Wittgensteinians
Life in the Post-Analytic World, Given by the Man Who Ended Philosophy As History Knew It

Home » Concerning Wittgenstein's Ideas » On Wittgensteinian Ideas » [Wittrs] Wittgenstein and Philosophy's Method
[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #1781 is a reply to message #1746] Sun, 18 October 2009 21:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
blroadies is currently offline  blroadies
Messages: 27
Registered: August 2009
Junior Member

--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@...> wrote:

> What is philosophical is how we are to think about what Data is.

You didn't write "what the data is", which would require an
investigation, but "what Data is", as if we could differ on what that
term might mean. If you do mean the latter, what are the possible
alternatives to "what Data is?"

> What IS philosophical is what we mean by the various ascriptions we
will give to such an entity.

By entity I guess you don't mean a normal person, which I assume you
grant a mind, to yourself and me but some some Big box, what you call a
Data Machine. And then wonder...

> Does a Data machine with a mental life much like ours....

and then you enumerate its functions...

> (he sees, remembers, thinks, reasons, uses language...

all of which computers do to which, I take it, we don't attribute a
mind. But then you add...

> operates with autonomy ...

which I take to mean "be on ones own", free, spontaneous, irrational,
resist the rules, the orders of the day...

that whih, thus far, computers do not do. But in writing this you have
clarified, for me, where the vexing problem lies.

In what sense can a machine that records and cranks out data in
accordance with physical laws be said to be its own person?

bruce


========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #1783 is a reply to message #1781] Sun, 18 October 2009 22:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SWMirsky is currently offline  SWMirsky
Messages: 188
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "BruceD" <blroadies@...> wrote:
>
>
> --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@> wrote:
>
> > What is philosophical is how we are to think about what Data is.
>
> You didn't write "what the data is", which would require an
> investigation, but "what Data is", as if we could differ on what that
> term might mean. If you do mean the latter, what are the possible
> alternatives to "what Data is?"
>

"Data" is the name of a character, an automated "man" on Star Trek. It is not a reference to data as in information. I was, of course, referring to the problem posed by the character's existence in a particular episode.


> > What IS philosophical is what we mean by the various ascriptions we
> will give to such an entity.
>
> By entity I guess you don't mean a normal person, which I assume you
> grant a mind, to yourself and me but some some Big box, what you call a
> Data Machine. And then wonder...
>

I was referring to Data, not data. The machine is already sketched out in the fictional television program under discussion.


> > Does a Data machine with a mental life much like ours....
>
> and then you enumerate its functions...
>
> > (he sees, remembers, thinks, reasons, uses language...
>
> all of which computers do to which, I take it, we don't attribute a
> mind. But then you add...
>

It's not clear that what computers do in this regard meet the standards of what we do at this point. Of course, the question on the table is whether, if it did meet those standards (assuming we could agree on them), would that amount to such a machine having a mind? Would we be right to say of that machine that it has a mind, is conscious? Dennett argues yes and I have been arguing for that position as well. Others have said no, because whatever mind is is simply beyond the capacities of any computational processes, etc., etc. And they have given their reasons.

Searle's reasons seem to hinge on his conception of mind as being purely "first person" and his conviction that this creates an unbridgeable barrier between what we call mind and what we call computers. The problem is that he grants that brains "cause" minds (as we have already seen). Therefore he must either say there is something about brains that produce something that is non-physical (because minds have what he calls a first person ontology), which is dualism, OR he cannot produce a reason why computers cannot "cause" minds in the same way if they can run the same kinds of processes doing the same kinds of things as brains do.



> > operates with autonomy ...
>
> which I take to mean "be on ones own", free, spontaneous, irrational,
> resist the rules, the orders of the day...
>

As with most words, "autonomy" will have several different uses, in part at least reflecting different levels of operation. A certain level of intelligence and awareness will enable us to judge things in such a way as to resist. But a snail in my garden crawls back into its shell not because I push it there when I touch it with a stick but because it responds to the stimulus in a set way that doesn't involve much intelligence at all. But both the decision to disregard a traffic light and the retraction into a shell by a snail evidence autonomy, albeit at different levels.


> that whih, thus far, computers do not do. But in writing this you have
> clarified, for me, where the vexing problem lies.
>
> In what sense can a machine that records and cranks out data in
> accordance with physical laws be said to be its own person?
>
> bruce
>


There's a lot that's vexatious or viewed that way by some. Ultimately the dualist presumption, it seems to me, is what creates a problem that seems insoluble and, therefore, vexing. But if one can do away with that presumption, there is no problem of how two different things coexist in the same locus in space and time and how they interact. I think what looks like the real vexer is this mind-body dichotomy that so many who think about this get drawn into.

SWM

========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #1795 is a reply to message #1764] Mon, 19 October 2009 17:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
blroadies is currently offline  blroadies
Messages: 27
Registered: August 2009
Junior Member

--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@...> wrote:

> Of course then the question is whether it would ever be appropriate
> to conceive of it (mind, consciousness?) in non-physical terms...

breaking in to make a point, we do so appropriately all the time,
causally, academically, agreed?

> in order to deny the role of scientific research into how the brain
does it

"Does it" I'll leave vague and say "nothing jusitfies blocking
scientific research, period.

> or to suggest that no scientific explanation is even possible

is simply dogmatism...no one determine the limits of inquiry.

> because a relation between brains and minds is inconceivable.

Our problem is not that it is "inconceivable" but that we have numerous
options, on the table, all with their supporters and detractors,
including Dualism and physicalism both of which I find seriously
wanting.

> I have asked if it is really a problem at all except insofar as people
become
> enmeshed in a picture of minds as entities of a different type than
brains
> rather than as just what brains do.

I agree that "mind as an entity of another substance" has mortal errors
but "just what brains do" covers over the body/mind problem by
attributing to the brain what the mind-as-entity folks attributes to the
mind. Functionalism -- that's what I read here -- works fine for the
brain as a mechanical device, but when you attribute "spontaneity",
you've shiften from mechanical functioning to free-spirit.

> That is where the philosophical rubber hits the road though, isn't it?

Yes.

> this is about conceiving of mind in such a way as to create a
mind-body problem
> or to dissolve any sense of it being a problem at all.

but not at the cost of sneaking in the back door what was thrown from
the front.

> If minds are just what brains do, then why not?

Because minds don't "do" in the same sense that brains "do."

> if we persist in thinking of mind as a different kind of thing

That isn't the source of our difficulty, unless you are a spiritualist.
What you turn to here is knot.

> But if we recognize that physical is more than just rocks

Yes, biological accounts which have a directionality, DNA programming,
without an intentionality -- no vitalism. But then there are living
organisms with a "mentality", a way of accommodating to the world and
way of ignoring it. To them we attribute an intentionality.

> then why should we have a hard time thinking of minds as one
particular system of physical processes?

Because we don't attribute intentionality to the physical. You want to
make an exception for the brain? Neurologists don't. For them the brain
is a mechanical thing. The person, however, is seen as intentional and
the $64 dollar question (to date myself) is the relationship between
brain and person.

As I've suggested many times before, this relationship makes sense if
you start with the person and speak of how he uses his brain. Surely,
the brain doesn't use the person. And, please, to start with a person is
not to start with a substance (of any kind). Dualism is a result of
starting with a substance.

bruce



========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #1797 is a reply to message #1795] Mon, 19 October 2009 18:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SWMirsky is currently offline  SWMirsky
Messages: 188
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "BruceD" <blroadies@...> wrote:
>
>
> --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@> wrote:
>
> > Of course then the question is whether it would ever be appropriate
> > to conceive of it (mind, consciousness?) in non-physical terms...
>
> breaking in to make a point, we do so appropriately all the time,
> causally, academically, agreed?
>

The conceiving referenced in my comment above is to do with the nature of what it is we're talking about. That consciousness and the things of consciousness aren't physical objects (though such objects may be defined perceptually and conceptually and often are) is not relevant to the question of how what we mean by consciousness fits into the world. Rather, the question on the table is whether, to understand consciousness, we have to consider it extra-physical (something co-existing with all that is physical but not itself physical) or whether we can get away with just seeing it as a different aspect of the physical. That's all this is about. What is a mind and how does it occur in the world?


> > in order to deny the role of scientific research into how the brain
> does it
>
> "Does it" I'll leave vague and say "nothing jusitfies blocking
> scientific research, period.
>

Fair enough though, as PJ rightly pointed out, there are limited funds so it makes sense to put our money where the best chance for success is to be found. While we cannot (and should not want to) prevent anyone from looking into anything, where investments are channeled will reflect some judgments along these lines and, indeed, may well affect some of the outcomes.


> > or to suggest that no scientific explanation is even possible
>
> is simply dogmatism...no one determine the limits of inquiry.
>

Then to say, as you once did, that it is unintelligible to speak of brains causing minds (or producing them, or giving rise to them, or engendering them -- take your pick!) as scientists who are engaged in the study of how brains do minds must speak, would be dogmatic?


> > because a relation between brains and minds is inconceivable.
>
> Our problem is not that it is "inconceivable" but that we have numerous
> options, on the table, all with their supporters and detractors,
> including Dualism and physicalism both of which I find seriously
> wanting.
>

That there are supporters and detractors or many options is irrelevant. Whatever is the case is the case, no matter how many think so or think otherwise. The question I've posed is whether it is reasonable to agree with a position like Dennett's vis a vis what consciousness is. I have argued that it is and, indeed, that it is more reasonable than some of the alternatives we have discussed including that consciousness cannot be produced via something like computational processes (Searle), that it is unintelligible to even talk about it (you, once, and certainly Cayuse), or that it must be redefined as behavior and dispositions to behave (the Behaviorists, including those on this list), that it is a uniquely hard and therefore insurmountable problem requiring an assumption of dualism (Chalmers), etc.


