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A Critique of “Mind”

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posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 01:46 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


I've read your sources. I'll have to look in to Dawkins' argument for an extended phenotype. Allow me to continue.




As I said earlier, I am not hostile to your thesis, but you have arrived at it by an illegitimate route. To say ideas or consciousness do not exist in fact is absurd.


I'm not sure I said ideas do not exist. My OP is an idea arrived at by the process of thought and expressed into form through language. Looking at it proves that ideas exist.

I'm not sure how your book review leads me to any inclination of consciousness. Sadly, I haven't read the book. I have had great interest and study in philosophy of mind, however. I know through this interest that "consciousness" is not universally defined, and therefor, not quite universally applicable. Saying something that has not been defined does exist is an absurd leap of the imagination.

The one idea of consciousness I like is the "what it's like" of Thomas Nagel. In his essay "What it's like to be a bat", he shows quite reasonably that there is something that it's like to be a bat, and is known only by that bat, and he labels it consciousness. But I don't think he takes it quite far enough. The "something that it's like" to be a bat is not any sort of entity or substance we can find and label as consciousness, because that something is the bat itself.

In Daniel Dennett's "Consciousness Explained", he takes an eliminative approach as I have done here, but he reduces it to certain computational functions of the brain, without necessarily accounting for the rest of the body, the fact that we exist, the fact that we can breath, digest, etc., all of which are prerequisites to any sort of bodily and brain function.

For this thread, I basically followed the premise from William James' essay Does Consciousness Exist?, and applied it to the mind. So maybe linking to his essay will thereby bolster mine. Bertrand Russell in his essay on James agreed with him. Arguably, "consciousness" meant simply "knowledge" back then, but the same approach was taken and almost the same conclusions reached.
edit on 6-12-2013 by NiNjABackflip because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 9 2013 @ 09:18 AM
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reply to post by NiNjABackflip
 


I'm familiar with Nagel's essay and Dennet's work. They don't exactly say the same things, do they? Dennet is trying to show that consciousness is an epiphenomenon, a by-product of automatic processes in which free will plays no part; Nagel, if I recall correctly, is clear that qualia are real and are components of something real, whatever it may be.


The "something that it's like" to be a bat is not any sort of entity or substance we can find and label as consciousness, because that something is the bat itself.

This is pure, groundless assumption — not much better, I'm afraid, than 'The Mind is a word and or idea.'

A perfectly healthy, perfectly functioning human body is not a mind unless your definition of mind is something like 'that which has thoughts'. And if so, you could just as easily define a brain, or a building full of people, as a mind. You'd be just as right and just as wrong, because, you see, the qualification 'perfectly functioning' assumes all the necessary inputs and outputs.


edit on 9/12/13 by Astyanax because: of words and ideas.



posted on Dec, 9 2013 @ 11:59 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 





I'm familiar with Nagel's essay and Dennet's work. They don't exactly say the same things, do they? Dennet is trying to show that consciousness is an epiphenomenon, a by-product of automatic processes in which free will plays no part; Nagel, if I recall correctly, is clear that qualia are real and are components of something real, whatever it may be.


Yes; pretty much. Dennet has some decent thought experiments in the book, most of which have been used in the last 50 or so years to intuitively explore concepts of consciousness.




This is pure, groundless assumption — not much better, I'm afraid, than 'The Mind is a word and or idea.'


Then I must ask what, outside of assumption, shows that there is a mind? I feel that there is sufficient concrete evidence that living human organisms are "the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences". If not, what else could that element be?


A perfectly healthy, perfectly functioning human body is not a mind unless your definition of mind is something like 'that which has thoughts'. And if so, you could just as easily define a brain, or a building full of people, as a mind. You'd be just as right and just as wrong, because, you see, the qualification 'perfectly functioning' assumes all the necessary inputs and outputs.


Yes the definition of mind is (according to Oxford English Dictionary) " the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences". It is pretty much the same as "that which has thoughts".

