What is the mind?

Ray Scanlon rscanlon at wsg.net
Sat Dec 5 10:19:03 EST 1998

Anders N Weinstein wrote in message
<749o1o$7ep$1 at usenet01.srv.cis.pitt.edu>...

>You seem to be stuck on the idea of exactly two domains, the knowable
>world of science and the world of mysteries addressed (in some fashion)
>by religion.

You are exactly right. This is exactly how I view the universe. When looking
at the physical world I see beautiful aggregations of molecules. And, in
particular, I see the fascinating aggregations of molecules that are the
neurons that especially interest me. When I step back, I know God who
"created" this universe. (When speaking of God, I speak only by analogy.)

> But the ordinary everyday environment, the world of
>relevance to the ends of living organisms, the world in particular of
>human meaning, goes missing if we allow this dichotomous thinking.

Teleology belongs to religion, I thought everyone understood that. On
Sundays I go to Mass to contemplate teleology, at night when things are
quiet I contemplate teleology.

>I mostly use common words, and I try to stick to behavior when I talk
>about behavior. If A snubs B dead, the snubbing is not an event in the
>neurons, it is something in the open that anyone might see.

You date yourself. This "common language" stuff came up in the thirties when
some British philosophers started "doing philosophy in the new way". It died
out in the seventies.

The reality remains, for Science man is a mammal, a vertebrate, an animal.
Of animals, man is one of those that possess a neural net. All behavior of
such an animal is driven by its neural net. One attempts to examine the
neural net to determine which neurons do what. One examines the molecules in
a neuron to determine which molecules do what.

This is neuroscience.

Those philosophers who attempt teleology without invoking God, drool

Those interested in how the brain works might look at

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