Philosopher David Papineau does not feel that neurosurgeon Michael Egnor is being “entirely helpful” at this point… One can believe that.
Michael Egnor: What scientific paradigm ascribes logic to your neurochemistry? … and the logic of identity? How do you get logic out of gray matter? …
David Papineau: Michael, we’re trying to argue logically here, and I feel you’re not being entirely helpful in this respect. We were talking a moment ago about whether there were movements of bits of matter in the brain that would be a surprise to the people in the physics department, and I took it that you were saying yes, you believe there were. So let’s just flag that as something we might come back to …
Quite, but if your view were right, what you should be doing is going to tell your friends in the physics department, “Forget about all that cosmology, forget about all that high-energy stuff at CERN. All you have to do is go and look inside people’s skulls and you will find counterexamples to the theses of contemporary physics. You’re going to get a Nobel Prize, just by looking at …“
Note: Michael Egnor’s perspective was doubtless formed, in part, from regular contact with people who had split brains or brains largely missing or apparently inactive. He has reasons for doubting that the mind is simply what the brain does. Note: Egnor had done roughly 7000 neurosurgeries.
David Papineau: Well, I think there are brain states, structured brain states, just like… I mean, not just like, but if you want to think for a moment, sentences, strings of marks on paper, and elements in those brain states refer to things in the world …News, “Egnor vs. Papineau Round 4, Egnor defends the mind vs. the brain” at Mind Matters News
It became quite the dustup actually. Egnor deals with the brain as an organ, not a theory, and doesn’t see it as equivalent to the mind. Papineau differs.
You may also wish to read the earlier portions of the debate:
Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor takes on philosopher David Papineau Round 1. In the debate, Egnor begins by offering three fundamental reasons why the mind is not the brain. Neuroscience caused Egnor to honestly doubt Papineau’s materialist perspective that the mind is simply what the brain does.
Round 2: Philosopher Papineau replies to neurosurgeon Egnor. Dr. Papineau is considered to be one of the best defenders of naturalism (nature is all there is), often called “materialism.” Papineau: Mental processes, including conscious processes, are one in the same as physical processes. I’m curious about how Michael Egnor would answer it.
Round 3: Round 3: Egnor vs Papineau: The Big Bang has no natural beginning. In the debate between theistic neurosurgeon Michael Egnor and naturalist philosopher David Papineau, the question gets round to the origin of the universe itself. Egnor maintains that the Big Bang, which is held to have created the universe, is an effect with no physical cause. Papineau agrees.
Also: Philosopher: Consciousness Is Not a Problem. Dualism Is! He says that consciousness is just “brain processes that feel like something” Physicalist David Papineau argues that consciousness “seems mysterious not because of any hidden essence, but only because we think about it in a special way.” In short, it’s all in our heads. But wait, say others, the hard problem of consciousness is not so easily dismissed.