do well to remind pkrmedia that, despite his/her assertions of atheism, what he/she is attempting to define as "consciousness" correlates pretty closely with what christianity attempts to define as "the holy spirit"......we have an outward perspective from our bodies because we are spirits, 'souls', inhabiting a shell of flesh.

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clarification

After reading my quotes given by todangst, I realized I needed to clarify a couple of things that I wrote. This is truly the problem of immediate posting and thankfully I'd never write anything so quickly for an academic paper.

To exist as a viable (though this does not mean legitimate) idea, dualism requires only one thing; ontologically separate entities. I previously used the term metaphysical, but that was an error, as it is clear that what is being promoted is a "naturalistic" dualism and hence the brain and consciousness are metaphysical similar by definition of being natural. What I mean by the use of ontology here is that the two parts are presented as not being necessarily of the same being. Let me try to explain: Cartesian dualism or any dualism of a spiritual kind presents consciousness or the soul as being capable of existing without the existence of the brain, it is sui generis. The naturalistic dualist does not agree with this and hence, to the casual reader, will seem as if they are escaping the problem, presenting consciousness as being "arisen" or, as Chalmers puts it, naturally but not logically supervenient upon the brain. In this thinking, while consciousness requires the specific neural substrate that homo sapiens possesses to exist, it is different in being enough that it does not necessarily or logically follow that it exists. The reason presented is phenomenology, i.e. the specific "feels" of the individual point to a new entity that while it would fade without the brain, exists in its own right and with its own rules.

Here is where the usage of such confusing and impossible terms as "immaterial" come into play. It is quite clear that the naturalistic dualist is faced with a quandary. He or she does not wish to delve into supernaturalism, but they assume (and that's all it is, an assumption based on egoism) that their experience is somehow essentially different that it escapes from the functionalism that the brain is described as. This was excellently presented by Todangst earlier, though I must assert a small caveat in that supervenience is not at issue, it only becomes a problem when it is used to get away from the descriptive paradigm of functionalism.

We all must remember, though only wilber and others like him seem to have forgotten, that evolution is a fact and when properly and consistently applied, we begin to see homo sapiens as simply an adaptive creature to the ever-changing environment, much like everything else. Consciousness serves a survival purpose or function. it is not something other, it is simply something new, at least in the type that we possess.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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Reason_Passion...

I have a degree in philosophy, asshole. I know more about critical reasoning than you do. But you don't like that I in fact *did* address your points in a way that you don't agree with. I am not promoting any sort of dualism, with the exception of the last passage I posted (which was just pertinent to the conversation, and not a rebuttal or argument) these are my words, no matter what you say.

You are a condescending, boorish, sneering asshole, and you can go fuck youself.


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critical reasoning

For someone who claims to "know more about critical reasoning" than I, resorting to name-calling and cursing doesn't seem to support that supposition.

As to the unilateral declaration that you aren't promoting any type of dualism, I would point out that you said you hadn't even heard of naturalistic dualism nor of David Chalmers and hence to say that you aren't promoting something of which you are ignorant seems rather presumptive.

In point of fact, you have never addressed any specific point written by me or todangst. Specific questions were asked and no answers were given except further quotations voicing the same problematic statements. At no point have you taken the time to specifically quote anything we've said and offer a critique. For example, you have not clarified what you mean by "immaterial" despite repeated questions by todangst; you have not elucidated the difference between you and Chalmers; you have not addressed the problems that were pointed out of your proclivities towards Leibnizian theorizing and the rather pointed criticisms made by Kant; and you have not made any attempt to defend your position that science necessarily requires a "hard-materialistic" stance except to simply repeat your assertion, which isn't an argument.

It is unfortunate that you refuse to study anything besides your own point of view, but as a student of philosophy that you claim to be, I would think it imperative to solve problems of ignorance, not curse the messenger that points them out.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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I'll reply to the other

I'll reply to the other points raised later (I have to go to work...and I work too much...)

