The "Materialist View"

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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby jeeprs » Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:29 pm

Shel wrote:Like a mirror is dependent on something to reflect, in order to be a mirror, I've tried to show that the mind is entirely depended on 'something to reflect' or sense data. There is no mind without sense data, as there is no mirror without something to reflect


How do you know that? What do you think is the significance of trance states in yogic practice? ' nirvikalpa samadhi' means 'contentless consciousness'. It is true that this condition is referred to as 'no-mind' but this 'no mind' refers to mind beyond duality. In Advaita it is called 'turiya', the fourth state beyond waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep.

This is not something understood in Western philosophy, but this is a Buddhist forum. In Tibetan Buddhist teaching, Non-dual mind is the basis of reality itself. So I don't think Buddhist philosophy will endorse reductionist explanations of mind which attempt to account for mind in terms of objects of perception.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby shel » Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:31 pm

jeeprs wrote:
Shel wrote:Like a mirror is dependent on something to reflect, in order to be a mirror, I've tried to show that the mind is entirely depended on 'something to reflect' or sense data. There is no mind without sense data, as there is no mirror without something to reflect


How do you know that?

That a mirror without anything to reflect would not be a mirror?

...This is not something understood in Western philosophy...

It's understood in Western religious mysticism.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby jeeprs » Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:31 am

At this point in the thread, the proposition which you are defending is:

Shel wrote:There is no mind without sense data, as there is no mirror without something to reflect


I have challenged that, by saying that in Eastern philosophy, there is an established understanding of 'mind without sense data'. So, I am saying the proposition that 'there is no mind without sense data', can't be sustained.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby steveb1 » Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:04 am

jeeprs wrote:

"I have challenged that, by saying that in Eastern philosophy, there is an established understanding of 'mind without sense data'. So, I am saying the proposition that 'there is no mind without sense data', can't be sustained."

I've never understood this insistence that there is no mind without sense data; this may be a personal failing on my part, but in all truth, I've never been able to "crack" it. Number/numbers do not need to correspond to physical "things"; neither do logical progressions. Moreover, and much "closer to home", is the fact that first-person intropection contains nothing physical. One's self-exploration, "qualia", evaluation of truth/untruth, one's direct experience of one's own subjectivity, contain nothing material whatsoever. Neither do the great statements of mystics and sages, including the Buddha and Jesus. This is why the insistence that mind arises from brain activity is rightly called "the Hard Problem".

I think that the idea: "For something to be real, it must be a fact - a physically-quantifiable, external thing" - is a huge misconception of modernity. "Factualness" or "factuality" is not always equivalent to truth or Truth. This is mostly an "Enlightenment" idea and ideal, and while indispensable for many types of exo-exploration, it is irrelevant to first-person introspection. This is because there are no physical "objects" in one's consciousness. Even internal considerations about the brain, body, and phsysical world are not material things, but rather non-material concepts. Of course, the ability to formulate such ideas may be based on brain activity, but at this point, such a theory is still a surmise; and more importantly, it is irrelevant to the issue at hand, namely: the nonmateriality of our subjectivity, and its independence of sense data.

There exists a pseudo-rationalistic, reductionistic cliche that goes something like, "Neuroscientists have been studying the brain for decades, and have never discovered anything like a soul".

Of course, the obvious reply would be, "The soul is non-material, not composed of matter, so therefore it is not surprising that neuroscience, which like all sciences, deals only with matter, would not find a soul in the brain/neurosystems". That would be like looking into the Sahara and gloating that you've never found living sea anemones in that locale. A category error of the grossest kind.

One smart-ass reply from the non-materialist side might be formulated, "Meditators have been studying the soul for thousands of years, and have never discovered anything like a brain".

The bottom line is that, no matter how complex its structure and sophisticated its function, the brain is nonetheless a three-pound skull organ. As a physical object, living or not, does not have a subjective point of view, so too the brain is not a subjective being. The brain can, and probably does, have a great deal to do with humans' points of view and their qualia, but the identification of personhood and subjectivity with the brain is still a category error. To invoke another cliche, "The brain is some thing; but I am some one."

Mind is a subjective category; the brain is an objective, material entity "out there", along with all other material objects. To identify the two categories or levels seems to me to be a grievous error.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby Indrajala » Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:21 am

jeeprs wrote:So I don't think Buddhist philosophy will endorse reductionist explanations of mind which attempt to account for mind in terms of objects of perception.


I respectfully disagree.

For instance, in basic Abhidharma there are eighteen compositional elements for cognition (aṣṭādaśa-dhātavaḥ). They include the six sense faculties (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind), their six corresponding objects (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch and ideation) and the resulting six consciousnesses (vijñāna).

Beyond this there are no other consciousnesses or mind.

A consciousness is effectively a reaction between the faculty and its respective object. In other words, each faculty grasps the related object, and a corresponding consciousness emerges. Without an object, there is no mind.

However, Yogācāra goes further by introducing the idea of eight consciousnesses which include the above six plus the defiled mind (kliṣṭa-mano-vijñāna) and the store consciousness (ālayavijñāna).

The kliṣṭa-mano-vijñāna is dependent on a perception of continuity, which gives rise to a false sense of self. Again, without that object this component of the mind would presumably not exist.

There is no single "mind", but really a continuity of multiple functions and processes at work, all of which depend on an object to be grasped, be it internal or external, in order to exist, even briefly.

There can be absence of all consciousness and all sense of subjective self, but then that's transcendence of the "mind". In my opinion that is where the "path of language and words are severed".
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:50 am

Shel wrote:There is no mind without sense data, as there is no mirror without something to reflect

Correction, please:
There is nothing functioning as a mirror when there is nothing to reflect.
But the cause for reflection, the silver paint on the back of glass, is still there.
Likewise, nothing functioning as mind without sense data
but the causes of mind are still there.
Previous example:
famous painting locked in light-proof box,
the painting no longer exists,
but the causes of the painting (oils on canvas + source of illumination) are still there.
New example:
Allergy to poison ivy exists
even when there is no exposure to poison ivy.

I think the word we are looking for is potential.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby shel » Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:43 am

jeeprs wrote:At this point in the thread, the proposition which you are defending is:

Shel wrote:There is no mind without sense data, as there is no mirror without something to reflect


I have challenged that, by saying that in Eastern philosophy, there is an established understanding of 'mind without sense data'. So, I am saying the proposition that 'there is no mind without sense data', can't be sustained.


How can a mind develop, or be sustained once developed, without sense data? :shrug:
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby jeeprs » Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:38 am

Huseng wrote:For instance, in basic Abhidharma there are eighteen compositional elements for cognition (aṣṭādaśa-dhātavaḥ). They include the six sense faculties (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind), their six corresponding objects (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch and ideation) and the resulting six consciousnesses (vijñāna).

Beyond this there are no other consciousnesses or mind.


Well, there are grounds to dispute that. The exact status of citta is rather ambiguous in the early texts. There is one school of thought that would subscribe to that view, but there are others. For instance there is the verse on 'luminous mind' in the Pali texts, which is often seen (i.e, by Harvey) as the pre-cursor to the later mind-only schools.

"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements."

"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements."

"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements.

The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — there is no development of the mind."


"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — there is development of the mind."


(Pabhassara Sutta)

(It is instructive that Ven Thanissaro's commentary on that Sutta in Access to Insight really cannot come to terms with the notion, in my view, precisely because it seems to contradict the standard abhidhamma account.)

As for whether there is or is not a kind of 'transcendent mind', consider the following:

Then Ven. Maha Kotthita went to Ven. Sariputta and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to Ven. Sariputta, "With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media [vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & intellection] is it the case that there is anything else?"

[Sariputta:] "Don't say that, my friend."

[Maha Kotthita:] "With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media, is it the case that there is not anything else?"

[Sariputta:] "Don't say that, my friend."

[Maha Kotthita:] "...is it the case that there both is & is not anything else?"

[Sariputta:] "Don't say that, my friend."

[Maha Kotthita:] "...is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?"

[Sariputta:] "Don't say that, my friend."

[Maha Kotthita:] "Being asked if, with the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media, there is anything else, you say, 'Don't say that, my friend.' Being asked if ... there is not anything else ... there both is & is not anything else ... there neither is nor is not anything else, you say, 'Don't say that, my friend.' Now, how is the meaning of your words to be understood?"

[Sariputta:] "The statement, 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media [vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & intellection] is it the case that there is anything else?' objectifies non-objectification.[1] The statement, '... is it the case that there is not anything else ... is it the case that there both is & is not anything else ... is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectifies non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes. However far objectification goes, that is how far the six contact media go. With the remainderless fading & stopping of the six contact-media, there comes to be the stopping, the allaying of objectification.


(Kotthita Sutta)

The phrase ‘objectifies non-objectification’ is key here. As Thanissaro Bikkhu notes in his commentary, ‘the root of the classifications and perceptions of objectification is the thought, "I am the thinker." This thought forms the motivation for the questions that Ven. Maha Kotthita is presenting here.’ The very action of thinking ‘creates the thinker’. In effect, the questioner is asking, ‘is this something I can experience?’ And to do so, tends towards eternalism. But I would say that the opposite view, that there is nothing beyond the 'six sense gates', tends towards nihilism.

Shel wrote:How can a mind develop, or be sustained once developed, without sense data?


Well, I agree it can't be. But we are not talking about a mind, but Mind. Of course I quite agree that this is a mysterious and elusive concept, which is one reason why it has been dropped from much contemporary discourse. But if you consider, for instance, the Tibetan teaching of the One Mind, here you have a philosophical framework within which Mind is understood as 'self-existent', that is, not dependent on anything else, uncreated and uncaused. But you have to be careful because it ought never be reified into an object (for which, see the above points.)

AND, once again, I find myself in pretty well complete agreement with SteveB's post, above. :thumbsup:
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby Indrajala » Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:38 am

jeeprs wrote:Well, there are grounds to dispute that. The exact status of citta is rather ambiguous in the early texts.


Early śāstra authors often discussed the possibility of additional consciousnesses while drawing on statements found in sūtras, which led to the formulation of ālayavijñāna theories. This was indeed the step taken towards identifying a 'transcendent mind', though this was not considered absolute, and it can indeed be reduced to the fact that it conventionally exists only by virtue of afflictions and karma.

More importantly to our discussion is that the ālayavijñāna still entails an object and aspect, though they are imperceptible. For example, Vasubandhu in the Karma Siddhi Prakaraṇa:

    1. Names.

    Since this consciousness continues (pratisamdadhāti), and since it appropriates to itself (upādādati) the body (kāya), it is called the appropriating consciousness (ādānavijñāna). Since the seeds (bīja) of all the dharmas lie therein (ālīyate), it is called the receptacle-consciousness (ālayavijñāna). Since it is the retribution (vipāka) of actions laid down in past lives (pūrvajanman), it is also called retribution-consciousness (vipākaphala-ālayavijñāna).

    ...

    36. What is the object (ālambana) and the aspect (ākāra) of this consciousness?

    Its object and its aspect are imperceptible (asaṃvidita).
    How can a consciousness be thus?
    You admit indeed that, in the state of absorption of extinction, etc., there is a special consciousness the object and the aspect of which are difficult to know. The same holds here [for the receptacle-consciousness].


See Lamotte, 66-67.

Incidentally, in East Asia it was taken a step further where an amala-vijñāna (the ninth "stainless" consciousness) was posited by Paramārtha (499-569) and his colleagues as a result of wanting to account for liberation and how the ālayavijñāna is considered defiled.

Clearly if there is an active transcendent awareness at work in nirodha-samāpatti, it still entails an object, without which presumably there is no such awareness.

I think we can say that in Buddhist philosophy all mental states are dependent on objects to exist. To say otherwise is problematic because it defies causality.

Nevertheless, in my opinion all such things can be remedied via Madhyamaka analysis where such things, including the language and ideas surrounding them, hold no inherent existence (svabhava). This avoids the charges of nihilism and eternalism. Hence, while you might state,

The very action of thinking ‘creates the thinker’. In effect, the questioner is asking, ‘is this something I can experience?’ And to do so, tends towards eternalism. But I would say that the opposite view, that there is nothing beyond the 'six sense gates', tends towards nihilism.


The whole point really is to halt nimitta-grāha (grasping at marks/characteristics), which entails ending mental application of reification (nimitta-grāha) and the opposite "elimination" (apavāda) -- in other words the 'very action of thinking' which 'creates the thinker'. This therefore ends tainted (āsrava) action and consequently karmic outflows. Such an end to karmic outflows is contrary to afflictions and would end them as well. The individual, which is the sum of their karma, likewise halts. Nirodha-samāpatti extinguishes all sense of individuality as well.

This is where "the path of language and words end", so to speak.

But then, you might suggest, is there still something beyond that? Again, this is where language has its limits. To "go beyond" is to go beyond existence and non-existence, and individuality. From a panpsychic point of view, perhaps, at that point there is no longer an individual "mind" to speak of, but the embracing of all minds which mistakenly think of themselves as individuals, but are empty, "lucid" and "luminous".

Transcendence of the individual mind means proceeding towards something greater than the singular mind, which even at a basic level is only the sum of its parts.

This is why I believe your statement is problematic:

So I don't think Buddhist philosophy will endorse reductionist explanations of mind which attempt to account for mind in terms of objects of perception.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby jeeprs » Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:15 am

Well, excellent analysis. When I say 'objects of perception', what I am getting at is 'objects' per se, or things that are perceptible in the objective realm. After all the materialist analysis of mind must always insist that the ultimate constituent of mind (and everything else) is a material object. Otherwise, how is such a view 'materialist'? In the modern context, that usually amounts to the claim that mental states are supervenient on material entities, which are ultimately reducible to the entities of physics. Materialists must insist on this view, otherwise they have basically surrendered their position.

Contrast that with the view on the nature of Mind given by HH The Dalai Lama in his recent statement on the question of his re-incarnation:

There are many different logical arguments given in the words of the Buddha and subsequent commentaries to prove the existence of past and future lives. In brief, they come down to four points: the logic that things are preceded by things of a similar type, the logic that things are preceded by a substantial cause, the logic that the mind has gained familiarity with things in the past, and the logic of having gained experience of things in the past.

Ultimately all these arguments are based on the idea that the nature of the mind, its clarity and awareness, must have clarity and awareness as its substantial cause. It cannot have any other entity such as an inanimate object as its substantial cause. This is self-evident. Through logical analysis we infer that a new stream of clarity and awareness cannot come about without causes or from unrelated causes. While we observe that mind cannot be produced in a laboratory, we also infer that nothing can eliminate the continuity of subtle clarity and awareness.

As far as I know, no modern psychologist, physicist, or neuroscientist has been able to observe or predict the production of mind either from matter or without cause.


I think this supports the idea that mind is in some sense self-existent, even if individual minds are indeed subject, like everything else, to dependent origination. Mind comes from mind, as it were, rather than from some material cause, like the combination of substances.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby Indrajala » Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:47 am

jeeprs wrote:When I say 'objects of perception', what I am getting at is 'objects' per se, or things that are perceptible in the objective realm.


Oh okay, that clarifies your argument more.

Keep in mind, though, the idea of "subjective" and "objective" are not really found historically in Indian thought, especially in religious traditions (which make up most of classical Indian thought incidentally) which regularly assert that an individual's mind is subject to direct perception by another being. It doesn't even have to be a sagely being either. What we think of as "subjective", as in my own thoughts which only I presumably perceive, are actually open to direct perception by others. The line between objective and subjective simply isn't there at a certain level.


In the modern context, that usually amounts to the claim that mental states are supervenient on material entities, which are ultimately reducible to the entities of physics. Materialists must insist on this view, otherwise they have basically surrendered their position.


I've come to think that line of thought results in panpsychism. I know that plenty of people assert that consciousness is an "emergent" property of matter, but then it begs the question where, how and why consciousness would arise from certain collections of matter at certain times and not elsewhere. If consciousness is reducible to physical processes, why are those processes not conscious, even at a subtle or mild level? This has of course been discussed at length and theories put forth to explain this, but from my standpoint I only see panpsychism as plausible.

From the perspective of panpsychism, a lot of theories about telepathy, reincarnation and consciousness make sense incidentally. Moreover, from a Mahāyāna Buddhist perspective, it jives well with the idea of embracing all beings (tathāgatagarbha) whereby in the absence of "self" (as in one subjective mind) there is not nihility, but rather the entirety of all beings who collectively create time and space. There is a capacity to embrace all of them simultaneously plus the cosmos which are actually a reflection of their collective actions. A tathāgata is not a being (sattva), but so rather a force amongst all beings of the ten directions.

