Do beliefs, desires, emotions, etc, physically exist in the brain?

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Do beliefs, desires, emotions, etc, physically exist in the brain?

Do beliefs, desires, emotions, etc, physically exist in the brain?

I hold that they do. I hold that concepts have a physical existence and an abstract representation of that physical existence. So for example, we have certain chemical processes existing in the brain which produce an experience which we call love, and we have an abstract representation of this physical process which if often seen as immaterial/mystical/intangible/etc. So when we refer to love we are indirectly and unconsciously referring to the physical existence, in the brain.

Our brain physically controls everything we do with chemical reactions and neurons sending signals etc, our actions are dictated by our brains. So if one denies they exist, physically, in the brain, then they are left with a problem: how can something not be part of our brain structure and still influence/dictate us, our desires, choices, etc? Surely it is nonsense to make such an argument – that something is not part of our physical brain, yet can influence or dictate us.

Many people try to argue a supposed distinction between the physical conditions in the brain, and the ‘mind’ but they never explain what they are talking about:

Exactly what is ‘mind?’

What is its ontology?

Is it physical? If so, how does it differ from the physical conditions in the brain?

If it is not physical, what is it?

I don’t know why people have a problem with reductive physicalism.

As a side note, is there any research on beliefs and desires existing in the brain, as neurons and reactions etc? Such as how they formulate, how they determine our behaviour, which parts of the brain produce such things, etc.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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I'm surprised no one has

I'm surprised no one has resopnded to this post yet.  It would appear that no one argues against the materialistic nature of existence.  Indeed, everything that encompases being is the product of our brian, which so happens to be simply, and quite complexly, the interaction of chemicals.  It's quite apparent.  Behaviour, emotions, the production of hormons, cells, the function of our biology can all be altered by any number of chemicals, elements, even by radiation.  We are wholly physical, everything about us and our brian.  Our mind is necessarily a part of our brain because the supernatural does not exist.  What constitutes consciousness must be a process of the brain.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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topher wrote:I don’t

topher wrote:
I don’t know why people have a problem with reductive physicalism.

Have you read Thomas Nagel's Mortal Questions?  He makes a good case that some things cannot be reduced to a physical mechanism.  I am paraphrasing this very poorly but he focuses on what he calls the "subjective" which is an individual's particular perception of the world.  He develops this notion of subjectivity with his discussion on "What it is like to be a Bat" in which he argues that it is impossible for him, or anyone, to truly know what an expereince is like for a bat unless one was in fact a bat.  Even if one were to picture one's self as a bat, he argues, one is merely imagining what it would be like for a human to have sonar or to be able to fly rather than to imagine an actual bat experience.

" Why does God always got such wacky shit to say? . . . When was the last time you heard somebody say 'look God told me to get a muffin and a cup tea and cool out man'?" - Dov Davidoff


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Good post Topher. As a

Good post Topher. As a neuroscientist by training, I can confirm the absurdity of immaterialist positions on mental functions, thoughts which I collated in this large article here:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/vitalism_immaterialism_and_christian_dualism_have_long_since_been_debunked_response

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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The question whether the

The question whether the things we call thoughts, emotions, etc. are our interpretations for physical/chemical processes that go on inside the brain is a topic which usually brings me into opposition to my theist friends. Such an (I think easy) explanation seems to go against their core beliefs. Some theists think we have some sort of supernatural soul, and the brain is nothing more than an antenna which connects us to this soul. This is essential to their belief system, because they argue that this soul can survive when the brain dies.


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illeatyourdog

illeatyourdog wrote:

topher wrote:
I don’t know why people have a problem with reductive physicalism.

Have you read Thomas Nagel's Mortal Questions? He makes a good case that some things cannot be reduced to a physical mechanism. I am paraphrasing this very poorly but he focuses on what he calls the "subjective" which is an individual's particular perception of the world. He develops this notion of subjectivity with his discussion on "What it is like to be a Bat" in which he argues that it is impossible for him, or anyone, to truly know what an expereince is like for a bat unless one was in fact a bat. Even if one were to picture one's self as a bat, he argues, one is merely imagining what it would be like for a human to have sonar or to be able to fly rather than to imagine an actual bat experience.


This is his argument for the existence of the qualia. I tend to agree with Dennett on that issue.

My position regarding the brain and mind is that mental concepts are simply our interpretation of the brain. They are part of the brain. I see no other way around this. Our mental capacities necessarily depend on the brain. We know this as when the brain is damaged or dead, we loose some or our entire mental capacity.


The problem I have with arguments for a distinction between the brain and the mind is that it lacks the vital connection, a link between the brain and the mind. If the brain/neurons produce corresponding mental capacities then there MUST be a link between them. For example, when we hurt our self, the nerve sends a single to the brain, however, we don't 'apply' the mental concept of pain, it automatically occurs, as a direct result of the brain. As such, there MUST be a link. That is why I hold that the mind must ultimately be part of the brain. My link between the brain and the mind is that the mind is simply part of the brain.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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illeatyourdog

illeatyourdog wrote:

topher wrote:
I don’t know why people have a problem with reductive physicalism.

Have you read Thomas Nagel's Mortal Questions? He makes a good case that some things cannot be reduced to a physical mechanism. I am paraphrasing this very poorly but he focuses on what he calls the "subjective" which is an individual's particular perception of the world. He develops this notion of subjectivity with his discussion on "What it is like to be a Bat" in which he argues that it is impossible for him, or anyone, to truly know what an expereince is like for a bat unless one was in fact a bat. Even if one were to picture one's self as a bat, he argues, one is merely imagining what it would be like for a human to have sonar or to be able to fly rather than to imagine an actual bat experience.

 

While every person's (or creature's with basic senses) experience of the world around them is subjective and individual to that person, it is only because of the way that individual's neuronal networks are arranged and their individual biochemistry. Everything that you experience is essentially filtered through on these pathways that are somewhat different in every person based on genetics and life experiences that have strengthened or weakened certain networks in the brain. Neuronal plasticity causes changes in these pathways, and therefore your perception of life, throughout your life, although it does slow down as your age advances, making certain behaviors (particularly things like addictions and emotional responses which are originating in the more primitive parts of the brain)  much more difficult to change because of the strength of those particular pathways.