Immaterial, in the way I am defining it in this sense, is something that cannot be perceived by the world at large. So it cannot be subject to a study, for example.

Anyways, in regards to the "assumption" that conciousness is immaterial. I say it isn't because you can't study or perceive my experience of happiness. Only I can. You cannot hold it, touch it, smell it, nothing. It is not "unnatural", it is just subjective. Subjective is not material, experience of neurological phenomena is not material. You might say that we can study conciousness and experience of conciousness through psychology. But really all data taken from subjects in psychological studies is heresay. The psychologists are taking the testimony of something they themselves have not perceived and submitting it as data. They can never have a full understanding of the data the way a chemist or biologist can, they must get their data through testimony.

And to the person who said that what I'm saying sounds close to the holy spirit and all that voodoo tribal nonsense. All I'm arguing for is experience, and inner view of the world. This is not a connection between two different realms, just another view of the natural world. The inner view. Not a soul-body connection. I'm saying it is immaterial because nobody but me can sense my experience of happiness. And even I myself cannot in anyway document my experience of hapiness in anyway for the world to see. They can only listen to my testimony and relate to it with their own experiences of hapiness.

The inner is the other half of the human being. The inner view. Experience of neurological phenomena. Not a second realm, just the second half of the same realm. The inner and outer are the same thing, and one cannot exist without the other.


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RP,

RP,

You accused me of just cutting and pasting, without any base for that claim. That sounds like the actions of an asshole to me. You said that I am "incapable of rational thought". I see no other reasonable response to that than, "go fuck yourself."

I don't know how to do the quotes thing you guys do, show me and i'll response point by point for clarity.


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wow

I'm fairly confused here. In calling me boorish, I take it to mean I'm being childish and spiteful, but at no time have I taken to name calling, whereas pkremida has on more than one occasion. In calling me a dogmatist, I take it to mean I believe in epistemological certitude, when in fact I have taken great pains in showing the merely probabilistic capacity of human knowledge. I understand the tactic of name calling to be an age-old one for those who are incapable of rationally forumalating their thoughts, but at least the terms used should make sense in context.

All of this may point out a severe problem with pkremida, i.e. the rather poor usage of terms. For example: the claim is made that the term "immaterial" is being used to describe the supposed inner experience that cannot be perceived by anyone but the person having it. Further, it is described as being not capable of being studied in its supposed "pure" form as psychologists have only hearsay testimony that is non-absolute in its epistemological standard.

Two points here: one, this kind of overt subjectivism is rooted in cartesianism and later given voice by Freud, though only in the sense that the individual is solely capable of fully understanding their inner self. Problems are numerous in this thinking. First, there is the problem of the subjective self even existing (a point that is assumed by pkremida and pointed out several times by myself and todangst but has not yet been defended) as an autonomous agent. Theorists such as Skinner and others of the behaviorist bent have quite convincingly criticized this thinking to at least the point of being cautious in its usage, though perhaps not to its non-existence. It is a curious point here that only in the western world with its preoccupation with egocentrism is the idea of the individual being the sole and perfect source of inner knowledge ever presented as legitimate. In point of fact, people are notorious for misrepresenting what they think. Second, the supposed inner life of the individual is clearly capable of being understood, else questions of feeling and thought would have no legitimacy in human discourse. For this to be the case is to point rather to the similarity that people have in their biological life, not to the supposed sui generis existence of autonomous selves.

The second point has to do with the assumption here about knowledge. Pkremida seems to claim in her juxtaposition with chemistry and physics that since psychology has only testimonial knowledge, it is incapable of knowing anything fully about the person's experience. Unfortunately for pkremida, this is problematic on several fronts. First, both chemistry and physics operate at certain levels upon purely inferential data, not directly perceived data, hence the probabilistic knowledge of science. This is not to say at all that science is incapable of being right, but like psychology, it simply doesn't have access to absolute or incorrigible knowledge. In point of fact, as mentioned previously, testimonial knowledge can be quite accurate, as long as it is given over to rigorous testing and analysis. If pkremida were right in her supposition about the inability of anybody to truly know her experience at all except through testimony, then all conversation and law proceedings need to stop.

