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ZC wrote: If it's so, is the "in this world" comment an irrelevant and purely linguistic point of Daiton's argument; or instead, is it an ESSENTIAL PART of the premise of his argument?

Instead of speculating, I would suggest you ask Dainton.

ZC wrote: In fact, the importance of the "in this world" comment was stressed by Keith when he said "Note that they would still be "in this world" during OBEs, but if OBEs are actual separations, the brain is evidently not needed to see, hear, think, remember, etc, "in this world."

I added that point only so you wouldn't jump all over that parenthetical comment as if it were substantial. Obviously, it is not substantial since OBEs occur "in this world" even though the mind is said to be fully brainless at that point.

If OBEs are mind-body separations in which the physical world is viewed from some particular vantage point in space, they obviously occur in this world. I pointed this out only in the hopes of succinctly preempt your jumping on that phrase.

ZC wrote: Why did Keith stress the "in this world" phrase in his example of OBEs? Precisely, because it supports his argument (and precisely by this reason, I said his argument is a non-sequitur, because his conclusion pretend to be valid to another world too, a conclusion that is not entailed by the "in this world" premise)

This is not true. I used it because I knew you would pick up on Dainton's use of it. My position is that Dainton's point would be valid even without the parenthetical comment. There is no reason to add the qualifier "(in this world)." The qualifier "(in this world or some other)" would work just as well, in my view. Which you should understand, since I explicitly said that I don't think a change of venue changes anything. As I said before, the soul is what it is no matter where it is located.

One might just as well say: "A rocket needs some energy source to propel itself (in this world)." One could have well just said: "A rocket needs some energy source to propel itself." Why? Because to propel itself, a rocket always needs some kind of energy source. The qualifer "in this world" is unnecessary, because it would be true if lifting off from the Earth or the Moon or any other celestial body.

ZC wrote: In other words, Keith seems to concede that the "this world" comment is not a mere irrelevant linguistic move, but an important part of the argument, with potentially important metaphysical implications for the positions being discussed.

I do not. I was preempting your predictable emphasis on that parenthetical comment. After all, a human being only needs a digestive system to digest food IN THIS WORLD. That says nothing about whether a human being needs a digestive system to digest food IN ANOTHER WORLD. I've seen this move before, but just because it can be made does mean anything substantial follows from it.

ZC writes: Dualism and materialism poses a connection between mental states and brain states, not between mental states and countries.

OK, but what's the significance of this to my point? Remember, for the sake of argument I am granting a kind of dualism: compound theory. We are not talking about how the mind-brain connection differs according to materialists vs. according to dualists. I am granting the dualist's position, and asking how personal survival is possible given a neuroscientifically informed dualism. So metaphysical assumptions about the mind-body relationship aren't in dispute, as I am granting the dualist his metaphysical assumptions.

ZC writes: As consequence of 1, Keith's assertion of lobotomy impairing mental functioning in this country is IRRELEVANT for dualism (and materialism!).

Now we're no longer in the realm of metaphysical theories. It's pure empirical evidence that is the deciding factor to the argument. "A lobotomy impairs mental functioning" implies that "mental functioning is at least partially determined by one's brain state." If one's brain is destroyed, then, mental functioning must be affected by that destruction. And, given how much the brain is known to contribute to mental functioning, it must be affected a lot. Whether "in this world" or "some other." The mind will be whatever it was without a brain whether in this world during an OBE, or in another world during an NDE. The nature of the mind would be the same. Only the location has changed.

The point in bringing up OBEs is that it clearly doesn't allow you make a big deal of "in this world" since OBEs, on a separationist theory, are "in this world." A brainless mind in this world is still a brainless mind in another world, just like a rocket on Earth is still a rocket on Mars.

ZC writes: ...lobotomy-caused impairments will continue in "another world"

That's not the argument. The argument is something more like this. If a lobotomy destroys (say) 25% of the brain, and it debilitates the mind this much, the mind would be (say) four times as debilitated if it could somehow survive (as an X-factor or whatever) a "full-brain lobotomy" (i.e., the destruction of 100% of the brain). That would be true for a brainless mind in this world OR some other one.

ZC writes: Because your analogical assertion is irrelevant to the point we're discussing.

Perhaps. I'm certainly not immune to the possibility of missing something. BUT I don't think you've established that the this world/that world distinction is relevant. That's why I brought in OBEs, to show it is not relevant. In OBEs, the brainless mind is said to be able to do things without a brain it shouldn't be able to do, given neuroscientific facts. That's just as true if you simply move that brainless mind to some other realm.

And the "move" from one world to another isn't important anyway, since in maintaining that something actually does leave the body during OBEs, you are in effect saying that it's NOT true that "minds need (in this world) brains in order to function properly." For in an OBE, according to you, that statement is false--for you maintain that minds are NOT impaired during an OBE (and may even be enhanced).

ZC writes: We're discussing a scientific and metaphysical question regarding consciousness (and its existence and dependence of the physical world, or of another world), not a geographical discussion about countries.

This seems the point of confusion. In fact, we are NOT discussing the dependence of consciousness on what world it is in. We are talking about its dependence upon the brain, regardless of what world it is in. Compound theory says a brain is needed to make the mind what it is. Take the brain part of the compound away, and the X factor that remains will be less than what it was--pure and simple. And regardless of whether you "put" it in the physical world or some other world.

ZC wrote: This assertion suffices to refute your own speculations (posed as analogous to my actual arguments) about embodied minds existing in this or another country.

No, the argument was a reductio ad absurdum of your argument. Location in country doesn't matter for the same reason that location in world doesn't matter. "Location" is not the issue at all! The issue is what the mind would be once the brain that contributed to its embodied nature was taken away. It would be less than what it was without the brain's contribution. Like me, this is what Dainton was getting as, and explicitly said. "This world" or "that world" doesn't change the equation.

ZC wrote: Also, the idea that "a soul is whatever it is" doesn't implies that a soul will function in the same way in a embodied state than in a disembodied one.

Of course it won't. When embodied, the brain is helping it out in myriad ways. Disembodied, and all the brain's help is removed. So clearly the mind will function differently in those two different states. But those two different states are "conjoined with a brain" vs. "not conjoined with a brain." The relevant different states are NOT "in this world" vs. "in that world." I brought up OBEs to make this clear without a lot of prose, but evidently that wasn't clear enough, so here's the explanation now.

ZC wrote: If a soul needs a brain do to math WHILE EMBODIED, it doesn't follow the soul can't do math while DISEMBOIDED.

I think that this is where we simply have to agree to disagree. If the soul could do math while disembodied, then it should not need the brain to do it when embodied. So destroying a particular area of the brain should not destroy one's ability to do math--but it does.

Or, to look at it another way: If BOTH the brain AND the disembodied mind could do math, then the embodied mind should be able to call upon its own resources to take over what the damaged brain can no longer do. But that doesn't happen.

Now it may be logically possible that the disembodied soul can do all of the things that it could only do because of the brain when it was embodied, but it's not likely. Because if the mind could do those things better on its own, then it wouldn't make sense to employ the brain to do them instead, especially since the mind's abilities would not be at the mercy of developmental delays and strokes and so on (whereas the brain's abilities would be).

In other words, it's almost as if you are saying that each person has two minds "around" at the same time, but when one is running, the other one is not. When the brain is up and running, the soul is asleep. And when the brain dies, the soul wakes up!

But if we assume that we have just one mind that is at one point conjoined to a brain, at another time free of it, then it is clear that the brain made possible certain mental things, and without the brain, those mental things would no longer be possible. It's as if you have to say the soul has some secondary backup brain built in that it never uses until the moment of death (or an OBE, or whatever). Again, this is logically possible, but it is clearly reaching to have to go to this kind of extreme to maintain your position. Such a secondary "backup" brain is clearly ad hoc. Why not posit a third backup brain for when the second one fails, while your at it? Why not, indeed, posit an infinite number of backup astral brains? I concede that it is logically possible that the soul has a second backup brain that doesn't decay; but it's also logically possible that it has 10 backup brains. Why think that it has any, except to save personal survival from undermining evidence?

ZC wrote: Unless you asssume that my english is absolutely "produced" by this blog (and, hence, can't exist outside or with independence of it)...

Come on, ZC, do I really have to say it again? I'm rejecting the productive hypothesis for the sake of this argument, and granting you a dualist compound theory. So your comment is irrelevant to the argument. Remember the dilemma: production is the simplest explanation, but compound theory is the other horn of the dilemma. So you rejecting production doesn't get the conclusion you want. Only adding ad hoc corollories (like conjecturing a second hidden brain) can do that.

ZC wrote: You're confounding a metaphysical matter, with a geographical one. This is the basic flaw of your reply, which makes it irrelevant for this discussion.

On the contrary, you're conflating "conjoined with a brain" vs. "separate from a brain" with "in this world" vs. "in some other world." Those two distinctions aren't equivalent to one another.

ZC wrote: Yes, because mind is independent of contries.

And worlds, too, I might add!

ZC wrote: The soul needs of an occipital lobe to process visual information while EMBODIED

And presumably not when disembodied. That's fine; you can get to that conclusion by invoking convoluted secondary brains that take over the information processing lost when the living brain decays. (And maybe those brains, too, have their own backups, ad infinitum!) But you can't pretend that that conclusion is as probable as the simpler compound theory (or the even simpler still production theory). So you have a logically possible ad hoc way out of the dilemma, but a way out that is even less probable than either of the two horns of the dilemma, since it assumes the existence of even more things (secondary brains) than are needed by either horn of the dilemma.
If that is route you must take to maintain your position, why not just posit that God creates an entirely new brain and body for us? If you can posit a secondary brain waiting for us, might as well posit a God that makes it for us upon our death. (Hasker actually argues for something like this!) Dualism would inch one step closer to miraculous resurrection, and inch one step further away from science.

ZC wrote: In other words, we don't if if the soul has inherent faculties of processing information

OK, so I was right about where your argument was going: the brain does those functions redundantly and dangerously now, but the soul has a backup which can ALSO do them BUT only works when the brain dies and such that we can never verify the existence of such a backup (without dying). That certainly goes beyond the neuroscientific evidence and so invokes an element of faith, I'd say, that any such backup exists. As unlikely as cryonics is, by comparison I'd take my chances with it over such a mere conjecture.

ZC wrote: Again, a materialistic question-begging element is clearly implicit here.

I don't think one needs to invoke materialism to get to my conclusion. Neutral monist Bertrand Russell certainly didn't, and neither did David Hume. One only need invoke probability. Your solution posits, out of thin air, the existence of more things than mine. I think we can let Ockham's razor do the rest. No materialism needed.

ZC wrote: Again, Keith's question assumes that information processing of visual experiences is an exclusive and only product of a brain. Hence, if a brain doesn't exist, visual processing is not possible anymore and can't exist in any world.

Indeed. You have to posit some secondary brain to take over what the lost brain did. You may say the soul has that capacity built in already, but since it cannot manifest this capacity at any time when it could be verified (while alive, for example when compensating for brain damage), it can never be more than a posit. And one that doesn't explain any additional neuroscientific facts, and so can be razored. (Yes, I know you might well point to parapsychological evidence, just as a UFOlogist might appeal to UFOlogical evidence to settle an astrophysical question. I've said enough about why that tact doesn't give sufficient reason to reject an astrophysical theory that the UFOlogists might not like, and this would apply to parapsychologists, too. But the neuroscientific evidence needs to be assessed on its own merits, and when that is done, my conclusion is the better explanation of those facts.)

(Note: When assessing Stevenson's CORT cases, they too have to be assessed on their own merits; one cannot simply say that they are all wrong because of neuroscience. One has to look at them independently of the neuroscientific evidence, evaluate their worth on their own merits, and then LATER weigh that worth against the neuroscientific evidence in an assessment of the overall evidence.)