(Vasubandhu in the Abhidharma-kośa-bhāsya states, “The collective force of the actions of beings produces the winds which create (nirmā) the moon, the sun and the stars in heaven.")

In other words, if all matter is actually aware, and is really the fundamental "stuff" of reality, then a single being eliminating the mistaken perception of "self" might shed the capsule of selfhood and come to unconditionally embrace all of that fundamental "stuff", having unconditional compassion and concern for it, and moreover vast ability, albeit not omnipotence, to influence the greater process.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby jeeprs » Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:08 am

I agree the thinking behind 'subjective and objective' would be problematic in any school of Indian philosophy.

I quite agree with a lot of your post, but I think the effort to conceive of consciousness as 'suffusing' the universe, or existing in primitive form in particles themselves, ought to be carefully considered. It gives the idea that consciousness (mind, intelligence) is something extended in space and that exists as a kind of phenomena. From this the next step is always to try and imagine what it is, or even sense it. But there is a deep problem here.

Consider ourselves. How does consciousness 'appear' to us? Well, it actually doesn't appear to us. It appears as us! It is never a 'that', never an 'object of cognition'. Consciousness (mind, intelligence) is what we are. It is not amongst the objects of existence, it is not amongst phenomena. It is radically other to such things. That is another sense in which I objected to 'explaining the mind in terms of objects'.

But I agree these are all deep and tricky questions, and I thank you for your comments on my posts.

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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby wayland » Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:42 am

RE: no mind without sense data. What is the opinion concerning the dream state, where all 'objects' (and subject) are mind-made without recourse to any sense data?
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby Indrajala » Sat Feb 23, 2013 10:58 am

wayland wrote:RE: no mind without sense data. What is the opinion concerning the dream state, where all 'objects' (and subject) are mind-made without recourse to any sense data?


Sixth consciousness (mano-vijñāna) and corresponding object.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:10 pm

wayland wrote: What is the opinion concerning the dream state, where all 'objects' (and subject) are mind-made without recourse to any sense data?


"objects are mind made" is, oddly, a complex oversimplification.
(my favorite oxymoron of the day)

Objects in dreams are like shapes appearing in clouds.
They aren't really there, and the mind isn't really creating them.
awareness is still "witnessing" the electro-neuro-chemical activity (that's the sense data) of the brain,
just as it does when we are awake,
and mind arises as that witnessing, as a combination of awareness and physical brain activity,
and mind, manifesting as the witness of awareness and phenomena is the experience.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby wayland » Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:10 am

Huseng wrote:
wayland wrote:RE: no mind without sense data. What is the opinion concerning the dream state, where all 'objects' (and subject) are mind-made without recourse to any sense data?


Sixth consciousness (mano-vijñāna) and corresponding object.

What would be the "corresponding object"?
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby shel » Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:22 am

steveb1 wrote:I've never understood this insistence that there is no mind without sense data; this may be a personal failing on my part, but in all truth, I've never been able to "crack" it.


I think that I can help you crack it, Steve, if you can muster a bit of open mindedness and imagination.

In popular culture there's a science fiction film series call The Matrix. The story takes place in the future where a technology exists that can basically control all sense input to the human brain. In the following video clip the technology is demonstrated.



Now try to imagine what would happen if you were connected to a machine like the one in the video, only instead of a white room and furniture no construct whatsoever were supplied to the brain. No sight, sound, touch, or feeling of any kind; complete sensory deprivation. What do you think would happen to your mind in this situation?
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby steveb1 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:18 am

shel wrote, "What do you think would happen to your mind in this situation?"

I suppose that would depend on a person's meditational level. The unpracticed, for whom sensory experience is deemed a necessary component of the "real" world, I would hazard the guess that their first reaction might be some variety of panic, but perhaps after an extended period in such a state, they would realize that their personal experience of their personal subjectivity is continuing even minus the constant sensory bombardment that had previously characterized their "pre-matrix" life. I would further hazard the guess that a yogin with (say) forty years of contemplative experience under his/her belt would first react with a surprise which would not necessarily lead to panic, and would shortly resolve into a kind of "business as usual" state. I further hazard the guess that this is testable, and the results would shed light on the issue of the supposed dependence of mind on sensory input.

