Mind-body problem

Unsnarling the world knot
The 2008 Unsnarling the World-Knot, by American philosopher David Griffin, discusses the mind-body problem in terms of panexperientialism and how entities such as atoms and molecules are reasoned to have internal states of experience. [4]
In philosophy, the mind-body problem, or the "mind/body dualism" question", is the premise, introduced by Rene Descartes that the mind (or spirit or soul) is utterly nonspatial, whereas the body is defined as res extensa, something that occupies space, hence the perceived modern view that the mind and body are somehow disconnected. [1]

The typical laymanized view of the so-called mind body problem is expressed well by the view of American cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman, a believer in consciousness, who states: [5]

“The mind-body problem may not fall within the scope of physicalist science, since this problem has as yet no bonafide physicalist theory.”

The theories of dualism, that mind and body are separated things, and monism, that mind and body are one thing, are two popular explanations for the so-called mind-body problem. Often, evolution theory minded thinkers will simply brush of the problem with mentions of 'emergence'.

Descartes
French philosopher Rene Descartes summarized, in his Discourse on Method (1637), his position on the matter of dualism as follows: [6]

“After the error of those who deny the existence of God, and error which I think I have already sufficiently refuted, there is none that is more powerful in leading feeble minds astray from the straight path of virtue that the supposition that the soul of the brutes [animals] is of the same nature with our own; and consequently that after this life we have nothing to hope for or fear, more than flies and ants; in place of which, when we know how far they differ we much better comprehend the reasons which establish that the soul is of a nature wholly independent of the body, and that consequently it is not liable to die with the latter and, finally, because no other causes are observed capable of destroying it, we are naturally led thence to judge that it is immortal.”

Related to this, a visitor supposedly once asked Descartes if he might see his library, after which Descartes is said to have led the visitor into a dissecting room filled with specimens under examination—to which Descartes pointed saying ‘there is my library’. He, supposedly, similar Napoleon Bonaparte (who queried physicians on this question), was searching for the location of the soul in the anatomy of the various bodies, concluding in the end, famously, that the soul was located in the pineal gland (see: soul theorists).

La Mettrie
In 1748, French physician-philosopher Julien la Mettrie published his Man Machine (L'homme Machine), wherein he rejected the Cartesian dualism of mind and body, and proposed the model of the human being as machine (see: human machine). On Cartesian dualism, he stated:

“[Dualism] is a trick of skill, a ruse of style, to make theologians swallow a poison.”

(add discussion)

Ritter | Valence model
In 1909, William Ritter, in his “Life From the Biologist’s Standpoint”, posits what he calls the “chemical foundation of consciousness”, wherein he traces the origin of consciousness to the change of valence of atoms: [8]

“Since we know absolutely nothing about the relation of the atoms in living substance, would it not be a reasonable hypothesis to say that the nature of that marvelous process called metabolism is due to just the fact that the atoms of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, etc., are undergoing perpetual change of valence? I see no reason why we may not legitimately imagine even consciousness due to such a process. Were such a hypothesis to be seriously taken, it would seem to follow that consciousness would have its roots wherever metabolism is going on. What an excellent starting point this would make for dealing with the perennial puzzle of how it is that the ‘mind influences the body’! The mind would then be part of the body.”

The valence change consciousness hypothesis would then, in the post Bohr model (1913) era, originate in the dynamics of photon-electron interactions, the photons being primarily light, originating from the sun.

Other
In 1994, Portuguese-born American neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, in his Descartes’ Error, argues that Descartes was in error in positing the dualist separation of the mind and body, arguing instead that we have an embodied mind steered by somatic markers, that feeling—which comes in the form of limbic-driven surges from the viscera, i.e. somatic markers or gut feelings—navigates the endless stream of personal decisions and choices. [7]

The modern human chemistry view, holds that as a human is human molecule, that the mind-body of representative smaller animated molecules, such as the light-induced straightening molecule retinal, explains that the structure of the brain is the carbon atom, and its electromagnetic interactions with surrounding photons (light), whereas the structure of the body of the molecule, are the connected appendages. [2] In object to this type of logic, some, in modern times, will argue that yes their body may be a molecule, but their soul or spirit is an independent entity, detached from the body, that is not measureable by science. [3]



References
1. De Quincey, Christian. (2002). Radical Nature: Rediscovering the Soul of Matter (pg. 224). Invisible Cities Press.
2. (a) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume One). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
(b) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume Two). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
(c) Thims, Libb. (2008). The Human Molecule, (preview) (Google Books). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
3. Why I’m not a molecule (2009) – EoHT forum.
4. Griffin, David R. (2008). Unsnarling the World-Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem (abs). Wipf & Stock Publishers.
5. Brockman, John. (2006). What We Believe But Cannot Prove: Science in the Age of Certainty (pg. 91-92). Perennial.
6. Ball, Philip. (2011). Unnatural: the Heretical Idea of Making People (pgs. 94-99). Vintage Books.
7. Descartes’ Error – Wikipedia.
8. Ritter, William E. (1909). “Life from the Biologist’s Standpoint” (beginning of life, pg. 190), Popular Science Monthly, 75:174-90, Aug.

External links
‚óŹ Mind-body problem – Wikipedia.

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