Does Brain=Mind? How Valid Is Strict Materialism?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Thejourney318, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. First of all, I would like to address a point that often gets raised during these sorts of discussions. The fact that many aspects of our mental realities can be definitely shown to correlate to certain chemicals and circuits in the brain. Now, I actually think that probably every mental activity we experience has a physical component. But to me that does not at all refute the notion of an immaterial mind. To me, this is an error in the materialist way of thinking. To say that we can demonstrate a definite correlation to some physical activity in the brain and some mental state of the individual, does not prove that the physical activity is CAUSING the mental state. That is purely speculative. It's beyond what can be reasonably extracted from the observable correlations. And again, I am quite sure that physical correlations can be found for literally everything mental, much more than what we currently know.
    But there are other interpretations, equally valid in terms of what we actually know. The physical correspondence could reflect the mental state. That's basically the question, and again we don't actually have any proof of this one way or the other now. But, does an immaterial mind cause changes in the material brain, or does the material brain cause changes to the experience of mind? I get sad, my brain's chemical levels change in the ways that it does when you are sad. Is your mind reacting to the chemicals, or is your mental state causing a change in your brain's chemicals? If it's true that your mind causes physical changes in the brain, then there is an actual immaterial reality, or at least aspect of reality. And then we're right back to spirituality.
    It's good to think about this I think. If you accept an immaterial mind, strict materialism goes right out the window, and this is quite often the overall world-view of many people who speak on scientific matters. And I don't mean that at all as a comment that is intended to dis-credit science. Obviously science is pretty much the most demonstrably effective tool of all time. But world-views predominate at various times, and certainly the modern scientist isn't beyond that. Technically if someone stuck strictly with the scientific method, they simply wouldn't speculate beyond the evidence. But, we are human, and we form world-views. And strict materialism is just that, a world view, and in many cases is an assumption in interpreting evidence, rather than being what the evidence itself says. So my point is, to accept an immaterial mind at all will inevitably open your mind up to new possibilities, or at least to a greater sense of uncertainty, if it's actually thought about in any depth. With the acceptance of an immaterial mind, we are really right back in the realm of spirituality. Spirit, immaterial mind, at a certain point it becomes semantics and individual interpretation.

  2. We can scientifically prove that the physical brain is our mind.

    When we add chemicals, electrical, or physical stimuli, thoughts change.

    The idea that there is more to the mind is just speculation.

  3. You could say I'm a materialist, but the only people who'd call me that are immaterialists who've created a religious belief around their immaterialism.

    It's the same concept as gods. Why would I believe something that has no evidence? It's not a falsifiable claim.. and I'm not one to buy into those types of claims. Using gods again, most believers would say that means I believe gods aren't real if I don't believe in them.. but that isn't the case. There's no just evidence to believe in them so why form any kind of judgement?

    Because an immaterial mind is not falsifiable, you're free to believe it all you want without there being a chance for it to be disproved. No matter what you get shown, how the brain can be physically manipulated therefore manipulating your mind, how we can read our emotions by reading our brain waves, how you can see you physically feelings emotions throughout your nervous system in your body, all that stuff.. all you need to do is cop out and say "well its beyond that and those are just traces". That's a bullshit belief on par with specific theistic claims. You'd probably think someone was misguided if they believed in a personal god, and that's what an immaterial mind is. A belief system that relies on lack of evidence for and ignoring the evidence against.

