torsdag 28 augusti 2008

The material mind

Dear Mehmet

Of course "mind" is a feedback loop of phenomena over time.
But to understand when a "mind" materialises in our bodies, we need to grasp that the building stones that a "mind" uses are the elements of language. Beyond the words, and beyond our consciousness, there is of course the whole mine field called "the subconscious" (or "the unconscious" as Freud called it), but the subconscious is subconscious precisely because it is not within the reach of language.
I agree totally that this is all MATERIAL. There is no non-material substance anywhere to be found. Not even where Descartes thought he could find it, inside the brain. ;-)
And please note that MIND and CONSCIOUSNESS are both abstractions. We are probably not even discussing the same two things when you and I discuss this. We can not even agree what we mean beyond the idea of mind as being "that which is active within us when we perceive ourselves to be conscious".
But who am I to know what your "perception" is? How do I know that you see "white" when I see "white" in front of me, other than the fact that we seem to agree that we both see something which we by social convention refer to as "white"???
So to not complicate things more than necessary, we will have to agree on "something" when we refer to as mind. And to then ascribe minds to puppies and rocks and God knows what else clearly does not help us clarify the issue one bit. So we will have to tie mind to language until we come up with a better idea.


2008/8/28 mehmet azizoglu

Dear Alex,

you say "However, consciousness is a product of language, nothing more, nothing less..", are you sure that this is so?. what if language is a product of consciousness? I think that egg-chicken paradox is a great challenge to the science today. Honestly speaking I have read some books about consciousness (Dennett, Searle,Chalmers and Edelman) but can't have a solid idea of what it looks like to be. what is certain in my mind is that consciousness is a product of our brain and has a materialistic root (not what Decsarted claimed to be that it was linked to soul in the brain)

The notion that we acquire mind through talking to ourselves is not satisfying in explaining the formation of mind. I guess there are many other things that play roles


----- Original Message ----
From: Alexander Bard
Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2008 1:43:25 PM
Subject: [Ushta] M. is for MIND

Dear Parviz

I understand that you would like your puppies to "have minds". We always try to anthropomorphosize our pets. Which is funny in a way, since your puppies do their very best to try to turn you into a dog like them. Only when you behave in a "doglike way" will they pay attention to you. So the attempt to change reality is at least mutual, which is sweet.

However, consciousness is a product of language, nothing more, nothing less. This is why new-born children do not have a consciousness. Sure, puppies and little babies express "wills". But willing something is not the same thing as having consciousness and then in extension having a mind. A river "wills" its way down the mountain slopes towards the ocean. This does not mean that the river has a mind. At least, a human baby is born with the potential for a mind which is what explodes from the moment the baby picks up his or her first miraculous words. It is by talking "to ourselves" that we develop a mind. The memories of these very reflections are the stones we build our minds on.


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