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SporadSpontan
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22 Dec 2009, 1:04 am

As for the differentiation of 'self' and 'brain' - they are both just labels for a group of parts. The self is basically made up of a body and a mind. The self can't possibly BE the mind because we each refer to it as 'my mind' - which implies that there is a 'my' that is separate from the 'mind'. And since no 'my' can actually be found apart from a body and a mind, it proves it exists ONLY as a concept, a label. If we ARE our brain, or our mind - why do we imply an ownership of it? That wouldn't make any sense.


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Sand
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22 Dec 2009, 1:09 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Sand wrote:
That "we" don't exist is something else that doesn't ring true.

Well, let me put it this way. All theories of identity seem to kind of fail, and one of the best ideas I have heard to explain this is that this is only a pseudo-problem because identity is just a mental construct and not something objective. If identity is a mental construct then "we" as in our identities are not objective facts, but rather just mental constructs. So, our brains exist, but we don't have objective existence.


But why do you disparage mental constructs? As an atheist I deny the existence of God as a significant independent force on the interaction of physical laws but I cannot deny its existence as a real social force. The concept of self may merely be a set arrangement of neuron firings but that arrangement is as real as the arrangement of the Empire State building which is a mere arrangement of building materials.



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22 Dec 2009, 1:22 am

hi Sand - sorry I don't know how to include a quote from you from the previous page (perhaps I should have become more WP savvy before entering into these deep philosophical discussions!). But anyhow - I agree with the concept of the fodder of external phenomena - and I say 'fodder' because that's all it is. I use the example of a yogi walking across scolding hot coals. One sculptor shapes the clay into a vase, and another shapes it into a bowl - just like one person perceives the coals to be dangerously uncomfortable and another 'sculpts' their perception to find the hot coals tolerable! I personally don't believe the mind has any limitations - once mastered, like any good craftsperson!!


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SporadSpontan
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22 Dec 2009, 1:30 am

Okay, I probably should learn how to quote people, and maybe one day I'll do that. But for now - Sand - I'm not disparaging mental constructs, but rather trying to set myself free by realising them!!


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22 Dec 2009, 1:44 am

SporadSpontan wrote:
Okay, I probably should learn how to quote people, and maybe one day I'll do that. But for now - Sand - I'm not disparaging mental constructs, but rather trying to set myself free by realising them!!


Up in the upper right of every post is a box with the label "quote". Click in that and you'll get your quote.

The mind is never free. Disillusion yourself about that. And because language uses the possessive in discussing the mind should not be taken as the absolute indication of true relationships.



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22 Dec 2009, 1:59 am

Sand wrote:
That "we" don't exist is something else that doesn't ring true.

Oh, it seems quite true. What you call you is a conceptual illusion that your brain creates in order to make sense of reality. You don't exist.

Let's put it this way: if you use a teleporter, one that creates a copy at the destination, and destroys the original, then do you die or do you continue to live? If you die, then what about the replacement of cells and molecules in your body and perhaps even the possibility of massive brain damage? How do you continue to be you past lets say a Phineas Gage kind of incident? How about this then: you are cut in half through the middle of your head, nose, torso, and so on, and then let's say that we are able to create a working other half of your body and attach it to both halves, which one is you, right or left?

Now, the reason I bring up all of these questions is that I think that eventually they start becoming odder and harder until there ceases to be any good answer, and for that reason I say that you don't exist. It is an easy way to solve the matter.

And if you are still unconvinced, how about this: what is the evolutionary origin of the self? Do two symbiotic organisms comprise one self? At what point do we grant a multicellular life-form a self? Especially at what point do we grant a composite multicellular life-form a self? Well, now getting past those concerns, when we start having primitive selves, what makes the categories we use for self-hood concrete and definite? Might our genes perhaps benefit from a more flexible sense of self to vary as things go on and on? After all, an ant colony only has the colony and all of the individual ants are it's tools. If the self is possible to be flexible, adaptive, and capable of varying, then why should it be accepted that there is a necessary self-ness? Why not a rough heuristic of self? And if selfhood is a rough heuristic, then why expect a matter of truth to hold for selfness?? Couldn't it make sense to call a heuristic, which is a rough sketch, to be an illusion, as it is unlike an algorithm that necessarily holds true under most circumstances? After all, let's even think of it this way: when do your conscious choices stop and your evolutionary drives, instincts, reflexes, and trained abilities begin? Is your typing a matter of your conscious will or because you have certain characteristics and have maintained your ability to type, as are you choosing every single word whenever you type, or when do you start recognizing that the words just start to flow out of your mouth or fingers? I mean, the list goes on and on, but my basic point is that you are just a very clever illusion.

