Brain in a vat

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by James R, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Ok, so make an alternate scientific claim then.
     
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    So we roll back to about post 586.

    There is no evidence for any seat of consciousness other than the brain. This has not been refuted despite 65 subsequent posts.
     
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  5. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    I agree. What part of "I'm not making any evidentiary claim" have you failed to understand this whole time? "No evidentiary claim" quite literally means "no evidence."

    Perhaps you don't understand the difference between recognizing the correlative nature of the evidence (and its contribution to what we can claim as knowledge) and denying all evidence? Do you really not understand the very basic difference between correlation and causation?

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  7. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Only scientific answer certainly.....one minute we had no life: The next minute there is life.
    The Flat Earth was a model based on knowledge at the time, and the ignorance of already available evidence for a spherical world [actually Oblate]
    Obviously you are obfuscating when you say talk of scientific theory and my claim that it must be true.
    Scientific theories are added to and modified over time, and some grow in certainty over time: In that respect Evolution has become a fact, while abiogenisis remains the only possible scientific answer, although the exact methodology and the how, remains a mystery.
     
  8. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    https://www.extremetech.com/extreme...for-human-consciousness-deep-within-the-brain

    Scientists discover the on-off switch for human consciousness deep within the brain

    Researchers at George Washington University are reporting that they’ve discovered the human consciousness on-off switch, deep within the brain. When this region of the brain, called the claustrum, is electrically stimulated, consciousness — self-awareness, sentience, whatever you want to call it — appears to turn off completely. When the stimulation is removed, consciousness returns. The claustrum seems to bind together all of our senses, perceptions, and computations into single, cohesive experience. This could have massive repercussions for people currently in a minimally conscious state (i.e. a coma), and for deciding once and for all which organisms are actually conscious. Are monkeys conscious? Cats and dogs? A fetus?

    When it comes to human consciousness, much like the rest of our brain’s operation, there isn’t a whole lot in the way of actual scientific knowledge. Despite a century of “modern” neuroscience, we still only have a rough sketch of how the human brain works. Most theories, though, generally agree that consciousness is probably created by a part of the brain that integrates activity from different regions of the brain into a single, holistic experience. To put it in (very loose) computing terms, this seat of human consciousness would be somewhat like a CPU; without it, you’d just have a bunch of different parts that are theoretically functional, but not really capable of getting anything useful done.

    more at link...................


     
  9. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    Do you really fail to see the false dilemma there? Did the lack of a competing model to the flat-earth theory make the flat-earth theory any more true? Or was it just as false before as after finding an alternative?

    You are not justified in calling something knowledge that "remains a mystery". That is contradictory and silly.

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  10. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Where am I insinuating anything like that?
    Scientific theories [the flat Earth] are modified, changed, added to or grown in certainty over time. Do you know what a scientific theory is?
    Your statement certainly is contradictory and silly....
    Our current knowledge points to an evolving universe/spacetime from t+10-43 seconds, to some form of abiogenisis, and the certainty of evolution from that abiogenisis.
    If you have another scientific alternative to abiogenisis, [and any evidence that the brain is not the center of human consciousness] then let us hear it.
    Just because our current knowledge is limited, does not detract from the knowledge we presently have.
     
  11. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    More from your link:
    "As you might expect when it comes to bleeding-edge neuroscience, there are some caveats to the research — most notably, the study only looked at the brain of one person, and due to her epilepsy (and previous removal of part of her hippocampus) she doesn’t necessarily represent a “normal” brain. In short, more research needs to be done — and following the publishing of this paper, you can be guaranteed that there will be more research into the claustrum."​

    Do you have more evidence? You know, since a year and a half ago. A sample size of one damaged brain really doesn't prove much.
     
  12. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    It certainly sounds like you are claiming knowledge that the brain is definitely causative of all phenomena of the mind.
    What evidence is there for abiogenesis? You keep making it sound like we should consider it to be knowledge simply because a scientific alternative doesn't exist. You do know what a false dilemma is, right?

    Blindly assuming that science will eventually explain all is not knowledge.
     
  13. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    The evidence I suggest is far more then what you are seemingly denying.
    All the scientific evidence points to the brain being the center of human consciousness. At least you didn't ask for proof!

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    http://thebrainbank.scienceblog.com/2013/03/04/what-is-consciousness-a-scientists-perspective/


    What is consciousness? A scientist’s perspective

    We all know what consciousness is. We can tell when we’re awake, when we’re thinking, when we’re pondering the universe, but can anyone really explain the nature of this perception? Or even what separates conscious thought from subconscious thought?

    Historically any debate over the nature of consciousness has fallen to philosophers and religious scholars rather than scientists. However, as our understanding of the brain increases so do the number of scientists willing and able to tackle this tricky subject.

    What is consciousness?

