# Thread: 'Ghost in the machine' a false dichotomy?

1. ## 'Ghost in the machine' a false dichotomy?

I don't agree that matter, and things made of matter are just machines...I think the 'ghost in the machine' is some sort of false dichotomy. It seems to underestimate the complexity, involvement, and relevance of matter. What does it really mean for matter to be somehow 'ordinary'? So we can pick up a brick, and it seems simple, and we can chuck it at a wall, and its behaviour seems fairly straightforward, but that doesn't mean that the matter it is made of is in anyway ordinary. The stuff of bricks can be rearrange into a computer that perform complex tasks, it could be rearranged into cells that perform even more complex tasks...maybe the machine also is a ghost, it is just a more apparently more predictable ghost, at the macroscopic level.

2. Originally Posted by Mudskipper
I don't agree that matter, and things made of matter are just machines...I think the 'ghost in the machine' is some sort of false dichotomy. It seems to underestimate the complexity, involvement, and relevance of matter. What does it really mean for matter to be somehow 'ordinary'? So we can pick up a brick, and it seems simple, and we can chuck it at a wall, and its behaviour seems fairly straightforward, but that doesn't mean that the matter it is made of is in anyway ordinary. The stuff of bricks can be rearrange into a computer that perform complex tasks, it could be rearranged into cells that perform even more complex tasks...maybe the machine also is a ghost, it is just a more apparently more predictable ghost, at the macroscopic level.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_in_the_machine

3. Originally Posted by grapes

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_in_the_machine
I thought it was a book by Arthur Koestler, which I haven't read, talking about a non-material component of people, in the context of a material body.....like I said a false dichotomy/paradigm..IMO

4. There is a book by Koestler, with that title, about it.

But what do you mean by your first statement
Originally Posted by Mudskipper
I don't agree that matter, and things made of matter are just machines...
If they're not just machines, isn't that the dichotomy?

5. Originally Posted by grapes
There is a book by Koestler, with that title, about it.

But what do you mean by your first statement

If they're not just machines, isn't that the dichotomy?
well matter can act as a machine, but I think it may be more than that....you have the macroscopic abilities of matter, eg to transmit mechanical forces, transmit chemical energy etc....but at some level maybe the ability to intelligently organise its components into living structures, maybe consciously even......What I mean it isn't the ghost in the machine, the matter may also have a ghost/spirit property, that interacts with other more ghost/spirit forces.

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Originally Posted by Mudskipper
What I mean it isn't the ghost in the machine, the matter may also have a ghost/spirit property, that interacts with other more ghost/spirit forces.
Ah. You refer to the concept that the glimmerings life and consciousness begin at the atomic level.

7. Originally Posted by Mudskipper
well matter can act as a machine, but I think it may be more than that....you have the macroscopic abilities of matter, eg to transmit mechanical forces, transmit chemical energy etc....but at some level maybe the ability to intelligently organise its components into living structures, maybe consciously even......What I mean it isn't the ghost in the machine, the matter may also have a ghost/spirit property, that interacts with other more ghost/spirit forces.
But, doesn't that mean you think the dichotomy is real? and not false?
Last edited by grapes; 2017-Sep-24 at 02:38 PM. Reason: and not false?

8. Originally Posted by grapes
But, doesn't that mean you think the dichotomy is real? and not false?
I thought the ghost in the machine idea is that the ghost represents some kind of spirit, rattling around in a body, like the body was like a house, like a ghost in a house. What I think is the house is also has ghost properties/components, and which components sort of merge, or interact with any another ghost like components.....maybe matter is just a type of spirit whose behaviour is more predictable, and we can more easily interact with it.....maybe a better(? ) analogy would be like a page of a book, where we can see the large writing("matter") but there is also tiny microscopic writing("like the ghost") that we don't even notice, let alone are able to read.

Both types of writing are just writing/text, but we can only see, notice, and read the large type...

9. Originally Posted by Mudskipper
I thought it was a book by Arthur Koestler, which I haven't read, talking about a non-material component of people, in the context of a material body.....like I said a false dichotomy/paradigm..IMO
Ryle, who originated the phrase, argued against mind/body dualism - "ghost in the machine" was a mocking label. Koestler similarly was against dualism, but produced a complex argument for why we may feel like the mind is separate from the body, even though this isn't so.

So maybe the idea you're characterizing as a false dichotomy is actually Cartesian dualism, not Koestler's complicated model of social interactions.

Grant Hutchison

10. Originally Posted by Mudskipper
<snip>
What I mean it isn't the ghost in the machine, the matter may also have a ghost/spirit property, that interacts with other more ghost/spirit forces.
Mudskipper,

I suggest a little caution. This is getting pretty close to non-mainstream, potentially religious ideas.

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