Marco Biagini: arguments against epiphenomenalism

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THE BRAIN DOES NOT GENERATE MIND AND CONSCIOUSNESS



Video description:

I am a physicist and I will explain why our scientific knowledge refutes the idea that consciousness is generated by the brain and that the origin of our mental experiences is physical/biological; my arguments prove the existence in us of an unphysical element, which is usually called soul or spirit. There is then a connection between science and religion, science and faith: in fact, God can be defined as the cause of the existence of the soul.
 
Physicalism/naturalism is based on the belief that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain, but it can be proved that this hypothesis is inconsistent with our scientific knowledge and implies logical contradictions. Here are two arguments that prove such hypothesis contains a logical fallacy.
 
1) All the alleged emergent properties are just simplified and approximate descriptions or classifications of underlying processes and arbitrary/subjective abstractions of the actual physical processes, which are described DIRECTLY by the fundamental laws of physics alone, without involving any emergent properties (arbitrariness(subjectivity is involved when more than one option is possible; in this case, more than one possible descriptions). An approximate description is only an abstract idea, and no actual entity exists per se corresponding to that approximate description, simply because an actual entity is exactly what it is and not an approximation of itself. What physically exists are the underlying physical processes and not the emergent properties (=subjective classifications and approximate descriptions).
 
2) An emergent property is defined as a property that is possessed by a set of elements that its individual components do not possess. The point is that the concept of set refers to something that has an intrinsically conceptual and subjective nature and implies the arbitrary choice of determining which elements are to be included in the set; what exists objectively are only the single elements (where one person sees a set of elements, another person can only see elements that are not related to each other in their individuality). In fact, when we define a set, it is like drawing an imaginary line that separates some elements from all the other elements; obviously this imaginary line does not exist physically, independently of our mind, and therefore any set is just an abstract idea, and not a physical entity and so are all its properties.
 
Both arguments 1 and 2 are sufficient to prove that any emergent property requires a consciousness from which to be conceived because consciousness is a precondition for the existence of concepts, arbitrariness and approximations. Therefore, that conceiving consciousness cannot itself be the emergent property. This is true for any property attributed to the brain and any other system that can be broken down into smaller elements.
 
In other words, emergence is a purely conceptual idea imposed by the mind for taxonomy purposes and the mind can't itself be explained as an emergent phenomenon. On a fundamental material level, there is no brain, or heart, or any higher level groups or sets, but just fundamental particles interacting. The "brain" doesn't objectively and physically exist as a unitary entity but it is a bunch of elementary particles involved in billions of distinct elementary physical processes occurring at separate points.
 
Obviously we must distinguish the concept of "something" from the "something" to which the concept refers. However, not all concepts refer to an actual entity that can exist independently of consciousness. If a concept refers to "something" whose existence presupposes the existence of arbitrariness or is a property of an abstract object, such "something" is by its very nature abstract and cannot exist independently of a conscious mind, but it can only exist as an idea in a conscious mind. For example, consider the property of "beauty": beauty has an intrinsically subjective and conceptual nature and implies arbitrariness; therefore, beauty cannot exist independently of a conscious mind. My arguments prove that emergent properties, as well as complexity, are of the same nature as beauty.
 
Conversely, if a concept refers to “something” whose existence does not imply the existence of arbitrariness or abstract ideas, then such “something” might exist independently of consciousness. An example of such a concept is the concept of “indivisible entity”. Since consciousness cannot be an emergent property whatsoever, consciousness can only be a fundamental property of an indivisible entity; this indivisible entity cannot be physical, since according to the laws of physics, there is no physical entity with such properties. Therefore this indivisible unphysical entity corresponds to what is traditionally called soul or spirit. The soul is the missing element that interprets globally the distinct elementary physical processes occurring at separate points as a unified mental experience.

The arguments and details in the video go beyond this text.
(This post was last modified: 2023-07-15, 07:20 PM by Ninshub. Edited 2 times in total.)
[-] The following 2 users Like Ninshub's post:
  • Valmar, nbtruthman
I think argument (1) is excellent, but argument (2) doesn't work for me. 

Argument 2:

Quote:An emergent property is defined as a property that is possessed by a set of elements that its individual components do not possess. The point is that the concept of set refers to something that has an intrinsically conceptual and subjective nature and implies the arbitrary choice of determining which elements are to be included in the set; what exists objectively are only the single elements (where one person sees a set of elements, another person can only see elements that are not related to each other in their individuality). In fact, when we define a set, it is like drawing an imaginary line that separates some elements from all the other elements; obviously this imaginary line does not exist physically, independently of our mind, and therefore any set is just an abstract idea, and not a physical entity and so are all its properties.
 A

I don't quite see this, because a "set" can indeed refer to an organization of closely working-together parts forming a whole machine, for example. Most sets will not be like this, but some sets are - these sets are not just conceptual and subjective in nature. This kind of set can form an intricately organized whole demarcated physically from its surrounding environment by epithelial cells, for instance with the human body. Skin cells and their structure are not abstractions - they are physical, and not just single elements arbitrarily separated from their surroundings, but single elements making up a highly organized physical structure with a purpose. So a set is not automatically and always just an arbitrary abstraction of mind - it can sometimes be a well defined physical entity in itself. 

Referring to the bolded quote, the properly defined set of cells forming the human brain, for instance, is indeed a physical entity, not just an abstraction, as is the human body. In both cases, the "imaginary" boundary line or surface between set and non-set does indeed exist physically. These two sets are real physical entities in themselves and not just abstract ideas.

2)
(This post was last modified: 2023-07-15, 08:48 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 3 times in total.)
[-] The following 2 users Like nbtruthman's post:
  • Valmar, Ninshub
Thanks for the input nb. The video goes into arguments 3 and 4 as well. It's a lot more fleshed out.

I see the comments under the video are virtually a forum in themselves! And he answers each comment, so if you write he'd probably answer you if you're interested.
(This post was last modified: 2023-07-15, 08:54 PM by Ninshub. Edited 1 time in total.)
(2023-07-15, 08:42 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: I think argument (1) is excellent, but argument (2) doesn't work for me. 
 
Regarding argument 1, it boils down I think to his summarizing statement "Nothing which presupposes the existence on consciousness can be used to explain the existence of consciousness".

I found the video because the author posted its description (the statement in the OP) under a Francis Lucille video about the epiphenomenon position I was listening to, and I followed its source. (Biagini identifies as a Christian by the way, not as a nondualist.)

I'm trying to follow Lucille here (with some difficulty, although that says more about me, because I find he's such an eloquent, rigorous thinker), but I think it has to do with talking on similar ground.s The video starts by picking up the epiphenomenologist's counter-claim that only perceptions are experienced, not awareness, and that awareness doesn't exist without phenomenal perception. Science denies noumenal experience to begin with, thereby being "corrupted" from the start of its investigations.

Can Consciousness Exist Without a Brain? Is it a Neurological Phenomenon? Playing Devil's Advocate

(This post was last modified: 2023-07-15, 10:18 PM by Ninshub. Edited 1 time in total.)
Is this a argument about consciousness being a "epiphenomena" of neural activity in general or epiphenomenalism itself?
(This post was last modified: 2023-07-15, 10:32 PM by quirkybrainmeat.)
(2023-07-15, 10:31 PM)quirkybrainmeat Wrote: Is this a argument about consciousness being a "epiphenomena" of neural activity in general or epiphenomenalism itself?

Do you mean the argument in the OP? I think it's the former.

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