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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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Argument against an Unembodied Mind
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2012, 04:14:42 pm »
but don't you see Greatpumpkin that saying a triangle requires 3 sides presupoes phycalism, its possible that an immaterial triangle exists that has no sides.

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Great Pumpkin

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Argument against an Unembodied Mind
« Reply #31 on: February 25, 2012, 04:17:36 pm »
jbiemans wrote: but don't you see Greatpumpkin that saying a triangle requires 3 sides presupoes phycalism, its possible that an immaterial triangle exists that has no sides.

   ... Because i can imagine it, and its not logically impossible"....

   

   Hehe
God is not the Father. At least, he's not apparent to me.

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jbejon

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Argument against an Unembodied Mind
« Reply #32 on: February 25, 2012, 04:31:27 pm »
GP wrote: Do you agree that a mind must, at least, be bound by something, like the law of identity, the causal principle, or something?

First, what is "the causal principle" exactly?

Separately, I don't know that I'd want to use the term "bound".  But yes, I agree that a mind--or anything else for that matter--must be self-identical.  But why on Earth think that an immaterial mind wouldn't be identical with itself?

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carter smith

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Argument against an Unembodied Mind
« Reply #33 on: February 25, 2012, 07:29:29 pm »
jbejon wrote:
Quote from: GP
Do you agree that a mind must, at least, be bound by something, like the law of identity, the causal principle, or something?

First, what is "the causal principle" exactly?

Separately, I don't know that I'd want to use the term "bound".  But yes, I agree that a mind--or anything else for that matter--must be self-identical.  But why on Earth think that an immaterial mind wouldn't be identical with itself?


The principle of the nomological character of causality: all events are causally related through strict laws.
Why not "bound"?  What term is usful to you?
You, at least agree that an unembodied mind must adhere to the Law of Identity, correct?
But, this doesn't make it function as a mind, alone.
To Function, or ontologically BE a Mind, it must operate under some causality.  It thinks, then thinks about a thought, etc.  Or, thinks and then produces some kind of action.
I see no value in a mind that thinks, but poduces no action beyond a single thought.  That is what a quark can do: it just does what it does and is acted upon.
So, something distinguishes a Mind from other things: namely it thinks.
But God doesn't exist.  How does that affect your arguments?

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jbejon

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Argument against an Unembodied Mind
« Reply #34 on: February 26, 2012, 08:31:41 am »
OK, I agree, of course, that a mind must think.  But immaterial minds do think, so this is no candidate for condition X.

As to a mind's events "being causally related through strict laws", I'm still not sure what this would mean in the context of an immaterial mind.  It's not even clear to me that this is a condition that's satisfied by many materialistic philosophies of mind, since many materialists appeal to the quantum indeterminacy of the mind's events in order to accommodate the notion of free will.

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carter smith

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Argument against an Unembodied Mind
« Reply #35 on: February 26, 2012, 09:09:05 am »
jbejon wrote: OK, I agree, of course, that a mind must think.  But immaterial minds do think, so this is no candidate for condition X.

As to a mind's events "being causally related through strict laws", I'm still not sure what this would mean in the context of an immaterial mind.  It's not even clear to me that this is a condition many materialistic philosophies of mind adhere to, since many materialists appeal to the quantum indeterminacy of the mind's events in order to accommodate the notion of free will.


well, we don't know if Unembodied minds think!  We are still trying to find out if they exist first!

I don't know how else to explain it.

There must be some law that governs thought.  Some undelying reality that gives a foundation to it, otherwise what makes it a mind as opposed to something else that "is what it is"?

See how its not enough for it to adhere to just the law of identity?

Many things that are not minds adhere to the law of identity.

It is necessary but not sufficient for a Mind to cohere, or be embodied by, the law of identity.  In fact, I don't think "embodied" is the proper term.

But, as I said, this is a bare minimum.

We are trying to discover the necessary and sufficient conditions for a Mind - embodied or not.  That is usually what a definition provides.

Notice the lack of definitions or engagement from theists on this issue: they realize that after they say "I can imagine an unembodied mind, and it's not logically impossible" that they suddenly realize that it's not so easy to imagine, and, in fact, may be logically impossible....
But God doesn't exist.  How does that affect your arguments?

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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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Argument against an Unembodied Mind
« Reply #36 on: February 26, 2012, 09:13:20 am »
if unembodied minds give this much trouble, try imagining an unembodied immaterial mind.....

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carter smith

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Argument against an Unembodied Mind
« Reply #37 on: February 26, 2012, 09:16:22 am »

Also, quantum indeterminacy is a strict law.  It is a principle that simply is and the quantum "realm" is embodied by it.

But God doesn't exist.  How does that affect your arguments?

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jbejon

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Argument against an Unembodied Mind
« Reply #38 on: February 26, 2012, 09:19:44 am »
We are trying to discover the necessary and sufficient conditions for a Mind--embodied or not.  That is usually what a definition provides.

