Dualism versus materialism (Identity)

by dhw, Thursday, July 27, 2017, 10:40 (25 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!

DAVID: I keep telling you my self/soul/consciousness uses my brain like you and I use our computers. I can only get to my consciousness through the functions of my brain.

What do you mean by “get to”? If you/your consciousness USES your brain, how can you/your consciousness only “get to” you/your consciousness through the functions of your brain? I thought you agreed that you/your consciousness use your brain to acquire information and to give material form to your ideas. The “soul” does not need the big brain to imagine – it needs the big brain to implement its imaginings.

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.
Dhw: 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: Yes extremely simplistic and not realistic from the evidence. Habilis imagines some ideas into a larger brain!? Ideas are the product of the self/soul/consciousness, which I think you fully understand.

I am the one who keeps telling you that for a dualist ideas are the product of the self/soul/consciousness, but you keep insisting that the ideas only come into being when the brain has been enlarged! Habilis does not imagine ideas into a larger brain. He imagines ideas, but in order to implement them, he needs to get his brain and body to do things they have never done before. And just as exercise expands the muscles, the exercise of doing something new would have expanded the brain and thus led to erectus. (A hypothesis based on your dualism, concerning which I remain neutral.)

DAVID: Muscles are a terrible analogy. Rewiring shrinks the brain!

The analogy only applies to the time when the brain expanded. Once it had reached its optimum size, there had to be a new way of enabling the brain to DO more, and so it rewired, and this proved so efficient that the brain shrank.

dhw: 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: Exactly the point. It takes time to learn to use a new-sized brain. Ours is so big and complex another increase in size is not needed. the end of evolution is here.

I suggest another increase in size would have been impractical, but material changes were still needed to cope with new ideas. And so rewiring replaced expansion as, in your dualistic concept, the “soul” demanded new abilities from the brain.

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.
dhw: “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 .)

DAVID: 'Allows' and 'use' are not weasels. Our concepts about how we relate to our brain are in discussion. The complexity of our brain's wiring allows for advanced thinking by our self/soul/consciousness mechanism. We are talking about the immaterial in material terms.

If the “soul” is the source of ideas, the complexity of our brain’s wiring “allows for” the IMPLEMENTATION of those ideas. It does not “allow for” the ideas themselves (our advanced thinking), which you claim is the product of the “soul”. We are talking about immaterial ideas (product of the “soul”) and the material implementation of those ideas (product of the brain).


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