> > I have asked if it is really a problem at all except insofar as people
> become
> > enmeshed in a picture of minds as entities of a different type than
> brains
> > rather than as just what brains do.
>
> I agree that "mind as an entity of another substance" has mortal errors
> but "just what brains do" covers over the body/mind problem by
> attributing to the brain what the mind-as-entity folks attributes to the
> mind.


I am suggesting there is no mind/body problem once one conceives of consciousness as Dennett proposes. The so-called problem fades away and it is in this fading, this dissolution, that his effort finds kinship with Wittgenstein.


> Functionalism -- that's what I read here -- works fine for the
> brain as a mechanical device, but when you attribute "spontaneity",
> you've shiften from mechanical functioning to free-spirit.
>

Unless an account of what you want to call "spontaneity" can be handled via a mechanistic description. I think Dennett succeeds in doing that and that is also part of what I have been arguing.


> > That is where the philosophical rubber hits the road though, isn't it?
>
> Yes.
>
> > this is about conceiving of mind in such a way as to create a
> mind-body problem
> > or to dissolve any sense of it being a problem at all.
>
> but not at the cost of sneaking in the back door what was thrown from
> the front.
>

You haven't shown how dissolving the issue in the way I've suggested sneaks it back in. I would suggest that it only seems to come back in if it seems to you that it has never gone away, which would mean you haven't gotten the point I've been arguing (either because I am wrong or haven't done an adequate job arguing it or you are still too wedded to the opposite position).


> > If minds are just what brains do, then why not?
>
> Because minds don't "do" in the same sense that brains "do."
>

We know brains do things. They run various electrical patterns (which we have reason to associate with the things that the organisms having those brains do, etc.). Therefore my point about "what brains do" is in keeping with how we speak and how we speak about brains. That brains don't do what they do for reasons the way people (organisms with a certain kind of brain) do isn't relevant.

> > if we persist in thinking of mind as a different kind of thing
>
> That isn't the source of our difficulty, unless you are a spiritualist.
> What you turn to here is knot.
>

Well one of us is in a knot!


> > But if we recognize that physical is more than just rocks
>
> Yes, biological accounts which have a directionality, DNA programming,
> without an intentionality -- no vitalism. But then there are living
> organisms with a "mentality", a way of accommodating to the world and
> way of ignoring it. To them we attribute an intentionality.
>


Right and the question at hand is what is it that gives them the features we attribute intentionality to? What are the things brains do that make what we call intentionality happen?


> > then why should we have a hard time thinking of minds as one
> particular system of physical processes?
>
> Because we don't attribute intentionality to the physical.


Don't we? Do we attribute it to ghosts? To spirits? We attribute it, as far as I can tell, to certain organisms which are physical entities, aren't they? Here again you demonstrate that you are still thinking of mind as being non-physical. Now if all THAT means is that you recognize it is not a physical object of any sort, that is fine. But then, if that were all you meant, you would not say what you just
said, to wit, that "we don't attribute intentionality to the physical." No, we don't attribute it to physical objects per se. We attribute it to a certain class of such objects, i.e., those that behave in certain ways (behaving meaning both observed behaviors of the organism as well as observable processes going on within the organism, though this latter is less crucial to the concept of intentionality since it preceded knowledge of brains and brain processes).

> You want to
> make an exception for the brain? Neurologists don't. For them the brain
> is a mechanical thing.


For me, too. What makes you think I am making an exception? I have said numerous times that it's a mistake to suppose that brains somehow do something that involves bringing something non-physical into existence.


> The person, however, is seen as intentional and
> the $64 dollar question (to date myself) is the relationship between
> brain and person.
>

Only if you buy into the so-called mind/body problem which stems from a presumption that mind and brain are two separate things at their most basic level. If, on the other hand, you recognize that mind is to brain as turning is to wheel, then the problem goes away.


> As I've suggested many times before, this relationship makes sense if
> you start with the person and speak of how he uses his brain.

To "use" one's brain is a locution that gets at how one goes about applying one's intelligence. We do not "use" our brains to be conscious. Our brains simply function in a way that makes us so. Here again language looks to be going off on a holiday!


> Surely,
> the brain doesn't use the person. And, please, to start with a person is
> not to start with a substance (of any kind). Dualism is a result of
> starting with a substance.
>
> bruce
>


Dualism is the result of not recognizing that what we mean by mind can be entirely accounted for by physical events in the world and so it is associated with a picture of mind and brains as being two ontologically different things. But once seen as different aspects of the same thing, the problem dissolves. No dualism. No mind/body problem.

SWM

========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #1825 is a reply to message #1797] Tue, 20 October 2009 20:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
blroadies is currently offline  blroadies
Messages: 27
Registered: August 2009
Junior Member

--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@...> wrote:
>... the question on the table is whether, to understand consciousness,
> we have to consider it extra-physical

No, just not physical, like many objects of our consciousness, e.g.,
dreams, etc. And modern physics imagines all sorts of "physical" that
doesn't look or feel like sticks and stones, e.g., string theory.

> (something co-existing with all that is physical but not itself
physical)

No, not co-existing if by "existing" one means in space-time. My dream
doesn't exist anywhere, yet is.

> or whether we can get away with just seeing it as a different aspect
of the physical.

You can. But the price you pay is reconciling how an aspect of the
physical, which is completely described by physical laws can't be
descrined by those laws and, in fact, is described laws antithetical to
science, i.e., telelogical ones.

Bruce's alternative. Mind is not detected in the way we detect a brain.
We see a brain but make sense out of a being with a brain by saying "it
has a mind."

An analogy. A radio makes sound. That we explain causally. A radio makes
music. But in a different sense. The radio doesn't make it, as it makes
sound. but transmits what a human has intentionally made. The
transmission of the music is causal but the music is understood in
telelogical terms. The music is in the sound, in some sense, but it
isn't added to the sound, music is not another substance or an aspect of
the sound.

What is the relationship between sound and music, brain and mind? Not
causal but interpretive. Hence

...it is unintelligible to speak of brains causing minds...or any term
that suggests causation but scientist study the relationship between
sound/music and brain/mind, just not causally.

> Unless an account of what you want to call "spontaneity" can be
handled via a mechanistic description.

To me, that's a contradiction. If you collapse the distinction between
the mechanical and the spontaneous, and then attribute this to the
brain, you appeared to have solved the B/M problem until I as "Is this
Post the working of a spontaneous mind or the outcome of a causal
process?

> I am suggesting there is no mind/body problem once one conceives of
consciousness
> as Dennett proposes.

Physicalism perpetuates the B/M problem because it begins with a
(dogmatic) claim to know what substances exist and/or do not. I don't
start with a notion substance. It's hard for you to see this. That rocks
are hard and water is wet doesn't require a substance doctrine.

> Dualism is the result of not recognizing that what we mean by mind can
be
> entirely accounted for by physical events in the world

Correct. And if we could account for everything we mean by mind on the
physical level we would have ever developed all those non-physical
disciplines to account for all those experiences which clearly aren't
physical, including physics. The history of physics is not physical.

bruce


========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #1826 is a reply to message #1825] Tue, 20 October 2009 21:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SWMirsky is currently offline  SWMirsky
Messages: 188
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "BruceD" <blroadies@...> wrote:
>
>
> --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@> wrote:
> >... the question on the table is whether, to understand consciousness,
> > we have to consider it extra-physical
>
> No, just not physical, like many objects of our consciousness, e.g.,
> dreams, etc. And modern physics imagines all sorts of "physical" that
> doesn't look or feel like sticks and stones, e.g., string theory.
>

THAT'S what I've been saying. I feel like Lou Costello again!


> > (something co-existing with all that is physical but not itself
> physical)
>
> No, not co-existing if by "existing" one means in space-time. My dream
> doesn't exist anywhere, yet is.
>

Again it looks like you're arguing with me by saying to me what I've been saying to you. Who's on first?


> > or whether we can get away with just seeing it as a different aspect
> of the physical.
>
> You can. But the price you pay is reconciling how an aspect of the
> physical, which is completely described by physical laws can't be
> descrined by those laws and, in fact, is described laws antithetical to
> science, i.e., telelogical ones.
>

The point is the occurrence of consciousness can be described by those laws. It's the turning to the wheel again rather than the chicken to the egg or the cue ball to the eight ball in the corner pocket!


> Bruce's alternative. Mind is not detected in the way we detect a brain.
> We see a brain but make sense out of a being with a brain by saying "it
> has a mind."
>

Okay, I like that alternative (largely because it's consistent with much of what I've been arguing with you over the course of three, or is it four, lists now)!


> An analogy. A radio makes sound. That we explain causally. A radio makes
> music. But in a different sense. The radio doesn't make it, as it makes
> sound. but transmits what a human has intentionally made. The
> transmission of the music is causal but the music is understood in
> telelogical terms.


But the capacity to create and to appreciate the music are understood causally even if the creation of the music itself is, as you want to put it, teleological.


> The music is in the sound, in some sense, but it
> isn't added to the sound, music is not another substance or an aspect of
> the sound.
>

It's meaning and words or language. Same deal.


> What is the relationship between sound and music, brain and mind? Not
> causal but interpretive. Hence
>

You need a mind to interpret and minds don't come about because brains interpret them into existence!


> ...it is unintelligible to speak of brains causing minds...or any term
> that suggests causation but scientist study the relationship between
> sound/music and brain/mind, just not causally.
>

It is not unintelligible to speak of how brains cause/produce/make/bring about/generate (etcetera) minds. Unless that is you have introduced a new meaning of "unintelligible", one that does not partake of Wittgenstein's meaning.

