Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryPhilosophy of Mind

chimpanzee family

Human-Ape Similarity Shows Humans Are Exceptional

If man is an animal biologically, but so unlike an animal cognitively, the obvious implication is that some aspect of the human mind is not biological

Ironically, if humans and apes were biologically more different, materialists could claim that the material biological differences rather than immaterial spiritual differences account for our powers of abstract thought. The biological similarity precludes such an argument.

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Why Some Scientists Believe the Universe Is Conscious

They’re not mystics. But materialism is not giving good answers so they are looking around

These prominent thinkers are driven to panpsychism because materialism about the mind doesn’t really work. So if panpsychism ends up seeming absurd, dualism—there really is an immaterial world—is also worth considering.

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Chaotic particles with random size. Twisted massive of particles with glow.
Abstract background 3d render. Chaotic particles with random size. Twisted massive of particles with glow.

No Materialist Theory of Consciousness Is Plausible

All such theories either deny the very thing they are trying to explain, result in absurd scenarios, or end up requiring an immaterial intervention

Consciousness is the biggest problem for materialism. How is it possible that a bunch of particles that are devoid of consciousness get together and cause consciousness?

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Three managers in city, social network

Should Engineers Think Like Computers?

To limit ourselves to the symbolic logic that computers can do is to leave our humanity behind
Symbolic logic says nothing about the truth or reality of what you give it. To understand what things really are, you have to get outside the pristine mathematical structure of symbolic logic and embrace what Prof. Kreeft calls Socratic logic. Read More ›
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A Materialist Neuroscientist Continues the Argument with Himself

On the topic of “intellectual seizures,” he seems committed to both points of view

I assert that intellectual seizures do not exist. Dr. Ali asserts that they do exist and that they do not. The difference between their existence and their non-existence seems to be Dr. Ali’s rhetorical needs of the moment.

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Different types of computers and storage

Is the Human Mind a Computer?

As a software engineer, I'd say we need to be clear what the question is before answering it

Once we understand clearly what a computer is, we will see why consciousness is not a form of computation.

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Drawing gears

We went back to visit Gödel, Escher, and Bach…

Forty years after publication, how has a big explain-the-mind book withstood the test of time?

Is there evidence that human minds function like computers and can soon be reproduced in software, as Hofstadter believed?

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Chinese Technocracy Surges Ahead with AI Surveillance

So what do the reservations expressed, about “the soul” and “love,” really mean?

Both big tech entrepreneurs Kai-Fu Lee and Jack Ma seem to believe in souls but do not believe that souls can be trusted with freedom, the way governments can.

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Can Materialism Explain Abstract Thought? Part II

Now Dr. Ali argues with Dr. Ali

I know of no report in medical history of an abstract thought evoked by a seizure or by brain stimulation. Which is odd, if the brain causes abstract thought.

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If Thinking Can Heal, Why Do We Need Antidepressants?

J.P. Moreland, who struggles with anxiety disorders, likens medications to engine oil for the brain

“If you’re driving your car and you’re low or don’t have any oil, parts of the engine are going to rub against one another and it’s going to cause a lot of friction and dysfunction.”

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Close up of a Chimpanzee-family (mother and her two kids)

Researchers: Apes Are Just Like Us!

And we’re not doing the right things to make them start behaving that way…

In 2011, we were told in Smithsonian Magazine, “‘Talking’ apes are not just the stuff of science fiction; scientists have taught many apes to use some semblance of language.” Have they? If so, why has it all subsided? What happened?

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What Is Abstract Thought? A Reply to Dr. Ali

Abstract thoughts cannot arise from material things because a cause cannot give what it does not have

Dr. Ali’s deeper fallacy—deeper than his misunderstanding of the research—is his belief that mere complexity of material processes is sufficient to explain immaterial processes.

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human brain on a running machine

Up! Up! Up! Keep Those Hippocampi Up!

The lighter side of neurobabble about our brains and ourselves

Neurobabble is a full-employment campaign for neuroscientists. Recast obvious social or psychological facts as brain events and you’ll never be out of work.

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human identification

If the mind is immaterial, is human cloning impossible?

I agree with Mike Egnor that the mind is immaterial but I don’t think human cloning is impossible

There are, of course, empirical implications of both the materialist and non-materialist understanding of the human mind. But the success of human cloning won’t weigh on the question one way or the other.

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This job is really stressing me out!

Can fitter brains help us fight depression?

Philosopher J. P. Moreland continues his account of working his way through a devastating anxiety disorder

"Anxiety and depression are largely—not entirely but largely—habit. And those habits are ingrained in the different members of our body," Moreland explains.

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Three reasons why humans won’t be cloned

I am prepared to subject my belief that humans cannot be cloned like Dolly the sheep to the test

Both materialist and immaterialist theories of the mind should be subject to empirical testing—neither should be exempt.

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super brain

Are Lab-Grown Human Brains the Next Big Thing?

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor thinks the hopes for humanly conscious lab-grown brains are faint indeed

“Neural tissue grown in a lab cannot have intentionality unless it has sense organs,” Egnor says, “But such manufactured intentionality can only be about concrete things, not abstract things.”

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Image of earth with different times against green vignette

How Do We Know Our Universe Is Not a Sim World?

It’s an interesting idea, say Bradley fellows, but for a number of reasons, it is not credible

The computer sim universe seems to be a way of dealing with the massive evidence of the fine-tuning of our universe without invoking traditional philosophy or religion.

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