Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
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01-09-2015, 08:10 AM (This post was last modified: 01-09-2015 08:48 AM by Tomasia.)
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
(31-08-2015 08:12 PM)epronovost Wrote:  I think your example is wrong because the guy is searching for truth. The problem is that his brain is lacking a tool to provide it to him. What's lacking between is interaction on the phone and in person is the visual input of his mother.

But even when the visual input of his mother is there. He recognizes the woman looks like his mother, talks like his mother, is his mother in every observable way, yet it is not his mother, but a imposter. Something clicks when he hears his mother on the phone, that doesn’t click when he sees her in person. And it’s not that there’s anything wrong with his visual perceptions. It’s that thing that clicks in one, that doesn’t click in the other, that's what i’m referring to as a sensation. His injury may keep him from ever developing that click when seeing his mother visually. So no amount of proof or evidence will convince him otherwise.

But don’t you see the parallel here? We encounter folks without brain injuries all the time in which no amount of proof or evidence, will convince them otherwise. I remember reading an account of a doctor who killed his wife. He was found guilty. All the evidence proved that he did the crime, but his own children, who were extremely bright, ivy league educated individuals themselves, believed he was still innocent. None of the evidence could convince them otherwise. And none of them had brain injuries.

That man’s conditions has parallel to folks who don’t have brain injuries, every day people, even extremely educated ones. While their might be more hope for folks without brain injuries, it's nothing to be all that optimistic about. The futility of all these arguments, should leave us all cynical.

Quote:I am saying it's incomplete. Because of it, it lack explanatory power compared to mine which I think (or at least attempted) to both explain why people develop insight and introspective skills

My dog has insight and introspective skills. He knows when my wife is upset, and comes by her to comfort her. He knows that he’s done something wrong when I look at him and speak to him harshly.

Man may have a deeper ability to be introspective or insightful, particularly with acquisition of language, that allows our thoughts to take verbal forms. But you can just look at the history of humanity, with it capacity of introspection and insightfulness, and all the falsehoods and silly beliefs they hold, to see the failure of introspection and insightfulness to believe only true things. And those examples of brain injuries, in which a man’s conscious tells him he’s blind, though the unconscious the non self-aware part of him can see, just confirms this point.

All this is it to say that while human beings are better equipped to solve problems than dogs or chimpanzees, my narrative remains unscathed by this.

Your narrative doesn’t have a greater explanatory power, mines does. Your narrative is the feel good one of the two, not the one with the great explanatory power. You believe it, not because of it’s actual accuracy, but because it confirms those pre-held beliefs you already value. Which is understandable, and perhaps even irresolvable.

Your thought process is polluted by your belief that you’re a free thinker. It’s the narrative that allows you to sustain your illusion better, not the more accurate of the two. In fact I think the primary reason you reject mine, is because it doesn’t feel as good. Perhaps you might not be able to truly take this point in, anymore so than the man who couldn’t recognize that a woman in front of him is his mother. (I’m sort of joshing you here, just to emphasize a point. You can just as likely feel the same about me, and could be just as equally right, but I wouldn’t be able to tell)

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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01-09-2015, 08:41 AM
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
Every time I see this thread now I wonder why Tomasia is still a thing. Undecided

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01-09-2015, 08:51 AM
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
@Tomasia

I don't think you properly understand the condition of the man in your example. His problem is the incapacity to reconciliate his memory of his mother with his visual input. The click that's missing isn't linked to the absence of pleasure, but is linked to the incapacity to reconciliate memory and visual input. That's why he believes people when they say it’s your mother and understand the proofs, but his brain keeps telling him no anyway. Some people have the same kind of issue, but instead reject their own body or body parts.

Just a little parenthesis as a friendly advice, I won't get into dog psychology, but I can tell you two things. First, dog's don't have insight only dolphins, orcas and apes have been observed to possess it outside of human. They don't do introspection either. You might want to look the definition of those two skills what you should expect has behaviors from them. Second, your dog understand that you are angry, or sad, but never understand why. When you see its head low and him whining, it’s not your dog feeling sorry for its mistake. It's your dog trying to appease you from being angry. I would encourage you to read the work of Sophia Yin on the subject. That's going to help you raise a better dog and have a better relationship with it.