I mean, I think Daniel Dennett has a view that is in some ways similar to mine and perhaps his laboring on the matters can help impact the intuitions governing this matter:
http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/papers/originss.htm
http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/papers/selfctr.htm



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22 Dec 2009, 2:13 am

Sand wrote:
SporadSpontan wrote:
Okay, I probably should learn how to quote people, and maybe one day I'll do that. But for now - Sand - I'm not disparaging mental constructs, but rather trying to set myself free by realising them!!


Up in the upper right of every post is a box with the label "quote". Click in that and you'll get your quote.

The mind is never free. Disillusion yourself about that. And because language uses the possessive in discussing the mind should not be taken as the absolute indication of true relationships.


Thanks Sand! This is a bit of an experiment, so we'll see if it works! lol!

I agree with the non-pervasion with possessive language. So okay then - the mind is made up of parts, and exists in a continuum. So which one of these parts is the 'self'? Does the 'self' exist as a permanent entity, or as a changing and impermanent entity (like the mind as it changes from moment to moment)?

And what logical argument do you have for posing a limitation on the capabilities of the mind? If it's possible to become educated, if it's possible to change our mind, if it's possible to experience happiness by simply gaining a different perspective - why does there necessarily have to be a boundary for this? Is there a boundary to the numbers that exist in the universe?

I'd say disillusion yourself with the illusion of mental constructs! lol!


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22 Dec 2009, 2:13 am

Sand wrote:
But why do you disparage mental constructs? As an atheist I deny the existence of God as a significant independent force on the interaction of physical laws but I cannot deny its existence as a real social force. The concept of self may merely be a set arrangement of neuron firings but that arrangement is as real as the arrangement of the Empire State building which is a mere arrangement of building materials.

Ok, I re-answered your earlier question accidentally.

Umm... the issue is that a mental construct doesn't necessarily exist or even make sense in and of itself. It is possible for a mental construct to have internal contradictions even. And the reason I disparage a mental construct in this case is because I think in this case, we have a mental construct that apparently has internal contradictions, but that is also quite essential.

Now, the concept of self may result from a set arrangement of neuron firings, but this does not mean that the self as a theoretical model really corresponds to some reality. A self could be, and to some extent sometimes is to some extent connected to the tribe and social group of an individual, despite the fact that the neurons only exist in the individual. For example, if I am a hard-core democrat, part of my notion of self could be very tied up in the democratic party despite the fact that it is a social construct.



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22 Dec 2009, 2:42 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Sand wrote:
That "we" don't exist is something else that doesn't ring true.

Oh, it seems quite true. What you call you is a conceptual illusion that your brain creates in order to make sense of reality. You don't exist.

Let's put it this way: if you use a teleporter, one that creates a copy at the destination, and destroys the original, then do you die or do you continue to live? If you die, then what about the replacement of cells and molecules in your body and perhaps even the possibility of massive brain damage? How do you continue to be you past lets say a Phineas Gage kind of incident? How about this then: you are cut in half through the middle of your head, nose, torso, and so on, and then let's say that we are able to create a working other half of your body and attach it to both halves, which one is you, right or left?

Now, the reason I bring up all of these questions is that I think that eventually they start becoming odder and harder until there ceases to be any good answer, and for that reason I say that you don't exist. It is an easy way to solve the matter.

And if you are still unconvinced, how about this: what is the evolutionary origin of the self? Do two symbiotic organisms comprise one self? At what point do we grant a multicellular life-form a self? Especially at what point do we grant a composite multicellular life-form a self? Well, now getting past those concerns, when we start having primitive selves, what makes the categories we use for self-hood concrete and definite? Might our genes perhaps benefit from a more flexible sense of self to vary as things go on and on? After all, an ant colony only has the colony and all of the individual ants are it's tools. If the self is possible to be flexible, adaptive, and capable of varying, then why should it be accepted that there is a necessary self-ness? Why not a rough heuristic of self? And if selfhood is a rough heuristic, then why expect a matter of truth to hold for selfness?? Couldn't it make sense to call a heuristic, which is a rough sketch, to be an illusion, as it is unlike an algorithm that necessarily holds true under most circumstances? After all, let's even think of it this way: when do your conscious choices stop and your evolutionary drives, instincts, reflexes, and trained abilities begin? Is your typing a matter of your conscious will or because you have certain characteristics and have maintained your ability to type, as are you choosing every single word whenever you type, or when do you start recognizing that the words just start to flow out of your mouth or fingers? I mean, the list goes on and on, but my basic point is that you are just a very clever illusion.

I mean, I think Daniel Dennett has a view that is in some ways similar to mine and perhaps his laboring on the matters can help impact the intuitions governing this matter:
http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/papers/originss.htm
http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/papers/selfctr.htm


Your teleporter comparison doesn't work. Creating a copy of someone or something elsewhere doesn't invalidate the reality of the original whether or not the original was destroyed in the process. It may fool an observer but I am reasonably sure teleportation is a form of suicide.

