Mind over Matter

Mar 10, 2021Philosophy/Ethics, Tech0 comments

You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.

Who you are is nothing but a pack of neurons.

So although we appear to have free will, in fact, our choices have already been predetermined for us and we cannot change that.

Francis Crick, The Astonishing Hypothesis, 1994

 

 https://xkcd.com/876/
A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language

In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters

Cho

I’ve been thinking about this idea of Searle, that consciousness would be a biological product … 🤔

Today 11:36   

Julia

Yes, it would be exactly like digestion he says

Today 11:36  

Cho

Right, as a neuroscientist I do find that compelling, but …                 

Today 11:37

Julia

… but? 🤔

Today 11:38   

Cho

… well, one the one hand biological brains seems to be the only thing we know for sure is or has consciousness

Today 11:40  

Julia

So you think he is right?

We are our brains, more or less?

Today 11:42  

Cho

… but on the other hand, the mind seems to be something very very different from …

the result of digestion … 💩 

Today 11:43 

Julia

Eeeewww 🤢  yeah, sure! 

Today 11:44   

Cho

We figured out a lot about what goes out inside our own bodies by looking at what comes out of it, but minds don’t really do that

Today 11:45   

Julia

How do you mean? 🤨

Today 11:46   

Cho

I read about behaviorism at the beginning of your paper: we can’t study the mind directly, so we study behavior

Today 11:46   

Cho

A belief or a desire would just be the inclination to behave in a certain way

Today 11:47   

Julia

Aha 😊…  so behavior would be the way that the mind expresses itself on the outside? 

Today 11:47

Cho

Yes, in a sense.

But that’s the rub: behavior doesn’t explain the mind, the mind explains behavior, so what do we gain by reducing the mind to behavior?

Today 11:48   

 

Julia

I’d expected you to say that the brain causes and explains behavior …  😅

Today 11:48 

Cho

I wish stuff were that simple! 😅

We can’t explain all behavior just by pointing at the brain.                

Today 11:49   

Cho

It might turn out to be true in general, but for now we don’t understand the brain well enough yet  🧠

Today 11:49   

Julia

So you think Searle is wrong in the end?

Today 11:50 

Cho

I don’t think the mind and consciousness are as straightforwardly biological as digestion, no.

And then there is another problem …

Today 11:50   

Julia

Which is …? 🤔

Today 11:51 

Cho

If consciouness were just like a biological secretion, then it would likely just be purely automatic and involuntary

Today 11:52   

Cho

We don’t really control our digestion, in the sense of all the intestinal movements and chemistry, etc.
….. but I’m quite sure I’m in control of my life, up to a point 😊

Today 11:52   

Julia

That’s what I also argue in the conclusion! 😁

Today 11:53 

Cho

Indeed, and I agree with you, in the end.  👍🏻

There must be more going on than just biology.                                  

Today 11:53   

Julia

Thank you so much! ☺️

I’ll finish up the essay, your comments have been very helpful!

Today 11:54 

Cho

No problem  ☺️

I got at least as much out of this as you did.                                         

Today 11:56   

… The end 

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