--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "PaliGap" <compost1uk@...> wrote:
> --- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "Xenophaneros 
> Anartaxius" <anartaxius@> wrote:
> > We see other people, animals, and by their behaviour we
> > deem them to be conscious. Yet if the brain of these
> > beings is damaged in certain ways, that conscious 
> > behaviour departs. Injection of certain drugs, such as
> > Propofol (the one that killed the singer > Michael Jackson) 
> > causes consciousness to slip away, even when > death does
> > not occur. On this basis a scientist will conclude that
> > the physical world, and the brain in particular, by virtue
> > of its organisation, causes consciousness. Otherwise
> > consciousness would not depart if the brain were destroyed.
> I would hope that a scientist would NOT "on this basis" 
> conclude that the brain "causes" consciousness. Or, as 
> Salyavin808 would have it,  "creates" consciousness (using a 
> similar form of reasoning). 

Hardly *just* that basis.

> You both seem to be saying that "because damage to X results 
> in damage to Y, and the destruction of X results in the 
> destruction of Y, *therefore* X creates Y or X causes Y". This 
> appears to me to be an obviously flawed line of reasoning 
> (Judy has made this point previously). For example, take a 
> statue made from marble. If you chip the marble, you damage 
> the statue. If you destroy the marble you destroy the statue. 
> "On this basis" is a scientist to conclude that the marble 
> "causes" or "creates" the statue? 

That's an astoundingly weak argument. 

> And it gets worse. Even Supposing that we took your reasoning 
> to be valid after all and accepted as a consequence that the 
> brain "causes" consciousness. That does not mean (in itself) 
> that consciousness is "nothing but" the brain and can be 
> "reduced" to that particular material object. For example, 
> when I flick a switch, that causes my light to come on. But 
> that doesn't mean the light is "nothing but" the light switch.

Whoever said it was?

> Perhaps it's the word "cause" that is creating difficulties 
> here. What you and Salyavin808 are saying might make more 
> sense within an Aristotelian understanding: The brain is the 
> "material cause" of the mind. 
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_causes) But what that gains 
> in plausibility it sacrifices in significance I would have 
> thought. And in any case, scientistic types would hardly wish 
> to resurrect a primitive ancient like Aristotle to bolster 
> their scientific reductionism, would they?
> To add to the gaity, perhape we "mysterians" could lob a few 
> of our own ordnance into the fray.
> If you belive that mind is reducible to brain, what would you 
> predict would be the result of the amputation of a full half 
> of a person's brain? Well, such "hemispherectomies" do happen 
> (though mostly with children). And the results? 
> "Studies have found no significant long-term effects on 
> memory, personality, or humor after the procedure, and minimal 
> changes in cognitive function overall." 
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemispherectomy

Whoever said the brain was wired so that everything was on
one side?

And there is more to this than meets the eye. If I cut your
corpus calosum your right hand stops knowing what the left hand
is doing. Cover one eye and you'll know what you are looking
at even though you can't see it. These and many other experiments
have been done to show how one side of the brain controls the
other half of the body and the sufferer can go through life
without noticing, mostly. 

It doesn't contradict anything I've said about consciousness 
anyway. Placing of brain structures is well understood, it can be predicted 
what functions people will lose or have difficulty with after a damage to the 

> And what are we to make of a case such as the 44 year-old 
> French civil servant with a huge pocket of fluid where most of 
> his brain ought to be - as reported in the Lancet and Nature:

Surprising how much of the brain you don't need. Or how much you
can lose. You seem to be posting things as though you think
it's evidence that mind and brain are seperate and you can lose one without 
changing the other.

I can assume then that you've never known anyone with serious 
brain damage? it's amazing how they come back to being themselves,
even after losing large bits of the most recently evolved areas known to be 
associated with our higher functions, but never totally. 
Damage changes how people are and it's all well documented if you haven't 
personally had the misfortune of knowing someone who's been 
in a coma and seen the horror of their destroyed mind as they come out.

