how do developments in science etc begin to disprove dualism

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Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 04:55 am
Let me explain this a little better!

I have to write an account on descartes. I know his theories am fine on that part of the essay.
He, of course, believes that the mind and brain are seperate, but now many of us believe that the mind is part of the brain (mental states are brain states etc).
I need to talk about more recent research and how this shows descartes' arguments seem unlikely to us today.
(For example, I've briefly looked at how research that consciousness has come through our genes)

I don't know if I've explained that very well or if anyone will be able to help, but anyone has any links or ideas of things I could look up which would be useful that'd be cool. Thank you.
 
Bones-O
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 07:34 am
@hiya phil,
Well, what about brain scans that light up bits of the brain during certain mental activities. Forgotten the name for them. Grrr.
 
Parapraxis
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 09:15 am
@Bones-O,
There'd be a lot of ground to cover if I was to paraphrase, but if you can grab hold a copy of Descartes' Error by Antonio Damasio, it may help you.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 09:57 am
@Parapraxis,
It's probably very likely that Descartes too believed that the mind was part of the brain. Meditations is essentially a thought experiment using scientific reasoning (i.e. doubt everything, analyze into clear and distinct ideas, reconstruction of said ideas, and enumeration). Keep in mind that Descartes was a renaissance man in most senses of the term. On top of being a philosopher, he was also a soldier, a mathematician, a lawyer, a composer, and also an amateur biologist. It was during this time as a soldier (which gave him considerably long periods of down time) that he engaged in studies of anatomy and biological science.

Descartes dualism (mind and matter, Res cogitans and Res extensa) is dependent on logical inference and deduction for the most part. This is, I would assume, just an established clear and distinct idea. I don't think we would want to hang our beliefs nowadays on formal, objective, and eminent realities. But I have been of the opinion that Descartes posits the material world in some respects because he needed it to validate the scientific processes he utilized throughout Meditationsbiologically concrete in his theory except for a few conclusions he came up with as an amateur biologist. Descartes, being a mathematician was very concerned with mathematical (geometrical) certainties. Look at mediation 1hardwire connection in the pineal gland. This in connection to Descartes arguments would be hard to pin. I think you would have trouble finding consistent evidence in Mediations, Principles of Philosophy, or Discourse on Method. Essay concerning human understanding is to disprove the notion of innate idea, thus proving empiricism rather than rationalism as the logical choice. Empiricism is of course the flavor of the last few centuries, so I would think it would be interesting to see some confrontation to empirical thought in an empirically validated "innate" notion.
 
nerdfiles
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 01:50 pm
@hiya phil,
Well, Descartes' distinction between the substances of "thought" (mind) and "extension" (body) is his thesis. This thesis, though it looks superficially different in today's literature and overall acceptance, has not been wholly displaced.

One thing must be clear:

"the mind is part of the brain" (mereological principle)

and

"mental states are brain states" (identity thesis)

are not the same thesis. But even then, neuroscientists today still attribute properties of the "mind" to the brain. So the "mind", though it has vanished explicit, its properties are still alive and in employment. Mental properties (in large part psychological, cogitative, cognitive, emotional, volitional powers/properties) are still being attributed in quite the same way Descartes attributed them. This is no different from Descartes error. Descartes need to explain the interaction between the mental and the physical; to simply subsume the mental into the physical does not avoid the error because 'reducing' the problems to being a set of physical phenomena does not explain why the mental is nevertheless different. Different does not imply that the mental is some spooky realm of entelechies and spirits and minds. So there's no reason to suppose that the difference cannot be explain in some other terms; and it does not follow that simply assuming by fiat that the mental just is the physical that you've explained the mental. The identity thesis is highly controversial ground.

The problem is not that the mind is different. The problem is that what the mind is made up of is different. But what the mind is made up of is still being attributed to the brain (the identity thesis); or, neuroscientists find it methodologically prudent to putatively accept the identity thesis, along the lines of functionalist interpretations and methodological orientation.
 
EmperorNero
 
Reply Wed 15 Apr, 2009 04:35 pm
@hiya phil,
hiya;57144 wrote:
Let me explain this a little better!

I have to write an account on descartes. I know his theories am fine on that part of the essay.
He, of course, believes that the mind and brain are seperate, but now many of us believe that the mind is part of the brain (mental states are brain states etc).
I need to talk about more recent research and how this shows descartes' arguments seem unlikely to us today.
(For example, I've briefly looked at how research that consciousness has come through our genes)

I don't know if I've explained that very well or if anyone will be able to help, but anyone has any links or ideas of things I could look up which would be useful that'd be cool. Thank you.


Sorry if I'm not really helping, but hasn't the fact that science is slowly shifting away from the notion of free will a lot to do with it?
 
Khethil
 
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 08:20 am
@EmperorNero,
I don't think that developments in science necessarily disprove dualism, though they increasingly suggest such a clear-cut distinction is not the case.
[INDENT]Brain mapping is a good research area to start. It's netted much insight including identification of decision centers (such as the prefrontal cortex that orchestrates reasoning, planning and behavior) the cerebral cortext (which among other functions, assigns meanings to words, controls habit-memory and more) and other mental processes previously included as part of the "mind".
[/INDENT]No, I don't think you're going to completely disprove dualistic thinking (at least not yet). But in my humble analysis, the more we understand the functions of the brain, the more I'm convinced that the mind is the brain.

