How does a disembodied soul/mind/consciousness operate?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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Count Lucanor
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Re: How does a disembodied soul/mind/consciousness operate?

Post by Count Lucanor » April 15th, 2018, 9:18 pm

Gertie wrote:
April 15th, 2018, 7:11 pm
So could you lay out your argument for materialist monism?
Natural sciences. Materialistic monism is implicit in the naturalistic view of the world in which science is based. If what takes place in cellular osmosis could not be understood as an exclusively materialistic, natural process, then everything goes. But no, that's not how we know the world works.

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Re: How does a disembodied soul/mind/consciousness operate?

Post by Count Lucanor » April 15th, 2018, 9:22 pm

Namelesss wrote:
April 15th, 2018, 8:45 pm
Count Lucanor wrote:
April 14th, 2018, 8:13 pm
Not really. It's the same old court of credulous believers in nonsense. They'll accompany humanity until the very end.
So, that is how you dismiss any alternative Perspectives that disagree with your egoically necessarily defended 'beliefs'?
Whatever works for you.
Flat-earthers say the exact same thing.
Which "alternative perspectives"? I'd like to see one, as much as I would like to see the alternative perspective to biological evolution. I mean serious, systematic, well researched stuff, that actually asserts something that can be the subject of analysis, not mere denial of what makes some people uncomfortable from mainstream science.

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Re: How does a disembodied soul/mind/consciousness operate?

Post by Duckrabbit » April 15th, 2018, 10:09 pm

BigBango, thank you for your compliments. Also, thank you for clearing up for me the theory you had put forth in a previous post. I admit I had a hard time following that earlier post. I am not very conversant with such concepts as fractals and plank volumes. I don't know my way around black holes too well (though I know enough to beware falling into one). Your clarification was well laid out and, indeed, it is a fascinating theory. But I have to say I am not big, personally, on either science-fiction or metaphysics.

My main point was to question why we need to search for souls or spirits in the first place when we do not know what they are or how we would come to have them, if there is no reason to believe we have them. Your theory is following the lines of: 1) souls may exist, and 2) here is what they might be and how they can be accounted for. Before we even conjecture that souls may exist we should have a good reason for that conjecture. From what I can deduce we have no such reason other than that there has been thousands of years of soul talk. Just as there has been ghost talk and zombie talk and vampire talk. People would not go looking for these things if they had not first been invented by story-tellers. I know people have reported experiences with ghosts but if questioned I doubt any of them could explain what a ghost actually is.

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Re: How does a disembodied soul/mind/consciousness operate?

Post by Gertie » April 16th, 2018, 1:41 am

Count Lucanor wrote:
April 15th, 2018, 9:18 pm
Gertie wrote:
April 15th, 2018, 7:11 pm
So could you lay out your argument for materialist monism?
Natural sciences. Materialistic monism is implicit in the naturalistic view of the world in which science is based. If what takes place in cellular osmosis could not be understood as an exclusively materialistic, natural process, then everything goes. But no, that's not how we know the world works.
That's not an argument for materialist monism.

It's just an assumption that a materialist model of the world which doesn't address experiential states must somehow account for them.

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Re: How does a disembodied soul/mind/consciousness operate?

Post by BigBango » April 16th, 2018, 2:22 am

Duckrabbit wrote:
April 15th, 2018, 10:09 pm
BigBango, thank you for your compliments. Also, thank you for clearing up for me the theory you had put forth in a previous post. I admit I had a hard time following that earlier post. I am not very conversant with such concepts as fractals and plank volumes. I don't know my way around black holes too well (though I know enough to beware falling into one). Your clarification was well laid out and, indeed, it is a fascinating theory. But I have to say I am not big, personally, on either science-fiction or metaphysics.

Thanks Duckrabbit for responding.
Duckrabbit wrote:
April 15th, 2018, 10:09 pm
My main point was to question why we need to search for souls or spirits in the first place when we do not know what they are or how we would come to have them, if there is no reason to believe we have them. Your theory is following the lines of: 1) souls may exist, and 2) here is what they might be and how they can be accounted for. Before we even conjecture that souls may exist we should have a good reason for that conjecture. From what I can deduce we have no such reason other than that there has been thousands of years of soul talk. Just as there has been ghost talk and zombie talk and vampire talk. People would not go looking for these things if they had not first been invented by story-tellers. I know people have reported experiences with ghosts but if questioned I doubt any of them could explain what a ghost actually is.
I accept your reasoning above. We need to have a good reason for looking for hidden things if all can be explained by a materialistic account of our being. There is in philosophy at least two positions being argued on this subject. You are falling squarely into the camp that sees sufficiency in a purely materialistic explanation. The other camp of philosophers generally attack two different areas of materialistic science, the transition from principles of chemistry to the principles of science and the failure of a neurological/brain to explain how we feel about what we experience through our senses.