How do we know? Well it is not beyond comprehension to ask, as a neuroscientist might, how it is that brains produce the features we associate with having a mind. In fact, we have two options: Minds just happen by some unfathomable thing brains do or minds are the product of particular processes brains perform. If the latter, then those processes can theoretically be discovered and studied.

If this relation were unintelligible as you claim, then there would be no way any of us could understand what scientists are doing in this regard. Indeed, not even the scientists could understand it. To claim that people can't understand this effort, is to deny what is obvious in the field of science and in our ordinary discourse. Now you can assert unintelligibility but asserting it isn't enough. You have to say why and show that it is unintelligible. It's not enough to say that you find it unintelligible because that could just be your own failure to grasp something. You have to show why this is, in principle, ungraspable by anyone. Can you do this beyond merely asserting this is the case?


> > Unless an account of what you want to call "spontaneity" can be
> handled via a mechanistic description.
>
> To me, that's a contradiction. If you collapse the distinction between
> the mechanical and the spontaneous, and then attribute this to the
> brain, you appeared to have solved the B/M problem until I as "Is this
> Post the working of a spontaneous mind or the outcome of a causal
> process?
>

First this depends on what you mean by a "spontaneous mind". If you mean autonomous then it's pretty clear. But if you mean spontaneous as popping uncaused (or at least with no apparent cause) into existence that's not even a good description of minds. We can give a history of causes for every mind beginning with brains and tracing back to genomes and species history, etc.

Second, if a machine mind could be produced (as some argue it some day will), why would it matter whether it came into existence spontaneously or organically via a biological history or if it were constructed? Everything hinges on whether mind is a process based system. If it is, then ANY device capable of running the same kind of system could generate a mind.

Third the reason the mind body problem is eliminated on this view is because both brains and minds are shown to be physical. Minds aren't an add-on or superimposition onto brains on this view. Of course, if you think they are then you still have the mind body problem. But then you have the added problem of accounting for your dualism. There are two ways out of dualism: Either everything is mind (including what we take to be matter) or everything is physical (including what we take to be mind). Anything less leaves you stuck in the dualist picture still.


> > I am suggesting there is no mind/body problem once one conceives of
> consciousness
> > as Dennett proposes.
>
> Physicalism perpetuates the B/M problem because it begins with a
> (dogmatic) claim to know what substances exist and/or do not.


It does not. It has nothing to do with the philosophical concept of substance. Of course it CAN be formulated in that way but it needn't be. If it is just de facto physicalism rather than a theory of what is, then the only substances are imprecisely identified bits of matter (that gooey substance I stepped in over there).

The issue of there being some fundamental substance never enters into this.


> I don't
> start with a notion substance. It's hard for you to see this. That rocks
> are hard and water is wet doesn't require a substance doctrine.
>

Then why impute it to me? You're the one always talking about substances, not me! I have alluded to "ontological basics" but only to point out that we have no need to posit two or more such things in the universe.

> > Dualism is the result of not recognizing that what we mean by mind can
> be
> > entirely accounted for by physical events in the world
>
> Correct. And if we could account for everything we mean by mind on the
> physical level we would have ever developed all those non-physical
> disciplines to account for all those experiences which clearly aren't
> physical, including physics. The history of physics is not physical.
>
> bruce
>

That we speak about things on different levels isn't relevant to the issue at hand. It never was.

However, since you agree, above, that I have correctly characterized dualism while proceeding to suggest that we cannot "account for everything we mean by mind on a physical level", you seem to be heading straight back to dualism yourself.

I would suggest to you that we can recognize multiple levels of reference, multiple language games to be played, without insisting on a dualist picture. But it seems to me that you constantly slide into and out of this picture because, at bottom, you seem convinced, or want to be convinced, that minds are separate from the physical. Until you give that up, Dennett's idea, which I have been trying to convey here, will no doubt continue to seem opaque to you.

SWM

========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #1837 is a reply to message #1826] Wed, 21 October 2009 18:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
blroadies is currently offline  blroadies
Messages: 27
Registered: August 2009
Junior Member

--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@...> wrote:

> Again it looks like you're arguing with me by saying to me what I've
been saying to you. Who's on first?

Let's see just where are difference lies.

> The point is the occurrence of consciousness can be described by those
laws.

Right here. There is nothing in physics that allows for bioloigy or
biology for psychology, or psychology for anthropology, for economics
etc....our difference lies in the distinction between a vision of
reduction or one of emergence.

My contention: You obscure emergence by attributing mind to a
material-object, the brain, and then cover it over by saying "there are
all kinds of physical objects, some have minds" while refusing to
recognize that the manner in which you detect an physical object is
radically different from the way you appreciate that "object" to have a
mind; and also, by breaking the scientific practice of "no teleloglical
explanations" when it is convenient to say "the brain plans,
conceives..."

> But the capacity to create and to appreciate the music are understood
causally.

A "capacity", or disposition, is never understood "causally." That I can
play the piano doesn't cause me to play it.

> You need a mind to interpret and minds don't come about because brains
interpret them into existence!

Thank you! Brains doesn't interpret ANYTHING, a person does. So, I agree
with you. We must start any and all analyses in the first person and any
analysis that makes the person the causal end-product of what is
analyzed is unintelligible.

If a person imagines that his brain has caused him to imagine that he
has a mind, how can he distinguish between his imaginings and what his
brain has caused. And all this goes back to brains don't interpret
anything...about which we agree.

> how it is that brains produce the features we associate with having a
mind.

That's an easy "how", conceptually, though not empirically, if you are
asking "which brain parts are critical for what mental functions. No
philosophy here. Now comes the philosophy One creates a mystery.

> we have two options: Minds just happen by some unfathomable thing
brains
> do or minds are the product of particular processes brains perform.

That's actually only one option. The first part is just skepticism, And
it is exactly what neurology does.

> If this relation were unintelligible as you claim,
> then there would be no way any of us could understand what scientists
are doing in this regard.

Neurology becomes unintelligible when you insist on reading its findings
as a causal relation between brain and mind.

C fibers cause pain? Stimulate a C fiber. The subject says "Wow". Was
"Wo" caused? And what caused the person who says "Wow." C fiber research
is unintelligble if it is read causally.

> Everything hinges on whether mind is a process based system.

It is a process based system. But a psycholgical one, not a physical one

> you seem convinced, or want to be convinced, that minds are separate
from the physical.

I have no idea whether minds are separate or a part of the physical
since mind isn't any thing which can be part or or apart of any other
thing.

Please tell me how you know where the physical begins and ends, and
where I can look for mind, so that I can tell whether mind and matter
ever meet.

bruce


========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #1838 is a reply to message #1837] Wed, 21 October 2009 20:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SWMirsky is currently offline  SWMirsky
Messages: 188
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "BruceD" <blroadies@...> wrote:
>
> <snip>

>
> Let's see just where are difference lies.
>

> > The point is the occurrence of consciousness can be described by those
> laws.
>

> Right here. There is nothing in physics that allows for bioloigy or
> biology for psychology, or psychology for anthropology, for economics
> etc....our difference lies in the distinction between a vision of
> reduction or one of emergence.


Short of time this evening so this will be (mercifully?) short!

Note that I said "the occurrence of consciousness". My reference was not for the things conscious beings do but to the fact some beings are conscious, i.e., how it is that consciousness happens.

I am arguing, of course, that we can give a perfectly reasonable, perfectly intelligible account of that in scientific terms even if we still don't have the whole story.

This has NOTHING to do with whether we also have biological and psychological accounts of some things.


>
> My contention: You obscure emergence by attributing mind to a
> material-object, the brain, and then cover it over by saying "there are
> all kinds of physical objects, some have minds" while refusing to
> recognize that the manner in which you detect an physical object is
> radically different from the way you appreciate that "object" to have a
> mind; and also, by breaking the scientific practice of "no teleloglical
> explanations" when it is convenient to say "the brain plans,
> conceives..."
>

Two issues here:

1) We do detect the presence of consciousness in others through our experience via the information we collect about the world. In ourselves we also do this via experience though there it is not a matter of collecting data but of being aware of things like the collecting process itself.

2) If I say anything like the brain plans or conceives it is only in a special circumstance, i.e., answering the question where the happenings of consciousness take place. They occur, of course, in brains, not kidneys, stomachs or hearts.


> > But the capacity to create and to appreciate the music are understood
> causally.
>
> A "capacity", or disposition, is never understood "causally." That I can
> play the piano doesn't cause me to play it.
>

No one said it did. You are mixing apples and oranges.


> > You need a mind to interpret and minds don't come about because brains
> interpret them into existence!
>
> Thank you!


I'm amazed that you think you need to thank me for that since I have never said or implied anything else!



> Brains doesn't interpret ANYTHING, a person does. So, I agree
> with you. We must start any and all analyses in the first person and any
> analysis that makes the person the causal end-product of what is
> analyzed is unintelligible.
>

Analyses are done by intelligences and intelligences are found in minds so in that sense yes. But we don't start any of this by analyzing something first-person to understand where something third-person comes from (unless we are speaking teleologically as in so and so did such and such -- but brains causing minds are not an example of THAT).


> If a person imagines that his brain has caused him to imagine that he
> has a mind, how can he distinguish between his imaginings and what his
> brain has caused. And all this goes back to brains don't interpret
> anything...about which we agree.
>

Irrelevant because it has nothing to do with what I've said here.