Your narrative is poor because it fail to explain that human have changed massively in their way of life and general understanding over the last 100 000 years. Your narrative fail to explain our ability to challenge established dogma and beliefs and research better answer. It fail to explain deconversions or conversions to other religion/creed. It fail to explain forgiveness, afterthoughts and regrets. It fail to explain how we learn and correct our mistakes. It fail to explain our sedentary lifestyle which took a few generations before being really advantageous. It fail to explain the development of new philosophical schools, new moral axiom and new social structures. It fail to explain how come technological, philosophical and scientific progress were faster in the last century than ever before. Your narrative leaves you immobile on a shore and fail to understand that we are moving forward and that your beliefs are those that are weakening and slowly disappearing. Two century ago, fundamentalism and zealotry were common place, now, it’s the mark of an isolated minority. Atheism was rare, even exceptional. Now, over 20% of the world population define itself like so and it's the fastest growing group. Your narrative fails to recognise that the rationalisation of our society, our greater ability to produce rational thoughts was growing and is still growing has we setup extensive mandatory schooling on that particular aspect. It's not perfect, it does make mistakes from time to time and will keep on doing mistakes in the future. But, those system were developed with a failsafe to ultimately correct those mistakes which explain why we discard more and more false belief.

Right now, you’re fighting to preserve one despite solid proofs of the opposite. Let’s stop losing ourselves in analogy and mental construct. Let’s return to our first question. Neuroscience largely demonstrate that dualism is fundamentally wrong. The mind isn't separate from the body, it is dependant of it. Why do you refuse to acknowledge this? Why does it fill you with so much dread that it fails to ring true as it should be? You may say that it's because you are so attached to your pre-held beliefs that you can't let them go and so am I. I might be subject to the same kind of weakness than you on numerous other subjects, but on this one, evidence support my beliefs and deny yours. What are you going to do about it? Can you correct yourself?
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01-09-2015, 10:20 AM
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
(01-09-2015 06:12 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Yet we're at point where we can say free-will doesn't exist given what we know about neurology

That, and because "free will" has always been an incoherent concept.

(01-09-2015 06:12 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  but we're not at the point that free thinking doesn't exist?

We aren't talking about "free" thinking. We're talking about rational thinking.

Stop trying to change the meaning of words and hoping no one will notice.

(01-09-2015 06:12 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  We're not at a point in which we could say there is likely to be no difference between the feeling, sensation of thinking rationally, and actually thinking rationally at the level of the brain?

Again, this is a nonsensical question.

(01-09-2015 06:33 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  We are born with a "sensation" that makes problem solving satisfying, pleasurable. The same way we're born with "sensations" that make sex pleasurable. Without this sensation we wouldn't be doing a lot of problem solving, or procreating. But that sensation need not be elicited by actually solving the problem. It can be elicited just by believing you did, even though you actually didn't.

Thus, problem-solving is impossible.

Or something to that effect.

(01-09-2015 06:44 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Ah okay, so we're not at a point where we can rule out "free-will" based on our understanding of neurology or the laws of physics, or at least not in a way that we can rule it out strongly. Are we at a point that we can rule it out with some degree of confidence?

That depends on what you mean when you say "free will". As above, it is a largely incoherent concept. We can, however, rule out the idea that human brains have some magical ability to override causality in order to make decisions completely unaffected by their brain states, which is what most people would consider "free will".

(01-09-2015 06:44 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Are we at a point where we can strongly rule out dualism?

Yes, because dualism is nonsensical.

(01-09-2015 06:44 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Are we at a point where we can strongly affirm materialistic monism?

Yes, because literally everything we have ever discovered about anything, ever - I would like to repeat this, literally everything we know about everything - indicates materialism.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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01-09-2015, 11:59 AM
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
(01-09-2015 06:12 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(31-08-2015 09:17 PM)Chas Wrote:  You're asking for too much too soon. We're not there yet.

Not everything has an answer available to us at this time; that says nothing about whether it will become available or not.

Yet we're at point where we can say free-will doesn't exist given what we know about neurology, but we're not at the point that free thinking doesn't exist?

I don't claim that free will doesn't exist, but it really depends of the definition of free will.

Quote:We're not at a point in which we could say there is likely to be no difference between the feeling, sensation of thinking rationally, and actually thinking rationally at the level of the brain?

No, we're not, and probably never will be.
Your conflation of thinking and sensation is not particularly interesting as it isn't coherent.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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01-09-2015, 12:00 PM
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
(01-09-2015 06:33 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(31-08-2015 09:15 PM)Chas Wrote:  Logic is just the formalization of productive problem solving thinking.

We are born with the desire and ability to figure things out; it is a survival trait that was evolutionarily successful.

We are born with a "sensation" that makes problem solving satisfying, pleasurable. The same way we're born with "sensations" that make sex pleasurable. Without this sensation we wouldn't be doing a lot of problem solving, or procreating. But that sensation need not be elicited by actually solving the problem. It can be elicited just by believing you did, even though you actually didn't. Or in other words beliefs that are true can elicit that sensation, as well as beliefs that are false that you believe are true.

