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Author Topic:   Materialism
Member (Idle past 92 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005

Message 9 of 114 (738147)
10-05-2014 10:29 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dr Adequate
10-04-2014 10:02 PM

materialism:- n, not dualism.
Well maybe not quite, but the point is that materialism to me seems like atheism. It's saying 'I reject your notions of an afterlife realm, a divine realm, your realm of ideas etc.,'
If we did find another universe that was composed of something 'exotic' the dualists and the materialist seem to be able to claim it so it's certainly a futile position to argue in favour of.
I think it's just a {sometimes} useful label for summing up the gist of someone's position when you are referring to it.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-04-2014 10:02 PM Dr Adequate has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Pressie, posted 10-05-2014 10:42 AM Modulous has replied

Member (Idle past 92 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005

Message 11 of 114 (738154)
10-05-2014 10:51 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Pressie
10-05-2014 10:42 AM

Re: Materialism, not dualism?
To me the word materialism does not mean the same as atheism, at all
That's fine, but I wasn't claiming it means the same, I suggested it shared the property as the label 'atheism' in that it is largely defined by what it is not.
I could have been clearer, but there it is.
Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.

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 Message 10 by Pressie, posted 10-05-2014 10:42 AM Pressie has not replied

Member (Idle past 92 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005

Message 83 of 114 (738321)
10-08-2014 7:39 PM
Reply to: Message 74 by Faith
10-08-2014 7:13 AM

Re: Mind-Body Problem
You cannot know a person's thoughts by studying the brain.
I cannot, but that's not the same as saying it is impossible to do this in principle. The latter is not proven, but might be true. We can certainly infer mental states from studying the brain, to the point where we can tell before a test participant when they decided to press a button (see: Benjamin Libet, Unconscious cerebral initiative and the role of conscious will in voluntary action, THE BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES (1985) 8, 529-566 :
Voluntary acts are preceded by electrophysiological "readiness potentials " (RPs) . With spontaneous acts involving no preplanning , the main negative RP shift begin sat abou t -550 ms . Such RP' s were used to indicate the minimum onset times for the cerebral activity that precedes a fully endogenous voluntary act . The time of conscious intention to act was obtained from the subject's recall of the spatial clock position o f a revolving spot at the time of his initial awareness of intending or wanting to move (W) . W occurred at about -200 ms... For spontaneous voluntary acts , RP onset preceded the uncorrected W s by about 350 ms and the W s corrected for S by about 400 ms . The direction of this difference was consistent and significant throughout , regardless of which of several measures of RP onset or W were used . It was concluded that cerebral initiation of a spontaneous voluntary act begins unconsciously.
There are other examples of the brain showing activity for a decision is consciously made. Soon, Chun Siong; Brass, Marcel; Heinze, Hans-Jochen; Haynes, John-Dylan (2008). "Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain". Nature Neuroscience said they were able to predict with 60% accuracy which 50/50 choice a participant would make, up to 10 seconds before they had consciously reached a decision (the decision was to press a button with their left or right hand.
I'm not talking about physically separating mind and brain, I'm saying they are two different kinds of things and you can NOT know anything about the qualities of one from knowing about the other
A position held by a minority of philosophers. The people that study the brain and the mind, neuroscientists and psychologists, disagree with this assessment. I've read some of their papers and books and it seems clear they have a compelling case, which is why they hold the consensus these days, presumably.
The dualists? I just see speculation from them. some of it is very interesting speculation, granted, but it's not persuasive speculation. They're still going crazy trying to explain the fundamental mechanisms. There are three schools of thought, I believe, over-simplified here: 1) The immaterial mind interacts with the brain, the brain interacts with the mind (traditional Cartesian view) 2) The material world interacts with the material brain, which interacts with the immaterial mind {the mind does not cause behaviour}. 3) There is no interaction, it just seems like there is.
All of them postulate entities, which I have never seen a proper theory for let alone supporting evidence of. 1) and 2) and 3) require an immaterial mind or soul. 1) and 2) also involve a second entity: a medium of interaction between the material and the immaterial: an interface. Finally 3) basically requires a god as its second entity.
Mind is simply not material
I agree: but I say the mind is a process that takes place in a material medium rather than a thing that exists without matter.
Mind and brain operate simultaneously but mind produces thoughts and brain does not, it is merely the physical means by which thoughts exist and are conveyed and THAT IS OBVIOUS.
Well, the mind is thoughts, and the brain is the instantiation of or physical medium for this.
Neuroimaging studies have used classic moral dilemmas to identify the neural circuitry underlying moral decision-making in healthy individuals, but it is unknown how this circuit functions in immoral, psychopathic individuals. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we find that more psychopathic individuals show reduced activity in the amygdala during emotional moral decision-making, with particularly conning and manipulative individuals showing reduced activity in the entire moral neural circuit. These results provide initial evidence that psychopaths exhibit deficits in brain regions essential for moral judgment in normal individuals.
Molecular Psychiatry (2009) 14, 5—6; The neural correlates of moral decision-making in psychopathy, A L Glenn, A Raine and R A Schug
What do you propose the amygdala is doing? Is it the mind that has no empathy and is not stimulating the amygdala as much? or is the mind healthy and good but the amygdala is a broken radio part and this results in a seeming lack of empathy, glib and superficial charm and a desire to exploit others for their own end, with a streak of sadism thrown in here and there?
When I step on the accelerator the car moves. The action is simultaneous but the car doesn't move unless I step on the accelerator, and the car also won't go anywhere when I step on the accelerator if it is out of gas or the battery is dead or I haven't turned on the ignition. I'm the driver, the car is the tool, the action is simultaneous but I am the originator. The car does what I want it to do unless it is ailing in some way. Same with the brain.
Maybe your foot is analogous to nerve signals being sent to towards the kidney and activating the accelerator/adrenaline glands, releasing fuel/adrenaline into the system causing it to react by accelerating/running away. The mind is part of the thing the engine is doing and when that fuel hits the engine it becomes excited, and this excitation leads to other parts of the engine to send signals and energy to the wheels to get out of there quick. The homunculus here makes a simple translation difficult.
Do cows have immaterial minds? It is undisputed that they have mental processes, so this shows that this isn't beyond the capacities of a brain.
In any event, if we propose a mind that is not something that the brain does, but is separate from it we are entering into the territory of rank speculation. We can't see this entity, or detect it in any way. We can't see how information arrives from it to the brain, and there is nothing in the brain that suggests a line of communication to a non-accounted for external source. Maybe it's like this, or maybe it's like the other way. For thousands of years and we're no better off than when we started the speculation. We just have books and books of ideas and suggestions and thought experiments and so on and really all that's changed is style and trends of discourse.
On the other hand Psychology as a discipline can be said to have started in 1879 with William Wundt. Once the study had gone from speculative philosophy to a more empirical approach, actual progress was seen very quickly. Despite the huge amount of progress in understanding the mind and the brain, no evidence of dualism has appeared.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 74 by Faith, posted 10-08-2014 7:13 AM Faith has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 84 by Faith, posted 10-08-2014 7:48 PM Modulous has seen this message but not replied

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