TheSK00T3R
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I was reading a book about epigenetics the other day, and it mentioned the hostility of some disciplines towards explaining the physiological mechanisms of the brain, pointing out the risk of describing humans as machines, or robots.
However, at some point in the future, we will have an in depth knowledge of the physiology of the brain, including how it exhibits emotions and feelings.
This begs the question: What are we? Are we truly no more than a bunch of chemical reactions, or is there more? A Freudian psyche, a religious soul?
Personally, I got as far as the fact that physiological mechanisms do not explain awareness of feelings and emotions. Moreover, they do not explain why certain feelings are negative, and others are positive (I know you might say that bad things are those that lead to lower likelihood of reproducing, but this is not a valid argument).
So what do you think?
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John Stuart Mill
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(Original post by TheSK00T3R)
I was reading a book about epigenetics the other day, and it mentioned the hostility of some disciplines towards explaining the physiological mechanisms of the brain, pointing out the risk of describing humans as machines, or robots.
However, at some point in the future, we will have an in depth knowledge of the physiology of the brain, including how it exhibits emotions and feelings.
This begs the question: What are we? Are we truly no more than a bunch of chemical reactions, or is there more? A Freudian psyche, a religious soul?
Personally, I got as far as the fact that physiological mechanisms do not explain awareness of feelings and emotions. Moreover, they do not explain why certain feelings are negative, and others are positive (I know you might say that bad things are those that lead to lower likelihood of reproducing, but this is not a valid argument).
So what do you think?
well since this is in the philosophy section i'll go out of the physiology a little and argue that 'positive' and 'negative' feelings are just chemical reactions based on association of biological stimuli.
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lettucesoap
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This is a puzzling question which has been the topic of so much philosophical debate. What is this elusive 'I'?

I've almost always agreed with the Empiricist school of thought, but when it comes to the topic of personal identity, empiricism doesn't have the right answers. For example, David Hume said that we have no notion of the self - it is just a confusion between the similarity of our perceptions... and therefore, all we have to call the 'I' is a "bundle of perceptions". But this feels intuitively wrong. So if I rejected the empiricist notion of the self, then I would be contradicting my other views as an Empiricist...

I'd agree with you in that physiological mechanisms do not explain awareness of feelings and emotions. The mechanistic account of the brain lacks the explanation of our raw, quantitave feelings and experiences. There must be more to us then chemical reactions and neurons firing. The question is - what? Maybe neuroscience could explain this in the distant future

Have you heard of the thought experiment 'What Mary Didn't Know?' I believe it is by Jackson. it supports the whole 'there is more to us than the physical' idea.
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TheSK00T3R
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(Original post by lettucesoap)
Maybe neuroscience could explain this in the distant future .
One of my points was, neuroscience won't be able to explain. All neuroscience will explain is the physical mechanisms.
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TheSK00T3R
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(Original post by John Stuart Mill)
well since this is in the philosophy section i'll go out of the physiology a little and argue that 'positive' and 'negative' feelings are just chemical reactions based on association of biological stimuli.
Why should they be positive or negative? They are just biological stimuli. Why should they feel anything at all? As long as the correct response is achieved, the brain has done it's job, and the actual process of feeling is not necessary.
This is what we mean by awareness. It is inexplicable by neuroscience.
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John Stuart Mill
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(Original post by TheSK00T3R)
Why should they be positive or negative? They are just biological stimuli. Why should they feel anything at all? As long as the correct response is achieved, the brain has done it's job, and the actual process of feeling is not necessary.
This is what we mean by awareness. It is inexplicable by neuroscience.
We have to be careful with semantics really, words are just descriptions of phenomena, awareness could just be the word we use to refer to a certain chemical response to stimuli, feelings could just literally be what chemical response we're displaying.
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Rich00
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(Original post by John Stuart Mill)
We have to be careful with semantics really, words are just descriptions of phenomena, awareness could just be the word we use to refer to a certain chemical response to stimuli, feelings could just literally be what chemical response we're displaying.
Awareness could be in a constant state everywhere.
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Automaton
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For as much debate as there is, really, nobody knows. As part of the Philosophy A level, the module that we did was on Theories of Mind. There're all sorts of theories: behaviourism, MBIT (mind-brain identity theory), functionalism, substance dualism, non-reductive materialism.

