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Your recomendation is fine, Keith. Let's to analyze each argument at a time. I agree it's more productive in this way.

The dilemma you're posing (and please correct me if I misunderstood it) is this:

1)Dualists asserts "radical independence of mind and brain" what seems to be implausible (or maybe, I'd add, false) because neurophysiology shows dependence between them.

Did I grasp this correctly?

Or:

2)They (survivalists) "grant intimate dependencies, but at the expense of jettisoning personal survival".

This means (and correct me if I misunderstood your point) that, given an intimate dependence of mind to the brain, whatever survives cannot be a personal mind/consciousness.

That is, or anything survives at all; or if something survives, it can't be a personal individuality.

If the above dilemma is true, it entails:

a)In the first case, the survivalist position is false or implausible because it's inconsistent with the evidence of neurophysiology.

Or:

b)If the survivalist position is compatible with neurophysiology, then they have to renounce to the idea of personal survival.

In other words, a survivalist can't hold at the same time the belief that mind is dependent of a brain and the belief that his mind will survives in form of a personal-individual mind (personal survival)

Did I understand your dilemma correctly?

Let me know if I skip, misrepresented or misunderstood one step or implication of your argument, and so we can follow with the precise examination of your dilemma in its best possible formulation.


At first blush it is basically correct. Let me see if I can sharpen it a bit. I'll state it a bit differently than earlier here, because I don't want to create any misunderstandings about what is being argued:

The tight dependence of one's mental life upon the brain implies one of two things: Either (1) one's mental individuality is produced by and existentially dependent upon the brain and nothing else (and so cannot survive the brain's death), or (2) one's mental individuality is produced by and existentially dependent upon *the union* of the brain with some external thing which could survive death (in which case the union is destroyed when the brain dies, and so the survival of that external thing alone would not be the survival of one's mental individuality, but only the survival of something like a mental trace of a person. It would be like the survival of a videotape of a person vs. the survival of the person.)

If you want a more detailed analysis of my rationale for for this kind of argument, see Douglas Stokes' "Cognitive Neuroscience and the Problem of Survival" on the tightness of the dependencies, and C. D. Broad's chapter of The Mind and Its Place in Nature titled "Empirical Arguments for Human Survival." (I'm stating those from memory, so the titles might be off somewhat.)

Hornell Hart's book, whose title I cannot recall, also has a chapter responding to the mind-brain dependence argument.

Broad is online, as is Hart. Broad, Hart, and Stokes (historically in that order) take fork (2) in order to save survival. (Note that I address how this fork actually undermines survival in my online version of "The Case Against Immortality.")

You can see the problem clearly if you ask "What survives?" when reading each of them. What they say survives death falls far short of one's unique mental individuality, the sort of personal survival people expect when they say they will see deceased loves ones in the afterlife, indeed, when they say they will have a *life* in some substantial sense after death.

Broad explicitly says that one's mental individuality depends upon the "compound" of psi factor + brain. The problem is, "a psi factor" is some mere trace of a person, not a person. So when the brain goes, there is some mental trace out there somewhere, but it is not personal survival.

Stokes and Hart redefine survival to mean the survival of one's center of awareness, "the I thinker," but minus all of one's earthly memories, behavioral dispositions, personality traits, and so on. The problem here is that the "I thinker" is not the unique individual personality people expect to survive when they use terms like "afterlife."

To make this clearer: On Hart and Stokes' view, the if you killed me right now, the "mind" that would emerge on the other side would be identical to the mind I would have had if you had killed me at my birth. It would be as if my life never happened at all, as I would have no memory of it, since memories depend upon synaptic connections in the brain that have long since irreversibly decayed. (Stokes actually uses this example.) And this would be the model for others who have died. They would be like drifting mental "flotsam" (Broad's term) unable to recognize grandma or anyone else, since no one's memories would survive.

Now that the ball is in your court, I'll suggest a question: Is this a false dilemma, given that our individual mental lives right now clearly require a properly functioning brain? If you think so, what other options are there than the two I offer?

(Note: You cannot plausibly argue that the individual mental lives we know in this life, which is what people who believe in an afterlife expect to continue on, could survive because our "empirical selves" (to use Kantian terminology) are to the brain like a driver is to his car, as simple dualism would have it. You can't argue that plausibly because PCP directly effects the "driver"/mind, not just the car/body. Putting sugar in the car's gas tank would not be expected to effect the driver's digestive processes, for example. That's why the Rover/Predator drone analogy mentioned at the top of this blog entry does not work.)

So the question is, how else could you get the individual mental lives we have right now to continue (and possibly improve) after death given how important the brain is in generating our mental lives--whether the brain does it alone or with the help of an extra something?

(I hope you don't mind me jumping back in here)
ZC- thank-you for getting this back on track.

Keith, Your logic is excellent. If the brain is the cause of the mind, then the mind stops when the brain stops. If you are you because of your mind, then if your mind stops, then you do too. From this we can see the logical conclusion that if your brain stops, then so do you.

The disagreement is not in the logic. The disagreement is in the premise. And the specific premise that yields the disagreement is this- "The mind is what the brain does."
Certainly the notion that the mind is the brain has been with us for centuries and it has been the working hypothesis of most scientists for some decades now. It is not unreasonable to assume that it is a true hypothesis.

I have read numerous books on neuroscience and would agree that this premise has been valuable.

I would point out that science has advanced using models and premises that later turned out to be false. So the fact a hypothesis or premise has been of value and has led to discovery does not make it true.

Now we come to the fact that there are many well-documented phenomena and numerous observations that don't fit the premise well. This is not unlike the situation that existed in physics some 100 years ago. The question is this- do those observations and phenomena warrant questioning the basic premise? Some would suggest they do.

If one allows the basic premise to be questioned and then takes seriously some of the phenomena observed, then one can see that the connection between the mind and the brain might only be temporary. The analogies of the rover, or a driver and her car, are attempts to make the relationship clearer.

So it is the attempt to include the phenomena and observations that don’t fit the production model well that leads to the transmission model.

Obviously if you don’t know of any phenomena or observation that are not well explained by the production model, the transmission model is unnecessary. To understand the transmission model then requires knowledge of some observed phenomena that are better explained using the transmission model than the production model.

Would you like to know of some of those phenomena or observations?

Your qualifications have been very important, because they specify and clarify your point of view.

Let's see the first alternative: "one's mental individuality is produced by and existentially dependent upon the brain and nothing else (and so cannot survive the brain's death)"

For the moment, I think we can disregard this, because this is the materialistic hypothesis rejected by any substance dualist or survivalist; and we're trying to grasp the survivalist' best position to consider its strong and weak points.

Thus we have your next offered alternative: "one's mental individuality is produced by and existentially dependent upon *the union* of the brain with some external thing which could survive death (in which case the union is destroyed when the brain dies, and so the survival of that external thing alone would not be the survival of one's mental individuality, but only the survival of something like a mental trace of a person. It would be like the survival of a videotape of a person vs. the survival of the person."

Let's to analyze it in more detail:

-It seems to me it is not an argument "for" the productive theory of consciousness, but an argument "against" personal survival.

You could say that it's an argument for the productive theory because individuality is "produced" by the union of something (let's to call it "factor X") with the brain. In this sense, it's correct. But the point is that argument only works against the possibility of personal survival, not against the idea of consciousness in general (e.g. the universal consciousness believed by some mystics)

The "factor X" could be that universal consciousness that, through the union with an individual brain, "produces" an individual consciousness. After death, that individual consciousness won't persist; but universal non-brain dependent consciusness (universal consciousness) does.

Thus, this alternative is similar to the idea of many mystics, and it is not a purely materialistic hypothesis.

Another support for this interpretation is that individuality is a product of two factors: Brain + Factor X. And this implies that a brain, by itself, cannot produce individual consciousness (and it's contrary to materialism, as usually defined)

So it is not an argument for materialism, but (we can call) a "non-materialistic quasi-mystical argument" against personal survival.

But the problematic points of this alternative are their premises:

-What basis we do have to suppose that "mental individuality is produced by and existentially dependent upon *the union* of the brain with some external thing"

It seems to me that we can't support that assumption arguing from neurosciences, because neurosciences say nothing about an "external thing" (Factor X) existing apart of a brain which, when it gets united with it, produces individuality. (In fact, most neuroscientists support the first alternative: the materialistic hypothesis; not the second one that we're commenting here)

So, the assumption is metaphysical and has to be supported by metaphysical and philosophical argumentation (regardless of if some empirical fact or evidence is used too as part of the argument).

Personally, I can't see any reason to suppose such assumption is necessary or probably true.

In fact, it doesn't seem very intelligible the idea of a factor X that, when combining with the brain, produces individual consciousness.

The reason: individual consciousness seems to be an unitary phenomenon, an unitary "self"; a basic fundamental entity; not a sum of parts or a emergent unity produced by the combination of different things.

So postulating that factor X, when "united" with a brain, produces individual consciousness seem to be unintelligible and it seems to count against this alternative.

(A similar problem arise in the first materialistic hypothesis: how can physical matter give rise to subjetivity and consciousness?).

-On the other hand, why mental individuality has to be an exclusive product of the union of factor X with a brain?

Why it can't be that individuality exist in factor X but, when it gets "united" with a brain, produces a physical manifestation of that individuality? In this case, what's produce is not the (metaphysical) phenomenon of individuality as such, but the way in that it gets expressed in the material world.

-Another question: Why Factor X can't be used by the "produced individuality" (produced by the union of factor X with the brain) as a vehicle of trascendence for that individuality?

I mean, let's to grant that a mental individuality is produced by the "union" of factor X and the brain. But why such individuality can't trascend in factor X after physical death?

After all, Beichler's theory (whose book Michael reviewed some time ago) consider that consciousness is a product of a brain; but it trascend it after death.

Beichler's thesis seems to be consistent with Keith's second alternative (factor X + Brain = individual mind) where factor X is a kind of dimensional-mental field. (I haven't read Beichler's book and maybe my representation of his theory is mistaken. And I don't remember Michael's review of it in detail). In Beichler's view consciousness is an emergent phenomenon, but it's trascendent in the 5th dimension and fully conserves the individuality of the self.

Thus I don't consider the alternatives mentioned by Keith as obviously or probably true. In fact I consider both alternatives intrinsically problematic. It doesn't prove they're false, but they're not obviously true or probable.

I think we (including Keith and all the others posters here) have material for discussion in this point.

