An Argument against Substance Dualism

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Duckrabbit
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Re: An Argument against Substance Dualism

Post by Duckrabbit » March 31st, 2018, 1:46 pm

Gertie wrote:
March 25th, 2018, 6:08 am
DuckRabbit
Duckrabbit wrote:
March 11th, 2018, 9:47 pm
Mind/Body. Where exactly is the problem?

I have things. I have opinions. I have toes. I have a pet pig. I have patience. I have time. I have a watch. I have a body. I have a mind.

Our language - our use of words ("have", "thing", "facts") - tricks us into thinking we have a metaphysical problem here. My body can be seen; my mind cannot. My toes can be seen; my opinions cannot (necessarily). But aren't all these things? We are free to call them all things. There is a convention of our language that allows us to do so. But then we give up our freedom and allow the language, the word use, the grammar, to oppress us, to gain supremacy, control. What kind of things, we ask, are things that cannot be seen or observed with bodily senses? Much head-scratching has ensued over millennia. There must be two separate (perhaps equal) kinds of things. Then a move is made that is crucial though its importance seems mostly overlooked. We replace "thing" with "substance".
I don't think it's just a language issue. When you say ''I have things. I have opinions. I have toes. I have a pet pig. I have patience. I have time. I have a watch. I have a body. I have a mind.'' and they're all just things, the same type of 'substance', I think you're actually saying I have these experiences of having opinions and toes and a pig, which are all the same type of experience-substance.

But then the question arises do some of these things exist independently of your experiencing of them. Does your pig still exist when you die, independent of your experiencing of her? Or a rock? If so, then material substance exists. There is a real world of material substance, and you are within it. And unlike some of the material things in it, you have experiential states (consciousness). And experiential states seem to be a different type of thing to atoms and rocks, and brains.

That's the issue.
I think you've misunderstood me in numerous ways. I realize what "the issue" "is"; I am maintaining that it is not really an issue once you look (closely) at the way we us words, and the way words use us, in framing the "issue" and, really, in all metaphysical diatribes and conversations.

I was not asserting that the "things" I "have" (opinions, toes, pig, etc.) are all "just things, the same type of 'substance'". I was pointing out, to the contrary, how it is linguistic convention that allows us to call all of these "things", even though they may not have anything more in common than the application of that word. Far from being all one 'substance', I was pointing out that some of them, e.g. opinions, patience, time, are not substances at all. The mistake that has been made is that because we call them all things, we conclude they must be made of some substance, even though we cannot figure out what kind of substance that could be since they do not fit our actual definition of "substance", which involves the physical, the material. We look for a metaphor for "substance", therefore, then drop the metaphor-search and turn it into a metaphysical-search. We hope (again, do not misunderstand me: I do not personally hope because I believe the hope is based on a misperception) that either our rational inquiries or (even better and more decisively) SCIENCE will finally reveal what the nature of this mysterious 'substance' is. And "that", indeed, is "the issue" that keeps philosophers and even some scientists, misguided by the allure of linguistic conventions and the mysteries they seem to present, seeking new ways to conceive and ultimately determine what this substance actually is.

So, I am not saying that these (opinions, toes, pig) are all the same type of "experience-substance"; I would say that "experience-substance" is an oxymoron. "Experience(s)" would be fine. You don't need "substance"; that word is serving no purpose. So yes, I could say that I "have experiences of having these things"; but when would I say that and why? That sentence has no point. Only mistakenly would I lump all these things and the "experience" of having them together. I do not experience having a toothache, Ihave a toothache. The word "experience" does not add anything, and putting it in should not mislead us into thinking it expresses something important. I do not experience having restlessness, I am restless. Both "experience" and "having" are unnecessary and misguiding.

Do these things exist independently of my experiencing them? My opinions or my time do not since they are mine. But this is trivial, not profound. As for pigs and rocks, well I guess I could say "I don't know", but that also seems a rather trivial "revelation". Why I would believe they do not exist, despite common sense (a vastly undervalued phenomenon), I cannot imagine. Another trivial, inconsequential, and ultimately, IMO, meaningless proposition: "material substance exists" (true by definition?) It's also inconsequential to say "my experiences exist." But then calling, labeling my experiences "states", and "consciousness" again makes them seem like they are of a mysterious substance that exists in a different realm than rocks and pigs. But we only look for a separate realm because we have used substantives ("states, "consciousness") to refer to activities which, despite insistence to the contrary, are in no way analogous to physical things like pigs and rocks.

That people look to quantum mechanics, for instance, to ultimately tell us what kind of thing "consciousness" is, is like searching for a lost phone by exploring abstract concepts like endurance and sensitivity.

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Re: An Argument against Substance Dualism

Post by Tamminen » March 31st, 2018, 3:37 pm

Duckrabbit:

I mostly agree with your Wittgensteinian approach to avoid reifying things. But do you think that words like 'consciousness', 'mind', 'subject' etc. are totally useless in philosophy? Wittgenstein avoided metaphysical language games, but I think he was a bit too rigorous here. Why not metaphysics? In metaphysical language a sentence like "The subject is conscious of the world" can be used to describe the basic structure of our existence. We only use words in different ways for different purposes. It is also a matter of learning a new language game, so to speak. But of course we must avoid those fly bottles.

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Greta
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Re: An Argument against Substance Dualism

Post by Greta » March 31st, 2018, 7:43 pm

I wonder if opinions do have substance in the quantum realm? The forming of an opinion is physically an electrochemical process (nested within many other processes). Something is happening physically when we think. Consider the physical events occurring as a forum post places thoughts in people's heads thousands of kms away.

A particular patterning of neurons in your brain prompts you to tap on a keyboard as per agreed codes to produce a rough symbolic representation of your neuronal patterning on a screen via black marks shaped as per the English language. This results in equivalent 1s and 0s being sent as electrical signals via cable or a carrier frequency in the atmosphere, which then returns to very slightly physically change the structure of chips in various servers, etc resulting in the dynamic neuronal patterning being approximate reproduced in other minds.

What we have essentially is an idea that can, and is, represented in physical reality in various languages and mediums (brain, keyboard/screen, sending server, communications networks, receiving server, then computer) and finally decoded into other people's minds.

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Re: An Argument against Substance Dualism

Post by Duckrabbit » March 31st, 2018, 8:34 pm

Tamminen wrote:
March 31st, 2018, 3:37 pm
Duckrabbit:

I mostly agree with your Wittgensteinian approach to avoid reifying things. But do you think that words like 'consciousness', 'mind', 'subject' etc. are totally useless in philosophy? Wittgenstein avoided metaphysical language games, but I think he was a bit too rigorous here. Why not metaphysics? In metaphysical language a sentence like "The subject is conscious of the world" can be used to describe the basic structure of our existence. We only use words in different ways for different purposes. It is also a matter of learning a new language game, so to speak. But of course we must avoid those fly bottles.
I do not think "consciousness", "mind", and "subject" are useless, but I think we should be careful when using them and fully cognizant of what we mean by them when they are employed. I think these words mean different things in different contexts, which meanings may be only loosely connected to each other at best. The tendency is to decide there must be some definite common thing which makes, for example, consciousness what it is. Then we go looking for that thing and postulate mysteries when we cannot find it. Consciousness only becomes mysterious when we determine that "consciousness" must mean something above and beyond what we do in fact mean when we are using it. When the discussion has already passed into the search for what consciousness really is we have entered the realm of metaphysics where, it seems, words stand for mysterious entities, rather than being things we use to communicate with each other, whose meaning is settled by use and convention, not by explorations into neuro science, quantum mechanics, higher mathematics, astrology, or what have you. I do not think "The subject is conscious of the world" describes anything. It is really just defining the word "subject". No?

You are absolutely right: we do use words in different ways for different purposes. But most metaphysics, I believe, uses words in a way in which the whole context in which they might have some discernible sense is removed. For instance, "Why do we exist?" is meaningless without some context; without some indication as to what kind of answer the questioner is looking for. Otherwise it just hangs in the air and causes confusion. Like "what is consciousness?" An apt reply might be: "compared to what?" (Not totally apt, perhaps but, I think, on the right track).

