The mind-body problem

On this website, I will propose a solution of the ‘mind-body-problem’. The nature and history of the problem has often and extensively been described, for example by Laura Weed (here). The solution I will propose is a monistic one and a materialistic or physicalistic one, however, without ignoring the existence of things like phenomenal experience, emotions, or consciousness.

My main assumption is that what we traditionally call the mind is not one phenomenon, but consists (and is the product of an interaction) of two very different components: (1) information processing, which is an ability of all matter, at least of matter that has a modicum of structure, and (2) life, particularly some properties of living organisms: motility (the ability to actively move), subjectivity (a changeable inward responding to changes of the environment), and the risk of death.

I will not claim that life is anyway non-physical. Living organisms are matter and no more. But this matter is organized in a way such that laws of physics are quasi bundled and are effective in one direction, namely towards maintenance, growth, and proliferation of the given structure. Moreover, living beings are material structures that have an astonishing property: They build up their inner order (i.e., they reduce their internal entropy) by increasing the chaos (the entropy) in their environment. From the viewpoint of physics, life is a possible but rather improbable state of matter.

I will also not speculate about quantum information, and whether it has to do with what we call the mind. And I will not propose a panpsychist approach, since I don’t assume that elementary particles, atoms, molecules, stones, or clouds are mental in any sense. Mental states are based on biological processes – even if not necessarily on processes in a brain. However, the concept of information that I will propose can help us to understand how mind and consciousness could develop in a purely physical, insentient material world.


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Torsten Hesse About me: I was born in 1956 in Magdeburg in East Germany, behind the ‘iron curtain’. After school, I studied arts and crafts (wood design), I wanted to become a carver. But it was difficult for me to find my way. I lived in a remote little village for 17 years.and worked as a whittler, a toy maker, watercolorist, musician, and sometimes I jobbed in a factory, or in an agricultural cooperative, or even as a gravedigger. Later, I moved to another village and worked in an outdoor museum, where I could use both my woodworking and musical skills. You can look at some of my pictures and products in the Galery, but that’s only for fun and not related to the actual content of this website, which is the result of my lifelong interest in philosophy and sciences.


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