Who am I, How am I made and where does my thoughts and mind Lies: AN argumentized research paper on the Duliest View of the Self and time.
There comes to point in time in someone’s life that they have the one of the most impactful questions during their lifetime: What is the meaning of life? Throughout my short lifetime compared to others I always reflect and comeback to this one question and I always end up short of a satisfying answer to the question; What is the meaning of life. However, In the pursuit to answer the question I always come up with that the meaning of life is subjective to who you ask because of the infinite possibilities of a individual perceptions and seemly endless experiences.in my discussions with peers and others I reflect and realize that everyone has a varied complex and a vivid life. Only having a little drop of knowledge and curiosity for the nature of Consciousness, Reality and time before this course; being completely immersed in it all was refreshing. In the pursuit of gaining insight into who or what we are as humans, we can derive purpose from our existence. Society today has never been more divided, but not due to the lack of answers to burning question of what the meaning of life is, but by plethora of contdricting theories. Without adding fuel to the fire, I will be composing my own account and view of the most universal and fundamental aspects of human life such as Consciousness and time. If the Proposition of materialism is an accurate view of the self, then why in defense of materialism commits illogical fallices in the examination of a brain cannot confidently explain how and why the brain should be consciousness. Certain like thinkers and writers such as Daniel Dennett, Leonard Mlodinow, and Antti Revonsuo would argue that either the experience of consciousness is a byproduct of high levels of brain activity or there is no such thing as consciousness in the first place. While that agruement is persuasive and easily shown through scientific experiments and data collection, other observations and arguments such as Leibniz’s Law, Rene Descartes proclamation ‘I think, therefore I am,’ Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” and Steven Rose’s Chicken Experiment challenge this notion. Since these findings have been debated or overlooked, the main purpose of this is essay is to argue that dualism is the most justifiable and experientially honest metaphor and answer to the question what the meaning of life is. The metaphorical view of the self leads to the conclusion that time is tenseless and doesn’t past. In the materialistic view everything is universally composed of and form out of matter and physical forces. The materialistic view is composed out of four central claims materialists derive from. Which is eliminative materialism, reductive materialism, emergent materialism, and functionalism. Those who consider themselves as elimitive materialism wants to “elimate the notion consciousness from science (Antti Revonsou, 17). Since the psychological subjective ‘matter’ reality cannot be observed and measured, only brain activity data can be measured and collected, there is no exploratory, a posteriori data that reinforces the claim of the existence of consciousness. In addition, Jomil Ebro -a PhD at Front Range Community College – writes in his “Main Views of the Self Summary Notes” that eliminativists use the term ‘folk psychology’ – as opposed to professional psychology – to describe common attitudes of the self, such as feelings, beliefs, and intentions (2).On the surface for an eliminativists viewpoint it’s understandable to remove ‘consciousness’ from the field of science and replace it with a more familiar field of neuroscience. Without a doubt, following the criteria of being a materialist neuroscience would eventually be able to explain how the brain works and how it conducts itself. What varies a reductive materialist versus a materialist is that a reductive materialist recognizes that conscious exists. However, they still consider and affirm that “it is itself a fully physical thing” (Revonsuo, 17). The consciousness in the reductive materialists eyes is reduced to just ordinary neurophysiology, so aspects of the mental ‘soul-items’ becomes easily explainable through means of science. They do this by equating the ‘mind’ a series of neural activities caused by the brain that produces the experiences of awareness. For those, who are adamant that to the agruement of the consciousness is a result of purely a physical experience can be alluring as in society we are taught to back claims with tangible data and evidence. From a step higher and more less simple from reductive materialists is emergent materialism. In itself, Emergatism promotes the Argument that the physical brain creates a sense of qualia through a “higher level of brain activity” (revonsuo,17). Therefore, finally explaining the consciousness that something physical can induce a mental experience and scientists can put the question of subjective experience to rest. Last of all, additional promising materialist view is functionalism. In a nutshell Functionalism is another materialist method that explores the answer to how and why psychological state depends on the physical state, and it goes about doing this by only focusing on the functions that an item serves. In layman terms, a functionalist would claim that ‘consciousness’ should be approached and defined by its role or function and not the substance. One of the most appealing draws to functionalism is its logical support for the creation of strong artificial intelligence. For example, Ebro writes, “… it is perfectly plausible that highly sophisticated machines would have beliefs and sensations, because such psychological states are defined in terms of functional roles” (“Functionalism: A Promising Materialism View of the Self or an Incoherent One,” 2).With the creation of advanced A.I would produce a coherent agruement that the ‘consciousness’ is fundamentally composed out of matter. Based on the information mentioned above, it would be paulisable why materialism is a structally sound metaphor of the self. However, there are some negative aspects and uncertainties spread throughout the forms of materialism. One of the points is that scientifically materialists fail to form any united agruement of surrounding the conscious mind. Additionally, there are complications with Daniel Dennett’s “multiple Drafts” perspective of the self. He redefines consciousness so that it “comes to mean something very different from what we actually experience” (Ebro, “Main Views of the Self Summary Notes,” 8).instead of formally addressing individual qualia and subjective experience he dismiss them. He explains his access to consciousness, But not the subjective consciousness that every induvial experience directly. In a way Dennett is expressing that there is qualitative subjectivity, and with that makes us a slightly more advanced complex than a machine. Also eliminativists, recognizes Folk psychologists who acknowledge that people have fears, desires and intentions and thus committing an ad hominem fallacy.
