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- “People might ask what is a ‘mind’, because we know that we have a brain and it thinks and this produces mental activities, but there seems to be some disconnect between mental activities and physical things, and I think people are too ready to say that's an unbridgeable gulf. The way science has usually progressed is that we find intermediate ideas, and then you don't have two separate worlds. For example, at one time people said sulfur has a funny smell, and that's a property of sulfur. This was an idea for thousands of years, that substances had odors. Then Lavoisier and Priestley come along and they get the idea that there are elements and compounds, there is a lot of chemistry but it was very flaky because they didn't know about elements and molecules and didn't have theories that were quite right. And so Lavoisier discovers sulfur doesn't have a small, but there's a gas which is in sulfur and it's maybe sulfur dioxide. It's combined with the oxygen in the air, because these were the people who discovered oxygen as a separate element, and that's what has the smell. That's a big difference. How could a thing have a smell? Is there some – what people discovered is that very small particles, too small for any instrument in those days to measure, the human nose can recognize – that even I can recognize six photons of light. No instrument could measure that until recently. The human nose can represent two or three molecules of a compound. There was no instrument that could detect those. So all of a sudden, the smell which was in the mental world and the sulfur which is in the physical world was an unbridgeable gap, it was a property – a mental property of the substance, but now we know, oh, it's nothing special. These little pieces of sulfur come off, the oxygen combines with the air wafts in there, it excites a receptor and that goes to the brain and somehow, we don't know, it associates the memory of if it were hydrogen sulfide it would be rotten eggs, if it's sulfur dioxide, I don't know what it's called. So I think the mind is the same thing. I think of the brain as having many levels of processes. Suppose you have an automobile engine running. Is the running physical? Of course not. Is it mysterious? Of course not. The running is because when a piston goes down it drives the crankshaft and when it comes up it sucks in some more gas and air and there's a little gadget to make, a spark plug or whatever unless you have a diesel, and so there's a cycle. The running of the engine is a sort of process like a little computer program, only it's nowhere. It's just in the workings of the machine. It's an abstraction. So the running of the engine is not physical, but it's not in a mysterious world, it's just a chain of cause and effect. And so to me the idea of dualism, that there's a physical world and a mental world is just ignorance because for thousands of years nobody could find the 30 little steps between brain cells and making long-range plans or falling in love. But now I can imagine that these brain cells form this particular way of memorizing one bit on or off or five bits and this goes to something else which causes a little reasoning process and this makes records in the representation and you can remember what happened and so on. And so there's no mind-body problem. The problem is how do you connect these seven different models of mind at higher and lower levels? So to me, all those philosophers are too lazy to realize that there's a lot of worlds and they're not separate. They are just different ways of looking at the same thing.”
- Kuhn, Robert. (1999). “Interview of Marvin Minsky” (Ѻ) (note: long version in dropmenu), Closer to the Truth.
- Mind (subdomain) – Hmolpedia 2020.