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Sorry to go on so long, but one more point occurs to me.

The TV set/Mars Rover analogy is not intended as proof or even evidence, merely as a way of illustrating a point. It is impossible to prove anything by analogy, since all arguments from analogy are flawed. But analogies can still be useful.

In this case, the question is: How can the mind continue to exist in the absence of a brain? And the suggested answer is: Maybe the mind operates through the brain, rather than being created by the brain.

To illustrate this idea, we point to a TV set (the signal operates through the set). An unsophisticated observer would assume that the TV show originates within the TV set, when in actuality the show originates elsewhere, and the set serves merely as a receiver.

Such an analogy is not proof of anything, but it can be useful in opening one's eyes to a different way of looking at the issue.

Likewise, the brain is often compared to a computer. In older days, the brain was compared to a telephone switchboard. In reality, the brain is not a computer or a telephone switchboard, but each analogy is useful, as long as it isn't pressed too far.

MP, I'm not sure if Beichler was suggesting this model or not. You'd know better having read his book.

But to borrow from his terminology. Imagine consciousness as a field that is parallel to and in contact with physical being, matter. Like two sheets of paper. "Sheet" was Beichler's term.

Changes in the consciousness field produce movement and changes in matter itself. So if consciousness produces a "lump" in itself, the physical matter that is in touch with consciousness takes the form of the lump. Physical reality follows the contours of consciousness.

Now imagine that all evolution of life, from inanimate matter to simple organisms to higher forms of life like evolves following the contours of an evolving consciousness.

Eventually, self reflective beings like us are one of those resulting "lumps." Imagine also that our eyes and senses are windows that consciousness uses to look out onto the world and see others.

It would seem to follow that the mind which looks out from those 6 billion pairs of peepholes is undifferentiated in itself, but where each lump forms in that consciousness is a region with peculiar characteristics, so while it is all one thing, it does not have the same texture, and the differences in texture in that consciousness field create different persons and personalities in the physical world.

So it may be possible to imagine personal survival while at the same time being part of a cosmic consciousness field too.

I don't think this would be called transmission, though. I'm not sure what to call it, but I wonder if this is what Beichler had in mind?

You know, if that is Beichler's hypothesis, it would technically be a form of transmission, but not one which follows the analogy of signal and radio or TV set or rover.

If matter by itself does not move without mind, then we could say there were two substances indeed: Mind and matter. One layered upon the other, and the movement of mind moves matter to do what it does.

The transmission would not be a signal of any kind however. It would be transmission of movement from mind to matter because the matter layer follows the contours of the mind layer and must follow whatever mind does.

I have read your post Keith and will respond sometime soon, probably within next 24 hours. I'm just a bit busy at the moment and it will be a rather long response so it will take some time to compose.

Michael wrote:

"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."

This is demonstrably false. Effects sizes decline to zero (or close to that) over time in every major area of psi research (http://m0134.fmg.uva.nl/publications/2001/Benjaminschapter.pdf). Also, when direct replications of major parapsychology findings have adequate power, they fail. For example, take the joint replication attempt of PEAR with two German universities. All three labs failed to replicate PEAR's previous results; even PEAR couldn’t reproduce their own findings! But beyond this, let's take a look at recent analyses of various
areas of psi research:

RNG PK:

Bosch, B., Steinkamp, F., Boller, E. (2006) Examining Psychokinesis: The Interaction of Human Intention With Random Number Generators – A Meta-Analysis. Psychological Bulletin

They found a small significant effect size, but they believe it could be a result of publication bias.

GANZFELD:

Milton, J. (1999). Should Ganzfeld Research Continue To Be Crucial In The Search For A Replicable Psi Effect? Part I. Discussion Paper And Introduction to An Electronic-Mail Discussion. Journal of Parapsychology

She updated her previous meta-analysis of 30 studies to include 9 studies published to that date. The effect size was significant, but:

“Moreover, the statistical significance of the updated cumulation is due not to renewed success by a range of investigators, but solely to the inclusion of an extremely successful study by Dalton (1997a)”

If you take out Dalton’s study, the overall result is non-significant.

DMILS AND SENSE OF BEING STARED AT:

Schmidt, S., Schneider, R., Utts, J. M. & Walach, H. (2004). Distant Intentionality and the Feeling of Being Stared At - Two Meta-Analyses. British Journal of Psychology

A small significant effect size was found for both research areas, but a best-evidence synthesis (analysis of the most high quality studies of the database) of the DMILS studies resulted in an overall non-significant result. Their conclusion about the sense of being stared at studies was:

“Thus, for the remote staring paradigm, we conclude that although there is some hint
of an anomalous effect in the data, several independent high-quality replications are
needed to determine whether these hints represent an unknown phenomenon or are just an artefact.”

So the bottom line is: we need more experiments done with tightened protocols before we can assess this research.

The neuroscientific evidence blows the parapsychological evidence out of the water.

Regarding the Milton paper:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2320/is_1_66/ai_84547069/

The issue of the Ganzfeld results was covered in this comments thread:

http://snipurl.com/k9jsv

The results did not decline over time. Only a highly selective reading of the data can yield that conclusion.

The paper cited with respect to the Ganzfeld tests was coauthored by Richard Wiseman. Here's an overview of Wiseman's career from the Skeptical Investigations site (http://snipurl.com/k9kjd):

"He has been at the centre of many controversies with researchers in parapsychology, and has often been accused of deliberately misrepresenting data....
He has been described by the President of the Parapsychology Association as motivated by 'obvious self-interest', and by a desire 'to support an a priori commitment to the notion that all positive psi results are spurious and all methods which seem to show the presence of psi are flawed' ...

"By the autumn of 2004, after a series of other very questionable claims, widely publicized in the media, many of his peers in the parapsychology research community concluded that his behaviour was not consistent with commonly-accepted standards of scientific integrity, and he was voted off the main research forum in parapsychology by a large majority. In addition, for similar reasons, some members of the Society for Psychical Research called for him to be expelled [from] the Society. He resigned."

The paper linked by Goonch in his comment above gives specific reasons to doubt the Milton-Wiseman claims.

I find Dean Radin a far more credible authority than Wiseman. Radin's books "The Conscious Universe" and "Entangled Minds" provide a good overview of psi research. The results are, in my opinion, conclusive with regard to ESP.

dmduncan, what you described is not Beichler's hypothesis, but it's a very interesting hypothesis in its own right. Beichler, if I recall correctly, says that the mind develops out of material processes but acquires a permanence and stability of its own, and thus persists after its material substrate has dissolved. In other words, the material phenomena give rise to the mind, rather than vice versa.

I suspect your idea may be closer to the truth.

Michael,

You didn't even address the other evidence.

BTW, I am NOT a CSICOP/JREF/Skeptic's Society-type skeptic. I happen to think that psi is likely to exist. Hell, I just barely got back from the library with the book The ESP Enigma by Diane Hennacy Powell. It's just that your claim of psi evidence being as good as neuroscientific evidence is completely absurd. Not a whole lot can be concluded at this point, we need more research with tightened protocols.

Thanks MP. I've been thinking of the transmission hypothesis too literally in terms of the analogies used, i.e., in terms of transmitter and receiver as in the case of radio transmission and radio reception.

I'm not a fan of that idea.

This hypothesis is still a transmission hypothesis, however. The transmission would function in a completely different way, but there is still a transmission——from mind to matter by the universe of matter being attached to a field of mind. But the transmission wouldn't be, as in the traditional notion of transmitter and receiver, going from a transmitter over here to a receiver over there.

I wonder if that makes gravity a function of mind?

Evidence based:

Neuroscientific evidence for what?

The production hypothesis? What exactly do you think can be concluded——and I assume you mean "conclude" in a strong way versus a reasonable presumption soft kind of way——from the neuroscientific evidence?

BTW, I am NOT a CSICOP/JREF/Skeptic's Society-type skeptic. I happen to think that psi is likely to exist

That assertion seems to be inconsistent with the previous one "Effects sizes decline to zero (or close to that) over time in every major area of psi research... Also, when direct replications of major parapsychology findings have adequate power, they fail"

If psi effects decline to zero (or close to zero) and the replications of psi effects fails, which tacitlly implies such effects are actually non-existent (otherwise, they wouldn't decline or the replications wouldn't fail), then at what evidence do you support your belief that "psi is likely to exist"?

A curious way of being evidence based...

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 ---- MP

I'd recommend to everybody here the book "The Case For Qualia" edited by Edmond Wright.

It includes 19 papers by professional philosophers and cognitive scientists discussing several aspects of qualia and subjectivity and how they pose a challenge to reductionism.

BTW, I am NOT a CSICOP/JREF/Skeptic's Society-type skeptic. I happen to think that psi is likely to exist

That assertion seems to be inconsistent with the previous one "Effects sizes decline to zero (or close to that) over time in every major area of psi research... Also, when direct replications of major parapsychology findings have adequate power, they fail"

If psi effects decline to zero (or close to zero) and the replications of psi effects fails, which tacitlly implies such effects are actually non-existent (otherwise, they wouldn't decline or the replications wouldn't fail), then in what evidence do you support your belief that "psi is likely to exist"?

A curious way of being evidence based...

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 ---- MP

I'd recommend to everybody here the book "The Case For Qualia" edited by Edmond Wright.

It includes 19 papers by professional philosophers and cognitive scientists discussing several aspects of qualia and subjectivity and how they pose a challenge to reductionism.

To dmduncan:

Yes the production hypothesis. I think the production hypothesis is more likely based on the neuroscientific evidence, but I've really just begun my research into poltergeists, mediumistic phenomena, near death experiences, etc. So I can't really tell you if I believe these phenomena pose a real challenge to this hypothesis. But as far as parapsychology goes, the evidence is no where near. But what I should have mentioned is that the presentiment and precognitive habituation experiments seem quite promising for a repeatable paradigm in parapsychology. That's why I think it likely that psi exists.

To Jime: I should have mentioned the presentiment and precognitive habituation experiments. These are highly repeatable and consistent experiments. However, I do think the earlier paradigms provide some interesting data but we really don't have a handle on how to repeat them.

And it has already been demonstrated, especially with the ganzfeld, that the more "standard" the experiments; the much more likely they are to produce significant results. It's when we feel we need to keep doing different variations of an experiment to test a theory we get the decline effect.

Michael,

You say that you find the evidence of parapsychology as strong as the evidence for neuroscience.

What makes you come to this conclusion? Is there any evidence in particular that puts parapsychology right up there?

Keith stated:

”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”

. . . . . .

"My position is that to maintain personal survival, one must subscribe to simple dualism".


What you label “simple dualism” doesn’t work. So there is no “personal survival” as you define it. There is also no “personal survival from the time when a person is a child compared to when they are an adult. No “personal survival” after having a few alcoholic drinks (which makes looking forward to a good night out of drinking with your friends somewhat misplaced!). No “personal survival” from the time when you feel melancholy and generally morose, bad-tempered etc, to the time when, on suddenly hearing some really good news, you suddenly feel all is right with the world and develop a sunny disposition as a consequence.

Keith stated:

”And given how involved the brain is (which we know from observation), it (i.e the mind) would have to be something radically different from what it was when "conjoined" with a brain”.

Mind states are different, but the self remains precisely the same. In mystical states and deep NDEs our minds -- in the sense of how we feel and in what we understand etc -- might be radically different from how it is in our normal humdrum existence. Yet these people do not report that in any sense that they any less themselves than they have always been.

Keith said to me:

”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."


You claim that your definition of “personal survival” is shared by advocates of survival. Yet despite my request you are still not divulging any of these names. I repeat that I find it extraordinary implausible that any intelligent person advocating survival shares your notion of “personal survival”

So again I request that you list some of these names.


Keith stated:

”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.


Allow me to give 3 scenarios:

1) Let’s consider Phineas Gage after his accident. Previously he had a sunny temperament, he was a hard worker etc. Now he is cantankerous, bad tempered and lazy. But he still remembers his life before his accident.

2) Let’s imagine that one night the 45 year old Joe Bloggs goes to sleep and the next morning he wakes up and he finds himself in his 10 year old body. He has his adult memories, but in every other way he is as exactly as he was when he was 10 years old.

3) A child claims to have memories of a previous life as an adult. But in all other ways he is like any other child. The details he gives about the previous life checks out.


Did Phineas Gage survive his accident? In finding oneself in ones 10 year old body have you survived? Is it metaphysically possible that the child is literally the reincarnation of the adult he apparently remembers being?


It seems you can respond in one of three ways:


a) You might deny “personal survival” in each of these cases as the personality change in each of these cases is so radical. But it seems to me the vast majority of the human race wouldn’t. Did Phineas Gage really think that his prior self had “literally* ceased to exist? I don’t know but I very much doubt it. What about the 45 year old Joe Bloggs awakening to find himself in his 10 year olds body? Again if people experienced that for themselves it seems to me the overwhelming majority would believe they have survived the change.

The claim of reincarnation is particularly interesting. Even when sceptics discuss these cases and deny that reincarnation has occurred, they inevitably claim that it’s the child’s overactive imagination, or that the parents have coached the child, or some other humdrum explanation is responsible. But you would be obliged to say (assuming you go for this option) THAT BY DEFINITION the person whose life is apparently remembered has not reincarnated. The child has a completely different personality from the life of the adult he remembers, therefore we are making a conceptual mistake in even thinking he might *literally* be that person whom he remembers. That makes all the arguments that sceptics come up with against Ian Stevenson’s evidence kinda redundant!

But commonsense tells us that in both 1 and 2 the person concerned is still the same person despite the changes in their psychological state. And in the alleged reincarnation case I rather think that the vast majority of people would be of the opinion that it is certainly not *meaningless* that the child might literally be the reincarnation of the adult’s life he apparently remembers.

b) But perhaps you might claim that it is solely memory which ensures personal survival. In which case you would be happy to suppose that in 1 and 2 personal survival is retained, and in 3 it is at least literally possible.

First of all let me point out that, as I have already stated, it could be that the brain filters memories rather than stores them (actually I think the latter is unintelligible, but let’s not go into that). If this is so and also it is the retention of our memories which constitutes “personal survival”, then assuming survival is a reality, according to your own criteria, it would be* you* that survives.


But there are huge counter-intuitive problems with this position too. Suppose someone is out one night and is drunk. He knows he won’t remember what he did the next day. Would he seriously thereby believe that he will cease to exist after the night has ended??

Indeed the vast majority of things we have ever done we cannot remember. Most of what we do on a typical day we might not remember a few years down the line. Should people view the future with trepidation in precisely the same way as they view their forthcoming deaths? They should do if memory determines personal survival. But this is incredibly implausible and implacably opposed to a commonsensical notion of the self.

