RE: What do you lose if you simply accept...

From: Lee Corbin <>
Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 19:45:53 -0700

Stathis wrote

> > However, what reason is there to
> > extrapolate from this that there must be some special explanation for the
> > interaction between body and mind? What do you lose if you simply accept,
> > as per Gilbert Ryle, that the mind is what the brain does?

Stephen answers:

> In a phrase, I would lose choice. What you are asking me is to give up
> any hope of understanding how my sense of being-in-the-world is related to
> any other phenomena in the world of experience and instead to just blindly
> believe some claim.

I think that it comes down to a perceived need of an "answer".
Some of us require (demand) an explanation for the fact that
mathematics is so tightly coupled to the physical universe;
others need that, but more: they require an explanation beyond
the existence of mere abstract mathematical patterns; yet others
want that too, but more: they demand answers beyond naive
materialism for the existence of 1st person experiences. Yet
others go way beyond, and demand a Force to be responsible for
everything, and others beyond that, that this Force be personal
and omnipotent (how else to explain certain feelings?)

I'm scared sort of bad, that my own case may turn out to be
that I'm homozygous recessive in the religiosity gene, and
the people I mentioned first on the list are entirely heterozygous,
and the people I mentioned last are homozygous dominant! :-)

If not a religiosity gene, then some manner of unshakable almost
innate predisposition to be satisfied or unsatisfied with these
explanations. For the life of me, I can't see (nor have ever been
able to see) what the big deal is about 1st person experiences.
Of course I have 'em. So does everyone. It's as though people
expect 3rd person explanations for 1st person experiences, and I
think it is in principle impossible: i.e., that *no* possible
string of words in the English language could ever establish 1st
person "truths" by 3rd person descriptions of what physically is.

Stathis went on:

> > Otherwise, you
> > could seek a special explanation for an electronic calculator's
> > matter/mathematics dualism, or a falling stone's matter/energy dualism, or
> > any number of similar examples. Occam's razor would suggest that such
> > complications are unnecessary.

Another homozygous recessive, like me, eh? :-)

I won't agree that Occam's razor really can be deployed here.
It's just that you can't *see* the problem they're seeing.

> Pratt's disdain follows from the obvious failures of other models. It
> does not take a logician or mathematician or philosopher of unbelievable IQ
> to see that the models of monism that have been advanced have a fatal flaw:
> the inability to prove the necessity of epiphenomena. Maybe Bruno's theory
> will solve this, I hold out hope that it does; but meanwhile, why can't we
> consider and debate alternatives that offer a view ranging explanations and
> unifying threads, such as Pratt's Chu space idea?

I just have to say that I have utterly no sense that anything
here needs explanation.

Now I am not kidding: Once, when I was exasperated, I joked with
with a couple of friends and half-persuaded them that I was not
conscious. Do we really know for sure that Stephen, Lee, and
Stathis all have the same kind of consciousness? Could it be
that whether or not you see a problem depends on the extent
and kind of consciousness you have? Could we be making a fatal
mistake by assuming that everyone here has the same kind of

Received on Mon May 16 2005 - 22:52:25 PDT

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