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Hey Hey
post Jun 09, 2010, 03:46 PM
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How does the mind affect the body .... mechanistically?
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Rick
post Jun 09, 2010, 04:07 PM
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How does the conscious mind affect the body: That's part of the non-hard problem of consciousness.

How does the unconscious mind affect the body: An even greater mystery.

By the way, the "hard" problem of consciousness is why should it exist at all?
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Hey Hey
post Jun 09, 2010, 04:22 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Jun 10, 2010, 01:07 AM) *
By the way, the "hard" problem of consciousness is why should it exist at all?
Who cares? .... is why.

QUOTE(Rick @ Jun 10, 2010, 01:07 AM) *

How does the conscious mind affect the body: That's part of the non-hard problem of consciousness.
So what is/are the mechanism/s?


QUOTE(Rick @ Jun 10, 2010, 01:07 AM) *
How does the unconscious mind affect the body: An even greater mystery.
Probably very similar mechanisms to the conscious. But those mechanisms are very different, possibly, from those creating consciousness, thought, mind.

What is the bridge between mind and body? Maybe when we realise that the body is comprised of condensed light (my poetic licence again) then the 'something' that is mind, that could be so closely related, might not then be so far disconnected (that is, the mind-corporal differences are non actually).
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Cale-Construct33
post Jun 09, 2010, 06:59 PM
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QUOTE(Hey Hey @ Jun 09, 2010, 03:46 PM) *

How does the mind affect the body .... mechanistically?


Interesting... The question as stated refers to the psychosomatic effects the mind has on the body, but that doesn't seem like what you're really going for here. The assumption of a mind/body dualism sticks out as a more fundamental question, which, after reading you're reply to Rick seems to be what you really intended by the question. Mind/body monism seems to be the trend these days. So, what are you really asking? Or are you just trying to trap some sucker with a trick question??
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Hey Hey
post Jun 10, 2010, 10:01 AM
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QUOTE(Cale-Construct33 @ Jun 10, 2010, 03:59 AM) *

QUOTE(Hey Hey @ Jun 09, 2010, 03:46 PM) *

How does the mind affect the body .... mechanistically?


Interesting... The question as stated refers to the psychosomatic effects the mind has on the body, but that doesn't seem like what you're really going for here. The assumption of a mind/body dualism sticks out as a more fundamental question, which, after reading you're reply to Rick seems to be what you really intended by the question. Mind/body monism seems to be the trend these days. So, what are you really asking? Or are you just trying to trap some sucker with a trick question??
Rick's answer widened my question and, no, I haven't asked a trick question. I'm interested in how thoughts are actually converted/transduced into, say, chemicals or impulses (not the thoughts themselves, or the actions, like movement or speech that are subsequent to the transduction). I appreciate that we still don't really understand what thoughts are but imagine an analogy such as an organ bath system used in pharmacological labs. The piece of gut would be the mind, its contraction would be the thought, the force tranducer would be the thought to body convertor (say a nervous impulse), and the oscilloscope/recorder would be the body (receiving the impulse and then causing an action). (Have a look here: http://www.adinstruments.com/solutions/res...h-Experiments/). How does the thought influence the physical body (that is, how does it cause a nervous impulse, or some pre-impulse chemistry to happen?) In the organ bath analogy, the gut smooth muscle contraction pulls on the transducer. How does the thought 'pull' on its 'transducer'? What is the transducer? And I mean pre-nervous impulse.
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Rick
post Jun 10, 2010, 11:38 AM
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QUOTE(Hey Hey @ Jun 10, 2010, 11:01 AM) *
... how does it [thought] cause a nervous impulse, or some pre-impulse chemistry to happen ...

If we assume that a thought is an array of neural states in the cebral cortex, and the thought is a decision to act, then the nerve signals likely progress through the corpus callosum through the third ventricle, through the midbrain, through the brain stem and down the spinal cord to the applicable muscles.

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Hey Hey
post Jun 10, 2010, 05:27 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Jun 10, 2010, 08:38 PM) *

QUOTE(Hey Hey @ Jun 10, 2010, 11:01 AM) *
... how does it [thought] cause a nervous impulse, or some pre-impulse chemistry to happen ...

If we assume that a thought is an array of neural states in the cebral cortex, and the thought is a decision to act, then the nerve signals likely progress through the corpus callosum through the third ventricle, through the midbrain, through the brain stem and down the spinal cord to the applicable muscles.
But what IS this particular array of neural states? wacko.gif That is, what is its electrical, biochemical or other basis and/or configuration? Any neural states could not be the thought itself anyway, because they are the neural states, that are probably physicalities (fairly easily described in principle) that give rise to the thought, but are not it. huh.gif

Thanks for the anatomical diversion and picture smile.gif but I have owned a copy of Henry Gray's book since 1974 and took modules on Brain, Biology and behaviour for my first degree. But still, today there is no satisfactory explanation as to how the grey stuff comes up with the thought stuff, and especially how the thought stuff then communicates with the grey stuff (in both directions).

