jeeprs wrote:I interpret this as meaning that the nature of mind is fundamentally different to the nature of inanimate matter. There is no way to derive mind from matter.
That is my interpretation as well and what I was trying to paraphrase, but it is not self-evident to me that this is correct. Why is there, 'no way to derive mind from matter'? How has this been proven?
If you approach the question through current, analytical philosophy, or indeed through neuoscience or cognitive science, it is very daunting indeed. There is a website of papers and references on Philosophy of Mind, which is dedicated to this debate, containing in excess of 28,000 papers. Furthermore, the mainstream of academia, particularly in the USA and Britain - somewhat less so in Europe - is firmly on the side of philosophical materialism, that 'mind is the product of brain'. So there are a large number of people, many of them with serious qualifications, who would dispute that 'there is no way to derive mind from matter'. Most of them would say insist you can, and might indeed quote the kind of sources that you mention in your OP.
Contrary to that, there are neuroscientists such as Nobel Prize-winning Sir John Eccles, who formed the view on the basis of both neuro-science and philosophical analysis, that the physical and mental are separate domains. You can find an entry in Wikipedia. There was another famous neuroscientist, Wilber Penfield, who also asked very deep questions about these issues on the basis of his experience.
In relation to the quotations you provided in the original post - I think that saying 'the mind and brain are different' carries some baggage. I will try and explain why.
We know what the brain is (although I think you can argue that the human brain is the most complex known object in the natural world). But if you extend the question to 'what is mind', I think it is a missapplication of the kinds of methods that are used to ask the question 'what is the brain'? But in saying that, we are entering the realm of philosophy, as distinct from
You will notice that at this point, certain deep underlying assumptions of contemporary culture come into play. One of these is that philosophical questions are able to be subordinated
to scientific analysis. To assert that 'mind is a product of brain' is to do exactly that. Why? Because we are relying in that matter on objective analysis of some substance or object, namely, the brain itself. We are asking questions about how it works, what it does, and defining mind in those terms. We are saying 'well, let's analyse mind in terms of what the brain does
'. And if we accept that, then the physicalist account has basically succeeded in bringing the debate onto its terms. At this point, the argument is already lost, as far as I am concerned.
So I want to radically question that. I don't want to even concede the point that 'mind' is something that can be understood in objective terms, in the way that cognitive and neuro-sciences need to understand subjects. Mind and its attributes and characteristics, including reasoned inference, imagination, intuition, symbolic representation, and so on, have epistemic priority
over the methods of the natural sciences. The natural sciences must assume such things as reason and order. But science has no idea, nor even needs to have an idea, of what is the origin of reason or logical order or symbolic language, and so on. Those capabilities are really foundational to the very act of knowing, and so to any kind of scientific endeavour whatever. And when science tries to turn around and ask what these kinds of things are, it is asking questions of an entirely different kind to those of the natural sciences - but, usually, without grasping this vital distinction.
So I say that these fundmantal attributes of mind can't really be reduced or understood in terms of any combination of physical substances, hormones, molecules, or whatever. I say this because it is information on a different order or level, to the kind of information that can be understood in terms of the analysis of physical systems. To even believe that you can understand the nature of reason, intuition, imagination, and language, in terms of the physical objective sciences, is the gross error of physical reductionism which plagues much modern thinking.
So when you say
Parasamgate wrote: Just because we have not yet discovered the precise way in which the brain gives rise to mind does not mean that it does not.
My philosophical view is that something very like 'mind' has in fact given rise to life itself (and omitting many volumes of detailed argumentation for the sake of brevity). Very briefly, the order which characterises the universe itself, and which human beings are able to detect through their rational faculties, precedes and underlies the very formation of stars, planets, and living beings. This does not have to be conceived in terms of a Creator-God or anthropomorphic deity. In fact one of the best models for it in early Western thought was the Stoic idea of 'Logos', which is the inherent organizing principle in nature herself, which manifests as mind in intelligent beings - that which 'steers the all through the all'. There are some resemblances (with numerous caveats) between the Logos and the very idea of Dharma itself (now there's a research paper that might be worth doing.)
There is something very similar to this idea in the 'Santiago Theory of Cognition' which was developed by Maturana and Varela.
The central insight of the Santiago theory is the identification of cognition, the process of knowing, with the process of life. Cognition, according to Maturana and Varela, is the activity involved in the self-generation and self-perpetuation of living systems. In other words, cognition is the very process of life.
This became the basis for Maturana and Varela's works on 'embodied cognition'. Varela, of course, then went on to help found the Mind and Life organization, of which HH the Dalai Lama is patron.
See also Aping Mankind
Raymond Tallis, and the controversial current title by prominent philoospher Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas