Do feelings matter?

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Re: Do feelings matter?

Postby Braininvat on June 18th, 2017, 9:55 am 

Good stuff, Noships. Anything Phil tends to have participants who may not be widely read in analytic philosophy, so it may help to break your posts down into smaller pieces and define jargon as you go.

A couple posters (including me) mentioned phantom limb syndrome, which is a good case for pain as a brain process, rather than requiring a brain/body synergy. The ontologically subjective pain in my arm is epistemically objective, regardless of whether the arm is there or not. What matters is the neurons firing in my noggin, not having an actual arm. Just as I can have phantom band pain, if forced to listen to Nickelback. Even if it's just a digital recording, and I am just recreating the event in my head of hearing said recording in 1996, the pain is still real. Like my darling Kate, in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," I may wish to have my synaptic memory scrubbed Nickelback-free.

And if do take that procedure, then epiphenomenalism is rejected, as I am a causal agent in altering my own brain. Hehe!
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Re: Do feelings matter?

Postby NoShips on June 18th, 2017, 10:00 am 

Braininvat » June 18th, 2017, 10:55 pm wrote:Good stuff, Noships. Anything Phil tends to have participants who may not be widely read in analytic philosophy, so it may help to break your posts down into smaller pieces and define jargon as you go.

A couple posters (including me) mentioned phantom limb syndrome, which is a good case for pain as a brain process, rather than requiring a brain/body synergy. The ontologically subjective pain in my arm is epistemically objective, regardless of whether the arm is there or not. What matters is the neurons firing in my noggin, not having an actual arm. Just as I can have phantom band pain, if forced to listen to Nickelback. Even if it's just a digital recording, and I am just recreating the event in my head of hearing said recording in 1996, the pain is still real. Like my darling Kate, in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," I may wish to have my synaptic memory scrubbed Nickelback-free.

And if do take that procedure, then epiphenomenalism is rejected, as I am a causal agent in altering my own brain. Hehe!


Consider this for now:

I have a pain in my thumb. I suck my thumb. The pain is now in my mouth. QED.

Hmm, thought only Limeys said "noggin" lol. Try to be more scientific.
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Re: Do feelings matter?

Postby NoShips on June 18th, 2017, 10:06 am 

To be more serious... all you hard-nosed scientist MacGyver types will take it, I assume, that pain is caused by the brain. But in the vernacular, pain refers not to brain processes, but a sensation, right? Pain is that kinda ...well, you know, fingernails on blackboards and organic chemistry. But how does our vernacular concept of pain relate to our scientific worldview?

You're gonna hear a lot more about Kripke unless I get a life between now and tomorrow.
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Re: Do feelings matter?

Postby NoShips on June 18th, 2017, 10:09 am 

Braininvat » June 18th, 2017, 10:55 pm wrote:
A couple posters (including me) mentioned phantom limb syndrome, which is a good case for pain as a brain process, rather than requiring a brain/body synergy.


Do you see the implications here, BiV? If pain is a brain process, nothing without a brain can feel pain.

Dunno about you, but me and my computer are madly in love. Pain will come later when he catches me messing around with another laptop. Tee hee. Whoops, I mean she.
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Re: Do feelings matter?

Postby NoShips on June 18th, 2017, 10:36 am 

The issue in a nutshell:

"I have a pain in my lower right quadrant. I suspect a hernia, doc"

"All pain is in the brain"

"My lower right quadrant says otherwise. My brain doesn't hurt."

Where have we gone so terribly wrong? Pain, as traditionally understood is a sensation. Pain, the physicalist demands, is a physical state like any other. "You think the pain is in your hernia. Science says otherwise. We reduce this kinda stuff."

"Ok, got any morphine kinda stuff?"

See also color, heat, water, sobriety, and Saul Kripke.
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Re: Do feelings matter?

Postby NoShips on June 18th, 2017, 10:45 am 

Braininvat » June 18th, 2017, 10:55 pm wrote:
And if do take that procedure, then epiphenomenalism is rejected, as I am a causal agent in altering my own brain. Hehe!


Aye! It's about as silly as positions come, except the porcupine position.

You never voted because of rational consideration? That's what we're told is true by the epiphenomalist. Mental events have no casual powers. Think I'll do a beer run.

Sillier than grue. Tee hee. And they say philosophers have problems!
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Re: Do feelings matter?

Postby Braininvat on June 18th, 2017, 11:03 am 

NoShips » June 18th, 2017, 7:09 am wrote:
Braininvat » June 18th, 2017, 10:55 pm wrote:
A couple posters (including me) mentioned phantom limb syndrome, which is a good case for pain as a brain process, rather than requiring a brain/body synergy.


Do you see the implications here, BiV? If pain is a brain process, nothing without a brain can feel pain.

Dunno about you, but me and my computer are madly in love. Pain will come later when he catches me messing around with another laptop. Tee hee. Whoops, I mean she.


I'm not a Searle-ish bio chauvinist. I use "brain" to encompass anything that processes information, and that does what a neural network does. A silicon substrate could do just as well as wet bags of organic chemicals, IMO. For all we know, electrostatic fields in thunderstorm clouds could form feeling and thinking brains, if they can self- perpetuate a structure, process inputs from their environment, form desires, etc.

With tablets, it's okay to look, but don't touch their touchscreens.
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Re: Do feelings matter?