Tamminen has given many good posts on this board that point to some of the basic failures of a purely materialist explanation of the world. His position is posted in this thread. I will quote his post after I make a few criticisms I have of your position.

I don't fault you for arguing the solely materialist position, you have many comrades. I do object to your equating the alternative position to ghosts and vampires or religiously based nonsense. Many of your opponents bring good metaphysical, scientifically based, arguments to the table. One of the first I thought was somewhat interesting was a book about how electrons were conscious. Now I think that's silly because the behavior of electrons is pretty well accounted for without imagining they are conscious.

There are also pretty well developed philosophical positions, Schopenhauer (The World as Will and Representation), Thomas Nagel (What it is Like to be a Bat) or many works by Searle. The description of brain and nervous system are all "Third Person" descriptions that describe what is happening from an externally observed point of view. To adequately understand how these signals are experienced one needs to switch to the point of view of the experiencer. Signals are coming in to be experienced, not just ending with the excitation of a neuron. There needs to be something there that receives not immaterial ghosts or spooks but better described by Tamminen when he refers to the Subject.
Tamminen wrote:
April 14th, 2018, 9:59 am
There is the cosmic evolution, starting from singularity and building more and more complex structures, and there is the biological evolution building living organisms, and one of those organisms happens to be my body. And it is my body. I cannot eliminate the 'I' from this description. Materialism and physicalism try to do this: they argue that there are only material organisms which have that peculiar property we call consciousness or mind. Perhaps they also try to explain subjectivity itself by saying that it is also a property of matter, so that there remains no 'I' at all. But by doing so they eliminate themselves. The subject is always there already, explicitly or implicitly – and in modern science usually implicitly, because science is unreflective in its empiricism. That is why we need philosophy, in spite of the fact that some physicists hate it.
.

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Re: How does a disembodied soul/mind/consciousness operate?

Post by Count Lucanor » April 16th, 2018, 8:15 am

Gertie wrote:
April 16th, 2018, 1:41 am
Count Lucanor wrote:
April 15th, 2018, 9:18 pm

Natural sciences. Materialistic monism is implicit in the naturalistic view of the world in which science is based. If what takes place in cellular osmosis could not be understood as an exclusively materialistic, natural process, then everything goes. But no, that's not how we know the world works.
That's not an argument for materialist monism.
Well, of course it is. All of our knowledge about the properties of the world rests on the principles of natural sciences, basically on Physics and Chemistry. They would not be worth a penny if they weren't based on a materialist model.
Gertie wrote:
April 16th, 2018, 1:41 am
It's just an assumption that a materialist model of the world which doesn't address experiential states must somehow account for them.
The assertion that the materialist model of science does not address experiential states is completely false. Although you approach the subject of experiential states from the idealist model of an ethereal center of the self dwelling in some intangible realm, the truth is that experience encompasses the organism as a whole. The state of awareness implies the relation of all parts of the body with the environment.

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Re: How does a disembodied soul/mind/consciousness operate?

Post by Namelesss » April 16th, 2018, 9:13 am

Count Lucanor wrote:
April 15th, 2018, 9:22 pm
Namelesss wrote:
April 15th, 2018, 8:45 pm

So, that is how you dismiss any alternative Perspectives that disagree with your egoically necessarily defended 'beliefs'?
Whatever works for you.
Flat-earthers say the exact same thing.
Which "alternative perspectives"? I'd like to see one, as much as I would like to see the alternative perspective to biological evolution.

The theory of evolution fails for the very same reason that the theory of 'creationism' fails.

Both require 'time'. Both require the 'motion' that 'time' necessarily theoretically, describes.
Zeno has proven, logically, how 'motion' is not possible.
That is one such proof, there are others.

Since you seem to have a proclivity for well used and well respected leaders of their fields, have you ever heard of the Nobel physicist Richard Feynman?;

Every moment of existence exists Now!

"The Laws of Nature are not rules controlling the metamorphosis of what is, into what will be. They are descriptions of patterns that exist, all at once... " - Genius; the Life and Science of Richard Feynman
All 'eternity' at once; Here! Now!!

A Holistic Universe!