And let’s consider the reincarnation scenario again. If memory determines survival, and the child has memories of a previous person, all of which checks out, then it seems BY DEFINITION that child is literally the reincarnation of that previous personality. Precisely the opposite conclusion we came to with “a”!!

c) I suspect that you believe personal survival incorporates both “a” and “b”. In other words to personally survive our character, interests, intelligence etc has to be similar, and in addition we have to have at least some memories surviving intact. But then this incorporates the counter-intuitive consequences of both “a” and “b” outlined above.

Keith said to me:

”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.


The notion of “personal survival” that you advocate definitely stems from the assumption that some sort of materialist metaphysic describes reality. As I have pointed it is implacably opposed to commonsense. I don’t want to go off on a tangent and argue about why it is a consequence of the materialist mindset here, although I can do if you wish? But anyway, if you acknowledge the existence of the self – not an illusionary self, but a real enduring self -- then this self is necessarily non-physical and the commonsensical notion of personal survival prevails. However, the vast majority of the personal identity literature is written by people who take it for granted that some sort of materialist metaphysic is correct. This is in spite of the fact that materialism is utterly ludicrous in all sorts of ways. The most relevant one here is that it considers consciousness to be of the same ontological status as the physical world. Consciousness is the same type of thing as trees, tables and chairs and everything else we ever perceptually perceive. It conflates the perceiver with the perceived. In short it denies the existence of the perceiver or self. It is little wonder that the personal identity literature throws up such preposterous notions of what constitutes the self! And of course given that it denies the perceiver or self, then a fortiori we cannot survive our deaths if what they suppose is true.


Keith said to me:


”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!)

I do not believe all our memories, or indeed *any* of our memories can ever be erased. It is merely our ability to recollect which suffers. And such failure to recollect only pertains in the embodied state. As I have already stated, I believe that the brain blocks memories, not stores them, so in any afterlife I would have access to all my memories (not the limited memories I have access to at the present).


But certainly in my embodied state I might be unable to recollect any of my past experiences. How on earth could this make me somehow not me?? All it means is that I cannot recollect. It cannot somehow mysteriously make me any less than me! Materialists are compelled to adopt a very strange criterion of what constitutes personal identity. If any strong interactive dualists or mental monists also argue for your definition of personal survival, then I would be very interested in you naming them.

Actually, come to think of it, I can demonstrate your position is logically inconsistent. No one remembers the future. I cannot remember what I will be doing tomorrow. Therefore the person people call “Ian Wardell” tomorrow is not the same person as I am now. But the “Ian Wardell” of tomorrow remembers being me. Therefore *he is* the same person as I am now. This is of course patently absurd.

You state I ought not to mind a lobotomy as I will still survive? Do you think my mental capacity means so little to me? Survival is not something to be desired at any price. But the filter theory predicts that in any afterlife we will not suffer any mental deficiencies and we have evidence from NDEs supporting this.

Clearly the brain can block consciousness; just consider deep sleep which we all experience every night. I suppose you could say that in one sense that I have ceased to exist during that time. But there is no logical inconsistency here. Whilst the self operates through the brain, the brain constrains the conscious states of the self. But possibly once the self is detached from ones brain there might be nothing to block or constrain our consciousness and in the afterlife realm we might feel more conscious than we have ever felt. And again reports from those who undergo NDEs supports this.

Now of course I concede this sounds implausible, and I concede (as already mentioned by myself) that mind/brain correlations provide powerful support for the brain produces consciousness hypothesis. *But it does not rule out* the filter hypothesis. To repeat what I said to you before. If we just look at the correlations in isolation, then obviously the sensible position is to conclude that brain processes create consciousness. It’s the more parsimonious hypothesis. But if instead we consider ALL relevant evidence and reasons i.e all the evidence both direct and indirect suggesting survival, and also the extremely powerful counter-intuitive conclusions we have to come to regarding the nature of personhood i.e. that the enduring self is an illusion, free will is an illusion etc, then it seems to me the more rational position is to gravitate towards the filter hypothesis of the self/brain relationship.

Of course you will still claim that what survives will not be you. But this is due to your peculiar notion of what constitutes personal identity. The vast majority of human beings are instinctively “interactive substance dualists” even if subsequently they intellectually reject their instincts in this regard. Assuming a definition of personal survival which is at odds with interactive substance dualism blatantly begs the question.

Michael: If you had to deny that a physical world exists at all to avoid my conclusion (or invoke some nondualistic theory like panpsychism, in which even flakes of dead skin might have mental experiences), I'd take that as pretty strong endorsement of my argument.

Many falsely assume that one must hold a materialist theory of mind in order to reject dualism or personal survival. (Hence Jime's reference to arguments from qualia-philosophers who reject materialism--but who also, I'd be willing to bet, all reject the existence of ESP, PK, survival after death, and even substance dualism.)

It is notable that one of the most famous statements of the argument for extinction at death comes from David Hume, who actually undermined the grounds people had always taken for granted for belief in an external (physical) world up until that point in history.

And Leo likes to think that neutral monism might be an alternative to dualism that would allow personal survival (since _Irreducible Mind_ mentioned it), but that view was most thoroughly formulated by Bertrand Russell (see plato.stanford.edu's entry on neutral monism), who explicitly argued that death is almost certainly the end of one's mental life. Russell's advocacy of the extinction hypothesis was not a consequence of holding a certain metaphysical theory (scientistic materialism!), but simply a consequence of accepting the implications of the evidence from physiological psychology (he explicitly cited those facts). (Indeed, at least at one time in his life, Russell affirmed that abstract entities like numbers existed nonphysically in some Platonic realm. He just didn't believe in spirits--the "reductionist" SOB!)

Many of you take materialism to be a rejection of spiritual things, but in fact that is at most a consequence of materialism. One could simply find the cited reasons for believing in spiritual things wanting, or even reject the existence of spiritual things for other reasons (like the neuroscientific evidence), without ever endorsing materialism as philosophers use the term. That's why I think that the naturalism/supernaturalism distinction is more accurate, even though some paranormal proponents eschew association with the supernatural/miraculous (despite being unable to show any difference between the paranormal and the supernatural).

I have a sneaking suspicion that at the end of the day, no matter how well supported my argument may be, most of the participants here will conclude that I must be simply assuming my conclusion (as many already have) whether I do so or not.

I suspect that most here take a survivalist position, and evaluate my argument in light of its compatibility with that position, rather than considering whether the argument succeeds on its own merits. That's my perception because I'm not seeing many comments in the way of, say, "Your argument goes wrong here, at step three, because..."

So I will offer some independent evidence that my argument does succeed on its own merits. Consider this rather impartial summary of the pros and cons of different positions on the mind-body problem by Barry Dainton, who focuses on considering dualism and certainly isn't urging any readers to become physicalists:

http://www.liv.ac.uk/philosophy/ugrad/subject_resources/dualism.htm

Note in particular this part of the section "Correlations, Dependency and Drunkeness" (my emphasis in bold):

Instead of saying that the brain is just a transmitting/receiving device, dualists have to say something like this:

The mind is a non-physical thing, which is in causal commerce with the brain; but the brain does more than transmit and receive messages - it actively contributes to the mind's mental functioning. We know that when we are young (and our brains aren't fully developed), our mental functioning is different from when we are older - and again, when very old, and our brains degenerate, so too does our mental functioning. We thus know that our brains contribute to our mental abilities - through their interaction with the soul, they enable the soul to have a kind of mental life which would not otherwise be possible. But this sort of dependency is quite compatible with the soul being an entity in its own right.

This moderated dualism may be intelligible, but the concession does weaken the case for dualism: if minds need (in this world) brains in order to function properly, the physicalist's claim that brains are all you need to have a mental life looks more plausible.

I just ran across this webpage now, looking for material on something else entirely, personal identity. I mention this here to point out that an independent author has laid out the basis for the kind of argument against personal survival I have given here:

(1) Simple dualism of the sort implied by the Rover analogy (and by OBEs/NDEs if they are taken to be actual mind-body separations) cannot plausibly account for the neuroscientific facts.

(2) Some kind of compound theory, like that of C. D. Broad, needs to be invoked to make dualism compatible with those neuroscientific facts. (To opt for simple dualism in the face of those facts would be like a creationist denying that evolution has occurred in the face of anatomical, genetic, phylogenetic, etc. evidence for evolution.)

(3) A compound theory is the only way to rationally hold substance dualism given those facts because the brain "actively contributes to the mind's mental functioning"; in other words, "minds need (in this world) brains in order to function properly." (Note that they would still be "in this world" during OBEs, but if OBEs are actual separations, the brain is evidently not needed to see, hear, think, remember, etc, "in this world." So there is definitely a head-to-head conflict between parapsychological arguments for survival and neuroscience on this point--if you accept one you must reject the other.)

(4) If this sort of dualism is true--and it's the only substance dualist option compatible with the neuroscientific facts--then that entails that the brain "enable[s] the soul to have a kind of mental life which would not otherwise be possible."

(5) This yields my conclusion that this sort of compound theory actually undermines personal survival, for the kind of mental life we have now, the one that is brain-enabled, could not survive the destruction of the brain. Whatever mental life we have when alive and conjoined to a brain would no longer be possible. Brainless mental activity would be much dimished, not enhanced, given that the kind of mental life the brain enabled would become "disabled."

So there you have it. It's not just my say-so. Others who have considered this question closely have come, independently, to the same sort of conclusion. And that is because that conclusion is implied by the neuroscientific evidence itself. It's not simply some personal speculation of mine. (I mentioned Broad and Hart and Stokes in this respect, but it is good to see a philosopher looking at the mind-body issues on their own merits, aside from parapsychology, coming to the same sort of conclusion.)

Incidentally, Dainton's last quoted comment, "the physicalist's claim that brains are all you need to have a mental life looks more plausible," is more relevant to a different argument--an argument for why production is a better explanation of neuroscientific facts than the transmission/compound theory. This is the sort of argument I told ZC I would pass over for the moment. Though I think any sort of substance dualism is superfluous, my main concern has always been whether survival is possible given the evidence, even if we grant the dualist as much as the evidence will allow.

My primary argument, then, is that dualists are forced on the horns of a dilemma: accept simple (Rover analogy) dualism, contrary to the best neuroscientific evidence, or accept a more neuroscientifically respectable compound theory which rules out personal survival. This is a basic outline of my argument. And since I have yet to see where (in what place) it goes wrong, I won't bother with giving some secondary argument for why production is preferable to transmission. That issue isn't really important if we can't have personal survival even on transmission--so long as we don't reject the neuroscientific facts, anyway.

That someone else totally unfamiliar with my work has formulated something nearly identical to my own argument should at least convince you that there's something to the argument being offered. Something independent of personal opinion compelled two different people (five if you count Broad, and Hart, and Stokes) to the same conclusion here. The only difference is that Broad, Hart, and Stokes were able to "save" survival, in the end, by conceiving of it as something other than personal survival. But, to my mind, the argument has always been whether personal survival (not some other kind of surviving) was possible--hence F.W.H. Myers' title _The Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death_.

Ian: I just saw your comments when posting this, so I'll add something brief for now.

You seem to think that needing to retain individualistic mental traits is some sort of materialist assumption. It is not. We're talking about what it means for something that already exists to persist. Indeed, if you lobotomized me and what resulted was the me of 2 minutes after birth, you would have indeed destroyed who I am.

You argue that a "soul" could be stripped of all of its mental characteristics and still survive. But I doubt that you would argue that a statue, if turned into a pile of rocks, survived pulverization. Or that a wooden ship, turned into sawdust, still survives. After all, all of the same matter is still there! Its "mere configuration" has changed, right? Indeed--enough to destroy the thing that it was. Ditto if all of one's mental traits were erased. The situations are exactly analogous.

A person isn't simply a thing--a chunk of matter, or as you would have it, a chunk of immaterial stuff. It is how that thing is configured that matters. An individuality is something realized--either in a brain, or in an immaterial substance--not the substance itself. Windows is realized on a computer, it is not the computer itself; if you deleted the Windows OS and replaced it with a Linux OS, Windows would not survive, even though the computer would not be noticable different.

Look at the sort of stuff John Hick says trying to defend bodily resurrection: He says if God resurrected you, psychologically and physically, you'd survive death. But Hick would never say just resurrecting the body would be enough. Your mental traits would have to be included with the body for you to survive. What you are doing, Ian, is saying that a "blank" soul would pass muster when a "blank" body would never count as survival. Why the double standard?

Ian wrote: Consciousness is the same type of thing as trees, tables and chairs and everything else we ever perceptually perceive.

If you grind up trees, tables and chairs into separate piles of fine powder, do those trees, tables and chairs survive grinding?

If you change a Mother Teresa into an Adolph Hitler, does Mother Teresa survive so drastic a change? Does a wooden ship survive being changed into a giant wooden crate?

I wonder if it's even necessary to argue this point. A simple question can settle this sort of thing: Would you really be satisfied if only the mind that you had as an infant survived death? Would you look forward to death in that case? I needn't cite anyone who holds "my view of personal identity." You can just ask people if they would be OK with being lobotomized to the point that only their infant selves remained. Most people would say they might as well be dead if that's what they have to look forward to.

The issue here is continuity. There is continuity between your self today and your self of tomorrow. While the person you were at 4 shaped the person you are now, you certainly are not the same person now that you were then. So much has changed. And this is not just semantics. Because if the four year old you emerged in the afterlife, it wouldn't be the you writing right now that survived death. It would be someone else, someone you used to be perhaps, but not you.

Ian wrote: Actually, come to think of it, I can demonstrate your position is logically inconsistent. No one remembers the future. I cannot remember what I will be doing tomorrow. Therefore the person people call “Ian Wardell” tomorrow is not the same person as I am now. But the “Ian Wardell” of tomorrow remembers being me. Therefore *he is* the same person as I am now. This is of course patently absurd.

My response: We'll run with your own words, changing the example from something mental to something physical:

No wooden ship has dents in it that occur in the future. It can't have the dents it will have tommrrow. Therefore the dented wooden ship of tomorrow is not the dentless ship of today. But tomorrow's ship will have all of the other physical features of today's ship (the analogue of your memories minus the new memories of tomorrow). Therefore tomorrow ship is the same ship as now ship. This is of course patently absurd.

Now, tell me, does the reasoning above lead you to believe that if that ship was turned into crates, or sawdust, the ship would survive? Of course not!

Ian wrote: You state I ought not to mind a lobotomy as I will still survive? Do you think my mental capacity means so little to me? Survival is not something to be desired at any price.

Right. What is needed is personal survival, the survival of your distinctive mental traits. Anything less might as well be the fossilization of your bones.