> > how it is that brains produce the features we associate with having a
> mind.
>
> That's an easy "how", conceptually, though not empirically, if you are
> asking "which brain parts are critical for what mental functions. No
> philosophy here. Now comes the philosophy One creates a mystery.
>

It's the work of science as I've always said. My argument is with those who think science is out of its league in this inquiry.


> > we have two options: Minds just happen by some unfathomable thing
> brains
> > do or minds are the product of particular processes brains perform.
>
> That's actually only one option. The first part is just skepticism, And
> it is exactly what neurology does.
>

Walter on the other list asserted that "intentionality" which he used as a proxy for consciousness is a property which some physical things have and some don't. When I asked him whether such a property is reducible to what is non-conscious, certain physical processes going on in brains, he refused to commit himself. But he continued to speak as though it was sufficient to speak of such a property as irreducible in this way. If THAT is the case, it clearly implies dualism. If it is not, then as I've said in the past, there is no reason why Searle's argument against computational processes being able to produce consciousness BASED ON THE CHINESE ROOM ARGUMENT can be read as sustaining that conclusion!


> > If this relation were unintelligible as you claim,
> > then there would be no way any of us could understand what scientists
> are doing in this regard.
>
> Neurology becomes unintelligible when you insist on reading its findings
> as a causal relation between brain and mind.
>

That only reflects the current state of the subject matter, i.e., there is not yet a good empirically based explanation of how. This doesn't mean there could not be. I have argued that Dennett's model provides a perfectly plausible candidate for such an explanation.


> C fibers cause pain? Stimulate a C fiber. The subject says "Wow". Was
> "Wo" caused? And what caused the person who says "Wow." C fiber research
> is unintelligble if it is read causally.
>


This just reflects our current lack of knowledge, nothing that is in principle the case. You can't assume unintelligibility from absence of knowledge.

> > Everything hinges on whether mind is a process based system.
>
> It is a process based system. But a psycholgical one, not a physical one
>

Brains, per your own commentary, are physical not psychological. Therefore brain processes are not psychological though what they produce enables psychology as a means of understanding the outcomes.

> > you seem convinced, or want to be convinced, that minds are separate
> from the physical.
>
> I have no idea whether minds are separate or a part of the physical
> since mind isn't any thing which can be part or or apart of any other
> thing.
>
> Please tell me how you know where the physical begins and ends, and
> where I can look for mind, so that I can tell whether mind and matter
> ever meet.
>
> bruce
>

If you don't know (but of course you do) no one can tell you. Look at those around you, those you communicate with on this list, etc. Your problem, again, is that you keep confusing minds with entities rather than recognizing that they are something different. Again, think of the wheel and its turning or the face and its smile.

SWM

========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #1871 is a reply to message #1838] Fri, 23 October 2009 16:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
blroadies is currently offline  blroadies
Messages: 27
Registered: August 2009
Junior Member

--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@...> wrote:

> Note that I said "the occurrence of consciousness".
> My reference was not for the things conscious beings do but to the
fact some beings are conscious,
> i.e., how it is that consciousness happens.

Yes, that occurred to me. I'll try to focus on that. But first. We agree
that science has been and continues to given an intelligible account of
"becoming conscious" -- let's focus on that phenomenon. I'll cut to
those point in this post that address this issue.

Again, we agree that science gives an account. Where we may disagree is
in making sense out of that account and/or whether some scientific
accounts are conceptually confused.

> If I say anything like the brain plans or conceives it is only in a
special circumstance,
> i.e., answering the question where the happenings of consciousness
take place.
> They occur, of course, in brains, not kidneys, stomachs or hearts.

For me, your statement is conceptually confusing. Though it is a fact
that if stimulate X brain area you awake, become conscious, it isn't a
fact that your C happens in your brain. What happens in your brain is a
electro-chemical change. That this change is vital to C doesn't make it
identical to C or even an aspect of C. Why is this distinction
important.?

Because that the firing of the brain part doesn't guarantee that you are
conscious, any more than C fiber firing assures that you will be in
pain. Of course, you could argue that other brain firings are need. But
no number of brain firings add up to being a person with a point of
view.

Which leads to our big difference. I think you assume that brain study
can start with a physical thing, the brain, and study consciousness.
While you agree that the experience of being conscious requires a being
who is conscious to report upon such things, you think that once
collecting this data we then can study what part of the brain produces a
specific experience. And of course, we do.

We can imagine C as a candle flame (as if becoming conscious was our
mind lighting up) and ask for the conditions that ignite this flame.
Obviously, the wick (the brain?). This is sort of description Nagel
calls the "view from nowhere." There is no point in view. Not for the
scientist (whose view is ignored) nor for the candle or the brain which,
of course, has none.

My hard line is: If an account of who and what we are doesn't start
with a first person point of view, and, when studying beings, doesn't
consider its point of view, the account will sneak the 1st person in
somewhere, thereby creating conceptual confusion.

If C is happening in the brain, where is the person who is conscious?
Note, we don't ask that questions about urine happening in the kidneys.
That's why your analogy, if urine in kidneys, then C in brain is
misleading.

Note: My claims hold to whatever creatures we meet in space, made out of
whatever material and whatever new-age computers we build that are as
mental as any of us. The music example again. We build a piano. The keys
striking strings create noise. The piano makes noise, not music. We hear
music. If the piano become conscious (do you know Tom Wait's song "The
Piano has been drinking?) it too could decide "noise or music."

In a nut shell, something happens in an intact brain, and a person
becomes conscious. How do we understand this? You propose Dennett's
model, which I take is a super-computer that has

> (something like) brain processes (that) are not psychological though
what they produce
> enables psychology as a means of understanding the outcomes.

Notice just where you sneak in the 1st person. You start with a material
thing (the brain) that produces something material and then shift to the
functional language of "enable" something which could still be physical
(the heart enables my feet to move), but isn't physical, rather it is
"psychological as a means of understanding the outcomes", all
mentalistic, teleological terms.

> Again, think of the wheel and its turning or the face and its smile.

I'm thinking. I can see a wheel turn but I can see a brain light up but
I can't see the mind it makes.
I can see facial muscles move. And you are correct. I must interpret the
moves as a smile. You've said that the brain doesn't interpret, only
people do. So we return to the 1st person but with no conceptual bridge
from the physical.

Why not try the other way around. Starting with 1st person who has a
brain, and lives in a world, ....

bruce (not his brain)



========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #1890 is a reply to message #1871] Sat, 24 October 2009 20:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SWMirsky is currently offline  SWMirsky
Messages: 188
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "BruceD" <blroadies@...> wrote:
> --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@> wrote:
>
> > Note that I said "the occurrence of consciousness".
> > My reference was not for the things conscious beings do but to the
> fact some beings are conscious,
> > i.e., how it is that consciousness happens.
>
> Yes, that occurred to me. I'll try to focus on that. But first. We agree
> that science has been and continues to given an intelligible account of
> "becoming conscious" -- let's focus on that phenomenon. I'll cut to
> those point in this post that address this issue.


> Again, we agree that science gives an account. Where we may disagree is
> in making sense out of that account and/or whether some scientific
> accounts are conceptually confused.


I'm sure some scientific accounts may be conceptually confused. I disagree with your claim that to speak of brains as causally responsible for consciousness is THAT, however. Indeed, it is the very core of a scientific account given what we currently know.


> > If I say anything like the brain plans or conceives it is only in a
> special circumstance,
> > i.e., answering the question where the happenings of consciousness
> take place.
> > They occur, of course, in brains, not kidneys, stomachs or hearts.
>
> For me, your statement is conceptually confusing. Though it is a fact
> that if stimulate X brain area you awake, become conscious, it isn't a
> fact that your C happens in your brain.


Oh no? Where then? My left toe? Across the street? On the moon?


> What happens in your brain is a
> electro-chemical change. That this change is vital to C doesn't make it
> identical to C or even an aspect of C. Why is this distinction
> important.?
>


This is the same old conceptual confusion that I have argued time and again affects your thinking. You have some weird idea that, while acknowledging that consciousness is not an entity, not a thing like physical things are, you still persist in this strange notion that consciousness MUST be separate from any physical process associated with it merely because it is not one of the things we usually characterize as "physical". This just reflects your persistent misconception of what it means to be "physical" and your confusion about the notion of "identity". Nearby I discussed it, for the nth time, but I see it did no good -- again.


> Because that the firing of the brain part doesn't guarantee that you are
> conscious, any more than C fiber firing assures that you will be in
> pain.

If a brain is necessary to being conscious and a particular firing is implicated in that necessity, and there are no other factors in play (no spirits slipping into this world from another at the locus of the firing), then it certainly does guarantee you will be conscious because THAT's what it means to be conscious. Now, of course, we can use "conscious" in different ways as we have also seen so it's possible to say he was conscious but not aware of X where "not aware" may also mean "not conscious" but then we would be using "conscious" in two different ways and the fact that we can do this would not militate against a claim that the person with the brain operating in the right way to produce consciousness is conscious.


> Of course, you could argue that other brain firings are need. But
> no number of brain firings add up to being a person with a point of
> view.
>

Oh no? Take them away and what happens to your person with his point of view?


> Which leads to our big difference. I think you assume that brain study
> can start with a physical thing, the brain, and study consciousness.


I assume that current data which convincingly links brains with minds means we can study brains and minds as a common phenomenon, i.e., that brains cause minds and minds require brains (or their equivalents) to occur.


> While you agree that the experience of being conscious requires a being
> who is conscious to report upon such things, you think that once
> collecting this data we then can study what part of the brain produces a
> specific experience. And of course, we do.
>

> We can imagine C as a candle flame (as if becoming conscious was our
> mind lighting up) and ask for the conditions that ignite this flame.