A brain cannot have thoughts without a functioning human body. The element that has thoughts in a building full of people is still the functioning bodies of those people.



posted on Dec, 9 2013 @ 12:07 PM
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NiNjABackflip
Then I must ask what, outside of assumption, shows that there is a mind? I feel that there is sufficient concrete evidence that living human organisms are "the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences". If not, what else could that element be?


The element that enables them to be aware is 'awareness'.
The mind is known by that awareness - mind is just a thought appearing or an image of what is not actally here now - the mind is just symbols and images and words.
The mind appears in aware presence.

edit on 9-12-2013 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 9 2013 @ 02:19 PM
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reply to post by Itisnowagain
 


What is it the word "awareness" labels?



posted on Dec, 10 2013 @ 10:39 AM
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NiNjABackflip
reply to post by Itisnowagain
 


What is it the word "awareness" labels?
What does the word 'awareness' point to?
It points toward nothing or empty perception.

Nothing is seeing apparent something.
edit on 10-12-2013 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 13 2013 @ 12:38 AM
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reply to post by NiNjABackflip
 



Then I must ask what, outside of assumption, shows that there is a mind?

I thought that is precisely the matter about which doubts were being raised? Your position, although you may not have realised it, is one that proclaims the identity of body and mind. You're saying 'mind is body'. Before we go that far, we have to show that mind exists in some sense. You have not shown that yet.

Prove that mind exists (if you can).

Then go on to prove that mind is body (if you can).

I don't normally waste time arguing with itsnowagain, but his or her point about mind being something present in awareness is definitely salient. As Nietzsche pointed out, Descartes' Cogito, ergo sum is easily refuted by the realisation that 'I' do not control my thoughts; they appear unbidden. Where do they appear? Conventionally, we say they appear 'in the 'mind'. So 'mind' is the concept inside which conceptions appear. Well then, where does the concept 'mind' appear?

You are now beginning to feel the sting in the nettle you've grasped. Good luck!



posted on Dec, 13 2013 @ 08:07 AM
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Thinking is mind.
The realization that 'I' do not put thoughts there, that thought just arises means that they cannot be 'my' thoughts - they are just thoughts. Thoughts do not appear in the mind - thought is minding.

edit on 13-12-2013 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 13 2013 @ 08:40 AM
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A great watch!



posted on Dec, 13 2013 @ 12:31 PM
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Oh, no. The video curse has descended.

There's an end to intelligent conversation on another thread.

People don't have their own thoughts any more, it seems. They have other people's YouTube videos.

Forget about minds, NinjaBackflip. The question is whether human beings even have brains.
edit on 13/12/13 by Astyanax because: of a prepostion nobody would have noticed or cared for except me.



posted on Dec, 13 2013 @ 02:46 PM
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Astyanax
People don't have their own thoughts any more, it seems.



Astyanax
As Nietzsche pointed out, Descartes' Cogito, ergo sum is easily refuted by the realisation that 'I' do not control my thoughts; they appear unbidden.


Thoughts, words, images, symbols, concepts overlay what is appearing, it gives the impression there is someone. Is there 'someone' thinking or are concepts just arising?

edit on 13-12-2013 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 13 2013 @ 09:10 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 





I thought that is precisely the matter about which doubts were being raised? Your position, although you may not have realised it, is one that proclaims the identity of body and mind. You're saying 'mind is body'. Before we go that far, we have to show that mind exists in some sense. You have not shown that yet.

Prove that mind exists (if you can).

Then go on to prove that mind is body (if you can).

I don't normally waste time arguing with itsnowagain, but his or her point about mind being something present in awareness is definitely salient. As Nietzsche pointed out, Descartes' Cogito, ergo sum is easily refuted by the realisation that 'I' do not control my thoughts; they appear unbidden. Where do they appear? Conventionally, we say they appear 'in the 'mind'. So 'mind' is the concept inside which conceptions appear. Well then, where does the concept 'mind' appear?

You are now beginning to feel the sting in the nettle you've grasped. Good luck!


I am only saying mind is another word for the human organism, just like "body", "soul" and the like. I am only affirming the reality of these concepts by pointing out that they are concepts, similar only insofar as they are words describing the same entity. I don't mean they actually are that entity.

