Is There A Place For The Mind In Physics?
So I want you to do something for me. I want you to think of a blue monkey. Are you ready? OK, go! Visualize it in your head. Any kind of monkey will do (as long as it’s blue). Take a moment. Really, see the little blue dude! Got it? Great. Now, here is the question: Where did that thought fit into reality? How was it real? Where was it real?
Another way to ask this question is: Was the “blue monkey thought” just the electrical activity of your neurons? Was that all there was to it? If not, might your private internal screening of the blue monkey be something altogether different? Was it, perhaps, part of something just as fundamental as quarks and Higgs bosons?
This is the fundamental question behind philosopher Thomas Nagel’s controversial book: ”Mind & Cosmos: Why The Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False”. I’ve been slowly making my way through Nagel’s short (though, at points, dense) volume for a few months now. Back in October our own most excellent philosopher of Mind, Alva Noe, presented his own take on Nagel’s work. Yesterday, Tania Lombrozo extracted some real-world questions out of Nagel’s philosophy. Today I want to begin thinking a bit about what and where the Mind might be in relation to my own science of physics. CONTINUED.
UmYuss. But not really.