A view of the mind and the ego. Psychology and bit of Logic as well.

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Tosen
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A view of the mind and the ego. Psychology and bit of Logic as well.

Post by Tosen » March 25th, 2018, 3:21 pm

Hello my fellow philosophers! This is my first post so treat me with utmost hospitality. This post might be fairly long so bear with me please. Before starting, I believe that argumentation among philosophers is not about winning or being wittier in an argument. Instead, it is about thinking together, evaluating propositions together rationally, criticizing each other's conclusions to ultimately reach truth, i.e. knowledge. So saying this, I expect respect and even if any of my conclusions are logically absurd, I want to be corrected in a respectful manner. So do not belittle me, or any other philosophers at that. With that out of the way, let's start. I will begin with one of my first analysis using logic with an old philosophical proposition of the mind.

"I think, therefore I am”
This Cartesian proposition entails that there is a subject, a thinking subject, an agent that thinks, or a thing that thinks, the existence of and “I” that is doing the activity of “thinking”. Necessarily concluding that if something can think for itself, one must necessarily exist, for it can recognize it's existence. This proposition is very old and philosophers can critique errors in Descartes's logic.
Using the systematic way of analyzing the logic in propositions (Which I am not very acquainted with but am learning at the moment), one can see it this way:
A: I think
therefore
B: I exist
It is basically jumping from one claim to another. It doesn't have a logical structure (Syllogism), so logically there is no correlation at all.
So the error in Descartes's logic is that he already presupposed a truth; that inherently if one thinks, one must exist. So he never proved how thinking ascertains existence.
To merely propose that thinking is connected to existence is not logically sound. As Descartes does not sustain his claims with reasons.
An analogous comparison would be this:
A man runs, therefore it is daytime
When it is stated the relation between running and time of day? Even if conclusions are absurd, propositions can still have a syllogistic form(Reasons to explain a conclusion). So by this analysis, Descartes's argument is no different to the latter one. By common sense many would conclude that this is inherently meaningless, but I just mentioned it to test the function of Logic.
Surely we know what Descartes meant, discarding a logical analysis to his conclusions. He just means that If I am aware, if I can reflect, if I can doubt things around me, I exist independently of the external world. Because the act of thinking is already placing me in another plain. It is establishing a space between subject-object, in other words, myself and the world.


My view on the phenomenology of mind:
When I think, intuitively one must say that I am actually doing the thinking right? I am the one producing the thoughts and this “I” or ego (Me) is doing the activity of thinking. That is all one can conclude by intuition or self-reference. If I can think, if I can establish a relation between subject-object, meaning, me and the world, I am asserting some sort of independent existence, even if by nature I come from the external world. I am asserting that I am aware that I exist and can see myself for what I am, something contained separately, apart from the interactions of matter in the external world (I'm not implying that I have a mechanistic view of matter). Since I can conceive a space between me and the world, I must necessarily exist independently of it. Therefore, I am aware, conscious. The reasons for it are unknown, the reasons for this consciousness. If this identity or “I” is able to exist, it KNOWS by self-reference. But it is absurd to say that I willingly come to existence, that I willingly come to be aware of things. So there is the dilemma of where this sense of awareness comes from. These ideas can definitely reach the ungrounded realm of metaphysics, but I am not opting for a view like that here. With the mysteries of consciousness stated, I will continue with my views on the ego, on our identity.

Phenomenology of the ego:
If I can willingly think, I must be able choose what to think, doubt what I want to doubt. I am aware why I think what I am thinking, because I chose it. There are a few psychical problems that arise from this from my perception, and neuroscience has experimented this as well. But let us examine this rationally, one can reach the same conclusions without empirically proving them through scientific experimentation. Freely thinking of something I chose to think about: If I can choose what to think, how can one explain moments where thoughts appear out of nowhere in our minds? It is not only reduced to only instances like the latter question, but it is in it's most tangible form to detect the phenomena. To me it seems that thoughts are not produced by me, instead they are produced by the mind and then later examined by “me”, by the ego. I will explain a hypothetical situation to showcase the phenomena of thinking.
Think randomly of an animal, now, why did you chose that animal? This phenomena wont be as apparent as it is if an individual gives reasons as to why he/she chose that animal. But by continuously questioning them, one can see a pattern. One can detect how the mind is the entity that houses the thoughts, and how the formulation of thoughts in the mind is a priori(It is created and exists in the mind prior to the ego knowing it) and the ego is a posteriori(It becomes known to me or the ego after the thoughts traverse the plain of conscious thinking processes)

