A Physicalist Theory of Mind

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Grigoris
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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by Grigoris » Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:24 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:Well it may surprise you to know that some people still accept the five elements because they do not have as their primary paradigm the materialist position. Like Malcolm pointed out, the table of elements can easily be explained via the paradigm of the five elements.
Do you know what 'special pleading' means?
Wikipedia wrote:Special pleading (also known as stacking the deck, ignoring the counterevidence, slanting, and one-sided assessment) is a form of spurious argument where a position in a dispute introduces favourable details or excludes unfavourable details by alleging a need to apply additional considerations without proper criticism of these considerations. Essentially, this involves someone attempting to cite something as an exception to a generally accepted rule, principle, etc. without justifying the exception.
So the fact that 'some people accept it' is not an argument. It's special pleading.
I can quite easily go into an analysis of each element of the periodic table based on the ratios present of each of the five elements. Would that convince you? Would that be evidence enough? Probably not. Mainly because you consider the five element model archaic, primitive and outdated, surpassed by the periodic model. That means that you prefer the periodic paradigm (a materialist paradigm) over the five element paradigm (a Buddhist paradigm, and qualitative to boot). So, weirdly enough, that makes you a materialist in regards to the subject at hand.

So why are you acting all surprised and hurt?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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oushi
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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by oushi » Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:32 pm

Dark Ages, welcome back!
Say what you think about me here.

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Grigoris
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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by Grigoris » Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:54 pm

oushi wrote:Dark Ages, welcome back!
If you consider Buddhism "Dark Ages" then yes, welcome back.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

shel
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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by shel » Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:54 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:the Buddhist paradigm is not a materialist paradigm, the qualitative properties of the five elements are their key points, not their physical existence per se. Earth is not dirt, air is not a breeze, etc...
So what element is dirt if not earth, according to the five element model?

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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by shel » Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:58 pm

Malcolm wrote:
shel wrote:
Jikan wrote:there's no mind-object duality regarding a dualism. put a horn on a horse and you have a horse in a unicorn costume. that's not a unicorn, no matter what they told you at the store. I hope you kept the receipt because unicorns are imaginary. they are only conceptual, only mindstuff.
You don't know that they're imaginary. Most likely they are imaginary, but my point is that a unicorn would never have been imagined in the first place had the building blocks (horse and horn) never existed. THUS, unicorns were derived from a horse (physical) and a horn (also physical). What else could a unicorn have been derived from???
No doubt the concept "unicorn" was built from simple impressions.
There, that wasn't so hard to admit.

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Malcolm
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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:01 pm

shel wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:the Buddhist paradigm is not a materialist paradigm, the qualitative properties of the five elements are their key points, not their physical existence per se. Earth is not dirt, air is not a breeze, etc...
So what element is dirt if not earth, according to the five element model?
You don't understand, the five elements compose all material things, albeit in differing proportions depending on their solidity, etc.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Malcolm
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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:02 pm

shel wrote: There, that wasn't so hard to admit.

Sure, but that is not the point of discussion. A concept of a unicorn is not rūpa. It is nāma, i.e. non-material.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Malcolm
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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:03 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
oushi wrote:Dark Ages, welcome back!
If you consider Buddhism "Dark Ages" then yes, welcome back.
Yes, all this technology, warfare, poisoning of environment and warming of the globe has really reduced the incidence of suffering...
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

shel
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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by shel » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:09 pm

conebeckham wrote:
shel wrote:You don't know that they're imaginary. Most likely they are imaginary, but my point is that a unicorn would never have been imagined in the first place had the building blocks (horse and horn) never existed. THUS, unicorns were derived from a horse (physical) and a horn (also physical). What else could a unicorn have been derived from???
The very notion of "horn" and "horse" would not exist to sentient beings, but for the mental consciousness, the mind. Without the mind, we can only speak of the plenum void. Your building blocks, nevermind your mythical creature, owe their "existence" to mind.
I'm not a particularly religious or spiritual person so I don't have a tendency to polarize such things. I see mind and matter, or namarupa, as interdependent. I'm not bias towards spirit or the "primacy" mind. And yes of course, unicorns owe their existence to our imaginations.

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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by shel » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:11 pm

Malcolm wrote:
shel wrote: There, that wasn't so hard to admit.

