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Plato wins the argument against brain scientists?

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From a March review at the Wall Street Journal , Plato at the Googleplex by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein:

“Plato at the Googleplex” consists of chapters of scholarly discussion followed by fictional accounts of Plato appearing in various contemporary venues. Thus we see Plato at Google headquarters on a book tour, Plato in a panel discussion at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, Plato as a consultant to an advice columnist, Plato interviewed on cable news and Plato’s brain being examined in a neuroscience laboratory. Here Ms. Goldstein employs her novelistic skills to sparkling effect by weaving abstract concepts into concrete modern narratives. At a cable news station, he is grilled by one Roy McCoy, who is not a bit intimidated by his distinguished Greek guest: “Okay, so they tell me you’re a big deal in philosophy, Plato. I’m going to tell you up front—because that’s the kind of guy I am, up-front—that I don’t think much of philosophers.” Plato coolly responds: “Many don’t. The term attracts a wide range of reaction, from admiration to amusement to animadversion. Some people think philosophers are worthless, and others that they are worth everything in the world. Sometimes they take on the appearance of statesmen, and sometimes of sophists. Sometimes, too, they might give the impression that they are completely insane.”

Of course, Plato wins every argument hands down, though his interlocutors generally fail to see that. For instance, in a well-aimed chapter on the pretensions of contemporary neuroscience, Plato volunteers as a subject in a brain-imaging experiment. The smug and overbearing Dr. Shoket treats Plato and philosophy with jocular contempt, all the while demonstrating his utter ignorance of that whereof he speaks. Plato has no trouble refuting his naïve reductionism, according to which there are no persons, intentions, beliefs or other psychological states but only synapses firing mechanically in the void. More.

Plato may win the argument, but there is increasing evidence that many metaphysical naturalists are past all that “argument” stuff. It belongs to an era when people believed that there really was a mind instead of just synapses firing mechanically into the void – either conveniently or inconveniently for the powers that be and their received wisdom.

Anyway, this is one for the Christmas list.

See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (the human mind)

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

9 Replies to “Plato wins the argument against brain scientists?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    The Case for the Soul – InspiringPhilosophy – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBsI_ay8K70
    The Mind is able to modify the brain. Moreover, Idealism explains all anamolous evidence of personality changes due to brain injury, whereas physicalism does not explain mind.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Joe says:

    Good grief, keith s- how many oft-refuted arguments are you going to post here?

  4. 4
    keith s says:

    Joe,

    Good grief, keith s- how many oft-refuted arguments are you going to post here?

    None.

  5. 5
    Joe says:

    And yet you have posted two oft-refuted arguments. This one and your ignorant-laden unguided evolution posts. You don’t even know what a soul is.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    keith s the video I cited is a excellent refutation of physicalist/materialist concepts for mind,,,, not that you will watch it.

    as to keith s (repeated) cite:

    Here is a first person account of the split-brain experiment in which the person in the experiment testifies to being ‘one’ person although his actions were split:

    Excerpt: BTW, with regards to your citation of the split-brain experiments (and people who suffer from that due to injury, etc). I was involved in one of those split-brain experiments myself. (Which is possible by temporarily numbing the corpus callosum.) And believe me, it was the damnedest thing. The thing is, even though different parts of my brain were acting as if they had no knowledge of “each other”, behind it all was still “me”, consciously experiencing the strange disconnection.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-460565

    i.e. despite keith s’s contention, the soul is still alive and well,,,

    further note:

    Man born without connection between two halves of brain functions normally—at 88
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-513076

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover,

    Do split-brain cases disprove the existence of an immaterial soul? YJT (Part One) – July 18, 2013
    Excerpt: If one makes all of these assumptions, then it is indeed true that dualism is in trouble. However, no dualist that I know makes all of these assumptions.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-part-one/

    Do split-brain cases disprove the existence of an immaterial soul? (Part Two)
    Dr. VJ Torley – July 20, 2013
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-part-two/

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    semi related:

    Autistic Savants have another surprise for us, ,,telepathy!!!
    Dr. Diane Powell Finds Telepathy Among Autistic Savant Children – Posted on Oct 28, 2014
    Excerpt: ,,,the second therapist independently had a similar experience where she made a mistake and the girl repeated her mistake. Then she saw this often enough that she said, ‘Hey, it’s like you’re reading my mind.’ Then she had the thought, ‘How do you say I love you in German?’ And the girl typed out the German for ‘I love you’ – ich liebe dich.
    Alex Tsakiris: Oh my gosh.
    Diane Powell: So this created the opportunity to go and test her with two independent therapists. And the results, if people go to my website and they want to read the abstract, you will see that the results are astounding. I mean, there is this one period where I have over four hours of experimental footage with her. And there was a period of about ten minutes of where she gave – out of 162 random numbers, and I was generating these with a random number generator, out of 162, she only made 7 errors. And each one of those she corrected on the second try.,,,
    http://www.skeptiko.com/257-di.....-children/
    podcast interview:
    http://www.skeptiko.com/upload.....powell.mp3
    Dr. Diane Powell’s Website
    http://www.dianehennacypowell.com/

  9. 9
    Lesia says:

    bornagain77 @6
    You gave a link to an interesting post! (re split-brain experiments)
    I’ve never taken part in any such experiments, but sometimes experience something a bit similar – that’s when I’m angry, for instance, and am about to shout at someone and it seems that’s just the right thing to do, and it’s just like I can’t resist doing that, I still feel that I have the choice, no matter how my body feels, I am behind it all, I am…
    Perhaps the brain does a lot of routine stuff for us, so that we could enjoy things more (for instance, at first I have to learn how to play tennis and apply conscious efforts to do so, but then, when I’ve learnt (my brain learnt) how to play, I can simply enjoy the game (without lots of conscious efforts… – I even can’t understand how it is that I can hit the ball the right way or catch it without even paying conscious attention to its trajectory – that’s truly amazing). But perhaps we’ve degraded to the stage where we’re confusing that brain activity for the real us, and think that it IS us, when in fact we have the free will and we decide what our brain should do for us…
    And it’s of course funny how materialists reject the reality of free will and consciousness which transcends everything when in fact their consciousness is their primary reality…

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