I will present an instance where this phenomena is not explicitly noticed, when one gives reasons as to why he/she chose that particular animal. One can have reasons and say: “Well, I chose a dog because I have a dog named Marky, therefore I got reminded of him” then I ask: “Still, why was the first thought Marky, but not of another animal? One might answer: “Because Marky is special to me. So when you said animal I immediately thought of him” then I ask: “Why is Marky special to you?” he might answer: “Well, because my relationship is treasured between me and marky in my mind, so I thought of him first”
Already at this point we see a distance, the words "The first thought was...."- it is implicitly meaning that it came from somewhere, that the thought came from somewhere else. It is not only that though. Sure, this is purely hypothetical and does not represent universally how every conversation plays out. Either way, now the matter turns into why does he love Marky, I persistently ask.

But let us continue, I say: “Well, but why do you treasure Marky then?” He says: “Because I love him" I say: “If so, why do you love him?” He says: “Because he always makes me smile and cares for me. He detects when I feel sad and sits beside me”
I say: “Why do you love him for that specific reason and not another?”
He says: “Because those specific details emotionally impacted me”
I can continue on asking and that person may still be giving me reasons, but there's a problem of free will here. Of choosing what to feel towards something or how to think towards something And it may be much harder to detect in instances like this.

This seems pointless, but there is a sequence to this and a purpose to the questions. This is not the skeptic epistemological view that knowledge is impossible because it cannot answer all the "why's" to questions. Instead, it is precisely how one answers those questions about him or herself. If one evaluates clearly, there is a certain space between ego and mind. If one continues to ask why, again and again, you will reach a point where one would say: I don't know, it just seems that way". Sorry if the explanations are not satisfying, but if there are inconsistencies please tell me. And if someone can clarify it better, then be my guest.

Psychology of mind, feelings, desires:
Surely at this point it is rationally impossible(this idea is backed up by neuroscience as well), in terms of psychical activities, for myself to choose how to feel, how to think towards the dog. Examples: I chose to think this way, therefore with my thoughts I produced the emotions of love/affinity to the dog. I chose to feel this way about him, I predetermined in my mind to think about him specifically when I was asked of animals. It doesn’t seem that way at all. Think of the mind like a recipient of all sensory data from the outside world, it processes things unconsciously and when we actually say things, THAT is the only instance when we are aware of the thoughts. Surely one doesn't truly know why he or she knows things. You just DO. That, specifically, is the space between mind and ego. This plain of consciousness seems purely metaphysical. Because from this analysis where do we find the ego? The “I” in this equation? Where is it located? Beats me. But I can offer more experiences where this phenomena is clearly seen, because in normal individuals (Like in the conversation above) may not as apparent as it seems.

People who are geniuses, they did not choose their intellect, nor did they conjure their own thoughts processes so they rationalize phenomena better than others. They have superior minds that can process mental and empirical phenomena better than others. Of course it is a biological thing. People like them can clearly perceive the gap of ego and mind. "I have extraordinary mathematical capabilities, but I don't know why, I just do" Keeping in mind that these extraordinary minds are not the ones who are affected by neurological disorders. Offer your views of this so we can examine this further. So organically, we have a brain, this brain has "brain activity" that is not conscious for or own observations. We cannot dig in into these processes at will, not even begin to grasp something out of it. This is precisely the separation, Unconscious vs Conscious processes. Can they go hand in hand without having problems of the mind and free will? What do you guys make of this?

