The "Materialist View"

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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby shel » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:13 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
shel wrote: there's no way to dispute that our minds are completely dependent on and limited by the physical world.


You are missing the whole point of what mind refers to,
and you are confusing mind with the causes of mind.


Okay I'm missing the point of what mind refers to and I'm confusing mind with the causes of mind. Now that we're clear on that, do you have anything to say about our minds being completely dependent on and limited by the physical world?
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby jeeprs » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:43 am

shel wrote:
jeeprs wrote:What currently known physical medium accounts for the migration of information between different lives? Is there anything known to the physical sciences - chemistry, physics, and the like - which you can point to?


I have no idea, and I don't know what exactly this has to do with the minds being dependent on and limited by the physical world.


To spell it out, then.

There has been research, notably by a Professor Ian Stevenson, who held a privately-endowed chair at the University of Virginia. He spent many years investigating children who claimed to have memories of a previous life. The typical pattern was, around the time the child learned to speak, s/he would say 'My name is not [given name]. Actually I'm [so and so]. You are not my parents. I live in [such and such location].'

Stevenson's method was to interview such children whilst still very young and then correlate their alleged memories with documentary and eyewitness accounts of the other lives they claim to have recalled. (A book on his research is here. One interesting detail is that such children sometimes exhibited birthmarks in the same anatomical location as a wound or injury which was subsequently found to have been the cause of death in the supposed previous life.)

Now I don't particularly want to discuss whether you think this is all bunkum or not - many people do. But the question, for the purpose of this particular debate, is that, if it is shown that children do remember their previous lives, doesn't this undermine your repeated claim that 'the mind is dependent on and limited to the physical world'?
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby steveb1 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:14 am

jeeprs wrote, "the question, for the purpose of this particular debate, is that, if it is shown that children do remember their previous lives, doesn't this undermine your repeated claim that 'the mind is dependent on and limited to the physical world'?"

Just an observation: a similar question might be: How is discovering one's BuddhaNature, Bodhi, entering Nirvana, conform to any aspect of the material world?
It seems that such things have nothing at all to do with the external/objective world, but rather have everything to do with the internal/subjective world.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby jeeprs » Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:33 am

I don't know if I would want to make that sharp a distinction. They are distinct aspects, but they also interpenetrate. It's only a problem when we cling to the physical and treat it as the only reality, to the point where it becomes impossible to conceive of the question in any other way. That is where the problem lies.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby shel » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:36 am

jeeprs wrote:But the question, for the purpose of this particular debate, is that, if it is shown that children do remember their previous lives, doesn't this undermine your repeated claim that 'the mind is dependent on and limited to the physical world'?

You are apparently talking about function or how things specifically work. I'm only claiming essential elements and limitations. Again with the mirror metaphor, I'm saying that the reflection in a mirror is dependent on and limited to what can be reflected (physical objects that can emit or reflect photons or whatever). In terms of process I only point out that when objects (or sense data) are taken away the reflection (or mind) in a mirror vanishes.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby shel » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:41 am

steveb1 wrote:How is discovering one's BuddhaNature, Bodhi, entering Nirvana, conform to any aspect of the material world?
It seems that such things have nothing at all to do with the external/objective world, but rather have everything to do with the internal/subjective world.


Are you kidding? Everything (material or non-material) is empty.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby jeeprs » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:57 am

shel wrote:
jeeprs wrote:But the question, for the purpose of this particular debate, is that, if it is shown that children do remember their previous lives, doesn't this undermine your repeated claim that 'the mind is dependent on and limited to the physical world'?

You are apparently talking about function or how things specifically work.


Yes. That is called 'truth'. I have rather a high regard for it, myself. So the question is - without reference to mirrors, or any other diversions, digressions, or further dissimulation - wouldn't physical evidence of 'past-life memories' defeat your argument that 'the mind is dependent on and limited to the physical world'?
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:14 pm

shel wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
shel wrote: there's no way to dispute that our minds are completely dependent on and limited by the physical world.


You are missing the whole point of what mind refers to,
and you are confusing mind with the causes of mind.