The Christian worldview solves a variety of problems for me, questions about our moral senses, why do we desire to live our lives meaningfully, why something rather than nothing, etc.... And continues to elicit that sensation. I'm always findings things that reaffirm my beliefs, even as I dwell among those that don't believe. It could be that my worldview is false, as you undoubtedly believe, and that I'm just seeing things that reaffirm my belief, and not particularly observant of things that don't. That things which reaffirm my beliefs evoke that sensation, while things that might cast doubt on it, support an alternative view, don't.

Mother nature doesn't care whether I believe what is true or not. It could just be that these false beliefs, false religious beliefs are beneficial for my survival and procreation, and true beliefs are not. It perhaps explains why our brains are far from finely tuned for truth, our love of narratives, cognitive biases, propensity to so easily believe falsehoods, our tendencies to scapegoat, to seek self-justification, etc... all speaks of a mind quite attuned to believe lies.

All that says is that you value your feelings more than you value facts, evidence, or truth.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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01-09-2015, 12:06 PM
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
(01-09-2015 12:00 PM)Chas Wrote:  All that says is that you value your feelings more than you value facts, evidence, or truth.

A reoccurring theme, unfortunately.

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01-09-2015, 03:13 PM
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
(01-09-2015 08:51 AM)epronovost Wrote:  Just a little parenthesis as a friendly advice, I won't get into dog psychology, but I can tell you two things. First, dog's don't have insight only dolphins, orcas and apes have been observed to possess it outside of human. They don't do introspection either.

I concede the point. I don’t know much about dog psychology. In fact I don’t even own a dog. I was just watching my friends dog for the past two week, wondering what goes on in his head, and what’s the difference between what goes on in his head and mine, and his mind and my 5 month old nephew’s.

But I am curious though. Do you think insight only begun to appear in the primate stage of human evolution? Or do you think it was present in the mammalian stage as well? Perhaps not at the tetrapod stage? And do you believe the development of insightful capacities built on preexisting capacities that existed in stages in which insight was absent? Did it build on capacities similar to what is already present in brains of other mammals like dogs (though we might not call those insightful capacities)? I’m curious to hear your take. And thanks for the tip on the works of Sophia Yin, I’ll look into it to get a better idea of what goes on in the mind of that dog I was taking care of.

Quote:Your narrative is poor because it fail to explain that human have changed massively in their way of life and general understanding over the last 100 000 years. Your narrative fail to explain our ability to challenge established dogma and beliefs and research better answer. It fail to explain deconversions or conversions to other religion/creed. It fail to explain forgiveness, afterthoughts and regrets. It fail to explain how we learn and correct our mistakes. It fail to explain our sedentary lifestyle which took a few generations before being really advantageous. It fail to explain the development of new philosophical schools, new moral axiom and new social structures. It fail to explain how come technological, philosophical and scientific progress were faster in the last century than ever before. Your narrative leaves you immobile on a shore and fail to understand that we are moving forward and that your beliefs are those that are weakening and slowly disappearing. Two century ago, fundamentalism and zealotry were common place, now, it’s the mark of an isolated minority. Atheism was rare, even exceptional. Now, over 20% of the world population define itself like so and it's the fastest growing group. Your narrative fails to recognise that the rationalisation of our society, our greater ability to produce rational thoughts was growing and is still growing has we setup extensive mandatory schooling on that particular aspect. It's not perfect, it does make mistakes from time to time and will keep on doing mistakes in the future. But, those system were developed with a failsafe to ultimately correct those mistakes which explain why we discard more and more false belief.

My narrative didn’t go into details about all the various products of puzzle solving, of introspection, etc.. because it wasn’t entirely relevant. I mean we figured out how to fly to the moon, build entire civilization, create works like that of Shakespeare. Create religions, and Gods, and not Gods. Created perspective on the world enchanted by religious sensibilities, and and alternatives devoid of that.

But what your explanation doesn’t include, which is entirely relevant here, and that makes yours far less than explanatory, is the minds capacity for self-deception. While the mind has the capacity to find truths, it’s severally impaired in that capacities by our propensity for self-deception. What you seem to suggest is that minds capacity for introspection, can in essence transcend it’s limitation, it’s impairments: The man who can’t recognize his own mother, can’t transcend those limitation because he has a brain injury, where as we can because we don’t have a brain injury.

Let’s think of this is terms of the theist vs atheists debates, what’s a more effective means of getting someone to abandon their religion? By appealing to their introspection, or by getting them to be ashamed or repulsed by their religion? To get them to feel repulsion at the Christian concept of God, or by going over historical errors? Are you better off appealing to my introspection, or my emotions?

What sort of person do you predict is more likely to accept atheism, a person who believes religion does more good than harm, has a benign and admirable view of it, or one that believes it does more harm than good? What sort of Christian is more susceptible to becoming an atheists, one whose religious upbringing and experience in the christian community has been overwhelming positive, or one’s who experience have turned sour?

