Drawing the boundary between subject and object: Comments on the mind-brain problem

Theoretical Medicine 14 (2):89-100 (1993)
Abstract
Physics says that it cannot deal with the mind-brain problem, because it does not deal in subjectivities, and mind is subjective. However, biologists (among others) still claim to seek a material basis for subjective mental processes, which would thereby render them objective. Something is clearly wrong here. I claim that what is wrong is the adoption of too narrow a view of what constitutes objectivity, especially in identifying it with what a machine can do. I approach the problem in the light of two cognate circumstances: (a) the measurement problem in quantum physics, and (b) the objectivity of standard mathematics, even though most of it is beyond the reach of machines. I argue that the only resolution to such problems is in the recognition that closed loops of causation are objective; i.e. legitimate objects of scientific scrutiny. These are explicitly forbidden in any machine or mechanism. A material system which contains such loops is called complex. Such complex systems thus must possess nonsimulable models; i.e. models which contain impredicativities or self-references which cannot be removed, or faithfully mapped into a single coherent syntactic time-frame. I consider a few of the consequences of the above, in the context of thus redrawing the boundary between subject and object.
Keywords Brain  Causality  Mind  Objectivity  Physicalism  Science
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