[Serious Phil] I'm no mysterian
SWMirsky at aol.com
Wed Aug 8 14:54:54 CDT 2012
--- In Phil-Sci-Mind at yahoogroups.com, "BruceD" <Philscimind at ...> wrote:
> --- In Phil-Sci-Mind at yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <Philscimind@> wrote:
> > Bruce wants to argue for the ultimate mystery of it all.
> Stuart, in a sense you are correct, I do find your causal account a
> mystery, a mystery of how an account that starts causally and ends in a
> You want to explain the feeling of wetness.
Okay, some time available so a quick response. I do want to explain the feeling of wetness but that should not be confused with the analogy to water and its constituent molecules which "do" wetness.
Perceiving a feeling of wetness is done through the activity of brain processes, as part of an overarching complex system of such processes, while being wet, as in doing to other physical phenomena what wetness does (turn dirt to mud, dissolve salt, supply needed material to living systems, feel wet to the touch of our kinds of systems, foster the growth of mold, etc., etc.) is a different phenomenon. While obviously related we should not confuse the two in these discussions.
> You start with molecules,
> continue with brain molecules (staying within the causal account) and
> then (by some mysterious process which is like a wheel turning and yet
> isn't physical) a feeling of wetness is produced.
It's mysterious in the ordinary sense that anything as yet unknown is mysterious. On the other hand you want it to be mysterious and so you argue for something that is ultimately unexplainable. Again, there is a difference between the two senses of "mysterious".
> But you know I feel
> wet because I tell you so. My Report is a narrative account. The mystery
> lies in this shift of accounts.
No. The mystery lies in the as-yet unexplained account of how physical phenomena produce a feeling, thinking mind. But one must be careful not to confuse a mystery of what is as yet undiscovered with what is in principle undiscoverable.
> I, however, find the relationship between brain and experience no more
> mysterious than the relationship between my fingers and my piano
I'm glad to hear that -- though I don't really believe you! You used to say that "we use our brains to be conscious" as if there was a "we" that is somehow separate from our brains. The brain, you told us, is a tool, much like a piano is a tool for producing certain kinds of sounds. I find that analogy very wrongheaded.
But if, instead, you now mean something else by your invocation of the piano, I'm prepared to consider it. Now you say that the relationship between the brain and experience (including listening to the music of the piano) is no more mysterious than the relationship between your fingers and your piano playing. I must say, I don't see the point of this analogy. How does it shed light on the question of whether the brain-experience relation is any more mysterious than the fingers-piano relation?
> I believe you away. I'll wait for your feedback. Hopefully your trip
> goes swimmingly.
Yes, but not entirely without access to the Internet. Still, it's more difficult so my responses will be selective, rare and generally brief for now.
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