Mind over Body...

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

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skakos
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Mind over Body...

Post by skakos » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:53 am

Image

Buddhist monks can raise their body temperature at will, controlling mechanisms which are thought to be subconscious. (see http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Ad ... ne.0058244 and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... ature.html). How can mind affect body so much, if what materialists say is correct - i.e. if the brain is just a part of the body which does not "control" things but just acts according to the natural laws governing it?

tillingborn
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Re: Mind over Body...

Post by tillingborn » Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:41 pm

skakos wrote:How can mind affect body so much, if what materialists say is correct - i.e. if the brain is just a part of the body which does not "control" things but just acts according to the natural laws governing it?
That's one way of looking at it. I'm more used to materialists asking dualists how an incorporeal mind affects an essentially mechanical body.
I haven't had a chance to look at the article, but as a general rule, I work on the simple principle that if it says so in the Daily Mail, it isn't true. The thing that leaps out though, is that the monks are meditating and their core body temperature rises. As far as I understand, if it is cold and the body is not generating heat by exercise, blood is diverted to the vital organs to protect them, raising the core temperature.

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Bill Wiltrack
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Re: Mind over Body...

Post by Bill Wiltrack » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:18 pm

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Let's take it a step further.



Our consciousness over our minds.



Consciousness over mind.


Consciousness controlling mind.



Consciousness stopping thought. Even the thought to lower our body temperature.




Clear consciousness, without the uncontrolled chatter of thought. Restless thought.



Unneeded thoughts. Extra. Waste...





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tillingborn
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Re: Mind over Body...

Post by tillingborn » Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:31 pm

Bill Wiltrack wrote:Our consciousness over our minds.
Clear consciousness, without the uncontrolled chatter of thought.
What is the difference between mind and consciousness? How do you know you have either without thought?

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Re: Mind over Body...

Post by Ginkgo » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:27 pm

tillingborn wrote:
Bill Wiltrack wrote:Our consciousness over our minds.
Clear consciousness, without the uncontrolled chatter of thought.
What is the difference between mind and consciousness? How do you know you have either without thought?
That's a good question. I am guessing that it depends on the starting point you want to choose to investigate the mind,brain and consciousness problem.

People such as Chalmers, Prinz and Bane start their theories from a first person subjective perspective. Chalmers and Bane employ a reductive explanation to the problem of consciousness and investigate consciousness in terms of experience. Prinz on the other hand starts with a theory consciousness and ends up giving a an explanation of consciousness in terms of brain wave or Hertz explanation for consciousness.

Physicalists such as Dennett start off with the assumption that we have a physical brain. This brain works the same way as a computer because the brain has the capacity to make use of physical processes. People such as Dennett would say that the brain produces consciousness, but this consciousness can be explained in terms of function.


So I think it is the choice of a starting point and the presuppositions that go with that starting point.

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Bill Wiltrack
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Re: Mind over Body...

Post by Bill Wiltrack » Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:30 am

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Consciousness is the observer.



There is an intellectual function in human beings.


Consciousness is our ability
, to whatever degree, to see ourselves.







..........................................................................
Image





Just a side note...our instinctive function does just fine regulating itself. Really don't need the intellectual function interfering with the instinctive function. Nothing good can come of it.






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Ginkgo
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Re: Mind over Body...

Post by Ginkgo » Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:24 am

Bill Wiltrack wrote:.



Consciousness is the observer.



There is an intellectual function in human beings.


Consciousness is our ability
, to whatever degree, to see ourselves.







..........................................................................
Image





Just a side note...our instinctive function does just fine regulating itself. Really don't need the intellectual function interfering with the instinctive function. Nothing good can come of it.






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This has come to be know by some as the Cartesian Theatre.

www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartesian_theater

Interestingly your image gives the appearance of an infinite regress .

In a similar fashion the Homunculus implications of the Cartesian Theatre also lead to an infinite regress.

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Bill Wiltrack
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Re: Mind over Body...

Post by Bill Wiltrack » Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:48 pm

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.........................................................
Image











..................................................................
Image








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skakos
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Re: Mind over Body...

Post by skakos » Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:06 pm

Mind, consciousness, thought.
Notions so ill-defined that one could discuss for hours about them without being able to reach a conslusion.
I like more to think of in more simple terms: material and immaterial.
Our body and brain and material. And there seems to be something immaterial controlling them...

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Re: Mind over Body...

Post by Ginkgo » Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:38 pm

skakos wrote:Mind, consciousness, thought.
Notions so ill-defined that one could discuss for hours about them without being able to reach a conslusion.
I like more to think of in more simple terms: material and immaterial.
Our body and brain and material. And there seems to be something immaterial controlling them...

That would be Cartesian dualism. Some people like to express it in these terms. The problem then becomes how two different types of substances interact.

Ginkgo

tillingborn
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Re: Mind over Body...

