Introducing the brain (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Monday, May 14, 2018, 17:51 (217 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: "My materialism" is a recognition that the soul must use the brain to think. We know the areas where it interlocks. I don't accept your single view that it is a one-way street. There are two logical possibilities, but you only like yours.

dhw:...I am trying to point out that you have the same dilemma: materialism claims that the brain is the source of thought; dualism claims that an immaterial soul is the source of thought (and you have now agreed that according to NDEs and your belief in an afterlife, the same soul lives on independently of the brain). The “one-way street” is dualism, as exemplifed by YOUR insistence that the brain is the receiver, and by YOUR analogy of software (the thought content) and hardware (the implementer). So whenever you insist that the soul cannot think without the brain, you contradict yourself.

I have always thought the soul was one entity, not two as you imply operating differently in life and death. As for the brain/soul relationship There are two possibilities: either the soul must use the brain to think during life, or the soul dictates to specific parts of the brain the thought to produce. Based on what I know about how intentionality works in the brain, I feel the sou/brain interface means the soul uses the brain circuits to think during life. I admit I have no proof, and your thought is definitely a possibility.

DAVID: The s/s/c must think using the brain networks and cannot think properly if the networks are sick.

dhw: That is materialism.

No it isn't. As explained above. The soul must use the material brain to produce thought, by one of two mechanisms. Pure logic.


DAVID: Despite making a choice as above, since you asked me which I preferred, I still see the two possibilities, but simply favor one of them. That is not a rigid position.

dhw: So you favour materialism. I remain neutral, and have tried to find a way of reconciling the two approaches.

I am not favoring materialism. Open your mind to the two possibilities


DAVID: My thinking is not as rigid as you want it. I cannot get rid of either possibility. we are discussing theory, not fact.

dhw: Yes indeed. You are in the same position as I am, though you refuse to recognize it: you are torn between materialism and dualism. You favour materialism (see also your next comment), but you believe you are a dualist.

DAVID: I have not contradicted myself. I know what I think. I've given you opinions as to what is most likely the possible arrangement.

Yes, today you have rejected your dualistic idea that the brain is a receiver, and you have chosen the materialist option that a sick brain produces garbled thoughts.

DAVID: Both of us make sophisticated guesses so I keep my thoughts fluid based on the possibilities. Please remember my starting points.

dhw: ...Can a materialist honestly say that consciousness, thought, emotion, willpower etc. are NOT immaterial? Can a dualist honestly say that the brain plays no part in our consciousness, thought, emotion, willpower etc.? In all these posts, I am only trying to point out that there is a dichotomy between the two approaches, and you are as caught up in it as the rest of us, though you can’t see it. I would like to think that my “theory of intelligence” together with my post on “Reconciling materialism and dualism” (Jan 5, 2018) offers a solution.

Explain your 'dichotomy' again. I'm sure I don't understand it as you think about it. I accept your discussion above. I find your solution is not one.


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