One small point here that I know will be brought out. There is a truth to what pkremida is saying, in that the specific way that a person experiences something is not knowable in an absolute sense. But given the fact that absolute knowledge is impossible at all, this is hardly a great point and in addition, it in no way proves the existence of an ontologically separate or arisen property called consciousness. For example, I have no way of knowing absolutely what a rodent feels when it gets trapped, but I'm hardly going to start attributing consciousness to it.

All of this of course goes back to the inflationary assumption of pkremida's usage of subjective. It is an indexical term pointing to a particular organisms relation to the world and it in no way necessitates the existence of a "knower" or "separate self".

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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clarity

pkremida said: You accused me of just cutting and pasting, without any base for that claim.

Not only did you say that you cut and pasted, but it was quite clear from a previous entry that it wasn't your words, shown by the completely different style of writing.

Second, I did not say that you were incapable of rational thought, only that it "seemed" as such given that you were refusing to answer any of the criticisms being raised other than simply reiterating your same points. In no way was I attempting to be derogatory and I apologize if that is what came across, only pointing out a problem in the conversation.

Thirdly, you don't have to do the quotes thing, all you have to is actually address the points being brought up. For instance, todangst requested an example of you of something in existence that doesn't have matter or energy and your only response was "consciousness." Todangst rightfully pointed out that using your own assumption as an example is circular reasoning, and given the fact you haven't proven consciousness to be non-material is also problematic.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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I am currently in the

I am currently in the process of copying and pasting your comments/arguments into word, so that I can respond to them better. I really thought I had addressed your points, if I do this more methodically maybe I can understand why you feel I have been ignoring you.


pkremida
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First of all, and this is

First of all, and this is just out of curiosity because I never said so, why do you keep referring to me as a woman, Reason_Passion? I never said I was either one. Just curious.

I agree that words merely point to reality and are not reality themselves. One of my favorite isms is, “Finger points at moon, do not confuse moon with finger.” But, this is not damning to the theory I am advocating, no matter how much you seem to think it does. I am not advocating any sort of unchanging thing that is in any way separate from neurological phenomena. When I talk about the self, I in fact do think that it is as real as rock or plane. I do not, however, think it is a separate entity than the confines of my body. I merely think that my various experiences cannot be perceived by anyone other than myself, and cannot even be perceived by myself in the traditional sense! That is, evidence of my experience is perceived experientially, not through the senses or extentions of them. I offer experiential evidence, and you continually state that this is not sufficient. If the experience of your own consciousness is not sufficient evidence to you that experience is a real thing, then frankly I don’t know what to tell you. You say it is impossible to use the “experience” as a “logical justification for a self in any way removed from the relational system of the brain and all of material reality.” But I am not arguing for anything that is in anyway removed from material reality, just another perspective of it. Experiential perspective, where in the experience of neurological phenomena occurs. These experiences, which are very real based on the evidence that I actually experience them (or, said another way, this perspective of neurological phenomena that we call “experience”), are not able to be seen, touched, felt, smelled, or sensed in any way (except experientially) by anybody but me. And thus, since this perspective (subjective) does not meet the requirements of a material phenomena, it is immaterial. The subjective perspective is immaterial. I know this perspective exists because I experience it. Again, if experiential evidence is not sufficient by your standards then there is nothing I can say to convince you and the conversation ends there.
Your experience of it is in your brain and body, certainly yes, and nowhere else. It is hard to express this in a way that does not sound dualistic, with sentences like “my experience” and “my perspective”. That is not what I mean. I don’t mean that there is this separate self that is not within the confines of my body that has these experiences and sees this perspective. I just mean that part of being human and being this neurological phenomena means that you also get the inside view of the neurological phenomena. You are consciousness that is neurological phenomena. There are two halves of this neurological phenomena that is best expressed as “inside” and “outside” view. Outside being for everybody to see, inside being raw feelings of it. The outside is the electrical signal sent through the nerves to the brain that “something is amiss in this body”, the inside view is pain. They are two different “perspectives” of the same phenomena and both exist in the same reality, and are both part of one whole entity. I wish I could express this more clearly. Suffice to say that I am not arguing for an immaterial self, but an immaterial perspective and experience that is separate from the world of hard science.