No motion, no time = no time/motion for creation, no time/motion for evolution.

What is, naively, seen as 'evolution' is merely a... conglomeration of multiple Perspectives (of the One Universal Consciousness), Here! Now! of the One Reality/Universe/Truth.

In short, your 'evolution' is a mirage founded on a mirage (the common dream within a dream of 'reality') that is not possible otherwise, 'make-believe'.
It is a theory that will, eventually become obsolete, just like your 'materialism'.

That aught to either fulfill your demands for food for rational thought, another Perspective, and if not, I haven't wasted too much time. *__-
I mean serious,

Serious, hmmm...
Like it can only come from one of 4 prestigious universities?
Okay, I have no clue what you might take as 'serious', and under what conditions.
Is it a 'hundred monkeys' thing?
Feynman wasn't that 'serious', he played bongos and partied!
Was he serious enough for you?
systematic, well researched stuff,

So, you are seeking the safety of the well trodden, the long held consensus?
Anything that would validate your beliefs?
The words and work of a Nobel Prize winner?
A perfesser? *__-
that actually asserts something
Materialism/physicalism is obsolete because it has never proven it's 'assertion' that Consciousness/thought is manufactured or stored in the brain, or anywhere else, for that matter.

Neither has it ever been proven/shown that all the extra-physical evidence (mounting daily) is fraudulent/fallacious.

Seems to me that 'asserts something' that can be "the subject of analysis...", at the least, to an open, healthy and honest mindful examination.

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Re: How does a disembodied soul/mind/consciousness operate?

Post by Tamminen » April 16th, 2018, 3:45 pm

I have a body. I have a brain. I have thoughts. What is the relation between my thoughts and my brain? And what is my relation to my thoughts, my brain, and the physical world in general? Can I say that my brain produces my thoughts? No, that would lead us astray. It would be a strange way of using language. Matter can only produce matter. There is no conceptual bridge between my thoughts and my brain which would make it possible to explain my thoughts by my brain events. Correlations are not explanations. If my thoughts were a material property of my brain, there should be a material mechanism that connects those two kinds of phenomena. But there is no such mechanism. So what kind of a relation is there between mind and brain?

Spinoza says that the body is the object of the mind. I would say that my brain is my instrument for thinking about the physical world and reflecting on my own thoughts, in short: my instrument for being in the world. And the world itself can be seen as a totality of instruments à la Heidegger. It does not necessarily follow that I am an active agent using my brain and body as instruments of my free will, only that the material world, being the physical basis of my existence, is there for me, making my being possible in a concrete way. And by 'my being' I mean the being of all of us who have any kind of experiences, the participants of subjectivity.

In this scenario the basic structure of our existence and reality in general has these components: (1) the subject, or I, which should not be reified, (2) my thoughts and other phenomena of my mind, which should not be reified either, (3) the physical world, my body being part of it. So our basic situation is: (1) I (2) experience (3) the world. None of these components can be removed without destroying everything.

My brain does not think. I think with my brain. It would be strange indeed if there were material organisms floating around and producing thoughts, and also producing something called 'I'.

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Re: How does a disembodied soul/mind/consciousness operate?

Post by Gertie » April 16th, 2018, 7:40 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
April 16th, 2018, 8:15 am
Gertie wrote:
April 16th, 2018, 1:41 am


That's not an argument for materialist monism.
Well, of course it is. All of our knowledge about the properties of the world rests on the principles of natural sciences, basically on Physics and Chemistry. They would not be worth a penny if they weren't based on a materialist model.
Gertie wrote:
April 16th, 2018, 1:41 am
It's just an assumption that a materialist model of the world which doesn't address experiential states must somehow account for them.
The assertion that the materialist model of science does not address experiential states is completely false. Although you approach the subject of experiential states from the idealist model of an ethereal center of the self dwelling in some intangible realm, the truth is that experience encompasses the organism as a whole. The state of awareness implies the relation of all parts of the body with the environment.
You're right that we have a very good and detailed materialist working model of what the world is made of and how it works, of stuff and forces. A model which in principle could fully account for human behaviour (and the behaviour of other conscious critters) in its own terms, without invoking experiential states.

This model doesn't include experiential states in its description of the world and how it works, and there is no place in the Standard Model for consciousness. There is an Explanatory Gap where a Theory of Consciousness should be in that materialist model. There is no established scientific Theory of Consciousness, which explains how it comes about, its units of consciousness, measurements, equations, a position on reducibility, the necessary and sufficient conditions, third person objective testability - the meat and potatoes of a scientific theory.