As no one has come up with good explanations, I think we should keep this discussion alive constantly on BM, as the well qualified and intelligent contributors on the forum have as much chance of coming up with something new and useful, as anyone ever has. mellow.gif

As it was dismissed already without a good reply, I'd still appreciate comments on my suggestion that until we better accept that the corporal (matter) is comprised of something beyond the 'old faithful' particles, and is more to do with EMR condensate (or at least a more useful derivative of the current particle-energy observations) then we will miss the chance to investigate the association of that with what we term mind, consciousness and thought. What I'm really saying is that if we look deeper into what actually makes us - what makes the matter - then we might find there is no difference between matter's very essence and consciousness. This would be very useful in explaining many present discrepancies and phenomena concerning consciousness. For example, that primitive consciousness-like behaviour has been eluded to in single cells and single-celled organisms. So just one cell might possibly enable consciousness. (Where is the array in that? wink.gif )
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Cale-Construct33
post Jun 11, 2010, 02:14 AM
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[Rick's answer widened my question and, no, I haven't asked a trick question. I'm interested in how thoughts are actually converted/transduced into, say, chemicals or impulses (not the thoughts themselves, or the actions, like movement or speech that are subsequent to the transduction)]

Well but still...we are assuming that biology n mentality are separate...the way you type it is that thoughts, or actions, or whatever, are the processes that are imprinting upon the brain...rather than the brain kickin out its electro-chemical signals are creating the topic of thought, or action...

Douglas Watt put it very nicely...

Homeostasis--> Emotion-->Cognition

Homeostasis is the foundation of evolutionary biology where the organism works out the basic physiological processes of the body that keeps it functioning on a fundamental level...then emotion modulates the activity of the homeostatic processes that occur naturally, not simply giving it meaning, but providing context...then cognition modulates/regulates emotion in the same way, yet providing even more context in a much more differentiated fashion...this is where our 'cognitive appraisal' of situations play a part in the reciprocal relationship between thought and emotion..thoughts can have the same affect as the fashion in which they are produced...my point is you're making the assumption that thoughts have an independent reality outside of the brain, which may not be the case...so its almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy...the brain is producing the state that thought is able to observe itself
http://www.imprint.co.uk/pdf/Beauregard_Watt.pdf

I appreciate your physiological analogy, but i think you may be backwards in your interpretation of it...thoughts can produce a state that arouses a neural network which leads to a physiological reaction, but it is not a state that the body isnt necessarily unaware of because one level modulates the other...

[But what IS this particular array of neural states? That is, what is its electrical, biochemical or other basis and/or configuration? Any neural states could not be the thought itself anyway, because they are the neural states, that are probably physicalities (fairly easily described in principle) that give rise to the thought, but are not it.

]


This seems like a contradiction of terms, if one is to take a neurological approach to thought, assuming that thoughts are merely a reflection of neural firing within the brain...neural states are a conglomeration of neural networks firing together giving rise to an imprinted 'idea'...once again i feel like you are being dualistic in your approach to understanding the brain/mind

[What I'm really saying is that if we look deeper into what actually makes us - what makes the matter - then we might find there is no difference between matter's very essence and consciousness.]

For some reason I think we might be thinking the same thing, except in different terms...your 'poetic license'in your forum that "psychoanalysis is quantum mechanics" on the notion of us being made of light is perfect for the fact that i went on to say that our consciousness in fact may create the exact reality that we perceive. maybe i'm still missing out on exactly what it is you're trying to say, if so, please elucidate...

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Rick
post Jun 11, 2010, 07:42 AM
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QUOTE(Hey Hey @ Jun 10, 2010, 06:27 PM) *
... today there is no satisfactory explanation as to how the grey stuff comes up with the thought stuff, and especially how the thought stuff then communicates with the grey stuff (in both directions). ...

It appears you are assuming dualism, which is obviously not the case, precisely because it leads to insoluble conundrums like this one.

Dualism is the old (way back to Descartes) "ghost in the machine" illusion. Rather passe. The problem comes from trying to physically connect the ghost to the goo, the exact question you are posing.
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Hey Hey
post Jun 11, 2010, 07:28 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Jun 11, 2010, 04:42 PM) *

QUOTE(Hey Hey @ Jun 10, 2010, 06:27 PM) *
... today there is no satisfactory explanation as to how the grey stuff comes up with the thought stuff, and especially how the thought stuff then communicates with the grey stuff (in both directions). ...