Just a metaphor since consciousness is not a separate phenomenon from the brain's processes as the flame is from the candle. Consciousness is better understood as being one aspect of the coin of which the physical process(es) is the other aspect.


> Obviously, the wick (the brain?). This is sort of description Nagel
> calls the "view from nowhere." There is no point in view. Not for the
> scientist (whose view is ignored) nor for the candle or the brain which,
> of course, has none.
>

> My hard line is: If an account of who and what we are doesn't start
> with a first person point of view, and, when studying beings, doesn't
> consider its point of view, the account will sneak the 1st person in
> somewhere, thereby creating conceptual confusion.
>

I'll keep reading, assuming you'll give examples.


> If C is happening in the brain, where is the person who is conscious?


Why would you look for a person in the brain when the person is the complex of physical processes operating in a certain way we identify as the particular human organism under consideration? Again your persistent confusion creeps in here. No one is asserting that a person is a ghost in the machine or that consciousness is. The whole notion of such a ghost is, itself, a misguided concept that imagines an entity of some special kind. But I have said here (and on other lists) consistently that I am not proposing we think of consciousness as entity-like, i.e., that THAT is precisely the problem, the source of so much confusion. And yet, while typing words on this list that deny that consciousness is entity-like your every challenge to what I am saying hinges on pointing out that we cannot find the entity of consciousness!

Well of course not because THAT'S precisely what I am saying here. So it cannot be a criticism of my position, as you apparently think, that it cannot stand up to a denial of what I am denying already.

The whole problem with your argument is you cannot shake this idea that to speak of mind or consciousness is to speak of something that is entity-like while, at the same time, you are keen to deny its likeness to entities. Thus you think the solution is to pronounce unintelligibility! But that merely reflects your own continued refusal (or, perhaps, inability) to wrap your head around this notion of consciousness as a process-based system.

Let me make this easier. CONSCIOUSNESS, ON MY VIEW, IS NOT AN ENTITY AND IS NOT ENTITY LIKE. IT IS NOT ONTOLOGICALLY DISTINCT FROM THE PHYSICAL FACTS OF THE UNIVERSE EITHER. THEREFORE, IT IS NOT A CRITICISM OF MY VIEW TO ASSERT THAT WE CANNOT FIND IT AS WE WOULD AN ENTITY WHEN WE LOOK WITHIN THE BRAIN!


> Note, we don't ask that questions about urine happening in the kidneys.
> That's why your analogy, if urine in kidneys, then C in brain is
> misleading.
>


Think processes not physical stuff. Think of the wheel and its turning, both physical but only one a physical object (made of physical stuff).


> Note: My claims hold to whatever creatures we meet in space, made out of
> whatever material and whatever new-age computers we build that are as
> mental as any of us. The music example again. We build a piano. The keys
> striking strings create noise. The piano makes noise, not music. We hear
> music. If the piano become conscious (do you know Tom Wait's song "The
> Piano has been drinking?) it too could decide "noise or music."
>

How is that relevant to, or a criticism of, my point that brains cause consciousness?


> In a nut shell, something happens in an intact brain, and a person
> becomes conscious. How do we understand this? You propose Dennett's
> model, which I take is a super-computer that has
>
> > (something like) brain processes (that) are not psychological though
> what they produce
> > enables psychology as a means of understanding the outcomes.
>


> Notice just where you sneak in the 1st person. You start with a material
> thing (the brain) that produces something material and then shift to the
> functional language of "enable" something which could still be physical
> (the heart enables my feet to move), but isn't physical, rather it is
> "psychological as a means of understanding the outcomes", all
> mentalistic, teleological terms.
>

My reference to "psychology" was to the discipline of, i.e.,. the ability to study motives, beliefs, judgments, etc. We get those because we get consciousness. That is we get psychological facts when we get consciousness. But it is not psychological facts that produce consciousness because things don't produce themselves except in fairy tales.


> > Again, think of the wheel and its turning or the face and its smile.
>
> I'm thinking. I can see a wheel turn but I can see a brain light up but
> I can't see the mind it makes.


You "see" it when you meet a conscious person or when you introspect and consider your own experience. But of course you don't see the ghost in the machine because there is no ghost, no parallel entity that coexists with the physical entity of the brain.


> I can see facial muscles move. And you are correct. I must interpret the
> moves as a smile. You've said that the brain doesn't interpret, only
> people do.


Sometimes we can say brains interpret. It depends on context. What I've said is the brain doesn't interpret its mind into existence. First you have to have a mind (all the features we associate with that) and then you have interpreting occurring as one of the things minds do.


> So we return to the 1st person but with no conceptual bridge
> from the physical.
>


This is a false trail. What "conceptual bridge" do you think is missing? The ghost in the machine????

> Why not try the other way around. Starting with 1st person who has a
> brain, and lives in a world, ....
>
> bruce (not his brain)
>


Because the question at issue is where to minds come from, how do they come to be, what are they, etc. Can you offer a description commencing with what you want to call "1st person" that can even begin to answer THAT question?

SWM

========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #1975 is a reply to message #1890] Tue, 27 October 2009 22:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
blroadies is currently offline  blroadies
Messages: 27
Registered: August 2009
Junior Member

--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@...> wrote:

> I disagree with your claim that to speak of brains as causally
responsible
> for consciousness is unintelligible.

We distinguish between caused and intentional behavior. A Tourette
patient's cussing is taken to be caused by a brain event. When he
explains that he is suffering from a brain disease and can't be held
responsible for his words, at times, we accept this distinction. If all
conscious behavior is caused, then there is no way to make that
distinction.

> Oh no? Where then? My left toe?

To insist upon locating consciousness anywhere is to insist upon a
metaphysical materialism of only things in space/time. Remember, you
agree that we infer the smile from the facial expression. the smile
doesn't exist anywhere. The conclusion of an inference doesn't exist in
space/time.

> you still persist in this strange notion that consciousness MUST be
separate from any physical process

Not separate, because that suggests another place, but not the stuff of
space-time.

> This just reflects your persistent misconception of what it means to
be "physical"

That's your trick. You call C physical in order to say it is caused by
something physical but then switch to intentional language in describing
C-physical which sounds like mind and then have the problem described
above in which mind is both causal and intentional

> If a brain is necessary to being conscious and a particular firing is
implicated in that necessity,
> and there are no other factors in play
> (no spirits slipping into this world from another at the locus of the
firing),
> then it certainly does guarantee you will be conscious
> because THAT's what it means to be conscious.

A brain firing is necessary but not sufficient. No guarantee. A "brain
firing" is not what we mean by C. We mean by C what a person tells us he
is experiencing. In fact you agree, "certainly does guarantee YOU will
be conscious."

Notice how you snuck in the "You", the agent, the person, in order to
make the claim. There is no you in your material brain. Unless you want
to insist that the "You" is also material but, yet, a piece of matter
that is intentional, not causal. If You is causal, he ain't intention.
Your dilemma.

> Why would you look for a person in the brain when the person is the
complex of physical processes?

If a person is a complex of the physical, then I ought to find the
person in the physical. Of course, if you use physical the way we use
mental, then I can't find him.

> "CONSCIOUSNESS, ON MY VIEW, IS NOT AN ENTITY AND IS NOT ENTITY LIKE.

Then, as an abstraction, an inference, it can't stand in any casual
relationship. I can cause your temperature to rise, but I can't cause
you to experience a fever.

> IT IS NOT ONTOLOGICALLY DISTINCT FROM THE PHYSICAL FACTS OF THE
UNIVERSE

Not all facts are physical. Falling in love is a fact but not physical.
Whether it is ontologically distinct, I'll leave for sharper minds.

buce



========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #1986 is a reply to message #1975] Wed, 28 October 2009 09:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SWMirsky is currently offline  SWMirsky
Messages: 188
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "BruceD" <blroadies@...> wrote:
> --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@> wrote:
>

> > I disagree with your claim that to speak of brains as causally
> responsible
> > for consciousness is unintelligible.
>

> We distinguish between caused and intentional behavior. A Tourette
> patient's cussing is taken to be caused by a brain event. When he
> explains that he is suffering from a brain disease and can't be held
> responsible for his words, at times, we accept this distinction. If all
> conscious behavior is caused, then there is no way to make that
> distinction.
>


There is "caused" and "caused". That our brains cause our consciousness (the occurence of minds) doesn't mean that minds don't think, have motives and choose to act, thus producing a different kind of causation. Recall that we use "cause" in lots of different ways. This is an old argument of ours, hardly worth rehashing yet again -- and yet it looks like that is what is going to happen here.


> > Oh no? Where then? My left toe?
>
> To insist upon locating consciousness anywhere is to insist upon a
> metaphysical materialism of only things in space/time. Remember, you
> agree that we infer the smile from the facial expression. the smile
> doesn't exist anywhere. The conclusion of an inference doesn't exist in
> space/time.
>

We don't infer smiles, we see them and recognize them!

This has nothing to do with metaphysics but with understanding our uses. By "thought" or "mind" we don't mean any kind of physical object occupying time and space but the smile on a face is no less physical than the face on which it appears. The smile, like the face, occurs in a physical location, even if it isn't, itself, a physical object.


<snip>

> > This just reflects your persistent misconception of what it means to
> be "physical"
>
> That's your trick. You call C physical in order to say it is caused by
> something physical but then switch to intentional language in describing
> C-physical which sounds like mind and then have the problem described
> above in which mind is both causal and intentional
>


No trick here, just a recognition of the nuances of certain uses. A smile has a physical location and yet isn't a physical object. The only "trick" lies in your thinking that these usages mask something deeper, something more metaphysical. Shake that and the idea that it's a "trick" will go away.


> > If a brain is necessary to being conscious and a particular firing is
> implicated in that necessity,
> > and there are no other factors in play
> > (no spirits slipping into this world from another at the locus of the
> firing),
> > then it certainly does guarantee you will be conscious
> > because THAT's what it means to be conscious.
>
> A brain firing is necessary but not sufficient. No guarantee.


It's a guarantee if it's the right type of brain firing in the right way. That's what it means to be brain dependent or do you want to argue that something else must kick in that has nothing to do with brains?


> A "brain
> firing" is not what we mean by C.


Of course not. But science demonstrates that it's what is needed for consciousness to occur.


> We mean by C what a person tells us he
> is experiencing. In fact you agree, "certainly does guarantee YOU will
> be conscious."
>
> Notice how you snuck in the "You", the agent, the person, in order to
> make the claim. There is no you in your material brain.


THAT'S certainly a matter of usage. In some sense we could say that's exactly where the "you" is to be found.


> Unless you want
> to insist that the "You" is also material but, yet, a piece of matter
> that is intentional, not causal. If You is causal, he ain't intention.
> Your dilemma.
>


No dilemma unless you have a problem grasping the smile to face analogy.


> > Why would you look for a person in the brain when the person is the
> complex of physical processes?
>
> If a person is a complex of the physical, then I ought to find the
> person in the physical. Of course, if you use physical the way we use
> mental, then I can't find him.
>

This is where the idea of aspects, of two (or more) sides of the same coin, kicks in.


> > "CONSCIOUSNESS, ON MY VIEW, IS NOT AN ENTITY AND IS NOT ENTITY LIKE.
>
> Then, as an abstraction, an inference, it can't stand in any casual
> relationship. I can cause your temperature to rise, but I can't cause
> you to experience a fever.
>


Sure you can. If you give me the physical conditions of having fever then I will experience it. That's all "cause" means in this sense. Of course, the brain causes consciousness in which experience happens so in THAT sense the brain causes the experience of the fever but that isn't how we usually use "cause a fever" so your locution's a bit of a reach.


> > IT IS NOT ONTOLOGICALLY DISTINCT FROM THE PHYSICAL FACTS OF THE
> UNIVERSE
>
> Not all facts are physical. Falling in love is a fact but not physical.

Sure it is. However, we don't always notice the physical aspects, for instance the heightened hormonal levels, the brain excitations, etc.

SWM

========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #2050 is a reply to message #1986] Sat, 31 October 2009 20:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
blroadies is currently offline  blroadies
Messages: 27
Registered: August 2009
Junior Member

--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@...> wrote:

> There is "caused" and "caused".

Yes. The word alone can mean this or that. Let's look closely.

> That our brains cause our consciousness (the occurrence of minds)
doesn't mean that minds don't think, have motives

Right. If by cause you mean a condition. The alarm causes me to wake up.
Causes me to be conscious. And then I decide whether to hit the snooze,
etc, all volitional. Now we have two choices, and this is the B/M
problem you want to avoid.

If all of my behavior upon waking is causal then I'm a machine and my
motives are no ones because I don't exist except as something you choose
to name "Bruce." But this Bruce can have no life of his own. All Bruce
can be is your description of him. Then again, SWM doesn't exist, as a
person, just a machine making sounds.

Or if a causal event leads to purposive behavior then we have explain
the crossing over from causal to volitional.

Again, its not the way you choose to use cause but they way you use it
to deny agency and purpose, in order to cleave to your
physical/mechanical thought and then attribute agency when suits you. As
in this remark

> We don't infer smiles, we see them and recognize them!

Now we are an active agent that makes sense out of the world. You didn't
write "recognition" is caused. But to say deny that we infer from what
we see makes it sound as if smile recognition were causal. That a smile
is an inference can be easily demonstrated when folks disagree about
what they see.

> but the smile on a face is no less physical than the face on which it
appears.

I agree, actually, because a face isn't physical either. A face is not
just a collection of material bits. It is a way of seeing something. A
way of seeing isn't causal event.

> The smile, like the face, occurs in a physical location...

Not really. Sure, "the face", but where does it begin and end? This
question is absurd because a smile is there, before us, not there, in
the big toe, though it might if the toe were involved, as in shyness,
and not really anywhere.

Bruce: Not all facts are physical. Falling in love is a fact but not
physical.

> Sure it is. However, we don't always notice the physical aspects, for
instance the heightened hormonal levels...

And the mental aspects? Just where does your physical and everyone elses
mind connect.

bruce


========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #2056 is a reply to message #2050] Sun, 01 November 2009 01:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SWMirsky is currently offline  SWMirsky
Messages: 188
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "BruceD" <blroadies@...> wrote:
> --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@> wrote:
>
> > There is "caused" and "caused".
>
> Yes. The word alone can mean this or that. Let's look closely.
>
> > That our brains cause our consciousness (the occurrence of minds)
> doesn't mean that minds don't think, have motives
>

> Right. If by cause you mean a condition.

I don't. I mean cause as distinct from condition. Here are definitions from Merriam-Webster sourced on-line:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/condition

Main Entry: con·di·tion

Pronunciation: \k&#601;n-&#712;di-sh&#601;n\

Function: noun

2 : something essential to the appearance or occurrence of something else : prerequisite: as a : an environmental requirement <available oxygen is an essential condition for animal life> b : the subordinate clause of a conditional sentence


http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cause

Main Entry: 1cause

Pronunciation: \&#712;ko&#775;z\

Function: noun

1 a : a reason for an action or condition : motive b : something that brings about an effect or a result c : a person or thing that is the occasion of an action or state; especially : an agent that brings something about

While it is a condition for an organism to have a mind that it also have a brain (or an equivalent) as far as we know, That condition is causal in form, i.e, having a brain alone doesn't suffice. A brain may be damaged or insufficiently developed, etc. Moreover, a having brain is not like having oxygen, also a condition for having a mind by the way. Being a condition is not, by itself, causal though being causal may imply that it is also a condition.



> The alarm causes me to wake up.
> Causes me to be conscious.

Only in one sense of "causes" and one sense of "conscious" (especially in only one sense of "conscious")! After all having a working brain may also just mean you are dreaming before you "wake up" thanks to the alarm clock! A rock isn't going to wake up from the alarm clock.


> And then I decide whether to hit the snooze,
> etc, all volitional.

Does the brain decide to "hit the snooze" in order not to be conscious? (Isn't this, once again, the endless argument that continues to hold you in thrall?)


> Now we have two choices, and this is the B/M
> problem you want to avoid.
>

The "B/M problem" is your problem. I have already avoided it. That you can't doesn't mean others can't.

> If all of my behavior upon waking is causal


There are different senses of "causal". Failing to distinguish them (and use the right ones in the right circumstances) keeps you stuck in your favorite problem.


> then I'm a machine

Well you ARE, in one sense. Otherwise where's that ghost in the machine you are, the one you say you don't believe in and yet constantly invoke in an effort to claim you aren't machine-like. You say you aren't a dualist yet constantly proclaim the mind-body problem which is, as it happens, the expression of dualism in this matter (i.e., there are minds and bodies and explaining how they intersect and interact is difficult because they are so utterly different -- but are they really?).

>and my
> motives are no ones because I don't exist except as something you choose
> to name "Bruce."


As far as I know, I had nothing to do with naming you! I do choose to refer to you as "Bruce" but only because you have named yourself (assuming you grant that it's intelligible to speak of being a self!) that.


> But this Bruce can have no life of his own. All Bruce
> can be is your description of him.


I consider you more than a figment of my imagination, even if we have never met. But what has that to do with the question we have been endlessly debating here, to wit, whether you are a brain AND something else called a mind (or, as you once put it, a "spirit') or whether you are a body, including a brain that causes your consciousness and all the stuff associated with being the subject named "Bruce"?


> Then again, SWM doesn't exist, as a
> person, just a machine making sounds.
>

Could be but then that would be a strange solipsistic way of dealing with the posts on this list!

> Or if a causal event leads to purposive behavior then we have explain
> the crossing over from causal to volitional.
>

Some causes are a matter of motive, of choice by a subject, and some causes are simply physical phenomena. And, of course, there are ranges of meaning within both categories.

> Again, its not the way you choose to use cause but they way you use it
> to deny agency and purpose,


That's in your mind. I have never denied agency and purpose and nothing I've said implies its denial.


> in order to cleave to your
> physical/mechanical thought and then attribute agency when suits you. As
> in this remark
>
> > We don't infer smiles, we see them and recognize them!
>
> Now we are an active agent that makes sense out of the world. You didn't
> write "recognition" is caused.


After everything else I have been saying, why would I have to? Of course recognition is caused -- by the right kinds of brains doing the right sorts of things!


> But to say deny that we infer from what
> we see makes it sound as if smile recognition were causal.

To say we "infer" a smile when we see it implies an extra step of reasoning involved. When a baby sees an adult face above it smiling and smiles back, is it inferring something about that adult's face? Or is it just responding on a raw, pre-conceptual level?


> That a smile
> is an inference can be easily demonstrated when folks disagree about
> what they see.
>

Just because we don't always agree doesn't mean that inferring is at work re: what it is we are disagreeing about. But when we do disagree it sometimes happens that we try to figure it out and then, in some cases, we do move toward inferring to get us to a point of understanding. But then reasoning is being introduced, something that has no part in the gut reaction we have to what is clear, i.e., the smile on the mommy's face.