What we do have are observations, the key one imo being neural correlation, which does imply a direct relationship between material stuff and its patterns of interactions and experiential states, but does not provide an explanation for that relationship, a Theory.

So we're at the point where there are many competing hypotheses as to the nature of this 'mind/body' relationship (some interesting ones being put forward by people on this site), but no established scientific Theory. These hypotheses present arguments, interpretations of our observations, substance dualism vs monism is one way of grounding a particular hypothesis. And some hypotheses might seem more persuasive than others to you or me, but none have been so overwhelmingly persuasive so as to become The established Theory.

I'd suggest there are two main reasons for this - every hypothesis has its own problems. Including the approaches of monism and dualism, which I see as a crude way to at least get a conceptual handle on the problem, but which themselves rely on some underlying assumptions/guesses about the fundamental nature of the universe (panpsychism, emergence, substance monism or dualism, or whatever). And the testing problem. How to independently/objectively/third person test for subjective first person experiential states. We can ask humans what they're experiencing when we stamp on a toe or prod D fibres, and we can observe behaviour and make inferences about whether we think experiential states exist in particular entities. But we can't examine an atom to see if experiential states are fundamental to its existence, for example. Or at what point in some material interactions experiential states emerge. Or capture a ghost and use a 'consciousness-o-meter' on it. Or test a dead body for lingering experiential states, a soul, or track its departure.

So my point is, when it comes to substance dualism, it's easy enough to point out the problems with the claim, the OP's approach being an example. And you've noted other weaknesses. The far more difficult task is to justify a positive claim, such as 'experiential states are brain processes'. Because any hypothesis which supports this position, will have its own problems as we get into the details of what such a claim might actually mean, what assumptions it rests on, what apparent contradictions it invokes, what alternatives it ignores and on what basis, etc, and how do you test it.

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Re: How does a disembodied soul/mind/consciousness operate?

Post by BigBango » April 16th, 2018, 10:09 pm

Gertie, what a wonderful encapsulation of the issues in your last post. You have trumped Tamminen and maybe even Searle in exposing the deficiencies of materialism to account for our being in the world.

What I would like to do in this post, without again repeating my thesis, is expose to you what the problems I have with my own theory and appeal to you for your advice and any constructive criticism you might have.

First of all let me declare the relevant conclusions that I have arrived at regarding the nature of the experiential subject who has our brain/nervous system for its experience.

In every cell, whether singular or multicellular there are advanced micro-civilizations that existed before the Big Bang. They have values/meaning baggage and they have real energy needs to persist in time without losing what they value or deter them from the need for adventure in the world.

The first problem I have with my theory is that it does not solve the mind/body problem. This is because it suggests that there are turtles all the way down or as Wittgenstein points out there are not any solutions in suggesting that there is a person inside of us that is the experiencer.

In spite of that, I wonder if a billion or so micro-galactic civilizations in a cell of their creation can't be a legitimate candidate for being the self/subject of the experience it has in the world. I am asking what could possibly be a candidate for the experiencer?

In my thesis, the other criticism I get is that I am a creationist and that conflicts with the theory of evolution. My answer is that the galactic civilizations use the DNA twisted helix as a platform for constructing biological entities for the purpose of harvesting energy but they let evolution play out in selecting better harbingers of their survival goals.

I would be interested in your comments.

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Re: How does a disembodied soul/mind/consciousness operate?

Post by Tamminen » April 17th, 2018, 4:05 am

Gertie has a good analysis of the difficulties concerning the scientific mind/body problem. But I think that the difficulties are insurmountable because there is no scientific mind/body problem, due to the ontological structure of reality. The scientific problem is to find correlations between experiences and brain events, and the rest of the problem is seeing or not seeing the fundamental nature of consciousness. Consciousness cannot be explained by brain events, but the being of consciousness is possible to understand in the same way as it is possible to understand the being of matter and the relation between them. And these are philosophical problems, not scientific. Science has already made ontological commitments, and it is the task of philosophy to criticize those commitments. So this is not an empirical problem at all, a problem that would be solved by finding evidence or making experiments. All evidence is there already, we must only see our situation as it is, not creating pseudo problems.

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Re: How does a disembodied soul/mind/consciousness operate?

Post by Tamminen » April 17th, 2018, 8:31 am

So where is the subject then? You find it in the "I saw..." and when you see that the 'I' in the "I saw..." is the same 'I' as the 'I' in your reflecting on the "I saw...", ie. when you find subjective continuity. But this is just the beginning of the phenomenological analysis of the subject.

