Saturday, December 13, 2008

Facts That Support Substance Dualism

1. We have an inner life
2. Evidence from post mortem survival
3. Psi evidence
4. Neuroscientific evidence is compatible with neuroscientific evidence for example the brain is a transmitter decoder of consciousness. The information is received and decoded by the brain.
5. Other phenomena such as stigmata challenge that mind is an emergent property of the brain.

Here's an interesting study on extracting images from the brain.

Perceptual experience consists of an enormous number of possible states. Previous fMRI studies have predicted a perceptual state by classifying brain activity into prespecified categories. Constraint-free visual image reconstruction is more challenging, as it is impractical to specify brain activity for all possible images. In this study, we reconstructed visual images by combining local image bases of multiple scales, whose contrasts were independently decoded from fMRI activity by automatically selecting relevant voxels and exploiting their correlated patterns. Binary-contrast, 10 × 10-patch images (2^100 possible states) were accurately reconstructed without any image prior on a single trial or volume basis by measuring brain activity only for several hundred random images. Reconstruction was also used to identify the presented image among millions of candidates. The results suggest that our approach provides an effective means to read out complex perceptual states from brain activity while discovering information representation in multivoxel patterns.

It looks like they've been successful at developing a basic method for translating brain state/image correlates into perceptible images. It will lead to interesting new technologies, no doubt. Philosophically, however, it isn't surprising. Not exactly, but it's sort of like what a DVD player does on a TV screen when you pop in a DVD and hit play.


Keith said...

In light of your comments about neuroscience, Leo, I think that a more interesting question is whether any facts could support the idea that the brain produces consciousness. What evidence could show that for you? If strong artificial intelligence were developed, would that show that consciousness emerges from physical systems, or just than an AI-unit is as accessible to a soul as brains are--that is, that computers can filter souls like brains do?

What evidence would absolutely show that the brain produces consciousness? Can you imagine any?

Leo MacDonald said...

Well one if the evidence for survival were shown to be complete bunk then that would definitely go towards falsifying the transmission theory.

Another would be if strong Ai developed. Because the transmission theory predicts that a medium out in space would the generator of consciousness. If their wasn't any evidence for survival no doubt the view that brain produces consciousness would have to be accepted.

Leo MacDonald said...

A good article on artifical intelligence is found here.

Keith said...

Even if *all* of the "survival evidence" were shown to be fraudulent, based on misreporting, etc, it still would not show that survival after death doesn't happen. It would only show that we don't have any reliable evidence for survival--which could be the case if we all survive death but are completely unable to communicate with the living. So that wouldn't even come close to falsifying survival--it would only establish no reason to affirm it. (Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, as they say.)

I don't understand how strong AI would falsify dualism--after all, there would only be correlations between silicon states and conscious experiences, and the dualist mantra is that correlation is not causation. Maybe computers can "transmit" some external consciousness the way brains supposedly do.

Leo MacDonald said...

Hi Keith

If you like know the only reason why I believe in life after death is because of the evidence. If it wasn't for the evidence I would probably side with extinction. But i know what you mean even if their wasn't evidence for survival their's only the chance that it maybe true.

So what you are saying is their's no way to falsify dualism?. May I ask you what would falsify naturalism?.

Keith said...

Leo: Google "A Defense of Naturalism" and look at Chapter 2. That entire chapter presents an argument that naturalism is probably true because it has not been falsified (in some sense of falsification--maybe "disconfirmed" would be the technical philosophy of science term). In the conclusion of Ch. 1, I explore in great depth what it would take to falsify naturalism, and present an example of an event which would do the trick. Then in Ch. 2 I present the argument for naturalism based on the lack of any definitive falsifying/disconfirming evidence.

Leo MacDonald said...


I like to respond to what you said about parapsychologists and disembodied minds.

You said close to the end of chapter 2

''And while paranormal phenomena allegedly involving disembodied human agents constitute what parapsychologists call survival research, this area of research is minuscule within the field as a whole, with most parapsychologists much more interested in trying to provide unequivocal evidence for extrasensory perceptual modes and psychokinetic abilities. The parapsychologists' overall lack of interest in the role of disembodied agencies in the production of paranormal phenomena may be indicative of the their negative assessment of the prospects for finding any uncontroversial evidence for such instances. If so, the prospects for finding unequivocal evidence for likely candidates for a supernatural event are not promising even by parapsychologists' standards''.

I disagree, many parapsychologists didn't leave the survival question alone because their was strong evidence for it. It's because of super psi theory which could account for some of the evidence. However if you look at the totality of the data survival is the most likely explanation over super psi because to cover very powerful cases for survival it is strained beyond all limits.

Unknown said...

Rethink the physics of einsteins relativity instead use the perspective theory of Nikola Tesla who is quoted as saying "i have great respect for Mr Einstein but he is wrong ....we are pure light everything is .
..intelligence consciousness whatever I don't hav the scientific knowledge to debate this but it sure as hell is the concept I choose to live by Nikola Tesla was the greatest scientific mind the world has produced of course only in my opinion