If you still can’t see the problem, and still want to place your bets on the power of a man’s introspective capacities to transcend his cognitive impairments, let’s try the question differently. I consider myself a introspective, self-aware individual. What would be required for me to believe that there is no God?

Would just be acquiring an understanding of a variety of different scientific observations, found in peer reviewed journals?

Assuming that it’s true, as many atheists suggest, that reason I believe my religious beliefs are true, is because of self-deception. According to you I should be able to overcome this self-deception through introspection?

But how long are you going to appeal to my introspection, before you concede that I’m just a man impaired in such a way that I can’t recognize my mother when she’s in front of me?

If my fundamental beliefs are wrong here, than my introspection leads me to believe that’s exactly the case. That I’m a man who who can’t recognize his mother when she’s right in front of him.

[/quote]Neuroscience largely demonstrate that dualism is fundamentally wrong. The mind isn't separate from the body, it is dependant of it. Why do you refuse to acknowledge this? Why does it fill you with so much dread that it fails to ring true as it should be? You may say that it's because you are so attached to your pre-held beliefs that you can't let them go and so am I. [/quote]

How can neuroscience show that dualism is fundamentally wrong, when dualism presupposes that it can’t be reducible to neuroscience?

You seem to be suggesting that neuroscience shows that it’s all reducible to neuroscience, though that’s not a conclusion drawn by neuroscience, but rather some folks infer from it’s observations. I might infer things as you say based on my introspection, and insights into other things, that might lead to believe in things not reducible to neuroscience.

But if you haven’t noticed my arguments are a negation of dualism, they presuppose that’s it’s all reducible to neuroscience. I’d even go a bit further than that, that physics fixes all the facts. That “all sciences are in principle reducible to laws of physics”. That we’re just “molecules in motion”. That if we’re going to take that leap from methodological realm, to the ontological realm when it comes to scientific observations, we’re just gonna go all the way “that physics is the whole truth of reality”. You and others here seem to want to be half-in-half-out on the ontological part, and resort it to when convenient to do so in regards to religious belief, while trying avoid doing so for your own beliefs. Getting rid of “free-will” is fine, but why can’t dismiss “free-thinking”, because I’m a “free-thinker”.

I don’t have any dread here. Because I can flirt with the idea of both being right and wrong. I can conceive of what it would mean for me to wrong, in fact my argument are a negation of what I believe. While your own capacities limit you from only imagining with the belief that you are correct.

I don’t reject any of the neuroscientific observations. In fact I’m the only one resorting to actual neuroscientific observations to make a case for the negation of dualism. And it’s you who dreads accepting this negation, not me. It’s you inability to accept this physciallist picture that I’m offering, which makes it far the more easier to continue my belief in dualism, unscathed. Where as you’re only willing to go a mile with ontological materialism, I’m going the extra mile here.

You dread the idea of there being no such thing as free thinking, that the human capacities to distinguish truth from fiction are severaly handicapped, because that poses trouble, anxiety, and uncertainty for your own worldview, even though it doesn’t necessarily make the case for a religious worldview any stronger.

Your entire narrative is one big feel good narrative, where the one I suggested is an anti-feel good one, both from a religious and non-religious perspective. I don’t feel dread when I hear yours. I get the queasy feeling associated with watching a really bad romantic movie. I reject it because it’s too flowery, too sweat, not because it’s dreadful. In fact it acquired dread, it might be even more attractive to me, than not. When dread comes to town, I want to meet it, be acquinted with it, befriend it, rather than avoid it. Though your desire might be to pack up and leave town.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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01-09-2015, 03:16 PM
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
(01-09-2015 03:13 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  How can neuroscience show that dualism is fundamentally wrong, when dualism presupposes that it can’t be reducible to neuroscience?

By reducing it to neuroscience.

This is not complicated.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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01-09-2015, 04:56 PM (This post was last modified: 01-09-2015 05:00 PM by Tomasia.)
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
(01-09-2015 03:16 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(01-09-2015 03:13 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  How can neuroscience show that dualism is fundamentally wrong, when dualism presupposes that it can’t be reducible to neuroscience?

By reducing it to neuroscience.

This is not complicated.

Why stop the reducing there? Why not reduce all of it, I do mean all of it, in agreement with these two:

Jerry Coyne: “The view that all sciences are in principle reducible to the laws of physics, must be true unless you’re religious.” Either we’re molecules in motion or we’re not.

Alex Rosenberg: " WE HAVE to attain our view of reality from what physics tells us about it. Actually, we’ll have to do more than that: we’ll have to embrace physics as the whole truth about reality.”

If you don't want to reduce to that extent, then I'm not sure how you avoid property dualism:

"Property dualism describes a category of positions in the philosophy of mind which hold that, although the world is constituted of just one kind of substance — the physical kind — there exist two distinct kinds of properties: physical properties and mental properties."

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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