Influences:
My influences regarding my analytical approach is primarily a psychological one driven by Sigmund Freud, and a rational analysis of experimental examinations in neuroscience and it's implications to free will and the ego.
Mainly I use rationalism combined with empiricism to reach my conclusions. Thank you for your time.

Namelesss
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Re: A view of the mind and the ego. Psychology and bit of Logic as well.

Post by Namelesss » March 25th, 2018, 7:44 pm

Tosen wrote:
March 25th, 2018, 3:21 pm
"I think, therefore I am”
...So the error in Descartes's logic is that he already presupposed a truth; that inherently if one thinks, one must exist. So he never proved how thinking ascertains existence.
Let me translate the slop;
'Thought' (ego) is being perceived, therefore there must be a Perceiver.
How's that work for you?
'Error' resolved? *__-
To merely propose that thinking is connected to existence is not logically sound.

Of course it is!
Everything (exists) that is perceived exists (not necessarily as we perceive it). Thought/ego is perceived, therefore it exists.
Reality is ALL inclusive!
My view on the phenomenology of mind:
When I think, intuitively one must say that I am actually doing the thinking right? I am the one producing the thoughts and this “I” or ego (Me) is doing the activity of thinking. That is all one can conclude by intuition or self-reference. If I can think, if I can establish a relation between subject-object, meaning, me and the world, I am asserting some sort of independent existence, even if by nature I come from the external world.

Your 'intuition' is faulty.
'Thoughts/Consciousness is not manufactured in that wet lump of meat rattling around in our skulls; like the sun, like the keyboard beneath your fingers, like your fingers, etc... 'thought' is also perceived! There is no difference between the Reality of that perceived thought or that perceived rock!

It is ego/thought that is the duality whereby Self can be Known/experienced.
But thought/ego is not to be believed;
Schizophrenia is the (belief in the) fragmentation (by thought/ego) of that which is One!

Namelesss
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Re: A view of the mind and the ego. Psychology and bit of Logic as well.

Post by Namelesss » March 25th, 2018, 7:56 pm

Tosen wrote:
March 25th, 2018, 3:21 pm
This is not the skeptic epistemological view that knowledge is impossible because it cannot answer all the "why's" to questions. Instead, it is precisely how one answers those questions about him or herself.
The new, critically updated, all inclusive, Universal definition of 'Knowledge';

"'Knowledge' is 'that which is perceived', Here! Now!!"

All inclusive!

That which is perceived by the unique individual Perspective is 'knowledge'.
All we can 'know' is what we perceive, Now! and Now! and Now!!!

'Ignorance' is that which is NOT perceived, at any particular moment, by any particular unique Perspective! Here! Now!

Tosen
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Re: A view of the mind and the ego. Psychology and bit of Logic as well.

Post by Tosen » March 26th, 2018, 2:01 am

To merely propose that thinking is connected to existence is not logically sound.

Of course it is!
Everything (exists) that is perceived exists (not necessarily as we perceive it). Thought/ego is perceived, therefore it exists.
Reality is ALL inclusive!

I am not denying the position. It was wrong from my part to not clearly define what I meant. I meant that from the syllogistic form of a proposition(A study of the logic of the argument), Descarte's proposition presupposes truths that he does not clarify. In the link before it is explained much better than I can with my current understanding. Which is why I said that we know what Descartes meant by the proposition even though it was logically flawed in it's formulation. That there is a perceiver of thoughts. https://www.quora.com/Ren%C3%A9-Descart ... efore-I-am
My view on the phenomenology of mind:
When I think, intuitively one must say that I am actually doing the thinking right? I am the one producing the thoughts and this “I” or ego (Me) is doing the activity of thinking. That is all one can conclude by intuition or self-reference. If I can think, if I can establish a relation between subject-object, meaning, me and the world, I am asserting some sort of independent existence, even if by nature I come from the external world.