Keith's dilemma or alternatives is, it seems to me, central for his case. And if they fail, then part of his case fails too. (It wouldn't prove the transmission theory is correct; but undermine some of the objections against it)

We should have a reasonable agreement about the plausibility or unplausibility of Keith's dilemma/argument before we explore his other arguments.

Keith's question "So the question is, how else could you get the individual mental lives we have right now to continue (and possibly improve) after death given how important the brain is in generating our mental lives--whether the brain does it alone or with the help of an extra something?" is very interesting and Beichler's thesis seem to be an possible answer for it (an aswer that I don't share, for the record).

But I think an definitive answer for that can wait, until we have a reasonable conclusion about if the above Keith's alternatives are plausible or not.

But my post has been very long. Let's to focus in Keith's actual argument (especially on its premises), his reply for the above considerations and the opinions of other posters here.

Of course quote me out of context. The actions of a true scholar.

The context of my quote was that you made a tremendous philosophical error that any first year student should be ashamed of. If you cannot see that then I cannot help you.

Duane Gish for example is well versed on biology, don't you think he should know better about creationism.

That was not a complement at all toward you what I said earlier.

What dualist has ever denied that the i thinker can fluctuate? What you are saying is we suppose that the i thinker is radically seperate from the brain, not so. The issue isn't dependency it's how strong the dependency is, even transmitting instruments as Hornell Hart observed have localize functions. Knowing how complexed the brain is it's premature to jump to conclusions on rather the brain is an advanced producer of mind and consciousness or it's a advanced receiver or filter of consciousness and mind.

All we can do now is weigh the evidence, i'm sure you know that right?. What matters is what interpretation can account for all the evidence.

Here's a list of some phenomena the production theory isn't consistent with

- poltergeists
- near death experiences
- out of body experiences
- mental mediumship
- stigmata
- hypnotic suggestion
- premonitions
- xenoglossy
- reincarnation
- electronic voice phenomena
- physical seance phenomena
- levitations
- remote viewing
- automatic writing
- people with very little brain matter but have high mental functioning
- introspection studies
- direct voice phenomena
- apparitions

And please don't forget my favorite! Death Bed Visions!

Death Bed Visions, Sir William Barrett, free online book (only 26 pages):

http://www.survivalafterdeath.org.uk/books/barrett/dbv/contents.htm

And just for fun... Art's favorite hymn:

This Is My Father's World:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byIpfEVxhs4&NR=1

"And Earth and Heaven be One!"

Art

We've had cultural expectations,drugs,anoxia,dreams,runners high- endorphins,electro-magnetic fields,temporal-lobe epilepsy,horse anaesthetic(Ketamine),DMT,neural receptor blockades,G-lock,REM,lucky guesses,made it all up...and now we have 'Custers last stand'...apparently there is a small part of the brain, they don't know where it is but it's definitely 'there'... somewhere ..and contained therein..is the consciousness of critically ill hospitalized patients who are able to experience great peace and joy,see what is going on all around them,meet deceased relatives in a brilliant, loving, unearthly light, bring back paranormal information, have a total life change and lose their fear of death..all from a lovely little corner of their severely traumatised skulls.C'mon,pull the other one.

IT'S GOT BELLS ON IT !

Great argument!

Still, in the battle between materialists and dualists, I predict a draw.

May I mention the advantages of Idealist monism?

1. If everything is consciousness, then 'matter' is an idea in the universal mind and the brain too is only a concept.

2. As a monist, you don't need to go through the agonies of having to justify substance dualism.

Monists might see the laws and constants in the universe as deliberate restrictions on consciousness –just ways of generating separate dimensions and environments for consciousness to explore itself. That’s advantage number 3: philosophically, it explains why we’re here.

Materialists and dualists unite! You have nothing to lose but your philosophical positions.

I'd appreciate a brief clarification of, and reasoning behind use of, the terms "tight dependence."

Also, I would not concede that "memories depend upon synaptic connections in the brain."

That might be true for embodied consciousness, but if I am considering that consciousness does not always depend on the brain, then I would also consider that memories do not always depend on the brain either.

I wonder what Keith of a procedure called hemispherectomy where half of the brain is removed. After half of the brain has been removed, the patients retain their personalities and memories. A study that was done on children that had half of their own brains removed found they often were able to perform their school work better.

There are cases too that have been documented on where a normally functioning person as an adult he had virtually no brain. But had intact consciousness and memory.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19859089/##

This shows that memory to a degree is dependent on the brain, but not fully dependent on the brain. This is what the transmission theory predicts not full blown dependence but some dependency nonetheless.

ZC wrote: For the moment, I think we can disregard this, because this is the materialistic hypothesis rejected by any substance dualist or survivalist; and we're trying to grasp the survivalist' best position to consider its strong and weak points.

I don't want to get into why the productive hypothesis is preferable to the transmissive one; let's just say that, for now, the productive hypothesis explains all of the neuroscientific facts more straightforwardly (i.e., without the need for a lot of ad hoc corolloraries to explain the observations) than the transmissive hypothesis. But that's another argument for another day; I don't want to get off track of this one, which as you note is an argument against personal survival, not necessarily and argument for production, at least not without supplementation by the sort of argument I mention above.

What I'm suggesting here is that transmission actually conflicts with personal survival; the issue is not whether substance dualism or materialism or property dualism or functionalism (and so and and so forth) is true. What I'm trying to show is that even if we grant as much dualism as the neuroscientific evidence might plausibly allow, we still don't get personal survival. Personal survival is the main issue I'm concerned with here, not the mind-body problem.

ZC wrote: So postulating that factor X, when "united" with a brain, produces individual consciousness seem to be unintelligible and it seems to count against this alternative.

It is the only way a human being could be composed of two interacting substances, both of which contribute to the minds that we find that we have while alive, given the tight dependence of mental states on brain states. Indeed, some religious philosophers eschew "Cartesian dualism" in favor of "Thomistic dualism" for exactly this reason--because the latter acknowledges the dependencies more explicitly. (Even Descartes himself did explicitly deny that a mind is to a brain as a pilot is to his ship, BUT his theory of mind implies that they are analogous.)

ZC wrote: Why it can't be that individuality exist in factor X but, when it gets "united" with a brain, produces a physical manifestation of that individuality? In this case, what's produce is not the (metaphysical) phenomenon of individuality as such, but the way in that it gets expressed in the material world.

ZC wrote: Why it can't be that individuality exist in factor X but, when it gets "united" with a brain, produces a physical manifestation of that individuality?

But what does the "manifestation" of consciousness mean?

The most obvious meaning would be consciousness showing it's existence by exhibiting intentional behavior. But that can't be right, for reasons outlined by Corliss Lamont: "A severe injury to the head, for instance, may change an ordinarily cheerful man into a sullen and morose one subject to sudden fits of homicidal mania. If the brain and body are simply the instruments of the soul, we have to say in such a case that this personality is really still brimming over with joy and benevolence, but that unfortunately these sentiments can only express themselves in dark glances, in peevish complaints and in violent attacks..."

So "manifestation" must mean something else. What is implied by the transmission/filter theory is that our embodied minds are significantly different than whatever of us emerges after death. The idea is that the brain and "X factor" come together to produce our embodied minds, and that the interaction between the two generates our embodied minds. But when they are separated, our embodied minds will disappear, even if the "X factor" survives. This is something that Broad, Hart, and Stokes realized.

The neuroscientific evidence simply adds a level of specificity to the argument: the brain was needed to create our embodied memories, for instance, so those memories cannot survive once the brain is gone (hence the relevance of Stoke's synaptic connections in long-term memory formation). Damage to the frontal lobe will dramatically alter one's personality, so evidently a properly functioning frontal lobe is necessary for our embodied personality.

The issue becomes: take away everything that is contributed "brain-side"--and anyone not sticking his head in the sand will have to concede that that's quite a bit--and whatever remains "factor-side" will be much diminished without all that information processing made possible only by a functioning brain. That's why Hart and Stokes opt for a naked "I thinker" minus all of his earthly memories, and Broad talks about all sorts of odd things (like the 'collision' of and recombination of two different "psi factors" into something else entirely still).

Basically, you have two things contributing to our embodied minds: brain and X factor. Take the brain away, and what remains is nothing recognizably us. It is some shadow of our former selves at best. You mentioned that some mystics held it was a sort of universal mind in which individual minds are "absorbed." But "absorption" into a cosmic mind amounts to annihilation as far as our individuality is concern. An ice cube that melts in the ocean is no longer an ice cube, with it's solidity, square-shape, lack of salinity, and so on. It is now just another part of the ocean. Saying we're absorbed into a cosmic mind is not really a step up from saying we're absorbed into the ground.

ZC wrote: But why such individuality can't trascend in factor X after physical death?

Because the brain adds so much to the equation. Long-term memory formation was only possible because of the synaptic connections, for instance. If the X factor could do that on its own, it would be redundant for the brain to do it too (especially since the brain takes up so much energy that could be used to run away from a predator faster and so on), and then the X factor should be able to compensate for brain damage if it could do the same thing that the living brain did without the brain. It would like the neuroplasticity point: instead of another area of the brain taking over, the X factor could take over. But if that were possible, then there would be rehabilitation designed to have the X-factor take over previous brain functions, not just trying to get one area of the brain take over the damaged areas previous functions (which is not always possible in real plasticity examples). Rosemary Kennedy's lobotomy need not be so debilitating if the X-factor is that robust. Evidently it is not, because she never recovered from that lobotomy.

I was thinking about the plasticity point, and I wanted to give some further evidence. I remember not long ago, a few months ago, that a person with a literally photographic memory was featured on the today show. The person could look intently at the skyline, and then draw it precisely any time thereafter accurately down to the last detail, unlike most of us. BUT this person also was unable to do other sorts of things that most of us take for granted. I don't remember the exact deficits, but the point is that deficits were there, implying that it is the brain doing the memorizing. To do more than others in one area, you have to do less in another, because the brain can only do so much. This is why occasional rehabilitation from brain injury is not evidence for dualism. Being really good at one thing can be really detrimental to being able to do something else--exactly what you would expect if some other area of the brain was taking on a new function (as it can only do so much).

Leo wrote: Here's a list of some phenomena the production theory isn't consistent with...

This is a totally different argument that I'm going to ignore for the moment. To me, it is like saying "If the speed of light cannot be exceeded by any subluminal object, how do you explain cattle mutilations by aliens who got here by exceeding the speed of light?" In this analogy, we're talking about the evidence for the proposition "the speed of light cannot be exceeded by any subluminal object." We're not talking about dubious reasons to think cattle mutilations are caused by aliens, which is an entirely different issue.

dmduncan wrote: I'd appreciate a brief clarification of, and reasoning behind use of, the terms "tight dependence."

