Skip links
Main content

Interactionist dualism

zaterdag 20 juni 2009 16:07

I have located the philosophical stand that matches my own view on the subject: interactionist dualism. It holds that conscious experience is a substance in itself (different from matter), and that matter (the nervous system, or the brain) causes changes in this substance and that this substance causes changes to matter (the nervous system, or the brain).

Apparently it is a common sense view on the world that is hard to prove both logically and empirically. However, I think it is necessarily true. Take for example the simple process of learning by carrot and stick. If I do something wrong (in whatever way) I will be hurt in some way. If this "hurt" would be restricted to some "representation" in the brain (symolic, or subsymbolic), it would be easy to ignore. Only the fact that this "hurt" is experienced causes that I will avoid this action in the future, i.e. I will have learned from it. Therefore, the nervous system causes the experience (which is not material, of course, i.e. not composed of atoms or any of the fundamental forces). The experience must cause a change in the nervous system in return, in order for the hurt to affect my behaviour.

Of course it would be possible to create a machine that could act like it learned from "hurt" without actually experiencing it. However, we as animals happen to really experience it. It would make a very strange world indeed if our conscious experience might just be removed without any effect on the world. Strange, but not impossible. But it is not true, of course, as everyone knows. Why? Because most of our actions are geared towards this experience in itself, culminating in our love of beauty and art. We live our lives to create good experiences for ourselves and others. And experience is not material.

I have to add here that I am talking about experience, not mind. I fully agree with Marvin Minsky when he says "Minds are what brains do". A mind may or may not be connected to experience, there are all kinds of minds.

It seems to me that the interaction between matter and experience is not unlike the interaction between certain electric devices such as inductors, and electromagnetism. Perhaps "experience" (which is composed of colors, sound, touch, feelings, etc.) is what this (yet to be discovered) fundamental force looks like, from within?


cognitive architecture

« Terug

Plaats het eerste bericht!

Nieuw bericht