Category Archives: philosophy

I love Kant, the later Wittgenstein, Derrida, post structualism, postmodernism and the philosophy of language.

Mind and body…

However, in physics, things exist such as point particles (no length or breadth), forces (only location), and wave functions (probabilities of being found at certain places), which do not fit the spatiality criterion but are not mental in nature. There are also things which lack spatial character yet are actual, such as numbers.

Mind and body…

Mind and body is a problem that will never end.

But does a point exist in physics, or have we mistaken geometry for physics here? I also question numbers as well.

No, I am not doing this to be a pain in the butt. I am genuinely questioning whether they exist at all, or are they only mind constructs of a physical brain. This leads to me to question why the focus on mind only when the post is about body as well.

With the physical reality we can test things, including the mind. It was pointed out in this post also that awareness is criteria of mind. But I question whether we are aware of mind when truly all senses are shutdown as in the case of comatose. In such a state where body (as in reality) does not matter (figuratively and literally) anymore would not mind be in a state of bliss. Why should one return to a state of imprisonment, of bondage, if disembodiment is a possible existence? I will argue that in the state of coma, the mind (as a function of the brain) will have the representations (thoughts as it were) to perceive. But without spatiality, relational values will seem to not matter and therefore collapse. The patient slipping away may be like a switched off computer, where memory may need some time to actually clear from its memory banks.

Is realism colorless reductionism?

Realism that has been described as colorless reductionism I call your colourful additionalism*. My move is a kind of Ockham’s Razor and partly Zen Buddhism. I was taught that some things are unnecessary.

*Mix of American and British spelling fully intended.

Soul, spirit, psyche, mind

Language influences not only the way we think but also the words we use. In many cases it also limits our choices.

The soul, incorporeal part of which makes a material being “alive”. Seen as that which survives the body’s death. It is what imbues the being with reason, decision and action. The soul is the seat of consciousness, self and essence. Starting with at least Socrates and Plato the soul is seen as separate from the body it occupies.

Related to the wider spirit which is not individuated but animates (giving breath to) matter and sometimes defines what is life from non-life. Spirit, unlike soul, may infuse all things created. In this sense, animism is a religious belief of the spirit in all things.

Psyche, the Greek term for soul and the root word for psychology has to do with the mind in which, in part, is hinted to be more than simply its neuroscientific functioning (by implying soul).

Willing suspension of belief

Most people have heard the phrase willing suspension of disbelief where we ignore inconsistencies in film and fiction in order to allow the work to work its magic, as it were.

So I am suggesting, if one is to move on from their religion one must, in the same manner, be willing to suspend their belief.

Body and soul

For as long as religion has been with us the soul and how it relates to the body has been central to human life and understanding. Let me stress this again – human life.

While some will argue that we are different to (the catch-all-term) animals it is suspicious that it is a binary between human and animals. We consider ourselves special, different, privileged. What makes us different is the soul. Animals have none. Animals do not sin. Animals do not go to hell (but always to heaven). Puzzling.

Animals have body and “spirit”. Humans have body and soul. Let us not forget things are animate or inanimate. Someone found it hard to make the word humanate.

So we can give animals souls … if we want but then brings about the problem (already pointed out) of sin. What is a soul good for if there is no sin?

So if we go back to the original problem of what exists then we can say this – we have body. Making soul disappear difficult because we must make sin and god(s) disappear as well. They will not let us because in the end they are grandnarratives.

The surprising part is, I do not want them to disappear also. Not for the reasons of belief in them, but because this is what humans to do best. The human mind creates religions, science, philosophies, literature and art to help us understand or to make sense of the world. But more often than not it confuses the hell out of us. “Theology is anthropology,” wrote Feuerbach in 1841, 40 years before Nietzsche wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra the work most associated with eh idea of “God is dead”. Specifically, he was looking at Christianity. Indeed, religion (and philosophy) should not escape analysis.

Does X exist?

