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A materialist rejection of the view that the mind is merely reactive

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A materialist rejection of the view that the mind is merely reactive What we believe today is that everything is physical, our minds are chemicals and electrons whizzing round. One of the implications of this materialist view of the mind is that our minds only react to outside stimuli. This is because of cause and effect. The two basics of cause and effect are that every effect (or occurrence) has a cause. Nothing just happens. The second is that cause and effect have a predictable relationship. Given the same causes, the same effect will follow. Basically because effect follows cause (like chicken and egg), we can in theory keep following back and identify the big bang as the cause of me writing this sentence. ...read more.


This is to say that what we consciously experience is filtered and altered by our unconscious minds. My identity is contained in my conscious, higher mind, but information can only reach this part of the brain from the unconscious, reactive animalistic (i.e. evolved longer ago), lower parts of the brain. What I perceive is not what reaches my brain. As such what we experience is at least partly of our own creation, the connections and thoughts that our sense impressions generate also form part of our experience. At least part of the experience that reaches the conscious mind is only indirectly caused by the external world. Thus what we are responding to is in effect unknowable as a significant proportion of it is generated from the mind itself which no one else can have perfect access to. ...read more.


If a system is unpredictable, how can it be said that it reacts to the external world? It might be true to say that the external world initiates the system to do something, but even the principle of cause and effect breaks down in a system of this complexity, so the system does not just merely react, but is self-organising. This leads to a whole host of further implications, which may or may not be explained by chaos theory, complexity theory, emergent systems and the potential for quantum to have an control. Using this argument it is possible to take a materialist stance whilst rejecting the implication of materialist monism that our minds are purely reactive. However please note that this is not an argument for intentionality merely a rejection of the determinism implied by being purely reactive. ...read more.

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