RE: Lob + New Views On Mind-Body Connection

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Sat, 28 Aug 2004 21:02:39 +1000

The paper cited below is consistent with the reductionist view that there
must be a distinct brain state giving rise to each distinct mental state.
"Whenever neurones A,B,C fire the subject experiences sensations X,Y,Z." To
include the phenomenon of first person experience one could add: "...and
only the subject whose neurones are thus firing can know directly what it
feels like to experience X,Y,Z." I believe this is as much as it is possible
for an empirical science to say about the mind-body problem.

--Stathis Papaioannou

>From: Bruno Marchal <>
>Subject: Lob + New Views On Mind-Body Connection
>Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 13:19:42 +0200
>A long time ago (1987), a french logician (a student at that time),
>Philippe Balbiani, who did attend a talk I made
>on the logic of self-reference (G) in Toulouse send me a letter
>where he proposes informally to interpret the Lobian formula
>(that is B(Bp->p)->Bp) as a form of closure for the french
>self-persuading strategy known as "la méthode Coué" (la methode Coue)).
>I must confess I was not really convinced. I thought this would be
>somehow to beautiful to be true. My mind will slightly evolve on that
>question when I will understand, in part through Smullyan's FU
>(Forever Undecided) that the Lob formula does indeed capture,
>at least formally, a form of self-fulfilling nature of machine's belief.
>The Lob formula does indeed say that if a machine believes Bp->p for
>some proposition p, then the machine will believe p.
>This is very astonishing, and still quite mysterious to me. My thesis
>has never been based directly on Lob formula, except that through
>Solovay's theorem Lob formula formalize the entire discourse of
>the self-referentially correct machine.
>Then recently, when I was just explaining the Lob formula
>in my Amsterdam paper, John Mikes send me the message below
>which shows experimental evidence on the working of the placebo
>effect (quite similar to the methode Coue). I have download many
>papers on the placebo and eventually conclude that Lob formula
>could indeed provide a formal explanation of the working of
>that placebo phenomenon.
>This makes reality still more "psychological" like if the universe(s)
>was the product of a form of wishful thinking! It also vindicates
>in a deeper way the similarity between the Grand-Mother
>psychology and the Lobian machine psychology. Thanks to John.
>With the Knight Knaves Island Lob's theorem is not difficult
>to explain and we can go back to that (but apparently some KK
>posts are missing in the archive, and I don't know how to proceed,
>and I will think the how and why for awhile).
>A lot of physicians say the placebo effect is *subversive* with
>respect to traditional science. What is clear is that it forces
>even the therapist to address (at least) the mind body relation,
>and this in some novel way (with respect to Aristotle).
>John Mikes wrote:
>>Bruno, your topic, maybe interesting novelty (I doubt). IMO the brain can
>>encode data in el-chem perception, no indication so far how the qualia-gap
>>is transcended into thought context. Not even in picture/music/taste
>>apperceptions. The neuronal brain is a TOOL and the ongoing reductionist
>>research stops at phenomenology of "the tool does it so the tool does it
>>all". (Philosophy of "kill the messenger").
>>I hold the complexity to which "human" belongs unseparable in its
>>functions unless one is a faithful dualist with a soul. Even then: does
>>the 'soul' think?
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: <>Robert Karl Stonjek
>>To: <>A Group MindBrain
>>Sent: Monday, August 02, 2004 5:50 PM
>>Subject: [Mind and Brain] Article: New Views On Mind-Body Connection
>>New Views On Mind-Body Connection
>>Studies into placebo effect and empathy suggest how the brain encodes
>>subjective experience | <>By Eugene Russo
>>Courtesy of Fabrizio Benedetti
>>captionarrow.gif UNPRECEDENTED ACCESS: During a deep brain stimulation
>>clinical trial, researchers detected elements of the placebo effect. The
>>pre-placebo neuron was recorded from the left subthalamic nucleus as a
>>control. The post-placebo neuron was recorded from the right subthalamic
>>nucleus. Other neurons demonstrated a similiar decrease in activity.
>>Revealing the complexities of the pain experience may offer a window into
>>the mind-body interaction. Several recent studies into the placebo effect,
>>human empathy, and their apparent interconnectedness are providing insight
>>into the human subjective experience.
>>Such investigations, says Jon-Kar Zubieta, associate professor in
>>psychiatry and radiology at the University of Michigan, help scientists
>>understand the intersection of physical and emotional states. "The placebo
>>effect gets at the core of how individuals react and modulate
>>environmental events, whether positive or negative in nature," he says. If
>>harnessed, the regulatory mechanisms involved could point to better
>>treatments for pain, depression, and stress.
>>In earlier work, University of Turin physiology professor Fabrizio
>>Benedetti showed that administering an opioid-blocking drug could reverse
>>the psychological placebo effect.1 "People started believing there was
>>something real there," says Columbia University assistant professor Tor
>>Wager, lead author of a recent placebo effect study on functional magnetic
>>resonance imaging (fMRI) .
>>Wager's group took a different tack, uncovering regions of the brain that
>>showed decreased activity during the placebo effect.2 In one trial, they
>>told subjects that they were administering a powerful analgesic cream. In
>>another, the subjects received the same cream but were told it has no
>>effect. When subjects were experiencing the placebo effect, a subset of
>>known pain-sensitive brain regions showed a signal reduction of 20% to 25%
>>In a subsequent study, Benedetti's group observed patterns of neuronal
>>firing, not visible via neuroimaging, that corresponded with Wager's
>>findings.3 His group performed single-neuron recording in patients with
>>Parkinson disease who had been administered a sham treatment.
>>Read the rest at The Scientist
>>Posted by
>>Robert Karl Stonjek

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Received on Sat Aug 28 2004 - 07:08:46 PDT

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