I like to explain it like this--there is no YOU. Everything that you think of as you, your self-concept, could be fundamentally altered by a change in your physical body. Your brain and your neurochemistry determines your behavior and perception of everything, and if you had a traumatic head injury (like the most famous case study ever in psychology, Phineas Gage), you could wake up as an entirely different person.  


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kellym78 wrote: I like to

kellym78 wrote:

I like to explain it like this--there is no YOU. Everything that you think of as you, your self-concept, could be fundamentally altered by a change in your physical body. Your brain and your neurochemistry determines your behavior and perception of everything, and if you had a traumatic head injury (like the most famous case study ever in psychology, Phineas Gage), you could wake up as an entirely different person.  

This alone should actually bring down most of the religious beliefs.


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deludedgod wrote: Good

deludedgod wrote:

Good post Topher. As a neuroscientist by training, I can confirm the absurdity of immaterialist positions on mental functions, thoughts which I collated in this large article here:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/vitalism_immaterialism_and_christian_dualism_have_long_since_been_debunked_response

I think that there is another alternative.
I deny the 'existence' of beliefs and desires in the physical world because I don't think that beliefs and desires are the kind of linguistic concepts that are supposed to refer to things. I bit like the word 'hello' doesn't refer to something, but is used in the context of communication.

Most of the dualists, like Descartes, started with intuitive conceptions of the mind, while materialistic explanations usually have to 'squeeze' them to fit. Both assumed that beliefs are supposed to refer to something in the world, the former coming to the conclusion that beliefs exist as immaterial things and the other reducing beliefs to material things.

I think that the solution, recognising that beliefs and desires come from a discourse that doesn't refer to the physical world, provides the best of both worlds. Our mental concepts remain their intuitive selves and we don't make any weird supernaturalistic claims. It's has a similar effect to Kant's argument for free will from his transcendental idealism position.


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deludedgod wrote:

deludedgod wrote:

Good post Topher. As a neuroscientist by training, I can confirm the absurdity of immaterialist positions on mental functions, thoughts which I collated in this large article here:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/vitalism_immaterialism_and_christian_dualism_have_long_since_been_debunked_response


I knew you were a scientist, didn't know you were a neuroscientist.

How advance are we in the field of neuroscience with regards to the brain and mind, or is it still a growing field? Is there any ideas as to how far in the future we will start really advance our understanding (i.e. are we looking at decades or is it more like centuries for this "breakthrough?" )

Also, what is your view on materialist eliminativism… that science will one day do away with folk psychological propositional attitudes? I think they while mental concepts can be reduced to the brain, I still see the use and value of them in our ‘interpersonal’ context, our understanding of and interaction with others.


I have to say, the neuroscience/psychology of the mind and brain is probably my favourite topic.

Good essay by the way.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Topher, what is your opinion

Topher, what is your opinion of Nagel's notion of personhood?  If I remember correctly, he used the example of one body having brain which is half of someone else's brain to suggest that such views as reduction physicalism cannot account for such a case in terms of determining personhood.    

" Why does God always got such wacky shit to say? . . . When was the last time you heard somebody say 'look God told me to get a muffin and a cup tea and cool out man'?" - Dov Davidoff


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Topher

Topher wrote:
illeatyourdog wrote:

topher wrote:
I don’t know why people have a problem with reductive physicalism.

Have you read Thomas Nagel's Mortal Questions? He makes a good case that some things cannot be reduced to a physical mechanism. I am paraphrasing this very poorly but he focuses on what he calls the "subjective" which is an individual's particular perception of the world. He develops this notion of subjectivity with his discussion on "What it is like to be a Bat" in which he argues that it is impossible for him, or anyone, to truly know what an expereince is like for a bat unless one was in fact a bat. Even if one were to picture one's self as a bat, he argues, one is merely imagining what it would be like for a human to have sonar or to be able to fly rather than to imagine an actual bat experience.


This is his argument for the existence of the qualia. I tend to agree with Dennett on that issue.

 

The concept of qualia is philosophical horseshit, the stronger the  qualia supporter, the more irrational the person. Nagel's argument is no more than whining.

 

  Enjoyed your posts Topher.

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kellym78 wrote: Everything

kellym78 wrote:
Everything that you think of as you, your self-concept, could be fundamentally altered by a change in your physical body.

 

Surely not just any physical change is capable of this.  People get injured, lose limbs, etc. and they are fundamentally the same person.  My father has a friend who loves to ride his bike and whom lost his leg.  The loss of his leg did not make him totally alter his perception of himself, in fact, he has ridden around the coutry with a fake leg.  Your claim can only hold if a severe physical (i would include mental or emotional but I'm assuming you also consider these physical changes as well) change occured such as having an accident that results in major brain damage (as the case you cited with Phineas Gage) or if one goes through a traumatic event, like rape.  BUt to hold that any physical change, no matter what the severity or banality of it, can fundmentally change your self-perception seems absurd.

" Why does God always got such wacky shit to say? . . . When was the last time you heard somebody say 'look God told me to get a muffin and a cup tea and cool out man'?" - Dov Davidoff


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todangst wrote: The concept

todangst wrote:
The concept of qualia is philosophical horseshit, the stronger the  qualia supporter, the more irrational the person. Nagel's argument is no more than whining.

 

At least it was well-written whining Sticking out tongue

" Why does God always got such wacky shit to say? . . . When was the last time you heard somebody say 'look God told me to get a muffin and a cup tea and cool out man'?" - Dov Davidoff


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illeatyourdog

illeatyourdog wrote:

todangst wrote:
The concept of qualia is philosophical horseshit, the stronger the qualia supporter, the more irrational the person. Nagel's argument is no more than whining.

At least it was well-written whining Sticking out tongue

Heh. Well.... surrendering is one thing, but insisting that the rest of the planet must surrender because you're too weak to simply accept your own uncertainty just reads as pathetic.

What's wrong with Nagel just saying "Hey, I dont' know"?

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todangst wrote: Heh.

todangst wrote:

Heh. Well.... surrendering is one thing, but insisting that the rest of the planet must surrender because you're too weak to simply accept your own uncertainty just reads as pathetic.

 

Are you referring to me or Nagel?