ZC wrote: I think your argument, in the mode defended by you, actually require the nonexistence of another world where consciousness could retain memories and personal individuality.

I disagree. Suppose there is some other world. You would still need some mechanism by which "memories and personal individuality" could be copied over to it. And so you have to posit another world, and posit a mechanism of preserving those traits or getting them from here to there. That's two posits that could be razored by simplicity considerations.

Remember, I already anticipated the sort of argument you settle upon with my "dropping the computer into molten steel" example. It is certainly superfluous to think that, if I created the only copy of Windows XP, and it was only on that about-to-be-destroyed computer, some "magical elf" might invisibly make a copy of it before I toss it in. That's logically possible, but there's no reason to think that actually happens. Ditto for the mind having capacities it never manifests in any way that we could ever verify while alive. You might as well posit that we become Olympian gods when we die; the only thing limiting what can be posited by fiat is your own imagination, after all.

ZC wrote: All the properties of a copy of Windows XP are explanable in physical terms.

This is irrelevant. Windows XP in my analogy is what the brain contributes to the compound, which is something that compound theory, not production, supposes. Production supposes that 100% of mental activity is brain-contributed. Compound theory supposes some lesser amount, but still much of mental activity is only possible because of the brain.

So the analogy is a good one. In your terms, the copy of Windows XP about to go in the molten steel IS on the computer: it is the brain-side information processing. You are positing that the the X-factor has similar but SEPARATE information processing that it only reveals at the last possible moment. That SEPARATE processing survives. So this analogy holds even on your own argument. It's just that a secondary brain is superfluous and ad hoc and so can be razored (but is as logically possible as it ever was).

ZC: There is no anomalies (like subjectivity, quali, psi, morality, intentionality) that compels us to postulate non-physical alternatives for the functioning of Windows XP.

There's nothing remotely comparable to subjectively in today's computers, that's true. But I allowed part of the computer to survive, the CPU, to represent part of the mind surviving (but not the whole thing). So the analogy works, because the point is the much of the mental processing is destroyed, not all of it. Enough that individuality goes with it.

ZC wrote: But point 1 is not valid to consciousness. We don't know if physicalism is true regarding consciousness (and if it's true or not is part of the issue at stake).

We are here assuming conscious awareness is the X-factor, and information processing is done brain-side. I'm not saying consciousness is necessarily destroyed. I'm saying that any surviving consciousness with no information processing abilities at all would not be your personal survival. That should be relatively uncontroversial (with you simply denying that the surviving consciousness has no separate information processing abilities of its own.)

ZC wrote: His analogy requires the truth of physicalism both for the copy of Windows XP and for consciousness.

Not so, per what I said immediately above this.

ZC wrote: No reason at all! Precisely, because PHYSICALISM IS TRUE REGARDING THE COPY OF WINDOWS XP.

This is where your argument goes off track. Your argument concedes that the brain-side information processing IS destroyed, and in its place posits a redundant secondary information processing system (that the soul has but never manifests before death). Windows XP is the brain-side information processing in the analogy. The analogy is fine, and is compatible with compound theory.

ZC wrote: Instead of the CPU, let's to suppose you pulled out the HARD DISK

Ah, but the hard drive's most natural analogue would be biologically stored information, the material vulnerable to what happens to the brain (like one's dispositions, personality traits, memories). So it would have to go with the rest of the system. It would not be the secondary backup system that you think the mind has, because that would be invulnerable to brain damage and would never manifest until death (or separation from the body).

ZC wrote: Also, if you pulled out the hard disk, you can destroy the rest of the computer. But the copy of windows XP will be preserved, will survive after the computer destruction and could be used in another (new) computer.

But again, the stuff on the hard disk is the stuff that is vulnerable to brain destruction, and so would have to be what is contributed brain-side to the "compound," and so would have to be destroyed when the brain is destroyed. Your position is that subjectivity is the X-factor, and the rest of the individuality is contributed brain side, which is why individuality is at the mercy of a stroke.

ZC wrote: I'm forced to say that my current personal opinion is that his best arguments are extremely weak as a serious or fatal objection to dualism and the transmission theory.

That's OK, I love you too ZC :)~

(Oh, and, my argument, but Broad, Hart, Stokes, and Dainton's argument, too. And whom I mentioned because they are apparently sympathetic to dualism--not that that fact has impressed much on some here regarding their impartiality on the issues.)

Ian wrote: Keith you either haven't read my essay...

Indeed, I haven't. It is hard enough keeping up with just what is said in this thread. I don't need to add 10 hours more of replying to my plate. You have a different analogy, and you have produced it, succinctly, as you should have done all along. This thread is like a book; I don't need another book at another site to pile on top of it.

Ian wrote: Unfortunately you're completely missing the point by conflating the self with the mind. If Dainton said that then he is wrong. As are you.

So be it; you say you're right, and you say I'm wrong. I'm inclined to leave it at that, since I think ZC's reasoning led us both to a point where the issue simply becomes one of yielding Ockham's razor.

Incidentally, I don't like your TV analogy, for whatever it is worth. It unnecessarily complicates the issues, making it harder to see what follows from your analogy. Mine is simpler and thus easier to work with, and I think it is clear how each element in my analogy is analogous to the mind and brain. To see that this is not just my opinion, I recommend you write out the causal chain as I did, and you'll see that, for the sort of position you want to offer, it is better to just jettison the TV analogy and use some different one. It more naturally serves as an analogy for simple dualism, just like the Predator drone/Mars rover analogy.

Ian wrote: So your 5 step argument is wrong-headed from the start.

You are certainly free to conclude as much. I like ZC's approach of actually looking at what follows from the argument better, though, since I can follow reasoning better than assertions. I think some of her statements are wrong (and I think I worked out why), but I congratulate her for sticking with me long enough to tease out where the two of us simply reach an impasse. She is the only one here to push the argument that far, and if she hadn't, I don't think it would be clear precisely where our fundamental disagreement occurs. I appreciate her sorting through all the distracting arguments to get to the meat of the issues.

Ian wrote: Broad is implying that should disembodied consciousness exist we should be able to physically detect it.

You assume that. Broad never says that. Indeed, the AWARE study could gives us strong enough evidence of disembodied minds without any physical detection at all. What is needed is some means of verification, that's all.

That said, independently of Broad, I do think that you should be able to detect the influence of something external on the brain. Because "influence" implies different functioning than would be present in the absence of influence. Influence would have to be detectable, since changes in the brain are detectable, and without influence certain changes would not occur compared to when influence in present. It's quite simple, really. That's what interaction means.

Ian wrote: Therefore by assuming some sort of materialist position at the outset he is also implicitly rejecting the possibility of an afterlife.

Broad doesn't. He assumes compound theory, which is sophisticated dualism. It is not materialism. Hence all his talk about a "psi factor" and a "compound." (A compound of what, brain and brain?! No, a compound of brain and psi factor.)

Ian wrote: In brief, should disembodied selves exist they will be non-physical and not directly detectable by any of the physical senses.

Aye, but their interaction would be detectable. If a car battery was invisible, its presence could be inferred by whether the car starts, or not. Its presence makes a difference, and that difference is detectable.

Ian wrote: Zetetic chick I think your reply to Keith was truly excellent.

I concur, even if it was not perfect in demonstrable ways. It got to the heart of the dispute, which is something that has not yet happened in this dialogue. Kudos! I am inclined to end this discussion here if ZC is. (I never thought it would last this long in the first place.)

So a middle way through the dilemma is possible. But don't celebrate too quickly, because that middle way is less probable than either of the horns of the dilemma itself, if one invokes abductive criteria for evaluating competing hypotheses like Ochkamist simplicity. And my argument from the start has been a probablistic: personal survival probably doesn't happen. Indeed, I know of know writer who has ever said it was logically impossible for there to be personal survival. It has always simply been something very unlikely. And it still is, if you have to invoke unknown capacity of the X factor that only unverifiable come to life when the brain is gone. And this is where ZC and I part ways. (Sorry, honey) ;)(Just a joke about parting ways, not a sexist comment!)

Jime: I'm exhausted, so I'll just say that standard criteria like inference to the best explanation, or Bayesian probability, if you wanted to apply them, would yield that conclusion. And I think I've already addressed why appealing to mediumship does not treat the issue on its own merits. The neuroscientific evidence has to be evaluated independently of the survival evidence, then when two separate evaluations are done, each can be weighed against the other.

Keith wrote, "The point in bringing up OBEs is that it clearly doesn't allow you make a big deal of 'in this world' since OBEs, on a separationist theory, are 'in this world.' "

OBEs often involve perceptions of this world, but the modality seems quite different from ordinary perceptions. OBErs often report such things as:

- unusually vivid perception
- perception of almost microscopically fine detail (e.g. the individual hairs in someone's head)
- 360-degree perception
- lightning-fast transitions from one location to another, usually prompted by a simple thought
- telepathy
- passage through solid barriers like walls

While they are perceiving the physical, earthly world, OBErs appear to be using some modality distinct from the physical senses and unconstrained by the limitations of the physical body.

Kenneth Ring's book "Mindsight," which explores cases of blind people's veridical visual perception during NDEs, considers the similarities and differences between normal perception and NDE (or OBE) perception. Ring concludes that while terms like "I saw" or "I heard" are used by percipients in an attempt to describe their experience, these terms are not quite accurate. The "seeing" and "hearing" seem to be more like direct apprehension of the object in a way that language cannot adequately express.

Now, the question might arise: If we can perceive our environment in this way, then why do we need any physical senses at all?

For me, the answer is that we need the physical senses and the whole mechanism of the nervous system in order to function in the body - to operate, i.e., to actually do things, in the physical world.

OBErs generally cannot do anything to affect the physical world they're observing. They can't pick up a book or eat an apple or talk to a (normally embodied) friend. In fact, they may report considerable frustration in their inability to "get through" to their loved ones. For the most part, doing things in the physical world - interacting with the physical, earthly environment - seems to require a body with a brain.

So we operate through our brains in order to use our bodies and have all the physical experiences this world offers. When we're done having those experiences and no longer require the body, then we continue to perceive and function in a new way, using some new modalities that are hard to explain in ordinary language.

It seems to me that OBEs greatly strengthen the case for a mind that operates free of the nervous system. OBEs are pretty much exactly what I would expect in such a scenario: expanded and enhanced perception unconstrained by bodily/sensory limitations, but lacking direct interaction between the percipient and his physical environment.

Regarding circular arguments: The problem frequently exists in the unstated premises of one’s presuppositions.

The fact that you haven’t explicitly stated a premise does not mean it isn’t somewhere behind driving your argument, and part of the challenge is trying to flush it out.

It’s that very thing you “take for granted” that no one on the opposite side grants you.

Persuasion occurs through the commitments of the party you are trying to persuade. Simply stating something is true, stating that it’s “taken for granted” is not an argument that makes the case to those who DON’T take it for granted. You can’t PROVE to an atheist that God exists by first “taking for granted” the existence of God. Yet that is exactly what you are doing, and as I’ve already pointed out, the argument from ignorance is your portal into that circular argument. Failure to persuade someone to YOUR conclusions from THEIR premises or commitments, forms the basis of the fallacy in logical pragmatics, because it’s a premature attempt to close the argument. A fallacy in pragmatic logic is that which tries to settle a question in an inadmissible way.

End the discussion, Keith? I've got about 50,000 words I'm trying to whittle down into something people won't be too daunted to read!

And I've been busy and will be out all day tomorrow, so I won't be able to post.

In addition, Keith, we are having a conversation on this blog.

Logical semantics deals with the validity of logical argument forms.

Logical PRAGMATICS deals with how those forms are deployed in actual conversation.