1.
I have never physically been to France.

I have read a lot about it. Many things have occurred there. I have met French people. I have friends who have been there. But I have no direct evidence of the existence of France other than the things I read, hear, the maps I see, the people I meet. As far as I am concerned the existence of France could be a conspiracy of the entire world for my benefit.

But why would the world conspire to make me believe its existence? For what reason? Sure, I can go and check. It isn’t that hard. The “French” I have met, if they are not French, surely came from somewhere else. Perhaps they are a people of compulsion to lie collectively. Why?

2.
It doesn’t need to be France. It could be some other place. There are many places I have not been to. But I can go there and check. Korea, for example, is a short plane’s ride. Finances and time willing I can go (it is within my means).

The act of checking and the the ease of such checks surely tells us about the nature of reality and the nature of secondary sources. I have no reason not to believe someone that they come from France, or have been to France. Many a time I have experienced something they have not. Pretty much my life before I came to Japan is a mystery to my children and wife. I tell them about it. They believe it. There is no good reason to lie about it. It is mundane as mundane can be.

3.
The question of God’s existence is a little different.

No amount of wanting to check will bring me to God. God is not anywhere (though it is claimed God is everywhere). I cannot find God except with in thought and name. That is not to deny God’s existence, but rather to say what I know of God.

I know God as thoughts and name as much as I know France as thoughts and name. While I can check France’s existence I cannot check for God’s. Fundamentally France and God are different. One is a concept of a place. The other is a concept of a concept. I’ll let you decide which is which.

But still we talk of God as much as we talk of France, if not more. No amount of talk will allow me to go check of God’s existence. Buying a plane ticket will.

4.
If I want to see God I am told go to a church. But when I get to the church I do not see God but only a church. If I want to know about God I am told go read the Bible. But when I read the Bible I do not know God but only the Bible.

5.
This is true of all other religions, philosophies, sciences. There is a difference between first-hand knowledge (experience) and second-hand knowledge (reading, hearsay). Check for yourself when possible. Be weary of indirect sources. Do not confuse the two.

Experience, memory, learning, knowledge

1.
The way I hit a tennis ball determines the way the ball behaves. My serve, stroke, smash and volley is not going to beat Roger Federer or even any of the top professional players let alone the guy down the road … or my son tennis playing son.

The point is my idealised (imagined and willed) version of tennis will not make me a great or even a good player. I have to work hard (practice) to get there, follow a corporeal regiment because the physical world takes priority. The physical supervenes upon the mental.

2.
I have broken (not lose, thank goodness) a my finger bone before. During karate when I was receiving a kick in practice. My bad for not keeping a tighter fist.

3.
I have met people who have lost a finger, foot or limb. But none of these losses affect their mental capacity. For it is not in the limbs that the mind resides. Similarly, my broken finger affected my hand but not my mind. Experience tells me that the mind is in the brain or rather it is created by the brain.

4.
There is something important about the definition of experience (knowledge or skill that you gain from doing a job or activity, or the process of doing this). Experience is more than memory (something that you remember from the past about a person, place, or experience). And it is more than learning (knowledge gained through reading and study).

Like the construction worker character Douglas Quaid in Total Recall, or the replicant Rachel in Blade runner they have implanted memories, not experiences. The danger lies in the fact that the definition of experience makes the concepts of memory and learning conveniently disappear.

5.
We have knowledge as though it is 1 or 0 (no knowledge). It is a non-mass noun. It is one thing. Memory can be plural (memories). They are “things”. The attraction of that is knowledge is important in the sense that it says something about the way we think of it. Like a catchment or a carbon sink, it is one.

Memory is not knowledge. While a thing (count noun) it is not about gain or knowledge.

  1. I have had many experiences.
  2. I have had many memories.
  3. It was a good experience.
  4. ?It was a good memory.
  5. He has a lot of experience.
  6. He has a lot of memory.
  7. He has a lot of learning.

Experience is more important. Memory and learning are the basis of experience.