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by referring to those who profess that people do have desires and fears and intentions as ‘folk psychologists,’ commit an ad hominem fallacy. When they do diffiante the two using a sarcastic name such as ‘folk’ from ‘professional’ it lacks the significance, consideration and removes it. Another problem with materialists that they encounter the begging the question fallacy when the cant confidently explains how the something physical like the brain creates consciousness which is nonphysical. In addition, that they can’t support their claim with evidence they assume the agruement is a correct. Likewise, materialism contradicts our everyday experiences when it states that our intentions do not, and or they do exist, but our intentions have no possible way to cause physical moments. In simpler terms epiphenomenalism reasons that our conscious or mental life have no physical effects on our surroundings. At the end of it all, if materialists can’t prove the existence of the conscious mind, they completely deny the existence of the conscious mind, qualia and subjective experience. Which subconsquelty avoids the hard problem of where consciousness comes from instead of providing an answer.Arugeably, one of the most famously known experiments in science and quantum physics, named the Double Slit Experiment disproves materlisim. The results collected from Thomas Young’s Double Slit Experiment proved that “The moment there is consciousness viewing and defining how things should act, the infinite potentials act in that manner” (“Quantum Physics: Double Slit Experiment & Consciousness,” 5:28 – 5:35). In the experiment when an observer ‘makes’ an observational force they impose a singular reality upon something and from out of infinite possibilities something is then then pulled into a singular possibility to be anything or perform anything. This results from this experiment disproves the notion that physical things cant be change by intentionality. When the scientists were observing the particles in the double slit experiment, they were able to cause the particles to conform to the reality to that what the scientist felt like the particles should be and behave.
After a better understanding on the perspective of materialism, the possible notion of time that is in conjunction with it in a said metaphorical view of the self is the A-Theory. In Jomil Ebro’s “Theories of Time Summary Notes,” he articulated the differences between the A and B theories of time to be that the A-Theory alleges “times are not relative to other times,” and the B-Theory “is known as a tenseless or relative theory of time” (2). The relation to materialistic view is that everything is undeniably and non-reversible physically present in the world that I composed a connection between posteriori materialism and the A Theory. Within A- Theory events occur in one distinct and absolute ‘tense’. For example the flow of time is considered to be an arrow that moves in one fixed direction from past, through present, and into the future. A materialist would most likely agree and follow this mentioning of time because the flow time from past, present and future are objective
Events within the A-Theory occur in one distinct and absolute ‘tense.’ There is an arrow of time that flows unyieldingly in one direction from the past, through the present, and into the future. A materialist would most probably follow this notion of time because the past, the present, and the future are the fundamental features of reality that suggests the physical experience of change throughout someone’s life. Having established these metaphorical perspectives of materialism and the nature of time that follows, I will now dispute that dualism notion that our physical brain and body must interact with something that is equally real but separate and non-physical, which we call the ‘mind,’ or conscious. Which is a more experientially truthful explanation instead of quantitative and qualitative explanation for what the self is from the other explanations offered by different branches of materialism. in extension, dualism suggests that time is better explained and explored through the tenseless B-Theory, which seems to match our ongoing experience and current experience. There are other views than materialism that claims that “Perhaps it is a mistake to think dualistically – to think that the world, at bottom, must be either totally material or totally mental” (Ebro, “Nonduality Summary Notes,” 1).In this next portion of this paper, I will discuss the theory of dualism and justify it and reasoning it with the views of Rene Descartes, Plato, Ted Chiang, Lakoff and Johnson, etc and how their metaphorical model of the self-best explains subjective experience, qualia, and feelings.
