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The Advanced Theory of Mind and Matter

The Advanced Theory of Mind and Matter

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Published by gib65
This paper introduces the advanced version of the theory of mind and matter. It explains the relation between mind and matter in fully causal terms. Read more at http://www.mm-theory.com.
This paper introduces the advanced version of the theory of mind and matter. It explains the relation between mind and matter in fully causal terms. Read more at http://www.mm-theory.com.

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Published by: gib65 on Apr 03, 2010
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Recapitulatingthe BasicTheoryPhysicalismThe ProblemofReductionism
Reductionismand MeaningObjections
From Brain toMatter
ReducingMatter to MindRevisitingSomeObjectionsPhysicalRealities,SubjectiveRealities, andRealityFormulating theAdvancedTheory
The Paradoxof Individuality
Two Kinds ofUnconsciousnessTwo Kinds ofKnowledgeModeling TheSelfAnatomizingThe SelfProblemSolving WithEpistemicAwarenessThe Self andThe Universe
The UniversalMind
The StandardAlgorithm andthe UniversalOperatingSystemFundamentalParticlesTime and Space
SpaceTimWhat Time and Space Represent Timelessness,Spacelessness, and Momentum 
Conclusion
VisualizationExercisesFinal Thoughts
The Advanced Theory of Mind and Matter
ABSTRACT: The advanced version of the theory begins with a reexaminationof the concept of “meaning”, and shows how it enables experience to act as itsown basis for existence. Furthermore, it is shown that, just as mind correlateswith neurological activity, meaning correlates with the physical lawsunderlying that activity. Therefore, meaning, and hence mind, correlates withanything subject to physical laws - namely, any physical system in theuniverse. It is then shown how all matter can be reduced to sensoryexperiences, and thus matter is really a sensory representation of mentalexperiences beyond the human mind, effectively resolving the problem of mindand matter. The paradox of individuality, which states that we are individualsin a universe in which we ought to be parts of one consciousness, is thenintroduced. The problem is resolved by showing how individuality is anartifact of cognition, and that we are all parts of one Universal Mind butunconsciously. A few descriptions are then given of the most fundamentalelements of the physical universe including atoms, fundamental particles, time,and space, in terms of the experiences the advanced theory purports. Finally, afew visualization exercises are proposed to help understand the main gist of the advanced theory.
Recapitulating the Basic Theory
The Paradox of  Mind and Matter 
Before we begin, let me say that it is
essential
that the reader has read and understoodThe Basic Theory of Mind and Matterin order tounderstand the current paper. If this has been done, then we know how the Basic Theory resolves the
Paradox of Mind and Matter
. Itdoes so by providing a customized definition of experience and a formula describingthe correlation between mind and brain as follows:
ProjectionCause vs. Reason
The Basic Theory of Mind and MatterThe theory of mind and matter is two-fold:1)An experience is...i)any instance ofqualitivity...ii)that exudes theessence of realness, resulting inprojection...iii)and conveys ameaning that describes its essential quality,resulting inflow.2)Experience, as defined in 1), correlates with neurological activityby providing thereasons for the resulting behavior,complimenting thecausal nature of the physical process.
MM-Theory - The Advanced Theory of Mind and Matterhttp://www.mm-theory.com/advanced/advanced.htm1 of 504/2/2010 3:27 PM
 