 

todangst wrote:
What's wrong with Nagel just saying "Hey, I dont' know"?

 

When it comes to personhood he does.  He simply claims that Reductionist Physicalism doesn't know either and are in error when reductionists claim that they do know.

" Why does God always got such wacky shit to say? . . . When was the last time you heard somebody say 'look God told me to get a muffin and a cup tea and cool out man'?" - Dov Davidoff


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illeatyourdog

illeatyourdog wrote:
Topher, what is your opinion of Nagel's notion of personhood? If I remember correctly, he used the example of one body having brain which is half of someone else's brain to suggest that such views as reduction physicalism cannot account for such a case in terms of determining personhood.

I’m not really aware of his argument, but from what you wrote it sounds like complete nonsense. Such thought experiments/arguments sound interesting and all philosophical, and they may even stimulate the mind as a ‘mind-exercise’, but is there, and more importantly, can there be, a serious point to them? It’s seems like nothing more than pseudophilosophy to be honest.

Trying to make an argument based around half of one person’s brain and half of another person’s brain is to speak of complete nonsense.


Take another popular argument, the ‘philosophical zombie’ argument: that a being (a zombie) exists which has a brain and behaviour indistinguishable from that of humans, but that this being does not have a mind/consciousness. Do you not see the problem with this argument?

Firstly, if the mind is part of the brain, and the p-zombie’s brain is indistinguishable to the human’s then it follows that the p-zombie must have a mind; if they don’t have a mind then their brain is obviously not identical to the human brain. So the p-zombie argument just begs the question that the mind and the brain are separate, and then uses the zombie as proof of it!

Secondly, the argument is self-refuting. Since the mind/consciousness is subjective, we cannot point to a proposed ‘being’ and declare it has no consciousness. We must ask: how can we know this?)


"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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illeatyourdog

illeatyourdog wrote:

kellym78 wrote:
Everything that you think of as you, your self-concept, could be fundamentally altered by a change in your physical body.

 

Surely not just any physical change is capable of this. People get injured, lose limbs, etc. and they are fundamentally the same person. My father has a friend who loves to ride his bike and whom lost his leg. The loss of his leg did not make him totally alter his perception of himself, in fact, he has ridden around the coutry with a fake leg. Your claim can only hold if a severe physical (i would include mental or emotional but I'm assuming you also consider these physical changes as well) change occured such as having an accident that results in major brain damage (as the case you cited with Phineas Gage) or if one goes through a traumatic event, like rape. BUt to hold that any physical change, no matter what the severity or banality of it, can fundmentally change your self-perception seems absurd.

Maybe I should have been more specific, but I was speaking specifically about the brain. I thought it was blatantly obvious due to the fact that nobody even suggested that cognition occurs in your leg.  


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topher wrote: I’m not

topher wrote:
I’m not really aware of his argument, but from what you wrote it sounds like complete nonsense. Such thought experiments/arguments sound interesting and all philosophical, and they may even stimulate the mind as a ‘mind-exercise’, but is there, and more importantly, can there be, a serious point to them? It’s seems like nothing more than pseudophilosophy to be honest.

 

So are you saying such possibility is impossible?  That someone with two different brain halfs simply wouldn't survive?

 

topher wrote:
Take another popular argument, the ‘philosophical zombie’ argument: that a being (a zombie) exists which has a brain and behaviour indistinguishable from that of humans, but that this being does not have a mind/consciousness. Do you not see the problem with this argument?

 

I see many, of which, concern the definition of a zombie.  Nevertheless, this was not an arguement put forth by Nagel, at least not in his mortal questions so I do not see the relevance.  Furthermore, the zombie arguement presupposes that consciousness/mind is entirely seperate from the brain.  Nagel's example does not, in fact, it relies on consciousness/mind being linked to the brain for it to cause a problem for reductionalists.

" Why does God always got such wacky shit to say? . . . When was the last time you heard somebody say 'look God told me to get a muffin and a cup tea and cool out man'?" - Dov Davidoff


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kellym78 wrote: Maybe I

kellym78 wrote:
Maybe I should have been more specific, but I was speaking specifically about the brain. I thought it was blatantly obvious due to the fact that nobody even suggested that cognition occurs in your leg.
  

 

You were the only one who specified a "change in the physical body".  Everyone else was referring to nuerons firing and nerve endings.  There was no question what they were talking about.  But when you bring up the "physical body" one would think that you would be referring to the entire human body not just one organ placed in the skull.  I suppose whenever you mention "body" i should ask "what part of?" from now on to lessen the chances of this misunderstanding happening again.

 

Nevertheless, so every physical action of the body can be reduced to a physical action in the brain and any alteration to the physical BRAIN, can fundementally change one's own consciouness or self-perception.  Is this your view, more or less, or did I leave something out?

" Why does God always got such wacky shit to say? . . . When was the last time you heard somebody say 'look God told me to get a muffin and a cup tea and cool out man'?" - Dov Davidoff


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illeatyourdog wrote: So

illeatyourdog wrote:
So are you saying such possibility is impossible?  That someone with two different brain halfs simply wouldn't survive?

Even if the Well, I’m saying it is nonsense. Anyone can come up with these types of thought experiments, but they alone don’t mean anything. My position is based on the physical evidence whereas I’ve never seen any physical evidence put forwards to refute the position I and others hold, other than thought experiments.

Before we can postulate as to whether the person would survive with two different halves of a brain you need to answer this question: how would you fit separate halves of a brain together? Is it even possible?

If we assumed it was possible, this person's mind would almost certainly change, given the fact that they would have replaced half of their brain.

illeatyourdog wrote:
Nagel's example does not, in fact, it relies on consciousness/mind being linked to the brain for it to cause a problem for reductionalists.

So he agrees the mind is “linked” to the brain, but not part of the brain, i.e. physical.
What is it then?
What is its ontology?
Is it physical?
If he does say it is physical, what distinction is being made?
If he doesn’t say it is physical, then can he explain the fact that the brain is physical, and everything it does is physical, via a physical connection? How then can it dictate/affect a non-physical mind?

The mind is either physical or it isn’t. If it isn’t, well, you encounter the problems of dualism. If it is physical, then some kind of distinction needs to be made between the mind and brain. Without a distinction there is no difference being made.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Quote: I knew you were a

Quote:

I knew you were a scientist, didn't know you were a neuroscientist.