If you are looking for a textbook example of a circular argument that occurred in the actual sentences of this whole conversation, the bad news is it’s not that easy because they don’t typically show up that way.

How those fallacies appear in textbooks is not how they appear in actual conversations.

There’s a whole field of study that examines how fallacies and valid arguments appear, are concealed, are buried, in actual conversation.

The textbook examples you are looking for occur mostly in textbooks.

I agree with Keith that we have reached a point where we have to agree to disagree.

I think this discussion has been very useful for all the readers here, and specially for me (and I'd guess that for Keith too).

Obviously, this topic is complex, and surely there are many ideas, qualifications, objections and arguments on each side that we could pose for further discussion.

Some of Keith's main arguments and the objections to them (and Keith's reply to them) have been discussed here; and the readers, posters and visitors of this blog (including Keith and me) have sufficient material to reflect and think about.

For my part, I'm happy to say my participation in this specific discussion ends in this point.

I'm glad that I was part of an intelligent, informative, high-level intellectual debate between Keith and some of the posters of this blog.

Draw?

Keith i remember you mentioning in your review on whatever happened to the soul that you say that the case of Phineas Gage as a dramatic example of mind being dependent on the brain. I have shown Phineas Gage dramatic personality changes were overblown and that their was only some affect on his personality.


So the absurd opinion that his case is an dramatic example of mind brain dependency is not true. Their is no doubt the brain affects the mind but when looking at particular cases such as Phineas Gage and seeing that the effect on his personality was overblown gives us grounds that the dependency of mind on brain isn't that strong. This is consistent with substance dualism because substance dualism does agree that the mind does dependent on the brain for more than just sensory input. To say that the mind brain dependency is so strong that it's inconceivable how the mind could survive death is a conclusion based on belief. Descartes himself knew very well that the mental depended in a detailed way upon the brain.

I would agree that the little man in the brain is false but that the soul is slighly different in form.

A draw?? Umm . . . I scarcely think so.

Leo wrote: Keith i remember you mentioning in your review on whatever happened to the soul that you say that the case of Phineas Gage as a dramatic example of mind being dependent on the brain. I have shown Phineas Gage dramatic personality changes were overblown and that their was only some affect on his personality.

"...only some affect on his personality."

That is certainly an understatement. Why do you bring it up when even MP acknowledges that it is disingenious to pretend that mental life cannot be severely affected by brain injuries or advanced Alzheimer's? Gage is just one example of countless others that could be found in any clinical neuropsychology book.

Phineas Gage was the example that the authors of Whatever Happened to the Soul? used. The idea that Gage's neurologically caused personality changes became less prominent over time certainly does not suggest that his personality traits were not neurologically caused. It only suggests that his brain was somewhat less damaged later on than immediately after the accident. If you want to make a big deal about that, I suggest you take it up with the authors of Whatever Happened to the Soul? and the authors of standard college psychology textbooks, where the case is most often used.

the brain does those functions redundantly and dangerously now, but the soul has a backup which can ALSO do them BUT only works when the brain dies and such that we can never verify the existence of such a backup (without dying). That certainly goes beyond the neuroscientific evidence and so invokes an element of faith, I'd say, that any such backup exists--- Keith

But neuroscientific evidence is not the only piece of evidence that we could consider to examine the case for survival.

In principle, we could verify the existence of "such a backup" (for instance, in cases of paranormal perceptions during NDEs or OBEs; and this is not neuroscientific evidence, but parapsychological evidence)

Also the idea that the soul has a "back up" (instead of a primary perceptual system of its own) suggest that Keith gives perceptual primacy to the body, not to the soul.

But if the soul exist as an independent entity, we have no reason to suppose that the perceptual functions of it are only "back ups" of the brain functions; maybe it's just the contrary: the brain is a "back up" or, better, an ad hoc instrument to the soul's activities in the physical universe.

...and in its place posits a redundant secondary information processing system (that the soul has but never manifests before death) --- Keith

Why redundant? The soul could have a information processing system as part of its nature; but, during physical life, it uses a secondary system (the brain) to interact with the physical envioroment.

In this case, the soul has a primary information processing system (inherent to its basic nature), but the brain is a secondary processing system (a contingent, ad hoc and secondary system, enterely dependent on the fact that a soul needs to function in a physical body)

As Michael says: the answer is that we need the physical senses and the whole mechanism of the nervous system in order to function in the body - to operate, i.e., to actually do things, in the physical world.

OBErs generally cannot do anything to affect the physical world they're observing. They can't pick up a book or eat an apple or talk to a (normally embodied) friend. In fact, they may report considerable frustration in their inability to "get through" to their loved ones. For the most part, doing things in the physical world - interacting with the physical, earthly environment - seems to require a body with a brain.

Michael's argument suggests that the brain is not a redundant system; but a necessary system that the soul uses when it's part of a physical body.

We have to remember that the brain is not only an "instrument" for mental processing; it controls bodily funtions too. Therefore, a soul needs of a physical brain to control a physical body, and such brain provides it with a secondary information processing system of the information existing in the physical enviroment.

Also Keith's remark "that the soul has but never manifests before death" is not accurate, because OBErs and NDErs are not dead, but they manifest and experience such out-of-the-body perceptions (in amplified form; remember also the phenomenon of "enhanced mentation").

This is consistent with an actual separation of the soul from the body; and with the idea that the brain is a transmitting-like device that limits and regulates the full potential of a soul to make it appropiate and specific for a specific enviroment.

Jime wrote: Similarly, a good book dealing with the weaknessess of naturalism is Naturalism In Question. It includes contributions by authors like Hylary Putham and other first-rate philosophers.

That these philosophers don't believe in ESP, PK or survival don't prevent them from seeing the obvious problems of naturalism.

The antithesis of the sort of naturalism I defend is supernaturalism. If you look at the table of contents of this book, it is clear that "naturalism" means something much more narrow than "the antithesis of supernaturalism"--probably naturalized epistemology (a kind of "naturalism" that I don't advocate) and ethical naturalism (which I also reject in favor of J. L. Mackie's error theory).

This can be seen in the book description: "This volume presents a group of leading thinkers who criticize scientific naturalism not in the name of some form of supernaturalism, but in order to defend a more inclusive or liberal naturalism."

So attacking naturalism they are not. The only contemporary philosophers I know that attack my naturalism ("antisupernaturalism") head on are William Alston in an online essay and Charles Taliaferro and Stewart Goetz in a recent "popular" book whose name escapes me at the moment.

Jime wrote: But neuroscientific evidence is not the only piece of evidence that we could consider to examine the case for survival.

I think I've adequately addressed this already. The neuroscientific facts are not disputed (only their interpretation), whereas the parapsychological "facts" are arguable at best.

Jime wrote: Also the idea that the soul has a "back up" (instead of a primary perceptual system of its own) suggest that Keith gives perceptual primacy to the body, not to the soul.

This is a neat way to divert the issues away from evidence and towards "paradigms," but it is a distortion. One needn't subscribe to any worldview collisions to get where I am at.

I give primacy to what I know exists. I know there is a world independently of me, that it obeys certain laws, and that my own mind (you know, the one I have NOW) exists. These are things that every human being on the planet acknowledges to exist, since no one is a solipsist.

When you start positing other worlds, a hierarchy of beings that exist in those worlds, and my own personal "oversoul" whom I've never had the pleasure to know (despite "it" hypothetically being closer to me than anyone else could be), for all I know these are constructs of your imagination. You might as well be telling me about how much colonization has taken place in the Zeta Reticuli star system.

One needn't adopt any particular "metaphysic" to believe in things immediately known to him, and doubt the existence of things outside of one's experience. It's all based on empiricism when you think about it. (And there's more to it than this, of course, because I grant the existence of Paris and Mars and atoms even though they are not in my immediate experience; but they are the sort of things that I could be shown to exist if someone were willing to pay for my flight or show me the letters "IBM" constructed out of atoms through different electron microscopes.)

Jime wrote: Why redundant? The soul could have a information processing system as part of its nature; but, during physical life, it uses a secondary system (the brain) to interact with the physical envioroment.

Because I start with things known to my experience, and posit things unknown to my experience only insofar as they are required to explain things known to my experience.

My mind--the one that could be permanently altered by a stroke--is the one I know about. There is, of course, a subconscious element to my mind as well, one which is hidden but can be teased out through hypnosis, automatic writing, and so on. (And so is the mental equivalent to the Paris example.) On top of this you posit a mental system totally immune to what happens to the brain. For all I know, your conjecture is nothing more than a posit. The landscape of ideas is an infinite one. Those that have anything to do with reality can only be teased out through empirical investigation. All else is just musing.

Jime wrote: But if the soul exist as an independent entity, we have no reason to suppose that the perceptual functions of it are only "back ups" of the brain functions; maybe it's just the contrary: the brain is a "back up" or, better, an ad hoc instrument to the soul's activities in the physical universe.

I start from what I know to exist and work my way up from there. I don't start from conjectures. It's that simple. I know that brain-based mental functions exist; your other imagined mental functions are posits, nothing more.

Jime wrote: Michael's argument suggests that the brain is not a redundant system; but a necessary system that the soul uses when it's part of a physical body.

I ignored MP's comment because it actually implies something like the simple dualism of the Rover analogy which started this entry. In fact, come to think of it, if OBEs occurred in a secondary "soul-based" information-processing system, they should never be remembered in the independent "brain-based" information-processing system.

Jime wrote: Therefore, a soul needs of a physical brain to control a physical body, and such brain provides it with a secondary information processing system of the information existing in the physical enviroment.

Again, this sort of comment makes more sense on simple dualism, where the mind is independent and needs to body's sense organs only to see/hear/touch/smell/taste the physical environment, and the brain to send instructions to the body (like "raise your hand"). Again, I can only point back to how PCP alters the mind itself, not just what the mind is able to do, to illustrate why this doesn't work. But I'm not going to rehash all that having just made that point earlier in this post.

Jime wrote: Also Keith's remark "that the soul has but never manifests before death" is not accurate, because OBErs and NDErs are not dead, but they manifest and experience such out-of-the-body perceptions (in amplified form; remember also the phenomenon of "enhanced mentation").

This is an independent issue, but again I'll refer you to the conclusion of Tart's OBE chapter of _The End of Materialism_. One of the subtitles is something like, "So, an OBE is... what, exactly?" His answer might as well be "I have no idea." He says that his best guess is that sometimes it's a pure hallucination, sometimes it's a hallucination aided by ESP, and sometimes something leaves the body. If his "best guess" is that up in the air, you can hardly claim to know that OBEs represent something actually leaving the body. Even Tart calls all of the "survival evidence" one of the "many maybes." You can't overthrow neuropsychology with a mere maybe, I'm afraid.

I will repeat a simple observation about NDEs, since I've never heard a very convincing answer to it: 76% of NDEs (per van Lommel et al.) do not include OBEs, but we would expect them to occur in 100% of NDEs if something really left the body during NDEs. That is, unless memory is foggy about what happens during NDEs--but this is a point which is something that NDE researchers routinely deny in order to argue that memories of NDEs are not like other "brain-based" memories.

In any case, I think I've already amply shown that there are too many problematic features of NDEs to regard them as straightforward mind-body separations; but I also know from previous responses that none of you will give me an inch in that regard, so I'd prefer to just leave my comments on NDEs at that. (Hell, you guys even accused one of your own, C. D. Broad, of materialism--even though he explicitly rejected it, and even though he accepted the reality of the paranormal--simply because he acknowledged that a strong case could be made against personal survival! He didn't even say it was "his" case, just that a case could be made! If you guys would dismiss those on "your own side" so easily when they don't conform to survivalist conclusions, what chance do I, on "the other side," have of persuading you?)