Ian wrote: But the filter theory predicts that in any afterlife we will not suffer any mental deficiencies and we have evidence from NDEs supporting this.

Per what I wrote before responding to you, if you really think about it objectively, the filter theory predicts that you will be much less without a brain than you were when you had a brain, at least if you acknowledge the neuroscientific facts that motivate the filter theory in the first place. The brain is not some superflous appendance. You really do need it to do certain mental things. Without it, you won't be able to do those things. Hence whatever survives could hardly be said to be you.

Ian wrote: The vast majority of human beings are instinctively “interactive substance dualists” even if subsequently they intellectually reject their instincts in this regard.

I would say the vast majority of human beings are simple dualists. They see themselves as pilots in a ship, minds behind the eyes at the controls, not minds whose nature can be radically changed at the whim of a stroke. And we already know that that intuition is wrong, no matter what position on the mind-body problem you take.

Keith,that's because the vast majority of sane human beings trust their own intuition,know their own experiences and don't believe that the universe is a pointless waste of time,where you spend a few cosmic milli-seconds being born, struggling through life, only to end up snuffed out without any satisfactory explanation. I guarantee you, when you get older you won't find your current philosophy (position) as attractive as you do now. You may want to believe in some higher power... and there's no GOOD reason why you shouldn't.

"You say that you find the evidence of parapsychology as strong as the evidence for neuroscience. What makes you come to this conclusion? Is there any evidence in particular that puts parapsychology right up there?"

The best evidence for ESP is probably the Ganzfeld experiments, but there is much, much more. See Dean Radin's books, or "Irreducible MInd" by Kelly & Kelly.

Personally, I think telepathy and clairvoyance were very well established as long ago as 1900.


Keith, sure those five individuals have concluded the same as you, but that doesn't prove your case. As much as me pointing out several neuroscientists who DON'T agree with your position. Such as Dr. Wilder Penfield, Dr. John C Eccles, Karl R. Popper.

Another substance dualists come to mind as well along with their works.


Richard Swinburne, The Evolution of the Soul, Oxford UP, 1997; John Foster, The Immaterial Self: A Defence of the Cartesian Dualist Conception of the Mind, Routledge 1991; Geoffrey Madell, Mind and Materialism, Edinburgh 1988; W. D. Hart, The Engines of the Soul, Cambridge UP, 1988. Many other books and articles could be cited.

Keith their is no doubt their is mind brain dependency but how strong is the dependency is the question at stake here. What i am suggesting is yes personality radically changes in many cases, however when the mind brain connection is broken the mind get's immediately restored to an age like 20 years old. It's the soul that get's released from the body and restores all memories, thoughts and feelings after physical death. Also your forgetting that simple dualists know that the mind is information, where the soul is the one that takes over once the body/brain dies.

Perhaps the soul is an abtract entity who uses it's imagination to create an afterlife in the platonic realm.


Would you say that Wilder Penfield's work gave experimental support for mind brain dependency? Wilder Penfield never endorsed this theory, nor did he think that this was the best explanation for his data. Wilder Penfield started out an materialist until he started doing work with epileptic patients.


"For myself, after a professional lifetime spent i trying to discover how the brain accounts for the mind, it comes as a surprise now to discover, during this final examination of the evidence, that the dualist hypothesis seems the more reasonable of the two possible explanations. Mind comes into action and goes out of action with the highest brain-mechanism, it is true. But the mind has energy. The form of that energy is different from that of neuronal potentials that travel the axone pathways. There I must leave it."

You also forget that simple dualism and interaction dualism both propose that the soul is made of a different type of matter, that the soul has a brain too, possibly of dark matter.

But Keith, you ARE begging the question. You are simply so eager to have an answer that you have sped over the difference between what logically does follow and what does not.

Moreover, you don't seem to be aware of precisely where you are leaving the evidence behind and inserting your personal belief of what that evidence you cite means.

But one person can't get into the head of another and help him to see things. At some point you just have to get it.

You are making an argument from ignorance, which leads you into arguing in a circle, and you are probably stuck in the circle because you don't see that you are in one.

Several people, I've noticed, have pointed the circle out to you, but you seem to like it in there just fine. So, like those who believe in werewolves, what can one do but to leave all of you to the sort of fun you like to have?

Oh, and by the way, and I should have asked this at once.

If Keith thinks that the production hypothesis has been scientifically demonstrated, then it is incumbent on Keith Augustine to provide a list of the scientific research articles that EXPLICITLY COME TO THE CONCLUSION that consciousness is produced by brain.

Perhaps Keith has been logically misled by some real scientific research that EXPLICITLY comes to the conclusion that Keith keeps asserting is scientifically true.

If that is the case, please list the research papers that make the claim that mind is produced by brain, because I would surely like to read what the authors are claiming and how they are arriving at their conclusions.

Another great quote from Wilder Penfield

It is fair to say that science provides no method of controlling the mind. Scientific work on the brain does not explain the mind – not yet. Neither the work of Pavlov on conditioned reflexes nor that of any other worker has proven the thesis of materialism. Surgeons can remove areas of brain, physicians can destroy or deaden it with drugs and produce unpredictable fantasies, but they cannot force it to do their bidding.
Dartmouth Convocation on The Great Issues of Conscience
in Modern Medicine (1960), Third Panel Discussion.

Evidence Based:

What does the word "evidence" mean to you?

dmduncan:

What's the deal? Just what exactly in parapsychology do you believe puts it on par with neuroscience?

dmduncan wrote: If Keith thinks that the production hypothesis has been scientifically demonstrated, then it is incumbent on Keith Augustine to provide a list of the scientific research articles that EXPLICITLY COME TO THE CONCLUSION that consciousness is produced by brain.

You won't find such journal articles because that conclusion is taken for granted; it is not explicitly stated. It is like asking me to "provide a list of the scientific research articles that EXPLICITLY COME TO THE CONCLUSION that nerve endings are needed to feel pain." That sort of thing is so basic that is taken for granted, not argued for--except in cases when specifically trying to outline what the implications of neuroscience are for dualism. But people only do that when addressing the general public, not other researchers. (Think evolutionary biologists: when talking amongst themselves, they take the evidence for evolution for granted; they only outline that evidence when writing for the general public.) You can find arguments to this effect in popular books by people like Susan Greenfield or Patricia Churchland, who have neuroscientific credentials. It is more often stated by philosophers (or even theologians, in the case of _Whatever Happened to the Soul?_), though, because detailed knowledge of neuroscience is not necessary to understand and make the general point. Detailed knowledge of neuroscience is quite helpful, to be sure, but only because it allows one to detail the innumerable ways in which mental function X requires the functioning of brain area Y. If you want a more detailed list of such evidence I suggest you read "No Ghost in a Machine" at ebonmusings.com

Incidentally, dmduncan, you say that I make an argument from ignorance, but my last point above stands, and so I think your comments are a dodge. Upon discovering that someone else offered the sort of argument I do, I reoutlined the argument in steps (1)-(5). At which step in that argument does the appeal to ignorance come in? Is it really there somewhere, or is it easier to simply attribute it to me rather than show where it occurs, because attribution doesn't require it to actually occur?

I am, in fact, arguing from the exact opposite of ignorance. I am arguing from neuroscientific knowledge. We're talking about the consequences of well-grounded neuroscientific evidence here, not merely an argument like "Why can't I find the soul?" (Which, admittedly, I did offer as a SEPARATE argument early on here, but that was also not an argument from ignorance since a soul's interaction would be expected to be detectable, just as a television station's signal is detectable on an RF meter, aside from the signal being picked up by the TV. Lack of detection is relevant to the empirical plausibility of interactionism, since nonexistent things and their nonexistent effects on brains have to be undetectable, but it does not establish that a soul might not be "hiding" somewhere" at the quantum level or something. A soul-of-the-gaps argument is possible, but unappealing for the same reason a God-of-the-gaps argument is unappealing, even to theologians.)

But all of this is irrelevant to the argument with steps (1)-(5) outlined above, which provides the strongest empirical argument against personal survival I'm aware of, and which I must say seems pretty devastating to me. Just as creationists have to reject the evidence for evolution to prop up creationism, simple dualism of the sort needed to prop up personal survival requires a denial of basic neuroscientific facts. If a stroke or lesion can destroy your ability to recognize people, how can that ability survive when that brain area is no longer around?

Undoubtedly you can invoke God or something to create a new brain for you to take over the decayed brain's functions, but the point of the argument is that it is probablistic. If you need some deus ex machina like that, such as that the old brain will be replaced with a new astral brain (or something like that), that's just a testament to how strong the evidence against you is. It's like saying, "Yeah, all that evidence for evolution does make it look like creatures evolved over time, but they don't really evolve, God just created them to look like they had evolved." You are in essence saying, "Yeah, all that evidence from neuroscience does make it look like humans need brains to be able to have their individual personalities, but they really don't, because maybe there's some backup astral brain out there on which those mental characteristics can be copied, or are continuously being copied on to." Yes, that's logically possible. But it certainly is not probable given the evidence. If the brain had some redundant backup somewhere, mental function should be able to be restored despite brain damage--just run on the backup "hard drive" to compensate for the damaged original hard drive. But that doesn't happen. Mental functions are only restored when the brain repairs itself after damage, and it is restored by a different area doing something it wasn't previously constructed to do, and so may well do differently than the original area of the brain had (and may do less effectively, leaving some noticable but livable deficits even if the basic ability is generally restored).

Anyway, after all of this text, I think I've made my point by now, so I'm willing to give the rest of you the last word on this. At some point you just have to acknowledge what is likely given the neuroscientific evidence. And you can't win in that, not because of anything I say, but because the evidence itself is so strong, varied, and consistent across the board in its implications.

"You won't find such journal articles because that conclusion is taken for granted."

Haha Keith. Yes, that's how all the most spectacular circular arguments begin.

A HUGE conclusion like that just "taken for granted."

???

WOW.

Keith, I'm pretty darned sure that there are research papers establishing the role of nerves in feeling pain, which is as specific a thing as you can get.

Did scientists just arrive at that conclusion one day? Is the knowledge of the role of nerves in the body automatic?

But if you are accustomed to taking for granted such things like that, it would explain a lot about how you reach your conclusions.

Even if we have to trace a specific piece of knowledge back 500 years, it's usually traceable to someone having first established the facts.

"I reoutlined the argument in steps (1)-(5). At which step in that argument does the appeal to ignorance come in? Is it really there somewhere, or is it easier to simply attribute it to me rather than show where it occurs, because attribution doesn't require it to actually occur?"

It occurs in the foundation of your beliefs, and is not outlined in steps 1 - 5, and I already pointed it out earlier. You are strongly committed to the production hypothesis, are you not? You think the evidence leads to the conclusion that the production hypothesis is true, no?

I may be wrong about that, but if you are so committed and you do so conclude that, then:

(To cut and paste my own comment from earlier)

The evidence shows that if you destroy the brain, we cannot observe consciousness in or of the body. That’s it.

Sorry Keith, but that is the most you can logically conclude.

Your assertion that destroying the brain destroys consciousness completely, that is, both inside and outside the body, is an argumentum ad ignorantium: You no longer observe it, therefore it no longer exists. I do not know X exists, therefore X does not exist.

"I am, in fact, arguing from the exact opposite of ignorance. I am arguing from neuroscientific knowledge. We're talking about the consequences of well-grounded neuroscientific evidence here..."

What evidence? If you are talking about evidence which leads to the “taken for granted” fantasy knowledge that the production theory is true, I'm still waiting for a single scrap of that much-vaunted evidence.

Oh, wait a second. My bad. You already established that the production hypothesis is just “taken for granted,” so there IS no specific scientific evidence of the production hypothesis!

No you are not arguing from knowledge, Keith. You are confusing what is known, via the evidence, with the consequences that you personally imagine flowing from the evidence. NOT the same thing. NOT even equivalent to valid inferences by evidence which projects the existence of things like black holes. Black holes, once strictly an inference, have since been verified. Maybe in Keith’s world of science a mere inference to black holes would have been enough, and no one would have had to bother trying to confirm their existence, seeing whether or not the inference was correct.

It could have been just taken for granted. But wise people understand that inferences are easy to get wrong.

You were asked earlier for evidence which did not beg the question, and you have yet to provide a scrap of it.

Now I don't know, in the strictest sense of that word, what the final outcome of this argument will be. But I respect reason enough not to attempt a premature closing of the questions involved.

dmduncan wrote: I'm pretty darned sure that there are research papers establishing the role of nerves in feeling pain, which is as specific a thing as you can get.

So where are they, then? Your challenge to me was to cite, not to opine. I only asked the same of you.

dmduncan wrote: Did scientists just arrive at that conclusion one day? Is the knowledge of the role of nerves in the body automatic?

No more than scientists just concluded overnight that evolution, plate tectonics, or global warming occurs. The evidence built and built until it was clear that it was no longer reasonable to deny these things.

dmduncan wrote: But if you are accustomed to taking for granted such things like that, it would explain a lot about how you reach your conclusions.

I didn't say that I just take this proposition for granted (obviously, I have just argued for it!). I said that most neuroscientists do when talking amongst themselves. They will explicitly comment on something like this in popular books, but they don't in research journals. If that makes you ecstatic, go ahead and jump for joy, as if that has established anything.

dmduncan wrote: Even if we have to trace a specific piece of knowledge back 500 years, it's usually traceable to someone having first established the facts.

No one is stopping you from going to a university library, or even just Google Books, and looking for a book on the history of physiological psychology (or neuropsychology). The discipline has a history which you could research if you wanted to.

dmduncan wrote: It occurs in the foundation of your beliefs, and is not outlined in steps 1 - 5, and I already pointed it out earlier. You are strongly committed to the production hypothesis, are you not?

Nope. I accept the "production hypothesis" only because it is implied by the most reliable facts on the issue, the same reason that academic philosophers of mind and neuroscientists accept it. If the facts were different, I would not accept it. In any case, your response has simply validated the strength of the argument I have given. You cannot refute the argument, so you go after the motivations of the arguer. But that's just a red herring, isn't it?

dmduncan wrote: The evidence shows that if you destroy the brain, we cannot observe consciousness in or of the body. That’s it.

Sure, if scientific inference is not allowed. But then you cannot conclude that turning the key causes the car to start, either. The more of the brain that is destroyed, the more the mental degeneration (hence advanced Alzheimer's). The next logical step, as David Hume and Paul Edwards pointed out, is that the total destruction of the brain leads to the total destruction of mentality. The argument is so simple that hardly more needs to be said about it. I'll only quote dualist William Hasker: If the mind is "dependent on it [the brain] in all the ways already emphasized, how can it fail to perish with the brain?" Enough said.

dmduncan wrote: Your assertion that destroying the brain destroys consciousness completely, that is, both inside and outside the body, is an argumentum ad ignorantium: You no longer observe it, therefore it no longer exists. I do not know X exists, therefore X does not exist.