I'm not. I'm a neuroscientist by training, but a molecular biologist by profession, as medical research and molecular biology are my main qualifications. Actually, neuroscience was incredibly easy to learn since I already understood intracellular signal transduction, the Nerst equations, cellular electrochemistry, syanptic mechanisms and molecular dynamics. I passed the examination with almost no  extra study. It was great. 

Quote:

 How advance are we in the field of neuroscience with regards to the brain and mind, or is it still a growing field? Is there any ideas as to how far in the future we will start really advance our understanding (i.e. are we looking at decades or is it more like centuries for this "breakthrough?" )

The field is always growing, and it is rather patchy. We have some understanding of some things, some deep understanding of some other things, and almost no understanding about some things regarding mind science. Nonetheless, if you read the essay, you will realize we do know enough to deduce the physicality of the mind.

Quote:

 Also, what is your view on materialist eliminativism… that science will one day do away with folk psychological propositional attitudes?

We already have. Most people just refuse to accept it. The "animus" and "life force" was thrown out in 1850, the "soul" around 1950, half of alternative medicine has been debunked as nonsense, and a whole slew of alternative pseudotherapies has been blacklisted. The engine of science has successfully smashed folk psychology via its explanatory power, most people are just too ignorant or refusing to accept it that it makes a general population impact.  

Quote:

Good essay by the way.

Thanks. Although I would point out that nothing in it is really clever or original, it is all common knowledge among neuroscientists. Actually, I can think of almost no respectable neuroscientist who subscribes to immaterialism or the notion of the "soul". After all, they wouldn't really have a job if it did exist, would they? Among my scientific colleagues, I think we all laugh a little when we think about immaterialist proposals. They are nonsense. 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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illeatyourdog

illeatyourdog wrote:

kellym78 wrote:
Maybe I should have been more specific, but I was speaking specifically about the brain. I thought it was blatantly obvious due to the fact that nobody even suggested that cognition occurs in your leg.

 

You were the only one who specified a "change in the physical body". Everyone else was referring to nuerons firing and nerve endings. There was no question what they were talking about. But when you bring up the "physical body" one would think that you would be referring to the entire human body not just one organ placed in the skull. I suppose whenever you mention "body" i should ask "what part of?" from now on to lessen the chances of this misunderstanding happening again.

 

Nevertheless, so every physical action of the body can be reduced to a physical action in the brain and any alteration to the physical BRAIN, can fundementally change one's own consciouness or self-perception. Is this your view, more or less, or did I leave something out?


See this post from todangst from the comments of this essay by deludedgods

http://www.rationalresponders.com/fallacies_commonly_employed_against_materialism_refuted


Jeffery Jay Lowder argued in the March 1999 newsletter of the Internet Infidels that a case for metaphysical naturalism can be made from the Argument from Evil and the Argument from Physical Minds. Here is the latter argument:

“As Paul Draper, an agnostic philosopher at Florida International University, puts it, "Consciousness and personality are highly dependent on the brain. Nothing mental happens without something physical happening." Now Michael Tooley, a philosopher at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has stated five lines of evidence in support of this claim. Let me summarize just briefly that evidence. First, when an individuals brain is directly stimulated and put into a certain physical state, this causes the person to have a corresponding experience. Second, certain injuries to the brain make it impossible for a person to have any mental states at all. Third, other injuries to the brain destroy various mental capacities. Which capacity is destroyed is tied directly to the particular region of the brain that was damaged. Fourth, when we examine the mental capacities of animals, they become more complex as their brains become more complex. And fifth, within any given species, the development of mental capacities is correlated with the development of neurons in the brain. Thus, the conclusion that, "Nothing mental happens without something physical happening," seems inescapable.

But if nothing mental happens without something physical happening, that strongly implies that the mind cannot exist independently of physical arrangements of matter. In other words, we do not have a soul. And this is exactly what we would expect if naturalism is true. But if theism is true, then our minds should not depend on our brains for their existence; we should have souls. Also, if theism is true, then God is a disembodied mind; Gods mind is not in any sense dependent on physical arrangements of matter. But if nothing mental happens without something physical happening, that is evidence against both the existence of souls and the existence of any being who is supposed to have a disembodied mind, including God. Therefore, the physical nature of minds is unlikely if theism is true, but what we would expect if naturalism is true.”


"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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topher wrote: Even if the

topher wrote:
Even if the Well, I’m saying it is nonsense. Anyone can come up with these types of thought experiments, but they alone don’t mean anything. My position is based on the physical evidence whereas I’ve never seen any physical evidence put forwards to refute the position I and others hold, other than thought experiments.

 

I will concede that all I can say in response to this is "So you admit you don't have evidence for such a case not to happen . . " which is a weak route to take.  So instead i will ask you how one would make sense of morality with this type of view.  Would it be an artifical construct?  Reduced to some physical action in the brain (which could mean everyone has their own perception of what morality is)? Or some third possibility I left out?

 

topher wrote:
Before we can postulate as to whether the person would survive with two different halves of a brain you need to answer this question: how would you fit separate halves of a brain together? Is it even possible?

 

You are the nueroscientist.  If it is a physical impossibility to do so please explain why it is.  All I can say is that Nagel beleived it to be a legitmate possibility but I'm figuring his word wouldn't cut it for you (to be fair, it seemed far fetched when I heard it but brain surgery is not my expertise so i figured he knew what he was talking about).

 

topher}If we assumed it was possible, this person's mind would almost certainly change, given the fact that they would have replaced half of their brain.[/quote wrote:

 

So would this being have two minds, a hybrid mind, or just be an altogether different person with a new mind?

 

Quote:
So he agrees the mind is “linked” to the brain, but not part of the brain, i.e. physical.
What is it then?

 

Thats where it gets sketchy since he main purpose is to show that reductionalism cannot account for personhood or identity.  He was not really trying to solve the msytery of what the mind is and how mucf of its linkage is physical.

 

Quote:
The mind is either physical or it isn’t. If it isn’t, well, you encounter the problems of dualism.