Postby NoShips on June 18th, 2017, 11:07 am 

Braininvat » June 19th, 2017, 12:03 am wrote:
I'm not a Searle-ish bio chauvinist. I use "brain" to encompass anything that processes information, and that does what a neural network does. A silicon substrate could do just as well as wet bags of organic chemicals, IMO. For all we know, electrostatic fields in thunderstorm clouds could form feeling and thinking brains, if they can self- perpetuate a structure, process inputs from their environment, form desires, etc.

With tablets, it's okay to look, but don't touch their touchscreens.


Then you define brain functionally. Right, monsieur? That makes you a functionalist. A brain is defined by what it does, not its physical instantiation (per you, good sir)
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Re: Do feelings matter?

Postby NoShips on June 18th, 2017, 11:25 am 

[quote="Braininvat » June 19th, 2017, 12:03 am"
I'm not a Searle-ish bio chauvinist. [/quote]

Sigh, hate to see my hero abused. I don't think he is a bio-chauvenist, BiV. In fact, I'm sure (yes, even at this hour), Searle explicitly states that whether or not a non-biological brain, and only that, results in the mental (consciousness and all that) is an empirical question, yet to be determined.

I have quotes. And if you're lucky and my lack-of-anything-better-to-do continues, I'll post them tomorrow.

Screwed up the quote function. Can't imagine why :-)

Did you evah?!
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Re: Do feelings matter?

Postby Braininvat on June 18th, 2017, 12:30 pm 

Yes, I have long identified myself here as a functionalist. It makes the android sex better, believe me!

And yes, Searle later abandoned his mind-is-for-pink-jelly-only position, so I was somewhat jestingly referring to his early years and all that stuff about how a weather simulation in a computer isn't really rain and a stomach simulation doesn't digest actual food, etc. He was right about those things, but in the 80's didn't see a problem with his analogies. I think he recanted later and was more open to possible silicon minds in the future. As far as 70s and 80s AI goes, he was quite right, in that technological context. Simple linear Turing machines were not noted for their self-awareness.
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Re: Do feelings matter?

Postby Athena on June 19th, 2017, 10:21 am 

Braininvat » June 18th, 2017, 7:55 am wrote:Good stuff, Noships. Anything Phil tends to have participants who may not be widely read in analytic philosophy, so it may help to break your posts down into smaller pieces and define jargon as you go.

A couple posters (including me) mentioned phantom limb syndrome, which is a good case for pain as a brain process, rather than requiring a brain/body synergy. The ontologically subjective pain in my arm is epistemically objective, regardless of whether the arm is there or not. What matters is the neurons firing in my noggin, not having an actual arm. Just as I can have phantom band pain, if forced to listen to Nickelback. Even if it's just a digital recording, and I am just recreating the event in my head of hearing said recording in 1996, the pain is still real. Like my darling Kate, in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," I may wish to have my synaptic memory scrubbed Nickelback-free.

And if do take that procedure, then epiphenomenalism is rejected, as I am a causal agent in altering my own brain. Hehe!


What does synergy mean? Would looking at a mirror image of the right hand, and moving it, resulting in ending the pain in the phantom hand be synergy?
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Re: Do feelings matter?

Postby Athena on June 19th, 2017, 11:07 am 

NoShips » June 18th, 2017, 12:17 am wrote:
Paul Anthony » June 18th, 2017, 3:04 pm wrote:
Emotions are the result of chemical imbalances in the brain. Since chemicals are physical, then yes.


But that's only to say that emotions are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, and those chemicals, we can all surely agree, are physical.

What about the emotions themselves? Physical or not?


Welcome aboard. To the best my knowledge no one has answered this question. Where do you feel anger? I think a failure to the answer this question is a lack of self-awareness?
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Re: Do feelings matter?

Postby Athena on June 19th, 2017, 11:38 am 

NoShips » June 18th, 2017, 8:36 am wrote:The issue in a nutshell:

"I have a pain in my lower right quadrant. I suspect a hernia, doc"

"All pain is in the brain"

"My lower right quadrant says otherwise. My brain doesn't hurt."

Where have we gone so terribly wrong? Pain, as traditionally understood is a sensation. Pain, the physicalist demands, is a physical state like any other. "You think the pain is in your hernia. Science says otherwise. We reduce this kinda stuff."

"Ok, got any morphine kinda stuff?"

See also color, heat, water, sobriety, and Saul Kripke.


In another science forum, the first response to my question about feelings was to say we evolved with sensors touch, sight, hearing, taste, smell, and these sensations are about our survival. They all give us information about what is outside of us, and some essential about what is going on inside of us, like warning us of heart attack, or informing us we were bit by a snake. For sure the brain processes all this information. The brain also remembers this information, our brains can trick us, and we can use things like positive thinking and distraction to reduce our sensation of pain or awareness of it.

This thread began with a question about emotional feelings, and I am distressed by what appears to be a denial of the physical aspects of our emotions. The physical aspects of our emotions can mean living years longer or being sickly and dying early. This denial is a health problem for many reasons, but it also contributes to our insensitive when engaging with one another. Logic requires we give this some thought so that we may achieve a better standard of living. But back to the health problem, I just heard a train pass and that reminded me, even though people may not be aware of sound pollution, it can cause health problems. Constant noise is not good for us. Maybe it would be intelligent to become more aware of our physical surroundings and our physical response to our environment, including the one we create in conversation. Emotions and our physical well-being are one and the same thing.
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