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Michael Egnor: The mind’s reality is consistent with neuroscience


A neglected “dualist” theory offers some insights:

I think the best explanation of the relationship of the mind to the brain is Aristotelian hylomorphism which is the viewpoint that the soul is the form of the body and that certain powers of the soul, particularly the intellect and will, are not generated by matter but are immaterial things—what Thomas Aquinas would call the “spirit.” But other properties of the mind, like perception and memory and imagination are physical. They are directly related to brain matter and they are generated by brain matter. I think that’s the best explanation philosophically for what we find in neuroscience.

The mind’s reality is consistent with neuroscience” at Mind Matters News

Note: For more thoughts on hylomorphism (hylemorphism) see Michael Egnor, How can mind interact with matter? (Mind Matters News)

See also the earlier parts of the discussion: Why eliminative materialism cannot be a good theory of the mind. Thinking that the mind is simply the brain, no more and no less, involves a hopeless contradiction. How can you have a proposition that the mind doesn’t exist? That means propositions don’t exist and that means, in turn, that you don’t have a proposition.


Why the mind cannot just emerge from the brain. The mind cannot emerge from the brain if the two have no qualities in common. In his continuing discussion with Robert J. Marks, Michael Egnor argues that emergence of the mind from the brain is not possible because no properties of the mind have any overlap with the properties of brain. Thought and matter are not similar in any way. Matter has extension in space and mass; thoughts have no extension in space and no mass.