See comments by Douglas Stokes and William Hasker (both dualists, BTW) giving examples of tight dependence--I quote them in "The Case Against Immortality."

dmduncan wrote: "That might be true for embodied consciousness..."

But my embodied consciousness is who I am. Lobotomizing me would destroy the person Keith Augustine, and turn him into someone else, an infantile consciousness that couldn't even rightly be called a bare shadow of his former self. Just as destroying the whole brain would--even more so--even if some X factor might be able to survive. Anything that might survive would not be me, any more than the continued existence of the bones of deceased persons counts as their personal survival. And an brainless X-factor certainly wouldn't encounter recognizable deceased persons that could recognize it.

Leo wrote: I wonder what Keith of a procedure called hemispherectomy where half of the brain is removed. After half of the brain has been removed, the patients retain their personalities and memories.

See my comment about the Today Show example. I'm certain there would be deficits in other areas due to one hemisphere talking on some of the functions of the removed hemisphere. This could be demonstrated by testing, and it is undoubtedly true that this happens--else there would not be autistic individuals like the fictionalized portrait of them in "Rainman." Genius in one area is associated with deficit or mental illness in another. All of this is explicable by the brain doing most, if not all, of the mental work.

Keith-
Obviously if all evidence everywhere, at all times is perfectly explained by the production hypothesis, then there is no need for any other hypothesis. If the production hypothesis is correct, then the mind obliously ceases when the brain stops.
If your argument consists of restating that all evidence is perfectly in alignment with the production hypothesis, then there is nothing to talk about, because there is no need for any other hypothesis.
(From the stand point of a logical discourse, the premise 'the mind is what the brain does' begs the question of survival after brain death. From the stand point of science, it is a matter of evidence.)
If you are willing to consider the possibility that there are phenomena that does not fit the production model well, then there is the possibility of discussion.
Otherwise there is no point whatsoever.

Keith stated:

"The tight dependence of one's mental life upon the brain implies one of two things: Either (1) one's mental individuality is produced by and existentially dependent upon the brain and nothing else (and so cannot survive the brain's death), or (2) one's mental individuality is produced by and existentially dependent upon *the union* of the brain with some external thing which could survive death (in which case the union is destroyed when the brain dies, and so the survival of that external thing alone would not be the survival of one's mental individuality, but only the survival of something like a mental trace of a person. It would be like the survival of a videotape of a person vs. the survival of the person."

What does "mental individuality" mean? If you mean the (substantial) self then I would definitely disagree with you. If you mean ones personality and intelligence, interests etc, then of course these don't survive. Neither do they survive after an excessive consumption of alcohol. The point here being that our personality characteristics change throughout our lives. But the vast majority of the human race -- that is those who don't subscribe to some sort of materialist metaphysic -- don't thereby think that the self *literally* changes throughout their lives.

The problem here is you're implicitly holding that the self, or what you label "mental individuality", is the *sum* of ones various psychological states. That is to say you are presupposing the correctness of the materialist metaphysics analysis of the self. In other words you are still begging the question!

Keith stated:
"If you want a more detailed analysis of my rationale for for this kind of argument, see Douglas Stokes' "Cognitive Neuroscience and the Problem of Survival" on the tightness of the dependencies, and C. D. Broad's chapter of The Mind and Its Place in Nature titled "Empirical Arguments for Human Survival." (I'm stating those from memory, so the titles might be off somewhat.)"

I'm afraid that's not good enough. If you have arguments for the hypothesis that we cease to exist when we die then you must provide them. Or at the very minimum quote the relevant arguments from these authors whom you believe support your position.

Keith, were talking about cases of people with 90 percent of their brain removed. Now you can say that 10 percent is taking over the functions, but that is a lot of functions to take over with just a tiny brain.

The most obvious meaning would be consciousness showing it's existence by exhibiting intentional behavior. But that can't be right, for reasons outlined by Corliss Lamont: "A severe injury to the head, for instance, may change an ordinarily cheerful man into a sullen and morose one subject to sudden fits of homicidal mania. If the brain and body are simply the instruments of the soul, we have to say in such a case that this personality is really still brimming over with joy and benevolence, but that unfortunately these sentiments can only express themselves in dark glances, in peevish complaints and in violent attacks..."

Who ever said that it wouldn't alter the i thinker? For example Hornell Hart acknowleged that mood changes effect the i thinker.

Keith stated:

"Stokes and Hart redefine survival to mean the survival of one's center of awareness, "the I thinker," but minus all of one's earthly memories, behavioral dispositions, personality traits, and so on. The problem here is that the "I thinker" is not the unique individual personality people expect to survive when they use terms like "afterlife.""

First of all there's absolutely no reason why the self after death would lack earthly memories. I think you're making the mistake of thinking of memory as being something which must be stored, somewhat akin to a computers memory. It is my belief that memory is a direct perception of previous events that one has experienced. Compare this to how a disembodied self will directly visually apprehend their afterlife environment. This will not be normal vision but more like the "vision" in an OBE or remote viewing. Likewise everything we have ever done will be laid out before us to directly apprehend.

It is my belief that the brain does not create memories, rather it suppresses memories. This is essentially compatible with the fact that suitable alteration of the function of brain processes can further suppress memories or can sometimes enable recollection of past events. More notable it is compatible with the life review of NDEs.

Secondly you seem very fond of this word "personality". Unfortunately I find it ambiguous. If we are talking about a third person's assessment of another individual's personality that will obviously depend, for example, on the current mood of the person being assessed. You are constantly mixing together the self on the one hand, with that self's particular psychological states on the other. Of course this is the materialists position, but you are not allowed to do this when criticising non-materialists positions.

So this 3rd person assessment of "personality" doesn't survive. What does survive is the *1st person's* sense of self. And there is absolutely no reason to suppose that this is bereft of any characteristics. There are certain mental dispositions and characteristics which survive throughout our lives and it is these characteristics which are part of the essential self eg a school bully at 7 years of age is more likely to be a bully in his adult life.

Exactly Ian when Keith mentions severe brain damage that makes people go manic. He is mentioning how their behavior changes, then assumes that his personality must also change with it. But what we observe with these cases is behavior changes not personality changes. Identifying behavior with personality is highly misleading, this is what behaviorism did and failed.

I like to point out this particular quote

Sam Harris, in "The End of Faith"The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason says, "The idea that brains produce consciousness is little more than an article of faith among scientists at the moment...(yet) nothing about a brain..declares it to be a bearer of the peculiar, interior dimension that each of us experiences as consciousness in his own case."

I wonder if Keith has read this book called "The Atheist Afterlife: The odds of an afterlife - Reasonable. The odds of meeting God there - Nil"

http://www.amazon.com/Atheist-Afterlife-afterlife-Reasonable-meeting/dp/1897435290

I have already shown that the Phineas Gage case was overblown about how much his personality changed. The fact that this case has been overblown and it being a very famous case gives reasons to look at other cases with a critical eye as well. This doesn't of course give support for dualism, but it does show that the tight dependence as Keith says isn't as tight as it is assumed to be.

I see two important points made by Keith, both of them problematic in my opinion.

The first one is Keith's remark "Basically, you have two things contributing to our embodied minds: brain and X factor. Take the brain away, and what remains is nothing recognizably us

I think the idea "nothing recognizably us" is ambiguous. If you're refering to a "embodied mind" then, by definition, whatever survives is not like that, since that the survival thing is not embodied anymore.

But it doesn't follow that a disemboided mind can't be recognizable. It is recognozible because it share a common element with a embodied mind: a mind.

Another of Ketih's idea is:

Because the brain adds so much to the equation. Long-term memory formation was only possible because of the synaptic connections, for instance. If the X factor could do that on its own, it would be redundant for the brain to do it too

I think this is a premature conclusion.

Long-term memory formation could be only possible because of synatic connections, but it doesn't follow that the brain alone was the only factor responsible for that.

In fact, if we concede that mind and consciousness was produced by two factors (X factor and the brain), we'd expect that X factor also plays some function in the formation of memories and other mental phenomena.

To conclude that mind is a product of two factors, but only one factor (the brain) makes all the mental work seems premature and unwarranted.

Also, we can't know how much the brain adds to the equation if we don't know the properties and influence of the other factor of the equation: X factor.

We don't know in what aspects X factor adds to consciousness and mental functioning.

We only know that X factor is a co-factor (together with the brain) in the production of consciousness. But if the mind is a product of both things, we can't jump to the idea that the brain alone is responsable for all the mental functioning.

In fact, the same argument could be used to support the idea that X factor will carry all the mental properties after death.

If mind is a product of X factor + brain, it implies:

1)The brain alone can't produce embodied consciousness. It needs other factor (X factor) to produce it.

2)Presumibly, the reason why the brain by itself can't produce consciousness is that, as any other material thing, the brain has only physical-objectives properties, not subjective ones.

In consequence, if X factor is needed to bring subjectivity to a embodied mind, we can think that X factor has subjectivity as one of its essential properties.

3)If 2 is true, then we cannot exclude the possibility the X factor will carry "part" of the subjective information formed in its union with a biological brain, because the brain, as a physical thing, only have objective properties.

In other words, the brain adds to the "embodied mind" the embodied-objective part of the equation. But X factor adds a property unknown for any other material thing: subjectivity and consciousness.

When you add subjectivity (provided by X factor) and a embodied biological instrument (a brain), then you get an EMBOIDED MIND.

When they gets separated, you only will have a disimbodied consciousness or subjectivity.

And, given that memories and other mental phenomena are subjective, and the brain by itself cannot produce subjectivity (because it needs another factor: X factor), then we have to conclude that, probably, subjectivity is a property of X factor.

In consequence, the subjective experiences formed when embodied could be carry on after death (after the separation of the bioogical instrument).

It seems to carry us to some version of the transmission theory.

So, one of the "horns" of Keith's dilemma lead us towards some version of the transmission theory.

The above shows the possible triviality of this Keith's comment "The idea is that the brain and "X factor" come together to produce our embodied minds, and that the interaction between the two generates our embodied minds. But when they are separated, our embodied minds will disappear, even if the "X factor" survives. This is something that Broad, Hart, and Stokes realized"

The conclusion "But when they are separated, our embodied minds will dissapear, even if X factor survives" seems to be trivial and irrelevant because almost no contemporary survivalist defend the survival of the embodied mind.