I am not experiencing anything except neurotransmitters. Or, said more clearly (I think), I have no other experience besides the inside perspective of neurotransmitters.

I don’t mean to say that consciousness is self proof that it is immaterial. I mean that consciousness is evidence of itself. I was trying to make a point that experiential evidence is sufficient evidence. The evidence for immateriality is this: I know that this perspective of neurological phenomena is real because I experience it. When I try to record it or perceive it with others (perhaps share it with others), I can’t. The only way I can perceive this perspective, this view of brain states, is through experience. I can only try to express this perspective of neurological phenomena through poetry, song, art, etc. But, unlike purely material occurrences, I cannot co-experience it with another body. In the purely material world, when there is an apple, one body can express the existence of the apple to another (“There is an apple.”), and the other body can affirm that this is real through agreement (“Yes. Apple.”). This conversation takes place every Christmas in my family*.
This is not possible with the inner perspective. If one body experiences happiness and tries to affirm it with another body (“I am happy.”), this co-experience of this phenomena cannot occur (“Really?” or “Oh. Good.”). This conversation takes place every Easter in my family**.

What I mean to say is that Consciousness is material, but the experience of consciousness (or inner perspective of material neurological phenomena) is not material. So, in a way, it is both. One part material and one part immaterial. Just two different perspectives of one phenomena.

To answer Todangst’s questions.

1.) Well, I can’t show you that anything exists other than matter or energy. But I do experience something that is neither. It is the experience of the inner perspective of neurological phenomena, which I in short call “consciousness”.
2.) There isn’t a cause/effect relationship really at play here. It’s just a view of the material world that I experience. I’d like to point out again that I realize that the dualistic nature of language makes it look like I am advocating that "I" am somehow separate from this perspective. That is not what I mean.
3.) There is not violation of the conservation of energy because I am not advocating anything separate from the material world.

Question for clarity for Todangst: What do you mean when you say, “stealing the concept of materiality”?

I concede the point to Todangst about making the jump from micro to macro. I shouldn’t do this. However, the fact that any probabilistic phenomena can be observed in our universe does call into question pure determinism. Does that affect us? Well, you’d have to ask a particle physicist. Which, as you rightly noted, I am not.

I am pretty sure that this covers any misunderstandings? Let me know if I’m missing anything. I think this all comes down to whether or not you think experiential evidence is sufficient if it cannot be co-experienced by another body and thus reaffirmed. Reaffirmation and co-experience being things which regularly occur in the material world.

Also, in regards to the last lengthy post I made. Reason_Passion, I have explicity said that those are not my words. It was merely a passage that I thought was relevant to the conversation, but not to the argument. I never claimed they were my own. Everything you read here is my words.

I just realized I gave Todangst's analysis of my long Ken Wilber post amiss. I'll get to that.

*This is not true. But it is funny.
**This is true***.

***No it isn’t.


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one question

Need to ask one question before going on. When you say that the evidence for immateriality is consciousness experiencing itself, what do you mean by that? More precisely, what exactly are you pointing to when you use the term consciousness?

As to referring to you as a woman, I believe it to be simply habit of mine, like sailors refer to ships in the feminine. Most conversations I have are with women, given one of my jobs is in retail, and so the initial reaction is to think as such. Whether you are or not has nothing to do with the current conversation or any other for that matter.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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answer to questions: I have

answer to questions: I have experiential proof of my conciousness. I know that my conciousness is real even though I have no evidence that I can show you, only evidence that I can experience myself. I know that my conciousness is a result of neurological activity in the brain and is not separate from it. I know that my experience of this neurological activity cannot be co-experienced and affirmed by any other body. co-experience and affirmation of events/phenomena/existence of objects by other bodies is what necessitates a material phenomena of any sort. Since my inner experience of neurological activity cannot be co-experienced or affirmed by another body, and since I myself cannot sense it as I sense other things which I call material (see, taste, touch, smell, hear), I therefore call this inner experience of neurological phenomena immaterial. I shorten "inner experience of neurological phenomena" to "conciousness".