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Re: An Argument against Substance Dualism

Post by Tamminen » April 1st, 2018, 3:25 am

Duckrabbit wrote:
March 31st, 2018, 8:34 pm
I do not think "The subject is conscious of the world" describes anything. It is really just defining the word "subject". No?
So take this example. When we study ontology, we must create some kind of picture of the structure of our being in the universe. The above sentence is one way of defining the basic elements of that structure. If our ontological position were different, the sentence could have been, for instance, "There are experiences and their relations to the world". The above sentence is an expression of the structure (1) the subject (2) experiencing (3) the world (transcendence), all of which are necessary components of the totality that constitutes our existence. If that description is correct, is another question. This is what I mean by metaphysical language games.

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Re: An Argument against Substance Dualism

Post by Gertie » April 1st, 2018, 10:36 am

Duckrabbit wrote:
March 31st, 2018, 1:46 pm
Gertie wrote:
March 25th, 2018, 6:08 am
DuckRabbit



I don't think it's just a language issue. When you say ''I have things. I have opinions. I have toes. I have a pet pig. I have patience. I have time. I have a watch. I have a body. I have a mind.'' and they're all just things, the same type of 'substance', I think you're actually saying I have these experiences of having opinions and toes and a pig, which are all the same type of experience-substance.

But then the question arises do some of these things exist independently of your experiencing of them. Does your pig still exist when you die, independent of your experiencing of her? Or a rock? If so, then material substance exists. There is a real world of material substance, and you are within it. And unlike some of the material things in it, you have experiential states (consciousness). And experiential states seem to be a different type of thing to atoms and rocks, and brains.

That's the issue.
I think you've misunderstood me in numerous ways. I realize what "the issue" "is"; I am maintaining that it is not really an issue once you look (closely) at the way we us words, and the way words use us, in framing the "issue" and, really, in all metaphysical diatribes and conversations.

I was not asserting that the "things" I "have" (opinions, toes, pig, etc.) are all "just things, the same type of 'substance'". I was pointing out, to the contrary, how it is linguistic convention that allows us to call all of these "things", even though they may not have anything more in common than the application of that word. Far from being all one 'substance', I was pointing out that some of them, e.g. opinions, patience, time, are not substances at all. The mistake that has been made is that because we call them all things, we conclude they must be made of some substance, even though we cannot figure out what kind of substance that could be since they do not fit our actual definition of "substance", which involves the physical, the material. We look for a metaphor for "substance", therefore, then drop the metaphor-search and turn it into a metaphysical-search. We hope (again, do not misunderstand me: I do not personally hope because I believe the hope is based on a misperception) that either our rational inquiries or (even better and more decisively) SCIENCE will finally reveal what the nature of this mysterious 'substance' is. And "that", indeed, is "the issue" that keeps philosophers and even some scientists, misguided by the allure of linguistic conventions and the mysteries they seem to present, seeking new ways to conceive and ultimately determine what this substance actually is.

So, I am not saying that these (opinions, toes, pig) are all the same type of "experience-substance"; I would say that "experience-substance" is an oxymoron. "Experience(s)" would be fine. You don't need "substance"; that word is serving no purpose. So yes, I could say that I "have experiences of having these things"; but when would I say that and why? That sentence has no point. Only mistakenly would I lump all these things and the "experience" of having them together. I do not experience having a toothache, Ihave a toothache. The word "experience" does not add anything, and putting it in should not mislead us into thinking it expresses something important. I do not experience having restlessness, I am restless. Both "experience" and "having" are unnecessary and misguiding.

Do these things exist independently of my experiencing them? My opinions or my time do not since they are mine. But this is trivial, not profound. As for pigs and rocks, well I guess I could say "I don't know", but that also seems a rather trivial "revelation". Why I would believe they do not exist, despite common sense (a vastly undervalued phenomenon), I cannot imagine. Another trivial, inconsequential, and ultimately, IMO, meaningless proposition: "material substance exists" (true by definition?) It's also inconsequential to say "my experiences exist." But then calling, labeling my experiences "states", and "consciousness" again makes them seem like they are of a mysterious substance that exists in a different realm than rocks and pigs. But we only look for a separate realm because we have used substantives ("states, "consciousness") to refer to activities which, despite insistence to the contrary, are in no way analogous to physical things like pigs and rocks.

