Free hot chat in the material world

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How did minds first Free hot chat in the material world out of matter? Could consciousness have evolved more than once? How can we tell which living things have minds? Minds are a curious thing! Here we are, creatures of flesh and blood, but somehow we have conscious experiences. We perceive the world around us, and we have a sense of ourselves as agents that can move and act in the world. How do things like bodies possess these curious things we call minds? Call the position that there is only one type of stuff in the world monism.

Physicalism, the view that there is nothing above or beyond the physical world, is a type of monism. Descartes famously proposed a dualist theory of mind. He argued that minds and bodies are fundamentally different substances. Minds or souls are essentially immaterialpure consciousness, governed by reason, not mechanics.

Bodies, on the other hand, are essentially materialphysical stuff that is pushed and pulled by natural forces in the world. In her correspondence with Descartes, Elisabeth of Bohemia wondered how minds and bodies could possibly interact with one another if they are so fundamentally different.

Consider that Descartes argued that the mind, as a purely thinking substance, could not be extended in space thus could have no location and was not subject to the laws of physics. This was important because it was a way to for free will. However, bodies, as pure matter, do occupy space and are subject to the laws of physics. So, how do bodies have any effect on minds, and how do minds have any effect on bodies?

This was a problem that Descartes himself admitted he could never come up with a satisfactory answer to. There are other problems with Cartesian Dualism—Descartes had a very strange view of nonhuman animals, and claimed that they had no minds at all. I think it would be hard to spend any time with a dog, say, and not believe that dogs are creatures with minds, maybe not exactly like our minds, but minds nonetheless.

In fact, the world is populated with a huge diversity of such creatures, and they all have lives that they experience first hand. But what about fish? Or insects? Or a whole host of simpler life forms? This is where, I suspect, we will start to find more disagreement. In order to answer a question like this, we need to know what exactly a mind is and what would count as evidence of one. They can do amazing things, like navigate mazes and track a moving target along the hypotenuse.

But what does it mean to ascribe smartness to something?

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So maybe what we really want to know about fruit flies is if they are conscious. Do they have subjective experiences of the world? Well, fruit flies, like us and unlike plants and cell phones, have brains.

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Teeny, tiny brains, of course, but brains nevertheless. So we might take this as evidence to consider. If we think the existence of a brain is important somehow, then we have to ask whether one is necessary for consciousness. In other words, if something doesn't have a brain, can it still have a mind? And we also have to ask whether a brain is sufficient for a mind.

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Could members of a particular species have brains but still never have conscious experience? I suspect a lot of you think that a brain, or at least a nervous system, is a requirement for a mind. They are very close to us, evolutionarily speaking, and so we recognize their similar biology and similar physical form, as well as their similar social habits and emotional responses.

Primates are our close cousins and they have brains very like ours. Non-primate mammals are part of the extended family, just not as close, but ultimately we all evolved from the same distant ancestors and there are many things we have in Free hot chat in the material world with them as a result. But think about other creatures that are completely different from us, that are related to us so far back on the evolutionary tree we find it hard to find much family resemblance at all.

Squids, tardigrades, sponges! Consciousness could have evolved more than once in the history of evolution, in different creatures with radically different physical forms, living in very different environments from us. I believe that if we keep an open mind about this possibility, there are potentially many exciting discoveries that await us.

He has a new book out called Metazoa: Animal Life and the Birth of the Mindin which he recounts many stories about these experiences and uses them to draw important lessons about the evolution of mind sand what it means to be an animal with a subjective experience of the world. Tune in this week for a great show! Photo by novi raj on Unsplash. Everything that seems to have a mind also has a body made of flesh and blood. But if we look at the diversity of animals foun The Phenomenology of Lived Experience Apr 23, Phenomenology is the philosophical study of experience and consciousness, performed by philosophers ranging from Sartre and Heidegger to contemporary analytic philosophers of mind.

Descartes Aug 02, The 17th Century philosopher Rene Descartes is often considered the father of modern philosophy. Dualism Sep 19, What is the relationship between the mind and the brain? Monists believe that there is only one substance or property in the Univ Evolution of the Human Mind Jul 11, Is the human mind a relatively inflexible program bequeathed to us by evolution, and culture just a veneer that gives age-old urges a respectable cover?

Animal Minds Dec 21, People have strong but divergent opinions about the nature of animals' minds. Do dogs make plans? The Moral Lives of Animals May 29, From Aristotle and Kant to Hume and Darwin, philosophers and scientists have long denied the idea that animals are capable of acting for moral reasons.

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Animal Rights Nov 23, We shouldn't be mean to animals. Is that because animals have rights, like people do? Or is it just because people care about animals? Nonhuman Rights Nov 24, Human rights—like freedom from discrimination and slavery— are fundamental rights and freedoms that every person enjoys simply because they're human. Captivity Apr 09, Whether it's people incarcerated in prisons, or animals confined in zoos, aquariums, laboratories, farms, and in our own homes, million Why Do People Argue about Fiction?

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Free hot chat in the material world

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