    Just like all belief, you're free to believe it.. but you're wrong in saying that just because someone lacks belief in immaterialism that they don't speculate. If that were the case, no "materialist" scientist would ever advance unless they pawned off speculation to someone else.
  4. The universe is crazy eh..... creating a organisms that can survive and reproduce. Chaos theory is in my mind. Earth was too empty and energy+matter+time were there. Are we nothing more than matter? Could anything actually be more than matter in such a universe? Too much, too much for me.
  5. Speaking of universe, a good way to look at it is that our brains evolved to interpret the universe.. not create it. Most people who believe in an immaterial mind believe that it creates most, if not all, aspects of the universe. That is not the case, it is a tool for observation.. That's not to say the brain can't create stuff, but it is only created within the brain. An immaterial mind is a belief that is too close to the belief in a creator.. and I've seen nothing that says this universe was created by any outside forces.
    Until Quantum Mechanics and other emerging fields prove otherwise, I'm with Yuri.
  7. Who cares about material and immaterial? These too, are simply conceptual constructs attempting to relate the nature of a reality that is here for us to experience. Do you want to know what mind is? It's this experience, right here. Every sight and sound that we glimpse and hear. Every sensation is mind. This mind is the thusly-aware-buddha.

    Mind is everything. What's a brain? Mind never dies. It is not born. Mind is eternal. What's material and immaterial?
  8. I think it's not a coincidence that the humans evolved from pond scum into something capable of love, meaning and discovery.
    There's a purpose behind it. If not, why didn't we evolve into a mindless tentacle beast, why human civilization?
  9. #9 2000PoundsofReggie, Oct 22, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2014
    I don't get why you, in one breath, are disparaging the faculty of conceptual discernment (as in regards to noting the differences between substance), or at least, devaluing its worth, and then going onto subsequently relate a "truth" which can only be assimilated by means of concepts? - key words/concepts: "experience", "here", "reality", "every", "everything", "without birth", "eternity", etc.,
    Chemical and physical stimuli influence our mind/mental state. The idea that this stimuli actually creates your thoughts is fallacious. 
    Look at it like the stimuli physically stimulating your brain which is then creating your thoughts..
    Physical stimuli produce sensations, not thoughts.
    Said sensations effect the brain, which is where your thoughts happen. I take it you believe in a mind that is apart from the brain?
    Right, you said it yourself -- sensations effect thoughts, not create them. I'm not entirely sure one way or the other but using the classic philosophical method is my preferred route of obtaining important information.  :smoke: 
    But your brain creates your thoughts, correct? Your brain is your mind, your thoughts.. so altering your brain will alter your thoughts. Philosophical methodology isn't a bad thing, but that tells me you're looking at the mind/brain dilemma and asking "why?" rather than "how?".. you need a mix of both, but ultimately in the end.. it typically winds up being an answer to "how?".
  16. #16 Verts, Oct 22, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2014
    No, and no. This is the exact opposite of my side of argument -- your brain can influence and be influenced by your mind, but ultimately it does not create your conscious thinking self. 
    The philosophical method is not asking any one specific question, it is simply the method of obtaining knowledge through a conscious and intelligent "argument" so to speak. It is what Plato called the dialogue in the soul, it is essentially a running critique of already known facts and ideas to further them to their most logical, scientific, and acceptable definition. 
  17. #17 nativetongues, Oct 22, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2014
    Does mind always exist or is it created/destroyed by every organism? How does an immaterial thing interact with a material thing? What evidence do you have to lead you to believe that the mind is not merely composed of matter?
  18. #18 *ColtClassic*, Oct 22, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2014
    *oops, after reading your post a second time, now I feel like a dumbass, I'll leave my answer though....*
    Evolutionary advantage...
    Would a mindless, tentacled beast really have an advantage over a species that can fabricate a spear and band together for its survival, not to mention harvest fire and develop language?
    I would agree with this. However, when a mind is deprived of all stimulation (sensory deprivation) it will begin to hallucinate and fabricate its own phantom sensory input.
  19. I'm sure an intelligent sentient being could thrive on Earth with no concept of love, art, beauty, laughter, spirituality, justice, hope, dreams, good, etc.

    Why did these things ever need to be?
    I think they are an inevitable byproduct of intelligence.
    Collective knowledge serves an evolutionary advantage, so maybe these are just inherent artifacts or products of an ever increasing collective knowledge.
    Does language inevitably lead to such things? Their presence in thousands of different cultures across humanity would make me think so, but without another species to study and draw a parallel from, how can we really know?
    Very interesting stuff, Messiah.

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