Author Topic: The mind is the ultimate purpose behind human endeavor  (Read 3326 times)

Offline Solomon Zorn

Re: The mind is the ultimate purpose behind human endeavor
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2013, 09:16:23 AM »
Quote from: "entropy"
Oh, I see. I think he was just saying that if purpose is a creation of the mind, then if you want to find the origin of purpose, you must look to the mind and not outside of the mind - the mind itself and not outside of the mind. As near as I can tell, his whole post pretty much consists of a restatement of that same basic idea three different ways.

Actually, the title of the thread is "The mind is the ultimate purpose..."

Meanwhile, this fly buzzing around my head sure seems to have the purpose of getting me to slap myself in the face! :wink:
If God Exists, Why Does He Pretend Not to Exist?
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Offline aitm

Re: The mind is the ultimate purpose behind human endeavor
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2013, 09:30:01 AM »
I think we tend to put ourselves on some pedestal however, the reality of evolution would suggest that the mind is a mere accidental by-product of the micro world learning to join forces for their mutual benefit. Suppose billions of years ago when microbes first started a mutual relationship, perhaps accidentally, they developed a method of movement to enable escape or to get closer to food. The brain is a mere by-product of this bundle of nerves that they created. We and all animals have "developed" a higher consciousness simply by accident and evolution. I don't think we are nearly as important as we think we are.
A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust

Offline entropy

Re: The mind is the ultimate purpose behind human endeavor
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2013, 10:25:24 AM »
Quote from: "Solomon Zorn"
Quote from: "entropy"
Oh, I see. I think he was just saying that if purpose is a creation of the mind, then if you want to find the origin of purpose, you must look to the mind and not outside of the mind - the mind itself and not outside of the mind. As near as I can tell, his whole post pretty much consists of a restatement of that same basic idea three different ways.

Actually, the title of the thread is "The mind is the ultimate purpose..."

Meanwhile, this fly buzzing around my head sure seems to have the purpose of getting me to slap myself in the face! :wink:

I missed that. You are right, that title certainly is problematic with respect to the notion he presents in the content of his original posting. "Purpose originates with the mind," is not the same as "The mind is the ultimate purpose." To get from the former to the latter requires more explanation/argument because it is possible to construe the title to mean that "ultimate purpose" is contingent on something other than mind. And the explanation would end up having an odd circular nature to it.

Offline josephpalazzo

Re: The mind is the ultimate purpose behind human endeavor
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2013, 10:29:29 AM »
Quote from: "zarus tathra"
My reasoning behind this is very simple, almost computer-like.

Without the mind, there is no purpose. Purpose is nothing more than a creation of the mind. Therefore, if one wishes to find a first and final purpose, the purpose behind all purposes, one must turn to the mind itself.

Those biological organisms developped a brain so that they could respond to their environment, fight or flee. Notice, plants didn't have to, and consequently never developped brains. You could label " fight or flee" as the first purpose in the development of the mind.

Offline entropy

Re: The mind is the ultimate purpose behind human endeavor
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2013, 01:26:35 PM »
Quote from: "josephpalazzo"
Quote from: "zarus tathra"
My reasoning behind this is very simple, almost computer-like.

Without the mind, there is no purpose. Purpose is nothing more than a creation of the mind. Therefore, if one wishes to find a first and final purpose, the purpose behind all purposes, one must turn to the mind itself.

Those biological organisms developed a brain so that they could respond to their environment, fight or flee. Notice, plants didn't have to, and consequently never developed brains. You could label " fight or flee" as the first purpose in the development of the mind.

The term "purpose" seems to have two primary meanings that are not semantically equivalent: one is "purpose" as the reason something happens and the other is "purpose" as an intended goal. In the case of "fight or flee" as an example of purpose, I think that refers to the former (reason something happens) meaning of the term - that is, if we assume that "nature" is not an entity that can form an intent toward a particular goal.

With the "reason something happens" meaning of "purpose", there is no necessary connection to mental activity. For example, a purpose of photosynthesis in plants is to fix carbon in a form where it can be used in biochemical reactions within cells (that is a reason for photosynthesis in plants, the plants don't form an intent to do photosynthesis). In forming his premise, on the other hand, it appears that zarus tathra is referring to the "intended goal" meaning of the term. But that is what makes the subject line title of his first post at least a bit odd. Substitute "intended goal" for "purpose" in his title and you get: "The mind is the ultimate intended goal behind human endeavor." But what forms the intent to have that as a goal? Well, the premise in his post implies that it must be the mind that has the intent. So his subject line statement seems to claim that the mind forms the intent to have the human endeavor be about having the mind as a goal. I imagine there is a way to interpret his statement in a manner such that is more coherent, but it isn't evident to me at the moment.