Nope. It is a straightforward extrapolation from what we do observe. Even Hasker recognized the logical conclusion. The last time I checked, scientific inference has always worked in this way.

dmduncan wrote: I'm still waiting for a single scrap of that much-vaunted evidence.

This is why I'm happy to let you have the last word (I responded only because you addressed me directly, instead of my argument). A creationist could just as well say the same as you do about the evidence for evolution. And at that point, one has to just throw up his hands, shrug, and move on to those who can be moved by contrary evidence.

dmduncan wrote: You already established that the production hypothesis is just “taken for granted,” so there IS no specific scientific evidence of the production hypothesis!

Here we go again... What I said was that in talking in professional journals amongst themselves, neuroscientists don't bother to outline the evidence for production. They take it for granted, already knowing what it is better than most of us, without having to inform each other of what they already know. Just like evolutionary biologists. But if you want to twist my words, do as you will. Changing the subject from the argument I gave only bolsters my confidence that my argument cannot be dispatched so easily. (I already told you were you could get a layman's summary of such evidence on Ebon Musings if you didn't know it yourself.)

dmduncan wrote: You are confusing what is known, via the evidence, with the consequences that you personally imagine flowing from the evidence.

Does this mean that Barry Dainton must have unknowingly read my mind to come to the same exact conclusion? Or did we come to the same conclusion independently because that conclusion follows most straightforwardly from the evidence?

dmduncan wrote: But I respect reason enough not to attempt a premature closing of the questions involved.

Parapsychologists Gardner Murphy, C. D. Broad, John Beloff, and Douglas Stokes respected reason enough not to deny that the neuroscientific evidence actually posed a serious challenge to personal survival. It is the elephant in the room. Pretending that challenge is not there doesn't make it go away.

You would do well to read Broad since he is online:

http://www.ditext.com/broad/mpn12.html

There is a connection between near death experiences and the holographic universe theory that no one has ever been able to explain away to me. Near death experiencers also sometimes make statements that seem to parallel what Dr. Fred Alan Wolf stated in his book The Spiritual Universe. This seems to say to me that something very amazing happens during a true near death experience.

Personally, I don't see a need to reject either neuroscientific evidence nor insights from parapsychology. I don't see it as a competition. I see a need to explain all the facts and that may mean its much more complicated than we thought and probably wildly beyond what we can imagine on this side of the shift. Its kind of difficult to say 'well these facts say this therefore those facts aren't there'.

KEITH: “So where are they, then? Your challenge to me was to cite, not to opine. I only asked the same of you.”

Stop the charade. Either you are seriously proposing that scientists just divined the function of nerves without research, or you are just trying to waste my time looking for the precise papers or the specific individuals who discovered the function of nerves. If you are doing the first, congratulations, you are now a paranormalist. If the second, then you yourself believe the research is available somewhere, in which case I’d merely be wasting my time looking for something you already accept the existence of. I’m not interested in wasting my time, particularly not at the behest of Keith Augustine.

“No more than scientists just concluded overnight that evolution, plate tectonics, or global warming occurs. The evidence built and built until it was clear that it was no longer reasonable to deny these things.”

The evidence for each of these things is available in published research. While it is not reasonable to deny things for which there is solid evidence, there is no solid evidence for the production hypothesis. So your comparison is irrelevant.

KEITH: “I didn't say that I just take this proposition for granted (obviously, I have just argued for it!). I said that most neuroscientists do when talking amongst themselves.”


KEITH: “You won't find such journal articles because that conclusion is taken for granted; it is not explicitly stated.”

From your own words above it sounds like YOU are one of those people who takes it for granted.

Do you, or do you not?

KEITH: “No one is stopping you from going to a university library, or even just Google Books, and looking for a book on the history of physiological psychology (or neuropsychology). The discipline has a history which you could research if you wanted to.”

You missed the point. I’m not interested in exactly how we came to know the role of nerves. I’m interested in THAT we came to know that role through science. It wasn’t just, to use your own words, “taken for granted.” Plate tectonics, which I am sure you know was once laughed at by skeptics as nonsense, has been established. It’s not “taken for granted.”

KEITH: “you cannot refute the argument,”

Well if you mean by “argument” the reasoning you use to conclude the production hypothesis is true, your reasoning has already been shown to be weak. I’ve already pointed out the fallacies you are committing. But I can’t do anything more than point them out to you, Keith.

If you want to make a weak conclusion that the production hypothesis is true, I won’t argue. But if you want to make a strong one, you are arguing fallaciously.

KEITH: “..so you go after the motivations of the arguer.”

I don’t know what you mean by this.

KEITH: “Sure, if scientific inference is not allowed. But then you cannot conclude that turning the key causes the car to start, either.”

Scientific inference IS allowed, but the ignition analogy is poor. We do know exactly how the ignition system on cars works. We made them. We don’t have to guess at all, nor is it some speculative inference based on something else. So I CAN conclude that turning the ignition causes the car to start by understanding how the car DOES work, versus how consciousness is speculated to work in the neurosciences by inferring that consciousness cannot survive destruction of the brain. BIG difference.

KEITH: “The next logical step, as David Hume and Paul Edwards pointed out, is that the total destruction of the brain leads to the total destruction of mentality. The argument is so simple that hardly more needs to be said about it.

Argument from ignorance. I don’t let David Hume or Paul Edwards think for me, and I am under no obligation to accept any of their weak arguments. Enough said.

KEITH: “Nope. It is a straightforward extrapolation from what we do observe.”

Nope. It is an assertion based on what you do NOT see, not on what you DO see. You are extrapolating to the nonexistence of something from the destruction of something that you see, because you DO NOT see the evidence for consciousness any longer. I don’t see it anymore because I destroyed the brain. Therefore, brain causes mind. I don’t see the evidence of consciousness in a body with a destroyed brain, therefore that consciousness no longer exists.

Does not follow.

KEITH: “Even Hasker recognized the logical conclusion.”

Good for Hasker. Are you appealing to authority?

KEITH: “A creationist could just as well say the same as you do about the evidence for evolution. And at that point, one has to just throw up his hands, shrug, and move on to those who can be moved by contrary evidence.”

I am unable to address a vague generality like this. Cite a particular example, and I’ll address that.

KEITH: “Here we go again... What I said was that in talking in professional journals amongst themselves, neuroscientists don't bother to outline the evidence for production. They take it for granted, already knowing what it is better than most of us, without having to inform each other of what they already know.”

They put their pants on one leg at a time too. They don’t have any special means of knowing unavailable to the rest of us. What they “know” they submit for review in peer reviewed journals. Otherwise, what they say they “know” is very loose in meaning.

You want evidence for plate tectonics? It is there. It’s not something “taken for granted” as true.

KEITH: “Changing the subject from the argument I gave only bolsters my confidence that my argument cannot be dispatched so easily.”

Is the issue your personal confidence in your arguments or understanding how ALL the evidence can be integrated and explained?

KEITH: “Does this mean that Barry Dainton must have unknowingly read my mind to come to the same exact conclusion? Or did we come to the same conclusion independently because that conclusion follows most straightforwardly from the evidence?”

It might mean several different things. It could mean that you both already have certain beliefs in place that favor materialism which bias you towards making pro materialist conclusions. Or it could mean that you reach those conclusions because you cannot imagine an alternative, which again is arguing from ignorance. It does NOT mean that your conclusions have been established to follow from the evidence as clearly, for example, as that H. Pylori causes stomach ulcers.

KEITH: “Parapsychologists Gardner Murphy, C. D. Broad, John Beloff, and Douglas Stokes respected reason enough not to deny that the neuroscientific evidence actually posed a serious challenge...”

I.e., WE the undersigned are having personal trouble imagining how the neuroscientific evidence can be interpreted any other way.

But you’re talking to me now, Keith. And I ain’t them. One of the dangers of filling your head with other people’s thoughts is that you could fall into their unoriginality and persist in it, thinking of nothing new, and convincing yourself that all these names have exhausted the realm of possibilities.

KEITH: “...to personal survival. It is the elephant in the room. Pretending that challenge is not there doesn't make it go away.”

First, I’m not sure I believe personal survival myself. I don’t know. What I am interested in is explaining ALL the evidence, and not discarding unusual pieces of it that seem to challenge the status quo view. Those unusual bits may be the only evidence you get that there is something seriously wrong with the status quo. Second, I was an atheist and a skeptic. The only elephant left in the room is the dogmatic assertion of where the neuroscientific evidence leads.

And if the neuroscientists take the production hypothesis for granted, but Keith Augustine does not, is that because Keith Augustine has better evidence than the neuroscientists he cites?

Or does Keith reason to the production hypothesis for the exact same reasons that the neuroscientists do, in which case how does Keith escape being one of those who takes the production hypothesis for granted?

So everyone seems to "know" the production hypothesis is true, but no one can point directly to any research which confirms it, unlike other things that are confirmed known, such as that H. Pylori causes stomach ulcers.

And I'M supposed to be convinced because all of these other people are.

The mind is a non-physical thing, which is in causal commerce with the brain; but the brain does more than transmit and receive messages - it actively contributes to the mind's mental functioning. We know that when we are young (and our brains aren't fully developed), our mental functioning is different from when we are older - and again, when very old, and our brains degenerate, so too does our mental functioning. We thus know that our brains contribute to our mental abilities - through their interaction with the soul, they enable the soul to have a kind of mental life which would not otherwise be possible. But this sort of dependency is quite compatible with the soul being an entity in its own right.

This moderated dualism may be intelligible, but the concession does weaken the case for dualism: if minds need (in this world) brains in order to function properly, the physicalist's claim that brains are all you need to have a mental life looks more plausible

I accept everything the author has said there, with only one qualification: the plausibility of physicalism is seriously undermined (I'd say "refuted") if we accept the evidence of psi and afterlife. And a consequence of this is that the case for dualism get stronger.

The problem is that when you put the best psi and afterlife evidence on the table, it's rejected precisely because physicalism is taken to be truth or more plausible (but it's only plausible "if" psi and afterlife data don't exist). And here the circle begins...

On Keith's argument (1-5):

(1) Simple dualism of the sort implied by the Rover analogy (and by OBEs/NDEs if they are taken to be actual mind-body separations) cannot plausibly account for the neuroscientific facts

Dualism, simple or complex, account for the neuroscientific facts if it includes the idea that between consciousness and the brain exist a close and temporal functional dependence (functional, in the sense that whatever happens in one affects the functions of the other; temporal, because such dependence occurs only while consciousness is related or "connected" with a brain).

In other words, any dualist position that includes that idea of "concomitant variation" bewteen mental and brain states, will be compatible with neuroscience.

(2) Some kind of compound theory, like that of C. D. Broad, needs to be invoked to make dualism compatible with those neuroscientific facts. (To opt for simple dualism in the face of those facts would be like a creationist denying that evolution has occurred in the face of anatomical, genetic, phylogenetic, etc. evidence for evolution.)

I've argued before that a compound theory (X factor + a brain) gives us an argument for the transmission hypothesis.

(3) A compound theory is the only way to rationally hold substance dualism given those facts because the brain "actively contributes to the mind's mental functioning"; in other words, "minds need (in this world) brains in order to function properly."

The key phrase here is "in this world". It doesn't follow from the above that in another world (e.g. in a spiritual world"), "minds need brain in order to function properly".

If we assume that "this world" is the only one existing, then we're begging the question against the survivalist (and against the afterlife evidence suggesting another kind of world, like the spiritual world).

In other words, step 3 of Keith's argument is valid only FOR THIS WORLD; not for another world (e.g. the afterlife).

But if step 3 is assumed to be valid against another world, then it's a non-sequitur that, used as a premise, begs the question against the survivalist.

Note that they would still be "in this world" during OBEs

This is a premature and arbitrary conclusion. If OBEs are true and they represent actual separations, they could be evidence of an intermediary phase between "this world" and another world (the spiritual world)

but if OBEs are actual separations, the brain is evidently not needed to see, hear, think, remember, etc, "in this world".

The error here is assume that OBEs, if they're actual separations, are part of this world ALONE. And we don't know if it's true.

Maybe, Keith would reply that OBEs are part of this world because OBErs describe physical objects existing in this world (like chairs, books, etc.).

But people who has experienced a separation of the body also experience things nonexistent in this world (like deceased persons, or spiritual beings), what suggest that their experiences is not explanaible only as existing in "this world".

But presumibly, Keith only accept the cases of OBEs with perceptions of things of this world (since it support his argument that they're part of this world), but maybe he would reject the perceptions of spiritual realms or entities (because it wouldn't support his conclusion)

On the other hand, that consciousness requires a brain to function properly (optimely) in the physical world doesn't implies that to perceive, think, remember, etc. are produced only by a brain.

That consciousness requires of physical instrument to function in the physical world doesn't implies that consciousness cannot function in a non-physical world.

(4) If this sort of dualism is true--and it's the only substance dualist option compatible with the neuroscientific facts--then that entails that the brain "enable[s] the soul to have a kind of mental life which would not otherwise be possible."

.... IN THIS WORLD.

But such argument says nothing about consciousness functioning in other worlds. See my above critique to Keith's step 3.

(5) This yields my conclusion that this sort of compound theory actually undermines personal survival, for the kind of mental life we have now, the one that is brain-enabled, could not survive the destruction of the brain. Whatever mental life we have when alive and conjoined to a brain would no longer be possible. Brainless mental activity would be much dimished, not enhanced, given that the kind of mental life the brain enabled would become "disabled."

Keith's conclusion is seriously undermined by the problems mentioned above.

And such conclusion arbitrary assumes too:

That the X factor cannot retain some aspects of the mental life we have when alive.

This assumption is unwarranted, since X factor is (as I argued before) plausibly the factor that provided subjectivity (and hence, memory) to a brain. This entails X factor is, arguably, a subjective personal consciousness whose memories (of the physical experience) survives too.

Brainless mental activity wouldn't be dimished, only impaired to function properly IN THIS WORLD (but it says nothing about its functioning in another world)

At most, Keith's argument support the idea that we won't see the functioning of the embodied mind IN THIS WORLD.

But it's a trivial point, since survivalists are arguing for the continued existence of consciousnes in ANOTHER WORLD (not in this).

So, Keith is right in thinking that consciousness won't function properly anymore (in this world) without a brain (and this is one of the reason why mediums are needed: they provide the physical material or the intermediary link to enable spiritual beings express themselves in this world, when they're in another world and without a physical brain).