Survivalist mostly defend the survival of MIND/CONSCIOUSNESS (disemboided), that is, of the subjectives properties of personal experiences (e.g. memories and the self).

Precisely the part of the equation added by the X factor (which, according to Keith, is just the element that could survive).

Finally, Keith asked what I mean with "manifestation of consciousness". I'm refering to consciousness and mind functioning as a part of physical body/brain to carry on functions in the physical world.

In other words, I'm refering to consciousness as existing together with and being influential in physical bodies to do efficacious functions in the physical realm. I'm not refering to a specific function of consciousness (like intentionality), but to the cinrcunstance or "realm" where it functions.

So, I don't agree with Keith's idea that "The most obvious meaning would be consciousness showing it's existence by exhibiting intentional behavior"

I agree that consciousness adds intentional behaviour to physical living organisms; but I don't define "manifestation of consciousness" in that way.

“A severe injury to the head, for instance, may change an ordinarily cheerful man into a sullen and morose one subject to sudden fits of homicidal mania. If the brain and body are simply the instruments of the soul, we have to say in such a case that this personality is really still brimming over with joy and benevolence,”

With all due respect to Corliss Lamont, I’m going to point out that this argument is exactly the same argument that I’ve been dissatisfied with and have been criticizing all along. It’s another variation of “destroying the pinky controlling area of the brain destroys pinky control” argument.

I haven’t ever known a single person who was always one thing, whether it be cheerful or sullen. Even when people are a preponderance of one or the other, they are the opposite too, at some time, or at least capable of being so during certain occasions.

If we damage the brain in a certain way we may find the dominant personality characteristic gone and a subdued one all that is left observable. This is an observable change in personality, but there’s more to it than that, because the "change" would be due to physical damage of the brain causing a major quality to go non expressive and a minor quality to become the default personality marker that controls behavior.

Now, that’s no different than altering a part of the brain that alters pinky function. It regards how we observe the personality expressing itself through the brain rather than how we observe pinky articulation, but the principle is the same in each case, which I've already addressed.

And when Corliss sarcastically notes:

“If the brain and body are simply the instruments of the soul, we have to say in such a case that this personality is really still brimming over with joy and benevolence, but that unfortunately these sentiments can only express themselves in dark glances, in peevish complaints and in violent attacks...“

I’m leaving his sarcasm the silence it deserves while rejecting his reasoning with the complaint that I also made earlier, i.e., Corliss is assuming how the conjugation of mind and matter “ought” to work. If it does not work that expected way, it does not work at all. He is, it seems to me, assuming that in any marriage between mind and body where the brain becomes damaged, the mind “ought” to still visibly operate in the body the way it did before regardless of the damage to the brain——IF mind is or can be independent of the body. And if it doesn't operate that way, then the separation possibility is false.

A dualist might reply that a mind can only separate under extraordinary conditions: Through the trauma of death, or perhaps in some rare individuals through meditation. And that until such a separation occurs the mind is trapped in the body it is attached to, for the vast majority of people, at least, able to perform only according to the condition of the body, limited or affected in its demonstration of emotion or “personality” by whatever damage it suffered, in the exact same way that pinky function is altered by destroying the pinky controlling area of the brain.

So if Corliss is allowed to imagine how the connection-disconnection process works, I am allowed to do the same thing, and I might imagine possibilities that he failed to.

Consciousness is a many layered thing. Take people who sleep walk, for instance. A woman wakes up in her nightshirt half a block away and becomes terrified, knowing neither where she is (momentarily), or how she got there (permanently).

Now, we COULD explain how she got there with aliens: She was raised by a beam of light and transported out of her house while sleeping and deposited onto the sidewalk a half block away. This explanation has the advantage of not dealing with the question of how a woman can get up, put one foot in front of the other to successfully walk down the stairs of her house without falling and breaking her neck, unlock and open the door, and then find and march down the sidewalk, and all of it without any consciousness of doing so.

But I don’t think anyone is eager to use the aliens hypothesis.

Just because that woman did not know what she was doing during her sleep walking adventure doesn’t mean some part of her was not still conscious and able to walk down stairs, unlock the door, and follow the sidewalk. Presumably her eyes were open and she was using careful hand-eye-foot coordination to do all those things, even though she was unconscious and had no memory of doing any of them.

And it’s these sort of layers to consciousness that led me to propose here that consciousness might contract in the brain, losing functionality and expression to damaged portions of the brain, and being unable to express itself through those areas anymore, but without being truly absent either.

Or consciousness may whither like the leaves of a plant. The important thing is not that you lose some leaves, but that the plant as a whole stay alive, and more leaves will bloom under the right conditions.

Or we may imagine consciousness as a field and where it embodies is equivalent to an impression in the physical world. Destroying brain function might be equivalent to surgically slicing away the connection so that we are left with a partial impression of a consciousness field where it still connects with body, and the partial impression could be equivalent to altered behavior or functionality.

My point is not to explicitly endorse any of these ideas, but to illustrate that different thinkers will come up with different variations, and some will imagine things that others miss.

“But my embodied consciousness is who I am.”

This is among the points contended. Is my embodied consciousness who I am? I can say that to myself over and over, but I find no reasonable compulsion to answer that I am just my embodied consciousness versus that I am more than just my embodied consciousness. Indeed, if I meditate on that I actually get the opposite conclusion.

At the very least, my personal conclusions about who I am are not as sharp or firm as yours. My embodied consciousness is certainly some of who I am RIGHT NOW. But the question of who I am at all times and places is easily capable of opening up a truckload of worms on the nature of identity and of reality itself which would ultimately involve answering questions about why consciousness embodies at all——to know what sort of condition consciousness has apart from a brain which, it seems to me, would also be essential to know before you can sharply conclude that it’s not you that survives.

“Lobotomizing me would destroy the person Keith Augustine, and turn him into someone else, an infantile consciousness that couldn't even rightly be called a bare shadow of his former self. Just as destroying the whole brain would--even more so--even if some X factor might be able to survive. Anything that might survive would not be me, any more than the continued existence of the bones of deceased persons counts as their personal survival. And an brainless X-factor certainly wouldn't encounter recognizable deceased persons that could recognize it.”

I understand how you are coming to your conclusions, but it’s the premises not the conclusions I disagree with.

A final comment: Imagination is very important to the arguments we form and the conclusions we draw. Michael Behe once tried to argue as part of his irreducible complexity thesis using the example of a bicycle trying to evolve into a motorcycle, and finding that a bicycle could not morph into a motorcycle because there was nothing on the bicycle that could become the gas tank.

This was an argument which I am sure he would not have made if his imagination were just a bit more vivid. So his argument was doomed by his lack of imagination to conceive of the possibilities.

As it happens, there is indeed a part of the bicycle that can become the gas tank, and it’s the biggest and most obvious part of the bicycle itself, which makes it ironic that Behe missed it.

What’s the part?

The hollow tubing of the bicycle frame itself! To drive the failure here of Behe’s imagination home even further, the Buell company actually did (at one time at least) make the frames of their motorcycles double as the gas tanks.

I think quite a few of the disagreements of this nature stem from differences of imagination and of a resulting grasp of or openness to possibilities.

"I think quite a few of the disagreements of this nature stem from differences of imagination and of a resulting grasp of or openness to possibilities."

This is a well made point, dmduncan. We have to accept that some people are severely lacking in imagination. It's a shame we can't measure it as an Imagination Quotient. Then we'd know how seriously to take people when they argue against anything different from the mainstream.

In case anyone is interested Keith attacked the transmission hypotheresis here:

http://secularoutpost.infidels.org/2006/12/from-keith-augustine-does.html

Leo and I both responded to him at the end of the article. I note I was still accusing him of begging the question there too! lol

Chris Carter's attempted rebuttal can be seen here:

http://www.parapsychologyandtheskeptics.com/Rebuttal-to-Augustine.pdf

I can't understand why Keith Augustine's opinions are granted such legendary status.Sometimes he makes a fair point but more often than not he complicates(deliberately in my opinion) what should be a simple issue, with paragraph after paragraph after paragraph of theory/quotes and citations. As Peter Fenwick has said..It all boils down to a simple question...can people get information(while out of their body)that they couldn't possibly have got if they were still in it...and remember there are thousands of such cases.So if Keith is right,every single one of those is wrong. What are the odds on that.

If the brain heavily constrains consciousness this would explain cases of people who have severe brain damage but their personality also radically changes, it's not that their personality this radically changed, it's also that the brain as a filter constrains and restricts personality in these instances. So that these individuals sometimes go through mania behavior possibly killing themselves and others. Let's me take a case of a wrestler who killed himself and his wife and son, it's possible but not definitive that wrestling with him taking blows to his head being in the ring for a long time made him change his behavior and personality and caused him to kill him, wife and son. What's interesting is that he appears to have at least awareness at what he was doing. He left bible books next to her wife and son, this case fits into the view that brain was constraining and restricting his personality back to it's former self.

I like to ask Keith is their anyway to falsify the production theory?.

ZC wrote: The conclusion "But when they are separated, our embodied minds will dissapear, even if X factor survives" seems to be trivial and irrelevant because almost no contemporary survivalist defend the survival of the embodied mind.

It all hinges on what you mean by "embodied mind." Almost every survivalist (with exceptions like Broad, Hart, and Stokes) does, in fact, "defend the survival of the embodied mind." Those who believe OBEs and NDEs are something leaving the body, for instance, do not posit a radical change in consciousness, by a change of perspective and perhaps gaining new information or insights. But people who undergo OBEs and NDEs don't lose their memories, the way they react to events, and so on during their experiences. If taken literally, it as as if they have simply popped out of their heads and traveled somewhere else. They are essentially the same disembodied as they were when embodied, just seeing things from a different perspective. But this is not what follows from the transmissive hypothesis. (So when dmduncan says he understands how I reach my conclusions, but rejects my premises, the premises aren't mine: they are the premises of the transmissive hypothesis, which says the brain modifies the mind in some radical way, thus explaining how PCP can radically alter one's thinking.)

So when I say "embodied mind," I don't simply mean the same mind that could become disembodied but simply isn't. The transmissive hypothesis holds that the mind, when embodied, is radically suppressed (or altered, or something) by the brain through the process of transmission. When the mind is "detached," there is no transmission taking place, and so the disembodied mind would be radically different from the same mind that existed when embodied. But this is not what OBErs/NDErs report, hence why transmission actually conflicts with this purported evidence for survival.