Offline entropy

Re: The mind is the ultimate purpose behind human endeavor
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2013, 01:41:10 PM »
Incidentally, I think the ambiguity of the term "purpose" ("reason something happens" meaning and "intended goal" meaning) lies at a lot of misunderstandings that arise between theists and non-theists with respect to teleological considerations in biology. I think most non-theists who use the term "teleological" with respect to biological form and function mean it in the "reason something happens" sense of the term. But oftentimes theists - being "trained" to think of teleology in theological contexts - tend to think of the term in "intended goal" terms. (It is logically possible that the form and function of living things arise because that is the intent of some supernatural entity, but that is not logically necessarily the case.)

Offline josephpalazzo

Re: The mind is the ultimate purpose behind human endeavor
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2013, 03:22:58 PM »
Quote from: "entropy"
Quote from: "josephpalazzo"
Quote from: "zarus tathra"
My reasoning behind this is very simple, almost computer-like.

Without the mind, there is no purpose. Purpose is nothing more than a creation of the mind. Therefore, if one wishes to find a first and final purpose, the purpose behind all purposes, one must turn to the mind itself.

Those biological organisms developed a brain so that they could respond to their environment, fight or flee. Notice, plants didn't have to, and consequently never developed brains. You could label " fight or flee" as the first purpose in the development of the mind.

The term "purpose" seems to have two primary meanings that are not semantically equivalent: one is "purpose" as the reason something happens and the other is "purpose" as an intended goal. In the case of "fight or flee" as an example of purpose, I think that refers to the former (reason something happens) meaning of the term - that is, if we assume that "nature" is not an entity that can form an intent toward a particular goal.

With the "reason something happens" meaning of "purpose", there is no necessary connection to mental activity. For example, a purpose of photosynthesis in plants is to fix carbon in a form where it can be used in biochemical reactions within cells (that is a reason for photosynthesis in plants, the plants don't form an intent to do photosynthesis). In forming his premise, on the other hand, it appears that zarus tathra is referring to the "intended goal" meaning of the term. But that is what makes the subject line title of his first post at least a bit odd. Substitute "intended goal" for "purpose" in his title and you get: "The mind is the ultimate intended goal behind human endeavor." But what forms the intent to have that as a goal? Well, the premise in his post implies that it must be the mind that has the intent. So his subject line statement seems to claim that the mind forms the intent to have the human endeavor be about having the mind as a goal. I imagine there is a way to interpret his statement in a manner such that is more coherent, but it isn't evident to me at the moment.

Thanks for the info, tho' my post had to do with the origin of the brain in the evolution of species -- Human brains came after a long evolution over hundreds of millions of years. As to the question of "intended goal" that brings in a whole can of worms, such as free will vs determinism, and how is mind related to brain, which I'd rather skip.  :-D

Offline stromboli

Re: The mind is the ultimate purpose behind human endeavor
« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2013, 03:35:53 PM »
Quote
I missed that. You are right, that title certainly is problematic with respect to the notion he presents in the content of his original posting. "Purpose originates with the mind," is not the same as "The mind is the ultimate purpose." To get from the former to the latter requires more explanation/argument because it is possible to construe the title to mean that "ultimate purpose" is contingent on something other than mind. And the explanation would end up having an odd circular nature to it
.

A couple of years back I put a similar concept on here and was basically attacked.

Quote
"Purpose originates with the mind," is not the same as "The mind is the ultimate purpose."

From the standpoint of Dawkin's Blind Watchmaker, to say that nature/evolution has an intent will get you an argument. Nature/evolution having a purpose smacks of intelligent design. Are you saying that nature has a need to perceive itself? I don't think so. There is no ultimate purpose to evolution, only observable results from the process.
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Offline entropy

Re: The mind is the ultimate purpose behind human endeavor
« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2013, 03:45:01 PM »
Quote from: "josephpalazzo"
Quote from: "entropy"

The term "purpose" seems to have two primary meanings that are not semantically equivalent: one is "purpose" as the reason something happens and the other is "purpose" as an intended goal. In the case of "fight or flee" as an example of purpose, I think that refers to the former (reason something happens) meaning of the term - that is, if we assume that "nature" is not an entity that can form an intent toward a particular goal.