But he's wrong in thinking that individual consciousness will dissapear (in other world) without a brain. This is a non-sequitur based in the materialistic idea that consciousness is produced exclusively by a physical brain and in the naturalist assumption that this is the only (natural=real) world existing. (These assumptions explains Keith continuous insistency in previous posts about that "this is the only mind that we know", "if something survives it is anything like me" etc. He strongly identify himself with his body existing in THIS WORLD)

And if, like Keith, we assume that other worlds cannot and don't exist, then we're begging the question again.

The existence of other worlds (in addition to the physical one) is part of the issue at stake.

Keith-
Allow me to respond specifically to your argument and show its weakness-
You say,

“My primary argument, then, is that dualists are forced on the horns of a dilemma: accept simple (Rover analogy) dualism, contrary to the best neuroscientific evidence, or accept a more neuroscientifically respectable compound theory which rules out personal survival.”

You have given a false dilemma. That is the problem with your case- it is a false dilemma.

You see, I could be a dualist, accept all the evidence from neuroscience (I have no problem with the actual evidence I have seen, and that includes quite a bit), and still accept the survival hypothesis based on the evidence of NDE, OBE, past life (Stevenson in particular)…

Therefore the way off the ‘horns of dilemma’ that you present is to accept the evidence. This is the weakness in your argument


ZC wrote: Brainless mental activity wouldn't be dimished, only impaired to function properly IN THIS WORLD (but it says nothing about its functioning in another world)

At most, Keith's argument support the idea that we won't see the functioning of the embodied mind IN THIS WORLD.

Careful. I had a feeling you'd jump on that "in this world" comment as if that was something substantial. Don't confuse a linguistic change with a metaphysical insight.

I assume you'd agree with this slight modification of your point:

Lobotomy impairs proper mental functioning IN THIS WORLD (but it says nothing about its functioning in another world)

Tell me, why is the above conclusion more plausible than the following one:

Lobotomy impairs proper mental functioning IN THIS COUNTRY (but it says nothing about its functioning in another country)

Clearly, the mere fact that you can make a distinction between worlds, or nations, doesn't change anything about the actual effects of lobotomy. So there's got to be something more to your argument than what you've given above, if it is to be an effective response to my argument.

ZC wrote: At most, Keith's argument support the idea that we won't see the functioning of the embodied mind IN THIS WORLD.

And why is that assertion more convincing than this one: At most, Keith's argument supports the idea that we won't see the functioning of the embodied mind IN THIS COUNTRY.

A soul is whatever it is because of its inherent nature, not because of its "location." If a soul needs a brain to do math while embodied, then it would presumably not be able to do math when disembodied (unless conjoined to another brain, as in reincarnation). So I'm not sure what the relevance of a "change of venue" is. Is there any? What makes you think so?

ZC wrote: But it's a trivial point, since survivalists are arguing for the continued existence of consciousnes in ANOTHER WORLD (not in this).

And why is that argument better than this one? "But it's a trivial point, since I'm arguing that lobotomy does not impair one's mind in ANOTHER COUNTRY (not in this one)."

Note: I'm not implying that you would make such an argument. I'm asking why location matters: why "this world" or "that world" matters. There is no reason to think how the mind works changes from country to country. So what reason is there to think it would work differently in another world, other than your desire for it to do so?

And note that what I said about OBEs still applies, if OBEs involve perceptions of THIS WORLD. The soul would have to process visual information when that was only possible before because of an occipital lobe. So what does the visual information processing during an OBE?

ZC wrote: But he's wrong in thinking that individual consciousness will dissapear (in other world) without a brain. This is a non-sequitur based in the materialistic idea that consciousness is produced exclusively by a physical brain and in the naturalist assumption that this is the only (natural=real) world existing.

My argument does not require one to assume ahead of time that there is no other world to go to, or that production is true. Indeed, you should know better: the whole argument grants for the sake of argument a sort of compound theory incompatible with "consciousness [being] produced exclusively by a physical brain." Broad's compound theory explicitly denies that!

Let me show why ZC's assertion is the real non sequitur by example: "But he's wrong in thinking that this copy of Windows XP will disappear in the 10th dimension when the only computer on which it resides is dropped into molten steel."

Suppose there is a 10th dimension, as something like string theory would posit. What reason would anyone have for thinking that Windows XP would be duplicated there, or copied completely on to some 10th dimensional computer, just because my computer in our third-dimensional world containing it was dropped into molten steel?

Suppose I pulled out the CPU (say, the X factor that survives destruction) before dropping the rest of the computer into molten steel. How does that copy of Windows XP survive?

Here you have an analogue where one need not deny the existence of another world, or that something could survive which made Windows XP function when the whole computer was integrated; and still the most reasonable conclusion is that the copy of Windows XP on the computer that fell into molten steel was destroyed.

I think it's rather convenient for you to say you won't be responding any further given your response to my arguments I posted yesterday. You've either ignored or essentially misunderstood my points. You certainly do write a lot of text Keith. Unfortunately you're not really saying a great deal.

Keith Stated:
"You argue that a "soul" could be stripped of all of its mental characteristics and still survive. But I doubt that you would argue that a statue, if turned into a pile of rocks, survived pulverization. Or that a wooden ship, turned into sawdust, still survives. After all, all of the same matter is still there! Its "mere configuration" has changed, right? Indeed--enough to destroy the thing that it was. Ditto if all of one's mental traits were erased. The situations are exactly analogous".

But it is generally acknowledged that the reality of piles of rocks and wooden ships are exhausted by the totality of their physicality. Now if we too are exhausted by the totality of our physicality, then yes it is precisely analogous. But guess what? That begs the question!

Let's imagine wooden ships are selves or are souls and thus are conscious and have mental traits. Thus what a wooden ship really is, is its self/soul rather than its body, just as we might really be our self/soul and not our physical bodies. In that case when the wooden ship turns into sawdust it is clearly an open question whether the wooden ships self/soul has ceased to exist. It depends if this wood constituting the body of the ship brought into being the ship's self/soul. That is the appropriate analogy to use.

And whilst we're on analogies I note you have misunderstood anotehr one in your very same post! Earlier on I was attacking using memory as actually *constituting* personal identity. You ignored my arguments apart from one where I stated:

Ian said:

"Actually, come to think of it, I can demonstrate your position is logically inconsistent. No one remembers the future. I cannot remember what I will be doing tomorrow. Therefore the person people call “Ian Wardell” tomorrow is not the same person as I am now. But the “Ian Wardell” of tomorrow remembers being me. Therefore *he is* the same person as I am now. This is of course patently absurd.

Your response was:

Keith replied:

"We'll run with your own words, changing the example from something mental to something physical:
No wooden ship has dents in it that occur in the future. It can't have the dents it will have tommrrow. Therefore the dented wooden ship of tomorrow is not the dentless ship of today. But tomorrow's ship will have all of the other physical features of today's ship (the analogue of your memories minus the new memories of tomorrow). Therefore tomorrow ship is the same ship as now ship. This is of course patently absurd.
Now, tell me, does the reasoning above lead you to believe that if that ship was turned into crates, or sawdust, the ship would survive? Of course not!
"

Looking at this confused nonsense it appears you've completely failed to understand my argument! (which btw I'm quite proud of. Just thought it up when I was responding to you yesterday).

The ship of yesterday is the same ship as today because there is no discontinuity in the path it follows in space-time from yesterday to today.

The *analogical argument here* would be if you were arguing that a person is the same person as yesterday because there is no discontinuity in the path a person follows in space-time from yesterday to today. Whether he suffers a cut (dent) in the meantime is irrelevant to his personal identity.

But you have talked about memory and basic psychological makeup which determines personal identity. You claim that if I have no memories of the past, then I have not survived. That past person literally is not me unless I can identify with the feelings and circumstances that past self experienced.

But I can never remember my future self's experiences. I cannot currently remember or identify with the feelings and experiences I will have tomorrow. So therefore, according to your criterion of personal identity, my tomorrow's self cannot be me.

But my self of tomorrow *will* remember my self of today and what I did. Therefore tomorrow, yesterdays self *will* be me.

So we have:

Self of Thursday is *not* the self of Friday

and

Self of Friday *is* the self of Thursday.

But they cannot both be true


Keith stated:

" Would you really be satisfied if only the mind that you had as an infant survived death? Would you look forward to death in that case? I needn't cite anyone who holds "my view of personal identity." You can just ask people if they would be OK with being lobotomized to the point that only their infant selves remained. Most people would say they might as well be dead if that's what they have to look forward to".

No I would not be satisfied. But my hypothesis of the self/brain relationship entails that this would not happen. In an afterlife I would be different from what I am now. But also different from when I were an infant. What survives is what my present self and the infant have in common; namely what might be called the enduring self. Since in an afterlife realm there would be no brain to "filter" my conscious experiences I hypothesise that I would experience an expanded state of awareness. I keep explaining this but you keep ignoring me.

Keith stated:

"While the person you were at 4 shaped the person you are now, you certainly are not the same person now that you were then. So much has changed."


But when most people say this they don't mean that one is *literally* a different self. That the self of when you were 3 years old has actually ceased to exist! Why do you just keep ignoring me all the time? Read part 3 of my essay http://existenceandreality.blogspot.com/ No one apart from those who subscribe to a materialist metaphysic believes that we *literally* cease to exist from one year to the next, or whenever we decide to have a few drinks of alcohol. It's possible to believe this without embracing materialism you say? Well yes, sure, but no one would ever actually do so. Why should anyone in their right mind subscribe to such an outrageously counter-intuitive notion? I note that you have failed to name anyone who rejects the materialist metaphysic (not just materialism but any position which holds that the brain produces consciousness) who believes such a thing. Certainly no one who did believe this could subscribe to the idea that we survive our deaths since we don't even survive from one year to the next!

Keith stated:

"if you really think about it objectively, the filter theory predicts that you will be much less without a brain than you were when you had a brain, at least if you acknowledge the neuroscientific facts that motivate the filter theory in the first place. The brain is not some superflous appendance. You really do need it to do certain mental things. Without it, you won't be able to do those things. Hence whatever survives could hardly be said to be you.

Certainly the brain is not "some superflous appendance". It has to affect consciousness or we would all be effectively be in the afterlife now. Here is what I say about it in my essay.

If in fact the brain doesn't produce consciousness, but merely alters consciousness, then why are selves associated with brains at all?

I would suggest that it could be the case, as hinted at by mystical experiences, that disembodied consciousness is vastly greater in scope than our everyday consciousness. But in the embodied state the brain acts as a reducing valve or “filter” which severely curtails the range of consciousness. Arguably this would serve the useful purpose of filtering out the perception of other realities and other conscious states which are not necessary, or which hinder our ability to function in this physical reality. This hypothesis would broadly be consistent with phenomena such as the occasional reports of people recovering their mental faculties near death, near-death experiences and other mystical experiences.

Now what mental things do you have in mind that we couldn't do without a brain? Certainly not recollecting our past experiences if brains filter memories rather than store them. What about being able to see? Well in one sense yes. In the embodied state perhaps we could not see in the same way as we do now. It seems to me likely that we would rather directly visually apprehend our environment, something akin to remote viewing. But I'm repeating what I've already said here. The onus is upon you to specify exactly what mental things we could not do without a brain and moreover to *justify* your stance in this regard.

Keith Stated:

The more of the brain that is destroyed, the more the mental degeneration (hence advanced Alzheimer's). The next logical step, as David Hume and Paul Edwards pointed out, is that the total destruction of the brain leads to the total destruction of mentality. The argument is so simple that hardly more needs to be said about it.

The more the television set is destroyed, the worse the picture quality gets. The next logical step leads to the total destruction of the film being shown. The argument is so simple that hardly more needs to be said about it.


Indeed the argument is simple . . unfortunately it's also incorrect The next logical step leads to the total destruction of the *picture* being shown.

Of course maybe the self/brain relationship is not akin to film/TV set. But the correlations do not rule it out, and all the other evidence suggests that it is.

Keith stated:

"Parapsychologists Gardner Murphy, C. D. Broad, John Beloff, and Douglas Stokes respected reason enough not to deny that the neuroscientific evidence actually posed a serious challenge to personal survival. It is the elephant in the room. Pretending that challenge is not there doesn't make it go away.

You would do well to read Broad since he is online:

">http://www.ditext.com/broad/mpn12.html"

Indeed it does present a challenge to survival just as all the evidence for survival presents a challenge to extinction.

The challenge to survival can be met by embracing the filter theory (even if less parsimonious than production hypothesis). The challenge to extinction can be met by disputing the straight forward interpretation of NDEs, mediumship, reincarnation memories, crisis apparitions and deathbed visions etc.

I went to your link. Here is what Broad states:

Broad

"We find bodies without minds; we never find minds without bodies. When we do find minds we always find a close correlation between their processes and those of their bodies. This, it is argued, strongly suggests that minds depend for their existence on bodies; in which case, though survival may still be abstractly possible, it is to the last degree unlikely".

I wonder if it is only me who recognises this is transparent question begging?

Unless we are reductive materialists then it would appear that consciousness is something we can never directly perceive. For all we know everyone apart from oneself might be a p-zombie i.e no-one else apart from oneself is actually conscious. We can only ever infer that other people are conscious by assuming that consciousness is causally efficacious per se and that their body behaves to a certain degree according to their intentions (if one were an epiphenomenalist then one would have no justification for believing anyone else is conscious!).

So consciousness cannot directly be seen, heard felt etc. Its existence can only be known when it operates through a physical body. Hence by definition a disembodied self could never in principle be detected through the normal senses i.e it is non-physical.

However, not only Broad but most philosophers and scientists seem to give this transparently question begging argument. And many other transparently question begging arguments too.

Here's an interesting anecdote about C.D. Broad, who has been referred to fairly often in this thread. It was told by Neal Grossman ( http://snipurl.com/kddur ):

"I'll close with a little story. C. D. Broad, a famous British philosopher who wrote in the mid-twentieth century, served as president of the British Society for Psychical Research. He was the last philosopher with an international reputation who believed there was something to it. Toward the end of his life, he was asked how he would feel if he found himself still present after his body had died. He replied that he would feel more disappointed than surprised. Not surprised, because his investigations led him to conclude that an afterlife was more likely than not. But why disappointed? His reply was disarmingly honest.

"He said, in effect, that he had had a good life: that he was comfortable materially, and that he enjoyed admiration and respect from students and colleagues. There is no guarantee that his status, reputation, and comfort would carry over intact into the afterlife. The rules by which success is measured in the afterlife might be quite different from the rules according to which success is measured in this life."

If Grossman is reporting this story correctly, then there are two things to note.

First, Broad said "his investigations led him to conclude that an afterlife was more likely than not." He does not appear to have regarded the philosophical problems posed by dualism as insoluble.