Does this help?


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now i see

pkremida wrote: I have experiential proof of my conciousness. I know that my conciousness is real even though I have no evidence that I can show you, only evidence that I can experience myself.

It seems that you define material as that being only that which can be catalogued by the five senses; if a thing cannot be perceived by these, then it is therefore non-material if only in the sense that it is not subject to physical analysis. Experience is presented as being immaterial, though only in the narrow sense of that experience being something which only you have and cannot be shared by another at the time in which you are having it.

First question: if the experience of your consciousness cannot be shared with anybody else at the same time, how do you know that you're having it and are capable of knowing just precisely it is that you're experiencing?

Here is where the cartesian idea of the "I" in cogito ergo sum, comes into play. I am fully aware that you claim to not be a dualist and that you don't believe in a supernatural self, but it seems that you accept the existence of an autonomous self though trying to do so without the consequences.

One problem here is found in neurology. You don't actually experience anything at the exact time in which it occurs, there is a delay. This is clearly the case as it takes time for the data to go down neural pathways and get analyzed within the brain. It only seems that we experience things immediately because the speed of neural pathways is so fast. In fact, neurologists have shown that people are largely blind to things around them, the brain simply fills in the gaps, giving you the illusion of a full experience. This is a survival mechanism so that your brain can focus on one thing, without having to focus on everything at the same time. All of this goes to show that what you "experience" is actually a memory or, as Edelman puts it, the "remembered present." The phenomenological feel that you are so concerned with is a reconstruction of biological imput, correlated with paradigms of the functioning of the world.

A problem in this discussion, I believe, been one of focus. You have been concerned with the psychological aspect of phenomenological experience, whereas todangst and I have been trying to pin you on its philosophical efficacy. The two are linked, but not in the sense of substitution. My master's work is in counseling and as such I will be dealing with phenomenological experience. When confronted with a client, discussion is done on the basis that there is a reality to the experience; getting into a philosophical discussion about the fact that there is no actual "self" would be foolish and counterproductive. This points to the categorical issues within science that I and todangst have pointed out previously in this discussion; namely, depending upon the discussion at hand, one will use terms that are particular to the field in question. For example, when discussing particle physics, quantum theory and its terminology will be in use, but when discussing psychology, that terminology will be in use. This points to why newtonian physics is still applicable, despite advances in quantum theory, they simply discuss to different aspects of material reality.

If all you are doing here is trying to discuss the psychological reality of the phenomenal feel, then so be it, I have no problem with that. But what it looks like you're doing is trying to establish the feel as a legitimate philosophical position and that is where the problems begin.

The first problem was already explained via the discussion of neurology, in that experience is actually a reconstruction, not an immediate thing in itself. This is a necessity due to the gap in neural transmissions. If you're saying that it is immediate, then some-thing else is in play here and you run into the supernatural crisis.

The second problem has to do with how you are using the term evidence. You seem to make a type-type case out of what is actually token examples of evidence. In other words, evidence is material examples used to describe a theory presented as to the ordering of reality. This could be anything from believing the sky to be blue to evolutionary theory. All the evidence brought into play is physical or material, including testimonial. however, you seem to indicate that there is another kind of evidence, that which isn't material. For proof of this, you use the experience you are trying to prove as being immaterial as evidence of its own immateriality, a truly circular problem. The fact is that what you are using is testimonial evidence, it's just that the person you're trying to convince is yourself. Hence, since you can report a feel, therefore that is evidence of its existence.

Again, this problem leads back to the original, that being you aren't actually having an experience, you're giving a report about a reconstruction. That report is capable of being shared and anaylzed and therefore is completely material.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm