samedi 29 juillet 2017

Are Mental States Equivalent to Brain States?

Are they the same? If so, then knowledge of brain states should lead to corresponding knowledge of mental states, but that seems wrong for obvious reasons: All the knowledge of brain states in the world won't help people blind from birth know what seeing is like; you can't know how to ride a bike by studying brain states of bike riders; looking at my brain states won't give you information on what it's like to be me, etc.

Is the mind an emergent property of the brain? Nevermind the ongoing difficulties of a causal explanation of how brains produce mental states (and even in that sentence, you can see the ease with which we separate the two, like we intuitively know brains and minds are different things), the knowledge problem from above still applies: total knowledge of the brain would entail knowing all the emergent properties of the brain, like mind and consciousness. If an alien with a radically different mind than ours studied our brains completely, would they know everything to know about what the emergent property human consciousness is? What it's like to have a human mind? No! And so we're back to you have to experience it to know it.

But under materialism, how can mental states not be brain states?

If mental states are not brain states, is materialism false?

*I obviously borrowed heavily from Mary's Room, and Thomas Nagel.

via International Skeptics Forum

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