Second, Broad said that despite his investigations, he continued to hope there would not be an afterlife, because he was not sure he would enjoy it. In other words, his resistance to the idea of an afterlife seems to have been grounded in his personal preferences (or fears), rather than in any philosophical considerations.

"We find bodies without minds; we never find minds without bodies. When we do find minds we always find a close correlation between their processes and those of their bodies. This, it is argued, strongly suggests that minds depend for their existence on bodies;"

You are not alone Ian. Welcome to a growing collection of people who brazenly refuse to repeat Broad's errors.

Is anyone besides Keith confused about why this argument, stating in broad daylight the "strong" conclusion that minds depend on brains BECAUSE "we never find minds without bodies," i.e., we don't know that minds come without bodies because we never find them that way according to Broad, comes from ignorance?

"though survival may still be abstractly possible"

And there is plenty of evidence to suggest that it is ACTUALLY possible, not merely abstractly possible.

Even if there WERE no such evidence, Broad's argument would still be from ignorance. Broad does not know that minds come without bodies, therefore they do not.

Thanks Broad, but no thanks.

"we never find minds without bodies"

As dmduncan suggests, this claim is very debatable. Remote viewing, OBEs, and NDEs, among other things, indicate that the mind can function apart from the body. Mediumship indicates that the mind can function even when the body is dead.

Of course, there might be some "astral body" that is operating in these cases, but at the very least the mind would seem to functioning apart from its physical, earthly body.

The only way to maintain that "we never find minds without bodies" is to dismiss all evidence to the contrary.

As I noted in an earlier comment, even Broad seems to have decided that life after death is more likely than not (though he disliked the prospect), so apparently he did not even find his own arguments convincing!

“We find bodies without minds; we never find minds without bodies. When we do find minds we always find a close correlation between their processes and those of their bodies. This, it is argued, strongly suggests that minds depend for their existence on bodies...”

Broad actually makes 2 slightly different arguments here, that aren't different enough to matter. Broad also states the neuroscientific case directly and succinctly.

Let’s focus on the actual logic Broad is using, not whether we agree with his premises that we “never find minds without brains.” It’s safe to assume that most of us on this blog would dispute that, but let’s not argue that issue right now.

Argument 1: a) We always find minds with brains; b) we never find minds without brains.

Argument 2: a) We always find a close correlation between minds and brains; b) we never find a not-close correlation between minds and brains.

Notice that in both arguments the second sentence, (b), is actually a restatement of the first, (a), in a slightly different way. E.g., if we always find minds with brains, that is the same as to say that we never find minds without brains. The restatement follows directly from the meaning of the word “always.”

So we actually have 2 arguments each formulated in slightly different ways, a) and b).

Notice as well that arguments 1 and 2 cannot be combined to yield a syllogistic conclusion, since they are the practically the same argument stated in slightly different ways.

For example:

1. We always find minds with brains.
2. We always find a close correlation between minds and brains.
3. Therefore, minds always depend on brains.

Does the conclusion follow? Nope. And anyway that you combine the first or second halves of the above two arguments will yield the same invalid conclusion.

Since in arguments 1 and 2, b) is a restatement of a), let’s see how that side of the argument fares:

1. We never find minds without brains.
2. We never find a not-close correlation between minds and brains.
3. Therefore, minds always depend on brains.

The conclusion here doesn’t follow any better than the previous attempt did, but what this version shows more clearly is the argument from ignorance at work.

The argument literally is that minds always depend on brains BECAUSE we “never find” minds without brains.

We do not find minds without brains, therefore minds without brains do not exist.

A strong conclusion is deductively invalid and does not follow even WITHOUT arguing Broad’s premises themselves. You can grant him his premises and his argument will not make any more logical sense. Add to that the fact that we can also reasonably dispute even his premises makes our case stronger.

It does not logically follow that minds always depend on brains because you always find minds with brains.

What Broad or Augustine or any number of neuroscientists find is irrelevant with respect to what exists that they do not find.

You cannot argue from ignorance. Your ignorance of X is not proof that X does not exist.


Ian writes: You certainly do write a lot of text Keith. Unfortunately you're not really saying a great deal.

All the more reason to keep quiet, wouldn't you say? I'd just be wasting even more of my time "not really saying a great deal." In any case, I could have left my comments at my first response which was intended only to show that the Rover analogy doesn't work, and which was right on the mark since even MP conceded upon reflection on my post that indeed it doesn't work.

Ian writes: But it is generally acknowledged that the reality of piles of rocks and wooden ships are exhausted by the totality of their physicality. Now if we too are exhausted by the totality of our physicality, then yes it is precisely analogous. But guess what? That begs the question!

Ian, I would suggest that you're the one "not really saying a great deal." MY point has nothing to do with whether we've "exhausted by the totality of our physicality." A purely unembodied being like an angel (which I use because it never was conjoined with a brain) would be some nonphysical "stuff" that has the property of consciousness, and that thing conceivably would have individualistic mental (not physical!) traits. If you could destroy those individualistic mental traits, or change them so much that the "angel" would take on the personality of lucifer, that angel's individuality would not survive whatever you do to it to accomplish that. Since an angel never was physical, and never had any connection to any physical embodiment, obviously the point has nothing to do with its physicality (as it never had physicality, nor was ever connected to it).

Ian wrote: Let's imagine wooden ships are selves or are souls and thus are conscious and have mental traits.

This is completely irrelevant. Mental things have mental traits, and physical things have physical traits. It you completely destroy the "configuration" of either one, you have destroyed what is distinctive of it. Change the physical traits of a ship into those of a crate, and a ship does not survive (even if its matter does). Change the mental traits of a Mother Teresa into the mental traits of an Adolph Hitler, and Mother Teresa does not survive (even if her "nonmatter" does). You are the one invoking a double standard here, saying that the persistance conditions for identity are completely different for minds than they are for anything else.

Ian wrote: That is the appropriate analogy to use.

I disagree. Ensouling a wooden ship has nothing to do with what it means for a thing to persist, whether that be a mental thing or a physical one. If you want to use a real analogy, it would be artificial intelligence. Erase all of the AI software that makes Hal 9000 possible, and all you have is blank hardware. Hal 9000 has not survived erasure. The point is so commonsensical that hardly more needs to be said.

If you are ensconced in a view that commits you to some alien view of personal identity contrary any of those found in any standard anthology of different views of personal identity, then you need to explain why you are in a better position to say what personal identity considerations are relevant than those who make careers out of studying that question. There's no special burden on me in assuming something that is accepted by all personal identity theorists even despite offering radically different theories from each other. You have to explain why everyone else is wrong and you are right. I don't have to rehash all the personal identity thought experiments (regardind division and teleportation and so on) used to justify their common position for you. Take a seminar or buy a book on the subject, and read it from cover to cover. I have no obligation to do your homework for you.

Ian wrote: Looking at this confused nonsense it appears you've completely failed to understand my argument! (which btw I'm quite proud of. Just thought it up when I was responding to you yesterday).

No offense, but I'm not impressed by your idiosyncratic idea of personal identity. Get it published in a journal, and have critics comment on it. I seriously doubt you would be able to defend it against commentators. There is a reason, you know, that all personal identity theorists agree that the complete erasure of all of one's mental traits, even if the same "substrate" went on (whether a soul or a brain), would not be surviving erasure.

Ian wrote: The ship of yesterday is the same ship as today because there is no discontinuity in the path it follows in space-time from yesterday to today.

If it went through a wormhole there would no such path. Does that mean that the ship that went in is different from the one that emerged on the other side? What matters here is the traits of the ship, pure and simple. Personal Identity 101 stuff. Nothing really advanced about it.

Ian wrote: But you have talked about memory and basic psychological makeup which determines personal identity.

There are discussions in the PI literature rejecting the memory criteria. But they are rejecting the idea that memory alone would be sufficient to show PI. None of them say that personal identity would be preserved if "memory and basic psychological makeup" was not preserved. That they're all wrong and you're right is your burden to show.

Ian wrote: But I can never remember my future self's experiences.

Being impressed with yourself is irrelevant to whether your argument is any good. If this argument were valid here, it would also apply to tomorrow's dented wooden ship. So: Is the dented wooden ship of tomorrow not the same as the one of yesterday, since yesterday's ship has no dents in it? (I hope others can see why I'm not very interested in pursuing this sort of fruitless argument.)

Ian wrote: No I would not be satisfied. But my hypothesis of the self/brain relationship entails that this would not happen. In an afterlife I would be different from what I am now.

We're not talking about whether you say it could happen. We're talking about a conceptual issue: If it DID happen, would you survive? That you would not be satisfied with that kind of "survival" just proves my point. You say one thing but when pressed think the opposite.

Ian wrote: But also different from when I were an infant. What survives is what my present self and the infant have in common; namely what might be called the enduring self. Since in an afterlife realm there would be no brain to "filter" my conscious experiences I hypothesise that I would experience an expanded state of awareness. I keep explaining this but you keep ignoring me.

Because you keep missing the point. The issue is whether your "enduring self" minus all of the mental traits you have now would be the personal survival of you. If you think so, good luck to you. I do not, and neither does any personal identity theorist I am aware of. Why should I waste inordinate amounts of time refuting a position that no one other than you holds?

Ian writes: Certainly no one who did believe this could subscribe to the idea that we survive our deaths since we don't even survive from one year to the next!

All of this is a red herring. The issue has always been whether, if I killed Ian write now, the Ian who wrote the message I'm replying to would survive. If his mind were reduced to his infant self, Ian-as-he-is-now clearly would not survive. When people talk about an afterlife, they expect who-they-are-now to survive, not their infant selves. Do you deny this?

If not, why would you argue that IF only their infant selves survived, they would survive? That's not what THEY have in mind. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what you think about personal identity. The issue has always been whether it is possible for their current mental traits to survive if they are killed right now. When people think of an afterlife, this is what they imagine happening.

All of this other prose is an utter waste of time, because it is not what people expect to happen to them in the first place! Ian has simply diverted the issue: the issue was, if you recall, whether one's individuality could survive without a brain that contributes so much to it. That individuality does not survive advanced Alzheimer's, for example.

So if you want the bottom line reason I'm ignoring your red herrings, Ian, it is this: You say that "the mental traits that make you uniquely you" would be preserved (even "expanded"!) in an afterlife, and I say that without what the brain contributes to your individuality, on the contrary they would be much diminished. That's the issue. We can even grant Ian his odd notion of personal identity. The question then becomes: Can the mental traits that make you uniquely you survive without a brain, or not? Pretend that this is a different question then personal identity. Ian still answers yes, and I still answer no. Stick to that issue instead of muddying the waters with all of this unnecessary baggage that is ultimately irrelevant to that question.

One final comment, Ian: You have yet to say where in (1)-(5) my argument fails. Instead, you have just changed the subject. Ignore what constitutes personal identity and tell me how your memories, personality, dispositions, etc could continue on without the brain that made them possible--that's the real issue. Because when people talk about an afterlife, they think (even you do!) that they will take their memories, personality, dispositions, etc with them.

Ian wrote: Now what mental things do you have in mind that we couldn't do without a brain?

If I had not exhausted my energy on your red herrings above, I'd list them. But you've wasted too much of my time already on an issue irrelevant to this one, the main one. So I'll just refer you elsewhere:

http://ebonmusings.org/atheism/ghost.html#part2

There are half-a-dozen introductory paragraphs and then links to various mental deficits caused by brain damage. The brain is necessary to do the sort of information processing that existed before the deficits. That's all I'm going to say for now, since more said is more opportunity for you to change the subject later, and I'm get tired of talking about things irrelevant to my point.

Ian wrote: The more the television set is destroyed, the worse the picture quality gets. The next logical step leads to the total destruction of the film being shown. The argument is so simple that hardly more needs to be said about it.

That's incorrect, because the TV set analogy does not work, for the same reason that the Rover analogy didn't work. Do I really have to spell out everything for you? Sigh, here goes. Here's the causal chain:

TV Station -> VHF/UHF TV signal -> TV Set -> Images on Screen

Immaterial Mind -> Signal -> Brain -> Behavior

Those are the analogues. On that model, the mental experiences start at the top of the chain and work their way down; they occur in the immaterial mind.

Now, taking a hammer to the TV may well mess up one's reception, and thus one's images on the screen; but it can do nothing to the TV signal, nor to what goes on at the station.

Similarly, lesioning the brain may well mess up the brain's reception, making it impossible for a person to behave in accord with his true wishes (i.e., paralyzing or blinding him). But, on the TV model, it would have no affect on what goes on in the immaterial mind, since that mind is independent of the brain, just like fiddling with the TV set has no affect on the station that puts out the signal.

This is why Dainton, if you bothered to read his summary of the mind-body problem, said that any sort of simple receiver/transceiver model of dualism won't work. Because we know PCP changes the mind itself; it doesn't merely paralyze or blind the body that the mind uses. The mind itself is affected. In the analogy, messing with the TV set would mess with the TV station. Obviously that can't happen, so this analogy can't work. So stop using it already!

My whole point was to offer the only alternative to this model: something like Broad's compound theory--and then point out that such a more sophisticated kind of dualism is in accord with the facts only at the expense of not allowing "the mental traits that make you uniquely you" to persist, since those traits were brain-enabled in the first place. Just as Dainton concludes, independently.

Ian writes: I wonder if it is only me who recognises this is transparent question begging?

OK, I'll bite: Which of Broad's three sentences includes as a premise its own conclusion? That's what begging the question means, and if it occurs it can be shown, not merely intuited. So show it already.

MP writes: The only way to maintain that "we never find minds without bodies" is to dismiss all evidence to the contrary.

In all due respect, this is like saying: "The only way to maintain that 'we never find subluminal objects that exceed the speed of light' is to dismiss all the evidence to the contrary (say, from cattle mutilations)."

Broad can honestly say we never find minds without bodies. The short version is that we KNOW that minds occur with bodies, but we can at best BELIEVE or SPECULATE that they sometimes occur without bodies. We certainly don't KNOW that they exist disembodied. Broad's point concerns our state of scientific knowledge.

So a point of clarification is called for. My purpose now is to illustrate the above point, not to convince you that the so-called survival evidence is no better than the UFOlogical evidence. (Though it is an interesting question which is stronger, that is an aside; but I would tend to think that the evidence for things which could leave physical traces, artifacts, and could even be captured would be stronger than the evidence for things that could never be demonstrated so directly even in principle.)

You guys tend to cite OBEs, NDEs, CORT, mediumship, apparitions, and so on as counterevidence to the neuroscientific evidence I offer. But my argument is that the neuroscientific evidence needs to be evaluated apart from any of that, on its own merits, as if that parapsychological evidence didn't exist.

