Are All Minds Finite?


Question: Is the following argument valid or invalid?

(Please note that I provide some clarification in the endnotes at the bottom of this post.)

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Let us define two scenarios:

S1: A scenario in which consciousness exists.
S2: A scenario in which consciousness does not exist.

***

If scenario S1 does not exist, logically, S2 must exist.

If scenario S2 does not exist, logically, S1 must exist.

***

Suppose a scenario S persists for a total duration of zero seconds. Then S exists for "no length of time."(1) If S exists for "no length of time," S never exists. Therefore, if S persists for a total duration of zero seconds, S never exists.

Suppose a scenario exists. Then the scenario must persist for a duration greater than zero seconds. If a scenario persists for a duration greater than zero seconds, a phenomenon of temporal passage must occur.(2) If a phenomenon of temporal passage occurs, consciousness must exist.(3) Therefore, if a scenario exists, consciousness must exist.

Let us consider the following statements:

A. A scenario can exist even if consciousness does not exist.
B. Scenario S2 can exist.

In order for statement B to be true, A must be true. A is not true. Therefore, B is not true.

Since B is not true, we conclude the following: Scenario S2 cannot exist.

As indicated above, if S2 does not exist, S1 must exist. S2 does not exist. Therefore, S1 must exist.

S1 cannot cease to exist.(4) (This scenario must continue to exist indefinitely.)

***

Let us define a "finite mind" as a "mind that exists for a finite period of time." Let us define an "infinite mind" as a "mind that exists for an infinite period of time."

***

Here are three more statements for us to consider:

C. S1 exists and will continue to exist indefinitely.
D. Consciousness exists and will continue to exist indefinitely.
E. An infinite mind exists.

If statement C is true, D must be true. C is true. Therefore D must be true.

If statement D is true, E must be true. D is true. Therefore E must be true.

We are forced to conclude that an infinite mind exists.(5),(6),(7),(8)

***

Endnotes:

1. Zero seconds is "no length of time."
2. The word "persist" implies a passage of time. (Persistence is a dynamic process.)
3. The phenomenon of temporal passage (i.e., the phenomenon of time flow) is consciousness-dependent.
4. In order for S1 to cease to exist, S2 must come into existence. S2 cannot come into existence. Therefore, S1 cannot cease to exist.
5. We can posit the existence of two or more "infinite minds." However, the argument presented above only requires us to posit the existence of one "infinite mind."
6. Statement E claims that, in addition to all finite minds, there exists an infinite mind.
7. In order to satisfy the requirement that S1 persist indefinitely, it seems we must posit the existence of an infinite mind.
8. Scenario S1 must have existed for an infinite period of time. In addition, as indicated above, this scenario must continue to exist indefinitely. This implies the following: An infinite mind exists that (1) has existed for an infinite period of time, and (2) will continue to exist indefinitely.




Dialogue:

Time and Mind: http://listserv.liv.ac.uk/cgi-bin/wa?A1=ind1308&L=chora#11

[Adhanom Andemicael, previously]
Question: Is the following argument valid or invalid? (Please note that I provide some clarification in the endnotes at the bottom of this post.)

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Let us define two scenarios:

S1: A scenario in which consciousness exists.
S2: A scenario in which consciousness does not exist.

***

If scenario S1 does not exist, logically, S2 must exist.

If scenario S2 does not exist, logically, S1 must exist.

***

[Emiliano Heyns]
I take it by exist, you mean "is actual". If these are really just scenarios, I can have both existing at the same time, it's just that only one can be actually the case. Even when we take it to say "is actual", the argument is incomplete given the current phrasing: In a situation where there are no scenarios (or where there is no possibility for scenarios), neither S1 or S2 is actual.

[Adhanom Andemicael]
A "situation" is a "scenario," is it not?

You wrote: "In a situation where there are no scenarios ... ". If we replace the word "situation" in this phrase with the word "scenario," we get the following phrase: "In a scenario where there are no scenarios ... ". This phrase seems to contradict itself: It (tacitly) claims that a scenario exists; but it also claims that no scenarios exist.

A "situation in which there are no scenarios" (i.e., a "scenario in which there are no scenarios") does not seem logically possible.


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