Your 'intuition' is faulty.
'Thoughts/Consciousness is not manufactured in that wet lump of meat rattling around in our skulls; like the sun, like the keyboard beneath your fingers, like your fingers, etc... 'thought' is also perceived! There is no difference between the Reality of that perceived thought or that perceived rock!

So by this logic, the ultimate reference to existence is the ability to perceive thoughts. And since ultimately thoughts are our only tool to know things, all reality is inclusive, because it exists in thoughts. Did I get this right? But what do you mean that thoughts are not manufactured in our brains? Maybe you meant that they are not willfully manufactured in the mind. As you said, like thought/ego is impossible. Just curious, do you stand for an idealistic view of the reality? It seems to imply that. In addition, this just means that if we perceive thoughts, those thoughts are not produced by me, instead they "flow" and are "perceived" by the ego. How would you explain free will with this analysis? And how can one explain the ego?

It is ego/thought that is the duality whereby Self can be Known/experienced.
But thought/ego is not to be believed;
Schizophrenia is the (belief in the) fragmentation (by thought/ego) of that which is One!
[/quote]
Please explain with more depth what you mean by ego/thought and thought/ego. Do you mean the order in which their duality must be positioned whereby consciousness is possible to be experienced? I get the confusion because you altered the order: ego/thought, thought/ego, so I thought there was a connection from that. Thank you for your answers.

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Re: A view of the mind and the ego. Psychology and bit of Logic as well.

Post by Atreyu » March 26th, 2018, 9:31 pm

OP, I basically agree with your propositions. It shows that your philosophical skills are well developed. And that you realize the mechanical nature of man, a most important realization.

Indeed, we are not in control of our thoughts, our minds, and neither are we in control of any of our other functions, although we don't like to admit this fact. Therefore, Descartes' claim is false. "I think, therefore I am". No. "It thinks, therefore it is" would be the proper formulation, and that "it" is the human mind. Thinking merely shows the existence of a mind, not of the "self" or "I", or at least not of a "self" or "I" like we like to ordinarily imagine them to be.

I'm not sure what else to say, other than to comment that I would ordinarily assume you've practiced meditation in order to arrive at these conclusions, although I know that it's possible to arrive at your correct conclusions without a systematic study of your thinking apparatus.

Great post...

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Re: A view of the mind and the ego. Psychology and bit of Logic as well.

Post by Namelesss » March 26th, 2018, 9:44 pm


Of course it is!
Everything (exists) that is perceived exists (not necessarily as we perceive it). Thought/ego is perceived, therefore it exists.
Reality is ALL inclusive!


I am not denying the position. It was wrong from my part to not clearly define what I meant. I meant that from the syllogistic form of a proposition(A study of the logic of the argument), Descarte's proposition presupposes truths that he does not clarify. In the link before it is explained much better than I can with my current understanding. Which is why I said that we know what Descartes meant by the proposition even though it was logically flawed in it's formulation. That there is a perceiver of thoughts. https://www.quora.com/Ren%C3%A9-Descart ... efore-I-am

Since Truth is ALL inclusive, there must be a Perspective that validates and vindicates his 'cogito' beyond this niggling Pharisaical logic complaint.
I think that I can do this.
One direction from which to approach is as follows;
Since all Love is Self! Love,
since all hate is Self! hate,
since all judgment is Self! judgment, etc...
Since all Knowledge is 'Self! Knowledge', it seems to me that any reference to 'I' or 'me' is valid. The individual 'I' exists in/as thought/ego. It is a mirage, but all mirages exist!
It is clumsy wording, but language lags behind revelation; we still say that the 'apple is green', which is an absurdity! Better language is E-Prime, where we acknowledge that "I perceive the apple as green, at this moment, from this Perspective!"
That eliminates the battle with someone who sees it as red at this moment, from this Perspective.
Capisce'? *__-

Your 'intuition' is faulty.
'Thoughts/Consciousness is not manufactured in that wet lump of meat rattling around in our skulls; like the sun, like the keyboard beneath your fingers, like your fingers, etc... 'thought' is also perceived! There is no difference between the Reality of that perceived thought or that perceived rock!