Note carefully: I certainly concede that such parapsychological evidence does exist, and needs explanation; but here I'm simply explaining why it should be set aside when evaluating the neurophysiological argument against personal survival on its own merits.

This is why I mentioned the cattle mutilation analogy earlier. Like you (I presume), I don't think cattle mutilations tell us anything about relativistic physics or quantum gravity. An astrophysicist would rightly scoff at the notion that issues of relativistic physics should be decided by UFOlogists who study cattle mutilations.

The point here is the same: It is laughable to expect neuroscientists to reject a particular theory of long-term memory formation on the basis of Ian Stevenson's CORT research. That doesn't mean that in the overall scheme of things, we can just ignore Ian Stevenson's CORT research. It certainly needs to be accounted for. But when deciding neuroscientific issues, as when deciding astrophysical issues, it is the neuroscientific (or astrophysical) evidence that needs to be addressed. Bringing in other kinds of evidence would only be warranted if we were dead sure that cattle mutilations were the result of extraterrestrial activity made possible only by faster-than-light travel. But at this point in history, that is speculative at best, and it would be rather foolish for an astrophysicist to reject relativity theory, or quantum gravity, on the basis of evidence which may not even count against it--if, for example, cattle mutilations turn out to have nothing to do with any extraterrestrial activity made possible only by faster-than-light travel.

Similarly, OBEs, NDEs, CORT, mediumship, apparitions, and so on are rightly not going to have an impact on how neuroscience is done unless we can be dead sure that those phenomena really do tell us something about the mind-body problem. Because at this point in history, for all we know OBEs/NDEs only tell us about what happens experientially when a person's brain is under extreme relaxation or extreme stress, and nothing ever actually leaves the body.

Perhaps, in fact, something does leave the body; but my point is that we don't know that as a scientific fact, and so cannot reasonably expect a neuroscientist to take it as if it were an established scientific fact that something leaves the body during OBEs/NDEs. (This seems to be the approach advocated here, hence why I state this so explicitly.) That would be like rejecting the mean molecular energy theory of heat because a few other researchers offer some ambiguous evidence for the existence of phlogistin.

dmduncan writes: The conclusion here doesn’t follow any better than the previous attempt did, but what this version shows more clearly is the argument from ignorance at work.

dmduncan--do you know the difference between a deductive argument and an inductive one, and the difference between the criteria for evaluating each? All inductive arguments are by definition deductively invalid, and yet people nevertheless employ them all of the time--much more often, in fact, than deductive arguments. All of science is essentially one big inductive argument (just as all of mathematics is one big deductive one).

So the question about Broad's argument should be: is it inductively weak, or inductively strong?

This is the difference between a logical argument and an evidential one--the latter are always never more than probablistic. Again, the (deliberate?) confusion between what's logically possible and what is probable. Broad is clearly making an inductive, probablistic argument since he writes: "though survival may still be abstractly possible, it is to the last degree unlikely." And his conclusion stands so long as we are talking about what is probable given the evidence, which is all that we have been talking about since the get-go.

Keith wrote, "Broad can honestly say we never find minds without bodies. The short version is that we KNOW that minds occur with bodies, but we can at best BELIEVE or SPECULATE that they sometimes occur without bodies. We certainly don't KNOW that they exist disembodied. Broad's point concerns our state of scientific knowledge."

Predictably, I would disagree. I think there is a huge amount of evidence strongly suggesting that postmortem survival is a fact. I haven't studied UFOs or cattle mutilations (the comparison offered), so I can't comment on that. But the best survival cases are extraordinarily strong, and lead me to the conviction that personality *probably* continues after death. This conviction goes beyond mere belief or speculation, though it may stop short of absolute certainty.

(Note that Broad himself, if Grossman has reported accurately, ultimately concluded that personal survival is more likely than not.)

In any event, it's always interesting and refreshing to hear a different point of view, and as I said in another post, the world would be a dull old place if everybody marched in lockstep.

This post will be very long (so I beg for your patience); but I need to address in some detail some of Keith's lastest important comments and arguments:

Careful. I had a feeling you'd jump on that "in this world" comment as if that was something substantial. Don't confuse a linguistic change with a metaphysical insight.

The "in this world" comment is substantial for the Barry Daiton's argument (which Keith supports as an independent validation of his view), since his argument rest on that premise. I quote him again: "if minds need (in this world) brains in order to function properly, the physicalist's claim that brains are all you need to have a mental life looks more plausible"

The conclusion "the physicalist's claim that brains are all you need to have a mental life looks more plausible" is grounded in the premise "if minds need (in this world) brains in order to function properly".

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

I think the answer is obvious, except maybe for Keith. Daiton's conclusion is not only linguistic, it has metaphysical implications too (e.g. to plausibility for the metaphysical theses of physicalism)

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

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

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

I assume you'd agree with this slight modification of your point:

Lobotomy impairs proper mental functioning IN THIS WORLD (but it says nothing about its functioning in another world)

Yes, I fully agree with it.

Tell me, why is the above conclusion more plausible than the following one:

Lobotomy impairs proper mental functioning IN THIS COUNTRY (but it says nothing about its functioning in another country)

Because:

1)Dualism and materialism poses a connection between mental states and brain states, not between mental states and countries.

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

3)Hence, the assertion "it says nothing about its functioning in another country" is irrelevant too, since mental states are connected with brain states, regardless of countries!

Clearly, the mere fact that you can make a distinction between worlds, or nations, doesn't change anything about the actual effects of lobotomy

The effects of lobotomy are not disputed.

What is at disputed are the metaphysical implications of such effects (like asserting that lobotomy-caused impairments will continue in "another world" too; or that such lobotomy evidence support the extinction of consciousness after death. These metaphysical conclusions don't follow from the evidence)

So there's got to be something more to your argument than what you've given above, if it is to be an effective response to my argument.

I consider that I've given an effective reply to your argument, since you could't refute it (except with digressions and false examples and analogies, see below).

But I let you and the readers to decide that.

And why is that assertion more convincing than this one: At most, Keith's argument supports the idea that we won't see the functioning of the embodied mind IN THIS COUNTRY

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

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

A soul is whatever it is because of its inherent nature, not because of its "location."

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

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

A brain limiting the soul faculties is not affecting the soul's nature, only modulating and limiting its functioning to make it proper for "this world".

If a soul needs a brain to do math while embodied, then it would presumably not be able to do math when disembodied (unless conjoined to another brain, as in reincarnation)

It's a non-sequitur. If a soul needs a brain do to math WHILE EMBODIED, it doesn't follow the soul can't do math while DISEMBOIDED.

If I need to write in english to be understood by all of you in this blog, it doesn't follow that (whenever I'm in another blog) I can't use english anymore (I still could write in english in another blog)

Unless you asssume that my english is absolutely "produced" by this blog (and, hence, can't exist outside or with independence of it), there is not reason to think I can't express myself in english in ANOTHER BLOG.

Assuming such thing is begging the question against my belief (and presumibly the belief of most of you, including Keith) that my english is expressed in this blog, BUT NOT PRODUCED BY NOR EXISTENTIALLY DEPENDENT ON IT.

So I'm not sure what the relevance of a "change of venue" is. Is there any? What makes you think so?

The relevance has been explained above the entire Dainton's argument rest in the "in this world" qualification. Only granted such qualitfication, his conclusions follow (for this world). Hence, it says nothing about another world!

And why is that argument better than this one? "But it's a trivial point, since I'm arguing that lobotomy does not impair one's mind in ANOTHER COUNTRY (not in this one)."

Again, Keith doesn't addresses nor refute my actual argument, but an imaginary and irrelevant (for the reasons explained above) caricature of it.

Note: I'm not implying that you would make such an argument. I'm asking why location matters: why "this world" or "that world" matters.

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

The location implied by dualism has metaphysical components, not geographical ones.

The idea that an individual consciousness could be temporally located in a brain (for the proper functioning of it in this physical world) is not analogous to consciousness being in China or Russia, as your reply pretends.

China and Russia are not biological organism nor human beings, and, as such, they're not conscious. But Keith Augustine, Michael Prescott or Dean Radin are living organisms, with subjective experiences and consciousness; and is this obvious fact that suggest that, if dualism is true, consciousness is connected with specific, individual brains (not with countries or cities)

There is no reason to think how the mind works changes from country to country

Yes, because mind is independent of contries. By this reason, changes in countries don't change minds.

The false analogy here is obvious.

In the case of mind and brains, we know they're connected in THIS WORLD (a connection nonexistent in the countries example). But we if dualism is true and the afterlife exist (in another world, e.g. a spiritual world), we can't infer that an impairment of consciousness in this world (impairment produced by a brain) will exist too in another world (where consciousness is not connected with any brain).

It's amazing that Keith (whom I consider a very intelligent man) cannot see such obvious point. (Notice that I'm not saying that he should agree with it. My surprise is that he seems unable to SEE it at all)

So what reason is there to think it would work differently in another world, other than your desire for it to do so?

Simple: In other world, we don't know if consciousness will be connected with an instrument like a brain. Hence, we can't extrapolate the limitations of a physical brain to a non-physical world. (Such extrapolation is the key of your non-sequitur)

And note that what I said about OBEs still applies, if OBEs involve perceptions of THIS WORLD. The soul would have to process visual information when that was only possible before because of an occipital lobe

Again, Keith begs the question and misunderstand the whole point.

The soul needs of an occipital lobe to process visual information while EMBODIED (and in order to function properly in this physical world).

But this fact doesn't implies that a soul won't process visual information of this world while DISEMBOIDED.

In other words, we don't if if the soul has inherent faculties of processing information. If it has them, then the brain would be only an instrument of optimization of such faculties to be operative under specific conditions of the physical world (remember Daiton's argument about dualism implying a conception of the brain as an instrument for the proper functioning in this world!)

If the soul has instrinsic capabilities of information processing, it only will need of a physical brain to enhance such functions while embodied (in a similar way that I need of a microphone to expand and make louder my voice and words, if I need to function properly as a singer in a concert. But it doesn't mean that my voice and words will dissapear with the destruction of the microphone. Assume such thing would be a non sequitur, or a valid conclusion if we assume a materialistic premise)

Keith's inference that he soul cannot process visual information of this world without a brain assumes that the brain is ESSENTIAL to the information processing of the soul in general (and not an instrument for optimization and proper functioning in this world of such inherent faculties of the soul)

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

So what does the visual information processing during an OBE?

Presumibly, the soul (directly). If the brain is an instrument for "proper functioning of consciousness in this world", the neural correlates of visual experiences are needed (as an instrument of functioning optimization for this world) to process that sort of information while embodied; not while disembodied.

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

The conclusion follows only if we assume that materialism is true. But in that case (again!), we're begging the question against the survivalist.

And if we don't assume materialism, but support Keith's conclusion based on his argument, then such conclusion doesn't follow from the premises (which only apply, as said Daiton, to this world; but say anything about other worlds, including the spiritual world if the latter exist).

My argument does not require one to assume ahead of time that there is no other world to go to, or that production is true. Indeed, you should know better: the whole argument grants for the sake of argument a sort of compound theory incompatible with "consciousness [being] produced exclusively by a physical brain." Broad's compound theory explicitly denies that!

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

In other words, It seems to me that for you, personal individuality and memories are only possible in THIS physical world, specifically in physical brains. As consequence, if physical brains are destroyed, personal individuality and memories will dissapear too.

I agree that, superficially, you argument doesn't seem to require the production theory. But when we examine in detail your arguments (specially your premises) used to justify and defend your primary point, you implicitly assume the production theory or propositions logically entailed by it (as shown in my above comment of information processing).

When you infer that math can't be done without a brain, you're implicitly assuming that math is only possible with a brain. As consequence, any other world where mind could exist without a brain is excluded, in advance, by your argument.

Even if we granted that math could be learned in this world ONLY with the help of a specific instrument (physical brain) it doesn't follow that the abilities of doing math can't be retained in consciousness without a brain.

I think your next comment will enable me to show how you beg the question in a implicit way:

Let me show why ZC's assertion is the real non sequitur by example: "But he's wrong in thinking that this copy of Windows XP will disappear in the 10th dimension when the only computer on which it resides is dropped into molten steel."

This is a superb example of false analogy. First, I'll show why it's a false analogy, and then I'll explain why that analogy fully reveal Keith's implicit question-begging procedure:

1)All the properties of a copy of Windows XP are explanable in physical terms. Hence, all of us are "physicalists" regarding the origin and functioning of sofwares and Windows XP in particular.

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

But it's not valid to consciousness. Qualia, subjectivity and other mental properties are not fully explanaible in physicalist and materialist terms.

As consequence, the analogy is not only weak, but false (if used as analogous to the mind-brain problem)

2)But Keith is not using the analogy to support materialism or the production theory. So he could reply I'm misunderstanding his point.

Instead (Keith possibly would argue) he's using the analogy to show that my acussation of him commiting a non-sequitur is false.

So, let's to be charitable with Keith and examine his analogy as an exposing of the weaknesss of my acussation of non sequitur.

3)Given point 1, it follows that physicalism regarding a copy of Windows XP is true. Hence, if you destroy the physical substratum where such copy is stored, you have to conclude that that copy WILL BE DESTROYED.

In other words, the nonexistence of a copy of Windows XP after the destruction ofthe computer is logically entailed in the physicalist conception of such copy. So, we could confidently to say "if you destroy the computer, you'll destroy the copy too"

But point 1 is not valid to consciousness. We don't know if physicalism is true regarding consciousness (and if it's true or not is part of the issue at stake). Hence, we can't infer that a destruction of the brain will imply a destruction of consciousness.

Now, you're in position to see how Keith, subtly, beg the question:

His analogy requires the truth of physicalism both for the copy of Windows XP and for consciousness. Only if physicalism is true regarding both of them, then conclusion follows: the copy of windows and consciousness won't persit (in any dimension) after the destruction of the computer (or the brain, respectively)

Keith could deny this and affirm "My argument doesn't require such thing", but in close inspection (when you examine Keith's premises, examples and analogies), you fully realize that all of them tacitely assume the truth of physicalism/materialism and from there he concludes against dualism.

This point is made much clearer in this following comment by Keith:

Suppose there is a 10th dimension, as something like string theory would posit. What reason would anyone have for thinking that Windows XP would be duplicated there, or copied completely on to some 10th dimensional computer, just because my computer in our third-dimensional world containing it was dropped into molten steel?

No reason at all! Precisely, because PHYSICALISM IS TRUE REGARDING THE COPY OF WINDOWS XP. (Remember, I'm using "physicalism" as meaning that the origin and function of the copy of windows is ENTERELY EXPLANAIBLE in terms of physical laws and properties)

And a logical consequence of physicalism regarding windows Xp is that, after the destruction of the computer that store it, it won't exist in any dimesion of all.

