Re: Memes in Brains

From: Robin Faichney (
Date: Sat Oct 20 2001 - 13:55:31 BST

  • Next message: Robin Faichney: "Re: Memes in Brains"

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    Subject: Re: Memes in Brains
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    From: Robin Faichney <>
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    On Fri, Oct 19, 2001 at 12:21:17PM -0700, Dace wrote:
    > Hi Robin.
    > > The closer physicists get to
    > > subatomic reality, the further they get from all the types of objects
    > > and concepts that we evolved to be able to deal with. There is no way
    > > that any development "down there" is going to directly affect the way
    > > we think about the sort of things we normally think about.
    > My sentiments exactly. This was central to Bergson's outlook...

    I just read his entry in The Concise Encyclopedia of Western Philosophy
    and Philosophers. Very interesting.
    > > And mind, in
    > > particular, is a high-level phenomenon about which physicists can never
    > > have anything useful to say, unless it concerns the limits of physics.
    > Who says the mind is a phenomenon? If it were, then there's no reason why
    > physics couldn't inform us of its properties. It's precisely the self-existence of
    > mentality that puts it off limits to physics.

    You shouldn't take "phenomenon" to imply "objective".

    > Much like Wade, Chomsky suggests that the problem will be resolved only when
    > we've discovered yet another "mysterious" property of matter that somehow
    > accounts for mentality. He argues that whatever it turns out to be, it will
    > probably resemble in some way the field-based phenomena of physics. Given
    > the holistic nature of mental functioning (as opposed to the atomism of
    > neurotransmission) there must be some sort of field-type activity, inherent
    > to matter, which is exploited by organisms, particularly in brains. The
    > University of Arizona theorist, David Chalmers, claims that the emergence of
    > a scientific theory of mind depends on the elucidation of new laws of
    > physics. Indeed, Sheldrake has established two laws in regards to intrinsic
    > form, the law of conservation and the law of like-affects-like (over time).
    > Like Chomsky he recognizes the necessity of a field, something that's based
    > on space rather than matter and functions holistically. He discovered that
    > such a concept has existed since the 20s and has long been essential to
    > developmental biology, the morphogenetic field. Perhaps this is what
    > Chomsky is looking for.
    > The problem with all this is that physics recognizes no such thing as
    > "intrinsic form." These laws of conservation and resonance cannot be
    > physical laws. In physics, there's no intrinsic nature of any kind, no
    > "self," just relations, quantities, spacetime events. Nothing has absolute
    > self-nature. For that, you must turn to metaphysics. Ultimately, nature is
    > metaphysical. In fact, this statement is so true as to be meaningless,
    > since absolute (metaphysical) existence is already implied in the word
    > "ultimate." If science is to pursue reality and not merely phenomena, it
    > must be based on metaphysics.

    I'm not at all clear what you mean by "phenomena", but I don't see the
    need for science to radically change in any way. There again, I'm happy
    to admit that I haven't bothered to look very carefully into any of the
    alledged evidence of the inadequacy of current science. I believe that
    specialisation is unfortunately required, these days, to allow progress,
    and that's not within my own particular areas of interest. Scientific
    American and New Scientist are radical enough for me.

    "A prime source of meta-memes" -- inside information --
    Robin Faichney

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