This can be seen in the book description: "This volume presents a group of leading thinkers who criticize scientific naturalism not in the name of some form of supernaturalism, but in order to defend a more inclusive or liberal naturalism.

But I never said the authors were defending supernaturalism. I only said "Similarly, a good book dealing with the weaknessess of naturalism is...". I wasn't refering exclusively to you.

Charles Taliaferro and Stewart Goetz in a recent "popular" book whose name escapes me at the moment

Maybe you're refering to a short and recent book entitled "Naturalism", by both authors.

I haven't read it yet, but I look foward to read it.

So attacking naturalism they are not

They're criticizing it, but not in the name of supernaturalism.

This is a neat way to divert the issues away from evidence and towards "paradigms"

But evidence doesn't speak by itself; it has to be interpreted according some existing or proposed theories or hypothesis or conceptual framework.

As a philosopher, you should know naive empiricism is not an accepted position in contemporary epistemology.

Empirical evidence is necessary, but conceptual and theoretical constructs are part of the scientific enterprise too.

One needn't adopt any particular "metaphysic" to believe in things immediately known to him, and doubt the existence of things outside of one's experience

If followed that consistently, then OBErs, NDErs and witnessess of ghosts have epistemic rights to believe in an afterlife, since the experience of these things are "immediately known" for them.

doubt the existence of things outside of one's experience

This seems logically incompatible with this: I grant the existence of Paris and Mars and atoms even though they are not in my immediate experience

So immediate experience is not the only source of knowldge; also it's possible to know the existence of nonexperienced things when they're the "sort of things that I could be shown to exist" (even if they are not actually shown to exist to you)

Because I start with things known to my experience,

Then you have to start deyning other people's minds and consciousness, because you cannot experience them. You may only experience their bodies, not their "first-person" experiences.

I'd be interested to know if you would have a mediumship séance where you could communicate with an relative, would you accept them as evidence of an afterlife based on the idea that you "start with things known to" your experience?

Or would you reject your experience, because mainstream scientists don't recognize these phenomena, or because they're incompatible with metaphysical naturalism?

posit things unknown to my experience only insofar as they are required to explain things known to my experience

Then OBErs and NDErs could posit my conjeture of non-brain based processing information system to explain their out of the bodies experiences.

Or are you suggesting that reality and the things we're justified to believe and "posit" depend on Keith's personal experience alone? And the experience of other people, including OBErs?

My mind--the one that could be permanently altered by a stroke--is the one I know about.

Then you are skeptical about the existence of other people's minds. If followed consistently, it implies a sort of solipsism.

Also, you have never experienced a stroke, so you don't know (by direct personal experience) that your mind could be "permanently altered by a stroke".

It's an inference based on other people's experience with strokes, not in Keith's personal experience with it. And being a pure inference, it has not been directly and personally experienced by you in your own mind (the one you know about...).

On top of this you posit a mental system totally immune to what happens to the brain. For all I know, your conjecture is nothing more than a posit. The landscape of ideas is an infinite one. Those that have anything to do with reality can only be teased out through empirical investigation. All else is just musing.

But it's consistent with the reality of the experiences of OBErs and NDErs. Why Keith's personal experience is a reliable source of knowledge, but the experience of OBErs and NDErs are not?

I start from what I know to exist and work my way up from there

And OBErs and NDErs could do the same with their personal out of the bodies experiences?

I don't start from conjectures. It's that simple. I know that brain-based mental functions exist; your other imagined mental functions are posits, nothing more.

Posits is a curious name for conjetures attempting to explain the experience of OBErs and NDErs (my "conjeture" intends to explain their experiences.... but I know, they're not reliable, just Keith's personal experience, that not includes such things, are)

If his "best guess" is that up in the air, you can hardly claim to know that OBEs represent something actually leaving the body

According to Keith's epistemic criterion of the absolute primacy of personal experience, an OBEr could "claim to know that OBEs represent something actually leaving the body", not based on Tart's conclusion, but in Keith's epistemic rule of personal experience.

Keith's epistemology seems to be a sort of extreme empiricism of the logical positivism kind, but with individualistic self-centered components ("posit things unknown to my experience only insofar as they are required to explain things known to my experience"; "sort of things that I could be shown to exist", etc).

The central concepts of Keith's idiosincratic self-centered empiricism seem to be "MY" and "I" and "one's experience".

David Verdegaal (Fenwick and Fenwick/..personal account/Dead Sure)suffered a massive heart attack that left him without pulse/circulation for thirty minutes.Paralysed and blind he was considered to have no chance of 'survival,'and if he did, he would be a 'vegetable.'When he regained consciousness(ie as he recollects in 'Dead Sure')he had no memories of his past life,didn't recognize his wife/family or have any idea at all who he was. The only memories he had were of a profound near death experience walking with 'God'through a beautiful garden etc and some snippets of seeing his body being loaded onto an aircraft.So, here we have a massively damaged and disorganised brain(as indicated by previous memory wipeout) which has made new memories(whilst clinically dead) and retained those memories.. when our current model of neuroscience says it is impossible to do so 

I hadn't finished(bloody computer)....So, Keith, where were these memories(of the NDE)made. If they were NOT formed OUTSIDE the brain, then they should have been wiped out along with all the rest of David's normal memory. This is a clear case of mind/brain separation(signal-TV set) or is that the wrong conclusion? David Verdegaal is DEAD SURE it isn't.

Keith stated:

"I will repeat a simple observation about NDEs, since I've never heard a very convincing answer to it: 76% of NDEs (per van Lommel et al.) do not include OBEs, but we would expect them to occur in 100% of NDEs if something really left the body during NDEs".

I cannot begin to imagine why you would think this. And I bet you won't be able to justify your belief in this regard either.

Keith stated:
"That is, unless memory is foggy about what happens during NDEs--but this is a point which is something that NDE researchers routinely deny in order to argue that memories of NDEs are not like other "brain-based" memories".

I think it's fairly uncontroversial that people sometimes do forget both their entire NDEs, or at least certain elements of the experience. Indeed I suspect that everyone experiences an NDE close to death but that the vast majority simply do not recollect the experience.

And why on earth should anyone argue that memories of NDEs are somehow different from any other memories? I think you need to back up your assertion here and name these researchers and precisely where they say this.

Keith stated:

"I give primacy to what I know exists. I know there is a world independently of me,

If you mean you know a reality exists independently of your consciousness then I'm afraid you know no such thing.

"One needn't adopt any particular "metaphysic" to believe in things immediately known to him, and doubt the existence of things outside of one's experience.

But apparently you don't doubt some things outside your experience. You don't know the existence of a consciousness-independent reality. You don't doubt that other people are conscious. And what in fact do you immediately know? You don't immediately know that other people are conscious, you don't immediately know that you are not now dreaming, you don't immediately know that the Universe didn't suddenly spring into being 5 minutes ago complete with our mutually consistent memories. So what in fact do you immediately know?

Keith, it's not just that overtime his brain as you say was somewhat less damaged later on. It appears that the extent on his mental functions were highly uncertain. Yes there is thousands and thousands of cases, i ain't denying the fact their their is at least some affect on personality, memories in brain damage, alzheimers disease etc. I am just saying it doesn't follow that their is full blown dependency of brain on the mind. Yes it's much easier to go that route but whoever said that easy explanations are always the truth?.

Yes...NOT 'having'..or simply not 'remembering' an out of body experience during an NDE, in NO way discredits the legitimacy of the 'experience' or the case for a mind/brain separation, as long as memories were formed when it ought not to have been possible. Many people go straight into darkness/the tunnel,many go straight into brilliant(unearthly)light.

Indeed, if EVERYONE reported an out of body experience with their NDE,one might be tempted to believe there was some kind of auto-suggestion going on, or wishful thinking.
David Verdegaal had NO 'immediate' out of body experience.That came later.

I'm impressed (and a little appalled) at how large this thread has grown. It's like the Blob - it just keeps getting bigger and bigger until it threatens to swallow everything in sight! I'm tempted to shout, like Steve McQueen, "CO2! We need CO2!"

(In "The Blob," McQueen discovers that only CO2 from fire extinguishers can stop the monster.)

To be honest, my eyes glaze over when I read philosophical arguments of this sort, but I must be in the minority. To my way of thinking, it's premature to argue about various forms of dualism - simple dualism, compound dualism, amalgamated consolidated dualism, double-crunch dualism with butterscotch sauce - when we (meaning humanity) don't really understand what consciousness is or how it works or where it comes from.

Imagine a group of scholars in the Middle Ages arguing about whether or not there is life on the Moon. They would have no way of knowing the answer, so all their arguments would necessarily be speculative and inconclusive.

It seems to me that the best approach, or at least the approach I prefer, is to look at the empirical evidence and see where it leads. (This includes the evidence of parapsychology, of course.) If the evidence suggests some form of dualism, then dualism is what we should provisionally accept, even if we don't understand how it works.

After all, as Sir James Jeans said, "The universe is not only queerer than we imagine, it is queerer than we can imagine."

What appears to be an insuperable logical difficulty based on our present, very limited grasp of consciousness may turn out to be no obstacle at all when consciousness is more fully understood, just as the brilliantly logical inferences drawn by those medieval scholastics might bear no relation to the actual reality of the Moon.

As I see it, the real dispute here is not over philosophical conundrums, but over the status of the evidence, with skeptics regarding evidence for psi and life after death as weak or nonexistent, and "survivalists" (for want of a better term) regarding the evidence as strong and plentiful.

I doubt this disagreement will be resolved any time soon, if ever. Fortunately there is no law requiring everybody to hold the same opinions. In fact, it's often better when people disagree. Sometimes it takes a little friction to generate a creative spark.

Michael, it's a great blog and not because of any of my meagre contributions. As a newcomer,I've been truly impressed with the skill of some of your regular big guns(yourself included,of course)...and many others. Therefore,I for one intend to make fewer comments in future...it's just that this particular topic lights my personal touchpaper.

Jime wrote: If followed that consistently, then OBErs, NDErs and witnessess of ghosts have epistemic rights to believe in an afterlife, since the experience of these things are "immediately known" for them.

I never denied this. If someone has a first-hand experience of a spacecraft unlike anything humanity has created 10 feet above his house, he has epistemic rights to believe in alien spacecraft, too. But it's his experience, and without corroborating evidence, just his say-so to anyone else who didn't see it, too.

Jime wrote: Then you have to start deyning other people's minds and consciousness, because you cannot experience them

I never denied that you could infer the existence of things not directly known to one's experience. Hence my statement that "posit things unknown to my experience only insofar as they are required to explain things known to my experience." I know others' behavior, and so infer their minds.

Jime wrote: I'd be interested to know if you would have a mediumship séance where you could communicate with an relative, would you accept them as evidence of an afterlife based on the idea that you "start with things known to" your experience?

Certainly if I saw a full-figured apparition as clear as day, I would have evidence, only accessible to me, that I do not have now. That said, I am not actively seeking "spiritual entities" any more than you are actively seeking contact with little grey aliens.

Jime wrote: Or would you reject your experience, because mainstream scientists don't recognize these phenomena

Direct evidence certainly would trump what mainstream science recognizes, just as it would if a spacecraft unlike anything humanity has created was hovering 10 feet above me. The difference is that, in real life, I can only imagine such things; not once in my 33 years have I ever actually encountered anything like that.

This would follow straightforwardly from the evidence. The difference is, the evidence would be revealed only to me (and a few other "chosen" people), and so I could not expect others to know what I know since they lacked my experience. In real life, of course, I am not one of the "chosen ones" who has a revelation that most other people miss.

Jime wrote: Then OBErs and NDErs could posit my conjeture of non-brain based processing information system to explain their out of the bodies experiences.