Just to bring this home: One way of surviving death would be to copy the contents of my mind on some piece of hardware. Simple dualists say that mental traits are already stored in some kind of nonphysical substance, not in the brain. Hence, the brain dies, the mental substance goes on. But this is completely undermined by neuroscience; if mental traits were entirely stored elsewhere, brain manipulation would leave those traits unaffected. But in reality, it does not. Hence the need to invoke "the transmissive hypothesis" to save face. But "transmission" doesn't do the job, because then the mental traits one has while alive don't survive, since they are (say) "half-constituted" by the brain and "half-constituted" by some external thing, to make the 100% mind. When the brain goes, then, (say) 50% of your mind would survive. But it wouldn't be you, the whole, the 100% of your mind. (This is a crude analogy, as the percentages are just stipulated, but I'm trying to make it easier to see what the problem is.)

ZC wrote: Survivalist mostly defend the survival of MIND/CONSCIOUSNESS (disemboided), that is, of the subjectives properties of personal experiences (e.g. memories and the self).

When people talk about seeing relatives and so forth after death, all "disembodied" means is "the mind no longer seems located inside the head," or something like that. The transmissive hypothesis suggests that the mind cannot survive virtually unaffected once it "sheds" its brain, because the brain contributed so much to what it was while alive. So when the mind becomes disembodied, it would be expected to become totally different from the embodied mind. But that doesn't happen, if we take OBEs/NDEs to be evidence for survival. If those are evidence for survivel, then the transmissive hypothesis must be false, and something like "pilot-to-ship" dualism must be true." But such "pilot-to-ship" dualism is so contrary to the neuroscientific facts that, even with their crude knowledge of the brain, both Descartes (a dualist) and Lucretius (a materialists) saw that it couldn't possibly be right, and so eschewed it (even though this is exactly what followed if Descartes' theory was correct).

ZC wrote: Finally, Keith asked what I mean with "manifestation of consciousness". I'm refering to consciousness and mind functioning as a part of physical body/brain to carry on functions in the physical world.

ZC wrote: In other words, I'm refering to consciousness as existing together with and being influential in physical bodies to do efficacious functions in the physical realm.

Ah, but that's the problem: the transmissive hypothesis presumes that the brain does much more than let the mind control the body so that it can do things in the physical realm. That's implied by the sort of simple "pilot to his ship" dualism (the Mars rover example) totally incompatible with the neuroscientific evidence. Transmission implies that the brain plays a major part in shaping what the mind is while "inside" a living organism, not simply in allowing that mind to control the physical world. Hence why PCP, or LSD, can directly alter the mind, instead of just cutting off the mind's ability to control the body, or perceive the physical world. Transient psychosis induced by PCP is not like mere blindness or paralysis: it is a condition of the mind itself, not simply something that prevents the mind from doing what it wants to do. It actually changes what the mind wants to do (for example, to charge at armed police officers with a knife).

dmduncan writes: This is an observable change in personality, but there’s more to it than that, because the "change" would be due to physical damage of the brain causing a major quality to go non expressive and a minor quality to become the default personality marker that controls behavior.

But what do you mean by "expressive" and "nonexpressive"? What is being expressed? Consciousness or personality, right? But what does it mean to "express" those things? To act in accordance with them? No, not that simple, commonsense meaning, because that would be refuted by the example Corliss Lamont gives. So it must mean something else. And so far no one here seems to have any clear idea of what it does mean. And I would suggest that the reason that's so is because there is no clear idea behind it--or at least one which would allow personal survival.

dmduncan writes: Corliss is assuming how the conjugation of mind and matter “ought” to work. If it does not work that expected way, it does not work at all.

This is a common complaint by dualists, but in all due respect, that's what these sorts of theories do. They make predictions about how the mind ought to behave under different circumstances. What Lamont is showing is that it is preposterous that the mind functions in the way implied by a certain theory of mind, and therefore that that particular theory of mind is almost certainly false. The "way it ought to work" comes from the theory, and you guys are the ones getting behind the transmissive hypothesis as your theory.

To put it simply: the simple dualism of the pilot-to-ship analogy is incompatible with neuroscience. And the transmissive hypothesis is incompatible with personal survival. So the only scientifically viable dualism (the latter) renders personal survival impossible. Hence the *independent* conclusions of people like Broad, Hart, and Stokes, and the problem for survivalists. The only kind of dualism which would allow personal survival is in massive contradiction to basic neuroscientific facts, in the same way that young Earth creationism is in massive contradiction to the (fossil, genetic, phylogenetic, etc) evidence for evolution by natural selection.

If you hold theories that make no predictions whatsoever about how the mind ought to work, on what basis can you have any confidence that they are true? How can you test them against the way the mind actually works when we manipulate the brain in some way, to see if the mind actually works in the predicted way? Or are you not really interested in testing your theories against observation? (I ask not sarcastically, but because making the complaint you do seems to imply as much: Your complaint is essentially that we ought not be deriving the way the mind ought to work according to the theory, and then seeing if those predictions are borne out. But without some way of testing your theories against reality like that, they'll never be more than science fiction fantasies.)

dmduncan wrote: And that until such a separation occurs the mind is trapped in the body it is attached to, for the vast majority of people, at least, able to perform only according to the condition of the body, limited or affected in its demonstration of emotion or “personality” by whatever damage it suffered, in the exact same way that pinky function is altered by destroying the pinky controlling area of the brain.

Again, "demonstration of emotion or personality" evidently doesn't mean behaving in accord with the way you feel or your personality would dictate, because the point of Lamont's example is that the theory predicts emotion being one thing and behavior indicating the exact opposite of what is felt mentally. So, again, what is meant by "expressing," "demonstrating," or "manifesting" one's consciousness? This seems to me a vacuous weasel word that does not have any obvious meaning.

dmduncan wrote: This is among the points contended. Is my embodied consciousness who I am? I can say that to myself over and over, but I find no reasonable compulsion to answer that I am just my embodied consciousness versus that I am more than just my embodied consciousness.

That's what personal survival means. The survival of the person. When people tell jokes about what St. Peter says to them at the Pearly Gates, they are assuming that they are the ones who will be there. If something really leaves the body during out-of-body experiences, for example, people don't report a radical change in consciousness. They still feel themselves to be themselves. As if they just popped out of the body and went somewhere else. They might see things more clearly or be in a better mood, but they don't lose memories or their personalities. They stay essentially the same. But this wouldn't happen if the transmissive hypothesis were true, and you guys are the ones suggesting that it is true.

dmduncan wrote: My embodied consciousness is certainly some of who I am RIGHT NOW.

Yes, and if you died RIGHT NOW (at least if you mean by "afterlife" what most people mean by the term), you would expect that same consciousness to go somewhere else, not become a radically different consciousness. You wouldn't expect, for instance, your once one-year-old mind to undergo a life review. You'd expect your mind as it was when you died to undergo it. But that sort of survival is extremely implausible, and not allowed by the transmissive hypothesis. So you have to give one up: give up personal survival and keep the transmissive hypothesis, or give up the transmissive hypothesis and keep personal survival. And if you keep personal survival, you will be doing so in blatant contradiction of the findings of physiological psychology, maintaining the pilot-to-ship simple dualism implied by the TV show-to-TV, Mars rover, Predator drone, and so on analogies.

Leo wrote: I like to ask Keith is their anyway to falsify the production theory?

Yes, Leo, as I already pointed out to you several months ago on the "Does Consciousness Survive Death" thread at www.freeratio.org. But since no one here is bothering to offer any falsifiable predictions of the survival hypothesis (indeed, one of the complaints is that people try to derive what "should" follow from that hypothesis), I won't copy and paste my answer here. If you don't remember it, obviously you're not too concerned about what my answers to your questions are anyway, so repeating it here would just be forgotten by you later. One simple example is if a medium could give us Ian Stevenson's secret key word to open up one of his combination locks. (That's only possible if you exclude super-psi as a plausible counterexplanation, which I would.)

steve wood wrote: As Peter Fenwick has said..It all boils down to a simple question...can people get information(while out of their body)that they couldn't possibly have got if they were still in it...and remember there are thousands of such cases.

To answer your implication using a previous analogy: Should we ignore relativity theory, and the shape that any future quantum gravity or string theory seem to be taking, to answer the question of whether subluminal objects can exceed the speed of light? Why not just answer "Yes, of course" and point to cattle mutilations as the reason for our answer? Because we don't have surefire reason to think aliens exceeding light speed have anything to do with cattle mutilations. If we were quite certain that they did, then we could simply say "Yes." But it would be quite premature to settle the question that easily unless, scientifically speaking, there was no other way to explain the cattle mutilations except by invoking light-speed violating aliens. If there are other viable explanations and so the jury is still out on the cause of cattle mutilations, it would be jumping to conclusions to decide "Yes, subluminal objects can exceed the speed of light."

Ditto when talking about the causes of OBEs and NDEs, as it is anything but clear that something leaves the body during them, given the mismash of nonexistent things seen during them, clear cultural influences on them, and reports of veridical perceptions. It's not as if these experiences are always clearly veridical or just unknown. Sometimes people see things that don't exist, as Charles Tart even notes in the conclusion of his OBE chapter in his recent _The End of Materialism_. Given that the evidence is all over the map with respect to theory, I think we would have to establish conclusively that real target identification happens during OBEs/NDEs, the sort that simply couldn't be explained by overhearing things or any other normal means. And I think that's an entirely rational point of view.

Keith Wrote:

"If you hold theories that make no predictions whatsoever about how the mind ought to work, on what basis can you have any confidence that they are true?"

***

I'm not suggesting that we shouldn’t project or imagine how things might work. I'm complaining about making overly strong conclusions on the basis of presumptions which try to prematurely settle questions which there are excellent logical reasons to keep open.

***

Keith wrote:

Again, "demonstration of emotion or personality" evidently doesn't mean behaving in accord with the way you feel or your personality would dictate, because the point of Lamont's example is that the theory predicts emotion being one thing and behavior indicating the exact opposite of what is felt mentally. So, again, what is meant by "expressing," "demonstrating," or "manifesting" one's consciousness? This seems to me a vacuous weasel word that does not have any obvious meaning."

***

I don’t think it this simple, Keith. Take a person confined to a wheelchair who has learned to live with it and has no expectation of ever walking again.