___ Materialism’s Failures: Hylemorphism’s Vindication Part II: Materialism's Encroachment on Science
"Scientific materialists often fail to distinguish between: (1) the neural changes in the brain and (2) the subjective experience of sensing.  The former are physically observable neural patterns; the latter are subjective experiences that cannot be subject to physical observation". "Science traces physiological phenomena from the external world into the brain. Science can say the physical sequence terminates inside the brain. But  science cannot say that knowledge takes place inside the brain, because knowledge is not itself an observable phenomenon. Science can look at neural patterns “from the outside,” but it cannot look at subjective sense experience “from the inside.” "Sensory neural activity is located inside the brain. But, the only way to infer from that fact that all knowledge is located inside the brain is by ILLICITLY (*typical materialist move) adding the assumption that sense knowledge is a purely material phenomenon, which can be spatially located. Such an assumption does not come from natural science, but from the philosophy of materialism". Dr. Dennis Bonnette.
https://strangenotions.com/materialisms-failures-hylemorphisms-vindication/ *(added). Truthfreedom
___ *synthesizes* Truthfreedom
"Dualism errs in separating the body from the soul, treating the soul as a part in the body. Likewise, materialism errs by eliminting form altogether, and insisting that bare, brute matter stands alone and can account for self-identity through time and the manifest organization of a whole, integrated being". "The hylomorphic view sinthesyzes the two positions so that the soul, or substantial form, and the body are “grown-together in the enmattered form or the informed matter that is the given thing; the dog and its flesh, the oak and its roots…are each inseparably related and…mutually interdependent.” "Therefore, the form or soul of living organisms is not some ghostly thing in the body for a period of time."
https://strangenotions.com/body-soul-and-the-mindbrain-question/ Truthfreedom
as to this comment:
particularly the intellect and will, are not generated by matter but are immaterial things—what Thomas Aquinas would call the “spirit.” But other properties of the mind, like perception and memory and imagination are physical.
As to perception in particular. Dr. Egnor once stated that “Perception at a distance is no more inconceivable than action at a distance.”
Perception and the Cartesian Theater – Michael Egnor – December 8, 2015 Excerpt: Perception at a distance is no more inconceivable than action at a distance. The notion that a perception of the moon occurs at the moon is “bizarre” (Torley’s word) only if one presumes that perception is constrained by distance and local conditions — perhaps perception would get tired if it had to go to the moon or it wouldn’t be able to go because it’s too cold there. Yet surely the view that the perception of a rose held up to my eye was located at the rose wouldn’t be deemed nearly as bizarre. At what distance does perception of an object at the object become inconceivable? http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/12/perception_and101471.html
Dr. Torley strenuously objected that perception cannot possibly occur ‘at a distance’ since a Supernova that we might be observing “ceased to exist nearly 200 millennia ago, long before the dawn of human history.”
The Squid and the Supernova: A Reply to Professor Egnor – December 9, 2015 – vjtorley Excerpt: In February 1987, a supernova appeared in the Southern skies, and remained visible for several months. ,,, The problem is that the object itself ceased to exist nearly 200 millennia ago, long before the dawn of human history. Even if the squid that witnessed the explosion were capable of having perceptions which are located in intergalactic space, as Egnor contends, they are surely incapable of having perceptions which go back in time. ,,,perception is a bodily event, and that an event involving my body cannot take place at a point which is separate from my body. An event involving my body may occur inside my body, or at the surface of my body, but never separately from it. Thus it simply makes no sense to assert that I am here, at point X, but that my perceptions – or for that matter, my actions – are located at an external point Y. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/the-squid-and-the-supernova-a-reply-to-professor-egnor/
Yet contrary to Dr. Torley's strenuous 'materialistic' objections, it is found that the 'prediction' that Dr. Egnor made for perception, via his Aristotelian philosophy, was correct. Specifically, experiments demonstrating ‘quantum entanglement in time’ are very friendly to Dr. Michael Egnor’s (Theistic) contention (via Aristotle) that “Perception at a distance is no more inconceivable than action at a distance.” And as the following 2017 article states, “a decision made in the present can influence something in the past.”
Physicists provide support for retrocausal quantum theory, in which the future influences the past July 5, 2017 by Lisa Zyga Excerpt: retrocausality means that, when an experimenter chooses the measurement setting with which to measure a particle, that decision can influence the properties of that particle (or another particle) in the past, even before the experimenter made their choice. In other words, a decision made in the present can influence something in the past. https://phys.org/news/2017-07-physicists-retrocausal-quantum-theory-future.html
And to drive the point further home, in the following 2018 article Professor Crull provocatively states “entanglement can occur across two quantum systems that never coexisted,,, it implies that the measurements carried out by your eye upon starlight falling through your telescope this winter somehow dictated the polarity of photons more than 9 billion years old.”
You thought quantum mechanics was weird: check out entangled time – Feb. 2018 Excerpt: Just when you thought quantum mechanics couldn’t get any weirder, a team of physicists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem reported in 2013 that they had successfully entangled photons that never coexisted. Previous experiments involving a technique called ‘entanglement swapping’ had already showed quantum correlations across time, by delaying the measurement of one of the coexisting entangled particles; but Eli Megidish and his collaborators were the first to show entanglement between photons whose lifespans did not overlap at all.,,, Up to today, most experiments have tested entanglement over spatial gaps. The assumption is that the ‘nonlocal’ part of quantum nonlocality refers to the entanglement of properties across space. But what if entanglement also occurs across time? Is there such a thing as temporal nonlocality?,,, The data revealed the existence of quantum correlations between ‘temporally nonlocal’ photons 1 and 4. That is, entanglement can occur across two quantum systems that never coexisted. What on Earth can this mean? Prima facie, it seems as troubling as saying that the polarity of starlight in the far-distant past – say, greater than twice Earth’s lifetime – nevertheless influenced the polarity of starlight falling through your amateur telescope this winter. Even more bizarrely: maybe it implies that the measurements carried out by your eye upon starlight falling through your telescope this winter somehow dictated the polarity of photons more than 9 billion years old. https://aeon.co/ideas/you-thought-quantum-mechanics-was-weird-check-out-entangled-time
