The Instigator
Rational_Thinker9119
Pro (for)
Winning
14 Points
The Contender
dawndawndawndawn
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

Our Mental And Conscious States Are Not Identical To Brain States

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Rational_Thinker9119
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/17/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,007 times Debate No: 44186
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (45)
Votes (4)

 

Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

I will be essentially arguing that a thought that I have or an experience is not the exact same thing as, lets say, neural firing in the brain.
dawndawndawndawn

Con

Can you think without having a brain?
Debate Round No. 1
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro


Introduction

I thank my opponent for accepting the debate.

Argument


P1: If a thought and/ or experience is identical neural firing, then when one one engages in introspection, they are necessarily examining neural firing.


P2: When one engages in introspection, they are not necessarily examining neural firing


C: A thought and/ or experience is not identical to neural firing


--Defense of P1


"Introspection is examination of one's own conscious thoughts and feelings..Introspection is closely related to human self-reflection and is contrasted with external observation." [1]


Introspection is the examination of one’s own inner thoughts, and the experience of self-reflection. You can do this right now in your chair without moving a limb. However, if thoughts and experiences are neural firings, then it follows that when I do introspection, I am examining my own neural firings and signals necessarily (this is because my thoughts and
feelings are supposed to be exactly the same as my neuron firings in this scenario). Thus, P1 is necessarily true.

-- Defense of P2


If P2 is false, then introspection alone is equivalent to engaging in neuroscience. This is absurd. Anyone who does introspection without knowing about the brain by looking in a skull for example, reading a textbook, or watching a brain scan cannot tell you anything about neuron firings, but they certainly can tell you their thoughts and experiences. As respected neuroscientist Sam Harris notes, we do not know anything about neural firings by introspection alone:


"There is nothing about introspection that leads you to sense that your subjectivity is at all dependent or even related to voltage changes and chemical reactions going on inside your head. You can drop acid, you can meditate for a year, you can do whatever you want to perturb your nervous system, you can feel yourself to be one with the universe, and at no point in that transformation do you get a glimpse that there is a hundred trillion neurons in your head, or synapses in your head that are doing anything." - Sam Harris [2]


People were doing introspection, and gaining knowledge by examining their thoughts and experiences long before we as human beings even knew what a brain was; let alone brain activities like neural firing by examining them like we do with modern science. Thus, P2 is clearly true.

The conclusion simply follows via Modus Tollens[3]


Conclusion


[2] Video



dawndawndawndawn

Con

If we remove the brain, there is no introspection.

It is odd to be an animal that has no schooling and to, still,
ask questions about one's own thoughts, but, ALLLLLLL of that "asking"
is done with a brain.
Debate Round No. 2
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

My opponent didn't even address my argument. He just said that you need the brain states to do introspection and to think. However, even if that is true, that wouldn't mean that mental states/ conscious states are brain states, just that they are dependent on brain states (thus, the resolution is not harmed in light of this objection). Also, perhaps the conscious/ mental self is just using this brain as an instrument. If this is true, then even though brain effects causes certain mental/ conscious effects, that wouldn't mean that the conscious/ mental self as a couldn't exist and have thoughts independent of the brain.

My argument stands.
dawndawndawndawn

Con

Please, really, please.

I am not a "him".

All that you discuss requires a brain.

A person cannot do ANY that you describe without a brain.

If you want to bring up "the coma", I must point out the neurons fire, then, still
Debate Round No. 3
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

"All That You Discuss Requires A Brain."

The same thing I said in my last round applies to this. I will repeat it again (but modify it according to my opponent's gender):

"My opponent didn't even address my argument. She just said that you need the brain states to do introspection and to think. However, even if that is true, that wouldn't mean that mental states/ conscious states are brain states, just that they are dependent on brain states (thus, the resolution is not harmed in light of this objection). Also, perhaps the conscious/ mental self is just using this brain as an instrument. If this is true, then even though brain effects causes certain mental/ conscious effects, that wouldn't mean that the conscious/ mental self as a couldn't exist and have thoughts independent of the brain."

So, unless my opponent actually addresses what I am saying, instead of repeating the same defeated assertions; there is nowhere else for this debate to go.

