Re: Definition please

From: Dace (
Date: Fri Dec 07 2001 - 02:08:55 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Definition please
    Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2001 18:08:55 -0800
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    >> 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.
    > They're the same thing viewed from different perspectives. Mind is
    > brain from the point of view of time, while brain is mind from the point
    > of view of space. It's possible to distinguish heads from tails while
    > recognizing that ultimately there's only one thing-- the coin.

    William Benzon wrote:

    >From *Beethoven's Anvil* (pp. 71-72):

    I want to approach to this problem in the manner of Gilbert Ryle╣s
    The Concept of Mind. Rather than wonder how the mysterious and
    ineffable mind can connect with the mysterious but concrete brain,
    I propose a definition:

    Mind: The dynamics of the entire brain, perhaps even the entire
    nervous system, including the peripheral nervous system,
    constitutes the mind.

    If that's so, then why shouldn't it be true of every known organic system?
    Do the dynamics of an entire eco-system constitute a mind? Do the dynamics
    of an entire cell constitute the mind of the cell? And what about machines?
    When you look under the hood of you car, each part in your engine is
    perfectly mindless, yet somehow a mind inheres to the engine as a whole. If
    this is not correct, then what is it that distinguishes a brain, not only
    from any other organic structure, but any mechanism that works as a whole?
    It certainly can't be complexity because if a worm brain has a mind, clearly
    a kidney or a liver in a mammal would have to possess one as well. Not to
    mention a computer or even a lawnmower.

    in the words of Stephen Kosslyn and Olivier Koenig, │the mind is what the
    brain does.▓[ ]

    In that case, there's no such thing as "mind." When you turn on your
    stereo, you don't have to postulate the existence of some sort of "entity"
    that accounts for the activities of the stereo. The stereo can be a thing
    or a set of actions. Same goes for the brain. Why should we have one word,
    "brain," for the existence of the brain and another word, "mind," for the
    things it does. Does your bicycle suddenly have a mind when it's being
    ridden down the street, only to revert to a mere object when it's hanging
    from a hook in your garage?

    Whether a neuron is firing at its maximum rate or idling along
    and generating only an occasional spike, it is participating in
    the mind.

    Whether a piston is firing at its maximum rate or idling along in neutral,
    it is participating in the mind of your car. That explains why everyone in
    LA has to have a name for their little livingroom on wheels.


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