Certainly. And I'll pass that on to Thomas Paine at this point: "But admitting, for the sake of a case, that something has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it is revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and so on, it ceases to be a revelation to all those persons. It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and consequently they are not obliged to believe it."

And interesting way to put the point is this. For those of you who believe in spirits and so on, on what basis do you reject the existence of other things? Why don't you believe in Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, alien abductions, and so on and so forth? What do you say of the testimony for such things? At this point I suspect that your reasons for doubt will be identical to the reasons that skeptics don't believe in spirits, too.

Jime wrote: Then you are skeptical about the existence of other people's minds.

Nope. I posit them to explain other people's behavior.

Jime wrote: It's an inference based on other people's experience with strokes, not in Keith's personal experience with it.

Exactly. I never said inductive reasoning was out of bounds; I've been using it all along.

Jime wrote: Why Keith's personal experience is a reliable source of knowledge, but the experience of OBErs and NDErs are not?

See Thomas Paine, above. "It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other..." Being one of those poor souls who doesn't get to see Bigfoot up close, I have to relying on publicly available evidence like the rest of us rabble.

Jime wrote: And OBErs and NDErs could do the same with their personal out of the bodies experiences?

Just as alien abductees could. But "It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other..." If you are a non-NDEr, what justifies accepting NDErs' testimonies and interpretations of their experiences, while rejecting the same when it comes from alien abductees? To be consistent, you should doubt it all, or believe it all, I'd think.

Jime wrote: The central concepts of Keith's idiosincratic self-centered empiricism seem to be "MY" and "I" and "one's experience".

I think you are misunderstanding. There is publicly available evidence of the kinds of events, places, things that exist. And then there is one's private experience of the kinds of events, places, things that exist. I happen to lack any undeniable private experiences of the kinds of events, places, things that exist other than those already publicly demonstrable, of alien spaceships, or Bigfoot, or spirits. Therefore mere testimony of such things "is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other," including to me.

Ian wrote: I think you need to back up your assertion here and name these researchers and precisely where they say this.

Are you kidding me?

Ian wrote: If you mean you know a reality exists independently of your consciousness then I'm afraid you know no such thing.

That was predictable. You're right, I can't prove the existence of an external world, and if I don't commit to solipsism I guess we are entitled to believe in whatever our hearts desire :rolleyes: I'm not going to get in a pointless debate about how we prove what no one here denies in the first place. It's just another waste of time.

There are certain things that are certainly Plantinga-like basic beliefs: they explain things in our experience, but aren't proof that there isn't some other explanation. My experiences can be explained as the result of an external world that causes them. Others' behavior can be explained in terms of them having minds. That said, we have to minimize our basic beliefs to things like this. We can't just call anything a basic belief. Hume would say that if something is a natural belief--something you can't really believe is false even if you try--then it is reasonable to take that sort of thing as a basic belief. I'm not going to explain it further, but Hume has in mind here things like "there is an external world," "A causes B," and so on. You know, the sort of things you yourself believe and so it would be stupid to argue about (since you think certain things cause certain experiences, for example).

If you want to pointlessly argue from a strict sense of "know," then in that sense "I don't know that I wasn't created one second ago with all of my memories already implanted." Since no one thinks so, though, I'm not going to waste my time on this kind of game.

Here is the assertion you say I need to back up, Ian:

The most important objection to current psychophysiological theories is that mental clarity, vivid sensory imagery, a clear memory of the experience, and a conviction that the experience seemed more real than ordinary consciousness are the norm for NDEs, even when they occur under conditions of drastically altered cerebral physiology.... “NDEs in cardiac arrest are clearly not confusional and in fact indicate heightened awareness, attention and consciousness at a time when consciousness and memory formation would not be expected to occur” (2002, p. 8). Moreover, experiencers of NDEs in connection with cardiac arrest almost invariably retain vivid memories of their experience that change little with the passage of time.... The challenge for explanatory models of NDEs is to take into account this vivid and complex thinking, sensation, and memory formation under conditions in which current neuroscientific models of the mind deem them impossible...

Bruce Greyson's reply to my "Psychophysiological and Cultural Correlates Undermining a Survivalist Interpretation of Near-Death Experiences."

Once pointed out, though, I have no confidence that you won't try to have your cake and eat it too--i.e., simultaneously maintaining that "NDE memories are unlike any others" and therefore not brain-based when it suits you, while arguing that "NDE memories are just like any others" when explaining the failure to remember leaving the body in most NDEs.

I doubt this disagreement will be resolved any time soon, if ever. Fortunately there is no law requiring everybody to hold the same opinions. In fact, it's often better when people disagree. Sometimes it takes a little friction to generate a creative spark. - Michael Prescott
--------------------------------------------

Sometimes it takes a little "duality and separation" to teach the soul what it means and how it feels to be a separate, unique, individual, something it can't learn in heaven due to those overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness that are mentioned so often in near death experiences. "grin!"

Ian wrote:
If you mean you know a reality exists independently of your consciousness then I'm afraid you know no such thing.

Keith stated:

“That was predictable. You're right, I can't prove the existence of an external world, and if I don't commit to solipsism I guess we are entitled to believe in whatever our hearts desire :rolleyes: I'm not going to get in a pointless debate about how we prove what no one here denies in the first place. It's just another waste of time.
There are certain things that are certainly Plantinga-like basic beliefs: they explain things in our experience, but aren't proof that there isn't some other explanation. My experiences can be explained as the result of an external world that causes them. Others' behavior can be explained in terms of them having minds. That said, we have to minimize our basic beliefs to things like this. We can't just call anything a basic belief. Hume would say that if something is a natural belief--something you can't really believe is false even if you try--then it is reasonable to take that sort of thing as a basic belief. I'm not going to explain it further, but Hume has in mind here things like "there is an external world," "A causes B," and so on. You know, the sort of things you yourself believe and so it would be stupid to argue about (since you think certain things cause certain experiences, for example).
If you want to pointlessly argue from a strict sense of "know," then in that sense "I don't know that I wasn't created one second ago with all of my memories already implanted." Since no one thinks so, though, I'm not going to waste my time on this kind of game”

You originally stated "I give primacy to what I know exists. I know there is a world independently of me”.

There are many beliefs we have which we take as absolutely fundamental. Emotionally we have to subscribe to such beliefs otherwise we couldn’t function.

The problem here is that people do actually deny some of these absolutely fundamental beliefs. One could with equal . . nay . .with more plausibility say: "I give primacy to what I know exists. I know that I have free will”.

I think there’s quite a problem here since materialists/skeptics have a propensity to declare they know certain things of a fundamental nature, and bitterly complain when someone points out that in fact this is not true. However, at the same time, materialists/skeptics demand proof for other basic fundamental beliefs which the vast majority of human kind takes for granted. A clear double standard.

Indeed I would question whether you could even present any evidence or justification for some of your beliefs which you say you know. For example you are a naturalist and therefore presumably believe the physical world is causally closed. You cannot therefore justify your assertion that you know that other people are conscious since their behaviour can be wholly explained by chains of physical cause and effect without reference to consciousness.

You say you know an external world exists and presumably this external world you have in mind is some sort of ontologically self-subsistent reality which has the power to affect our senses. But someone else could argue that it’s more plausible to reject this ontologically self-subsistent reality and instead propose that it is an infinite Spirit which directly impresses upon us our sensory qualia explaining why they are of a systematic coherent nature (look at the Principles and Dialogues by George Berkeley for example).

Keith can we take a step back here? You said:

I will repeat a simple observation about NDEs, since I've never heard a very convincing answer to it: 76% of NDEs (per van Lommel et al.) do not include OBEs, but we would expect them to occur in 100% of NDEs if something really left the body during NDEs. That is, unless memory is foggy about what happens during NDEs--but this is a point which is something that NDE researchers routinely deny in order to argue that memories of NDEs are not like other "brain-based" memories.

I’m confused about what you mean here. Why should something leave the body in all NDEs? Why can’t some NDEs be like deathbed visions where you do not appear to leave your body but merely see apparitions of ones dead relatives or religious figures?

Also why can’t “brain based” memories be vivid and clear?

I agree there’s a problem for the survival hypothesis in that only 10% of people recall an NDE and therefore 90% do not. So if you’re merely saying that then I do not have an issue with what you say.

I've read quite a few NDE's where there was some confusion as to what was going on or happening at the very begining. Disorientation. "What am I doing up here floating by the ceiling?" Not to mention that in some NDE's there's no tunnel, etc. but instead one second they are in their bodies and the next they are in the Light.

If six people watch a crime, and the police interview them, chances are you will get six very different interpretation as to what just happened. If 10 people go to France on vacation and then come back and write about their vacations you will read 10 very different descriptions about what a vacation in France is like.

We are all different. Different DNA, brain biochemistry, etc. It's that way on purpose. Why should we expect all NDE descriptions to be identical. As long as we are in this physical universe one thing you can count on is duality and separation. They are inherent and inescapable properties of the physical universe.

Ian writes: "I give primacy to what I know exists. I know that I have free will”.

I don't think free will counts as one of the natural beliefs we can just take as axiomatic. According to J. C. A. Gaskin, to qualify as a natural belief in Hume's sense, a belief would have to: (1) be psychologically unavoidable and thus universally held; (2) necessary for acting in everyday life; and (3) incapable of being demonstrated by reason or experience.

So, for example, the belief that one event sometimes causes another, or that the future will be like the past, would qualify as a natural belief. You could not drive your car if you thought that the laws of physics were in constant flux, for example, because you'd have no expectation that a car would start today simply because it started yesterday. Without belief in causation, you'd have no expectation that turning the key had anything to do with the car starting. Obviously, anyone who didn't take these sorts of beliefs for granted would meet an accidental death pretty quickly. So a natural belief in this sense is necessary for acting in everyday life.

Belief in free will certainly is not basic in the same sense. You might have some intuition that you have free will, but is is not a universally held belief (even among Eastern thinkers, not materialists, we are simply the manifestation of the universe unfolding according to its own nature), and is certainly not necessary for you to get on with your daily chores, in the way that belief in cause and effect is (e.g., you can drive a car regardless of whether or not you believe in free will, but not if you don't believe in cause and effect). For more see Chapter 6 ("Scepticism and Natural Belief") of J. C. A. Gaskin's Hume's Philosophy of Religion.

Ian writes: Indeed I would question whether you could even present any evidence or justification for some of your beliefs which you say you know.

I'm curious, Ian, why you seem to think that I have the burden of justifying my epistemology to you, whereas you evidently (by your silence about it) seem to think that you have no burden to justify your epistemology to anyone else.

The truth is, if I have to justify my epistemology, you have to justify yours, and the same sort of questions will arise for both of us, which is why this is a pointless exercise.

My starting point is the beliefs we have in common. Presumably you believe in other minds, as I do, else you would not be typing. I have no more obligation to prove that other minds exist than you do (or, you have no less obligation than I do to prove it). So why are you asking me to prove the existence of other minds, as if this is some sort of special burden that only falls on the skeptic? It is not! I already said that we must interpret our experiences in light of some minimal Humean natural beliefs which are taken as a given, and from there we are only obligated to posit what we know directly from our experience, or must posit to explain things in our experience. By "our" I mean humanity's common experience, those publicly accessible sorts of facts that anyone can verify are the sorts of things that do happen, not the "chosen few" type of experiences that may or may not really happen. Even though I was not there, that Abe Lincoln could've be shot is something that no one denies. It is the sort of thing consonant with our experience. That Abe Lincoln (like Daniel Douglas Home?) could've levitated to the ceiling to avoid his attacker is not consonant with our collective experience of what sorts of things happen. It is the stuff of X-Men movies, not the stuff of the real world.