Sure, but that is not the point of discussion. A concept of a unicorn is not rūpa. It is nāma, i.e. non-material.
Derived from... never mind. :tongue:

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Malcolm
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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:11 pm

shel wrote:I see mind and matter, or namarupa, as interdependent.
No one suggested that there was no relation between mind and matter. This whole strand is meant to address the erroneous claim that there is some kind of non-physical rūpa or matter.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Malcolm
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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:13 pm

shel wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
shel wrote: There, that wasn't so hard to admit.

Sure, but that is not the point of discussion. A concept of a unicorn is not rūpa. It is nāma, i.e. non-material.
Derived from... never mind. :tongue:
The point is that the substance of the concept is not material, is not a form of matter.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by Sönam » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:15 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:I don't think I'm particularly invested in scientific materialism, but I have never really understood the five elements thing.
honestly I don't really understand that one cannot understand (see) the five elements (in everything)? :shrug:

Sönam
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
- Longchen Rabjam -

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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by shel » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:17 pm

Malcolm wrote:
shel wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:the Buddhist paradigm is not a materialist paradigm, the qualitative properties of the five elements are their key points, not their physical existence per se. Earth is not dirt, air is not a breeze, etc...
So what element is dirt if not earth, according to the five element model?
You don't understand, the five elements compose all material things, albeit in differing proportions depending on their solidity, etc.
Right, there's some water, air, earth, and fire (particularly when it contains a lot of uranium I imagine) in dirt. How is this view fundamentally different than a more modern "materialist" model?

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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by shel » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:18 pm

Malcolm wrote:The point is that the substance of the concept is not material, is not a form of matter.
Yes, your point was never unclear. You are most welcome to continue ignoring my point. Moving on...

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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by dzogchungpa » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:21 pm

Malcolm wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:I don't think I'm particularly invested in scientific materialism, but I have never really understood the five elements thing.
If you understand solidity, liquidity, motility, heat and dimension you have understood the five "elements".
Assuming I understand those, although I'm not sure what you mean by dimension exactly, aren't there supposed to be atoms or molecules or whatever of these things, at least in abhidharma? I don't really understand what an atom of motility would be like, for example.
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by DGA » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:23 pm

Good question, shel. Here's my attempt at an answer:

I'd understood the five elements generally to be a set of categories for understanding the phenomena of the world--names for specific bandwidth a thing might occupy, so to speak. It's possible to understand matter through the lens of the periodic chart; it's possible to understand phenomenal experience through the lens of the five elements, just as one can use the skandhas as a way to understand the components of one's experience of oneself.

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Grigoris
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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by Grigoris » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:24 pm

Malcolm wrote:You don't understand, the five elements compose all material things, albeit in differing proportions depending on their solidity, etc.
This.

That is why it can be applied in order to define all the elements of the periodic table based on their qualitative properties of relative levels of solidity, motility, heat, etc...
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Malcolm
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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:26 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:I don't think I'm particularly invested in scientific materialism, but I have never really understood the five elements thing.
If you understand solidity, liquidity, motility, heat and dimension you have understood the five "elements".
Assuming I understand those, although I'm not sure what you mean by dimension exactly, aren't there supposed to be atoms or molecules of these things, at least in abhidharma? I don't really understand what an atom of motility would be like.
The Abhidharma concept was that matter was composed of atoms that possessed the first four properties listed above.

Naturally, higher tenet systems such as Yogacara and Madhyamaka rejected the ultimacy of atoms without however rejecting particles conventionally.

So, solidity can be measured in a modern element by its atomic weight and so on. Matter does not remain in one form, it moves through three phases depending on the presence or absence of heat. The three phases of matter with heat governing phase transition is merely a modern way of recasting the four elements. However, it is not as comprehensive as the four or five element model.
Last edited by Malcolm on Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Malcolm
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Re: A Physicalist Theory of Mind

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:27 pm

Jikan wrote:Good question, shel. Here's my attempt at an answer:

I'd understood the five elements generally to be a set of categories for understanding the phenomena of the world--names for specific bandwidth a thing might occupy, so to speak. It's possible to understand matter through the lens of the periodic chart; it's possible to understand phenomenal experience through the lens of the five elements, just as one can use the skandhas as a way to understand the components of one's experience of oneself.
You cannot use the periodic table of elements to achieve rainbow however, or to immolate yourself as Ananda did by entering the fire element, in order to save lay people from the hassle of dealing with his death.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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