Post by tillingborn » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:11 am

Ginkgo wrote:So I think it is the choice of a starting point and the presuppositions that go with that starting point.
I haven't really kept up to speed with mind/body. (I'm still not entirely happy with my ontology). As I understand it Chalmer's hard problem is one of analogy. There is a mechanical analogy photons on retina/movie screen, but the movie image doesn't then transfer to consciosness (except in movie goers). Personally, I think Descartes made a good point about thinking, but I think Hume's is even better. (For anyone even less up to speed than me, Descartes argued that there is thinking going on, therefore there is a thinker. Empiricists, in particular David Hume, argued that the only thing that is certain is that there is thinking; Berkeley went so far as to argue that thinking is all there is). I suspect that any conscious experience will be found to be associated with a brain state and that the hard problem won't get any easier.

Ginkgo
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Re: Mind over Body...

Post by Ginkgo » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:46 pm

tillingborn wrote:
Ginkgo wrote:So I think it is the choice of a starting point and the presuppositions that go with that starting point.
I haven't really kept up to speed with mind/body. (I'm still not entirely happy with my ontology). As I understand it Chalmer's hard problem is one of analogy. There is a mechanical analogy photons on retina/movie screen, but the movie image doesn't then transfer to consciosness (except in movie goers). Personally, I think Descartes made a good point about thinking, but I think Hume's is even better. (For anyone even less up to speed than me, Descartes argued that there is thinking going on, therefore there is a thinker. Empiricists, in particular David Hume, argued that the only thing that is certain is that there is thinking; Berkeley went so far as to argue that thinking is all there is). I suspect that any conscious experience will be found to be associated with a brain state and that the hard problem won't get any easier.
Yes, in terms of Chalmers' account that would be the "easy problem". The discussion of the so called, "hard problem" can be summed up as experience. In other words, Chalmers is asking why do we have experiences?

Berkeley, Hobbes, Hume represent different solutions to the mind body problem by way of a reductionist account. In other words, for Berkeley, physical stuff is really mental stuff. Hobbes and Hume probably represent the beginning of behavioral psychology which maintains that mental stuff is really physical stuff.

I think Descartes contribution is more significant because it seems to be a good argument for a unified self that we can call "I". Dennett sums up the Cartesian logical consequences of the problem when he talks about the sensory data coming in through the eyes, ears, etc. All of this sensory information can be talked about in terms of excited neuronal activity. There is a welling up of this information that needs to go somewhere in the brain. There is a crescendo of this is information that ends up where it should end up. That is to say it goes to a neural core of consciousness. The neural core being the observer who is saying to himself/herself. I am thinking.

The only problem with this is that there is no neural core of consciousness. In fact it may well be the case that 'thinking' is going on in many different places in the brain all at once. In fact the evidence seem to point to the fact that consciousness is in fact dis- unified. The problem then becomes how to we explain something that was phenomenologically obvious to Descartes and now obvious to all of us.

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skakos
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Re: Mind over Body...

Post by skakos » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:01 am

I am all the way against Descrartes. I think he contributed in the separation of mind from body in a way that made western thinkink too segmented, while I believe in everything being part of a "whole". Something like the One of Parmenides. Perhaps people who can easily control their body, as these monks from Thibet, do not "know" the separation Descartes and other philosophers taught...

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Re: Mind over Body...

Post by Percarus » Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:57 pm

Someone once suggested to me that consciousness is to a great degree the capability to live closer to the 'present', whilst still being able to detach one's mind in a temporal manner. I understand completely the power of sheer will, mind over matter, and sometimes ordinary individuals will experience such instances by mere chance.

A long time ago I gave myself a cigarette burn on my hand, it hurt like hell. Years later I try to do the same but each consecutive time I felt no pain (I tried three times). Sometimes witnessing the power of will over body is purely by serendipity. Maybe (to those that cannot meditate like me) there is a natural instinct within our human mind that causes us to tolerate all sorts of pain (on a subconscious level) in instances that are extremelly important to us. It could be a ritual, it could be divine, it could even be your diet and current lifestyle.

The body reacts to pain as a defence mechanism to harm, but if maybe if you surround yourself in an environment that is utterly safe, comfortable, and appropriate, maybe then we are able to withstand all sorts of hardships. This has some good implications, that is, someone trying to shut out emotional pain maybe could do this with ease in a comfortable setting, serene and of bliss.

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Re: Mind over Body...

Post by Dimebag » Wed May 08, 2013 12:41 pm

Ginkgo wrote:
skakos wrote:Mind, consciousness, thought.
Notions so ill-defined that one could discuss for hours about them without being able to reach a conslusion.
I like more to think of in more simple terms: material and immaterial.
Our body and brain and material. And there seems to be something immaterial controlling them...

That would be Cartesian dualism. Some people like to express it in these terms. The problem then becomes how two different types of substances interact.

Ginkgo
Maybe in a similar way to which dark matter and normal matter seem to interact, maybe they share a common physical link, such as gravity does for dark matter and normal matter. Not really a fan of substance dualism though.

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