So by this logic, the ultimate reference to existence is the ability to perceive thoughts. And since ultimately thoughts are our only tool to know things, all reality is inclusive, because it exists in thoughts. Did I get this right?

To perceive a 'thing' is to, essentially, perceive 'Thought'.
Thought/Mind/Consciousness IS (the) existence (that we perceive).
To exist is to exist in Mind!
But what do you mean that thoughts are not manufactured in our brains? Maybe you meant that they are not willfully manufactured in the mind.
Please do not conflate a wet lump of meat (brain) and Mind (which completely transcends the flesh), in which, all flesh has it's existence!
Whether we perceive that rock over there, or a daydream of another sort, all that is experienced already exists to be experienced/Known.
(T)Here appears to be a single 'proto-thought', from which, considering all the Perspectives of it, all 'thoughts' are experienced/Known.
We did not 'create/manufacture' any of it; we are only perceivers!
As you said, like thought/ego is impossible.

Couldn't have been me! I can't imagine saying such a thing!
Just curious, do you stand for an idealistic view of the reality?

I 'stand' for all Perspectives of Reality!
What else is there to perceive?
All Perspectives, cumulatively, completely describes Reality!

"The complete Universe (Reality/Truth/God/'Self!'/Tao/Brahman... or any feature herein...) can be completely defined/described as the synchronous sum-total of all Perspectives!" - Book of Fudd
ALL INCLUSIVE!!!

"God cannot know himself without me." - Meister Eckhart
It seems to imply that. In addition, this just means that if we perceive thoughts, those thoughts are not produced by me, instead they "flow" and are "perceived" by the ego.

We are all unique Perspectives (within Universal Consciousness) (Souls), whereby the One unchanging all inclusive Universe may be Known!
How would you explain free will with this analysis?

Just as I would explain 'magic' and 'flying unicorns'.
The vain notion of 'free-will/choice' is derived from the perceived 'feelings/thoughts'.
We 'feel' AS IF we make choices, vainly want/need to believe in this 'Godlike power'...
But even the bible gets this right when it clearly warns us never to 'believe' 'our' thoughts or feelings!
"The heart is deceitful above all else!"
'Free-will/choice' is scientifically and logically impossible, other than as a 'feeling' and more insanely, as a 'belief' (Pride).
Besides, free-will/choice to do what, exactly, in an UNCHANGING, all inclusive One Universe?
Like a Barbie doll imagining it has 'free-will/choice', or the telescope imagining that it is responsible for the moon that just happens to be before it...
And how can one explain the ego?

Thought is ego is DUALITY that Reality may be (schizophrenically, if you believe the readings from our duality goggles) perceived.
Existence = SELF Knowledge!
With no ego, there can be no Self to Know!
Please explain with more depth what you mean by ego/thought and thought/ego. Do you mean the order in which their duality must be positioned whereby consciousness is possible to be experienced? I get the confusion because you altered the order: ego/thought, thought/ego, so I thought there was a connection from that. Thank you for your answers.
They are equivalent, thought and ego, the order is irrelevant.

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Re: A view of the mind and the ego. Psychology and bit of Logic as well.

Post by Greta » March 27th, 2018, 3:03 am

Interesting OP. Sam Harris spoke about this, how our minds are a conveyor belt of unbidden thoughts from which we choose. We cannot choose to think about anything at all, only the content of our "ever-flowing river of unformed thoughts". Rather, we focus on various thoughts that pass by in the thought stream while letting others go.

Why do we focus on particular thoughts? Seemingly association - the flow of ideas pass though until something resonates, like a fisherman ignoring the debris and focusing on the animal life.

I find this topic quite confusing. Due to the feedback loops involved it all becomes devilishly complex. Seemingly thoughts are layered fractally, with ever finer controls, then the controls of the controls, then the controls of the controls of the controls ...

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Re: A view of the mind and the ego. Psychology and bit of Logic as well.