 

Nagel doesn't really seem to hold the strict cartesian view that the mind is its own distinct entity that can persist on its own.  Again, he wasn't trying to solve the mystery.  He was simply commenting on those who beleived that they have. 

 

 

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Quote: You are the

Quote:

You are the nueroscientist.

No, that's me you're thinking of. 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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deludedgod wrote: No,

deludedgod wrote:
No, that's me you're thinking of.

 

My mistake.  I apologise Smiling.  So, based on your research and study, is it physically impossible to perform such a surgery on someone? 

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What type of surgery are you

What type of surgery are you referring to?

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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topher wrote: See this post

topher wrote:
See this post from todangst from the comments of this essay by deludedgods

 

Ahh, k.  Out pure curiousity, how does morality fit in with this view?  Is it beleived that it can be reduced to a physical action in the brain or is it a form of self-deception (for lack of better way of putting it)?

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deludedgod wrote: What type

deludedgod wrote:
What type of surgery are you referring to?

 

linking two halves from different brains in a single patient.  If you want the scenario that was described Thomas Nagel in which this surgery would be done I can give it to you but that is the type of surgery he was referring to.

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Halves of the brain? What

Halves of the brain? What does that mean? The brain is not divided merely along the long axis, it is divided along the lateral lines of the lobes and vertically into tiers (stem, midbrain and cortex). What do you mean, half the brain? Half the brain in weight? Half the brain along the long axis or along the lateral axis? If you are referring to half the cortex, then along which lines?

Let us assume that you mean half the cortex along the long axis, which is what I presume you mean. Obviously not. Firstly,you would have to remove half the cortex from both patients, which would kill both of them. Even if this was worked around (it cannot be), even the best microsurgeons in the world could not sew together syanptic vesicles. It would require the use of neural stem cells, which would not be able to accept the foreign DNA, even if we could coax them to repair the massive cut along the corpus callosum, which we cannot, not yet anyway. They probably would be able to undergo self-differentiation and repair the micro-incisions like resheathing the neurons via oligodentrite differentiation or repair the blood-brain barrier via astrocytic differentiation. However, being that we have never made NSC work properly, that is speculation. 

And every organ in the body is essentially carbon copied, which is why they can be transplanted. But the brain is unique, the pattern of folds is unique to everyone, the arrangement of neural pathways, the burned-in conditionings etc. I cannot see a way in which a divide along the long axis of the brain could possibly allow for the transplantations of an entire lobe of the cortex from one person to the other. Partial brain transplatation remains in the realm of sci-fi.

Why? 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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illeatyourdog wrote: I will

illeatyourdog wrote:
I will concede that all I can say in response to this is "So you admit you don't have evidence for such a case not to happen . . "

Sorry? Are you referring to the “two halves of a brain” argument? If so, I’m not the one making the argument so it is not my job to disprove it. It would be the job of the positive claimant to prove it to be the case. And as I’m sure you’re aware, lack of evidence is not positive proof. That said, DG pretty much covered why I could not work anyway.

illeatyourdog wrote:
So instead i will ask you how one would make sense of morality with this type of view. 

What has morality have to do with this?
The brain is clearly involved with morality. As I understand it, that is the general consensus. We have a primitive reflective emotion side to our morality, and a more recent utilitarian reasoning side to our morality. This article of a study discusses the brain and morality: http://www.slate.com/id/2162998

illeatyourdog wrote:
You are the nueroscientist.  If it is a physical impossibility to do so please explain why it is.  All I can say is that Nagel beleived it to be a legitmate possibility but I'm figuring his word wouldn't cut it for you (to be fair, it seemed far fetched when I heard it but brain surgery is not my expertise so i figured he knew what he was talking about).

I’m not a neuroscientist, or even a scientist. I said it was nonsense purely on the basis of the complexity/intricacy of the brain, along with the fact we don’t have a complete understanding of it.

illeatyourdog wrote:
So would this being have two minds, a hybrid mind, or just be an altogether different person with a new mind?

None. The person would be dead, since it cannot happen. However, assuming it was possible, I wouldn’t possibly know of the outcome. But obviously, there would be some changes.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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On morality: Morality is of

On morality: Morality is of course a physical thing (form/pattern) in your brain just like everything else you experience and use mentally. Morality can be thought of as a 'strategy for life'. Christians get their strategy from the myths in the Bible, Muslims from the myths in the Quran. We get our morality from observing the world around us, seeing which strategies work better than others (and why), and then building up our own personal view of morality over time.

An example: On theft, you might reason that "I won't steal because I personally wouldn't like to have something stolen from me". (Just an example, I think there are deeper reasons not to steal.)  You may have derived this instance from the more-general principle "I won't do things I wouldn't want done to me.

Both the general priniciple and the specific instance are mental constructions in your brain/mind. They are concepts, just like any other concept you might hold.

Moreover, the ability to derive specific instances from general principles is also a natural ability of the brain. It is called intuition.

So yeah, morality 'exists' in the sense that it is found inside the brain. There is no 'absolute' morality that humans can know. All they can do is use their natural intuition to (hopefully) pick the best strategies they can.

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natural wrote: On

natural wrote:

On morality: Morality is of course a physical thing (form/pattern) in your brain just like everything else you experience and use mentally. Morality can be thought of as a 'strategy for life'. Christians get their strategy from the myths in the Bible, Muslims from the myths in the Quran. We get our morality from observing the world around us, seeing which strategies work better than others (and why), and then building up our own personal view of morality over time.

An example: On theft, you might reason that "I won't steal because I personally wouldn't like to have something stolen from me". (Just an example, I think there are deeper reasons not to steal.) You may have derived this instance from the more-general principle "I won't do things I wouldn't want done to me.

Both the general priniciple and the specific instance are mental constructions in your brain/mind. They are concepts, just like any other concept you might hold.

Moreover, the ability to derive specific instances from general principles is also a natural ability of the brain. It is called intuition.

So yeah, morality 'exists' in the sense that it is found inside the brain. There is no 'absolute' morality that humans can know. All they can do is use their natural intuition to (hopefully) pick the best strategies they can.