Okay I'm missing the point of what mind refers to and I'm confusing mind with the causes of mind. Now that we're clear on that, do you have anything to say about our minds being completely dependent on and limited by the physical world?


Mind arises interdependently with the physical world. I already said that.
Regarding the causes of mind,
material phenomena obviously does.
awareness does not.
I already said that too.

If you lack awareness of the fact that I already said this,
mind does not arise in response, regardless of the physical properties involved,
which you have just proved.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby shel » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:54 pm

jeeprs wrote:
shel wrote:
jeeprs wrote:But the question, for the purpose of this particular debate, is that, if it is shown that children do remember their previous lives, doesn't this undermine your repeated claim that 'the mind is dependent on and limited to the physical world'?

You are apparently talking about function or how things specifically work.


Yes. That is called 'truth'. I have rather a high regard for it, myself. So the question is - without reference to mirrors, or any other diversions, digressions, or further dissimulation - wouldn't physical evidence of 'past-life memories' defeat your argument that 'the mind is dependent on and limited to the physical world'?

I honestly don't see how rebirth undermines the apparent fact that the mind is dependent on and limited by the physical world. A physical world is required for this process to work, right? Therefor it is dependent on the physical world. How is that not obvious?

In regard to the limitations, rebirth shows how limited we are by the physical. For instance, of all the inconceivable vastness of the universe, other dimensions, etc, we are not only limited to the physical, we are limited to this inconceivably (in relation to the universe) small world. It's like of all the grains of sand in the world, all the vast deserts and beaches, we are limited to a tiny molecule of one grain.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby shel » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:55 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Mind arises interdependently with the physical world. I already said that.


And we are in complete agreement. :woohoo:
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby jeeprs » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:29 pm

Shel wrote:I honestly don't see how rebirth undermines the apparent fact that the mind is dependent on and limited by the physical world. A physical world is required for this process to work, right? Therefor it is dependent on the physical world. How is that not obvious?


Not if there are realms other than the physical such as the hell realms, heaven realms, and so on. Do you think they're 'physical? What do you think 'physical' actually means? Why do nearly all scientists regard things like past-life research and near-death research as 'pseudo-scientific'? Isn't it because these indicate 'non-physical realities'? How do samskaras, memories, karma, migrate from one to another life?
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby Alex123 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:18 pm

shel wrote:It seems to me that the materialist view is purely a reasoned philosophical position and is not something that can be assumed in others.


Right. Philosophical materialism is as much unverifiable ontological philosophy as idealism.

We can never directly observe if there is something (of if there isn't anything) unobserved because as soon as you observe, you are observing.


shel wrote:What I mean is that just because someone describes themselves as an atheist, for example, it doesn't necessarily follow that they hold a materialist philosophical position.


Right. Atheism is different from materialism, and religion (such as Christianity) does not have to be idealistic. In fact it seems that literally speaking Bible is materialistic. One is supposed to be physically resurrected. Spirit is translation of latin word ("spiritus") as "breath". You can't breath unless you have a physical body. This I believe is significance of Christ's fairy tale resurrection. It is supposed to be an example that dead can arise and be alive again, presumably in the same physical body....

Another thing:

In Old Testament, word for soul is "nephesh". It means life.

“In His hand is the life (nephesh) of every living thing and the spirit (ruah) of every human being.”link
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby Alex123 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:44 pm

jeeprs wrote:Not if there are realms other than the physical such as the hell realms, heaven realms, and so on. Do you think they're 'physical? What do you think 'physical' actually means? Why do nearly all scientists regard things like past-life research and near-death research as 'pseudo-scientific'? Isn't it because these indicate 'non-physical realities'? How do samskaras, memories, karma, migrate from one to another life?


Physical includes: length, width, height, temperature, color, location. So if hell is some realm located somewhere where people are boiled in cauldrons and red demons with horns walk around, then it is in this aspect physical.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby jeeprs » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:58 pm

If it it physical, how come physicists don't know about it?
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby shel » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:47 am

jeeprs wrote:
Shel wrote:I honestly don't see how rebirth undermines the apparent fact that the mind is dependent on and limited by the physical world. A physical world is required for this process to work, right? Therefor it is dependent on the physical world. How is that not obvious?