Without getting into a difficult metaphysical discussion of the reality of "thoughts" and "ideas", I will simply relate what I have come to understand about them. Concepts "appear" only in the paper we write it on. They have not appeared anywhere else until the are articulated and then reasoned upon. To learn a concept, one must refer to what is written about it, or create it himself. We don't have any other experiences with any "mind" besides what has been written about it perviously, and everything we have come to "know" about it is derived only from these writings. It is in my opinion that these concepts are not symbols of understanding, but misunderstanding.

Beyond Good and Evil is a good read. Nietzsche also goes on in that very work to refute truth, moral imperatives, philosophy, religion, science, nihilism, knowledge, wisdom, free-thinkers, mind/body dualism, physics, modernity, pessimism, stoicism, Christianity, cause and effect. I think he would do the same with "mind" if he would have lived longer.



posted on Dec, 13 2013 @ 11:52 PM
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reply to post by NiNjABackflip
 


If concepts only exist on paper, how come they are articulated in terms human minds can understand?

Moreover, what do you make of the pre-conceptual, possibly preconscious symbols and images in which concepts are articulated? I speak of the entities Jung called archetypes of the collective unconscious. Strip away all the Swiss mountain-man mysticism and you still have something very real to contend with.

Also needed — and closely related to the above — is an explanation of how instinctual drives form concepts that we act upon without ever articulating them. This is a phenomenon Nietzsche was very familiar with — see The Birth of Tragedy, etc. — and I am sure it would have cautioned him against ever attempting to deny the reality of mind.



posted on Dec, 14 2013 @ 03:22 AM
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Astyanax
Oh, no. The video curse has descended.

There's an end to intelligent conversation on another thread.

People don't have their own thoughts any more, it seems. They have other people's YouTube videos.

Forget about minds, NinjaBackflip. The question is whether human beings even have brains.
edit on 13/12/13 by Astyanax because: of a prepostion nobody would have noticed or cared for except me.


If you watch the Krishnamurti video you may learn something about the subject. Mind firmly closed just about sums up your reply. If you wanted to learn about Physics would you listen to Einstein or Mickey Mouse ?



posted on Dec, 14 2013 @ 07:20 AM
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When a baby is born it has no words or concepts.
It can hear, see, taste, smell and feel. It is feeling the environment. The baby is not separate from it's environment - it has 'no idea' about anything other.
As the baby grows it is taught words so it can be taught about other than what is in it's present environment. It can now build an abstract world made of concepts.

The abstract world built in mind makes one feel separate from the reality that one can never peel oneself away from.
edit on 14-12-2013 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 14 2013 @ 10:49 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 

One cannot deny that there are thoughts. words and symbols. The mind is of the appearance - it is known to be happening - it appears to be seen.
The appearance is easy to spot - it is the unseen presence which is easily overlooked.

Only through Christ can the Father be known.
Christ is the seen presence and the Father is the unseen presence.
Presence is the one - there is nothing other.

edit on 14-12-2013 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 01:22 PM
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reply to post by DrunkYogi
 



If you watch the Krishnamurti video you may learn something about the subject.

  1. I already know all I need to know about Krishnamurti, thank you very much.

  2. When I want to learn something, I go to a book or to an authoritative web site on the subject. I prefer to get my learning, like my dinner, myself; I have an aversion to ingesting what others have digested and regurgitated.

Don't you have any ideas of your own on the thread topic? If you do, express them and we can discuss them. Why should anyone bother with what some third party on YouTube thinks about Krishnamurti, or the Man in the Moon for that matter?



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 10:27 PM
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NiNjABackflip
Thought is performed by thinking. Thoughts are of no material consequence until they are written down or expressed. When one thinks a thought, he is merely thinking. Thinking is an action.

Now I might have to critique "thoughts" to better understand them.

What defines a material consequence?


Performances, agents, actions...I'm confused, really.

What carries out an action?
An agent.

What is a performance?
A performance is the act of an agent performing an action.