Do they or don’t they want to walk again? It’s kind of an oddball question, actually, and the either-he-does-or-he-doesn’t mindset of the question misses the true complexity of what’s going on in his case. If you ask him and he thinks about it he will undoubtedly say he wants to walk again. But most of the time he may not think about it and experiences no direct want. That doesn’t mean, however, that he has no want at a deeper level of consciousness which may also be affecting his emotions and personality in ways he is not directly aware of, but which does not express itself directly as “desire-to-walk.”

Why does a sleepwalker suddenly wake up in the middle of her jaunt? Could it be that some part of her realizes the dangers and decides to wake up?

How do I myself manage to wake up the same time every morning without an alarm and in time to prepare for work and without consciously looking at a clock? It appears I know what time it is, even though I don’t know what time it is. What does the notion of an “internal clock” mean except that some part of you is capable of keeping accurate track of time on an unconscious level?

And what exactly is sleep itself? My consciousness is still present in my body and functioning, but in a very different way than it is when I am awake.

So there seem to be layers of consciousness, and if we don’t see something on one layer it may just be because it’s in a different one and not totally absent at all.

What “expression” means is actually quite simple: It means that at some LEVEL of consciousness there does indeed exist a wish or desire to be happy or cheerful, but because the brain is a necessary component of functioning in a body in the world, then by damaging certain portions of the brain you are actually damaging the same areas a consciousness needs to show you the visible evidence you are lacking for a cheerful personality when you say “his personality has changed, and he’s acting like a crocodile now.”

I don’t think any of us deny the obvious: That destroying a particular area of the brain changes or destroys a particular ability.

So if dualism is true then it must be true while being in accord with the observable evidence.

How do we tell when a person is sad or happy, or when those are dominant features of their personality? Well, you notice the evidence a person is happy or sad by what they are DOING, same as you would notice how pinky function was or was not impaired, by noticing how the pinky acts. Are they smiling and talking in soothing tones or frowning with a case of Tourette’s? Are they agreeable and pleasant? Or short tempered and blunt?

And since there is no disagreement here about the fact that damaging the brain alters what people can DO, it's really no different from the pinky example in that destroying that part of the brain destroys what the pinky can do and therefore what you can observe it doing.

But it may even be more complicated than this alone. So we would say that at some level consciousness may still want to be a certain way but cannot. It may want to move its pinky, but cannot. It may want to be the same cheerful self it was, but cannot. I can say this because a consciousness on one level may not even be AWARE of those deeper wants at another level of consciousness. Look at the seemingly paradoxical problem of self deception (Herbert Fingarette).

Would Corliss destroy the pinky moderating portion of the brain and still demand action of the pinky? Would he conclude the lack of pinky movement is sufficient cause to conclude that the desire to move the pinky is also gone?

And if he would not, then why would he expect what amounts to the same thing for demonstration of personality evidence versus pinky mobility evidence?

So what Corliss takes as a joke I find not to be funny at all, but quite possible, with one important exception: Corliss Lamont is simplifying the complexity of consciousness. When he says:

“A severe injury to the head, for instance, may change an ordinarily cheerful man into a sullen and morose one subject to sudden fits of homicidal mania. If the brain and body are simply the instruments of the soul, we have to say in such a case that this personality is really still brimming over with joy and benevolence,”

“Brimming over with joy and benevolence” makes a mockery of the subtleties. Again I suggest not brimming over with joy and benevolence, but not absent either (recall the layers of consciousness). Think instead, SUBVERTED by brain damage, that the impulse towards joy and benevolence have gone unconscious and left something else in charge instead. Not completely gone, but not in control in a way obvious to outsiders either, and so, not “expressed,” which simply means present but unavailable for comment to you or me.

Corliss’s way of coloring the alternatives we have to choose from may be amusing, but I think he’s casting a small net with large holes.

...and boldly announcing that the sea is now empty of fish.

Those who believe OBEs and NDEs are something leaving the body, for instance, do not posit a radical change in consciousness, by a change of perspective and perhaps gaining new information or insights

But such people also believe they don't have their physical bodies anymore. So, it's much more than a mere "change of perspective" or "gaining new information". The latter is a simplification of the NDE/OBEs experiences.

But people who undergo OBEs and NDEs don't lose their memories, the way they react to events, and so on during their experiences. If taken literally, it as as if they have simply popped out of their heads and traveled somewhere else. They are essentially the same disembodied as they were when embodied

They're essentially the same, because their consciousness is the same. It's the same "self".

The only difference is in being emboided or disemboided.

just seeing things from a different perspective

A different perspective OUTSIDE of their bodies (which is exactly what we'd expect if consciousness leave the body). A little detail, doesn't it?

So when dmduncan says he understands how I reach my conclusions, but rejects my premises, the premises aren't mine: they are the premises of the transmissive hypothesis, which says the brain modifies the mind in some radical way, thus explaining how PCP can radically alter one's thinking.

I can't argue for dmduncan, but it seems to me you're contradicting yourself.

You concede that the transmission theory "says the brain modifies the mind in some radical way, thus explaining how PCP can radically alter one's thinking"

But previously, you has said "It seems inescapable to me that any form of substance dualism is committed to predicting that the mind (the controller) is largely independent from the brain (the drone's transmitter/receiver). The worst you can do to the controller by manipulating the drone's transmitter/receiver is make the controller deaf or blind regarding the drone's environment, or unable to move the drone. You cannot affect the the controller's ability to do math, to understand language, or recognize undistorted faces· you has said"

In other words, you concede that the transmission theory says that a brain modifies the mind; but at the same time, you think that any form of substance dualism (which includes the filter theory) "cannot affect the the controller's ability..." because such theory "is committed to predicting that the mind (the controller) is largely independent from the brain"

If the transmissive theory is a form of substance dualism, and any form of it predicts that mind is largely independent from the brain, then why do you concede the premisses of the transmission hypothesis (which entails affectation of mind by the brain like in cases of PCP)?

The transmissive hypothesis holds that the mind, when embodied, is radically suppressed (or altered, or something) by the brain through the process of transmission

As far I know, the transmission theory doesn't hold that consciousness is radically suppressed (if it were the case, then no consciousness would exist in biological organisms because being radically suppressed it would be non-efficacious and non-operative; no survivalist would argue such thing)

What a defender of the transmission theory would argue is that consciousness is partially limited by a brain, not "radically suppressed" by it.

The theory only hold that the brain affects consciousness (and viceversa) but not in a radically suppresive way, only in a different way, sometimes suppresing some faculties (like psi, maybe), and sometimes enabling the expression of new faculties (like savants or other abilities gained after cererbral injuries)

When the mind is "detached," there is no transmission taking place, and so the disembodied mind would be radically different from the same mind that existed when embodied

Again, the "radically different" is not an essential concept or implication of the transmission theory. The change has not to be "radical" regarding the nature or type of consciousness, it's only a change of degree regarding the abilities of it.

The "essential self" is not changing, only some of their faculties are (like enhanced mentation previously discussed here).

The transmissive hypothesis suggests that the mind cannot survive virtually unaffected once it "sheds" its brain, because the brain contributed so much to what it was while alive. So when the mind becomes disembodied, it would be expected to become totally different from the embodied mind

Again, you're correct that the transmissive theory suggest that consciousness cannot survives unaffected; but it doesn't follow that the affectation implies a "totally" or "radically" different consciousness.

And it doesn't follow either that the affectacion of consciousness (e.g. enhanced mentation, or perceving diferent dimensions) implies the non-retention of the information gathered (with the help of a brain) while emboided.

The affectation is a matter of degree, not a "totally" or "radically" afectation regarding the essential nature of the self (its individual identity or self, for example).

Keith-
(You have convinced me you are familiar with at least two of the phenomena under discussion. Sorry for the earlier--)

You may be taking the analogy too literally.
Suppose you were in the front seat of an automobile. If I covered the windshield with mud, it might seem you have lost the ability to see outside the car.
But when you stepped out of the car, you would be able to "see" just fine- even though that sight was no longer filtered by the windshield.
If I broke the radio, it might seem that you had lost the ability to gain audio input from the outside world.
But when you got out of the car you would be able to hear just fine- even thought that “hearing” was no longer filtered through the radio.
If I disconnected the wires to the battery it might seem you had lost the ability to move…

I can assure you that all these examples are crude analogies. The actual experiences are sufficiently different from our normal conscious experience as to be somewhat indescribable.

If we are spiritual beings having a human experience, it is clear that we can become so confused and overwhelmed to actually lose sight of our true nature (thus the materialist).
If we are material beings having spiritual experiences, the same confusion/overwhelm seems relevant (thus the dualist).

The logic you are using is correct. But logic is only as good as the premise. The notion of a continued existence beyond body death might require a rather different premise than the one being used.

The idea is not to find logical reasons that the experiences can’t happen; it is to find the meaning of the experiences, as if they are real.

Keith said,'I think we would have to establish conclusively that real target indentification happened during OBE's/NDE's

Michael Sabom produced a bag full of this kind of veridial evidence. A fifty two year old night watchman who accurately 'recollected' his own open heart surgery/Quote,"My heart was shaped something like the continent of Africa...the surface was pinkish and yellow.I thought the yellow part was fat tissue or something.Yucky,kind of.Dr C did most everything from my left side.He cut pieces of my heart off.He raised it and twisted it this way and that way.....that thing they held my chest open with(the chest retractor),that's real good steel with no rust....all but one Doctor had scuffs tied around his shoes and this joker had on white shoes which had blood all over them."
Keith,do you sincerely believe the guy has simply 'imagined' all this? If so, what is this 'mechanism' in the brain that produces an absolutely lifelike 'movie'...a movie always relevant to what is actually going on with the patient.Why do patients 'watch' grisly movies of their own surgery?And why do they have the solid conviction(no UFO abduction,analogies,please)that what happened was REAL? Susan Blackmore admitted years ago that Sabom's study was impressive...and all she said was,"If Sabom's right..I'm wrong." Well, Sabom WAS right and she WAS wrong.

Oh and as I recall,Susan didn't bother with the 'lucky guesses and made it all up.'She didn't think she could get away with it.

Michael Sabom produced a bag full of this kind of veridial evidence.

As with all other scientific studies, Michael Sabom's results needs to be replicated by independent researches before his results truly can be accepted as valid. A few others have reported cases containing verified veridical perception elements - but this research still needs to be replicated on a grander scale with more formal experimentation protocols.

"Michael Sabom's results needs to be replicated by independent researches"

Sabom's work is not unique. Kenneth Ring's research contains similarly impressive cases, including instances of people blind from birth who reported spceific visual perceptions in their NDEs. (See Ring's book "Mindsight.")