You're simply wrong.  No one gets their morality from a source like a holy book.  No one who wants to function properly in society practices morality from a holy book.  Can you imagine the effect if Christians really did all the things a good Christian should?  Debates about which testiment should be followed aside, they would be the worst sort of citizenry.  The zeitgeist updates and defines what is moral and people are wont to work within the confines of society because that's how society works; you work within it or you are not part of it.  If it so happens that some piece of current morals aligns with a holy book, that's just swell, but it doesn't mean that morals come from the holy book.  Where that holy book really interceded on morals is the justification behind the moral, the reason for not doing something and doing something else.  The religious tend to have fear of something, some terrifying afterlife, some continued existence that supposedly keeps them on the moral track.  That clearly doesn't maintain all the time and since morality in this life is judged by society and persecuted by the same, moving off the moral track ends you up in jail, outcast, alienated, not welcome as part of society.  We have agreements between each other that we must in order for society to funtion, not natural intuition that hopefully helps us to pick the best strategy and not any holy book, or we are all very fortunate society works at all.

As to morality being physical, you are correct there.

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Maybe it's a little bit

Maybe it's a little bit off-topic, but since we are discussing the brain, here is an interesting link about a man who has a 50% to 75% reduction of the brain volume.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12301-man-with-tiny-brain-shocks-doctors.html


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deludedgod

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Why?

 

1) You were describing spereating the the let and right hemispheres right? 2) A thoguht experiment brought up by Thomas Nagel (after rereading his "Brainbisection and unity of consciousness" I think it was Derek Parfit who came up with the thoguth experiment I described) involved two halfs of a brain.  A left hemisphere from person A and a right hemisphere from person B being put into a single patient.  And there were questions as to the feasibility of such an operation.  Clearly it seems that it is unfeasible meaning that Topher's initial claim that it is nonsense is accurate.

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topher wrote: What has

topher wrote:
What has morality have to do with this?

 

This has mroe to do with the claim at the start of this thread.  I was just wondering if Morality is part of "etc."

Quote:
The brain is clearly involved with morality. As I understand it, that is the general consensus. We have a primitive reflective emotion side to our morality, and a more recent utilitarian reasoning side to our morality. This article of a study discusses the brain and morality: http://www.slate.com/id/2162998[/quote]

 

how is morality being defined in this article?  I did read it by the way and they presented two views on what morlaity could be but morality was never really defined.  Is it simply being able to distinguish right actions from wrong actions?

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natural wrote: On morality:

natural wrote:
On morality: Morality is of course a physical thing (form/pattern) in your brain just like everything else you experience and use mentally.

 

So everyone has their own morality that is unique to themselves?   So if reductionalism is correct and morality is simply a pattern one chooses to live by, the Aztecs are just as morally justified as Jains.  Am I understanding this correctly?

" Why does God always got such wacky shit to say? . . . When was the last time you heard somebody say 'look God told me to get a muffin and a cup tea and cool out man'?" - Dov Davidoff


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illeatyourdog

illeatyourdog wrote:

natural wrote:
On morality: Morality is of course a physical thing (form/pattern) in your brain just like everything else you experience and use mentally.

So everyone has their own morality that is unique to themselves?   So if reductionalism is correct and morality is simply a pattern one chooses to live by, the Aztecs are just as morally justified as Jains.  Am I understanding this correctly?

No you're not because you're ignoring what I said following that, which is that morals are a strategy for life, and obviously some strategies are better than others. I was referring to the physical status of morals, not their justification.

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Thomathy wrote: natural

Thomathy wrote:
natural wrote:

On morality: Morality is of course a physical thing (form/pattern) in your brain just like everything else you experience and use mentally. Morality can be thought of as a 'strategy for life'. Christians get their strategy from the myths in the Bible, Muslims from the myths in the Quran. We get our morality from observing the world around us, seeing which strategies work better than others (and why), and then building up our own personal view of morality over time.

An example: On theft, you might reason that "I won't steal because I personally wouldn't like to have something stolen from me". (Just an example, I think there are deeper reasons not to steal.) You may have derived this instance from the more-general principle "I won't do things I wouldn't want done to me.

Both the general priniciple and the specific instance are mental constructions in your brain/mind. They are concepts, just like any other concept you might hold.

Moreover, the ability to derive specific instances from general principles is also a natural ability of the brain. It is called intuition.

So yeah, morality 'exists' in the sense that it is found inside the brain. There is no 'absolute' morality that humans can know. All they can do is use their natural intuition to (hopefully) pick the best strategies they can.



You're simply wrong.  No one gets their morality from a source like a holy book.  No one who wants to function properly in society practices morality from a holy book.  Can you imagine the effect if Christians really did all the things a good Christian should?  Debates about which testiment should be followed aside, they would be the worst sort of citizenry.  The zeitgeist updates and defines what is moral and people are wont to work within the confines of society because that's how society works; you work within it or you are not part of it.  If it so happens that some piece of current morals aligns with a holy book, that's just swell, but it doesn't mean that morals come from the holy book.  Where that holy book really interceded on morals is the justification behind the moral, the reason for not doing something and doing something else.  The religious tend to have fear of something, some terrifying afterlife, some continued existence that supposedly keeps them on the moral track.  That clearly doesn't maintain all the time and since morality in this life is judged by society and persecuted by the same, moving off the moral track ends you up in jail, outcast, alienated, not welcome as part of society.  We have agreements between each other that we must in order for society to funtion, not natural intuition that hopefully helps us to pick the best strategy and not any holy book, or we are all very fortunate society works at all.

As to morality being physical, you are correct there.

You took my point WAY out of context. I was answering the question whether morals were physical, not how morals are aquired, that was just incidental.

But, to answer your tangent, of course Christians and Muslims get morals out of their books. If someone reads a Quran and suddenly starts condemning people who aren't Muslims, where the F do you think he got that idea? It's written (physically, I might add) right in the pages of the book. More proof that morals are physical. Ever heard of memes? 

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Topher wrote: Do beliefs,

Topher wrote:
Do beliefs, desires, emotions, etc, physically exist in the brain?

I hold that they do. I hold that concepts have a physical existence and an abstract representation of that physical existence. So for example, we have certain chemical processes existing in the brain which produce an experience which we call love, and we have an abstract representation of this physical process which if often seen as immaterial/mystical/intangible/etc. So when we refer to love we are indirectly and unconsciously referring to the physical existence, in the brain.

