January 28, 2023

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The human mind is more than physics

The human mind is more than physics

Debate: Mitt Helmark and Astri Hogenstad Aftenbladet ask whether all psychological phenomena can be reduced to basic physical mechanisms.

Consciousness transcends boundaries, because only man knows that he knows, and he also knows that others know.
  • Harald Liebish
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“How can physical and physical processes between brain cells give rise to something as immaterial as consciousness?” they ask. With this starting point, the question arises whether academic phenomena in various fields ultimately relate to the physical reality of physics, so long as the underlying mechanisms behind this phenomenon are sufficiently amplified.

Like violin and melody

There is broad agreement among philosophers that such a “reduction” is academically untenable. Chemistry and biology describe laws that have weight on a subject-independent basis. Chemical phenomena, such as the law of group action and chemical equilibrium, cannot be described as the conceptual apparatus of physics. Biology deals with phenomena such as evolution and population dynamics, and in such areas chemistry and physics have little contribution. Mental phenomena similarly cannot be reduced to pure neurobiology.

The brain as an organ does not produce consciousness in the same way that the pancreas produces insulin. Consciousness has its own weight, and it acts again on the brain through a dynamic interplay between thoughts, thoughts, and thinking. A person can think thoughts that put the mind into a certain state of mind with emotional and physical effects.

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Consciousness transcends boundaries, because only man knows that he knows, and he also knows that others know. Animals cannot think of their existence as creatures. To use an image: brain cells, synapses, and neurotransmitters are like a physical violin, while the melody that sounds corresponds to consciousness. Melody in the form of notes also exists independently of the violin. Consciousness is further released in opposition to the consciousness of others through culture, innovation and social community.

All but not building blocks

If we consider a remarkable stone building, we will not emphasize the physical individual stones, but the whole of the architecture and history of the building. This is also the case with consciousness as a whole present; It can be understood outside the biological building blocks of the brain. If one nevertheless insists on the distinction between “spirit and matter”, it depends on how one defines “spirit”, i.e. whether that definition makes sense in a biological setting. Such a division of personality (dualism) is contested within philosophy, because dualism does not provide good answers to basic questions. The overall view is more fruitful, because the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

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