That people look to quantum mechanics, for instance, to ultimately tell us what kind of thing "consciousness" is, is like searching for a lost phone by exploring abstract concepts like endurance and sensitivity.
I did partially misunderstand you, in that I drew a conclusion. Now I'm not sure what your conclusion is bearing in mind the problems you point out. You're right there's a language problem, and there's also a knowledge problem, an observation problem and a cognitive problem even before we get to creating symbolic language representations and sharing them.

So if we want to come up with any kind of account of the world, or the self, we should acknowledge and understand our limitations. Then get on with trying to create reasonable inferences - such as pigs and rocks and atoms and gravity and opinions exist, and we can observe some of them and describe them to each other in a coherent and consistent way and make a reasonable assumption we know roughly what each other means. Create categories we call 'pigs' and 'atoms' and 'gravity' and 'opinions', and larger categories based on more fundamental differences we call 'material' and 'experiential'. And try to understand how they relate. Using the imperfect tools we have to create imperfect and limited models which we tentatively agree on, which still leave open questions using our usual methodologies, to discuss and see if we can find different ways to find tentative agreement. Which is where we're at in philosophy of mind, which is what this thread is doing.

You can say any of those layers of inference we use is unreliable and makes the exercise pointless - starting from saying you can't know if anything exists but your own mental states. Or you can choose a different point at which to say this inference is too problematic, such as language. Or you can acknowledge the problems, and see where the inferences lead.

CIN
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Re: An Argument against Substance Dualism

Post by CIN » April 1st, 2018, 12:26 pm

Londoner wrote:
March 31st, 2018, 4:55 am
You wouldn't expect to be able to use Euclidean geometry to solve a crossword, so why expect science to explain subjective experience?
To be clear, I was not claiming that science (specifically) cannot explain subjective experience; I was suggesting that NOTHING can, because there simply is no explanation. There are regularities, which we may express as laws, but the laws are fundamental (as suggested by David Chalmers), i.e. rest on nothing further. It's not turtles all the way down: the lowest turtle (that brains have mental experiences) stands on nothing, i.e. it just stands. If this is correct, then there is no mind-body problem to be solved, there is just the brute fact that brains have mental experiences.

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The Beast
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Re: An Argument against Substance Dualism

Post by The Beast » April 1st, 2018, 2:31 pm

Revelation. There is plenty of empirical data to suggest at the very least a connection to a source of possibilities. The possibilities come to the vessel in the form of revelations. In this flavor of monisn the Noema/soul resides outside and inside of whatever form or vessel is there. The changing reality is then driven by the vessel. The thing within the thing is only limited by the vessel itself.
And so there is only the Noema as infinity freedom. All reality aroused from it.

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Re: An Argument against Substance Dualism

Post by Mosesquine » April 2nd, 2018, 6:13 am

The Beast wrote:
April 1st, 2018, 2:31 pm
Revelation. There is plenty of empirical data to suggest at the very least a connection to a source of possibilities. The possibilities come to the vessel in the form of revelations. In this flavor of monisn the Noema/soul resides outside and inside of whatever form or vessel is there. The changing reality is then driven by the vessel. The thing within the thing is only limited by the vessel itself.
And so there is only the Noema as infinity freedom. All reality aroused from it.
I define the concept 'revelation' as follows:

Revelation = Revelation is a kind of deception to make people foolish, and it is a mainstream method of excusing ignorance, and its sources are always humans made up of bones and fleshes.

Maybe artificial intelligence can make revelation to deceive people, though.

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Re: An Argument against Substance Dualism

Post by The Beast » April 2nd, 2018, 9:26 am

AI is of my liking and like... I'm no sure what is it you disagree with. Therefore, a tone-up opinion belonging to a geist of another belief. Since I could not find your definition of Revelation, the gist is not an evidentialist but an aim to create a distinction of what is not. You could in fact make a selection: Religious Revelation; philosophical Revelation; Scientific Revelation. Etc. It will help to understand As to whether there is only one flavor of Geist, it is possible that a socialist revelation might help. The Geist seeks validation. if the Geist is wrong it might disappear due to the fact that it is not a vessel. However, the mirage is created within the vessel as what “it is” until proven that in fact is what “it is not”. The vessel will then search for a gist suited to the aim. The mosquito will always be a mosquito “searching” for a warm current of air suited to his needs. 99% sure said who? That is a tune-up vessel not a foolish one. (50% sure)

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Re: An Argument against Substance Dualism

Post by Wayne92587 » April 3rd, 2018, 4:15 pm

Your post begins with a grave error in the definition of the Nature of substance.

