priyedarshi jetli Apr 27, 2017
Thanks for the clarity of your writing. I am not a physicist but as a working scientist you have clarified the issues raised by Vinod. Terms like 'reductionism' are definitely in the domain of philosophers. Even philosophers of science today, who pay a great deal of attention to what scientists do, shy away from such terms. Science is ontology free: it is neither materialist nor dualist nor idealist not mechanist; as you say, it is concerned with explanation. It is a simple truism to say that science cannot explain what is beyond it, that is, assuming that there is something beyond the domain of the explanations of science. There may or may not be. One gross error that the non scientist perception of science makes is to say that whatever the science of the day says is the final word and if something is left unexplained by science then it is beyond science. If we just look at medical science we see how misguided this conception is.
Even philosophers of science like Karl Popper wrote about the progress of science. Many call the logical positivists reductionists. The Vienna Circle consisted of many physicists. They had a common agenda of the unity of science but they were a diverse group that do not even fit under the label of 'positivists' and they would not have called themselves 'reductioinists'. But all of this does not matter for common perceptions in which those with these perceptions are neither scientists nor are they familiar with the history of philosophy of science going back to physicists Mach and Helmholtz who began the subdiscipline of philosophy of science.
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priyedarshi jetli Apr 27, 2017
The matter here is not of shallow or deep view but about what is plausible or not. I am happy being a shallow person as long as I don't make implausible conjectures. I am no better a person by becoming deeper. You keep using the word "consciousness" as if there is a consensus on whether there is consciousness or what consciousness is. There is no consensus on either. And it is very shallow and narrow minded of you to think that there is consensus on both. It is an unsupported dogma.
As for Samadhi, meditation and spiritual experience, all of these are done by the body within the body. There are a lot of empirical studies on meditation which show how some of the activity of the brain is shifted from one lobe to another which causes less stress. However, one cannot remain in such a state permanently, otherwise day to day functioning will become difficult. This is why we have the grahasti stage of life.
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What you say establishes the exact opposite of what you want to claim. We do not experience the "I" in deep coma because our body has virtually stopped functioning. This shows that the "I" is nothing beyond the body. You start with the unestablished premise, which you repeat hundred times like a gospel that without consciousness there is no existence. I don't accept this premise and many don't. This actually has to be established not stated like I am right now typing on my laptop. That is where you are begging the question. You are assuming as true what needs to be proved. All of this is based on your definition of "consciosness" as something beyond the body.
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As Jonathan has aptly pointed out in a reply to you, science does not claim to understand or rather explain everything. However, it continues to progress. In medical science, less than 50% is known. Yet it keeps striving to know more. First of all, you need to make a distinction between what is explainable now and what is in principle explainable. To substantiate your claim you need to demonstrated those regions of what you call 'mind' and 'consciousness' that are in principle not explainable. This will not be an easy task at all except for just saying it and repeating it, which is what you always do.
Why are mind and brain distinct? Why just adopt the dualism or rather trialism of cosciousness, mind and brain? Why not say there is mind, legs, arms, ..., brain and so on? Why reduce everything to the three holy substances of mind, body and consciousness, especially when you do not like reductionism. Leave the world of nature as it is, the beauty of diversity, of birds chirping in the morning, the sound of the water reaching the shores of the beach, and so on! Let science explain whatever it can and whatever it cannot explain now is not beyond explanation.
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Apr 27, 2017
The map of issues to be solved! Great task ahead!
Such interconnected islands of problems exist within the cell biology, within our brain, within psyche, within society, within universe and especially within our language. How our knowledge of consciousness can solve all such problems is the task of this group. How all-pervading consciousness clears all such issues from our cognitive territory will be nice to watch!
A.K. Mukhopadhyay, MD.
Prof. & Head, Department of Laboratory Medicine
All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi 110 029
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