Post by Tamminen » March 27th, 2018, 3:54 pm

Atreyu wrote:
March 26th, 2018, 9:31 pm
Indeed, we are not in control of our thoughts, our minds, and neither are we in control of any of our other functions, although we don't like to admit this fact. Therefore, Descartes' claim is false. "I think, therefore I am". No. "It thinks, therefore it is" would be the proper formulation, and that "it" is the human mind. Thinking merely shows the existence of a mind, not of the "self" or "I", or at least not of a "self" or "I" like we like to ordinarily imagine them to be.
It is possible that there is no active "I" that freely chooses what it thinks. Maybe everything just happens. Thoughts come and go. But who or what is it that thinks? Is it my mind? When I say "It thinks, therefore it is", who says so? My mind? So my mind finds that it thinks? Now I have succeeded to remove myself from the picture altogether. There are minds thinking of themselves but no me. However, as seen above, I cannot speak of these things without using the first person pronoun. What is its role in our language? It cannot denote my mind, because I can say "I am conscious of the world", and this relation has three parts: (1) "I" (2) consciouness or mind (3) the world. None of these can be removed from this basic relation that constitutes my existence. And this is what I mean when I say that the subject-object relation is fundamental.

And Atreyu: my mind cannot go anywhere when I die. I can, possibly. My mind is an entity, I am not. 'I' denotes the transcendental condition of the being of my mind and the world.

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Re: A view of the mind and the ego. Psychology and bit of Logic as well.

Post by Atreyu » March 27th, 2018, 8:54 pm

Tamminen wrote:
March 27th, 2018, 3:54 pm
It is possible that there is no active "I" that freely chooses what it thinks. Maybe everything just happens. Thoughts come and go. But who or what is it that thinks? Is it my mind? When I say "It thinks, therefore it is", who says so? My mind? So my mind finds that it thinks? Now I have succeeded to remove myself from the picture altogether. There are minds thinking of themselves but no me. However, as seen above, I cannot speak of these things without using the first person pronoun. What is its role in our language? It cannot denote my mind, because I can say "I am conscious of the world", and this relation has three parts: (1) "I" (2) consciouness or mind (3) the world. None of these can be removed from this basic relation that constitutes my existence. And this is what I mean when I say that the subject-object relation is fundamental.

And Atreyu: my mind cannot go anywhere when I die. I can, possibly. My mind is an entity, I am not. 'I' denotes the transcendental condition of the being of my mind and the world.
Well, since we already have a conception of "I", I would indeed say that "I" cannot choose what "I" think. So yes, thoughts just happen, and the "I" is my conception of myself as a perceiver, perceiving my mind mechanically spitting out its thoughts, some of which are applicable to the question at hand, others of which are merely random daydreaming which has nothing to do with the issues at hand and are merely distractions.

What is it that thinks? It's what we call "our minds". Our minds think thoughts, and we, whatever we are, perceive those thoughts as existing within ourselves. So yes, it is the mind itself that claims its own existence. "I think, therefore I am" is just another mechanical thought, one that can easily deceive us, as it did Descartes, into thinking that we are it. But in reality "we" are that which is perceiving the thoughts of our mind. And if we identify with our minds, as Descartes did, then we can easily mistake our thoughts (our minds) as being ourselves, when in reality the "mind" is simply the name we give to that which we imagine to be the source of our thoughts.

So, to use your own classificatory scheme, I would say that:

1) The "I" is that which is perceiving the mind (thoughts). The "I" is that which is aware.
2) The "mind" is the apparatus inside of us which is thinking the thoughts (I say "inside" because that's how we perceive it).
3) The "world" is all of the things around us which we ("I") perceive (similarly, I say "around us" simply because that's how we perceive it).

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Re: A view of the mind and the ego. Psychology and bit of Logic as well.

