Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Does the evidence entail the brain creates the mind?

Does the fact that mental capacities vary according to the intricacy and condition of one’s brain show that consciousness, or the mind, could not exist without the brain?  Most of the scholarly community appear to think so.  But it seems to me that this is not correct.  Indeed, I submit it is quite a glaring error. To try and illustrate this I'll expand upon an analogy I've used before (the analogy was originally employed by J. M. E. McTaggart in "Some Dogmas of Religion" p105):

If a man is in a house he can see the sky by looking out of a window. But he can't see the sky if the curtains are drawn, or if no windows exist in the house. Would that mean the ability to see can't be intrinsic to the man? That's clearly nonsense since he could go out of the house and have an unrestricted view of the sky!

Nevertheless, we get the -- let's call them "housists" -- who insist that it simply must be the case that the windows somehow create our visual experiences. For, after all, slightly closing the curtains restricts one's ability to see the sky outside, and indeed, drawing the curtains completely totally destroys one's ability to see the sky outside. And what if the house had no windows at all? So it simply must be the case that the windows somehow creates one's visual experiences.

But how? This is the visual-house problem, and it's a problem that's fiercely been debated for millennia with no solution in sight. All the housists, all the great "intellects", the "experts", believe that somehow windows create vision, but they all propose different solutions as to how this is achieved. They vehemently attack each others "solutions" to this problem. And, indeed, their attacks on each other are all valid. And this is because it's not possible for windows to create vision! And it's an obvious impossibility because there is nothing about windows that could magically conjure up a visual experience from nothing. It would be miraculous. But try telling that to the "experts"!

It's obvious to us that the windows themselves do not create the man's visual experience of the sky. They merely enable him to see the sky. But the actual ability to see the sky resides within him.

But it seems to me the exact same argument applies to the self and brain. Whilst my self is "housed" by the brain, then the brain can affect many abilities of the self (perceiving, thinking etc). But it's just as implausible that the brain creates such abilities as windows create visual experiences.  See my essay where I explain this

It should be noted that this doesn't mean there's a life after death. Unlike the materialists I think there must be something non-physical, a non-physical self even. And it is this self that has the innate ability to see, think, etc.

Nevertheless, maybe this self cannot exist outside the brain. But I think there's many reasons to suppose it does.

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