Starting from the beliefs we have in common, I ask why you add things to that like belief in spirits. I should not have to justify our common beliefs, since we already agree on those! You should have to justify your belief in things whose existence is arguable at best.

Why do I have to justify my tentative acceptance of causal closure?

Causal closure is the sort of thing that seems to hold given the evidence. If no clear "violations" of causal closure are known to exist, it's a pretty good bet that causal closure obtains. Because if it did not obtain, there could be clear evidence that it doesn't obtain. Call it a working hypothesis, if you will.

Ian writes: You cannot therefore justify your assertion that you know that other people are conscious since their behaviour can be wholly explained by chains of physical cause and effect without reference to consciousness.

Whether "their behaviour can be wholly explained by chains of physical cause and effect" depends on whether things like intentions can be explained in that way, Right now, they cannot, though they might be explained in that way in the future. Right now, we say people behaved a certain way because they intended to behave that way. But a teleological explanation is one way of explaining behavior, and a physiological one is another. One might be ultimately reducible to the other. If so, then "Cain intended to kill Abel" is an teleological shorthand for a much more detailed physiological explanation. If that sort of story were true, than explaining behavior in terms of consciousness would not be different from explaining it in terms of physiology. COnsciousness would be, ultimately, a kind of physiological state, or perhaps something that emerges from a kind of physiological state. If the latter, consciousness would have to be causally efficacious independent of the physiology that gave rise to it, sort of like the British emergentists and Aristotle held. A violation of causal closure would occur only if mental causes were nonphysical, though, and that has yet to be established. In other words, yes, if you assume interactionist dualism, causal closure is violated--but that's a big "if."

Ian writes: Why should something leave the body in all NDEs? Why can’t some NDEs be like deathbed visions where you do not appear to leave your body but merely see apparitions of ones dead relatives or religious figures?

I'm surprised this needs explanation, but OK. If something leaves the body in OBEs, that implies that something was "in" the body in the first place that must have gotten "out" of it. If that's true for OBErs, that would presumably be true for all human beings--i.e., that we have something "in" our bodies that needs to get "out" of them if it is to go anywhere else. And so if something is "in" the body prior to an NDE, and an NDE is an instance something leaving the body to go elsewhere (as something like the AWARE study assumes), then all NDErs should have OBEs--unless they forget them or only remember parts of their NDEs. And contrary to the argument that "a clear memory of the experience ... [is] the norm for NDEs" or that NDErs "almost invariably retain vivid memories of their experience that change little with the passage of time..."

Art writes: I've read quite a few NDE's where there was some confusion as to what was going on or happening at the very begining. Disorientation.

Bruce Greyson concludes: organic brain malfunctions generally produce clouded thinking, irritability, fear, belligerence, and idiosyncratic visions, quite unlike the exceptionally clear thinking, peacefulness, calmness, and predictable content that typifies the NDE.

(as something like the AWARE study assumes), then all NDErs should have OBEs--unless they forget them or only remember parts of their NDEs.

When can we expect to hear more about the progress of this study?

Keith said:"then all NDErs should have OBEs--unless they forget them or only remember parts of their NDEs. And contrary to the argument that "a clear memory of the experience ... [is] the norm for NDEs" or that NDErs "almost invariably retain vivid memories of their experience that change little with the passage of time..."

That's the point isn't it? Who is to say that NDErs don't all have OBE but dont remember them? I understand that everyone dreams, sometimes several time a night, I can remember only a handful of times in my life where I have woken up and recall the dream. Does that mean I don't dream because I cannot recall it?

It seems to me that the comment regarding vivid recall can only apply to those who recall them.

In a holographic universe the idea that we exist at only one point in space and time is an illusion. The truth is that in a holographic universe each piece contains the whole and everything interpenetrates everything. There is no "in the body" or "out of the body". This Universe is a holographic projection from someplace else.

"If this doesn't blow your socks off, then Hogan, who has just been appointed director of Fermilab's Center for Particle Astrophysics, has an even bigger shock in store: "If the GEO600 result is what I suspect it is, then we are all living in a giant cosmic hologram."
http://tinyurl.com/89l3eh

I wonder what Keith thinks of experimental scientists such as Penfield and Eccles that believe dualism better accounts for phenomena than materialism does.

Dr. Wilder Penfield was known for his ground-breaking work with epilepsy. His work involved stimulating brain tissue in conscious patients in order to find the causes of epilepsy. During these sessions Penfield found that the prodding of certain areas of the brain triggered vivid memories of past events. The patients reported remembering clearly such things as the taste of coffee. One patient, while on an operating table in Montreal, Canada, remembered laughing with cousins on a farm in South Africa.21 What amazed Penfield was that his patients, who were not under anesthetic, were simultaneously conscious of the re-experienced memories and of being prodded by an electrode in an operating room. Penfield called this a "double consciousness" wherein a memory was stimulated physically but was attended to and recognized as a memory by a conscious patient. Penfield likened this to the patient watching a television program while remaining aware that it wasn’t now happening.

Penfield repeated these results on hundreds of epileptic patients and concluded that a separable mind was able to track what the brain was doing as a result of the artificial stimulation. One’s mind in a sense could transcend the operations of the brain, monitoring memories without actually placing oneself in the situation remembered. Penfield noted that "The mind of the patient was as independent of the reflex action as was the mind of the surgeon who listened and strove to understand. Thus, my argument favours independence of mind-action."22 Penfield also stated that if we liken the brain to a computer, it is not that we are a computer, but that we have a computer.23

Penfield, who began his research as a materialist, switched to dualism after extensive research with epileptic patients. He said, "Something else finds its dwelling place between the sensory complex and the motor mechanism. . . . There is a switchboard operator as well as a switchboard.

Although nonepileptic patients do not respond similarly to brain stimulation, other researchers, such as Sir John Eccles, a neurobiologist, have similarly concluded that the brain alone cannot account for a many phenomena. Eccles’

Hypothesis is that the self-conscious mind is an independent entity that is actively engaged in reading from the multitude of active centres in the modules of the liaison areas of the dominant cerebral hemisphere. The self-conscious mind selects from these centres in accord with its attention and its interests and integrates its selection to give unity of conscious experience from moment to moment.

Thus, Eccles’ conclusions agree with Penfield’s, and his areas of research extend farther than that of epileptic patients. Eccles deems the "monist materialist" hope for an eventual physical explanation for mental events as wrongheaded in principle because mental events are not "simply derivative of aspects of nerve endings. There is no evidence for this whatever."26 Further, Eccles argues that his "strong dualist-interactionist hypothesis . . . has the recommendation of its great explanatory power. It gives in principle at least explanations of the whole range of problems relating to brain-mind interaction."27 Eccles notes that it has been impossible to develop a materialist explanation of "how a diversity of brain events come to be synthesized so that there is a unified conscious experience of a global or gestalt character."28 Given this impasse, Eccles proposed that "the self-conscious mind" serve to integrate the apparently disparate brain processes into a unified consciousness.

Mental activity seems to transcend that which is describable with reference to brain states or processes alone. Of course, Taylor could simply wait for the discovery of some subtle state of matter to explain these phenomena (the "matter of the gaps" approach), but we shouldn’t evaluate materialism according to its post-dated checks. Eccles claims that his interactionist idea is a genuine scientific hypothesis "because it is based on empirical data and is objectively testable."30 If so, Taylor would have to judge it on its own merits instead of dismissing interactionism in favor of materialism—which still awaits a scientific explanation of the mysterious "referential states." While the materialist hopes for a future explanation for facts not presently explicable on materialist grounds, Eccles and others offer theories that claim to account for a full range of phenomena by virtue of the existence of the mind.

Taylor may here simply deny such attempts a priori, given the problems he finds with how an immaterial mind can be understood to interact with matter. But this need not cripple the interactionist endeavor. As Mortimer Adler has pointed out, if there is good reason to question materialism and to grant the immateriality of mental states, the problems of interaction should be considered after the fact. These kinds of puzzles should not disqualify interactionist while there exists arguments and evidence in favor of it.31 There are any number of puzzles and conundrums concerning the activity of sub-atomic particles whose existence is, nonetheless, well established. If interactionism were logically contradictory or hopelessly unintelligible, arguments for it would be disqualified on that basis alone. But this does not seem to be the case. (Taylor admits that his own materialist position is not without mystery.)

As mentioned above, even if a fuller physical explanation for various mental phenomena were discovered, this in itself would still not bridge the gap between subjective and objective reports. Jerome Shaffer remarks that if it were discovered that "each particular mental event occurs if and only if some particular brain event occurs" this would not establish the [materialist] identity theory, which holds not just that mental and neural events are correlated in some regular, lawful way but that they are one and the same event, and, moreover, that these events are, basically, physical.

When the gap between the subjective and the objective consists in a difference in kind, it is not just difficult to bridge but impossible. G. K. Chesterton’s quip has no little philosophical punch:

It is obvious that the materialist is always a mystic. It is equally true that he is often a mystagogue. He is a mystic because he deals entirely with mysteries, in things that our reason cannot picture; such as mindless order or objective matter becoming subjective mind.

I totally agree.

Here's the source i copied that from

Credit to

http://www.arn.org/docs/groothuis/dg_mindsbodies.htm

Keith wrote:

“Broad is clearly making an inductive, probablistic argument since he writes: ‘though survival may still be abstractly possible, it is to the last degree unlikely.’ And his conclusion stands so long as we are talking about what is probable given the evidence, which is all that we have been talking about since the get-go.”

I’m not disputing what he’s making, but that is most definitely NOT “all that we have been talking about since the get-go.” I’m one of the posters in this conversation, so I’m somewhere in that “we,” and the probability argument is not what I’ve been talking about.

Broad is using the scientific evidence to make his case, accepting and operating from within the premises of the scientific method. But while Broad’s argument is from the scientific method, it is not ONLY that. Broad is ALSO implicitly making a LOGICAL argument, and THAT has been my target all along——not the question of what is “more likely,” but the semantic core of the argument itself.

The science card isn’t the trump card. Science is a species of philosophy and cannot close the door to the examination of its own internal logic.

So while Keith’s argument may be about what is probable, MY argument is about the semantical validity of Keith’s argument.

In addition, we’re arguing from a broader perspective that includes the scientific method but also extends beyond it to what personal experiences reveal and which science rejects. That is, we are pointing to some science, but we also recognize the elusive and unpredictable character of the paranormal and accept non scientific evidence into account as well, from what people say they saw, fully recognizing the existence of fraud and other deceptive practices, and yet also believing in our abilities to separate enough of the fraudulence to know that anomalous events are real and occurring. So we consider the science, but we do not make it our exclusive way of knowing.

So, the argument here is not “all” about probability. And while Keith is defending the argument from probability, I am attacking the semantic core of Keith’s argument, and you don’t save the tree from the saw by defending the cherries.

***

I apologize in advance if this bores to tears, but I’ve had a good adventurous weekend and I can afford to be a little dull right now.

Broad:

“We always find minds with brains; we never find minds without brains.”

***

“We always find minds with brains” means the same thing as “we never find minds without brains,” since if we always find x, then we never find not-x.

Since the two mean the same thing, we need examine only one:

A. “We (never) (find) minds without brains.”

“Never” means the same thing as “do not ever,” or, more simply, “do not.”

“Find” means the same thing as to “know the existence of.”

So Broad’s statement can be transformed with its meaning intact into:

B. “We do not know the existence of minds without brains.”

Not knowing the existence of minds (without brains) means the same as not knowing that minds exist (without brains). So without any change in meaning, we can rewrite:

“We do not know the existence of minds without brains.”