That sounds about right.
That from which things are produced are called performances.
So, for example:
Thinking, an act from which thoughts are produced, is a performance... Thinking is a performance.
No, wait, it's the other way around since you didn't say thinking was a performance. You said a thought was performed. And you said that thinking is an action.
So:
Things, which are produced from actions, are called performances.

Thought, which is produced from thinking, is called a performance.
Is that right?
What kind of thing is a thought? I refrained from asking before since it looked like you still had to understand the nature of "thought".
But, is it immaterial or material? I believe you have not bluntly stated which one is the nature of thought, and that's understandable.
I'll give you time to respond so I don't continue digressing.


NiNjABackflip
By necessity, if it is performed by the agent it is therefor an action. This is what I also believe of mind; even if the agent is unaware that he is thinking, say in sleep or something, he is still performing the act of thinking, like digestion or breathing.

Involuntary actions and voluntary actions...


1Learner
"Are you saying that the mind is an agent?"

NiNjABackflip
No I am saying an agent is required to perform mind, that mind is an action.

What action would you say is mind?


1Learner
"But what directs the body to perform?
If it is directed to perform, can it be said that there is an agent for the body?"

NiNjABackflip
If we consider that everything within the body is of the body, we can say that the body is that agent. But then again, the body then requires many elements for itself to perform.

What about thoughts? Would you say they are "of the body" too?
Would you say that agree that a thought can act as the agent since one can only ever think of their body as well as of the material world?

Maybe machines are agents of the actions they are designed to perform.
So the involuntary actions of the body are still owed to the agent, the body, despite the [other] agent, the [voluntary] body, performing other actions at the same time - other actions that you might say you are aware of or are willingly performing.
Why is there a need for two agents, one involuntary and one voluntary?
Would this "double-agent" situation mean that thoughts (or the act of thinking?) can also be involuntary?


What are you trying to say with the latter portion (of the quote above)? Is it about considering bodily necessities (things that keep it functioning) as "the body"?


NiNjABackflip
When I think of an action, say running, I must imagine something performing it. So I am not really imagining an action called running, but something moving its legs in a manner that is familiar to what we define as running.

Are you implying that actions cannot be thought-of, or imagined., that instead they may only be performed?
What is performance, an execution, etc?
There is an awareness in the body which may perform acts/tasks, and there is an unaware organic machine. Is there anything special between the two? Are we just not aware of the other awareness, so that it is considered unaware?

Can you imagine an agent, just not an action?



posted on Dec, 18 2013 @ 11:38 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


Astyanax
reply to post by DrunkYogi
 



If you watch the Krishnamurti video you may learn something about the subject.

  1. I already know all I need to know about Krishnamurti, thank you very much.
The video is not about Krishnamurti.


When I want to learn something, I go to a book or to an authoritative web site on the subject. I prefer to get my learning, like my dinner, myself; I have an aversion to ingesting what others have digested and regurgitated

You are just getting second hand knowledge from authoritative sources. Who can you really trust to tell the truth about the nature of the mind? A brain surgeon, a physiatrist? The human psyche is a strange beast!
Krishnamurti speaks about seeing for yourself what it is to be a human with a brain - looking and investigating first hand. He shows how it is possible to watch the programing, the conditioning directly, by watching the behaviours of the body/mind - directly, not by reading a book about how the mind works but by watching 'your own'.
By seeing the workings of ones own mind/thoughts/behaviours, one can free oneself from the madness. Seeing the conditioning one has stepped out of the cage.
edit on 18-12-2013 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 22 2013 @ 01:09 PM
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The unique quality of the mind is the ability to choose.

Historian J. M Roberts in History of the World puts the beginning of history at the point where men can choose. At our level of understanding, the operation of human mind is beyond scientific formulation and so records of its activity and accomplishments, or history, are our best means of understanding it.

Economist and philosopher Ludwig von Mises in Human Action points out that man is the only "animal" that has complete control of his behavior. Only man can choose to be charitable or criminal.

Any social system that limits human choice also limits the mind.
edit on 22-12-2013 by Semicollegiate because: (no reason given)






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