It appears you are assuming dualism, which is obviously not the case, precisely because it leads to insoluble conundrums like this one.

Dualism is the old (way back to Descartes) "ghost in the machine" illusion. Rather passe. The problem comes from trying to physically connect the ghost to the goo, the exact question you are posing.
It's just that I believe there can be no human mind (at this time) without the grey stuff. Sorry about that but I just can't convince myself otherwise. When I look at the world I can't see behind my head (without a mirror) so I believe that I'm in here somewhere! But more seriously, I also believe that the world is a construct of my species' evolutionary panache - a model - and that when we have a better understanding (or even appreciate the existence) of a world (universe really) that is not matter, then we will be on the track to knowing what 'mind' might be. (I mean self-aware [conscious] mind, as the other types can exist without the same kind of attributes, such as a computer mind, artificial intelligence. There is no evidence that artificial intelligence will give rise to consciousness BTW so don't let's get bogged down with that old chestnut, unless we really do believe that mind is merely the result of aggregated functions of the grey).
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Hey Hey
post Jun 11, 2010, 07:45 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Jun 11, 2010, 04:42 PM) *

QUOTE(Hey Hey @ Jun 10, 2010, 06:27 PM) *
... today there is no satisfactory explanation as to how the grey stuff comes up with the thought stuff, and especially how the thought stuff then communicates with the grey stuff (in both directions). ...

It appears you are assuming dualism, which is obviously not the case, precisely because it leads to insoluble conundrums like this one.

Dualism is the old (way back to Descartes) "ghost in the machine" illusion. Rather passe. The problem comes from trying to physically connect the ghost to the goo, the exact question you are posing.
Insoluble conundrums like infinity, you mean? Some conundrums might just be insoluble. At least without changing the nature of the problem, that might have been defined incorrectly in the first place. In that case, why would you say that dualism is dead? I don't actually believe that 'raw' dualism could be the answer, but there is nothing better as a solution (if, as I said there can be a solution), so care with the ridicule.

The terminology of our discussion is an issue. We (all of us) constantly refer back to terms derived from earlier philosophies or hypotheses, or to half-cocked explanations, so that we can simply engage in discussion. We have to accept that. For example, there IS something (as yet undefinable) in the machine or of the machine and it DOES give rise to physical action (that can be defined). When the brain is dead, not the tongue, a physiologically sustained arm cannot be moved by the (previous) persona. The previous persona's mind WAS in or to do with the brain (at least essentially partly). I would like offers to explain how that mind in a previously healthy brain enabled the movement of the leg, however the mind is derived.
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Paul King
post Aug 20, 2010, 09:05 PM
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QUOTE(Hey Hey @ Jun 09, 2010, 04:46 PM) *
How does the mind affect the body .... mechanistically? ... I'm interested in how thoughts are actually converted/transduced into, say, chemicals or impulses

This is one of the great questions of our time!

There is a philosophical issue hidden in this question, which is how is so-called "downward causation" possible? How does a macroscale system operating at a higher level of description, such as "the mind" have a causal influence on a microscale system operating at a lower level of description, such as the neurons controlling the muscles?

There are two parts to this issue:
1) downward causation across levels of description, e.g. mind to brain
2) downward causation across scales of components, e.g. brain to neuron

Most theorists would say that downward causation is not possible, and that the paradox results from a misunderstanding of the relationship between the levels -- what Gilbert Ryle called a "category mistake".

As Rick points out, there is an assumption of dualism in your question -- that the mind is somehow separate from the body (and its brain) and is controlling it somehow. Dualism is overwhelmingly rejected by neuroscience, but it easily seeps into our way of talking about the mind.

An alternate way of looking at things is that what is called the "mind" is really just the brain activity's way of conceptualizing itself.

It is easy to see how brain activity might cause the neural activity that drives the muscles -- because brain activity *is* neural activity. It is not really causing it. It is it.

But what about the mind?

The mind causes the motor neurons to fire in the same way that the nation causes you to show up for jury duty. The nation doesn't really cause anything. Somewhere a human being put your name on a list. Another human being carried a letter to your doorstep. You read the letter and did what the rules say to do in that situation. All of those people, including you, are part of an interconnected cooperating population, in the same way that the brain is an interconnected cooperating population of neurons. The ongoing activity of that population is conceptualized as an abstract imaginary entity (the "nation" or the "mind") that is imbued with agency (the ability to initiate deliberate action).

Does that mean the mind doesn't really exist? Only if you think the nation doesn't really exist either.
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Rick
post Aug 23, 2010, 12:10 PM
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But still, the wonder of consciousness inspires us to ask what is it? The thrill of love, the smell of a rose, the pleasures of life. They're important and neuroscience doesn't even pretend to address them. But they are brain phenomena, obviously. Just unexplainable (today).
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