[ExI] How not to make a thought experiment

Ben Zaiboc bbenzai at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 22 13:00:03 UTC 2010

Spencer Campbell <lacertilian at gmail.com> wrote:

> We have a property, "thinking", and nowhere to put it.
> Right smack
> into dualism again, and at the moment I don't much feel
> like working
> out the possible implications.

Not a problem at all, and not dualism.

Replace "Thinking" with "Ticking", and "Brain" with "Clock".  Where do you 'put' the ticking?  Is it dualism to acknowledge that clocks tick?

I've noticed a few times that there seems to be a bit of confusion (or in some cases maybe misrepresentation) over what 'dualism' means.  I take it to mean the hypothesis that there is an immaterial and *unexplainable* component to the mind, a 'soul' if you like.  
This is different to ackowledging that there are nouns and verbs.  As John K Clark has said many times, the mind is not a noun, it's a verb.  Acknowledging that verbs exist is not dualism.  Verbs are immaterial, but not supernatural.  They're essential components of any dynamical system, and can be completely characterised in informational terms.

As has been mentioned ad nauseam, a description of a thing is not the thing itself.  This applies to verbs as well as physical things. A description is necessary if you want to build a system to behave in a particular way, though.  The information that characterises the verb is used to get an assemblage of matter and energy to perform the verb.

This doesn't contradict materialism in any way.

Ben Zaiboc


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