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    A good analogy of consciousness is explained here based on work by Giulio Tononi. Imagine the difference between the image of an apple to your brain and a digital camera. The raw image is the same whether on a camera screen or in your head. The camera treats each pixel independently and doesn’t recognise an object. Your brain, however, will combine parts of the image to identify an object, that it is an apple and that it is food. Here, the camera can be seen as ‘unconscious’ and the brain as ‘conscious’.

    The bigger the better?

    This example works as a simple analogy of how the brain processes information, but doesn’t explain the heightened consciousness of a human in comparison to say a mouse. Some people believe that brain size is linked with consciousness. A human brain contains roughly 86 billion neurons whereas a mouse brain contains only 75 million (over a thousand times less). A person might then argue that it is because our brains are bigger and contain more nerve cells that we can form more complex thoughts. While this may hold to a certain extent, it still doesn’t really explain how consciousness arises.

    To explain why brain size isn’t the only thing that matters, we need to consider our brain in terms of the different structures/areas it consists of and not just as a single entity. The human cerebellum at the base of the brain contains roughly 70 billion neurons, whereas the cerebral cortex at the top of the brain contains roughly 16 billion. If you cut off a bit of your cerebellum (don’t try this at home) then you may walk a bit lopsided, but you would still be able to form conscious thoughts. If however, you decided to cut off a bit of your cortex, the outer-most folds of the brain, your conscious thought would be severely diminished and your life drastically impacted. So it seems that the number of brain cells we have doesn’t necessarily relate to conscious thought.

    excerpt:

    The true test of how good a theory of consciousness this is is whether it can also explain a loss of consciousness. Tononi believes that unconsciousness is brought on when the system becomes fragmented and connectivity in the brain decreases. This is exactly what seems to happen when in a deep sleep (when we don’t dream) or under general anaesthetic. Normally when awake and alert, fast activity can be found all over the brain and signals can be passed between areas. When we go into a deep sleep however, the brain moves to a state where signals cannot easily pass between different areas. Tononi believes that the cells temporarily shut off their connections with each other in order to rest and recuperate, therefore losing interconnectivity and associated higher thought processes.
     
  14. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Just as I have explained, simply, one minute the universe was devoid of life: The next minute we have life.....the how and details are yet to be filled in.
    I'm not assuming that at all...Stop obfuscating. I'm saying quite clearly that knowledge grows over time as observations and experimental results improve.
    And I'm asking you for any alternative scientific answer to what you seem to be denying.
     
  15. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    Wow. That's a lot of speculation and qualified statements on that blog.

    So just science-of-the-gaps. Some unknown, unevidenced something is somehow better than some other unevidenced something?

    What exactly do you think I'm denying? I've said, repeatedly, that there is correlated evidence between the brain and mind. Again, do you not understand what correlation means?

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  16. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Along with accepted knowledge: Do you have a alternative?

    Nonsense, just an application of what we already know and some logical extrapolation.
    Again, do you have a scientific alternative in explaining how life came to be....and of course any alternative to the logical assumption re the brain being the center of concsiousness.
    Any science, including "science of the gaps" as you put it, is superior to any non scientific mystical derived solution.

    Yet you seem to be denying the obvious reasonable extrapolation from that.......along with any other scientific solution to explain life, other then abiogenisis.
     
  17. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

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    I did, and it was brilliant.
    Thanks for that.
    Are you more inclined toward her way of thinking, or are your more of the block-headed persuation?

    jan.
     
  18. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    All right. Let's find a common statement then.

    Mind is - to the best of our understanding - directly correlated with the brain. Mind (and thus consciousness) requires brain. No brain, no mind. Centuries of knowledge points to this direct correlation, while no knowledge we have contradicts it.

    Agree?
     
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  19. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

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    I believe it makes us more close-minded.
    I think we have a choice (in our waking consciousness) in deciding what kind of human being we want to be, and act accordingly. Something the lady mentioned in that video about the two different hemispheres of the brain, and what they represent, made a lot of sense.

    jan.
     
  20. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    Show me where I have denied known science (as opposed to potential science).
    I've repeatedly agreed that there is correlated evidence between the brain and mind.​
    Show me where I have made an evidence-based claim.
    I've repeatedly said that dualism (a legitimate position in the philosophy of the mind) does not entail an evidence-based claim.​
    Show me how philosophy relies on evidence.
    When philosophy is what justifies standards of evidence.​

    Once we've dispensed with these frivolous red herrings, we can address what claims others are making and if my skepticism is warranted.
     
  21. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    First, do you understand what correlation is? Do you understand that if one thing causes another they are necessarily correlated, but correlation does not even imply causation?

    I agree 100% that the "mind is correlated with the brain". But evidence of that is not evidence that the "mind requires brain". "Mind requires brain" is a causative claim that correlation alone does not evidence.

    Remember, we're in a thread about knowledge. I'm trying, seemingly in vain, to draw your attention to what constitutes knowledge. If you can't distinguish correlation from causation, and insist that the former implies the latter, I really can't help you. It seems willful on your part.
     