However, please note that my original claim was not about the dependence of mind on sensory input, but rather about the fact that not everything in the mind, not everything the mind does, is - or is related to - sense data, such as numerical patterns, logical progressions, contemplation of truth, goodness, beauty, self-knowledge, etc.

So my original statement stands: the brain is some thing; a person is some one, and the levels cannot be mixed without committing a gross category error.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby shel » Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:38 am

steveb1 wrote:I would further hazard the guess that a yogin with (say) forty years of contemplative experience under his/her belt would first react with a surprise which would not necessarily lead to panic, and would shortly resolve into a kind of "business as usual" state.

You must realize that any human mind would rapidly degenerate in this situation. And a mind born into this situation could not develop at all.

not everything in the mind, not everything the mind does, is - or is related to - sense data, such as numerical patterns, logical progressions, contemplation of truth, goodness, beauty, self-knowledge, etc.

Obviously, all these things you mention, and anything else you can imagine, would have no use without the physical world.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby undefineable » Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:46 am

Simon E. wrote:You stated that materialist have no explanation of mind. They do, but it is not one that would appeal to most Buddhists. It is that the mind as such does not exist..that the convention called the mind is a series of physical events. That is what is taught in every psychology course and psychology module. The existence of the awareness you describe which is not material or physical would be utterly rejected

Saying it's so doesn't make it so. I (and perhaps Shel) doubt it's ever put as baldly as you suggest, self-evident falsehood being a danger whenever emperors are trying on new clothes, so to speak:
jeeprs wrote:Penrose called his book on he subject 'The Emperor's New Mind' - that is, the notion that mind doesn't exist is quite as ridiculous as the Emperor believing himself clad in invisible garments.

Surely, though, 'soft' materialists at least (epiphenomenalists etc.) can write off awareness as irrelevant to a reality of which which it is too insignificant to form part, given that it has yet to be shown capable of causing any of the kind of empirical events that it appears to directly result from. However, the implications of this can easily sound sugar-coated at best (i.e. "whatever you think you're doing by yourself, you can trust your brain to get it done for you") or an excuse to avoid moral agency at worst.

On an explicit level atleast, materialist beliefs lack such purposes, of course - There's still so many eternalist sorts apparently running scared of them that they retain their macho credentials for now. After all, believing that there's nothing to tie one's mind together suggests it should fall apart as soon as the belief in something that does that job ceases. The initial problem faced by materialism under 'reality testing', though, is that a) this doesn't necessarily happen, and b) the appearance (at least) of "tied-together minds" is shared by all mentally healthy individuals.
Simon E. wrote:A recent study discovered that theories of mind were now in terms of UK Universities the domain of Humanities and Arts faculties.
They are no longer taught in medicine, psychology or other science courses.
Therapies like CBT are intellectually respectable because they are not posited exclusively on " mind " events.

So does Psychology still differ from Psychiatry? Also, how on earth does CBT not depend on "mind" events? And at the cutting edge, is there not still a fair amount of investigation into the nature of mind among well-known neuroscientists etc.? Sorry if I'm not up-to-date :emb:
shel wrote:The effect of cutting off all sense input [from the physical world] to the human brain would be rapid degeneration.

shel wrote:You must realize that any human mind would rapidly degenerate in this situation. And a mind born into this situation could not develop at all.

Evidence?? What about the 'walled-in' hermits (sorry, no ref.) who -as Buddhists- practice the self-reflective potential of mind {Hoping that's in the right ballpark :thinking: } Since the scenario you described is my ultimate fear (and I'm sure I'm not alone), I'm suspicious of the idea that unconsciousness (or anything else) would quickly rescue anyone from the full horror of it.

A footnote: It would be interesting to compare the Buddhist concept of nonexistence with the materialist one, since the materialist one sounds close to comparing a self-evident reality (awareness) with "the son of a barren woman" etc. etc., rather than qualifying it as illusory. Perhaps a better definition of terms like 'illusion' would help - As they stand, they imply that the object of perception is completely nonexistent, yet as we all know, it does in fact exist as a mental fabrication.
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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