Other researchers have also found cases with veridical elements. Of course, it's always good to have more evidence, but there is already quite a bit.

BTW, with regard to the debate about a radical shift in consciousness, I would say the evidence indicates not so much a change of personality (at least initially) as a change in the manner of perception. Many NDErs report that they saw things in a new way (like blind people who report visual perceptions). It's common for NDErs to say that they could see in all directions at once, or that they could see fine detail at a distance, or that they could move instantly from one location to another one miles away, or that they could read people's thoughts (etc., etc.).

The expansion of consciousness reported by NDErs typically seems to be an expansion of perception. Often this is accompanied by an expanded understanding of the meaning and purpose of life. The essential personality, however, doesn't seem to change; the "I" is still "I."

If the personality does change later on, it's usually as a consequence of having experienced these new perceptions and insights - just as the personality often changes after an experience of "cosmic consciousness" in non-NDE circumstances.

It's interesting that Keith has addressed everyone else's responses to him apart from my own. But I want to continue to pursue this anyway. To refresh our memories I stated:

.. you seem very fond of this word "personality". Unfortunately I find it ambiguous. If we are talking about a third person's assessment of another individual's personality that will obviously depend, for example, on the current mood of the person being assessed. You are constantly mixing together the self on the one hand, with that self's particular psychological states on the other. Of course this is the materialists position, but you are not allowed to do this when criticising non-materialists positions.

Keith stated:

"the transmissive hypothesis is incompatible with personal survival"

"That's what personal survival means. The survival of the person"

This is scarcely enlightening! We need to know what Keith means by "person". It seems to me there are 2 possibilities:

a) The self. More specifically what we might describe the essential self. To quote from my own essay. It seems to me that we have this concept of the self which in one sense changes, but yet without changing what we essentially are. To elucidate; although our apparent personality and intelligence and interests may change radically throughout our lives, nevertheless we feel very strongly that there is a real sense in which we are still one and the very same person. Thus despite, for example, our 5 year old self, our sober adult self, or our drunk adult self exhibiting quite radically different personality traits, and having differing intelligence and differing interests, we are still generally very firmly convinced that we are literally the same self throughout our lives and therefore throughout these various differing mind states. Thus *I* (that is the self) might, for example, be in a good mood or a bad mood. But my self is not to be equated by such given mind states. Rather *I* experience being in a good mood, or a bad mood, or indeed any other mental state. The I, or the self, is that which endures, but which can experience various mental states such as differing moods.
(http://existenceandreality.blogspot.com/2009_03_01_archive.html)

b) Our present psychological state. This comprises our moods -- whether we're feeling happy, melancholy, angry, serene etc. Also it comprises our dispositions or the manner in which we are likely to react to events. And it comprises our memories which we are capable of retrieving. And it comprises our present mental capacity, and so on.


"b" is quite clearly influenced (although not necessarily determined!) by our brain states. Hence necessarily, if one subscribes to the survival hypothesis, one has to suppose that it is the self as elucidated in "a" which survives.

However by "person" Keith clearly means "b", and by "personal survival" he means the survival of our particular psychological states at the precise moment of death as outlined in "b". But this is ludicrous. First of all, since our psychological states radically change throughout the course of our lives, we not only do not survive our deaths, we also do not necessarily survive from one moment to the next! (in fact I have argued elsewhere that should materialism be true we do *not* in fact survive from one moment to the next).

It would also imply that if Gage had of died shortly after his accident, but in the afterlife realm he was not bad tempered, cantankerous and lazy, then he has not personally survived! Or that people who were suffering from alzheimers at the time of their death also haven't survived if they are not in a similar mentally impaired state in the afterlife.

Materialists have to reject the concept of the self as outlined in "a". And indeed it is clear from Keith's posts that he rejects this notion of the self and embraces the concept of a "person" as outlined in "b".

However when a materialist is entertaining the possibility that their position is wrong and that we might survive the death of our bodies, they have to consider the concept of the self as outlined in "a". Not doing so and simply considering the concept of a "person" at any specific moment in time (i.e the materialists concept of the "self") is simply to beg the question. And as I keep saying, this is precisely the error Keith is making.

However Keith asserts that almost all survivalists believe that it is this *embodied* mind which survives. Or in other words our present psychological state as outlined in "b" is that which survives. I'm sorry Keith but I find this extraordinary implausible. Why should almost all those who subscribe to the survival hypothesis believe that the concept of a "person" or "self" *as advocated by the materialists* is that which survives? They surely mean that we survive in the same way that we survive from 7 years old to 30 years old, despite our interests, intelligence, memories, general demeanour all changing.

Certainly I would like you to list some of these survivalists who advocate such a thing so I can email them and hear it from their own lips (so to speak).

Keith states:

"Those who believe OBEs and NDEs are something leaving the body, for instance, do not posit a radical change in consciousness, by a change of perspective and perhaps gaining new information or insights. But people who undergo OBEs and NDEs don't lose their memories, the way they react to events, and so on during their experiences. If taken literally, it as as if they have simply popped out of their heads and traveled somewhere else. They are essentially the same disembodied as they were when embodied, just seeing things from a different perspective. But this is not what follows from the transmissive hypothesis. "

Let's leave aside normal OBEs where one is not near death (since it might be more questionable whether the self has wholly disconnected from ones body), and consider those small number of NDEs where one is very close to death (i.e not all NDEs but only the deeper ones). You are absolutely correct when you say that it is inconsistent with the filter hypothesis (I prefer filter hypothesis to transmission theory) *if* in fact "it as as if they have simply popped out of their heads and traveled somewhere else".

However I have heard that many people undergoing these appropriately deep NDEs report enhanced mentation, 360 degree vision, and complete recall of everything from their lives. This is entirely what transmission theory predicts.

But you are claiming that this does not happen?

PS Just after writing all the above I just saw Michael Prescott's latest post which relates to my last point. What Michael says corresponds precisely to what should be the case if the filter hypothesis is correct.

Excellent posts...
Steen, Melvin Morse personally resuscitated Kristle Murzlock(alias-Katie)in his O R. She was underwater at the bottom of a swimming pool for around twenty minutes. No respiration/ pulse/gag reflexes...she was 'dead' by every measurable definition(except of course, bodily decay.)When he was able to later question her about the accident, she accurately described the procedures in the O R,correctly recognizing a colleague and re-counting exactly what was done to her.
Janet Schwaninger , Penny Sartori, Pim Van Lommel have all found similar veridial cases.

Veridical,I meant to say. Keep leaving the darn C out.Darn it.

Keith,


I am sorry i don't remember about you saying how the production theory could be falsified. I have a lot on my mind these days. I have also offered a plausible explanation for the combination key lock experiment

"Apparently, deceased Thouless could remember Oram and other similar facts. Now Keith says even though that is so the simpler explanation would be because he didn't remember the simple keys would be that he didn't survive his death. But their are certainly more explanations then that. One explanation would be that he was not communicating with thouless at all but some other entity and was being deceived by this entity. To me the explanation that another entity who pretended to know Oram is more plausible than the explanation that Thousless didn't survive death. Why? because apparently this entity knew Oram, did Oram ask this entity if he could know anything that thousless would know when he was alive?. According to Oram this entity just knew him. So what we have hear is no confirmation that this was indeed Thousless or some other entity pretending to be Thouless".


Keith says

Ditto when talking about the causes of OBEs and NDEs, as it is anything but clear that something leaves the body during them, given the mismash of nonexistent things seen during them, clear cultural influences on them, and reports of veridical perceptions. It's not as if these experiences are always clearly veridical or just unknown. Sometimes people see things that don't exist, as Charles Tart even notes in the conclusion of his OBE chapter in his recent _The End of Materialism_. Given that the evidence is all over the map with respect to theory, I think we would have to establish conclusively that real target identification happens during OBEs/NDEs, the sort that simply couldn't be explained by overhearing things or any other normal means. And I think that's an entirely rational point of view.


Leo- I totally agree this appears to be what is happening now with positive results already in the pilot study of the Aware study on near death experiences.

Keith says

If you keep personal survival, you will be doing so in blatant contradiction of the findings of physiological psychology, maintaining the pilot-to-ship simple dualism implied by the TV show-to-TV, Mars rover, Predator drone, and so on analogies.

Not if the brain is an advanced tv receiver, Keith is presumming that mind brain dependency is so tight that it can't be conceivable that the mind could survive death.


Keith says


Transmission implies that the brain plays a major part in shaping what the mind is while "inside" a living organism, not simply in allowing that mind to control the physical world. Hence why PCP, or LSD, can directly alter the mind, instead of just cutting off the mind's ability to control the body, or perceive the physical world.

Leo- Wait a second, the transmission isn't the brain it's a medium of somekind, that can only be speculated on. We can alter receivers, so the brain itself is being altered while the mind is also being altered, which is information. The real issue here is whether than is an immaterial soul or not, neuroscience is shown that yes mind exists [information] and the brain exists. But what about soul? which is i call our subjective experiences, inner life. Can the soul tranferred all the information from the brain to this soul, this i saw is very possible.

I think Keith's argument is reduced to defining "embodied mind" (and related concepts like personal survival, self, etc.) in a materialistic brain-dependent sense; from there, he concludes that, whatever survives, cannot be the "embodied mind" and, hence, the transmission hypothesis is not correct to explain personal survival.

If this is correct, I'm afraid that, very subtly, Keith is begging the question against the dualist/survivalist.

I agree with Ian about the need of defining concepts like "person", "self", "embodied mind" and "personal survival", as they are used by Keith.

If Keith defines those concepts, we'll probably see that his definitions subtly assume a materialistic brain-dependent (for existence) conception that, as such, beg the question in favor of materialism and against dualism.

I'd ask Keith for an explicit and precise definition and clarification of those terms, as understood by him.

ZC wrote: In other words, you concede that the transmission theory says that a brain modifies the mind; but at the same time, you think that any form of substance dualism (which includes the filter theory) "cannot affect the the controller's ability..." because such theory "is committed to predicting that the mind (the controller) is largely independent from the brain"

Sorry, to be more precise I should have said: "any form of substance dualism which would allow personal survival." I'm basically writing stream of consciousness here since time does not allow me to reread everything I write here. If I may clarify:

Simple substance dualism predicts that the mind and the body are two different things, and that only a limited number of things can be done to affect one by affecting the other. Basically, only the sorts of effects predicted by the Mars rover/Predator drone analogy. And the fact that Michael Prescott invoked it proves my point that this is not some misunderstanding of what dualists say, but something that they actually think.