Right.  So, what are these conditions?  Remember, it's you who are meant to be presenting an argument that shows that the concept of an unembodied mind is incoherent.  To do that, you're going to have to provide a definition of a mind that's intuitively reasonable and that doesn't presuppose materialism.  You're then going to have to show that an immaterial mind can't possibly satisfy this definition.

Let me give you a parallel example of just such an argument.

(1) For something to exist, it must have causal power.  It must be capable of producing effects.
(2) Numbers don't have causal power.
(3) Numbers don't exist.

I'm not saying this is the greatest argument in the world.  But note the salient features.  It provides an intuitively reasonable definition of what it means for something to exist.  More importantly, it's a definition that automatically rule out the possibility of immaterial things existing.  It then shows that numbers can't satisfy this definition.

It seems to me that this is what you need to do here.


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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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Argument against an Unembodied Mind
« Reply #39 on: February 26, 2012, 09:27:10 am »
can we not simply substitute your 2 for:  
   
 immaterial minds have no causal power  
   
   
   

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carter smith

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Argument against an Unembodied Mind
« Reply #40 on: February 26, 2012, 09:45:06 am »
Yes, this is very hard for me to do because I believe that Minds are dependent on Brains.

But, I am proposing that Minds, even in the most minimal sense, must adhere to some basic rules to meet the necessary and sufficient conditions to be called a mind.

RandyE proposed they don't even need to think, but just hold a thought.  I suppose this is enough, but it would wreak havoc with his ontological argument since I can imagine a greater thing is to be able to do more than hold a thought!

Of course, he's not responsible for being coherent, only come up with one possible option for an unembodied mind.

However, let's assume he's right that a Mind only need to hold a thought.  How?  under what conditions does it need to hold a thought?  Can it hold a thought because the thought just happens to reside 'in' the mind?  Can it dift out of the mind?

If the Mind can be said the "hold" the thought, then how does it hold it without a 'holding device"? Some law, principle, or mechanism that holds the thought?

I am defining the mind in a minimal sense, as some thing that holds a thought (And, honestly, I don't think this is enough, and a far cry from what a mind is - but I am allowing RandyE's arguments to stand to expose the problem)
But God doesn't exist.  How does that affect your arguments?

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jbejon

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Argument against an Unembodied Mind
« Reply #41 on: February 26, 2012, 09:47:11 am »
can we not simply substitute your 2 for:

immaterial minds have no causal power

Only if you want to presuppose your conclusion.  No-one who believes in the existence of immaterial minds thinks they have no causal power.  However, people who believe in the existence of numbers agree that they have no causal power.

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carter smith

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Argument against an Unembodied Mind
« Reply #42 on: February 26, 2012, 09:50:45 am »

jbiemans wrote: if unembodied minds give this much trouble, try imagining an unembodied immaterial mind.....

actually, imagining an immaterial mind is hard enough!  It's the unembodied part that is killing me.

I think the non-materialists are either changing the material (saying it's supernatural), or not fully considering the implications of a mind that is not embodied.
But God doesn't exist.  How does that affect your arguments?

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carter smith

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Argument against an Unembodied Mind
« Reply #43 on: February 26, 2012, 09:54:30 am »
jbejon wrote:
can we not simply substitute your 2 for:

immaterial minds have no causal power

Only if you want to presuppose your conclusion.  No-one who believes in the existence of immaterial minds thinks they have no causal power.  However, people who believe in the existence of numbers agree that they have no causal power.


I think you keep throwing in "presuppose" as a way to undermine anything we say.  Please stop.  I'm not trying to be rude, but it's a tactic, not a valid point.

As in, "you are simply presupposing minds can be unembodied".  Even if you came up with a valid argument, I could say that.

I think you need to show why we are presupposing, and where in our argument before you accuse us of it.
But God doesn't exist.  How does that affect your arguments?

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jbejon

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Argument against an Unembodied Mind
« Reply #44 on: February 26, 2012, 12:40:46 pm »

I think you keep throwing in "presuppose" as a way to undermine anything we say.  Please stop.  I'm not trying to be rude, but it's a tactic, not a valid point.

As in, "you are simply presupposing minds can be unembodied".  Even if you came up with a valid argument, I could say that.

You'd be welcome to say that.  But there are two points you'd need to appreciate.  First, I'm not trying to come up with a valid argument here.  Rather, you've claimed that you can show that it's impossible for unembodied minds to exist.  Second, in modal terms, we generally assume that things are possible until proven otherwise.  I've never, for instance, seen a blue squirrel.  But I don't thereby assume that it's impossible for such things to exist unless I've got a decent reason for doing so.  "Presuppose" isn't just a word I'm using.  It's something you're actually doing.  Think of it like this.  People who believe in immaterial minds believe that minds are non-physical things which are capable of having thoughts, making decisions, and interacting with the brain.  If you want to argue that such things are impossible, you can't assume as a starting point that minds can't in fact interact with the physical world.  A good argument is meant to start from  premises that its "opponents" find plausible and then argue to a conclusion that causes them to change their mind about something.  However, no dualist thinks immaterial things are necessarily causally effete.  So, you need to give an argument for that claim if it's going to persuade anyone.