Mind body problem revisited…

In comments on a discussion of “economics as if people and the earth mattered” in a NEF blog post Clever thinking about how we think, Dave Chester offered a concise statement on the scinetific method of reasoning, concluding:

The most famous saying which fails this test is “I think therefore I Exist” (Descarte). Better to claim that because I exist I can think.


Yes, the phrase attributed to Descarte seems to omit whether the word “think” is referring to the physical processes of thought, or the logic. Those certainly exist in rather different senses at least, since the physical process doesn’t work by logic and the logic can’t work anything unless the person uses the physical processes at their mind’s disposal.

I think that distinction solves the “mind/body problem”. Mind can only be pointed to with explanations and body can’t be explained except by being pointed to physically. Try doing otherwise!

Drinking a glass of water or extending a handshake, for example, are quite easy to do but impossible to explain. Conversely, theories are generally based on some logic that seems easy to explain, but there’s not theory that anyone can possibly “do”. All we can actually do to imitate theory is act it out by engaging in physical processes the theory can’t explain… right?

I think we need both. Or at least I guess that’s my theory.

++ and then realizing I needed to replace “But” with “Yes” above… I commented:

Oops… I just noticed your summation “Better to claim that because I exist I can think” is just a simpler way to say what I added.

That “what we think of things isn’t what they are” is an important step, though, toward learning the habit of [pointing] to things as being themselves rather than [referring to them] as being our explanations.




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