> > but the smile on a face is no less physical than the face on which it
> appears.
>
> I agree, actually, because a face isn't physical either. A face is not
> just a collection of material bits. It is a way of seeing something. A
> way of seeing isn't causal event.
>

The face IS physical even if we're not attending to the physical material of the face when we see it but to the arrangement of that material. The smile is part of the arrangement of the arrangement. The eyes, nose, mouth, etc., all are physical. They can be pointed to and recognized for what they are and together make a face. But the smile is a turn of the mouth that is part of the face. So while we can point to the mouth as a physical constituent of the face, we cannot point to the smile as a physical constituent of the mouth!


> > The smile, like the face, occurs in a physical location...
>
> Not really. Sure, "the face", but where does it begin and end? This
> question is absurd because a smile is there, before us, not there, in
> the big toe, though it might if the toe were involved, as in shyness,
> and not really anywhere.
>

As I say above: "So while we can point to the mouth as a physical constituent of the face, we cannot point to the smile as a physical constituent of the mouth!"

> Bruce: Not all facts are physical. Falling in love is a fact but not
> physical.
>
> > Sure it is. However, we don't always notice the physical aspects, for
> instance the heightened hormonal levels...
>
> And the mental aspects? Just where does your physical and everyone elses
> mind connect.
>
> bruce
>

The mental aspect of being in love is physical, too. It includes certain activities of the body, including brain activity, hormonal activity, etc.

SWM

========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #2083 is a reply to message #1700] Sun, 01 November 2009 22:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
blroadies is currently offline  blroadies
Messages: 27
Registered: August 2009
Junior Member

--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@...> wrote:

> I mean cause as distinct from condition.

Great. I appreciate your time and trouble. Let's check it out.

> 2 : something essential to the appearance or occurrence of something
else : prerequisite: as a :
> an environmental requirement available oxygen is an essential
condition for animal life

I can watch oxygen molecules interact with the body but I can't watch
brain interact with mind. So, this doesn't work.

> 1 a : a reason for an action or condition : motive

Obviously doesn't work. Brain has no motives.

> something that brings about an effect or a result

That would work if I can see HOW the brain brings about the effect.
Stimulate the C-fiber and the person reports pain. But does the C-fiber
bring about the pain (cause it) or is the firing of the fiber identical
with the pain and hence not a cause.? And if the C-fiber causes
something, exactly what is caused? The pain? The report? Remember it
takes a person to report. What is the mechanical relationship between
the C-fiber and a person? Does this question even make sense? Do people
relate to their C-fibers?

> Moreover, a having brain is not like having oxygen,

You bet. I breath and take in oxygen which is "not me." But I don't have
an external relationship with my brain and hence my brain can't cause me
to do anything since my brain and me are internally related.

> Does the brain decide to "hit the snooze"

You agree that brains don't decide but that I do. So what is the
relationship between the mechanical brain and the intentional Bruce. A
mechanism has no intention. One possibility is that intentions are
illusory. Everything is caused. Is that your thesis?

>...where's that ghost in the machine?

Yes, that would be your question since you have both a machine and a
willful person. Not my question since I don't see humans as machines.
Nor do I see them as spirits. Sorry, I don't buy your dual ontology.

> whether you are a body, including a brain that causes your
consciousness

A consciousness caused entirely by prior factors is antithetical to what
we mean by agency and yet.

> I have never denied agency and purpose

which, it seems to me, makes your position self-contradictory.

> Of course recognition is caused

If so, we have no need to speak of a person who recognizes. You make no
distinction between a computer that recognizes a program and a husband
who recognizes his wife's love? If so, you have no need for agency and
purpose. We are just noisy machines.

> The face IS physical even if we're not attending to the physical
material

What do you mean by "we're attending." There is no need for a person
attending. A physical thing (which our brain labels as a face) causes
the brain to make changes in the face outside the skull...and that's it.

> we cannot point to the smile as a physical constituent of the mouth!

There is no "we." And why can't the brain cause the finger to point
(excuse me, extend, only a person with an intention can point) and then
stimulate the language area which causes the mouth to utter the word
"smile?"

bruce





========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #2093 is a reply to message #2083] Mon, 02 November 2009 10:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SWMirsky is currently offline  SWMirsky
Messages: 188
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "BruceD" <blroadies@...> wrote:
>
>
> --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@> wrote:
>
> > I mean cause as distinct from condition.
>
> Great. I appreciate your time and trouble. Let's check it out.
>
> > 2 : something essential to the appearance or occurrence of something
> else : prerequisite: as a :
> > an environmental requirement available oxygen is an essential
> condition for animal life
>
> I can watch oxygen molecules interact with the body but I can't watch
> brain interact with mind. So, this doesn't work.
>

What you can watch is irrelevant to what causes what, so it does.

Note, again, that you can watch the mouth and watch the smile but there is no interacting between a mouth and a smile so you can't watch THAT.

The fact that the mouth moves in a certain way is the basis for the occurrence of the smile. In the sense of "cause" I am explicitly using, the movement of the mouth causes the smile (though we might also say that there are other causes in other senses, e.g., the joke caused so and so smile or gas caused the baby's smile, etc. -- that there are multiple senses of "cause" does not mean any particular sense isn't ascribable under the right conditions).

Why do I feel this is an endless, literally ENDLESS, argument?


> > 1 a : a reason for an action or condition : motive
>
> Obviously doesn't work. Brain has no motives.
>

Note that my point was to show you that "cause" and "condition" are not the same, not to give you an exhaustive definition of "cause" which you could get from going to the link I provided. However, if I must:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cause

1 - b : something that brings about an effect or a result c : a person or thing that is the occasion of an action or state; especially : an agent that brings something about

I trust I don't also have to point out that not every agent is a conscious or subjective agent, i.e., we have things like chemical agents.


> > something that brings about an effect or a result
>
> That would work if I can see HOW the brain brings about the effect.

I'm glad you noticed it would work. But you seem to have failed to notice that what you can see has nothing to do with whether anything is a cause or not.


> Stimulate the C-fiber and the person reports pain. But does the C-fiber
> bring about the pain (cause it) or is the firing of the fiber identical
> with the pain and hence not a cause.?


If there is no other cause and everytime you stimulate the fiber in question, the subject cries ouch, what do you think?


> And if the C-fiber causes
> something, exactly what is caused? The pain? The report?


It would be an odd subject who cried "ouch" but didn't feel pain when the fiber in question is stimulated.


> Remember it
> takes a person to report.


It only takes an organism with a nervous system and the capacity to behave. If I step on my cat's tail she yowls. She is not reporting, she is expressing or, better, reacting.


> What is the mechanical relationship between
> the C-fiber and a person? Does this question even make sense?


No, but you asked it, I didn't. The fact that it cannot be answered intelligibly, on the evidence before us, is therefore not an indication that there is any problem with my contention.


> Do people
> relate to their C-fibers?
>

I don't even know what that means. However, supposing it means that one of us has a nerve dangling from whole in his skull called a "C-fiber" and when you touch it it causes intense pain and you want to yell "ouch", then there is certainly a relationship, of sorts, i.e., you want that "C-fiber" put back where it belongs. So this is not, in principle, out of the question, even if it is in fact, so what's the problem? And, more importantly, what point do you think is being made by raising it?


> > Moreover, a having brain is not like having oxygen,
>
> You bet. I breath and take in oxygen which is "not me." But I don't have
> an external relationship with my brain and hence my brain can't cause me
> to do anything since my brain and me are internally related.
>

O lord, lord, lord. (I know Sean frowns on such things but at least it's not "oy"!) Bruce, THERE ARE MULTIPLE USES OF MOST WORDS AND CERTAINLY OF "CAUSE". YOU DON'T NEED AN "EXTERNAL RELATIONSHIP" WITH YOUR BRAIN FOR IT TO BE THE CAUSE OF YOU BEING A CONSCIOUS CREATURE. Is this really so difficult to get? There are the causes of one thing on another, the causes of reasons, the causes of motivations, the causes of features, etc., etc. Your persistent insistence on mixing these up and arguing against a claim based on a use I am not referring to cannot resolve the question at hand. (Note to Sean: despite my obvious frustration here, I have still offered a REASON for the point I am making and not merely rhetorical hyperventilating, nor have I personalized this, so this should pass muster!)


> > Does the brain decide to "hit the snooze"
>
> You agree that brains don't decide but that I do. So what is the
> relationship between the mechanical brain and the intentional Bruce.


It causes your being a conscious subject and not just a hunk of meat.


> A
> mechanism has no intention. One possibility is that intentions are
> illusory. Everything is caused. Is that your thesis?
>

Everything is caused in one sense or another unless you believe in an uncaused cause. But this says nothing about the reality of intentions.


> >...where's that ghost in the machine?
>
> Yes, that would be your question since you have both a machine and a
> willful person.


See, I have said repeatedly you are a dualist and here you go again: "you have both a machine and a willful person". And yet you keep denying that you are dualist while every claim you make is embedded in dualist presumptions.


> Not my question since I don't see humans as machines.

BUT YOU ASK IT, I DON'T! I am not arguing that there are two but when you argue against me you insist I cannot be right because there are these two things. Why would you make the claim and then say but it's not your question when you are the only one who asks it???


> Nor do I see them as spirits. Sorry, I don't buy your dual ontology.
>

Perhaps you have forgotten but you once proposed that "spirit" was the proper way to refer to minds in lieu of my point that they are just brains doing certain things! I'm glad, however, that you have now (apparently) jettisoned that peculiar notion.

The real problem is your implicit ontology, not mine. (See your question about minds and machines above.)


> > whether you are a body, including a brain that causes your
> consciousness
>
> A consciousness caused entirely by prior factors is antithetical to what
> we mean by agency and yet.
>

What "prior factors" are you talking about? No one said anything about chronological events!!!

