Introducing the brain (Introduction)

by dhw, Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 13:12 (215 days ago) @ David Turell

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.

DAVID: 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.

Later you ask me to explain the dichotomy again. I can hardly make the two possibilities clearer than in the passages I have now bolded. However, you continually fudge the division with your formula of “the soul must use the brain to think”. In dualism the soul is one entity, as I have always maintained and you now acknowledge, and for those who believe in an afterlife, it is the thinking part of the duality of mind and body that survives the death of the body. Hence your dualistic analogies “software/hardware” and the brain as “receiver”, which are contradicted by your claim that the soul depends on the brain for its ability to THINK. Materialism means there is no such entity as an immaterial, thinking “soul” that can live on after death, and the brain does the thinking.

DAVID: The s/s/c must think using the brain networks and cannot think properly if the networks are sick.
dhw: That is materialism.
DAVID: No it isn't. As explained above. The soul must use the material brain to produce thought, by one of two mechanisms. Pure logic.

There are not two possible mechanisms in dualism! Either the soul does the thinking (dualism) or the brain does the thinking (materialism). If the brain’s sickness results in sick thought, then the brain is the thinker. You keep rejecting your other hypothesis that the dementia victim, the drunkard, the drug addict continue to think “properly” but the brain garbles their proper thoughts – and then it seems that you reinstate it as a possibility when you realize that the alternative is pure materialism.

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.

DAVID: 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.

Dichotomy explained above in bold. You reject my solution here, and you accept that it is possible in your post under “THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE”! Please explain why it is not a solution on this thread, but it is possible on the other. Meanwhile, thank you for the new article and video about consciousness. I’m afraid neither of them shed any new light for me.


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