Are thoughts tangible?

Are thoughts tangible?
Jeff Lister
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#11 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Sep 27, 2005 - 10:32 AM:

Milleniam wrote:
I would like to suggest that thoughts go nowhere because they are nowhere in the first place. Mind is not located in space - quite the opposite space is a construct of mind and therefore space exists in mind - not mind in space .

Just to throw the cat among the pigeons I'll go the extra mile and say the same is true of time as well. Mind is not located in time - quite the opposite time is a construct of mind and therefore time exists in mind - not mind in time.
I think an idea can be localized in space; not preceisely, but as a vortex of oscillating ambient neurotransmitter concentration. It looks like glial cells have filled a niche, and muddled the picture abit. There's no reason to think an idea could not have been delocalized from the individual human; however big the vortex is, the idea must be aswell.
m-atir
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#12 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Sep 28, 2005 - 11:39 AM:

Jeff Lister wrote:
I think an idea can be localized in space; not preceisely, but as a vortex of oscillating ambient neurotransmitter concentration. It looks like glial cells have filled a niche, and muddled the picture abit. There's no reason to think an idea could not have been delocalized from the individual human; however big the vortex is, the idea must be aswell.


If, as you say, an idea, thought or emotion can be described in terms of physical properties of neurons in the brain, it seems to me that we are still left with an explanatory gap. Sure, neural activity may be found to be directly correlated with features of conscious experience, and such activity might even enable us to exactly describe the conscious experience of a subject. However, we're still left with the problem of causation - why should a particular set of physical events necessarily lead to a conscious thought? Surely to claim the emergence of mind from brain (or an idea from neural properties, as you suggest) implies there is a fundamental metaphysical law linking the one to the other.

(my first post, be as harsh as you like)
Jeff Lister
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Posted Sep 28, 2005 - 5:15 PM:

m-atir wrote:
If, as you say, an idea, thought or emotion can be described in terms of physical properties of neurons in the brain, it seems to me that we are still left with an explanatory gap. Sure, neural activity may be found to be directly correlated with features of conscious experience, and such activity might even enable us to exactly describe the conscious experience of a subject. However, we're still left with the problem of causation - why should a particular set of physical events necessarily lead to a conscious thought?
I did say idea; and 'idea' does exist in my head as a notion seperate from 'thought' or, more significantly, 'emotion.' That said, i agree with you. I don't know anyone, other than Roger Penrose, who adresses this issue in a reasonable fashion. Rupert Sheldrake says some stuff about repeated function that seems close to the issue, but it doesn't speak to me directly; through signal harmonics i think there is potential ground for connection, but i don't know.
Surely to claim the emergence of mind from brain (or an idea from neural properties, as you suggest) implies there is a fundamental metaphysical law linking the one to the other.
I would claim a correlation rather than emergence.
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#14 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Oct 7, 2005 - 12:56 AM:

I 'think (haha)' thoughts cannot be touched, probed, rubed, or anything else.

A thought to me is not the same as the neurones and brain matter producing it.

It is difficult to think of an appropriate analogy because consciousness is indeed a unique phenomenon.

Basically by touching the neurons of the brain you still have no idea what the actual thought is do you? So you’re not touching the thought in the MEANINHGFUL way in which the question was raised.

The only tangibility of thought I can think of is the obvious one in which you have contact with the thoughts of others when they communicate them to you verbally or with body language.

More scientifically, you might be able to access the thoughts of others via some sort of brain scanning. You could do that if you knew what movements in the brain produce certain thoughts. But as far as I can predict that’s far beyond the realm of possibility thus thoughts are not really still intangible.
Milleniam
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#15 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Oct 9, 2005 - 2:59 AM:

Jeff Lister wrote:
I did say idea; and 'idea' does exist in my head as a notion seperate from 'thought' or, more significantly, 'emotion.' That said, i agree with you. I don't know anyone, other than Roger Penrose, who adresses this issue in a reasonable fashion. Rupert Sheldrake says some stuff about repeated function that seems close to the issue, but it doesn't speak to me directly; through signal harmonics i think there is potential ground for connection, but i don't know.I would claim a correlation rather than emergence.


Hope this is not too tangential -

When we run a piece of software on a computer, where does that software reside or exist? Of course, it depends on the flow of eectrons between the RAM and the CPUs of the PCs we are using - but does the software exst in the PCs?

Let's take a specific example - where does Philsophy Forums exist? In Paul's server? Collectively in all our PCs? In Paul's head? (He wrote the software) In our heads? (We provide the content.)

OTOH maybe it is not spatially located - perhaps it doesn't exist in space at all.

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 - 8:57 AM:

Artwork, buildings, pills, cars, planes, computers, shoes, etc...all began their existence inside the someone's mind as a thought. Designers, technicians, scientists, and artists all had thoughts about these things that were eventually birthed into a realm constrained by time and space, where we can touch them. The orinal state of thought and the mind, however, clearly exists in a realm where we can't touch it, with our hands anyway. Certain thoughts do trigger emotional/electro-chemical responses: fear, anger, helplessness, stress etc... This has to do with what mediates mind and body, a kind of energy. In yoga, it is recognized as prana. Just as blood flows through the veins in the body, prana flows through the energy centers of the body (nadis). The energy centers are known to science as a concentration of nerves or plexuses that all branch off of the spinal cord. The rest of the answer lies in the interactions between electro-chemicals and consciousness (and how consciousness is connected to the external world through electricity and chemicals), which seems to be somewhat of a mystery. To understand where thoughts go after they are thought, we should first examine the states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, deep sleep, trancendental.
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