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Monday, January 27, 2020

Mind-Body as Idealism versus Materialism

The mind-body problem is about the limits of what we can ever subjectively know with our mind about the objective nature of our body, which is physical reality outside of our mind. Sometimes people use the words idealism-materialism instead of mind-body and sometimes mysticism and the soul creeps into idealism as well. The mind-body question is among the many questions that people often ask that really have no unique answers and the mind-body problem is just such a question about idealism-materialism without a single unique answer.

Rather, there are two kinds of answers;  a subjective idealism and an objective materialism, and idealism can include not only mind, but mysticism and soul as well. However, both idealism and materialism are limited by the same subjective mind since what we know about any objective materials outside of our mind is necessarily limited by our subjective minds. The figure below shows the mind's retina subjectively seeing mirror reflection of that same retina at the same moment as an objective part of the body that others can see as well. However, no one will see exactly the same retina since their eyes and minds see differently.


Note that people do not seem to associate morality with either the mind or the body even though there are both objective as well as subjective moralities.Thus, the world necessarily starts off for each of us with our subjective mind and it is only the narratives and images like retinas that we share with others and the free choices that we make that show an objective reality outside of our minds.

While materialism supposes that there is an objective world of matter like retinas outside of the mind, idealism supposes that there is only each mind's retina seeing itself despite the fact that the mind and free choice are made up of neural matter actions. Furthermore, there are other minds that share narratives about the nature of reality that include retinas. Materialism further supposes that the mind’s mental states and free choice are results of material interactions of the body and so the mind is then just a product of that objective physical reality. The definition of materialism also includes the changes due to material interaction. It is after all only with the duality of both matter and action that the universe exists and so it is important to also consider action or change as a part of any physical reality.

In contrast to objective materialism, subjective idealism is the simple assumption that the mind and free choice are actually what determines the illusion of objective materialism. Idealism supposes that the subjective free choice of the mind sees its own retina and determines the illusion of objective matter changes as a retina. Subjective idealism further argues that objective materialism is an illusion of the mind and that the subjective actions of the mind determine the only true reality. Even though the mind and free choice are made up of the action potentials of neural matter, idealism somehow still assumes that there is no objective materialism outside of the subjective mind.

Free choice is a mystery of the mind and is how we affect matter action and while there are many different definitions of consciousness, in contrast, free choice has a simple definition. Free choice is how we make the world more desirable given a feeling that we have about a choice. Since we only perceive the objective world of retinas with the subjective mind's retina, the mystery is whether objective materialism of retinas exists outside of subjective free choice of the mind's retina or whether subjective free choice of the mind's retina is how objective materialism of retinas seems to exist.

We use knowledge of the world of objective materialism of retinas to predict likely outcomes from precursors, like seeing a retina with a retina, but knowledge has no meaning without free choice. There is a free choice of the mind's retina to see an objective retina, but without knowledge of retinas and mirrors, the image would have no meaning. The very meaning of free choice is tied to a lifetime of knowledge and experience.

Very simple organisms have likewise very simple neural networks that nevertheless also provide free choice to those organisms. The neural networks of the hydra or nematode both freely choose outcomes that depend on precursors, but those free choice outcomes are never completely predictable or determinate from those precursors. Classically, it is the chaos of random noise that limits the precision of predictions and there is no limit to the possible precision of a prediction. However, there are quantum limits to the precise prediction of all action in the universe is subject to a well-defined and discrete quantum limit.

Objective materialism predicts most likely outcomes from matter, action, and quantum phase given a set of precursors. Since we can share those predictions with others, these predictions are an objective reality of materialism. However, materialism still means free choice based on a set of precursors that determine feeling and so those objective materialist choices are still part of the same subjective reality of idealism.

Subjective idealism also chooses an outcome based on a set of precursors that determine feeling and that feeling is not possible to completely know. Since we choose based on feelings and feelings are unique for each person, free choice forms a subjective reality that is unique for each person. Feeling is a neural action that derives from the action of a moment of thought, a lifetime of precursor memories, and sensations of the moment. Even though we can share measurements of matter action with others, idealism still supposes that objective reality is just an illusion of our subjective reality.

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