Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thinkquote of the day: Mind from matter?

I am told that the German-born American biologist Max Delbruck (1906-1981) began to study neuroscience in his later years, and came to the following conclusion:

We start with the naïve question: How can mind emerge from dead matter as the result of purely physical processes? Mind then looks back on itself and says, “Aha, this is how I came about.” (Like Baron Munchhausen, pulling himself by his hair out of the mud.)

- Referenced in The duality of psycho-physics by
Stanley A. Klein to Delbruck, M. (1986): Mind from Matter? Blackwell Scientific Publishing, Oxford.(1986)

Of course, that makes neuroscience is by definition a dualistic enterprise - it deals with the interface between mind and brain. I don't expect either a materialist or an idealist to be happy with that. Each will be trying to eliminate the part they don't like. Hence eliminative materialism, more popular nowadays than eliminative idealism.