As:

C. “We do not know minds exist without brains.”

Thus, by Hypothetical Syllogism,

We know that:

1. If A. “We never find minds without brains,” then B. “We do not know the existence of minds without brains.”

2. If B. “We do not know the existence of minds without brains,” then C. “We do not know minds exist without brains.”

3. Therefore, If A. “We never find minds without brains,” then C. “We do not know minds exist without brains.”

Now we can add one of two conclusions to this, one strong and definite, or one weak and probabilistic. I’ve heard both versions in arguments used by materialists and skeptics. Broad himself uses the weak form; he says something like “Therefore minds probably do not exist without brains.”

I am going to use the strong, definite form, however. In the end the form doesn’t matter.

So we will now get:

1. “We do not know minds exist without brains.”
2. “Therefore, minds do not exist without brains.”

Recalling the relevant form of the traditional argument from ignorance as it applies here:

“We do not know x is true, therefore x is false.”

And applying the traditional form to the argument we have——we get a match:

“We do not know x (minds exist without brains) is true,
therefore, X (minds exist without brains) is false.”

(That is, “Minds exist without brains” is false = “Minds do not exist without brains.”)

We now see that Broad’s argument is actually an argument from ignorance, altered from its traditional form by natural speech, but retaining the same meaning through the syntactical alterations.

What happens if we relax the strength of the conclusion, and instead of saying “Therefore, minds do not exist without brains.” we say instead, “So minds PROBABLY do not exist without brains.”?

What happens with respect to the argument from ignorance is nothing. The conclusion does not follow either actually or probably. It’s still an argument from ignorance, but one which makes a far weaker conclusion, and so which could be tolerated as a plausible, but logically weak, argument.

(Which is not what you hear when materialists vigorously defend materialism and the Production Hypothesis by claiming what DOES follow from the evidence and what the evidence says IS actually the case).

Neither fallacious nor logically weak (plausible) arguments compel acceptance.

The problem with Broad’s argument is not the strength of the conclusion (i.e., what is probably true vs. what is actually true), but the conclusion itself at any strength.

I doubt we (collectively) will ever be allowed to know absolutely 100% for certain that there is "life after death" because the death of a loved one is one of the most powerful and emotional lessons in separation that a person can experience while living in the physical universe. Nothing else comes close.

Religion, politics, race, gender, sexual orientation, money, I.Q., education, language, dialects, socio-economic status, looks, the color of our hair and eyes, straight versus curly hair, weight and height, the shapes of our faces, names, even crooked teeth, and the bumps on our noses and all the little marks on our bodies that we accumulate throughout our lives teach the soul what it means and how it feels to be separate, unique, individual.

We come here to become "unassimilated" and resistance is futile! You will develop a sense of "self" and your soul will learn what it means to be separate whether you want it to or not. The soul's lessons are embedded in our everyday lives and it learns what it is supposed to learn whether we want it to or not.

Everything happens for a reason in this life; even the bad stuff. We have to experience enough separation in this life to overcome the overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness in heaven. I remember reading one NDE of a woman who said that we here in the physical universe can't begin to comprehend the overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness that we will feel in heaven.

Separation doesn't always have to be physical. You can be emotionally separated from someone you live in the same house with. Some people live in the same house with someone they hate. When I was growing up I hated my step-mother. I wished she were dead. I thought she was a mean nasty drunken be-yotch.

The physical laws of the physical Universe seem to be very different than the laws of the Spiritual Universe (heaven). From the descriptions I've read in near death experiences Heaven seems to be a place where thoughts are things and where consciousness creates reality, where time and space don't seem to exist, and where the feelings of oneness and connectedness seem to be infinite and overwhelming and where one feels an overwhelming feeling of love. It's a place where soul's communicate telepathically and where you can be anywhere and anytime in the Universe simply by focusing your attention on it.

I believe one of the main purposes "why we are here" is to experience "duality and separation." I believe that by experiencing duality and separation the soul learns what it means and how it feels to be separate, something it can't learn in Heaven due to those overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness that are mentioned so often in near death experiences. Another words we come here to become separate, unique, individuals and the way that we do that is by experiencing duality and separation.

Duality and separation seem to be inherent and inescapable properties of the physical universe. I think the soul's lessons are embedded in our everyday lives and it is holistically imprinted with those lessons whether we want it to be or not. It seems to be inescapable. From the moment we are born and we come out of our mother's wombs and the umbilical cord is cut till the day we die and our death's become a lesson in separation to our loved ones we leave behind life seems to be a never ending of series of lessons in separation - which teaches the soul what it means to be separate - something it can't learn in heaven because of those feelings of oneness and connectedness.

By the way, holistic learning is like what little children do before they ever start school. They just absorb information and learn. Another example is like learning about math while baking a cake or building a dog house. It's where the lessons are embedded in life and you are learning and you don't even realize it. That's the way the soul learns while we just go about our daily lives.

Why do we have minds at all? that is a very serious problem for materialism, self awareness. Why are we not zombies?

Leo wrote: I wonder what Keith thinks of experimental scientists such as Penfield and Eccles that believe dualism better accounts for phenomena than materialism does.

Stanton Friedman is a physicist and UFOlogist. One should not take his views about physics and UFOs as representative of the consensus of physicists. Similarly, a few dualistic neuroscientists are not representative of what the consensus of neuroscientists think. So being able to pick out a few neuroscientists who support dualism, like being able to pick out a few biochemists who reject evolution, doesn't really add any evidential support to your views.

Indeed, if quoting neuroscientists settled things, then for every 1 dualistic neuroscientist that Leo quotes, one could probably find a hundred of them who reject dualism. If Leo doesn't think what hundreds of neuroscientists would say is significant, I don't see why he thinks what a handful of neuroscientists say is significant, either. Except, of course, for the fact that the handful were picked because they agree with him, and the hundreds that do not are ignored because they do not. So the standard is not evidently what neuroscientists say, but what agrees with what Leo already thinks.

Do I really need to pick out a handful of physicists who are also UFOlogists, and what they says about physics that most physicists deny, in order to make the point? Let's see, I mentioned Friedman already, and then there's also Bruce Maccabee, and then there was that technical advisor for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alan Hynek I think it was. There's three unconventional physicists to Leo's two unconventional neuroscientists...

Incidentally, regarding materialists dealing in mysteries: Of course they do. In virtue of being human beings they deal in mysteries. All of us do. The fact that mysteries exist (as they undoubtedly always will) is not evidence for dualism anymore than it is evidence for Bigfoot. Hell, it wasn't long ago that no one knew what lay at the center of galaxies (supermassive black holes). So that was then a mystery. Back then, acknowledging that it was a mystery was no reason to posit angels at the center of galaxies. Sheesh...

dmduncan wrote: We now see that Broad’s argument is actually an argument from ignorance

In all due respect, dmduncan, Broad's conclusion is not derived from his early observation that we never find brainless minds. That is an opening to the argument he gives. He starts from the simple observation that we know that "brained minds" exist and don't know that "brainless minds" exist. He then goes on to talk about something else, the close dependence of the functions of the minds we know about on the brain. If you had read further into his chapter you would know that.

In any case, finding a lot of minds and never finding any of them lacking brains is pretty good basis for the presumption that minds do not occur without brains. But I don't think Broad ever argued it was more than a presumption. It is a presumption for thinking that minds only occur in organisms, and not in angels or gods, for example. We know organisms and their minds exist. Angels and gods are just constructs. But again, this observation has nothing to do with the dependence of the "organic minds" we know about upon brains. And that is what Broad goes on to talk about.

dmduncan wrote: Which is not what you hear when materialists vigorously defend materialism and the Production Hypothesis by claiming what DOES follow from the evidence and what the evidence says IS actually the case.

If you look at Broad's actual argument, instead of his opening observations, you'll see that he is not making the argument dmduncan seems to think he is making. He opens his argument with an observation about the minds we find, and THEN makes an argument about the nature of those minds. Immediately after what dmduncan latched on to, Broad writes:

When we do find minds we always find a close correlation between their processes and those of their bodies. This, it is argued, strongly suggests that minds depend for their existence on bodies; in which case, though survival may still be abstractly possible, it is to the last degree unlikely. At death there takes place completely and permanently a process of bodily destruction which, when it occurs partially and temporarily, carries with it the destruction of part of our mental life. The inference seems only too obvious. I think it is fair to say that our ordinary scientific knowledge of the relation of body to mind most strongly suggests ... [a position which] is most unfavourable to the hypothesis of human survival [even though it does not compell one to adopt that position].

dmduncan wrote: The problem with Broad’s argument...

Your comments address an argument other than the one Broad makes, which is the one cited above.

Leo wrote: Why do we have minds at all? that is a very serious problem for materialism, self awareness. Why are we not zombies?

To which one could reply, "Why do we have brains at all? That is a very serious problem for dualism, our physical existence. Why are we not unembodied minds from the start?"

"Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real."
- Niels Bohr

Keith stated:

"He starts from the simple observation that we know that "brained minds" exist and don't know that "brainless minds" exist. He then goes on to talk about something else, the close dependence of the functions of the minds we know about on the brain. If you had read further into his chapter you would know that.

In any case, finding a lot of minds and never finding any of them lacking brains is pretty good basis for the presumption that minds do not occur without brains".

Keith I've already explained this to you twice. If you did find Minds without brains through the normal senses, then minds would be physical. But those who subscribe to survival would normally subscribe to the idea that minds are non-physical. So it is blatant question begging. Why are you unable to understand the most simple things imaginable??

And all these people you seem to admire so much and keep quoting all disagree with you regarding the possibility of survival in anycase! If you really are unable to come up with your own arguments, why don't you quote some materialists?

Regarding your last communication to me you said.

Keith stated:


Whether "their behaviour can be wholly explained by chains of physical cause and effect" depends on whether things like intentions can be explained in that way, Right now, they cannot, though they might be explained in that way in the future. Right now, we say people behaved a certain way because they intended to behave that way. But a teleological explanation is one way of explaining behavior, and a physiological one is another. One might be ultimately reducible to the other. If so, then "Cain intended to kill Abel" is an teleological shorthand for a much more detailed physiological explanation. If that sort of story were true, than explaining behavior in terms of consciousness would not be different from explaining it in terms of physiology.

According to materialism minds are not qualitatively different from anything else in the world. The whole physical world can be described according to physical laws. The vast majority of things in the world do not have this alternative way of describing their behaviour. If a boulder rolls down a hill and rolls over your foot, this behaviour was not a consequence of malicious intent or done for a giggle. If consciousness is physical like everything else, then it cannot be considered to be special and have this alternative explanation for its behaviour alongside the normal explanation via physical laws. If it does then you are denying materialism.

But let's ignore this fact anyway. Even if the behaviour of conscious beings does have this alternative explanation and is not incompatible with materialism, how could you ever know this alternative explanation pertains?? With what justification have you got for supposing other people are any more conscious than a boulder rolling down a hill or any other physical process? The answer is you have no justification. The materialist cannot justify the hypothesis that other people are conscious.


Keith stated:

"for example, the belief that one event sometimes causes another, or that the future will be like the past, would qualify as a natural belief. You could not drive your car if you thought that the laws of physics were in constant flux, for example, because you'd have no expectation that a car would start today simply because it started yesterday. Without belief in causation, you'd have no expectation that turning the key had anything to do with the car starting. Obviously, anyone who didn't take these sorts of beliefs for granted would meet an accidental death pretty quickly. So a natural belief in this sense is necessary for acting in everyday life".

We have no reason whatsoever to believe that physical laws will continue to pertain. If I hold a tennis ball in my hand and release it we have no more reason to suppose it will fall, than we have that it will fall upwards, or explode, or instantaneously transmutate into a beautiful woman. Nor can we say any of these latter possibilities are any less likely. So to claim you know the ball will fall is simply flat out false.

