Thanks for replying. With your background and the resources you bring,
this should be an interesting conversation. I've got a feeling that
this will be a long conversation also. But I'll try to be brief as
First, a few items to make sure we're starting on the same page:
Doing science doesn't always entail laboratories and people in coats
testing material. Sometimes it's not the scientifically determined
evidence which is in question, but rather the interpretation of that
evidence. Different scientists can agree on the evidence, but disagree
as to what that evidence means. Hence, the scientific method can and
does include debating the interpretation of evidence. Can we agree on that?
I didn't say "consciousness is bound by different rules..."; rather (as
you quoted) "the ruling principles" are distinct (see below). As it
turns out (and perhaps we'll get to this), the notion of boundedness
becomes important in discussions of consciousness (pretty far down the
road of this discussion) and I wouldn't say that consciousness is bound.
Nor did I say "rules" per se, but rather "ruling principles"; again,
when speaking of consciousness these two terms are quite different.
This might seem to be splitting hairs, but as it happens these become
important in understanding consciousness.
If I'm understanding you correctly, you're asserting that consciousness
is nothing but matter or the result of the interactions of matter, i.e.,
that consciousness can be explained purely by physical and therewith
causal processes acting upon material objects and substances (e.g., the
brain and nervous system). Is that correct?
On 08/08/2007 10:38 AM somebody named G wrote:
> Ken- you go on about the scientific method, but then assert that someone
> found that the consciousness is bound by different rules than the
> material world, which sounds like a supernatural claim to me.
> "after Franz Brentano, ca. 1890, found that the
> ruling principles of the material world and the world of consciousness
> are quite distinct from one another."
> This is a pretty extraordinary claim, please explain how this guy found
> this. What evidence does he have? How can his theory be tested? As
> someone with an interest in, as well as education in psychology and
> neuroscience, I am very interested if this evidence exists.
> "Perhaps the most grievous error psychologists (and others) make is to
> assume that consciousness is an extension of the material world ("res
> extensa") "
> The reason why consciousness is thought to be dependent upon the
> material brain is because all the evidence points in that direction.
> It's not a mere assumption. If strong contrary evidence comes about,
> then scientists will change that theory. (as you suggested in your
> comments on the scientific process.)
> "it's quite easy to get a degree in psychology
> without ever hearing of Brentano or his findings"
> I have a feeling I know why I was never taught about this guy in psych-
> showing that there are rules that govern things that are not part of the
> material world doesn't sound like science to me. How would you test that?
> Is the mystery of consciousness one of the top ten biggest scientific
> mysteries, sure. But we go on what we know so far.
> "most psychologists, though armed with
> credible data, mischaracterize that data's significance and formulate
> hypotheses and theories which, not surprisingly, suffer the same myopia
> as do their initial assumptions. "
> The scientific skeptic in me sees this as similar to other claims I read
> that depend on bashing the field for not accepting the particular wild
> claim as being short sighted or narrow-minded.
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