I agree that that post. That says pretty well all I would want to say on the topic.
shel wrote: The options would seem to be:
A) If the brain contained any memories or thought to begin with, in the absence of anything else (sense input) it would soon degenerate into nothing.
B) The brain would be sustained by non-physical sense data, so a mind would emerge, or be sustained indefinitely if a mind were already present.
Sorry - I had missed this post when I responded to the one posted subsequently.
From what you have said, I think you're not really acquainted with materialist or physicalist theories of mind. They state that the act of thought, itself, can be understood solely in terms of neural mechanisms, the transfer of substances across membranes, and so on. Of course they acknowledge that in the case of the human brain, the processes are immensely complex, but in principle it is understandable through neurobiological analysis, with no residue. The two main forms that materialism takes in modern thinking is this one - the neurobiological - and the evolutionary approach, which is that humans are the outcome of a non-directed, essentially fortuitous material process which can be understood solely through scientific method, in principle, anyway.
However it is not really productive to explain a viewpoint for the sole purpose of saying what's wrong with it. SteveB also linked to some reviews of current criticisms of physicalism in this post.
It includes mention of a recent book by UK philosopher, Raymond Tallis, who has the advantage of in-depth knowledge of neuroscience, having been medically trained. He also is not pushing a religious cause, as he is a self-described 'proud atheist'. See also http://www.catholiceducation.org/articl ... ap0396.htm
for an in-depth review
PadmaVonSambha wrote:When we "have a thought" what does that actually mean?
What's 'an idea'? Where to start? There are obviously many ways to begin to explore that topic. But the approach that I ended up with on the Philosophy Forums was this: 'a thought' is, in some senses, irreducibly subjective
. That is, it has to occur to someone! A thought is never an object, as such. There is no 'thought' anywhere in the objective realm (except for what can be conveyed symbolically by various means). But thought, as such, only ever occurs to a subject, which is never fully disclosed in any act of thought, nor is fully part of the objective realm. That mode of argument opens out on to phenomenology, linguistics, art, and many other areas, (most of which 'materialists' showed very little interest in.)
He that knows it, knows it not.