Do Brains Make Minds?

Despite a long tradition of scholars and lay people thinking (and wishing) otherwise, modernity has revealed a paradigm of materialism in which even the mind is somehow reducible to, caused by, or sustained by physical brain processes. Ontological and epistemological distinctions sometimes make this relationship difficult to ascertain: for instance, one could make the metaphysical claim that brains produce minds without having to be committed to any particular epistemic claims about how this process takes place, or even about whether it could ever be understood.

The following discussion tries to make sense of the intellectual and technological obstacles that need to be overcome in order to provide a satisfactory theory about the nature and origin of mind. Two of the guests argue for conceptions of mind that transcend the physical body, and their vacuous arguments may get frustrating rather quickly, but things finally get moving when philosophers John Searle and David Chalmers get in on it. They disagree with each other, but at least they are interesting!



You want poetry? How about this:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Skepticism about a transcendent, special self
Makes people like you go boo-hoo!
If you don't think the the mind depends on the brain, see what happens when you cut the brain in half.
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