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Old 03-20-2006, 10:27 AM   #1
Neal Winkler
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Is the mind equal to the brain? Or is the mind something more?

I'll post two arguments for both side.

The mind is equal to the brain:

(1) If the mind is not equal to the brain (immaterial), the the mind would not be alterable by chemicals and various mental disorders would not have physical (chemical) explanations.

(2) The mind is alterable by chemicals and various mental disorders do have physical explanations.

(3) Therefore, the mind is equal to the brain (the mind is physical).

The mind is NOT equal to the brain

(1) If the mind is equal to the brain, then we are determined.

(2) If we are determined, then we should not held accountable for our actions.

(3) We should be held accountable for our actions.

(4) Therefore, we are not determined.

(5) Therefore, the mind is not equal to the brain.

On premise (1): If the mind is wholly physical, then all of our actions are ultimately determined by the interactions between its physical constituents, which are in turn determined by the laws of physics.

Thoughts?

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Old 03-20-2006, 11:08 AM   #2
Joseph Hart
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I suck at philosophy...How would a person with Alzhiemers fit this? I thought that I read some where that people that have Alzheimers thier brain deteriorates in certain areas (i guess they found this in autopsies). My father has Alzhiemers. His mind(the way he acts, interacts with people, and remembers stuff) is not the way that he was 5 years ago. I suppose then that the mind is physical.

It is safe to say that the body that sits in his chair is that of my father, but it is not my father anymore. I really feel bad for my Mom.

JOe
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Old 03-20-2006, 11:20 AM   #3
John Seiler
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Neal,
I personally don't believe the mind and the brain are equal. However, I believe the brain is the conduit of the mind. For that reason, chemical interference is not a function of the chemical's effect on the mind, but on the conduit.

On the second line of reasoning, there is a definite jump in logic from 3 to 4. I'm not a philosophy guy so I don't know the term for it. But it seems like you've gone from a supposition (should), to a definite.

Unless, I'm mistaken (certainly a strong possibility), we know where memory is accessed by the brain, but have no clue to the mechanism which stores it. In purely speculative terms, there seems to be way too many unexplained psychic phenomenon to discount the mind somehow being connected from outside the brain.

Damn, I'm at work. I'd love to spend more time on this one...
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Old 03-20-2006, 12:27 PM   #4
Neal Winkler
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Joseph, many would say that your fathers condition is evidence that the mind is physical, however, John below you would disagree.

John, (3) to (4) is logically valid, because it follows by modes tollens - If A then B (2), not B (3), therefore not A (4). You may want to take issue with (3) and (4) by attacking premis (2).

Why do you believe the brain to be a conduit?
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Old 03-20-2006, 01:58 PM   #5
Chris Jordan
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Correlation does not equal causation. Don't you do your CrossFit homework on rest days?

(3) We should be held accountable for our actions.

I agree. We should. This is a foundational cultural folkway we both tend to abide by. However, this is a pretty weak tangent to draw on to force your conclusion. So I invite you to go back one step:

(2) If we are determined, then we should not held accountable for our actions.

I have no problem with the notion that God exists and created me. Though I am not necessarily a Calvinist I have no problem with the notion that God may have created me for a purpose. I have no idea what that or those purposes are. Just because God knows what choices I am going to make does not relieve me of the burden of making them nor of responsibility for having made poor choices.

I believe a fish has a brain but is essentially mindless. In a physical context I have a mind because my brain has the capacity for it. My brain can exist without my mind. In a spiritual context, by believing in the eternal, I believe the mind exists without the brain. Under these conditions the brain is not the mind's equal. It is merely a temporary vessel.

Excluding the spiritual I believe that my brain was "manufactured" with fewer flaws than some, more flaws than others. As I conceptualize my mind I must believe it has been formed with certain restraints brought on by the design of my brain. This allows room for argument that the two are at least linked if not equal.

Why even say "determined"? Simple physical limitations prevent capacity or capability. It's not necessary for a greater being of any sort to sew us together perfectly to create a genius. This takes me back another step to the first point you presented:

(1) If the mind is equal to the brain, then we are determined.

In order to sufficiently prove that the mind is equal to the brain you must prove that individuals with normal, healthy brain tissue and structure are equal of mind. Years of study, age, work-ethic, upbringing or personal philosophy can play no part as you factor the "mind quality" of this sample group. I believe this lends weight to the notion that the mind is not equal to the brain.

However, I just said the phrase "equal of mind". As I wrote this I realized you have not defined your terminology. Are you referring to the "mind" as the realization of self, one's intelligence, one's capacity for thought or something else entirely?
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Old 03-20-2006, 03:14 PM   #6
Mike Yukish
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(1) If the mind is equal to the brain, then we are determined.

I disagree with that statement.

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Old 03-20-2006, 03:20 PM   #7
Paul Findley
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Brain - Hardware
Mind - Software

Am I over simplifying :happy:
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Old 03-20-2006, 04:11 PM   #8
Barry Cooper
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I've long liked the phrase: "All of the body is in the mind, but not all of the mind is in the body." People like to make things either/or. This is a fault of the mechanical aspect of mind, which undoubtedly exists. One has only to look around. Yet, in place of a quasi-Cartesian dualism of mind/body, or materialistic monism of chemical reactions and electrical impulses, I would suggest a continuum. A continuum from the determined, mechanical aspect of our selves, all the way up to a very free, spiritual existence. The mechanical and the spiritual are simply directions, not destinations, nor do they "exist" in any sense except that of heuristic convenience. The key is the direction of movement.

This is a subtle point. If I ever get off my lazy, self-pitying lardass I think I got a book in me.
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Old 03-20-2006, 07:44 PM   #9
Neal Winkler
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Chris, many people do believe that God's foreknowledge of our actions do leave us determined and that, yes, this is a problem.

See, for example, William Lane Craigs treatment of divine molinism. http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billc...niscience.html

I'm not sure I understand your experiment for showing that the mind = brain.

What is mind? Oh, I would say that it's something along the lines of the thing that does the thinking, or the thing that is conscious. That will do for a working definition.
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Old 03-20-2006, 07:59 PM   #10
Mike Yukish
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I've been known to flip a coin in order to make up my mind. Or base my decision on events unknowable a priori. Ergo, I (deterministically?) introduce nondeterminism into my decision making.
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