Power corrupts. Here is how.

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QuantumTroll
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Re: Power corrupts. Here is how.

Post by QuantumTroll » Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:34 pm

Metacrock, let's take a step back. These analogies are not working. You said that the brain is like a TV receiver for the mind, and we tune in to the mind with the brain, yet when I tried to work out the implications they're apparently all wrong. What exactly am I supposed to learn from this analogy?

Ignoring the epistemological problem for the moment, what is your problem with my view that thinking and feeling are the result of physical processes in the brain?

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Re: Power corrupts. Here is how.

Post by Jim B. » Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:54 pm

QuantumTroll wrote:Metacrock, let's take a step back. These analogies are not working. You said that the brain is like a TV receiver for the mind, and we tune in to the mind with the brain, yet when I tried to work out the implications they're apparently all wrong. What exactly am I supposed to learn from this analogy?
That consciousness may be sui generis and that analogies to it are necessarily inadequate beyond a very limited scope.

When discussing the mind, it could be helpful to distinguish the functional properties of the mind, such as discrimination, integration, access, etc., from the phenomenal properties of mind, such as consciousness and conscious experiences. QT, you may be right that the brain, or at least physical processes of some sort, play a causal role in the mind's functional properties, but even these properties could be strongly emergent out of neural events the way the flock mind emerges out of lower level physical states. So that, as you say, the macro properties of mind require micro-physical states as necessary conditions, but the macro-properties are not explainable in these terms. You have causal interactionism, not a just bottom up 'brain causes mind' process.

Consciousness, imo, is an entirely different problem. No one has even a non-circular verbal definition of it, let alone a physical theory. I don't think anyone knows what, if anything, causes consciousness. With animal and human consciousness, it is closely associated and correlatable with physical states. But no one knows which properties exactly instantiate it. Many philosophers and cognitive scientists think that it is the abstract functional organization that instantiates it, not gray matter. If that's the case, then brains as brains would not cause consciousness; the abstract organization of the brain would somehow enable it, whether that organization is in meat, silicon, or whatever. I don't necessarily agree with this idea, but it's just to point out that we really don't know what consciousness is, whether it's an emergent property or a fundamental property or what it's necessary or sufficient conditions might be.

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Re: Power corrupts. Here is how.

Post by QuantumTroll » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:51 am

I agree with you completely, Jim B. What do you think of what Jim wrote, Metacrock?

If we look at the start of this thread, we were discussing empathy and mirror neurons. To me, this is about a functional property of the mind, not a phenomenal property. Putting the mind in a state where it feels powerful diminishes the activity of mirror neurons and hence empathy. This is a fact that has little to do with exactly how empathy or powerlessness is experienced, which is why I was a bit slow on the uptake when Meta started talking about qualia and the question of consciousness.

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Re: Power corrupts. Here is how.

Post by Metacrock » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:13 am

QuantumTroll wrote:Metacrock, let's take a step back. These analogies are not working. You said that the brain is like a TV receiver for the mind, and we tune in to the mind with the brain, yet when I tried to work out the implications they're apparently all wrong. What exactly am I supposed to learn from this analogy?

Ignoring the epistemological problem for the moment, what is your problem with my view that thinking and feeling are the result of physical processes in the brain?
I think you yourself observed about the limited nature of analogy. You also misunderstood me as I was saying that I didn't which was more accurate, the flashlight analogy or the tv analogy.

the tv analogy has strengths and weaknesses. one of the weaknesses is it misleads one to think that I'm saying mind comes form a source outside us. I am not saying that. For that reason the tv is not as good as a computer analogy. Mind is soft wear and brain is the hard ware.
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Re: Power corrupts. Here is how.

Post by QuantumTroll » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:38 am

Metacrock wrote: I think you yourself observed about the limited nature of analogy. You also misunderstood me as I was saying that I didn't which was more accurate, the flashlight analogy or the tv analogy.

the tv analogy has strengths and weaknesses. one of the weaknesses is it misleads one to think that I'm saying mind comes form a source outside us. I am not saying that. For that reason the tv is not as good as a computer analogy. Mind is soft wear and brain is the hard ware.
I like the computer analogy. You do realize that there is no absolute difference between software and hardware, right? You could write a program using an elaborate setup of gears, which is the hardest of hardware. Software is called that because it's made to be easy to change, but it's really just static physical stuff like hardware.

I would make an analogy between a living mind as a computer process, and the brain as both the hardware and software. A process is a program that is actually running. It's a dynamic system. I think this is an important distinction.

The thing, of course, is that messing with the computer can cause changes in the process. The process may crash and die, or it could start behaving differently. This analogy works really well, actually, because this is exactly what we see in the human brain/mind.

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Re: Power corrupts. Here is how.

Post by Metacrock » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:18 am

I don't think we know enough about human consciousness to say weather the mind is separate qualitatively and physically, or just a conceptualization of some brain function. whichever the case there's clearly a higher function of mental activity that's based upon content that includes self awareness and cogito. That is not merely reduced to brain chemistry. It may be accessed by the brain but it's not to be confused with it.
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