> > I have never denied agency and purpose
>
> which, it seems to me, makes your position self-contradictory.
>

Only because you insist on seeing it in terms of minds and bodies and that never the twain shall meet.

> > Of course recognition is caused
>
> If so, we have no need to speak of a person who recognizes.


Why not? It's still a phenomenon!


> You make no
> distinction between a computer that recognizes a program and a husband
> who recognizes his wife's love?


Who said THAT?

"Recognize", like "cause" and so many of our other words, has a range of uses!


> If so, you have no need for agency and
> purpose. We are just noisy machines.
>

And if we are, if machines can be conscious and we are among the kinds that can, so what? Is distaste for the idea that that is what we are an argument against it if it happens to be true?

> > The face IS physical even if we're not attending to the physical
> material
>
> What do you mean by "we're attending."


Looking at it with attention, thinking about what we're seeing, etc.


> There is no need for a person
> attending.
> A physical thing (which our brain labels as a face) causes
> the brain to make changes in the face outside the skull...and that's it.
>

What does THAT mean?

> > we cannot point to the smile as a physical constituent of the mouth!
>
> There is no "we."


There is too!


> And why can't the brain cause the finger to point
> (excuse me, extend, only a person with an intention can point)


But a person without a brain can't intend! Indeed, such an entity would even lack the features that would qualify him/her/it as a person!


>and then
> stimulate the language area which causes the mouth to utter the word
> "smile?"
>
> bruce
>

What's your point?

SWM

========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #2129 is a reply to message #2093] Tue, 03 November 2009 18:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
blroadies is currently offline  blroadies
Messages: 27
Registered: August 2009
Junior Member

--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@...> wrote:

> What you can watch is irrelevant to what causes what...

If I can't watch both X and Y, in some way, I have no business saying
that X causes Y because that claim is untestable.

> Note, again, that you can watch the mouth and watch the smile
> but there is no interacting between a mouth and a smile so you can't
watch THAT.

So a mouth in motion doesn't cause a smile, by my lights. But you
write..

> the movement of the mouth causes the smile

How can that be if I can't see the interaction between M and S. Of
course, the obvious answer is that I can see both the mouth and the
smile. But I don't conceive of them as interaction but I "take the look
of the mouth to be a smile." Since the brain doesn't interpret,
according to you, that way of conceiving of how the world works is not
available to you.

> It would be an odd subject who cried "ouch" but didn't feel pain when
the fiber in question is stimulated.

Odd, perhaps, but unaccountable by your causal point of view.

> YOU DON'T NEED AN "EXTERNAL RELATIONSHIP" WITH YOUR BRAIN
> FOR IT TO BE THE CAUSE OF YOU BEING A CONSCIOUS CREATURE.

Causes have to be external to the effect is question. What you can't ge
straight is whether there are two things, a brain and consciousness, and
one causes the other (which makes you a dualist, as Joseph points out)
or an indentuty between brain and consciousness (both physical, no
causation because they are the same thing).

> See, I have said repeatedly you are a dualist and here you go again:
> "you have both a machine and a willful person".
> And yet you keep denying that you are dualist while every
> claim you make is embedded in dualist presumptions.

I'll end on this note. Try to clarify. Yes, I begin with the Dualism of
B/M because that is how the philosophical puzzle is initially stated and
how it occurs in the everyday. And like you I'm not happy with the
Dualism. But I'm more unhappy with tricky dualism that claims to be
physical while attributing intentionality to body parts (vitalism) and
that emulates science with talk about causation where NO USE OF THE TERM
works out, and confuses the identity of brain/mind with a causal
relationship.

bruce




========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein's Way [message #2132 is a reply to message #2129] Tue, 03 November 2009 20:32 Go to previous message
SWMirsky is currently offline  SWMirsky
Messages: 188
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "BruceD" <blroadies@...> wrote:


>
> --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@> wrote:

>
> > What you can watch is irrelevant to what causes what...
>

> If I can't watch both X and Y, in some way, I have no business saying
> that X causes Y because that claim is untestable.
>

It doesn't matter what you say or what you know. If something causes something else then it causes it. Your knowledge or lack of knowledge about it is irrelevant to the causal relation itself.


> > Note, again, that you can watch the mouth and watch the smile
> > but there is no interacting between a mouth and a smile so you can't
> watch THAT.

>
> So a mouth in motion doesn't cause a smile, by my lights. But you
> write..
>
> > the movement of the mouth causes the smile
>

It causes it in the physical sense. The muscles in the mouth contract here, expand there, and voila, a smile appears. Thus, the movements (of the different elements of the mouth) caused the smile. Of course it might also have been caused by a good joke or a little gas as we have seen, since something prompted the muscles that move the mouth to move in their turn. We can always trace it down or decide to come to rest here or there in the process of the search, depending on what we're trying to find out. What makes mouths move in a smiley way? What makes persons with faces smile? And so forth.


> How can that be if I can't see the interaction between M and S. Of
> course, the obvious answer is that I can see both the mouth and the
> smile. But I don't conceive of them as interaction but I "take the look
> of the mouth to be a smile."


Well you conceive of them in the way that best serves your purposes and in this discussion apparently it's to hold out for a non-physical account of minds. Whatever. If you were interested in how smiles form on faces or which constituents of the face are connected to which messaging centers in the brain, you would conceive of them in a different way. You just don't want to for the purposes of this discussion.


> Since the brain doesn't interpret,
> according to you, that way of conceiving of how the world works is not
> available to you.
>


Sometimes the brain interprets. It depends on the level of detail we are discussing things at. Generally we don't speak of brains as separate organisms, as persons. But sometimes, under some circumstances, we might. Then we might want to lodge the interpreting functions in brains not the larger organism. For instance, if the issue is where is the interpreting activity as a mental process going on in Bruce, we couldn't reasonably say (given all we know about human organisms today) 'in his left kidney'.


> > It would be an odd subject who cried "ouch" but didn't feel pain when
> the fiber in question is stimulated.
>
> Odd, perhaps, but unaccountable by your causal point of view.
>


Odder to imagine that pain is just a matter of certain behaviors, like crying ouch!


> > YOU DON'T NEED AN "EXTERNAL RELATIONSHIP" WITH YOUR BRAIN
> > FOR IT TO BE THE CAUSE OF YOU BEING A CONSCIOUS CREATURE.
>
> Causes have to be external to the effect is question.


No they don't. There are many uses of "cause" and they don't all imply separate entities acting on one another. Think of the question, 'why is water wet' and its answer, 'because of the way its atomic level constituents behave under certain ambient conditions'.

What is this saying? It's telling us that the feature of water we identify as wetness is caused by the behavior of the kinds of molecules that make up water. The molecules in question are not separate entities from the water that act on the water, they ARE the water!

This is not that difficult nor is it new in our discussions. You just persistently refuse to accept this simple and obvious example from ordinary usage. Well, if someone won't accept an example that seems obvious, are we just stuck? In one sense yes. We can't really go further with that person. But in another sense no, because if we're right it doesn't matter who or how many others grant it.


> What you can't ge
> straight is whether there are two things, a brain and consciousness,

No Bruce, THAT is your confusion. I never say there are two separate entities and have consistently said consciousness, mind, is NOT entity-like. A different picture is relevant, i.e., consciousness is to the brain as the turning is to the wheel and the smile to the face. It is YOU who keeps insisting that I must be arguing about two entities and that's because you seem unable to separate yourself from conceiving of brains and minds on this false analogy.


> and
> one causes the other (which makes you a dualist, as Joseph points out)


Joe is wrong as I showed him in that thread (though, since he hasn't yet responded, I have no idea if he accepts that particular showing or not -- but, as above, whether something is right or wrong in cases like this doesn't depend on acceptance by others).


> or an indentuty between brain and consciousness (both physical, no
> causation because they are the same thing).
>

You did read my response about the identity issue didn't you? Are you just disregarding the point I was making about the different notions of identity?


> > See, I have said repeatedly you are a dualist and here you go again:
> > "you have both a machine and a willful person".
> > And yet you keep denying that you are dualist while every
> > claim you make is embedded in dualist presumptions.
>
> I'll end on this note. Try to clarify. Yes, I begin with the Dualism of
> B/M because that is how the philosophical puzzle is initially stated and
> how it occurs in the everyday.

The important philosophical insight here is that this puzzle is based on a confusion and doesn't have traction when examined closely.


> And like you I'm not happy with the
> Dualism.


And yet you constantly reinvoke it with every argument you present.


> But I'm more unhappy with tricky dualism that claims to be
> physical while attributing intentionality to body parts (vitalism)


I suppose this is a comment on my position? Can you tell us how anything I've said attributes "intentionality to body parts"?


> and
> that emulates science with talk about causation where NO USE OF THE TERM
> works out,


I've shown several dozen times now how the use "works out". Just asserting and reasserting that it doesn't doesn't change THAT.


> and confuses the identity of brain/mind with a causal
> relationship.
>
> bruce
>

Until you deal substantively with the distinctions I made in my points about the nuances of identity and causal claims, instead of simply denying, there isn't much I can say here except to deny your denials.

SWM

========================================Manage Your AMR subscription: http://www.freelists.org/list/wittrsamr
For all your Wittrs needs: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


Previous Topic: [Wittrs] Philosophers, dodgeball and the "drawing game"
Next Topic: [Wittrs] Wittgenstein on Nominalism
Goto Forum:
  


Current Time: Thu Feb 22 10:39:39 EST 2018

Total time taken to generate the page: 0.15441 seconds