Post by Tamminen » March 28th, 2018, 4:20 am

Atreyu wrote:
March 27th, 2018, 8:54 pm
Well, since we already have a conception of "I", I would indeed say that "I" cannot choose what "I" think. So yes, thoughts just happen, and the "I" is my conception of myself as a perceiver, perceiving my mind mechanically spitting out its thoughts, some of which are applicable to the question at hand, others of which are merely random daydreaming which has nothing to do with the issues at hand and are merely distractions.

What is it that thinks? It's what we call "our minds". Our minds think thoughts, and we, whatever we are, perceive those thoughts as existing within ourselves. So yes, it is the mind itself that claims its own existence. "I think, therefore I am" is just another mechanical thought, one that can easily deceive us, as it did Descartes, into thinking that we are it. But in reality "we" are that which is perceiving the thoughts of our mind. And if we identify with our minds, as Descartes did, then we can easily mistake our thoughts (our minds) as being ourselves, when in reality the "mind" is simply the name we give to that which we imagine to be the source of our thoughts.

So, to use your own classificatory scheme, I would say that:

1) The "I" is that which is perceiving the mind (thoughts). The "I" is that which is aware.
2) The "mind" is the apparatus inside of us which is thinking the thoughts (I say "inside" because that's how we perceive it).
3) The "world" is all of the things around us which we ("I") perceive (similarly, I say "around us" simply because that's how we perceive it).
Agreed. Nothing to add.

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Re: A view of the mind and the ego. Psychology and bit of Logic as well.

Post by Gertie » March 28th, 2018, 11:44 am

Welcome Tosen :)
So the error in Descartes's logic is that he already presupposed a truth; that inherently if one thinks, one must exist. So he never proved how thinking ascertains existence.
Right, the thinker ('I') is already assumed in the ''I think'' premise.

The way I see it, for Descartes to exclude all doubt, the initial premise would have to be - 'Experiential states (thoughts) exist'.

That a thinker is required for the thoughts to exist is an inference, which can be doubted. Perhaps partly a result of our natural/habitual grammar, which leads us to tend to conceptualise in a framework of Subject (I) --> Verb (Think) --> Object (Thought). That structure feels logical and works for us in our everyday lives of physical causation, but might not reflect the nature of experiential states.

I'd suggest a sense of self might simply be the result of how these experiential states manifest. If we look at brains they are highly complex interacting subsystems, no 'mini-me' homunculous or command and control centre has been discovered, where the Cartesian Theatre plays out and mini-me makes decisions and issues instructions to motor systems. Which suggests that the sense of self might emerge from these subsystems as part of the process of creating usefully coherent narratives and models of the world from the otherwise cacophonous jumble of incoming perceptions, memories, sensations. The self as part of the experiencing, rather than the experiencer. No space between the two, the thinky reflective voice might just be the subsystem which creates the coherent contemporaneous narrative, including the sense of 'I'.

So we end up with this model of our 'self' as an embodied specific point of view, moving through an external world of time and space, with a discrete and unified field of consciousness, and the ability to focus and direct attention. With this thinky narrative inner voice giving us a jerky but coherent running commentary, about Subject-Me interacting with the world out there, rationalising my actions so they're a good fit, maintaining the coherence of the story. And when we're asked a specific question, that voice will construct an answer which seems to best fit with our inner narrative/world view at that moment. (See split brain experiments).

As for free will, the ability to choose our thoughts, or anything else, the first problem we have to face is the parallel physical story of physical causation. If neural correlation is correct, then the reason your friend thinks of his dog, might simply be the airwaves from the question vibrate his inner ear setting off a causal chain in his neural system in such a way as to spark a particular set of neural connections which are about his dog. No psychological explanation being required, physical causation seems to offer a full explanation without recourse to 'mental states' at all. Tho he will offer rationalisations in response to follow up questions, which tally with his model of the world and himself.

But then, why have mental states, why did they evolve to apparently help us make choices, if they're redundant and physics is doing all the work? That's where we run into the difficult philosophy of mind issues, the mind/body problem, which remain unresolved.

Tamminen
Posts: 723
Joined: April 19th, 2016, 2:53 pm

Re: A view of the mind and the ego. Psychology and bit of Logic as well.