Substance has mass, however; one of the two you make reference too as being a duality, existing as two separated and distinctly different substances, the mind, Soul and body, the Soul, has no mass.

Body and Soul are not two distinctly different substances, the Soul, Mind, has no mass, is not a substance, but you can refer to the Mind, the Soul, as being an Entity.

I do believe that Descartes’ duality of Body and Soul is not interpreted correctly, Body and Soul existing as two distinctly different Entities but not as two distinctly different substances.

The Body being born of and bound too the dust of the ground, the physical, material World of Reality, Reality as seen in the Light of Day.

The Soul or Mind, is Immaterial, has no Physical, Material, existence is not born of, nor bound to the dust of the ground; the Soul being born of "somewhere" fare-out in Left Field, born of rarefied, thin Air, is a Creation, born of Nothingness, bound by nothing.

You can not understand the Nature of Man as long as He and she are defined as being Two distinctly different Creatures, Substances.

As above so below, as below so above, from the Emerald Tablet goes a long way in its’ attempt to explain and to solve the battle between Mind and Body, He and She, Man and Woman, the Spirit and the Flesh, the differentiation, the Evolution of the Psyche.

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Re: An Argument against Substance Dualism

Post by Wayne92587 » April 4th, 2018, 12:02 pm

Amazing!
You People are able to dance all around the subject without being able to come to any legitimate conclusion.

Duckrabbit
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Re: An Argument against Substance Dualism

Post by Duckrabbit » April 4th, 2018, 5:42 pm

Wayne92587 wrote:
April 3rd, 2018, 4:15 pm
As above so below, as below so above, from the Emerald Tablet goes a long way in its’ attempt to explain and to solve the battle between Mind and Body, He and She, Man and Woman, the Spirit and the Flesh, the differentiation, the Evolution of the Psyche.
Are we to take this as a 'legitimate conclusion'?

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Re: An Argument against Substance Dualism

Post by Greta » April 5th, 2018, 12:58 am

Wayne92587 wrote:
April 3rd, 2018, 4:15 pm
The Body being born of and bound too the dust of the ground, the physical, material World of Reality, Reality as seen in the Light of Day.

The Soul or Mind, is Immaterial, has no Physical, Material, existence is not born of, nor bound to the dust of the ground; the Soul being born of "somewhere" fare-out in Left Field, born of rarefied, thin Air, is a Creation, born of Nothingness, bound by nothing.

You can not understand the Nature of Man as long as He and she are defined as being Two distinctly different Creatures, Substances.
Okay, you are getting grumpy so I'll bite this time.

What you say seems contradictory:
1. The Body being born of and bound too the dust of the ground
2. The Soul or Mind [...] is not born of, nor bound to the dust of the ground; [...]born of Nothingness, bound by nothing.
3. You can not understand the Nature of Man as long as He and she are defined as being Two distinctly different Creatures, Substances.

One born of the Earth, the other born of nothing - two realms.

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Re: An Argument against Substance Dualism

Post by Wayne92587 » April 5th, 2018, 5:12 am

The word, term, woman and the Term man have been used as metaphors to describe a pair of opposites, just as have the spirit or mind and Body, however the subject matter is the immaterial and the Material.
These two are actually the dual qualities of a Singularity, As metaphors man and woman are the opposite sides of the same coin.

The title of this forum is, " An Argument against Substance Dualism".

The point being, that Descartes dual substance is an error is translation, there is no such animal, materiality, that exists as a dual substance. Duality exists as the two qualities of the same singularity.

The Spirit, the Soul, Consciousness is not a substance.

When Sacred, Secret, Knowledge is spoken of, Blasphemy is the result. confusion rains supreme.

One of the two subject of substance duality is not a substance, meaning that when the duality of substance is spoken of Confusion rains supreme.

Meaning the some see consciousness as existing outside the body, that consciousness is Universal.

No One can understand the duality of substance, it does not exist.

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