Dualism versus materialism (Identity)

by dhw, Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 09:53 (138 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: What makes you think the bigger brain was necessary for the IMAGINATION of an object, if IMAGINATION is the product of the “soul” and not the brain?

You have not answered this question, and so you continue to argue as if you believe the brain is the producer of ideas (materialism), which it may well be – but you regard yourself as a dualist!

dhw: Implementing the idea of a spear required new use of the brain (no-one had ever before instructed their body to attach sharpened stones to specially prepared shafts, test the balance and practise the throwing) – hence material change to the brain in the form of expansion. The illiterate women’s idea of reading required new use of the brain, but instead of expanding (no more room for expansion), the material change to the brain took the form of rewiring. Entirely comparable.
DAVID: Once again you are projecting a silly idea. Habilis used hand stone tools but could not imagine a spear, because we know he did not produce one.

Once again you are missing the point: pre-ectus was able to imagine the spear but not to make it: his effort to implement the imagined spear required expansion of the brain, just as the women’s effort to read required rewiring. And that is how pre-erectus (habilis?) became erectus. (All very simplistic, but certainly less confusing than God gave pre-erectus a bigger brain and only then did he have new ideas although ideas are not the product of the brain.)

DAVID: After a jump in brain size producing a brain-size gap in the phenotypic record of humans, erectus appears and he is capable of inventing the spear and does. I repeat: habilis could not know what he did not know. He could not wish a larger brain size so he could know more. He had to accept what he was given. So did erectus who made some better ideas with his larger brain.

Yet again you are talking as if the brain is responsible for (“better”) ideas, though you don’t believe it! The dualistic proposal I am offering is that habilis did not “wish a larger brain so he could KNOW more”, but by attempting to DO more (i.e. implement his new ideas), he expanded his brain, just as the body-builder expands his muscles by doing new exercises, or the illiterate woman rewires her brain by making herself read.

DAVID: You are ignoring or forgetting the history of H. sapiens. A very large brain, which did nothing in size change for 250,000 years without any major new concepts appearing. Then 50,000 years ago all but the Western hemisphere began to civilize. Example: American natives were totally stone age until Europeans arrived 500 years ago. As current civilization appeared with many new ideas and concepts, the brain used its plasticity to reorganize and it became smaller!

You keep repeating the history, but if ideas are the product of the “soul” and not the brain, all it proves is that H. sapiens did not have any new ideas until 50,000 years ago. Since the brain had already reached its optimum size, the new ideas did not require expansion for their implementation, but required rewiring, and as this became more efficient, the brain became smaller.

DAVID: It took the complex capacity of our brain to create the world we see today.

Yes, we would not be able to implement our ideas if we did not have the material capacity to translate them into material form.

DAVID: It is not just size. The Neanderthals had a bigger brain by 100-200 cc, but obviously weren't at our level of mental function. Our human brain is also much more internally complex in its wiring which allows for our level of thinking.

“Allows” is one of your weasel words (“use” is another) which disguise the dichotomy in your own thinking. If you believe the “soul” is the source of our thoughts, ideas, imaginings, concepts, will etc., then initially the size and subsequently the rewiring of the brain "allows" for the gathering of information and the implementation of ideas. It is not the cause of our level of thinking. (Eventually, I hope to discuss materialism, and perhaps return to my attempt at finding a compromise between the two schools of thought .)


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