Monday, February 25, 2008

Go with the Flow...'s what a dead fish would do! Speaking of fishy things, what would a Naturalistic picture of the mind look like? Would the mind be, basically, the brain processing information about the body's surroundings; that information being a bit like the copy (not the paint) in some painting of some external pattern caused by the (bearer of the) latter, much as I see the Moon because that image was caused by the Moon?
......But the Moon also causes the tides, whose patterns therefore resemble those of the Moon's orbit; and while the brain processes its information, estuaries do channel tidal waters between banks that are shaped, in part, by those very waters. And while the brain has evolved, to be a relatively stable system, so have land masses (without river-dragons perceiving pearls, presumably). The thing is, the structure of a physical process is just a set (of spatio-temporal correlations)...
......So we could find isomorphic structures (e.g. of a brain's mind momentarily believing that, since there is believing, hence there is a believer) physically instantiated within land masses (e.g. as a subset of the chemical structure); and so it seems that the only reason why materialistic theories of mind are not in serious trouble is that they don't actually exist (as actual theories). And since they don't, we can't actually apply Occam's razor to the extra-physical bits (not without losing a lot of predictive power).
......Now, there are other approaches to mind, but the scientific way to judge between property and substantial dualism would be to compare what they suggest (about the extra aspects of the world) with what the world itself indicates (we should test apposite aspects, of course; psychical and parapsychological researchers have tended not to). So, whereas property dualism seems to suggest a lot of empathic communion, a natural ease to telepathic exchanges of information (at least wherever brains had not evolved to block it), such as should be noticable were it there, do we actually find that?
......No, whereas substantial dualism suggests (since our quantum-mechanically physical brains are somehow affected by our choices) that we should expect micro-psychokinetic effects (more than telepathic ones, if our souls are as distinct as they seem to be) in living brains, which would naturally be more obscure. Maybe such effects could also be observed (less naturally, but then we are creative creatures) in other physical systems, although such things (unlike spoon-benders and poltergeists) have yet to be investigated properly (even though such effects are essentially controllable); but why? (Is it that Naturalism is unscientific?)

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