dinosaur.png “So, I’m not really comfortable with the fact that my mind is actually something physical.” — at Daily Dinosaur Comics [via introvert.net]. Hey that freaks me out too, knowing that the thought “that freaks me out,” is not just accompanied by but actually is some kind of arrangement of the actual physical stuff in my head, which represents (in this context) “that freaks me out.”

There’s a lot to say here, on the philosophical aspects, but I refuse to be drawn into discussion on the nature of representation, emergence, and where “self” is stored by a cartoon T. Rex stomping on a house. Forgive me.


  1. Posted December 1, 2004 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    // add some chemicals and you can alter how and what someone thinks //
    One thing that people don’t seem to emphasised so much when talking about the whole mind-is-physical thing is that it goes both ways. Yes, if you take a drug and alter your brain chemistry you will have a different conscious experience, but also, if you have a different conscious experience for some other reason (some internal dynamic, some social experience, whatever) that is altering your brain chemistry…The mind is not some puppet played by the brain, a brain which possesses the controlling force of physical reality…Mind and brain exist on the same level – they are co-dependent (although necessarily we experience them differently because we see one from the inside!).

  2. kenny
    Posted December 3, 2004 at 4:08 am | Permalink

    just reminded me of a quote i read in this intro to quantum computing :D
    “The rallying cry of the information physicist is ‘no information without physical representation!'”
    kenny :D

  3. kenny
    Posted December 3, 2004 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    whoops! here you go – http://eve.physics.ox.ac.uk/Personal/steane/qcintro.html :D

  4. Wrinkels
    Posted December 9, 2004 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Your mistake regarding the physical changing the mental (the way people think) is elementary… Your mistake is in implicitly assuming that the chemical is a physical thing. Look at it this way, instead of being a physical chemical which is influencing the brain (soul, spirit, whatever) why not assert that the caffeine is also of a mental nature? In any event, you can not prove to me that caffeine is a physical thing (I dare you to try ;). I would reply that caffeine is a thought, a concept, a purely mental constuction… ;) ;) ;)

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