Neuronal mind?

Twink (
Wed, 26 Nov 1997 19:41:11 -0500 (EST)

At 21:56:43 Tue, 25 Nov 1997 +0000 Damien Broderick
<> wrote:
>>What Brent is talking about is allegorised by David Chalmers in his Fading
>>Qualia model (which, as I recall, that metaphysical dualist rather
>>surprisingly declines to accept). As the neural structures with their
>>supposed specific Searlean `causal powers' are chipped, something like the
>>neuropathology of Blindsight would be experienced. You'd find yourself
>>mysteriously functioning quite competently while your dumbfounded and
>>`blindspotted' consciousness assessed that you ought to be acting at
>>random. But this phenomenal glitch *already occurs*, to people without a
>>single implanted neurode. Brent's opinion is an act of faith (as, of
>>course, is James's and mine to the contrary), and I guess we'll have to
>>wait for some GregEganist experiment to learn which turns out to be the
>>case. But I judge that James's position is more firmly consistent with
>>everything else we already know about the material world. Surely Brent
>>would allow a single atom to be replaced, or a single molecule (since,
>>after all, this is always happening). At what exact point of replacement
>>would the allegedly unique powers kick in? Even when one grants the
>>extraordinary and difficult special character of experience - of qualia, of
>>phenomena, of what mind's functioning *is like* from the inside - I can't
>>see any reason at all to expect it to require any more mysterious material
>>explanation than hypercomplex relatedness, which we know describes the
>>brain and which can be replicated piecemeal (in principle at least) at
>>whatever degree of granularity.

There is an interesting serialized essay, "Volitional Synapses" by
Stephen Boydstun in volume 2 issues 1, 2 and 4 of _Objectivity_ that
covers some of these notions. See

for details.

I tend to agree with Damien (love that name!:). I would also say, even
without the neuroscience perspective, it is possible to integrate the
inner (phenomenological) and outer (causal) views of mind. The
probably has been that philosophies of mind usually approach these
either by dualism or monism. Either they radically separate the two
realms -- as if they are metaphysically distinct -- or they completely
reduce one to an epiphenomenon of the other (e.g., Berkeley's
idealism or Marxist materialism). But I'd rather not go into a lot of
detail on this. My desire is to achieve technotranscendence (then
take it for granted:) -- not endlessly discuss it.:)

Daniel Ust