It can seem that consciousness and intentionality pervade mental life — perhaps one or both somehow constitute what it is to have a mind. But achieving an articulate general understanding of either consciousness or intentionality presents an enormous challenge, part of which lies in figuring out how the two are related. Is one in some sense derived from or dependent on the other? Or are they perhaps quite independent and separate aspects of mind?
And do you give a rat's ass?
If you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in writing.
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What is a mind?
How is it related to a body?
Descartes answer was substance dualism. A person consists of an immaterial substance (mind/soul) attached to a material substance (a body). But this thesis fails a crucial test. An immaterial substance cannot move a body; therefore a mind cannot move a body.
Somewhere in this blog of mine, I shall assume that to have a mind one must first have a brain. This is a materialist perspective. Some weaknesses in this perspective will be described. I shall argue that minds do not necessarily exist as entities, that we nevertheless are aware of our own mental events and that we are aware that other people have similar events.
Ain't this fun?
Go and check it out...
Hey, but let's relax...
If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?
~ Rabbi Hillel ~
Notwithstanding all of the above, though, here's another question for you...
One simple change in our worldview would have the most profound and dramatic effect on our lives. And it is this: to see, as Eastern philosophies have long seen, that the brain does not give rise to consciousness.
~:~ The brain is an organ of thought and memory, and has evolved as such for a variety of reasons. It pays for an animal to be able to remember what has happened to it so that it has a better chance of repeating its successes and avoiding its failures. It pays to know how to respond most appropriately to fellow members of your species or clan, especially if you have to fit in with a social structure in which complex interrelationships play a central role. It pays to be able to speculate about the future, analyze situations, and work out novel strategies. It pays –- if you are to stay alive and prosper in a niche as incredibly intricate as that of Homo sapiens –- to have inside your skull a two-hundred-billion-unit neural net of unprecedented power for processing and storing information. You have to be able to think and remember extraordinarily well. But the point so often overlooked is that there is absolutely no reason why you should have to be conscious.