And because a self is concocted out of multiple parts also does not invalidate the self. That the self, as many people conceive it as total consciousness of all mental and body activities is, of course, nonsense. But if the self draws on automatic and unconscious capabilities does not invalidate the existence of the self. Almost everything we are conscious of is composed of smaller components, none of which can claim the totality. To deny that a nation does not exist because it is composed of individual citizens is obvious nonsense.



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22 Dec 2009, 2:42 am

Magnus wrote:
Truth is an emotion.


Truth is a relation between a statement that asserts facts and the actual facts. Many declarative sentences are just nonsense, being neither true nor false.

ruveyn



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22 Dec 2009, 2:43 am

I love the mental constructs by the way. Because it means that whatever can be conceived of can be achieved. Not simply done like imagining a character in a storybook coming to life. But with realistic conditions in place, anything is possible. Even something as free as a free mind requires certain causes to produce it. Eventually the mind is able to conceive of unlimited possibility. When we habituate ourselves with certain thought patterns it produces certain mental states. So why not be able to produce an ultimate state of mind by accustoming ourselves with the conception of such a thing? Do you have an example of an experience you had that wasn't dependent on your state of mind? Anyone? Or a mental state that wasn't dependent on your thoughts?


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22 Dec 2009, 2:46 am

Magnus wrote:
Truth is an emotion.


truth is a relation between a sentence that asserts the state of the world and the actual state of the world.

ruveyn



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22 Dec 2009, 2:48 am

SporadSpontan wrote:
I love the mental constructs by the way. Because it means that whatever can be conceived of can be achieved. Not simply done like imagining a character in a storybook coming to life. But with realistic conditions in place, anything is possible. Even something as free as a free mind requires certain causes to produce it. Eventually the mind is able to conceive of unlimited possibility. When we habituate ourselves with certain thought patterns it produces certain mental states. So why not be able to produce an ultimate state of mind by accustoming ourselves with the conception of such a thing? Do you have an example of an experience you had that wasn't dependent on your state of mind? Anyone? Or a mental state that wasn't dependent on your thoughts?


You're getting too wild with it. Lots of SF stories depend on faster than light travel which simply doesn't exist.



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22 Dec 2009, 3:00 am

QUOTE from Sand: And because a self is concocted out of multiple parts also does not invalidate the self. That the self, as many people conceive it as total consciousness of all mental and body activities is, of course, nonsense. But if the self draws on automatic and unconscious capabilities does not invalidate the existence of the self. Almost everything we are conscious of is composed of smaller components, none of which can claim the totality. To deny that a nation does not exist because it is composed of individual citizens is obvious nonsense.[/quote]

Woo-hoo! So true! So true! I'm not a nihilist - pff! Although you say the 'self is concocted'!... Do you also mean constructed?... Mentally perhaps? lol!
I agree - it's nonsense to say these things don't exist! But HOW they exist is the issue here. I would never deny the existence of a nation (that exists). I would however deny that it exists in and of itself, without depending on the citizens it is composed of, and then in dependence on that - our labelling, or mentally constructing it as such.

Whether the self is held consciously or unconsciously - it's still a concept held by - you guessed it! - the MIND. Yes, it exists (otherwise who is sitting at this computer?) - but it exists only as a label, a construct.


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22 Dec 2009, 3:09 am

Sand wrote:
SporadSpontan wrote:
I love the mental constructs by the way. Because it means that whatever can be conceived of can be achieved. Not simply done like imagining a character in a storybook coming to life. But with realistic conditions in place, anything is possible. Even something as free as a free mind requires certain causes to produce it. Eventually the mind is able to conceive of unlimited possibility. When we habituate ourselves with certain thought patterns it produces certain mental states. So why not be able to produce an ultimate state of mind by accustoming ourselves with the conception of such a thing? Do you have an example of an experience you had that wasn't dependent on your state of mind? Anyone? Or a mental state that wasn't dependent on your thoughts?


You're getting too wild with it. Lots of SF stories depend on faster than light travel which simply doesn't exist.


lol! 'too wild with it' - that's very funny! What's SF? Science Fiction? How do you know some of these concepts don't exist for real? Come on - give me a logical explanation as to why it's definitely not possible to transform one's body into light?


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22 Dec 2009, 3:16 am

ruveyn wrote:
Magnus wrote:
Truth is an emotion.


truth is a relation between a sentence that asserts the state of the world and the actual state of the world.

ruveyn


Truth is a mental construct that reflects another mental construct. lol!
EDIT: You can call this reality if you want - depending on how many mental constructs you wish to construct! lol

Hey guys I've gotta go meditate now, so bye!


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Last edited by SporadSpontan on 22 Dec 2009, 6:42 am, edited 1 time in total.