Thus, despite Dr. Torley’s strenuous 'materialistic' objection to Dr. Egnor’s 'Aristotelian prediction' that “Perception at a distance is no more inconceivable than action at a distance.” the findings of quantum entanglement in time could care less about Dr. Torley's materialistic objection and “implies that the measurements carried out by your eye upon starlight falling through your telescope this winter somehow dictated the polarity of photons more than 9 billion years old.” Quantum mechanics simply has no need for materialistic and/or atheistic presuppositions,
Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism (v2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM0IKLv7KrE How Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness Correlate - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f0hL3Nrdas
Of further note, Dr. Egnor has further elaborated on the 'correct' Aristotelian philosophy for understanding quantum mechanics:
Stephen Hawking: "Philosophy Is Dead" - Michael Egnor - August 3, 2015 Excerpt: The metaphysics of Aristotle and Aquinas is far and away the most successful framework on which to understand modern science, especially quantum mechanics. Heisenberg knew this (Link on site). Aristotle 2,300 years ago described the basics of collapse of the quantum waveform (reduction of potency to act),,, Real scientists have a meaningful understanding of natural philosophy as it relates to their work. No atheist scientist in the public spotlight today would pass a freshman philosophy class. Think Dawkins. Think Krauss. Think Myers. Think Moran. Think Novella. Think Coyne. Think Hawking. Our 21st-century scientific priesthood -- mostly atheists and materialists to the extent that their metaphysics is coherent enough to be described -- is dominated by half-educated technicians with publicists.,,, http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/08/stephen_hawking_3098261.html What Is Matter? The Aristotelian Perspective - Michael Egnor - July 21, 2017 Excerpt: Heisenberg, almost alone among the great physicists of the quantum revolution, understood that the Aristotelian concept of potency and act was beautifully confirmed by quantum theory and evidence.,,, Heisenberg wrote: ,,,The probability wave of Bohr, Kramers, Slater… was a quantitative version of the old concept of “potentia” in Aristotelian philosophy. It introduced something standing in the middle between the idea of an event and the actual event, a strange kind of physical reality just in the middle between possibility and reality…The probability function combines objective and subjective elements,,, Thus, the existence of potential quantum states described by Schrodinger’s equation (which is a probability function) are the potency (the “matter”) of the system, and the collapse of the quantum waveform is the reduction of potency to act. To an Aristotelian (like Heisenberg), quantum mechanics isn’t strange at all. https://evolutionnews.org/2017/07/what-is-matter-the-aristotelian-perspective/ Introducing Aquinas’ Five Ways – Michael Egnor – October 3, 2019 Excerpt: Introducing Aquinas’ Five Ways – Michael Egnor – October 3, 2019 Excerpt: The cosmological arguments have two cornerstones: the law of non-contradiction, and the metaphysics of potency and act. Both principles are Aristotelian, developed in fullest form by St. Thomas Aquinas. Simple but Profound The law of non-contradiction is simple but profound. It is the principle that it is not possible for a thing to be and not be at the same time in the same respect. If my coffee cup is full, it cannot also be empty at the same time. If I am alive, I cannot be dead at the same time (for readers thinking “What about Schrödinger’s cat?”, I’ll address that later). Succinctly, A is not not-A, and not-A is not A.,,, Without the law of non-contradiction, nature is Alice-in-Wonderland,,,, Reality must make sense first, before I can draw conclusions from it.,,, ,,, If reality makes no sense (if A and not-A are compatible), we can apprehend nothing. Expressed another way, sense is the precondition of truth. We can’t know any truth unless the world makes sense. The second cornerstone of the cosmological arguments is Aristotle’s principle of potency and act. Aristotle observed that in contrast to non-being, there were two manifestations of being — potentiality and actuality. Potentiality (or potency) is an intermediate state between non-being and being. It is the capacity to receive form — the capacity to become a defined existing thing. It is not the thing itself, however, it is only capacity. Potency is not actual. Actuality (or act) is the state of actually being in a defined way — full reality.,,, Aquinas (following Aristotle) pointed out that the law of non-contradiction applies to the principle of potency and act in a fundamentally important way. A thing may not be in potency and in act in the same respect at the same time. Potency and act for the same thing are mutually exclusive at any moment in time. If something is possible, it is not yet actual, and if something is actual, it is no longer just possible. There is no middle state between potency and act and there is no state of simultaneous potency and act for the same thing.,,, And Now for Schrödinger’s Cat 3) There is a common atheist objection to the Aristotelian principle of non-contradiction, using a famous paradox in quantum indeterminacy. The argument is that the principle of non-contradiction is disproven by the paradox of Schrödinger’s cat, in which a cat in a box with poison that can be released by a radioactive emission can be simultaneously alive and dead — in a suspended state between life and death — until the box is opened and it is observed. This would seem to be a situation in which A is not-A simultaneously. Before observation, the cat is both dead and alive. This, however, is a misunderstanding of the metaphysics. In fact the paradox of Schrödinger’s cat is better understood in an Aristotelian framework. There is obviously no materialist mechanistic framework in which it is comprehensible. In the Aristotelian framework,, the cat is in potency for life and death, not in actuality for either. It is only on observation that the cat is alive or dead. That is, it is only with observation that potency is raised to act and the law of non-contradiction apples. Only the Aristotelian principle that potency is not actuality makes sense of the cat’s indeterminate state.,, Of all of the metaphysical perspectives on tap, the least acceptable is the materialist mechanical perspective — i.e. “nature is atoms in the void, and nothing more.” The most acceptable, in light of the indeterminacy inherent to the quantum state, is Aristotelian potency and act.,,, Quantum indeterminacy (exemplified by Schrödinger’s cat) is a striking example of Aristotelian potency, and collapse of the quantum waveform is an example of reduction of potency to act, and the law of non-contradiction is necessary to even talk about metaphysics or science meaningfully. It is materialist mechanical philosophy, not Aristotelian metaphysics, that is incompatible with quantum mechanics. https://evolutionnews.org/2019/10/introducing-aquinas-five-ways/
That Aristotle and Aquinas would, via the power of their own reasoning, get the basics of quantum wave collapse correct, centuries before quantum mechanics was even known about, is nothing short of stunning. bornagain77

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