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Re: How does a disembodied soul/mind/consciousness operate?

Post by Count Lucanor » April 17th, 2018, 8:42 am

Nameless wrote: The theory of evolution fails for the very same reason that the theory of 'creationism' fails.

Both require 'time'. Both require the 'motion' that 'time' necessarily theoretically, describes.
Zeno has proven, logically, how 'motion' is not possible.
That is one such proof, there are others.
You must be kidding. You can't really think that after a thousand of years our knowledge of Physics has not moved an inch. Zeno's paradoxes were a nice mind experiment and quite an achievement in the art of sophistry, but that's about it. His fallacies were proven wrong in practice from the beginning and refuted by modern calculus, among other disciplines.
Nameless wrote:Since you seem to have a proclivity for well used and well respected leaders of their fields, have you ever heard of the Nobel physicist Richard Feynman?;

Every moment of existence exists Now!

"The Laws of Nature are not rules controlling the metamorphosis of what is, into what will be. They are descriptions of patterns that exist, all at once... " - Genius; the Life and Science of Richard Feynman
All 'eternity' at once; Here! Now!!

A Holistic Universe!

No motion, no time = no time/motion for creation, no time/motion for evolution.

What is, naively, seen as 'evolution' is merely a... conglomeration of multiple Perspectives (of the One Universal Consciousness), Here! Now! of the One Reality/Universe/Truth.
Maybe you should look up which study gave Feynman his Nobel prize. You will realize how ridiculous it sounds the idea that he advocated for a motionless, unchanging universe.
Nameless wrote:In short, your 'evolution' is a mirage founded on a mirage (the common dream within a dream of 'reality') that is not possible otherwise, 'make-believe'.
It is a theory that will, eventually become obsolete, just like your 'materialism'.

That aught to either fulfill your demands for food for rational thought, another Perspective, and if not, I haven't wasted too much time. *__-
So, you appeal to Feynman to refute biology. You must be clueless, because I can't think of a worse strategy. Feynman was a theoretical Physicist, not a biologist. He barely flirted with Biology and never pretended to stand out in that discipline. Meanwhile, biologists admit that everything that Biology has to say has to do with evolution, it's the unavoidable principle of biological sciences.
Nameless wrote:Materialism/physicalism is obsolete because it has never proven it's 'assertion' that Consciousness/thought is manufactured or stored in the brain, or anywhere else, for that matter.
Well, that's obviously completely false. Consistenly, consciousness and agency is only found in material bodies with nervous systems. All the wishful thinking in the world cannot change that fact. So far, no alternative has been found. No "non-material" system is known, what it's made of, how it works, what are its components, its relationships, nothing, zero. A complete void. Start getting something, that's what I call getting serious.

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Re: How does a disembodied soul/mind/consciousness operate?

Post by Count Lucanor » April 17th, 2018, 9:19 am

Gertie wrote:This model doesn't include experiential states in its description of the world and how it works, and there is no place in the Standard Model for consciousness. There is an Explanatory Gap where a Theory of Consciousness should be in that materialist model. There is no established scientific Theory of Consciousness, which explains how it comes about, its units of consciousness, measurements, equations, a position on reducibility, the necessary and sufficient conditions, third person objective testability - the meat and potatoes of a scientific theory.

What we do have are observations, the key one imo being neural correlation, which does imply a direct relationship between material stuff and its patterns of interactions and experiential states, but does not provide an explanation for that relationship, a Theory.
That's just plainly wrong. You forget that there is neuroscience, neurobiology, cognitive science, etc., all of which rely on the materialist model of the universe to contribute to the Theory of Mind. They all study the relationship between physiological processes and the agent's behavior, which is what accounts as experience for every organism. Of course, idealists will not be satisfied, as what they want is a theory of the "substance of consciousness", a substance they already assumed must exist, although they can offer absolutely no systematic description of it and no evidence.

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Re: How does a disembodied soul/mind/consciousness operate?

Post by Londoner » April 17th, 2018, 11:15 am

Namelesss wrote:
April 16th, 2018, 9:13 am

Both require 'time'. Both require the 'motion' that 'time' necessarily theoretically, describes.
Zeno has proven, logically, how 'motion' is not possible.
That is one such proof, there are others.
Zeno shows that 'motion' is not possible if we try to understand it as being about a transition between a series of locations. Or, if motion is possible, then location isn't.

So what Zeno showed was that this understanding of motion must be wrong.

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