Our brain physically controls everything we do with chemical reactions and neurons sending signals etc, our actions are dictated by our brains. So if one denies they exist, physically, in the brain, then they are left with a problem: how can something not be part of our brain structure and still influence/dictate us, our desires, choices, etc? Surely it is nonsense to make such an argument – that something is not part of our physical brain, yet can influence or dictate us.

Many people try to argue a supposed distinction between the physical conditions in the brain, and the ‘mind’ but they never explain what they are talking about:

Exactly what is ‘mind?’

What is its ontology?

Is it physical? If so, how does it differ from the physical conditions in the brain?

If it is not physical, what is it?

I don’t know why people have a problem with reductive physicalism.

As a side note, is there any research on beliefs and desires existing in the brain, as neurons and reactions etc? Such as how they formulate, how they determine our behaviour, which parts of the brain produce such things, etc.

Its a tricky question. One common thought experiment that atempts to show that perhaps our physical understanding of mind will always be complete is the Mary's room thought experiment.

Mary is a brilliant neuro scientist who has access to unlimited resources and experimental equipment. She studies and maps exactly what will happen in the brian down to the last neuron when someone experiances the colour blue. Her studies enable her to understand down to the last atom exactly whay will happen in her brain when she sees a blue object. 

But Mary lives in a large room that is completely black and white. She has never experianced seeing blue herself. She knows a full physical explanation of everything that goes on in the brain when blue is experianced. But when she comes out of the room and looks at the sky does she learn something new? Can a precise atom level physical explanation of the workings of the brain every account for the actual experiance of blue?

I'm not sure that they can. The subjective experiance of blueness can not be captured by the objective physical mapping of brain neurons. However I do not suggest for one momment that there is any kind of nonphysical substance attached to the brain responsible for conciousness. I think that the very notion of "physical" is actually limited and can not current encompass subjetive experiance. I'm not sure its actually even possible to understand the subjective experiance in terms of the objective phsycial world.

 


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natural wrote: But, to

natural wrote:

But, to answer your tangent, of course Christians and Muslims get morals out of their books. If someone reads a Quran and suddenly starts condemning people who aren't Muslims, where the F do you think he got that idea? It's written (physically, I might add) right in the pages of the book. More proof that morals are physical. Ever heard of memes?



All right. I went too far suggesting no morals are gotten out of holy books. What I should have said was something that aligned more with my next point, 'No one who wants to function properly in society practices morality from a holy book.' Sure in some Muslim communities it's okay to condemn everyone not Muslim and that may be an idea about morality they picked out of their holy book, but that's not a majority thing among Muslims, nor is it something considered quite alright by the majority. I stand by what else I wrote, it's all quite true. I blatantly agreed that morals are physical, but thanks for pressing the point. I have read about memetic theory and I am confused as to why you ask me if I have, 'Ever heard of memes. ' If it has to do with my mention of the zeitgeist updating and defining morals, that would be analogous to memeplexes in some ways. Now, I have gone on a true tangent, because I can't bring this back to topic in any succinct way at all.  Frustrating.Tongue out

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natural wrote: No you're

natural wrote:
No you're not because you're ignoring what I said following that, which is that morals are a strategy for life, and obviously some strategies are better than others. I was referring to the physical status of morals, not their justification.

 

Perhaps. but, you cannot avoid a a type of self-justification with this claim.  Going back to the Aztecs and Jains.  The aztecs was one of the most properous cultures in the earl America's and, in their view, things like human sacrifice or slaughtering an entire city-state could be justified.  This type of "strategy for life" worked for centuries until the Spnaish came.  So on your view, it seems, the Aztecs were justified in what they were doing, or at least acting morally, since their strategy for life worked for hundreds of years.  The jains, on the other hand, do not beleive in harming anything, including germs and bacteria.  They also do not beleive in traveling on boats, plains, or cars.  Jains still exist today.  However, on your view, there is no real moral difference between the Jains and Aztecs since both have/had a "strategy for life".  At most you can say the Jains have a better strategy since they are still around but then your conception of morality has less to do with actions taken to maintain a society and more to do with if a society is maintained. 

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illeatyourdog wrote: The

illeatyourdog wrote:
The aztecs was one of the most properous cultures in the earl America's and, in their view, things like human sacrifice or slaughtering an entire city-state could be justified.  This type of "strategy for life" worked for centuries until the Spnaish came.  So on your view, it seems, the Aztecs were justified in what they were doing, or at least acting morally, since their strategy for life worked for hundreds of years.

This is an extreme over-simplification and misinterpretation of my view. You are putting words in my mouth straight from your keyboard. Stop doing this. This is not even relevant to the topic of the thread.

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natural wrote: This is an

natural wrote:
This is an extreme over-simplification and misinterpretation of my view. You are putting words in my mouth straight from your keyboard.

 

I don't mean to put words in your mouth.  I am just wondering what value, if any, morality is on your view since you hold it is simply a "strategy for life".  I used extreme examples to emphasize that moarlity seems value-less, in an objective sense, since moraltiy is solely (feel free to correct me) is developed on an absolute subjective level.

 

Quote:
This is not even relevant to the topic of the thread.

 

So morality has nothing to do with physical actions in the brain?  An article posted by Topher suggests otherwise since it described an experiment in which individuals, due to a certain brain pattern, were not as affected by a moral qualm as other individuals with a different brain pattern.

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I'm just going to remind

I'm just going to remind everyone that the thread has veered off track.  Our original discussion was about emergent materialism verss reductionist materialism. While interesting, this is not the subject of the OP. Our discussion, for some unexplained reason, has now turned to morality, which is totally irrelevant to the discussion. If morality exists as the result of physical actions of the brain, this has nothing to do with what we are talking about (ethics, what is good, subjective/objective etc, cultural morality, relitivism etc). None of this is relavent whatsoever to the OP.

Let us please try to stick to neuroscience, instead of moral philosophy, which is irrelevant to the OP. 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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deludedgod wrote: Let us

deludedgod wrote:
Let us please try to stick to neuroscience, instead of moral philosophy, which is irrelevant to the OP.