The Infinite Poolof Experiences
According to this definition of experience, the brain can be neurologically configured in any way imaginable, and there will be a set of experiences (drawn from a hypothetical
experience pool
) to parallel it. Furthermore, these experiences will undergo
projection
,thereby creating a reality, and this reality will be meaningful to the beholder. The correlative formula adds that, whereas the activity of the brain acts as the
cause
of behavior, the mind acts as the
reason
for behavior. It was also emphasized that this formula is
only
correlative - nothing entails from this about the causal relation between mind and matter. The purpose of this paper is to account forcausation.
Physicalism
Physicalism
If there is a philosophy that stands in stark contrast to the Theory of Mind and Matter presented here,
physicalism
(or materialism)probably fits the bill more than any other. Physicalism is the view that everythingthat exists is either physical or can be described inphysical terms. To the physicalist, consciousness and mind are really just physicalphenomena. They say that what we take to be ourown subjective qualitative experiences are really just neuro-chemical events occurring in the brain. They say that mind and brain areone, and that mind should be explained in terms of the brain.
 Reductivism/IdentityTheory Eliminativism
Physicalists are typically divided into two camps: there are the
reductivists
(or
Identity Theorists
), who subscribe more or less to thedescription of physicalism just given, and then there are the more radical
eliminativists
, who would rather say that consciousness andmind don't exist (as opposed to reducing them to the brain). The names speak for themselves - the reductivists like to
reduce
, whereasthe eliminativists like to
eliminate
. The essential difference is that one would prefer to keep the terms "consciousness" and "mind",recognizing that they indeed refer to something real, whereas the other would prefer to throw the terms permanently out of thevocabulary. The latter regard mind as some archaic fabrication that we invented in order to explain human nature, much like the wrath of the gods explaining earthquakes or lightning and thunder. Whether the topic is earthquakes, thunderstorms, or human nature, we nowknow the real causes of these things, thanks to modern science, and so we don't need these fairy tales. They ought to be scrapped infavor of physical explanations - so say the eliminativists.Personally, I've never understood the latter position. I'm all for the wholesale rejection of 
Cartesian
dualism - according to which mindis a separate and distinct
substance
from matter, belonging to the more divine realm of spirit and metaphysics - but I don't understandhow one could go about his/her life, experiencing subjective mental states such as color, thought, emotion, sound, pain, pleasure, taste,smell, dreams, etc. and not believe these things exist in some sense. That's why I take the reductive approach to be far more reasonable(even though I ultimately disagree with it). Perhaps the eliminativist would say that the terms "consciousness" and "mind" were nevermeant to denote these subjective experiences, but rather the classical Cartesian notion of a spiritual/metaphysical substance that standsapart from physicality in some parallel netherworld. If that is the case, fair enough - but we still ought to consider the alternative view,which I am certain is taken up by the vast majority of people (lay and professional), that "consciousness" and "mind" refer to just thesesubjective experiences that one can only apprehend from a first person point of view. One needn't be taught some abstract theory tounderstand these things; one need only have immediate access to his/her own mental states. Thus, I don't understand why theeliminativist is so zealously bent on opposing this at all costs. Why must we express our emotions, or describe how something tastes, orarticulate our thoughts in the form "such-and-such neuro-chemical event is happening in my brain"? The words "emotion", "taste","thought" and so on are not mere space fillers - as though we had no clue what's going on inside our heads - they denote actualsubjective states of mind that we consciously experience.
Thomas NagelWhat Is It Like to Be a Bat? Echolocation
Needless to say, I'm not fond of the eliminativist view; but that isn't to say thatI subscribe to thereductivist's either. I'm inclined to agree with
Thomas Nigel
's critique of reductivism - or physicalismin general - who has perhaps struck the most damaging blow to the whole physicalistagenda. In hisseminal paper of 1974 "
What Is It Like to Be a Bat?
", Nigel argued the point that no amount of scientific investigation into the bat's neuro-physiology would ever yield insight into what it's like to
be
the bat. Such an exercise would only give us the physical facts about the bat, but not the experience hadfrom the bat's own point of view. The bat is especially convenient here because of its use of 
echolocation
- a mechanism whereby it emits sonic pulses in dark places and uses its echo to determinethe spatial layout of its surroundings and any objects therein. This is a highly specialized sensory system- one that no human will ever have the privilege of experiencing. What it's like tobuild a mental map of one's surroundings using only one's echo as a guide is something very difficult to imagine indeed. Thus,Nagel's use of the bat was ideal. He argued that it is absolutely essential to consciousness that it is likesomething to have it, and that what it is like may differ from one conscious being to another. How itdiffers, or
whether 
it differs, cannot be demonstrated by a scientific investigation into the physiology of the subject in question.Neuroscientists can study the brain to their hearts' content, but no matter how much knowledge they amass, no description can be given,solely on the basis of this knowledge, of what the corresponding experience is like.Nagel's intention wasn't so much to attack physicalism outright, but to lay down the ground rules for such an approach if it were to betaken seriously - as serious as science itself. The most crucial rule was that if any account of subjective experience is to be given, itmust be given from the first person perspective, for that is the only perspective in which there can be subjective experience. It makeslittle sense to talk about subjective experiences in the third person perspective, which is what science is limited to, and so Nagel poseshis critique as a challenge to physicalism. If physicalism is true, then we should be able to render subjective experiences in physicalterms - but physicality is the exclusive domain of science, and thus makes sense only from the third person point of view. The wayNagel put it was that a physical science of consciousness would need to render its explanations objectively (third person), for science,by definition, must be objective, but since consciousness is an essentially subjective phenomenon (first person), such an explanationwould seem hopelessly out of reach. But as already mentioned, he wished to put thisargument forward as the criteria that physicalism isobliged to meet, not as a reason to abandon it. If physicalism could surmount this obstacle, said Nagel, all the better for it.Taking the ball from Nagel, and making no secret of his attack on physicalism, was
Frank Jackson
who presented his "Mary's Room"thought experiment (in the article "
Epiphenomenal Qualia
") to dispel physicalism. Jackson believed that physicalism
couldn't 
overcome Nagel's challenge, and so he took Nagel's argument to its logical conclusion:
MM-Theory - The Advanced Theory of Mind and Matterhttp://www.mm-theory.com/advanced/advanced.htm2 of 504/2/2010 3:27 PM
 