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In the view of dualism, they do come to some united terms with materlists that reality does have a physical matter component, however they differ in their views When dualism asserts that that there also is also a non-physical component to reality. Jomil Ebro states that, “Dualism holds that reality as a whole – including the reality of the self – consists of two categorically different types of ontological substances” (“Main Views of the Self” Summary Notes, p. 20).In One hand, within reality physical features are comprised of elementary particles, energy and matter. In the other hand, Mental substances are composed of subjective qualia and experiences. Together mental substance and physical creates our sense of consciousness. One of the main supporters of duality was Rene Descartes. Descartes was a scientist and a philosopher who wanted to establish that his beliefs had stability and endurance without using data like a materlists would. He would pursue and execute this by conducting a ‘project of pure enquiry’ which had one purpose to rid the sciences of skepticism. He went about this by first creating a world of illusion and then execution of “the method of doubt’- putting aside any beliefs that can be perceived as truthful but doubtable. Therefore, even though the most skeptical approach possible, knowledge can still be reached; this led to his supposition that “there is a powerful and evil demon who can deceive him about anything” (“I Think Therefore I Am,” 120).In this ‘simulation’ that he created he figured if the demon can make Descartes believe something that is false, then that belief can be doubted. . In ‘The Philosophy Book,’ eventually, Descartes came to the conclusion that “I am; therefore, I exist.” The philosopher was able to reach this conclusion by using a priori reasoning. The experience and realization that the existence and experience of consciousness cannot be doubted, as the act of doubting existence is still a form of thinking. Some antagonistic perspective of Descartes First Certainty by wondering how he knows that knows that there is ‘a thinker’ – a single, unified conscious doing. In simpler terms thoughts without a thinker, reasoning would be impossible. When we are thinking and creating thoughts, we construct a relevance between our thoughts. Therefore, reason is do able. Descartes can than concluded that there is such thing as a ‘thinker’. He didn’t use the first certainty himself as a premise from which to acquire knowledge that comes after. However, as he uses it as an escape from the uncertainty that there is nothing matters or exists. In of it all Rene Descartes his conclusion from the method of doubt that there is a self within every individual and can recognize that they do exist. Thus, thinking is a component of the mind, establishing that there is a -non-physical, mental part of us. With that conclusion seems to correlate with our actual experiences in life.
The materialist opinion that memories and experience can be in the brain has been refuted by scientific experiments and theories throughout history. Gottfried Leibniz authored the fundamental law of logic that governs our ability to reason which things are identical and which are non-identical: Indiscernibility of Identicals or Leibniz’s Law. “If x and y are one and the same, then x and y must have all of their properties in common” (Ebro, “Main Views of the Self Summary Notes,” 22). If there are one or more properties of the mind that are not consistent with that of the brain and body, then one can deductively infer that the mind and body cannot be the same. This theory supports the results of an experiment conducted by Steven Rose and his colleagues in the 1980s. The subjects of the research – day-old chicks – were trained not to peck at colorful dots on the ground by making them sick. When the lights appeared to the chicks again, they made sure to avoid them. The scientists then found that a particular part of the brain shows more activity when learning is occurring; however, when said portions of the brain were removed and the chickens were subjected to the colorful stimuli again, they still recalled that those lights needed to be avoided. Rupert Sheldrake deduced that “the region in the brain involved in the learning process wa not necessary for the retention of memory” (“Are Memories Student Last Name 8 Stored as Material Traces,” 192). Time after time, scientists have attempted to discover the ‘root’ of theorized traces of memories, but to no avail. Some theorize that the memories move from one part of the brain to another, but it can be inductively inferred from experiments such as the one above that mental substance has no spatial qualities or location; therefore, it cannot be divided up into parts like a physical object. Additionally, Thomas Bogardus, a philosophy professor at Pepperdine University who works mainly with metaphysics and epistemology, argues against the assertion “that we are in fact endowed with an unreliable psychological mechanism the function of which is to churn out the belief that the referents of any two concepts could come apart, whenever there are merely no substantive a priori ties between the concepts (and no immediately accessible sufficient a posteriori reasons to think that the concepts corefer)” by asserting that it seems metaphysically impossible that the referents of ‘this’ and ‘that’ could possibly be identical (“Undefeated Dualism,” 456-458). We can’t explain how consciousness and the brain interact, but our experiences and the ability to think with intentionality that affects the physical world is evidence that physical substances and non-physical substances exist and communicate. Through intuitive understanding, we can inductively postulate that ‘mental and physical aspects of existence are real’ is a posteriori knowledge.
- Skirry, Justin. “René Descartes: The Mind-Body Distinction.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, www.iep.utm.edu/descmind/.
- Skirry, Justin. “René Descartes: The Mind-Body Distinction.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, www.iep.utm.edu/descmind/. https://www.iep.utm.edu/time/
- Ebro, Jomil. Course Handout: “Main Views of the Self Summary Notes.” Fall 2018. Ebro, Jomil. Course Handout: “Nonduality Summary Notes.” Fall 2018.
- Ebro, Jomil. Course Handout: “Summary Notes: Theories of Time.” Fall 2018.
- Evolution, Collective, director. Quantum Physics: Double Slit Experiment & Consciousness. YouTube, YouTube, 22 Nov. 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiAj7S6ko9Q
- Revonsuo, Antti. “Materialism (or Physicalism) defined.” Consciousness: The Science of Subjectivity. Psychology Press, 2010, pp. 17.
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