  22. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    Aside from neural plasticity in general, this may be evidence for dualism: http://hope4ocd.com/foursteps.php

    So far, no one has really addressed anything I've said about neural plasticity, and how not only belief in dualism has proven beneficial in self-regulation tasks, but self-determined choices can permanently alter brain activity.
     
  23. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/context/have-sound-mind-brain-needs-body

    To have a sound mind, a brain needs a body
    BY
    TOM SIEGFRIED
    5:00PM, AUGUST 26, 20

    René Descartes was a very clever thinker. He proved his own existence, declaring that because he thought, he must exist: “I think, therefore I am.”

    But the 17th century philosopher-mathematician-scientist committed a serious mental blunder when he decided that the mind doing the thinking was somehow separate from the brain it lived in. Descartes believed that thought was insubstantial, transmitted from the ether to the pineal gland, which played the role of something like a Wi-Fi receiver embedded deep in the brain. Thereafter mind-brain dualism became the prevailing prejudice. Nowadays, though, everybody with a properly working brain realizes that the mind and brain are coexistent. Thought processes and associated cognitive mental activity all reflect the physics and chemistry of cells and molecules inhabiting the brain’s biological tissue.

    Many people today do not realize, though, that there’s a modern version of Descartes’ mistaken dichotomy. Just as he erroneously believed the mind was distinct from the brain, some scientists have mistakenly conceived of the brain as distinct from the body. Much of the early research in artificial intelligence, for instance, modeled the brain as a computer, seeking to replicate mental life as information processing, converting inputs to outputs by logical rules. But even if such a machine could duplicate the circuitry of the brain, it would be missing essential peripheral input from an attached body. Actual intelligence requires both body and brain, as the neurologist Antonio Damasio pointed out in his 1994 book, Descartes’ Error.

    “Mental activity, from its simplest aspects to its most sublime, requires both brain and body proper,” Damasio wrote.

    That is why the brain is wired to various body parts by a peripheral nervous system. It’s not just for the brain to send messages telling the body how to move; the body also sends messages back, e-mailing the brain directly via electrical signaling along nerve fibers. And slower supplemental communication (sort of like snail mail) consists of chemicals that travel from the body to the brain via the bloodstream.

    “I am not saying that the mind is in the body,” Damasio emphasized. “I am saying that the body contributes more than life support and modulatory effects to the brain. It contributes a content that is part and parcel of the workings of the normal mind.”

    Consequently, efforts to mimic human intelligence must keep in mind that the mind and brain require a body. What’s true for real brains should also constrain artificial ones. Otherwise efforts to create artificial intelligence in computers or robots are doomed.

    “What we now call cognition or intelligence (and the brain, its physical ‘substrate’) has always evolved as part of a complete organism that had to survive and reproduce in the real world,” Rolf Pfeifer and colleagues write in the August issue of Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

    Interactions of the brain, body and environment govern both the evolution of intelligent species and the development and growth of individual organisms. “We have to investigate how brain, body, and environment interact to understand brain-body coevolution,” argue Pfeifer, of the University of Zurich in Switzerland, and coauthors Fumiya Iida and Max Lungarella. But the details of these processes have been left largely unexplored.

    “Although there seems to be increasing agreement that the body plays an essential role in cognition,” they write, “there has been relatively little work on detailing what the connection between brain and body looks like, how it shapes and drives our actions, and how it manifests itself in brain processing and behavior.”

    Pfeifer and collaborators, all artificial intelligence researchers, believe research in robotics may prove helpful in unraveling the ways embodiment influences intelligence in real brains. But those robots need to recognize that it’s not just a matter of a brain communicating with limbs and organs. Shape, form, and the materials that a body is made of are crucial elements in understanding the embodiment-intelligence connection. In particular, real bodies, unlike computers, are largely made of “soft” materials. (Your skeleton provides only 15 percent or less of your body weight.) The deformability of muscles and skin control much of the brain’s input, enabling you to maintain balance while walking or judge the shape of objects you touch or grasp.

    “It is as if the brain were outsourcing some of the control — or computation — to morphology and materials,” the researchers write.

    In recent years, artificial intelligence experts have developed a field called “soft robotics” in which flexible materials replace some of the old-style rigidity of metallic robots. Such robots have demonstrated interesting skills, but not yet anything like human brainpower.

    “What has been missing so far is an understanding of the relation of soft robotics to cognition and intelligence,” Pfeifer and coauthors suggest.

    They believe that research focusing on material properties, shape and form can help transform the limited reach of pure computational power to systems that can evolve, learn and develop cognitive skills analogous to the body-brain team that gives people their mental prowess. This approach, the researchers say, will teach “very powerful lessons about how to learn from biology and how to build better robots.” Its success would reaffirm the importance of avoiding false divisions between brain and body as well as brain and mind.

    So the next time you encounter people who try to defend Cartesian dualism, remind them of the old joke where Descartes walks into a bar and orders a beer. “Do you want nuts with that?” asked the bartender. “I think not,” Descartes replied, and disappeared.
     

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