Re: Definition please

From: Ray Recchia (
Date: Tue Dec 04 2001 - 06:50:37 GMT

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    Date: Tue, 04 Dec 2001 01:50:37 -0500
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    Subject: Re: Definition please
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    Hey Ted,

    At 07:26 PM 12/3/2001 -0800, you wrote:
    > > At 10:09 AM 12/2/2001 -0800, you wrote:
    > > The 'brain' as you describe it is an external description of the
    > > mind. Once neurologists have it all worked they will be able to describe
    > > what you label 'the mind' with these parts of the brain.
    >In that case, what will be the point of retaining the concept of "mind?" If
    >it's only been a useful illusion all along, as Dennett argues, won't its
    >usefulness have come to an end at that point?

    It will probably still be useful for describing the apparent illusion
    created by perspective.

    > > >We have internal senses to monitor what's inside our bodies just as we
    > > >external senses to monitor what's outside. But minds are not inside our
    > > >bodies. A surgeon can locate your appendix. The same cannot be said of
    > > >your mind.
    > >
    > > Where exactly is it located then?
    >As far as the mind has location, that location is the brain's. For the
    >mind, location is an accidental quality. At its essence, it is spaceless.
    >We already know of one natural object-- time-- which has no definable
    >spatial location, so it shouldn't come as a shock that another natural
    >object is similarly nonlocal.

    Since the brain and the mind are the same thing, I would have to say that
    their occupation of the same space is necessity not accident. 'Accident'
    would be applicable if that occupation was the exception, not the
    rule. However, I would be interested in any examples you have of the mind
    and brain existing in two different locations.

    I would not define 'time' as an object any more than I would define 'red',
    or 'up' as objects, which also have no physical manifestations. Well,
    since all of these things are defined in my mind, then one could say that
    in some sense they have physical manifestations in the brain.

    >The true "location" of mind is time. To have a mind is to act on the basis
    >of memory in the pursuit of goals. You can take the space out of mind, but
    >try removing the time and nothing's left.

    Please offer a demonstration of how the space can be taken out of the
    brain. Memory is physically manifest in the brain. Even working in your
    abstract method how does one act without doing so in space?

    By analogy, a software program would also exist in time, since it uses
    memory in pursuit of goals.

    > >I believe that there is a lot of evidence to indicate that if certain
    > > portions of the brain are removed cognitive and emotional function are
    > > impaired. It is possible that 'anxiety' does not map to an exact region
    > > the brain, much in the same way that a program can be located in different
    > > regions of computer's memory, but it is in the brain.
    >Are *you* afraid, or is it your amygdala?

    I am my amygdala (if that is how it is spelled). Just like I am my molecules.

    >If the observations of the brain point to the external location of the
    >brain, then in what sense are these observations internal? The brain is
    >already inside. How much more "inside" can you get? Not spatially,
    >certainly. There's only one other option.

    Well the observations of the brain are not internal. Observations of the
    brain involve extensions of external senses. The mind is observations made
    by internal senses. I'll cut and paste from my previous post here.

    >With my eyes, my ears, and my sense of feeling I observe the world outside
    >my body. I also have internal sensors that tell me the status of my
    >physical condition, like pain receptors, the things that tell me when I am
    >hungry, and the senses that allow me to be aware of the placement of my
    >limbs. Similarly I have senses inside my brain that make me aware of my
    >mental state. With extensions of my external senses I can examine my body
    >from the outside. Those external extensions allow me to engage in very
    >precise measurements that my senses by themselves are incapable of. And
    >which those extensions we have learned a more precise and quantifiable
    >fashion what exactly is happening inside my stomach that my internal
    >sensors report as hunger. There is no way at the present to create similar
    >extensions inside my head to measure more precisely what the internal
    >sensors of my state of mind tell me. The computer analogy is an apt one.
    >Trying to get at what my internal sensors are telling me by using
    >extensions of my external sensors is like trying to examine the
    >programming of a computer by physically examining the chips. The
    >difference between the computer and the brain for purposes of this analogy
    >(because of course there are lots of other differences) is that the
    >analogous internal sensors (output devices) are much more accurate tools
    >and we have already mapped out all the correlations between the internal
    >programming and the external physical devices that encode them because we
    >created them. The mind/brain analogy is no more mystical than the
    >hardware/software analogy.

    If I do not respond to future posts please do not take it is an indicator
    that I have no arguments to refute your statements and have adopted your
    position. Just assume that I believe that I have already given you the
    answers and your new objections raise nothing new to refute them.

    Ray Recchia

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