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Are thoughts "real"?


Forums Forums General Discussion Are thoughts "real"?

This topic contains 19 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Citizenschallenge-v.3 1 month ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 20 total)
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  • #303870

    Xain
    Participant

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/inviting-monkey-tea/201308/why-our-thoughts-are-not-real

     

    I mean not real in the physical sense sure, but they are real in the sense that they certainly have an impact in the way we experience and live our lives. I don’t know what this lady is thinking, believing there is something mystical to the thoughts that we have when it’s likely that some are occurring below our awareness and others are not.

    #303894

    Define “real.”

    #303909

    Xain
    Participant

    I guess real in that it exists. The article means something that is “out there”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the only way to describe real.

    #304209

    Sherlock Holmes
    Participant

    This is called the “mind body problem” or at least its an aspect of it.

    Perhaps ‘real’ here means verifiable my multiple observers, this is the definition we use for defining scientific objectivity anyway. But of course there are events and experiences that are totally private, inaccessible to others yet these are tangible to each of us. A dream is real to me but inaccessible to any other human.

    So the above definition of ‘real’ will not work for such subjective experiences.

    The article fails to define ‘thought’ – to say thoughts exist yet are not real should be seen as an alarm bell, clearly there is something wrong with the writers explanation.

     

    #304222

    Xain
    Participant

    But when it comes to the way that certain thoughts make us feel or empower us is it really the thought or the value that we attach to it? In a sense could we just say that we make ourselves feel a certain way and attribute it to the thought? Because aren’t thoughts inherently empty of value and such, and if so then how can they empower us or hurt us?

    #304267

    Sherlock Holmes
    Participant

    @Xain – I don’t know, we haven’t defined what a “thought” is or what “feel” means. Do we actually “feel” emotionally or do we “think we feel”? I can say from the outset that the brain and mind bear no resemblance to digital computers, have no stored program, no stack etc. So analogies with these devices must be avoided.

    I’m not saying you are doing that but someone else might if they jump into the discussion. Once we allow that we then begin to describe the mind in terms of machines and cut ourselves off from the truth.

     

    #304295

    Xain
    Participant

    I think the mind is pretty mechanical, but I heard that likening it to a computer isn’t true.

    #304323

    Advocatus
    Participant

    When I read the article you cited, it seems to me that the author is not saying that thoughts aren’t “real”; she is merely cautioning us not to get obsessively caught up with them to the point to the point that we ignore the reality around us.  We’ve all known people who get caught up with one idea (whether it be global climate change or some conspiracy theory they just heard) and that all they talk about any more.  They seem to think that if this idea is so important to them, it MUST be important to us too or we are wearing blinders.  She’s just saying that the thoughts in your head don’t change the world around you in their own image.  That’s the sense I get out of the article at least.

    #304335

    Sherlock Holmes
    Participant

    @Xain

    Yes likening the brain to a computer and the mind to software is extremely misleading and unhelpful but unfortunately this concept has become more or less entrenched in modern society.

    Roger Penrose in The Emperor’s New Mind seems to show that the human mind can perform non-algorithmic activities, computers are 100% algorithmic so the brain/mind cannot be a computer – a computer can ONLY execute algorithms so it cannot do what a mind does nor is there any hope of it even simulating a mind.

     

    #304352

    Xain
    Participant

    SOunds more like the rambling of someone who doesn’t want to admit that humans are more mechanical than he wishes .

    #304424

    Sherlock Holmes
    Participant

    @snowcity

    SOunds more like the rambling of someone who doesn’t want to admit that humans are more mechanical than he wishes.

    If you’re referring to Penrose then you are quite wrong. Penrose’s position is based on sound reasoning, I have no idea why you’d write that.

     

    #304432

    Xain
    Participant

    If you’re referring to Penrose then you are quite wrong. Penrose’s position is based on sound reasoning, I have no idea why you’d write that.

    Its actually not. I knew it was fishy as soon as I saw the quantum bit in it. Not to mention that using the incompleteness theorem for your argument dooms him from the start.

    So no, not sound, more like just another human who doesn’t want to admit humans are basically machines.

    #304435

    Sherlock Holmes
    Participant

    @snowcity

    You refer to the “quantum bit” – since Penrose is an established theoretical physicist with a deep understanding of quantum physics, I don’t see it as remarkable or sensational that he refer to it, a subject he’s contributed to deeply for decades.

    You say:

    So no, not sound, more like just another human who doesn’t want to admit humans are basically machines.

    But Penrose never says we are not “machines”, clearly your getting carried away here. All he says is that the human mind seems to be capable of non-algorithmic activities and so something alien to us seems to be at work here – he regards this as something deep in physics and discusses at length microtubulues, you’ll find there’s considerable interest in this among many respected scientists.

     

     

    #304693

    Tee Bryan Peneguy
    Participant

    In what way the author suggesting thoughts are something mystical? I read it exactly opposite.

    #304698

    Xain
    Participant

    I’m sorry but from what I gather from those who read the book is that he is out of his depth on this one, linking topics that aren’t connected in any way to each other. Apparently the quantum argument he makes is weak.

    He is smart, I’ll give him that, but he dropped the ball here.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Xain.
    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Xain.
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