We have to take for granted that the future will resemble the past? Certainly we do. But I think also we have to take it for granted that we all have free will. Not just because of the fact that if we did not have free will then we couldn’t apportion blame or praise to anything anyone ever did (which is surely ludicrous in and of itself) but also if my behaviour has the same origin as any other physical thing or process, then this means my conscious will is superfluous (assuming all other things do not have a conscious will). But this is just transparently false otherwise I would never get up in the morning!

So this notion we have more justification in believing the future will resemble the past than we have for believing in free will cannot be maintained. And the materialist can provide no justification whatsoever that other people are conscious.

But the fact is a consensus doesn't provide support for materialism. Such as a consensus before among scientists saying that machines couldn't fly, or that the universe was pretty small, now we know their is much more to reality than ever before. A scientific consensus has been proven wrong before. I am just saying that maybe we ought to take these couple of neuroscientists seriously, why? because one of them Wilder Penfield started out as a materialist but after his experiments with epileptics changed his mind. I don't see that as a serious problem knowing that dualism doesn't deny physical existence in the first place.

Here is a good article on the five dangers of materialism

http://www.processpsychology.com/new-articles/Materialism2.htm

There is of course many more dualists then just a couple of neuroscientists i mentioned that obviously doesn't lend support to dualism, however should give some food for thought.

Peter Lloyd

Is the mind physical? dissecting conscious brain tissue

http://www.newdualism.org/papers/P.LLoyd/phinow2.htm


Ian wrote, "We have no reason whatsoever to believe that physical laws will continue to pertain. If I hold a tennis ball in my hand and release it we have no more reason to suppose it will fall, than we have that it will fall upwards, or explode, or instantaneously transmutate into a beautiful woman. Nor can we say any of these latter possibilities are any less likely."

I don't follow this. It seems to me that we have every reason to expect the tennis ball to fall, and no reason to expect those other outcomes. Our expectation is based on prior observations of countless other objects. I think we would certainly be surprised if the ball fell upwards, exploded, or turned into a beautiful woman, because we have never observed such behavior before. It's true that causality, like other forms of logical inference, can be problematic when subjected to close analysis, but as a practical matter we make such inferences all the time.

Personally, I would grant Keith many of his logical presuppositions. Where I mainly disagree is in the assessment of the evidence for psi and survival. I think it's strong; he thinks it's weak (at best).

I do agree with Ian that the business about never finding minds without bodies/brains is question-begging. It assumes there is no evidence for minds operating outside the physical body, while those of us on the "paranormalist" side would say there's lots of evidence.

Incidentally, we can reconcile the "no minds without bodies" statement with the parapsychological evidence by positing the existence of an "etheric double." Then we have a body/brain through which the mind can operate, but it's not the earthly body we're familiar with.

The etheric double would neatly account for OBEs, NDEs, apparitions, and many other psi phenomena, and has the added bonus of having been part of mystical and psychic traditions for millennia. I can't prove that such a thing exists, so it has to remain a hypothesis, though one with (I believe) quite a good deal of empirical support.

"In all due respect, dmduncan, Broad's conclusion is not derived from his early observation that we never find brainless minds. That is an opening to the argument he gives. He starts from the simple observation that we know that "brained minds" exist and don't know that "brainless minds" exist. He then goes on to talk about something else, the close dependence of the functions of the minds we know about on the brain. If you had read further into his chapter you would know that."

I'm aware of all this, and I even addressed the "close dependence" comment in an earlier comment, somewhere way back. Suffice it to say that if I want to, I can treat that comment identically, and show the same thing for that comment that I showed for the other. He is actually making the same argument for slightly different sets of observations, and since it's the same argument, the precise set of observations does not matter. If you want to call it evidence, it's evidence of precisely the same kind about which the exact same argument is made. And I can take the time to show it, but it's going to come out the same way. I made the argument as simple as possible in the interest of brevity and clarity. And I've also been really busy, so being brief at this point is important for me.

In addition, I'm not posting that as a response exclusively to Broad. Broad is actually commendable for his open mindedness, and for his reasonableness in making a weak conclusion. But I know that I, and I'm sure many in here have similar accounts, have encountered much sneering condescension towards anything but materialism from skeptics that indicates a much more hardened position regarding the nature of consciousness than Broad makes.

So Broad put the argument in a nutshell, which makes it convenient to respond to. But my answer to that is a general response that covers both weak and strong conclusions based on the evidence, and which covers the same type of argument Broad makes, but which is often made, in my experience, by people other than Broad to decide what is actually the case, which it cannot be used to do.

Broad makes a weak conclusion, others make strong conclusions. My argument covers both.

And Keith is actually more reasonable and open minded than some of the people I've met who just "know" what the reality is.

My goal has not been to show that the Production Hypothesis is false. my goal has been to show that the Production Hypothesis is weak, and that we are under no reasonable obligation to accept it as true.

And I think I've done that.

Now I have had odd experiences which I myself cannot honestly explain. I'm not going to get into those experiences, and I don't expect any skeptic to take my word for anything, but what my own experiences confirmed for me is that what other people say they have seen and heard is probably true too.

And if any of it is true, then the Production Hypothesis is false.

Which for me, and people like me, means that the war is over, but it's going to be decades before some of the Japanese hiding out on the islands get the news.

Ian
"We have no reason whatsoever to believe that physical laws will continue to pertain. If I hold a tennis ball in my hand and release it we have no more reason to suppose it will fall, than we have that it will fall upwards, or explode, or instantaneously transmutate into a beautiful woman. Nor can we say any of these latter possibilities are any less likely."

Michael Presscot
I don't follow this. It seems to me that we have every reason to expect the tennis ball to fall, and no reason to expect those other outcomes. Our expectation is based on prior observations of countless other objects. I think we would certainly be surprised if the ball fell upwards, exploded, or turned into a beautiful woman, because we have never observed such behavior before. It's true that causality, like other forms of logical inference, can be problematic when subjected to close analysis, but as a practical matter we make such inferences all the time”.

Yes it certainly seems absolutely preposterous to say what I did.

Nevertheless what I say is perfectly true.

What you are doing in your response is using inductive reasoning. Thus the fact that the Sun has risen every day up until now means that it will do so in the future too. And the fact that the tennis ball has always fell down when released means that it will do so in future occasions (assuming that there are no other forces to counteract the gravitational pull of the Earth on the ball).

But what justifies this faith we place in induction? David Hume – the 17th Century philosopher – argued that the use of induction cannot be rationally justified at all!

What lies at the heart of inductive reasoning is that the future will resemble the past. So we might think the world is governed by physical laws so obviously they won’t suddenly cease to apply or change. But how do we know they won’t suddenly cease to govern the world or change? The typical reply is that so far in our experience the world has always been governed by physical laws, thus it is reasonable to suppose they will do so in the future. However here we are using induction to justify induction! That is we are begging the question.

So it is certainly a fact that nature has behaved largely uniformly up till now, but we cannot appeal to this fact to argue that nature will continue to be uniform, because this assumes that what has happened in the past is a reliable guide to what will happen in the future. Which of course begs the question since we are using induction to justify induction.

But what about someone who argues that using induction has been enormously fruitful to date and that someone who is not convinced of induction is likely to simply die. For they will have no reason to suppose, for example, that jumping off tall buildings will kill them etc. But to argue that using induction so far has been fruitful, so it is sensible to continue to use it in the future, is to again to use inductive reasoning. Hence one again is simply begging the question.

Now of course we have to assume that inductive reasoning will apply in the future, otherwise we couldn’t operate at all. I mean we can’t just give a equal likelihood that a ball will, for example, explode or spontaneously transmutate into a beautiful woman rather than simply fall. In other words we have to assume that the future will resemble the past (that physical laws will still apply) otherwise we couldn’t do anything at all!

But for all that this doesn’t justify our conviction that the ball will fall rather than anything else happening. The uniformity of nature is just something we have to assume even though there is absolutely no rational justification for this assumption.

I probably haven’t convinced you. It took me absolutely ages thinking about it when I first became acquainted with Hume’s arguments many years ago. And when I did eventually understand it was quite a revelation!

..."but it's going to be decades before some of the Japaneese hiding out on the islands get the news"

..... I suspect Keith would rather commit Harri-Karri.

Ian wrote, "... this doesn’t justify our conviction that the ball will fall rather than anything else happening. The uniformity of nature is just something we have to assume ..."

I agree that inductive reasoning is not nearly as well understood as deductive reasoning, and therefore claims based on induction are always debatable. If I recall correctly, Karl Popper went so far as to say that induction is invalid and that we don't actually use it in everyday life (we only think we do). I have never quite understood his position, but there it is.

I think, however, that while induction cannot yield the same degree of certainty as deduction, it can still give us conclusions with varying degrees of probability. So while it is theoretically possible that the tennis ball will metamorphose into Michelle Pfeiffer, it is far more likely that it will just drop to the ground in its usual boring way.

Or as someone once said, the race may not always be to the swift, but that's the way to bet.

In Chris Carter's book Parapsychology and the Skeptics, there is a good discussion of the problem of induction and Popper's solution to it.

From an strictly logical point of view, Ian's argument is irrefutable. You can't belief on induction on rational grounds.

You have to assume that it "works" (or more exactly, that it has worked in some cases in the past, not in all of them because each case where a counterexample has refuted an inductive inference has proved wrong the induction in these cases)

But again, that it has worked in some cases of the past doesn't prove that it works in general or that it will work in the future. Assume such thing is to use induction to justify induction, and it's fallacious.

So, for a rational and logically consistent thinker, the induction pose a clear intellectual problem. Popper offers a way out from this; but his thinking has been widely misunderstood (see Carter's book)

For an in depth discussion of these problems, I'd recommend the book "What is that thing called science?" by philosopher Alan Chalmers.

By the way, much of high-level generalizations of science are not based on pure induction, because these general propostions includes predicates no existing in the particular observed data (i.e. these predicates are added by conceptual and theoretical constructs)

See Chalmers's chapter in naive inductivism for a more discussion of these problems.

In Chris Carter's book Parapsychology and the Skeptics, there is a good discussion of the problem of induction and Popper's solution to it.

From an strictly logical point of view, Ian's argument is irrefutable. You can't belief on induction on rational grounds.

You have to assume that it "works" (or more exactly, that it has worked in some cases in the past, not in all of them because each case where a counterexample has refuted an inductive inference has proved wrong the induction in these cases)

But again, that it has worked in some cases of the past doesn't prove that it works in general or that it will work in the future. Assume such thing is to use induction to justify induction, and it's fallacious.

So, for a rational and logically consistent thinker, the induction pose a clear intellectual problem. Popper offers a way out from this; but his thinking has been widely misunderstood (see Carter's book)

For an in depth discussion of these problems, I'd recommend the book "What is that thing called science?" by philosopher Alan Chalmers.

By the way, much of high-level generalizations of science are not based on pure induction, because these general propostions includes predicates no existing in the particular observed data (i.e. these predicates are added by conceptual and theoretical constructs)

See Chalmers's chapter in naive inductivism for a more discussion of these problems.

A clarification, Carter has a solid grasp and understanding of Popper's philosophy.

When I wrote "Popper offers a way out from this; but his thinking has been widely misunderstood (see Carter's book)", I wasn't referring to Carter as an example of someone who misunderstand Popper.

On the contrary, his is one of the few people who seem to understand what Popper really meant.

I have actually read Alan Chalmers book about 15 years ago when I was doing my degree. Got it on my bookshelf at the moment but haven't read it since! I remember it being interesting though. It might have helped me to a certain extent to get my first in the philosophy and history of science credit area!

And also have read and possess a copy of Carter's book which I also thought was excellent. Let's hope he brings his next book out fairly soon.

Regarding induction we can't of course say that it's probable the future will resemble the past either. I should have stressed that in my post to Michael.

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