All of these theories/explanations have their problems. The main problem with all of them is that they don't explain how the "water of brain turns into the wine of mind" (one of my teacher's phrases). We all have the intuitive "feeling" that the mind is different from body in some way, because it is immaterial in some distinct way, and yet there is no explanation for just how the material can give rise to the immaterial mind. And if you say they are one and the same, you just have the question in a different format: How is the immaterial mind the material body? The only other explanation is that the mind isn't immaterial, but that goes so against our human experience that it's almost unthinkable. So, really, I don't think this question has been answered by any philosopher. Sure, you can agree with a Theory of Mind (personally I'm inclined to view the mind from a functionalist's point of view), but you still have to concede that it doesn't answer the "hard problem" (commonly phrased) of Mind: how does brain give rise to mind?

And I have to agree with others that have said neuroscience will not be able to answer this. Suppose we find some function of the brain that supposedly produces our internal, immaterial, self-conscious realities; we will still not be any closer to understanding, truly, how it is possible. But I'm sure we'll invent new words and come up with some semantic way to dodge the question and pretend we've answered it.
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Rich00
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(Original post by Automaton)
For as much debate as there is, really, nobody knows. As part of the Philosophy A level, the module that we did was on Theories of Mind. There're all sorts of theories: behaviourism, MBIT (mind-brain identity theory), functionalism, substance dualism, non-reductive materialism.

All of these theories/explanations have their problems. The main problem with all of them is that they don't explain how the "water of brain turns into the wine of mind" (one of my teacher's phrases). We all have the intuitive "feeling" that the mind is different from body in some way, because it is immaterial in some distinct way, and yet there is no explanation for just how the material can give rise to the immaterial mind. And if you say they are one and the same, you just have the question in a different format: How is the immaterial mind the material body? The only other explanation is that the mind isn't immaterial, but that goes so against our human experience that it's almost unthinkable. So, really, I don't think this question has been answered by any philosopher. Sure, you can agree with a Theory of Mind (personally I'm inclined to view the mind from a functionalist's point of view), but you still have to concede that it doesn't answer the "hard problem" (commonly phrased) of Mind: how does brain give rise to mind?

And I have to agree with others that have said neuroscience will not be able to answer this. Suppose we find some function of the brain that supposedly produces our internal, immaterial, self-conscious realities; we will still not be any closer to understanding, truly, how it is possible. But I'm sure we'll invent new words and come up with some semantic way to dodge the question and pretend we've answered it.
What it boils down to is that consciousness is an inherit quality of the universe. This is something we know for sure
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skunkboy
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it's the word referring to the speaker or the writer. more questions?
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TheSK00T3R
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(Original post by skunkboy)
it's the word referring to the speaker or the writer. more questions?
Yeh mate will you please make english posts in the english forums and philosophy posts in the philosophy forums.
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John Stuart Mill
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(Original post by TheSK00T3R)
Yeh mate will you please make english posts in the english forums and philosophy posts in the philosophy forums.
no man he's an advocate of ordinary language philosophy - kill the twit
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Martyn*
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Your question "What is I?" doesn't seem to be all that relevent to what you were trying to say (?) in your post.
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Extremotroph
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The mind is the product of the brain. "I", your true self, is what is aware of the mind. Try and distinguish between the mind (the reduction of life to data: thoughts and emotions) and your true self : that which is aware.
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skunkboy
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(Original post by TheSK00T3R)
Yeh mate will you please make english posts in the english forums and philosophy posts in the philosophy forums.
Are you a mod here? Why didn't you remove my post ? Whatever. It seems to me that your definition of philosophy is quite different from mine. Can you please define your 'philosophy '?

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Kiss
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The ninth letter of the alphabet.
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Plainview
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There is more. If it turns out there isn't, I'll be pissed off.
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John Stuart Mill
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(Original post by Plainview)
There is more. If it turns out there isn't, I'll be pissed off.
no you won't you'll be dead
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Extremotroph
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(Original post by John Stuart Mill)
no you won't you'll be dead
lol. It is impossible to be conscious of unconsciousness (a viewpoint on death).
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TheSK00T3R
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#20
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Anyone played Deus Ex? Similar question is raised there.
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