But can the same be asserted of consciousness? Is Keith's analogy valid to illustrate consciousness destruction after the destruction of a brain? (Only a materialist will reply: YES; and only a materialist like Keith would use such false analogy)

Suppose I pulled out the CPU (say, the X factor that survives destruction) before dropping the rest of the computer into molten steel. How does that copy of Windows XP survive?

Instead of the CPU, let's to suppose you pulled out the HARD DISK (say, the X factor that survives and that store the windows XP copy) before dropping the rest of the computer (mouse, monitor, micropohnes, DVDs, case, etc.).

Doesn't the copy of the windows XP survive in that case?

Can't you use another computer to install the hard disk and run your copy of Windows XP with all the information that it contains?

Here you have an analogue where one need not deny the existence of another world, or that something could survive which made Windows XP function when the whole computer was integrated; and still the most reasonable conclusion is that the copy of Windows XP on the computer that fell into molten steel was destroyed

As argued above, the analogy is false, because it assumes physicalism regarding the origin and function of windows XP; but regarding consciousness, we don't know if physicalism is true and it's a essential part of the issue at stake (and facts like qualia, subjective experience, psi and afterlife evidence suggest that physicalism is false; but you won't get subjectivity, qualia or psi in sofwares)

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

Keith has intelligently defended his point of view, but due to all the above reasons and arguments, I'm forced to say that my current personal opinion is that his best arguments are extremely weak as a serious or fatal objection to dualism and the transmission theory.

Even thought I haven't been impressed at all by Keith's best arguments, I have to admit that they are provided much useful food for thought.

Actually I think I've heard tell of those inductive things once or twice.

And I wouldn't be the first to be skeptical of the validity of inductive approaches in cases like this, so that puts me in the company of David Hume and Karl Popper in that regard.

KEITH: "This is the difference between a logical argument and an evidential one--the latter are always never more than probablistic."

It's not either-or. The argument we are having is both a scientific and a logical one, not one or the other. That's why the inquiries use BOTH evidence and logic to reach conclusions or at least establish which directions to go first.

I've said all along that if you make a weak conclusion from the evidence I don't have a problem with that. We are entitled to do the same thing and come to opposite conclusions. My problem is with what appears to me, at least, to be a stubborn assertion of what is the case. I don't think I'm alone in sensing that.

Sorry, have to be short. I have a "date" tonight. : )

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

"The stream of human knowledge is impartially heading towards a non-mechanical reality. The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of this realm." -Sir John Jeans

From Mysterious Light, by Dr. Peter Russell, PhD
"Take, for example, our ideas as to the nature of matter. For two thousand years it was believed that atoms were tiny balls of solid matter-a model clearly drawn from everyday experience. Then, as physicists discovered that atoms were composed of more elementary, subatomic, |particles (electrons, protons, neutrons, and suchlike), the model shifted to one of a central nucleus surrounded by orbiting electrons-again a model based on experience.

An atom may be small, a mere billionth of an inch across, but these subatomic particles are a hundred-thousand times smaller still. Imagine the nucleus of an atom magnified to the size of a grain of rice. The whole atom would then be the size of a football stadium, and the electrons would be other grains of rice flying round the stands. As the early twentieth-century British physicist Sir Arthur Eddington put it, "matter is mostly ghostly empty space"-99.9999999 percent empty space, to be a little more precise.

With the advent of quantum theory, it was found that even these minute subatomic particles were themselves far from solid. In fact, they are not much like matter at all-at least nothing like matter as we know it. They can't be pinned down and measured precisely. They are more like fuzzy clouds of potential existence, with no definite location. Much of the time they seem more like waves than particles. Whatever matter is, it has little, if any, substance to it."

http://www.peterrussell.com/SG/IONS.php


The answer to some of life's most profound questions to me seem like a great puzzle. The answer though lies not in any one piece, but in the aggregate of evidence. The outside pieces of the puzzle is held together and are made up such things as the holographic principle and quantum physics. The inside of the puzzle is filled in by the strange connection between near death experiences, death bed visions and their connection to the holographic universe theory and quantum physics, as well as such things as remote viewing, the work of some Mediums and mystical experiences.

It's not any one piece that convinces me that it's "real" but the total aggregate all together. As J.B.S. Haldane says, "I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."

Ian wrote:

The more the television set is destroyed, the worse the picture quality gets. The next logical step leads to the total destruction of the film being shown. The argument is so simple that hardly more needs to be said about it.

That's incorrect, because the TV set analogy does not work, for the same reason that the Rover analogy didn't work. Do I really have to spell out everything for you? Sigh, here goes. Here's the causal chain:

TV Station -> VHF/UHF TV signal -> TV Set -> Images on Screen

Immaterial Mind -> Signal -> Brain -> Behavior

Those are the analogues. On that model, the mental experiences start at the top of the chain and work their way down; they occur in the immaterial mind.

Now, taking a hammer to the TV may well mess up one's reception, and thus one's images on the screen; but it can do nothing to the TV signal, nor to what goes on at the station.

Similarly, lesioning the brain may well mess up the brain's reception, making it impossible for a person to behave in accord with his true wishes (i.e., paralyzing or blinding him). But, on the TV model, it would have no affect on what goes on in the immaterial mind, since that mind is independent of the brain, just like fiddling with the TV set has no affect on the station that puts out the signal.

This is why Dainton, if you bothered to read his summary of the mind-body problem, said that any sort of simple receiver/transceiver model of dualism won't work. Because we know PCP changes the mind itself; it doesn't merely paralyze or blind the body that the mind uses. The mind itself is affected. In the analogy, messing with the TV set would mess with the TV station. Obviously that can't happen, so this analogy can't work. So stop using it already!

My whole point was to offer the only alternative to this model: something like Broad's compound theory--and then point out that such a more sophisticated kind of dualism is in accord with the facts only at the expense of not allowing "the mental traits that make you uniquely you" to persist, since those traits were brain-enabled in the first place. Just as Dainton concludes, independently.

Keith you either haven't read my essay where I carefully explain my own understanding of the TV simile to self/mind/brain, or you have read it but have failed to understand it. Here's the link yet again:

http://existenceandreality.blogspot.com/

You probably won't read it so I'll paste in the more relevant part here.

{From Essay}
Briefly, the picture quality on the television set that can alter without affecting the storyline being shown, can be compared to our various psychological states. Contrariwise the storyline of the programme being shown can be compared to ones essential self. So, in a comparable manner to the way that the quality of the picture displayed on a television set can change, but without changing the storyline of the programme being shown, our psychological states are free to change without in any way altering or changing the self.{/from Essay}

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

Moreover this error leads you to suppose that only Broad's compound theory is a viable contender if there is to be any afterlife. So you take this as a given in your so-called 5 step proof demonstrating that the prospect of an afterlife is extraordinary unlikely. So your 5 step argument is wrong-headed from the start.

Broad says:

"We find bodies without minds; we never find minds without bodies. When we do find minds we always find a close correlation between their processes and those of their bodies. This, it is argued, strongly suggests that minds depend for their existence on bodies; in which case, though survival may still be abstractly possible, it is to the last degree unlikely".

Ian writes:

I wonder if it is only me who recognises this is transparent question begging? Unless we are reductive materialists then it would appear that consciousness is something we can never directly perceive. For all we know everyone apart from oneself might be a p-zombie i.e no-one else apart from oneself is actually conscious. We can only ever infer that other people are conscious by assuming that consciousness is causally efficacious per se and that their body behaves to a certain degree according to their intentions (if one were an epiphenomenalist then one would have no justification for believing anyone else is conscious!).


Keith stated:

"OK, I'll bite: Which of Broad's three sentences includes as a premise its own conclusion? That's what begging the question means, and if it occurs it can be shown, not merely intuited. So show it already".

Broad doesn't actually present an argument. However his meaning is clear. If we only ever find minds with bodies and never without bodies, then by induction it is highly likely that'll we'll always find minds with bodies.

Since you fail to understand my first explanation allow me to more clearly explain why Broads position is question begging.

Broad is implying that should disembodied consciousness exist we should be able to physically detect it. But to physically detect it consciousness would have to be physical (by definition we cannot physically detect the non-physical). But to suppose consciousness is physical is to assume the correctness of some sort of materialist position. However, with the exceptions of reincarnation and resurrection, materialism is incompatible with the possibility of an afterlife. Therefore by assuming some sort of materialist position at the outset he is also implicitly rejecting the possibility of an afterlife.

In brief, should disembodied selves exist they will be non-physical and not directly detectable by any of the physical senses. This does not of course exclude disembodied selves being detected by non-physical means (e.g. a telepathic impression deriving from a disembodied self).

I'll address the rest of your comments later. Not that you really say anything of much substance; you seem to be merely content in making disparaging comments about me!

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

Many falsely assume that one must hold a materialist theory of mind in order to reject dualism or personal survival. (Hence Jime's reference to arguments from qualia-philosophers who reject materialism--but who also, I'd be willing to bet, all reject the existence of ESP, PK, survival after death, and even substance dualism.)--- Keith

My reference to The Case for Qualia book has nothing to do with survival. I made the references because it was partially relevant to Michael's comment on qualia being a problem for materialism. And this is one of the best books that I've read about it.

You're right that these philosophers probably won't accept ESP and other paranormal phenomena as proven facts (althought I'm not so sure as Keith is that they "reject" them). More likely, they're simply ignorant of the literature about it.

But arguments against materialism are, in many cases, indirect arguments for dualism. Therefore, the reference to this book was pertinent for this discussion.

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

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

And his conclusion stands so long as we are talking about what is probable given the evidence, which is all that we have been talking about since the get-go ---- Keith

How do you determine that Broad's conclusion is probable? What criteria do you use to give it a higher probability than the survival inference?

We find bodies without minds; we never find minds without bodies. When we do find minds we always find a close correlation between their processes and those of their bodies. This, it is argued, strongly suggests that minds depend for their existence on bodies; in which case, though survival may still be abstractly possible, it is to the last degree unlikely---- Broad.

Consider each of Broad's assertions:

-"We find bodies without minds"

This fact is undisputable.

-"we never find minds without bodies"

This assertion is disputed by mental mediumship, where the "mind" communicating can't be seen or found.

-"When we do find minds we always find a close correlation between their processes and those of their bodies"

And it's everything we'll find; we never find a brain "producing" minds; only correlation between brain and mental processes. (The production idea has to be added to the observation)

-"This, it is argued, strongly suggests that minds depend for their existence on bodies"

It also suggest the hypothesis that minds need of a living brain to interact with the physical world. It would explain the strong correlation between mind and the brain.

Why is this hypothesis (the transmission hypothesis) less likely that the production hypothesis, given Broad's argument?

Keith has argued that Broad's point is probabilistic, not deductive. So my question is: Why the production hypothesis is more probable that the transmission hypothesis, and how do you determine this probability?

-"in which case, though survival may still be abstractly possible, it is to the last degree unlikely"

The "in which case" has to be understood as assuming that mind is dependent of a brain for its existence. In that case, the survival is only an abstract possibility, but it's unlikely.

The problem is with the production assumption. The transmission assumption also explain the same facts mentioned by Broad, with one difference: it offers room to account for facts and evindece incompatible with the production hypothesis.

Carter made this point clearly: "the hypothesis of transmission has the advantage of providing a framework for understanding other phenomena that must remain utterly inexplicable on the basis of the materialistic hypothesis."

http://www.parapsychologyandtheskeptics.com/Does-consciousness.pdf

The transmission hypothesis, as understood by Carter and others, doesn't mean the brain is actually like a TV or radio, because the causal influence is in both directions.

As Carter argued: "Just as consistent with the observed facts is the idea that the brain’s function is that of an intermediary between mind and body – or in other words, that the brain’s function is that of a receiver-transmitter – sometimes from body to mind, and sometimes from mind to body"

In the concept of "receiver-transmitter", Carter is not giving the brain a purely passive function, as may be seen in his remark "sometimes from the body to mind and sometimes from mind to the body" (an example of the former would be Alzheimer and drugs)

Interpreting the receiver-trasmitter idea of dualism as giving the brain a purely passive function is creating a straw man that no informed dualist claim.

Focusing in the name of the argument (transmission hypothesis) instead of the contents of it (causility in two directions between brain and mind) suggest a desire of not deal with the real dualist's position.

Finally, I'll try to summarize (as far I understand) the basic ideas supporting Keith's position:

a-The production hypothesis is more likely than the transmission one

Supporting this idea are the following facts:

-Strong dependence of mind on the brain

-Brain's strong influence on the mind's contents (like seen in drugs and Alzheimer)

b-The transmission hypothesis can't explain how a brain can influence mind in so strong way.

Supporting this idea are:

Analogies where a receiver-transmitter only limit the function of the "stuff" being transmitted, but the transmitter cannot influence the stuff in dramatic ways

c-At most, the process of transmission or filtering is wholly responsible for the personal identity and the self. Therefore, even if something survives after death, it can't be never the same personal identity or self, because not filtering is being produced anymore.

Therefore, if you belief in the transmission hypothesis, you can't believe in personal survival. Or, more precisely, the transmission hypothesis is not a reason to believe in personal survival.

d-Personal survival is only possible if you accept simple dualism. But dualism is contrary to neuroscience. Therefore, dualism is not likely and, hence, personal survival either.

Perhaps Keith would add some qualifications and "buts" to them, but they're essentially the ideas expressed by Keith in his posts here.

I think the debate has exposed some of the basic flaws of Keith's position, and I won't repeat them here.

I'll only add the following: If you accept that there is exist evidence for some paranormal phenomena, including survival evidence, in addition to the evidence from neuroscience, then you can't rationally hold the production hypothesis.

After of that, you have to consider alternatives like dualism and the transmission theory; or any other theory that account for ALL the evidence (and not only for some of them).

The production hypothesis cannot account for all the evidence; therefore it's not a viable alternative.

I'm persuaded that some version of the transmission theory is correct; but I wouldn't bet my life on it. If current formulations of it are wrong, then new formulations are needed.

I have only clear that the production hypothesis and materialism cannot account for facts whose existence I accept; therefore, accepting these facts give us a rational motive to reject materialism as a false position.

The only and last refuge of the materialist is to dismiss evidence incompatible with materialism (like survival evidence and psi) or believe that all the positive experimental results are false, fraudulent or mere statistical artefacts; and all the anecdotal evidence of them is product of delusions or frauds.

But if, for whatever reason, a materialist accept the reality of some paranormal phenomena, then he has a defeater for his belief that materialism is true. And in this point, he'll have to think in dualism (or something like this) as a serious alternative, in spite of its problems.

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