With the "reason something happens" meaning of "purpose", there is no necessary connection to mental activity. For example, a purpose of photosynthesis in plants is to fix carbon in a form where it can be used in biochemical reactions within cells (that is a reason for photosynthesis in plants, the plants don't form an intent to do photosynthesis). In forming his premise, on the other hand, it appears that zarus tathra is referring to the "intended goal" meaning of the term. But that is what makes the subject line title of his first post at least a bit odd. Substitute "intended goal" for "purpose" in his title and you get: "The mind is the ultimate intended goal behind human endeavor." But what forms the intent to have that as a goal? Well, the premise in his post implies that it must be the mind that has the intent. So his subject line statement seems to claim that the mind forms the intent to have the human endeavor be about having the mind as a goal. I imagine there is a way to interpret his statement in a manner such that is more coherent, but it isn't evident to me at the moment.

Thanks for the info, tho' my post had to do with the origin of the brain in the evolution of species -- Human brains came after a long evolution over hundreds of millions of years. As to the question of "intended goal" that brings in a whole can of worms, such as free will vs determinism, and how is mind related to brain, which I'd rather skip.  :-D

I probably should have more explicitly expressed that I thought that there might be some potential for zarus tathra to misunderstand your point because he seems to be thinking of "purpose" in the "intended goal" sense and you seemed to be using the term "purpose" in the "the reason something happens" sense - that's why I posted that response.

Offline entropy

Re: The mind is the ultimate purpose behind human endeavor
« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2013, 04:10:06 PM »
Quote from: "stromboli"

Quote
"Purpose originates with the mind," is not the same as "The mind is the ultimate purpose."

From the standpoint of Dawkin's Blind Watchmaker, to say that nature/evolution has an intent will get you an argument. Nature/evolution having a purpose smacks of intelligent design. Are you saying that nature has a need to perceive itself? I don't think so. There is no ultimate purpose to evolution, only observable results from the process.

I actually was thinking about evolution when I wrote the post above about teleology. I have seen more than one discussion about the teleological implications of evolution get in a terrible tangle because one person was thinking of teleology in the "reason something happens" sense and another person was thinking of teleology in the "intended goal" sense. I think they essentially ended up talking past each other because they did not see that they weren't using the word "teleology" the same way.

Offline entropy

Re: The mind is the ultimate purpose behind human endeavor
« Reply #25 on: September 16, 2013, 11:29:12 PM »
Quote from: "entropy"
As near as I can tell, his whole post pretty much consists of a restatement of that same basic idea three different ways.

This has been bothering me all day. I got a little lazy in writing that bit. The statements in the original post to this thread did not actually exactly constitute a tautology. Here's the way the argument appears to me when I try to deconstruct it:

First, here is the argument in its original form in the original post to this thread:

Quote
Without the mind, there is no purpose. Purpose is nothing more than a creation of the mind. Therefore, if one wishes to find a first and final purpose, the purpose behind all purposes, one must turn to the mind itself.

The first two statements strike me as redundant, so I'll just deal with the second statement, "Purpose is nothing more than a creation of the mind." I'll refer to that as the major premise.

Now we jump from the major premise to a conclusion:  "Therefore, if one wishes to find a first and final purpose, the purpose behind all purposes, one must turn to the mind itself." There is a hidden premise here. The hidden premise is that if one wants to find the origin of something, one must look to where the thing originates. It's an obvious premise, so it's understandable that it was left unstated, but for the statements to constitute an argument, this implicit minor premise needs to become explicit.

Together, the major and minor premises and the conclusion form a syllogism:


Major Premise: Purpose is nothing more than a creation of the mind.

Minor Premise (hidden/unstated): If one wants to find the origin of something, one must look to where the thing originates.

Conclusion: Therefore, if one wishes to find a first and final purpose, the purpose behind all purposes, one must turn to the mind itself.



With the minor premise no longer hidden/unstated, what I had characterized in my earlier post as a tautology is shown to be a valid syllogism and not just a tautology. And yet, I don't think it was entirely unfair to characterize it as a tautology because the hidden/unstated minor premise is so obvious that it's inclusion does not elucidate much of anything beyond just simply stating again that purpose originates in the mind.

 

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