Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Souls which do not effect the human mind

I think having a soul that chan alter the human mind is impossible due to the non physical nature of souls and the physical nature of minds. But, what if souls do not affect the mind, but rather a human is an "instance" of their soul. If a soul was a computer program, the person would be the actual ram running the program. When a computer simulation is over, the code still exists, and the code is a governing set of rules that allow for predictable behavior in the instances of it. In this way, a sould would not dirrectly effect the human mind, and thus avoid a lot of the problems with the physical vs non phisical problems. Rather than a soul being part of you, like an arm, it is the set of rules that governs your behaviors. These rules, like the rules that govern the wheel or any other invention would survive, even after the death of the body. Agree? Disagree? Won't post a reply no matter what I put here?

4d Continuity problems

So, the 4d theory of objects seems good, with only slight complications. It does however solve the paradox of the ship of Thesies right? I argue no. Alter the ship of thesis argument slightly. Time is relative, so it is conceivable some object and move through time slower or faster than another object. (This effect is noticeable on the twin paradox, in which one of the twins goes into space at the speed of light while the other remains on earth and their age become different) Well, suppose a space ship made out of a super new material called “super planks.” Supper planks have the interesting metaphysically property that once they get old and worn out, they stop moving forward through time as fast as other objects until eventually they completely stop existing and moving through time. (These are really good for space ship building though, and thus the fact that they stop moving through time is a small price to pay for their superior performance in space ship hulls) Well, the ship of thesis (made out of super planks) would soon need new planks to replace the old ones. According to the 4d theory, the ship has already been destroyed (it is missing temporal parts --- the super planks) But try telling that to the people on the ship, which is still traveling through space. Furthermore, according to the 4d theory, the ship would never exist and a new ship would never exist made out of replacements, because as soon as one plank wears out, the ship is destroyed. It would constantly be a non ship collection of super planks. Well, I don't know if I misinterpreted the 4d theory or what but feel free to post.

"Strong AI"

Something we didn't cover in class that relates to the theory of mind is "Strong IA" The thesis states that "The appropriately programmed computer is a mind" This is according to Searle. His paper is online at this site. So, Searle argues that a man in a room who can only speak English could in fact follow instructions written on paper in English that tell him steps to manipulate Chinese characters. A Chinese person could then ask this man in the room any question and he would "answer" it by following the English instructions. Searle argues that this man is "an appropriately programmed computer" and that he is not, however a mind, because a mind would understand Chinese while the man does not. Does anyone disagree/agree with his argument?

An argument that Chisholm Nuggets can't exist

These "nuggets" lead to interesting properties. For example, if I stabbed someone, they would still be the same person, but if I hit their nugget, they would become a different person. It seems odd that doing the same thing can have dirrerent effects if done to different locations of the body. Also, if the nugget exists, it would be possible to put someone's nugget in someone else's body, which means that someone would in fact be two people. This nugget would have to have some interesting properties if that were possible. It would have to be part of the brain, because if it was any other fleshy thing, it wouldn't make sense that two people can be in the same body IE. if the nugget is your left arm, it makes little sense that someone with someone else's left arm attached to them is two people in the same body. The brain however is constantly remaking itself (cells don't last forever and need to be replaced) so the nugget must also incorperate this replacement system as well. I don't know if anyone actually belives in the nugget, so this post may be pointless, but if anyone can think of a good reason to belive them, or a better reason to deny them, post it here.

So I had this crazy thought

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Split brain and mind/body question

So I did my paper on the split brain topic. I noticed the whole topic is based loosly on the fact that the brain is the mind. This is because the idea behind the argument is if u seperate the brain hemisphere's the number of minds that person has is not clear. For you extreme dualists out there, should this arguement even be brought into question? If the brain and the mind are mainly seperated, would seperating the hemispheres affect the number of minds that someone has? Would it affect the mind at all from your point of view, or just the translator, ie the brain? What happens if you were to transplant the two halves of the brain into two different bodies; where would the mind go? Can the mind be split up? This plays off of the broken soul idea i guess. What happens in these special split brain cases from a dualist's point of view? I am a fan of Nagel's theory that there is no answer to the number of minds a split brain patient has. However, I was thinking that a dualist might think that if you split up the brain the mind still stays perfectly intact, or fairly intact. However, which half of the brain does the mind go with if both halves are transplanted? I know this is kind of a ramble, but I'm having trouble forming the dualist take on split brain patients, maybe someone can help me out.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Broken Souls

I was curious about the notion of souls and their growth. Presumably, things such as ants or bacteria do not have souls, but humans do. Thus, it would seem that at some basic stage in our growth as humans (zygote, embryo, fetus, etc.) we would develop a soul. This fits in nicely with the soul or mind as being motivating for our behavior. However, I was wondering about people who are perhaps hit in the head with a pipe by an angered materialist. If they become brain damaged, does their soul stop growing? Is there soul less complete than other people's? Is it broken? As I have ever heard the notion of souls, it seems that as humans we all recieve some sort of soul, but I would doubt that most people would say that Person X has a better functioning soul than Person Y.