And then been astounded as bits of them start coming back online and after a 
few years they can be almost themselves. But, as I say, not quite. It's sad how 
people are affected. Lose from the back of the brain and you lose motor 
functions. Lose from the front and you
lose what makes you what we all think we are.

It generally takes a few years for the damaged brain to settle down and the 
changed personality to stabilise. I've seen this twice with people close to me, 
which is twice more than I hope anyone else has
to see it. 

During these events I learnt a lot about brains and saw a whole
lot of what they are capable of, or not. Believe me, brain damage is
a deep horror, your brain is everything you are, and to see someone
you love in that state makes you question everything about yourself
and who you are. You can fart around with dreamy philosophy and speculation 
about where it all comes from but the sad reality is
it's all in that lump of grey stuff between your ears.

Maybe you thought that cutting a brain in half down the middle is 
the same as cutting it crossways? That's one not to try at home!

So I'm not sure if you think you have demonstrated that there is 
more to being human than brains can account for but you haven't
to me. And you haven't mounted any argument against consciousness
being a process of the brain either.

> http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/07/20/us-brain-tiny- 
> idUSN1930510020070720
> http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070716/full/news070716-15.html
> Or again, what about when the direction of causality is 
> reversed? That is to say, if the influence of the brain on the 
> mind is put forward as evidence for reductionism, what are we 
> to conclude when the tables are reversed and the mind causes 
> the death of the brain? As in "pointing the bone":
> "The condemned man may live for several days or even weeks. 
> But, he believes so strongly in the curse that has been 
> uttered, that he will surely die. It is said that the ritual 
> loading of the kundela creates a "spear of thought" which 
> pierces the victim when the bone is pointed at him. It is as 
> if an actual spear has been thrust at him and his death is 
> certain."

Anxiety is a powerful thing. Why do you think this proves 
something pertinent to the argument here? It's like you've just
googled odd stuff about the brain and drawn some whoppingly
unnecessary argument out of it.

> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurdaitcha
> Finally, if, following Descartes (and now David Chalmers in 
> the video Judy posted) we conclude that the one indubitable 
> fact (for me) is "my being me", "my existence". How, as 
> reductive materialists, can we account for the fact that my 
> existence has remained constant throughout my life, whereas 
> every part of my body and brain has changed? There is very 
> little sense in which the brain I have now is the same as the 
> one I had at age five. But there is plenty of sense in saying 
> that I am the same individual now as my self when I was five. 
> In fact the entire emotional, social, intellectual, ethical, 
> judicial and religious fabric of our lives is based on this 
> simple idea of "individuals" - their concerns, their 
> histories, their rights, their duties and so forth. Brains 
> don't have such attributes.

LOL! Whoever said they did? What do you think those thousands
of billions of interconnected cells are doing in there? Just
one neuron has been shown to trigger memories pertaining to
a single event and in every way imaginable - social, ethical,
visual, all triggering billions of connections all the time
and we are getting better at measuring. We can record dreams
already! Not in dolby surround but it won't be long.
> Ergo, individuals are not brains.

Ergo! I think not. You haven't stayed the same, our minds
create what we think is a constant picture but memories change
over time and are surprisingly unreliable. It's brains that remember stuff, go 
back to brain damage, do you think memories remain after losing a large section 
of the frontal cortex? You'd be wrong. 
One of the accident victims I know has huge swathes of missing 
memory and frequently has friends coming up to them that they have
no recollection of.

However you also make another fundamental error here, your brain doesn't 
change, you keep the same brain cells throughout your life 
and only ever lose them. So it is the same brain but experience changes 
memories or they get deleted through lack of use. This is pretty basic 
neurophysiology dude. You want to read more than just
an X means Y philosophy primer if you want to convince me of this weird and 
baseless idea.

PS It's an old wives tale that everything gets changed on every few months, 
tooth enamel doesn't and heart muscles are mostly the same ones you were born 
with and it's actually only statistically likely that you've changed the water 
in your body. 

Back to the drawing board for you my friend. But as you like
reading try this:


Food for thought.


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