The resolution is established.
dawndawndawndawn

Con

Perhaps you'd like to re-word your beginning sentence.

People engaged introspection long before they knew that
Earth is not flat.

This does not mean that what they were doing was better
or smarter or lead to better conclusions.

Understanding the brain, via science,
helps the process of introspection.

For instance, dehydration leads to belligerence.

If a person does not know this and is engaged in introspection,
and that person is dehydrated, the conclusion that the person comes
to will be, most likely, angry and tainted by the brain-state.

So, my point is that, in not knowing brain-states, introspection is primitive
and ends up at poor conclusions.

Therefore, an updating of the whole process is in order
Debate Round No. 4
45 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by PGA 3 years ago
PGA
http://www.cmfnow.com...

Here is a Christian view.

Peter
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Not much, what is up with you?
Posted by janetsanders733 3 years ago
janetsanders733
Hello RT, what is up?
Posted by dawndawndawndawn 3 years ago
dawndawndawndawn
Maybe we could section things out differently like this:
1. brain, but, maybe, in a coma
2. consiousness as a result of brain
3. life.

Three, separate things that, sometimes, come together and give us a complex "car" to drive
Posted by dawndawndawndawn 3 years ago
dawndawndawndawn
I think that we'll want to avoid this being pure bubblegum and having no
redeeming value

and that the real answer is that it is always both
Posted by dawndawndawndawn 3 years ago
dawndawndawndawn
So, I'm going to wake up after sleeping and do -(what)- with this huge piece of knowledge?

This is going to give me/any-of-us the ability to, everyday, manage our wishes,
as well as our urges because we now understand that...what?
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
The point is that you cannot say consciousness is an illusion based on the brain. This is because the only reason we believe in the brain is because of conscious experience. This is self-refuting. And by "you" I don't mean "you" personally.
Posted by dawndawndawndawn 3 years ago
dawndawndawndawn
If our mental and conscious states are not identical to brain states then,...
we do -(what)- all day?
Posted by dawndawndawndawn 3 years ago
dawndawndawndawn
ok let's ask this: what is your, "Therefore,..."-sentence?

You have proved (x) point, therefore, (Y)...?
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
My bad for the double post lol
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
Rational_Thinker9119dawndawndawndawnTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Found Pro's argument nonsensical and the sources did not back the subject. Con did not provide any sources, though argument was more sound. All thoughts induce synaptic function, you cannot think without synapses jumping to attention. Near Death Hallucinations are just that, Hallucinations, because synaptic activity exists, they are not really dead, only hallucinate that they are. Our synaptic firings are never obvious to us. Every thought is synaptic firings, which nobody can be aware of, introspection, or dredging out memories and feelings associated with memories is just that, stored images, recalled by synaptic function. Even fMRI can pick up introspection activity. Introspection is essentially a function of the prefrontal cortex and associated insula. Con has plenty of sources available, but I didn't see any. I can only vote on what I see.
Vote Placed by cbcullen84 3 years ago
cbcullen84
Rational_Thinker9119dawndawndawndawnTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Con fails to address Pro's arguments, after Pro identifies that clearly, Con then refuses to address Pro's argument again and instead offers somewhat of an irrelevant response that should have been addressed in a comment section instead of including it in the debate, conduct to Pro. Con never made a convincing argument, only suggested that Pro's argument isn't valid by offering that without a brain there can be no introspection, but offers no elaboration to her point. Convincing argument to Pro. Ties on S&G - no serious difference. Sources to Pro, as his sources actually support and help elude to his resolution whereas Con offers none.
Vote Placed by zmikecuber 3 years ago
zmikecuber
Rational_Thinker9119dawndawndawndawnTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con didn't reject Pro's argument. Pro rebutted Con's arguments, and showed them to be invalid. Pro was the only one to use sources.
Vote Placed by philochristos 3 years ago
philochristos
Rational_Thinker9119dawndawndawndawnTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con was unresponsive to Pro's arguments. Pro refuted the one argument Con made, and instead of addressing Pro's refutation, Con basically just repeated herself.