Post by Tamminen » March 28th, 2018, 2:30 pm

Gertie wrote:
March 28th, 2018, 11:44 am
Right, the thinker ('I') is already assumed in the ''I think'' premise.

The way I see it, for Descartes to exclude all doubt, the initial premise would have to be - 'Experiential states (thoughts) exist'.
I think what Descartes really found was the transcendental condition of his thinking and perceiving the world, the non-empirical, metaphysical subject that Wittgenstein spoke of and what makes the world "my world". Or, as Atreyu says above:
The "I" is that which is perceiving the mind (thoughts). The "I" is that which is aware.
Only Descartes was wrong when he thought that the "I" is some sort of substance. In fact it has no empirical content. It gets its content from the fact that I am conscious of the world.

So what Descartes must have had in mind was something like this: "I think. I am. Therefore subjectivity must be something fundamental." He only could not express himself clearly enough.

Namelesss
Posts: 499
Joined: November 15th, 2017, 1:59 am

Re: A view of the mind and the ego. Psychology and bit of Logic as well.

Post by Namelesss » March 29th, 2018, 1:30 am

Gertie wrote:
March 28th, 2018, 11:44 am
the mind/body problem, which remain unresolved.
Only for some.
For something to be logically, rationally 'resolved' does not require 'consensus', or 'belief'.
It requires an irrefutable argument.
The so-called 'hard problem' is resolved.

Gertie
Posts: 597
Joined: January 7th, 2015, 7:09 am

Re: A view of the mind and the ego. Psychology and bit of Logic as well.

Post by Gertie » March 29th, 2018, 3:52 am

Namelesss wrote:
March 29th, 2018, 1:30 am
Gertie wrote:
March 28th, 2018, 11:44 am
the mind/body problem, which remain unresolved.
Only for some.
For something to be logically, rationally 'resolved' does not require 'consensus', or 'belief'.
It requires an irrefutable argument.
The so-called 'hard problem' is resolved.
OK lets have it, irrefutably argue away!

Gertie
Posts: 597
Joined: January 7th, 2015, 7:09 am

Re: A view of the mind and the ego. Psychology and bit of Logic as well.

Post by Gertie » March 29th, 2018, 4:17 am

Tamminen wrote:
March 28th, 2018, 2:30 pm
Gertie wrote:
March 28th, 2018, 11:44 am
Right, the thinker ('I') is already assumed in the ''I think'' premise.

The way I see it, for Descartes to exclude all doubt, the initial premise would have to be - 'Experiential states (thoughts) exist'.
I think what Descartes really found was the transcendental condition of his thinking and perceiving the world, the non-empirical, metaphysical subject that Wittgenstein spoke of and what makes the world "my world". Or, as Atreyu says above:
The "I" is that which is perceiving the mind (thoughts). The "I" is that which is aware.
Only Descartes was wrong when he thought that the "I" is some sort of substance. In fact it has no empirical content. It gets its content from the fact that I am conscious of the world.

So what Descartes must have had in mind was something like this: "I think. I am. Therefore subjectivity must be something fundamental." He only could not express himself clearly enough.
Well the notion of an 'I' perceiving its thoughts, would mean the 'I' is something other than its experiential states. Something which doesn't itself think (an experiential state), but does perceive (an experiential state) its thinking. So such a claim would require a lot of explanation, not to mention evidence.

On the other hand there's the explanation I offered, which follows the evidence of how brains seem to work, knowledge Descartes didn't have available.

Of course if we reject any other evidence except the experiential state itself (thinking) as doubtable inference, then we can come up with any claim we want (tricky demons, in the matrix, nothing else exists, etc), which means having to come up with a supporting argument based on something else, which seems more convincing than other possibilities. Experiential states as fundamental is certainly a possibility, But without an underlying theory (hopefully testable) of the relationship between the 'mental' and 'physical', it's an open question. And testability is a problem because of the private nature of subjective experiential states.

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