Dualism versus materialism (Identity)

by dhw, Thursday, June 29, 2017, 13:27 (53 days ago)

Very briefly, dualists believe that mind (some might call it “soul”) and body are separate entities, the one immaterial and the other material. The mind is the source of thought and consciousness. Materialists believe that matter is the only reality, and therefore thought and consciousness must be the product of the brain. Once more, I must stress that I am not taking sides, but am grappling with the implications of David’s contradictory beliefs.

DAVID (under “gaps are very real”): You are again equating life/brain/ consciousness and afterlife/consciousness. That is two different circumstances. I view them as separate circumstances, with different conditions.
dhw: They are different circumstances, because when you are dead you no longer have a brain. That does not mean the brain does the thinking during life and the mind only starts thinking when you are dead!
DAVID: Twisting my concept again! The brain operates using my consciousness during life, releases it at death where consciousness continues to operate on its own. Example: In NDE's when the brain revives it learns what the NDE contained as experiences from the returning consciousness.

Yes, consciousness informs the brain, which receives the information. How is this an example of the brain using your consciousness? I have explained what I mean by “use”: consciousness uses the brain in order to give material expression or implementation to the ideas it (consciousness) provides.

DAVID: (under “big brain size”)… the brain receives the consciousness which it ACTIVELY uses under my direction to create all the attributes of my personality.
dhw: How can the receiver brain use YOUR consciousness directed by YOU to create the personality which is YOU? You now have YOU directing the brain to make YOU! Over and over again, you have agreed that you and your consciousness are an inseparable entity. It is that entity which uses the brain.
DAVID: The newborn receives a blank slate consciousness so I create me as I develop. Cautious thinking in the adolescent is not fully present until the frontal loves are fully developed in their 20's. As the brain develops it allows fuller thought capacity. You do not allow for all these obvious interactions. Full consciousness is not present until the brain is fully developed.

Here you are presenting a timetable plus the fact that consciousness and brain develop simultaneously, but you do not explain the nature of the interaction. I did (again adopting the dualist approach), when we dealt with the newborn in an exchange that ended on 23 June, as follows:
DAVID: The newborn creates the shapes and forms that make his consciousness unique. He does this by operating on his consciousness through his brain.

dhw: You keep agreeing that he/his consciousness are an inseparable entity, and then you keep separating them! He/his consciousness doesn’t “operate on his consciousness”. He/his consciousness creates the shapes and forms that make him unique, and it does so by absorbing and processing the information provided by the material brain/body, largely through the senses […] As the brain matures, and as life proceeds with its individual experiences, the amount of information accumulates and the baby/child/adult’s consciousness/identity creates its unique “shapes” accordingly. It is the inseparable self/consciousness that “uses” the information provided by the brain, and according to your dualistic beliefs retains and even uses that information when the brain and body are dead.

You wrote: “That statement seems like my beliefs, but we keep talking past each other, so I wonder what difference you may be inferring.” The difference is that I am clarifying the nature of the interaction between the immaterial conscious self (of the dualist) and the material brain, whereas you continue to equivocate, as in the following exchange, presumably because you are aware that attributing thought to the brain contradicts your belief in an afterlife in which thought is independent of the brain:
dhw: Why bother with an inexact analogy? You believe you have a material receiver brain and an immaterial conscious self. So do you believe your ideas come from your material receiver brain or from your immaterial conscious self?
DAVID: I create my own ideations using my material brain to employ my immaterial consciousness. A seamless arrangement.

“I” is your immaterial conscious self. "Employ" is a synonym of "use". So your immaterial conscious self creates its ideas by using your material brain to use your immaterial conscious self. Your seamless arrangement is one tangled knot as you struggle to avoid giving me a direct answer to a straightforward question.


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