Frank Jackson EpiphenomenalQualia
Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced to investigate theworld from a black and white room
via
a black and white television monitor. Shespecializes in the neurophysiology of vision and acquires, let us suppose, all thephysical information there is to obtain about what goes on when we see ripetomatoes, or the sky, and use terms like 'red', 'blue', and so on. She discovers, forexample, just which wavelength combinations from the sky stimulate the retina, andexactly how this produces
via
the central nervous system the contraction of the vocalcords and expulsion of air from the lungs that results in the uttering of the sentence'The sky is blue'. (It can hardly be denied that it is in principle possible to obtain allthis physical information from black and white television, otherwise the Open University would
of necessity
need to use colour television.)What will happen when Mary is released from her black and white room or is given a color televisionmonitor? Will she
learn
anything or not? It seems just obvious that she will learn something about theworld and our visual experience of it. But then it is inescapable that her previousknowledge wasincomplete. But she had
all
the physical information.
 Ergo
there is more to have than that, andPhysicalism is false.
Is Jackson's the final word on the matter? Hardly! Physicalism still thrives today,but it has come under siege a great deal more thanbefore Nagel and Jackson appeared on the philosophical scene. Thanks to these bright thinkers, physicalism no longer holds a monopolyover the philosophical community - at least not where the subject is consciousness - and the debates rage like wildfire.
 Essence of  Realness
So why the history lesson? I want to inform the reader of the most substantial attempt to resolve the mind/matter paradox and how itfailed to hold over the long haul. Of course, by "failed", I mean failed to permanently monopolize the philosophical community, for thereare still avid physicalists in the world today, and for them there is no paradox. For the dualist, however, the failure goes deeper and wasthere all along. I also want to juxtapose the reductive approach with that taken bythis paper, for they are equal yet opposite. It is equalin that it purports that mind and brain are actually two forms of the same thing, and therefore, for the sake of parsimony, one of them canbe reduced to the other. It is opposite in that it elects the brain (or more generally, matter) as the candidate to be reduced - that is, it willput brain in terms of mind. One thing it will not do is eliminate the brain. After all, it would contradict the second property of allexperiences, namely the
essence of realness
, to propose that the brain, as we perceive it, doesn't exist. I propose that by subsumingmind as the foundation of the brain (and matter), it can be shown how this form of reduction has a special edge that physicalism lacks,and this edge is the key to avoiding failure.
The Problem of Reductionism
 Reductionism Meaning
The failure that this paper intends to overcome is, as I said, the failure as the dualist sees it - that is, the irreconcilable task of equatingmind and matter. It is
not 
the failure of maintaining a philosophical monopoly. That being said, the problem becomes one of 
reductionism
- that is, it is a problem of how to explain one phenomenon in terms of another, more parsimonious and fundamental,phenomenon. As stated above, our approach will be to explain the brain in terms of the mind. But before we can do this, we have toshow how the mind is more parsimonious and fundamental than the brain. We will see how this can be done by taking a closer look atthe third property of all experiences, namely
meaning
. Once we draw some conclusions from this, it will be possible to show howmeaning not only makes the reduction of brain to mind possible, but the reduction of all matter to mind as well. And, no, this is not doneby simply depicting matter in terms of sensory experiences, at least not solely (although in my humble opinion this would suffice). Iintend to show how meaning is such a peculiar phenomenon that it turns the entire reductive
 process
on its head.
 Infinite Regress Einstein's Theoryof General Relativity
The problem of reductionism can be summed up in two words:
infinite regression
. That is, thereductive process never truly ends. Let me explain. Take any phenomenon from natureand ask why it is the way it is. "Why are trees the way they are?" for example. Go ahead and conjure upan answer. "Because a group of cells kept multiplying and evolving into the macroscopicstructure you see as the tree." Now ask why
this
phenomenon is the way it is. "Why are thesecells the way they are?" And the answer is "Because a system of substances known asa cellmembrane, cytoplasm, nucleus, and chromosomes came together to form them." If we delvedeeper into chromosomes, we come to DNA, and if we delve deeper into DNA, we come toatomic structures. The deepest we can delve along this path is to the fundamental particles thatmodern science has discovered. Beyond this, not much is known, but the questions still cropup: What are these fundamental particles? How do they work? Why do they exist?Let's tryanother reduction exercise. Whydoes the Earth orbit the Sun?Because the Sun's gravity pulls theEarth inward while the Earth's momentum pulls away from the Sun, and thetwo forces keep the Earth in orbit. But why does the Sun have gravity?Because, according to
Einstein's theory of general relativity
, spacetimecurves towards bodies of high mass, like the sun, and the result is that theEarth follows a curved path through spacetime rather than a straight one. Butwhy does spacetime curve in the vicinity of massive objects? Again, wearrive at a point where modern science has no answers (and if it does, it'snot mainstream yet), but we're still asking questions. The fact of thematter is, no matter what answers you get and no matter how many levels of reduction you traverse, the final answer can always be questioned. This iswhat I mean by
infinite regression
.
MM-Theory - The Advanced Theory of Mind and Matterhttp://www.mm-theory.com/advanced/advanced.htm3 of 504/2/2010 3:27 PM

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