Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mind body dichotomy? Perhaps no.

"The absence of an empirically identifiable meeting point between the non-physical mind and its physical extension has proven problematic..." This is the source of the concept of a mind-body dichotomy. But I think this problem in the philosophy of mind will be resolved with further experiments on cockroaches someday. Or fruitflies. Just as the compound word "spacetime" has replaced a distinction between space and time, so too is "bodymind" removing another outdated distinction. But what does this mean conceptually? Are the properties I have assigned to one or the other in reality mutually shared by each? The lines are blurring even more.

Sometimes it seems as though my mind would rather not take care of my body. But I could also think of this as my bodymind unsuccessfully searching for an easier way of life that may or may not meet success in the long term (though it hasn't much improved things in the short term). It is interesting to reflect on what the evolution of the human bodymind has led to so far. But beware; evolution is more notorious for its failures rather than its successes, decisively favoring the most resourceful members of a population. During my imaginative tangents in life, I should do well to remember the tried and true basics of survival, which may, in the end, prove to be the most radical method of all, as I am sure Lao-Tzu would agree.

The concept of artificial consciousness seems based on the presupposition of a body-mind dichotomy, so far that a consciousness is conceivable without more than a passing regard to the composition of an originating material body, organic or otherwise. If it were instead based on a bodymind foundation, artificial consciousness might be conceived of differently (i.e. natural bodymind vs. artificial bodymind, assuming the terms mind and consciousness/awareness can be used interchangeably). Mind without body is like time without space.

References: Wikipedia's Mind-body dichotomy article.

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