Can Neuroscience explain the Ghost in the Machine? :ghost: (Reading…
Can Neuroscience explain the Ghost in the Machine? :ghost:
What is the relationship between the mind and the body?
• Is the mind separate from the brain?
• Is the mind/brain relationship like a computer ‘software/hardware’ relationship?
• Is the mind just an emergent property of the brain?
How are they inter-related? How do these impact on the mind-brain problem?
Schools of thought
Descartes- cogito ergo sum
body is marvellously constructed machine
mind and brain inextricably linked but separate
Science dismisses substance dualism because of the hopelessly insoluble problem of the Cartesian Gap
Cartesian gap - mental theatre - how do impressions cross from physical to mental state and how can we tell how accurate they are?
beh. can be researched without recourse to inner mental states
learning organism = black box, inputs and outputs, no need to understand black box
free will is illusory
the only thing that can exist is matter
therefore the mind is a property of matter
Non-reductive physicalism’: Although there are low-level physical states that cause higher-level states, one can’t explain higher level effects in terms of lower-level causes. So, mind states do come from brain states, but we cant explain mind states in terms of brain states.
Subjective experience is fundamental: We know that mental states are real because we experience them
(This is suspiciously close to Cartesian ideas that separate the observer and the observed)
assumes that info processing occurs at a level which doesn't depend on physical composition of system
in theory all functional systems can be implemented in any hardware
form of property dualism
"no amount of K about the hardware of a computer will tell you anything about the nature of the software that the computer runs - Coltheart
"Emulating the functional behaviour of the brain, or some part of it,is insufficient grounds for attributing to a machine or computing device the cognitive states such as those experienced by conscious beings like ourselves" Searle
complex phenomena can be explained in terms of simpler phenomena
this is what neurophilosophy seeks to do
“Neuroscientists would be silly to make a point of ignoring all behavioural data, just as psychologists would be silly to make a point of ignoring all biological data”
"Insofar as I am trying to discover macro-to-micro explanations, I am a reductionist”
A person virtually converses with a person and a computer
Machine tries to make person believe they are human
Other person tries to help the interrogator to correctly identify machine
Searle's Chinese Room
Imagine a native English speaker who knows no Chinese locked in a room full of boxes of Chinese symbols (a database) together with a book of instructions for manipulating the symbols (the program).
Imagine that people outside the room send in other Chinese symbols which, unknown to the person in the room, are questions in Chinese (the input).
Imagine that by following the instructions in the program the man in the room is able to pass out Chinese symbols which are correct answers to the questions (the output).
Against functionalism: The program enables the person in the room to pass the Turing Test for understanding Chinese but he does not actually understand Chinese. Computers merely use rules to manipulate symbols, but have no understanding of meaning or semantics.
A process that explains the relationship between two theories at different levels
Explaining a ‘high level’ theory in terms of a more fundamental lower-level theory.
Neurophilosophers / neuroscientists (but not functionalists) think that psychological phenomena can be explained in terms of neural function through the process of inter-theoretic reduction.
Eliminative materialism - takes intertheoretic reduction to its logical conclusion - functionalism is folk theory - some/all mental states don't exist - beh. and experience can only be adequately explained on a bio level
This seems counter-intuitive: Surely we have mental states because we actually experience them?
however, we think the self is unified - sperry experiments - severing corpus callosum - 2 streams of conscipusness
eg Mendelian inheritance, quantum optics