Not if there are realms other than the physical such as the hell realms, heaven realms, and so on.

There are dimension and worlds beyond our imagining in the universe, which is odd if our minds are not dependent on this physical world. We can only imagine "hell realms, heaven realms, and so on," and all of these realm contain elements of this physical world and nothing beyond our imagining. Our imaginations are limited by our experience and knowledge. That being the case, it seems our imaginations should not be so limited, if they were indeed unfettered by the physical.

Do you think they're 'physical?

How would I know, or for that matter, how would you know?

What do you think 'physical' actually means?

For this discussion, relating to things perceived through the senses as opposed to the mind; tangible or concrete.

Why do nearly all scientists regard things like past-life research and near-death research as 'pseudo-scientific'?

I don't know exactly, I'm not a scientist. Probably because there's no known way to apply the scientific method to such things.

Isn't it because these indicate 'non-physical realities'?

It is difficult to conduct experiments on things that can't be seen, touched, heard, smelled, or tasted. So yeah.

How do samskaras, memories, karma, migrate from one to another life?

No one knows, to be frank. I could ask a dozen questions about the basics of the process and no one in the world could answer them. Or maybe it's a big secret. :spy:
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby shel » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:49 am

jeeprs wrote:If it it physical, how come physicists don't know about it?


Why doesn't an ant know about the big bang theory? There are countless things in the universe physicists don't know about.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby jeeprs » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:53 am

Including your definition of 'physical' which is: anything we happen to be discussing at the time.

I give up, again. :broke:
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby shel » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:58 am

jeeprs wrote:Including your definition of 'physical' which is: anything we happen to be discussing at the time.


There are different senses of words, and meaning is fluid. Or is it that you believe words have a fixed and eternal nature?

I liked that definition because of how much we've discusses sensory deprivation in this topic.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby undefineable » Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:52 pm

Any objection to materialism can easily be shot down if it strays too far from the broadest possible definition of matter and the narrowest possible definition of mind - together minimizing any innocent or willful confusion. For example, the term 'matter' could be applied to anything appearing in three dimensions, even though 'matter' (in strict, non-generic terms) is just one form of the energy that pervades much of space {'The physical' would, of course, be a better term.}
jeeprs wrote:phenomenology has demonstrated, mind has a foundational role in the nature of reality. This doesn't mean that in the absence of mind, or when you loose consciousness, that nothing exists. That is only 'imagined non-existence'. The foundational role of mind is that phenomenal reality exists from a point-of-view. The point-of-view is what unites and relates all the otherwise completely unrelated fragments and aspects of 'reality' into a whole - what 'makes manifest' or 'realizes' the reality. Otherwise, where is one aspect of reality in relation to another? How does anything within it, or the scene itself, have duration? The perception of the spatial relations and awareness of temporal duration, which are essential to the fabric of reality, are brought to the picture by the mind.

Fair points, but some would say it is we sentient beings who see parts separately from wholes, which function as one, even if it's only we who also see relationships between them all. An enlightened being seems unlikely to think in terms of 'parts' or 'wholes'.
steveb1 wrote:Pure number _ _ are non-material, self-explanatory systems that can pertain to materiality, but do not need to do so.

If you're counting, you have to originally be counting things in order for the act of counting to make sense. The awareness of counting is a different story.

However,
shel wrote:Our imaginations are limited by our experience and knowledge.
Tell that to a kid :tongue:

A wise (or maybe foolish) man once said that the brain works better as a means of keeping things out than a means of letting them in :sage:

Also, the circularity of the materialist argument is demonstrated by this point:
shel wrote:It is difficult to conduct experiments on things that can't be seen, touched, heard, smelled, or tasted.
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Re: The "Materialist View"

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:55 pm

jeeprs wrote:If it it physical, how come physicists don't know about it?


What is funny is that when people speculate about other realms,
the question always seems to be,
"Are they real, like this one that we experience?".
using the arising appearances of the human realm
as the standard measure of validation.
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