Some dualists have conceded that neuroscientific evidence constitutes a serious challenge to dualistic personal survival. Some have bitten the bullet and concluded that neuroscience undermines dualistic personal survival while parapsychology bolsters it, and weighed the overall evidence from parapsychology as being stronger than the evidence from neuroscience.

Other dualists have conceded that neuroscientific evidence is much stronger than parapsychological evidence, and so invoked "transmission" to try to reconcile neuroscience and the soul. But they have unwittingly jettisoned personal survival in the process. The mind we know in life is only what it is because the brain is contributing to its functions in innumerable ways. When the brain is no longer involved, the mind would become something else than what it was in life. And given how involved the brain is (which we know from observation), it would have to be something radically different from what it was when "conjoined" with a brain. Hence why Neal Grossman talks about the brain filtering "an already existing consciousness into the particular form that is us."

My position is that to maintain personal survival, one must subscribe to simple dualism.
Invoking transmission makes dualism possible, but (even ignoring that it is superfluous as far as explaining neuroscientific facts goes) it does not allow personal survival. Because "the particular form that is us" disappears when the brain dies, just like what is distinctive of an ice cube melts away when placed in the ocean.

Ian wrote: It's interesting that Keith has addressed everyone else's responses to him apart from my own.

I did address you in part at some point in this dialogue, and your response was essentially "I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree." Given that, there's not much point in me addressing your further comments, and I certainly don't intend to reply everything written here. I said at the outset that I would be selective in what I responded to, and I have no intention of trying to respond to everything. Life's too short to sit in front of a computer all day--and I have other work to do.

Ian wrote: You are constantly mixing together the self on the one hand, with that self's particular psychological states on the other. Of course this is the materialists position, but you are not allowed to do this when criticising non-materialists positions.

I already addressed this, Ian. I said that I am not assuming materialism, I am assuming that the person we take ourselves to be at the moment of death (mentally) is the person that will emerge in the afterlife, according to advocates of personal survival. This is the assumption of people who believe in an afterlife. It is not a materialist assumption. It is what is meant by "personal survival" as opposed to "impersonal survival."

If you want to believe in impersonal survival, have at it; but like most who hope for an afterlife, I don't care if some mental trace of me survives anymore than I care if my bones survive. I care about whether the "I" I know now will "wake up" somewhere else after death, or not.

I have already rejected the survival of the "I thinker" as personal survival. If that's good enough for you, fine; but I'd like the "me" I know now to survive, not just the me that existed one second after my birth. According to your notion of personal identity, as long as the same center of consciousness persists "you" survive. But that is not personal survival, because the survival of the infant me would not be the survival of the me know. See my robot analogy below.

Ian wrote: To elucidate; although our apparent personality and intelligence and interests may change radically throughout our lives, nevertheless we feel very strongly that there is a real sense in which we are still one and the very same person.

I already addressed this, too. A conscious robot with all of his distinctive mental traits erased, as if he just came off the factory line, has not survived erasure. Who "he" is--his individuality, personality--has been destroyed, even if some mere "center of awareness" that belongs to him has survived. This is not a materialist assumption, it is what personal survival entails, and it is what all of the personal identity literature assumes. Notice that on the robot analogy, the center of consciousness is a material system, not a soul, so obviously its not a materialist assumption! It is an assumption about what constitutes the survival of you, and it is assumed in all of the scholarly personal identity philosophy literature. Look at all of the different proposed criteria for continuing as the same person since John Locke (in an anthology of different positions like _Self and Identity_ by Kolak and Martin), and none of them say that "you" would survive if all of your memories were erased. But you, Ian, apparently think you would, and so evidently wouldn't mind being lobotomized--which I find extremely hard to believe. (After all, Rosemary Kennedy was still the same center of consciousness after her extremely mentally debilitating lobotomy!)

As an infant, mentally you were much more similar to other human beings at the same age than you are to people the same age as you now. What is distinctive of you from your life experiences is what makes you so much more different at an older age. It makes you who you are. Minus that you might as well be another human being "off the factory line."

If you disagree, then you are talking about some kind of afterlife different from the one in which people expect to be able to remember their earthly lives, or recognize each other.

Jime: I'd didn't think this step was necessary before, but I suppose in the future I will cite things that people imagine in the afterlife, or claim they do in an afterlife (like in NDEs), which clearly illustrates that they imagine themselves taking their "embodied minds" with them. They claim to be able to recognize people they knew in life, something they could not do if the minds they had as infants was all that survived death. They claim to be able to recognize faces in the afterlife, and so must take that ability with them. These are things that require information processing done by the brain. How, then, can they can do these things without a brain?

Keith-
If you read the work of Stevenson on 'past life' recall you will find a great deal of evidence that children can seemingly remember a previous life in some detail.
If that is true, the statement that the brain is a requirement for the memory is likely false, and personal survival is likely a reality (at least sometimes).

What the people who have experienced NDE's claim can be taken as true or not. I have used CPR to resuscitate a number of people. In at least one case what the patient told me I now know is called a ‘veridical NDE’- that is she gave me information about what she saw and heard that was accurate and at some distance.
According to the notion that the mind is the brain or that the mind needs the brain for various functions, what I witnessed is impossible. Perhaps I was mistaken about what the lady said. Perhaps she made a lucky guess. Perhaps. But I have come to find out that there are many examples of this sort of experience.

One might say, "These incidents don't fit with our hypothesis, therefore they did not happen."
Or one might consider the possiblity that the hypothesis needs adjusting based on the evidence.

Keith i will explain to you the weaknesses in the particular case you just mentioned that of Rosemary. If you have cases that are bullet proof and really deliver the evidence for the production theory instead of the the very weak cases such as Phineas Gage, and Rosemary Kennedy. I love to see them .


Now let's look at the doubtful case you mentioned.

1] "Rosemary has been described as being a shy child whose I.Q. tests reportedly indicated a moderate mental retardation, but this is a question of some controversy".

Strike one it appears that their is indeed some controversy over what amount if little mental retardation occur to her I.Q.

Her verbal skills were reduced to unintelligible babble. Her mother, Mrs. Rose Kennedy, remarked that although the lobotomy stopped her daughter's violent behavior.

Verbal skills eh, that is the thing this is explained by the fact that her soul was restricted and constrained by particular damage to part of her brain.


"Ronald Kessler, author of The Sins of the Father: Joseph P. Kennedy and the Dynasty He Founded, disagrees with this assessment. He believes that Rosemary's problem was instead mental illness. He says it’s true that Rosemary had always been slower than the other children. But as a teenager, she was able to write endearing letters, dance, and do arithmetic. At the age of nine, Rosemary neatly and correctly multiplied and divided: 428 × 32 = 13696, for example."[7].

So we see that her intelligence was not effected by the lobotomy not was her inner subjective character.

"These are things that require information processing done by the brain."

Again, I think this is begging the question. While embodied, we rely on information processing done by the brain, but it does not follow that a disembodied self would function that way.

As best I can judge, Keith's arguments boil down to two points: 1. It's just obvious that there can't be a mind without a brain (i.e., without "information processing done by the brain"), and 2. survivalists can't explain, in detailed step-by-step fashion, how there could be a mind without a brain.

The problem with the first position is that it begs the question. The problem with the second position is that it assumes a double standard. After all, materialists can't explain, in detailed step-by-step fashion, how there could be a mind *with* a brain, or how there could be a mind (subjective awareness and qualia) at all. So by the terms of Keith's argument, materialism should be rejected also.

The best that materialist scientists can do is describe brain states, and while this type of work is very interesting, it does not even address the "hard problem" of how subjective awareness arises from electrochemical activity, as the more philosophical neuroscientists freely acknowledge.

Either way, it's a puzzlement, as the King of Siam would say. Daniel Dennett to the contrary notwithstanding, no one is actually qualified to write a book called "Consciousness Explained," because no one - materialist or survivalist - can explain it.

Keith wrote, "Other dualists have conceded that neuroscientific evidence is much stronger than parapsychological evidence, and so invoked 'transmission' to try to reconcile neuroscience and the soul."

As one who has invoked the transmission theory, I want to say that I have not conceded that neuroscientific evidence is much stronger than parapsychological evidence. I think the evidence for ESP is every bit as good as any neuroscientific evidence, and it is only materialistic prejudice that prevents this evidence from being more widely accepted.

It's the proven existence of ESP, in fact, that poses the greatest difficulty in establishing life after death, since much afterlife evidence can be explained as "super-psi." I find the super-psi hypothesis unconvincing because of its ad-hoc nature, but I can't rule it out, which is why I say that life after death has not been proven conclusively. If we rule out super-psi (and related ideas like the Akashic Records), then life after death is the only remaining alternative.

In any event, the particular hypothesis invoked to explain psi is of secondary importance. I think the transmission theory, with its TV set or Mars Rover analogy, is a useful way of looking at the problem, but I don't insist that it's actually true. There may be some other mechanism. Maybe monistic idealists are right, and the mind creates the physical world, including the brain. Who knows? Again, no one - materialist or spiritualist - understands consciousness.

What matters is not so much the hypothesis used to make sense of the evidence, but the evidence itself. Even if there were insuperable problems with the transmission theory (and I'm afraid Keith's arguments haven't persuaded me that there are), the evidence stubbornly remains. And the evidence is good enough, in my opinion, to force one of two conclusions: either something like super-psi is true, or personal survival is true.

I should add that I think Keith is correct in disputing the claim that brain damage (etc.) cannot alter the personality. I have witnessed such personality changes in people with Alzheimer's, for instance. A formerly polite and mild-mannered person can become quarrelsome and even violent as brain damage progresses. I think it is pointless to ignore this well-known fact.

On the other hand, if we can trust mediumistic communications, we find that deceased people who suffered from dementia or other neurological problems are back in their right mind after crossing over. NDErs have reported seeing dead relatives who suffered from Downs Syndrome or other problems in life but who functioned normally in the NDE.

However we explain it, it would appear that the changes in personality wrought by brain damage do not persist (or at least do not persist for long) after death.

I realize Keith would dispute the evidential value of mediumship and NDEs, but that's another question. From the standpoint of one who accepts much of this material as evidential, there is good reason to believe that personality changes brought about by earthly woes are not permanent, even if we can't explain exactly how this happens.

I agree Michael their is no don't their is personality changes in victims with brain damage, alzheimers etc. However, showing that in many cases the changes ain't permanent and some are overblown as the phineas gage case, shows that the dependency is not as strong as what is assumed by Keith and others.

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