So my questions are this:
1) Is the mind then different from the soul? (Sam's triple theory)
2) Does the soul grow? Can it be broken? Is it a container to be filled, but all souls have equal potential?

-Dan

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Soul theory

So what does everyone think about the soul? I think it is the most plausible thing we have discussed. I don't think it necessarily encodes an entire person or being, but merely the core so if you have a kind soul when you are alive, when you are reincarnated you will still be kind whether it is kind as a person or animal. (obviously i am assuming reincarnation here) but if you go with soul to heaven or hell theory then i think the soul takes on a different meaning. in that case i think the soul remains you as you the only difference would be that it doesn't have a material body. I dunno, what do you guys think?

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Last Day for Posts is May 4

I regret to report that I have to turn in final grades before finals week is up. So the last day that a post can be made to the blog that will count toward your grade is May 4th. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Friday, April 22, 2005

the brain and the mind

to start a discussion online, I suppose the best subject would be one we are a little more familiar with. We have been talking about the differences between the mind and the brain and the differences and similarities between them.
I feel that the mind and brain are the same out of confidence that one day we will find a more direct correlation between brain states and mind states, which would lead to more evidence against dualism. I say it is something like water flowing by a water wheel at a mill. The river is the workings of the brain, the neurons and the electro-chemical reactions. The mind states are results from translations of brain states, as river movement translates to something occuring in the mill.
I am saying that I don't think mind states cause brain states, but rather the other way around. I remember some saying that it was mind states cause brain states, more of a soul theory notion. I disagree also because of the science of our senses. When we sense something, like the taste 'sweet', physical things (molecules interacting with taste buds) translate to a mental sense ("sweet").
I also say that mental thoughts follow from one another and are results of brain functioning changes. They are not random immaterial contrivances that supposedly fall from the sky because the reason we can support thoughts in our brains is from specific neuro-chemical interactions and chains of processes.

Anyone who thinks differently, or has other ideas at all, should post and continue this discussion.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Essay 2 Outline Template

There is a mistake in the essay outline template distributed in class. On it there are three displayed arguments, where your outline only requires two. Below is the corrected version. I apologize for any confusion.

Essay Outline Template

Thesis: This paper presents, explains, and evaluates an argument for the conclusion that P.

The View: State the thesis or theses of either the soul theory, the spatiotemporal continuity theory, or the psychological continuity theory as carefully as possible.

The Argument against the View: Present the argument for p in numbered premise-conclusion form. Make sure that the argument you present is logically valid. (See handout on logical validity.)

Sample:
Premise 1
Premise 2
Therefore, Theory X is false.

Explanation and Evaluation of (1-3): (see handout on logical validity for evaluation)
Explanation of (1):
Definitions of technical terms in (1), if any:
Brief statement of reasons for thinking (1) is true:

Explanation of (2):
Definitions of technical terms in (2), if any:
Brief statement of reasons for thinking (2) is true:

Evaluation of (3): (3) follows from (1) and (2) by ________

(Do not explain the conclusion(s). It should contain no new terms and should follow logically from the premises.)

Evaluation: An Objection to the Argument Against the View
Next, present a valid objection to the argument you presented.
Sample:
4. Premise 4
5. Premise 5
6. Therefore, premise X is false.

Explanation of (4-6):
Explanation of (4): terms, reasons
Explanation of (5): terms, reasons

Reply: Give the best response to (4-6) that you can, even if you think the objection is sound.

Overall Evaluation: Finally, give your overall evaluation of the argument against the view you are considering (1-3). Is it sound?

Citation(s): Bibliographic information in MLA, APA, or Chicago format

Parfit on Personal Identity

Parfit's paper "Personal Identity" is available here. The site is password protected. The username is: cas105-para and the password is: $cas105. It will be on the website shortly.