 

So Topher can illustrate his point with a possible redcutionlist explanation of love but when I analyze it with the conception of morality I am veering of course?  By using love as an example, isn't he already working with an assumption, about love, that people may or may not agree with?  If the point of this thread was to avoid such seemingly undefinable topics (or topics that could easily be a thread in and of themselves), thats fine, but don't begin the thread with such a strong claim about a concept that is, of itself a highly debatable issue. 

" Why does God always got such wacky shit to say? . . . When was the last time you heard somebody say 'look God told me to get a muffin and a cup tea and cool out man'?" - Dov Davidoff


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If you are talking about

If you are talking about whether what the Aztecs did is justified, or what is "good" or whether morality is subjective or cultural or whatever, then yes, you are veering off course. This has nothing, nothing to do with neuroscience. You and natural can take your debate elsewhere.

Quote:

 a highly debatable issue

Among all except those who study it. 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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illeatyourdog wrote:

illeatyourdog wrote:
how is morality being defined in this article? I did read it by the way and they presented two views on what morlaity could be but morality was never really defined. Is it simply being able to distinguish right actions from wrong actions?

Well I took from it that we require both our emotional side and our reasoning side. As the article states, knock out the emotion side and we become “abnormally utilitarian,” and I would guess that without the reasoning side we would revert to something more akin to our primitive cousins. And as it states, if we seem to have a moral conflict, it’s often because there actually is, in the brain. For example, smothering a baby to save a group of people hiding from a killer… our emotion side won’t do it, but our utilitarian side will tell us it’s the most logical thing to do (i.e. save more lives).

”Some of the study's authors think this finding vindicates emotions. Since people with VMPC damage are "abnormally 'utilitarian,' " they argue, emotions are necessary to produce "normal judgments of right and wrong." In fact, the authors add, "By showing that humans are neurologically unfit for strict utilitarian thinking, the study suggests that neuroscience may be able to test different philosophies for compatibility with human nature."”

”What's moral, in the new world, is what's normal, natural, necessary, and neurologically fit.“

”The catch is that what's normal, natural, necessary, and neurologically fit can change. In fact, it has been changing throughout history. As our ancestors adapted from small, kin-based groups toward elaborate nation-states, the brain evolved from reflexive emotions toward the abstract reasoning power that gave birth, in this millennium, to utilitarianism. The full story is a lot more complicated, but that's the rough outline.”

I would somewhat agree to this, that is, what is moral is *partly* what is genetically/neurologically natural, so moral philosophies can be compared to our human nature to see if we are actually fit for them. So as an example, trying to restrict/outlaw sex goes against our nature, so form this view cannot be seen as moral. But bear in mind that I’m not suggesting a type of objective morality here, only that our human nature is important in our morality, and that neuroscience has a role to play.

evil religion wrote:
Its a tricky question. One common thought experiment that atempts to show that perhaps our physical understanding of mind will always be complete is the Mary's room thought experiment.

Mary is a brilliant neuro scientist who has access to unlimited resources and experimental equipment. She studies and maps exactly what will happen in the brian down to the last neuron when someone experiances the colour blue. Her studies enable her to understand down to the last atom exactly whay will happen in her brain when she sees a blue object.

But Mary lives in a large room that is completely black and white. She has never experianced seeing blue herself. She knows a full physical explanation of everything that goes on in the brain when blue is experianced. But when she comes out of the room and looks at the sky does she learn something new? Can a precise atom level physical explanation of the workings of the brain every account for the actual experiance of blue?

I'm not sure that they can. The subjective experiance of blueness can not be captured by the objective physical mapping of brain neurons. However I do not suggest for one momment that there is any kind of nonphysical substance attached to the brain responsible for conciousness. I think that the very notion of "physical" is actually limited and can not current encompass subjetive experiance. I'm not sure its actually even possible to understand the subjective experiance in terms of the objective phsycial world.

To experience a colour you need to actually receive an empirical wavelength into the eye, which is consequently physically processed by the brain, which in turn gives us the subjective experience. Simply having knowledge what happens in the brain doesn’t mean you understand the subjective experience itself.

The Mary’s room thought experiment is somewhat of a strawman anyway since reductive physicalism does not mean we can understand subjectivity via knowledge the objective physical world. It only claims, as I understand it, that we can understand how the subjective experience, like consciousness, works in the brain (at least at the moment, to so some extent), and that such subjective experiences are simply part of the brain.

The Wikipedia page for the thought experiment also notes that:

”It is important to note that in Jackson's article, physicalism refers to the epistemological doctrine that all knowledge is knowledge of physical facts, and not the metaphysical doctrine that all things are physical things.”

But when people refer to physicalism don't that generally refer to the latter definition, not the one Jackson used? Under that definition I’d agree with Dennett.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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deludedgod wrote: If you

deludedgod wrote:
If you are talking about whether what the Aztecs did is justified, or what is "good" or whether morality is subjective or cultural or whatever, then yes, you are veering off course. This has nothing, nothing to do with neuroscience. You and natural can take your debate elsewhere.

 

So things like "good", subjectivity, and objectivity do not concern nueroscientists?

 

Quote:
Among all except those who study it.

 

Are you talking about love or nueroscience?  And if nueroscientists have came up with some sort of applicable definition of love I would love to hear it.  I would assume they would need to have one before they can test for it.

" Why does God always got such wacky shit to say? . . . When was the last time you heard somebody say 'look God told me to get a muffin and a cup tea and cool out man'?" - Dov Davidoff


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neuroscience

neuroscience


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topher wrote: ]Well I took

topher wrote:
]Well I took from it that we require both our emotional side and our reasoning side.

 

As did I.  So now the question is, what part of the brain "got that" from the article?

 

Quote:
In fact, the authors add, "By showing that humans are neurologically unfit for strict utilitarian thinking, the study suggests that neuroscience may be able to test different philosophies for compatibility with human nature."”

  1) How would they determine which philosophies are testable? 2) IN regards to the "harmful moral decesions" in bold at the start of the article, is their point that killing one to save five is more harmful then letting five die to let one live?  How did they determine which choice is more harmful since either one seems equally harmful?  Becuase the ones who had brain damage chose to kill one to save five, it must therefore be the more harmful decesion? 

" Why does God always got such wacky shit to say? . . . When was the last time you heard somebody say 'look God told me to get a muffin and a cup tea and cool out man'?" - Dov Davidoff