Hope this somehow helps. - Thanks
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 10:18 am
@EmperorNero,
NoEmperorNero wrote:
hasn't the fact that science is slowly shifting away from the notion of free will a lot to do with it?
Science hasn't altered the notion of free will.

Entertain, just for argument's sake, that science proves to the last atom and neuron that everything we do is part of a predictable algorhithm in our brain. In other words, let's entertain a 100% biological determinism.

That STILL does not alter the fact that we believe we are deciding freely. This may be some kind of biological ruse, but the fact remains that all free will requires is belief in it -- in other words, it only requires that we THINK we're the agent behind our decisions, even if we're told otherwise.
 
Aphoric
 
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 07:40 pm
@hiya phil,
What are you talking about? Most recent discoveries in the scientific field, especially by Sam Parnia and Peter Fenwick, a physician and neuropsychiatrist from London, where they studied conscious activity and physical brain activity. There's even more convincing evidence from a man named Wilder Penfield who experimented on epilepsy patients by sending electrical impulses to their brain, causing them to perform various physical functions.

I think y'all are getting confused. Scientists can now look at the brain and see what electrical impulses arise out of conscious action, but we still cannot scientifically or rationally make the case that these electrical impulses cause our conscious activity. For example, when scientists monitor a sleeping person, they can see areas of the brain becoming active, but they don't know whether the person was actually dreaming until they ask them.

I think if you do some earnest research, you'll find that developments in science as of late have pointed in the exact opposite direction. If anything is proving false, it's physicalism.
 
meditationyoga
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 06:56 pm
@hiya phil,
This is easy. When they remove certain parts of the brain then we lose different functions. As well in Germany they now have a machine that can read your thoughts. Simple thoughts but thoughts none the less just by looking at scans of the brain.
 
vectorcube
 
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 02:06 am
@hiya phil,
I am a dualist. To be more specific, i believe the fundamental nature of reality is mental, and that what we veiw as matter comes from this comic consciousness.
 
goapy
 
Reply Thu 9 Jul, 2009 04:37 pm
@vectorcube,
vectorcube;75255 wrote:
...comes from this comic consciousness.


So, we are all inherently funny? That is awesome! And people tell me that I am so unfunny. I'm going to use your quote in reply to them - giving you full credit, of course.
 
richrf
 
Reply Thu 9 Jul, 2009 09:50 pm
@hiya phil,
hiya;57144 wrote:
Let me explain this a little better!

I have to write an account on descartes. I know his theories am fine on that part of the essay.
He, of course, believes that the mind and brain are seperate, but now many of us believe that the mind is part of the brain (mental states are brain states etc).
I need to talk about more recent research and how this shows descartes' arguments seem unlikely to us today.
(For example, I've briefly looked at how research that consciousness has come through our genes)

I don't know if I've explained that very well or if anyone will be able to help, but anyone has any links or ideas of things I could look up which would be useful that'd be cool. Thank you.


Hi,

This link to an article in Wikipedia may help you. It discusses various Quantum mind theories that have been put forward by some well known physicists such as Penrose and Bohm. It is tough to get a handle on this subject without some background in the whole quantum measurement problem (i.e., the collapse of the quantum probability waves into actuality), but at least this article should give you a starting point. Feel free to ask questions, if you wish.

Quantum mind - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rich
 
Labyrinth
 
Reply Tue 14 Jul, 2009 09:30 pm
@richrf,
Well, when we say "mind" and "body," we need to be careful about concluding those from Descartes' time meant the same things as we do by those terms. When I read him, I thought he was distinguishing between internal reflection vs. external sensation. Mind is much more the soul for them than our concept of the brain. I think its overly hasty to discard dualism. I think all of us can agree that "internalizing" or being deep in thought certainly feels like an entirely different realm than engaging completely with our sensual external world.

As an American, I'm always struggling to find the time and place to internalize in the midst of our commercial society. America wants us to be hooked on consuming goods. Everywhere we go, we are bombarded by the pop music and our attention is pulled to this widget and that gadget in hopes of tickling our senses enough to compel us to buy, buy, buy. A guy deep in thought in his study is of no use to America :Glasses: Well, that's my take on it. I'm sure many will disagree and probably rightfully so.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 02:23 pm
@hiya phil,
Yes but if you dont take time to internalize things then things can go wrong, when problems arise then things can turn around on you and bite you.
 
Leonard
 
Reply Fri 17 Jul, 2009 09:07 pm
@hiya phil,
The mind is either a product of the brain or vice-versa. The brain is an organism with executive capabilites and controls tasks that are done. It has separate components with their own tasks. The mind is simply the definition of the brain's conscious and unconscious processes. Modern progress in neuroscience proves that the brain contains the mind, which is essentially memory.
 
 

 
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