I find I learn a lot from discussion on here, and elsewhere, primarily because I am presented with different perspectives and my opinions are challenged; but equally because I am introduced to sources of information I wouldn't have come across previously; so this discussion [if it materialises] is as much about that as it is anything else. Still, like any discussion, it is probably necessary to have some starting position from which to proceed.
That we* experience a physical world is not in question; it is pretty self-evident. I think it is also prudent to say that the scientific method is probably our best means of making models and predictions about the physical world.
I think it is also fair to say that the scientific method doesn't necessarily cast aspersions on the nature of reality; it deals with the physical world, without any assumption about whether or not the nature of reality is physical.
Without making any assumptions about the nature of reality, if we simply follow the scientific method we deduce that the processes of the brain (physical matter) are what gives rise to our mental experiences.
We also deduce that what we experience as the physical world around us, including our own bodies, is a mental projection of sensory stimuli.
Side by side, these are two, seemingly, contradictory statements:
- matter gives rise to mind i.e. the mind is what the brain does
- the mind gives rise to matter i.e. matter (as we perceive it) is a mental projection of sensory stimuli
A materialist paradigm assumes that the nature of reality is physical and that matter gives rise to mind; however, from the above it would appear that such a position is self-refuting.
That matter gives rise to mind, appears to be circular, in that the conclusion has to be assumed.
Is there another way of looking at the evidence below, which isn't self-refuting and doesn't require us to assume our conclusion?
- matter gives rise to mind
- matter (as we perceive it) is a mental projection i.e. the mind gives rise to matter