Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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II 30 f
Materialism/Mind: Thesis: There is not more to the mind than there is to the brain. "Brain is all the mind needs". The mind consists of flesh, it is flesh.
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II 31f
Once the nature (or God) had planted neurons in our brains, no further work was necessary to provide us with consciousness.
And that is not because neural processes cause consciousness processes, but because neuronal processes are processes of consciousness.
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II 32
It is also not true that consciousness processes are only one aspect of neuronal processes, but the state of consciousness is no more or less than its neural correlate. E.g. pain is simply reduced to physical processes, both of which are not only correlated, but identical. Granted, pain looks different in the introspection, but: introspection is merely a source of errors.
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II 32
The true nature of pain can only be disclosed by observing the third person. The mind is the brain in disguise, the genie is the lamp, although it may look different.
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II 33
McGinnVsMaterialism: Intuitive Answer: if materialism is right, I am in spite of everything not a conscious being. Old joke: Materialism must simulate anesthesia ((s) because the physical processes remain the same). According to materialism we would all be zombies who pretend to have a consciousness. From this follows an argument VsMaterialism: E.g. assuming I knew all there is to know in neurological terms about your brain. Would I know all about your mind then? (Could I predict your future?) McGinn: No.
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II 33
How can both be declared identical then:
MaterialismVsMcGinn: Facts are one thing and knowledge about facts is another. Maybe I know all about your brain, but my knowledge is based on certain ideas (concepts). Materialism insists on that all mental facts are brain facts, that we cannot translate notions of mental facts into notions at the level of brain facts. ((s) A translation would have to perform a level change). E.g. All facts about water are facts about "H2O", although the words "water" and "H2O" do not mean the same thing. They are not synonyms.
McGinnVsMaterialism: the problem with this objection is that there is no way to distinguish between mental and physical concepts without requiring a distinction at the level of facts.
What distinguishes the idea of ​​pain from the idea firing C-fibers is precisely the fact that in the focus of both concepts there are quite different properties, and thus we cannot say that both properties are identical. The materialist is forced to introduce the notion that one and the same fact can have two different manifestations. This concept of manifestations, however, is based in turn on that there are facts relating to manifestations which cannot be explained with brain facts.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.

McG I
C. McGinn
Die Grenzen vernünftigen Fragens Stuttgart 1996

McG II
C. McGinn
Wie kommt der Geist in die Materie? München 2001


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-11-17