Neural Prostheses for the Born Blind and Philosophy

Neural prostheses that have been developed for children who became deaf elicit sensations of sound also in the born deaf.  This fact is a conclusive proof that the experienced sound is innate and not a property of air vibration.  Similarly, I expect that the same would be demonstrated for vision next decade, perhaps as early as 2023:  neural prostheses that have been developed for children who became blind would elicit sensations of light in the born blind.  It would constitute a conclusive proof that the experienced sensation is innate and not a property of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Such demonstration is sure to create a shock in the general public.  In philosophy, it would bring to a final end the tabula rasa assumption that underlies current theories of knowledge. Making explicit the implications of replacing the tabula rasa assumption by its direct opposite would be the most basic change in the foundation of knowledge in some 300 years since John Locke introduced it as the basic tenet that underlies Empiricism.


If the mind is causally efficacious, physics is in crisis


A.    Voluntary action, imagination and causality.

Any voluntary action activates the motor cortex in a selective manner.

Such selective activation also occurs when the voluntary action is just imagined.

Imagination is private and subjective. The activation of the motor cortex is physical.

This ordinary example proves that the mind is causally efficacious.

It is taken for granted in physics that only physical causes can have physical effects.

Hence, there is a crisis in the foundation of physics.


B.         On the innateness of mental faculties

B1        Some sensations, emotions and cognitions are innate in humans

B2        As such they are private, subjective, mental or phenomenal.

B3        The intra-subjectively and inter-subjectively consistent defines existence

B4        The physical is that which is publicly observable and thus locatable in space

B5        The phenomenal satisfies the existence criteria

B6        The phenomenal does not satisfy the physicality criteria

B7        B5 & B6 prove that non-physical consciousness exists


C.         The epistemological priority of the phenomenal over the physical

C1        The sensations by which the physical world is knowable are innate.

C2        Hence, the physical is inferred from the phenomenal.

C3      This confers on the phenomenal epistemological priority relative to the physical.

C4        The brain elicits, not produces, phenomenal states.

C5        The phenomenal is not reducible to the physical.


D.        Spatial localizability is a physical attribute – the phenomenal is ubiquitous


E.       Summary

E1        Some sensations emotions and cognitions are innate and thus private.

E2        The physical is inferred from the phenomenal.

E3        The phenomenal is ubiquitous.

E4        The mind is causally efficacious.

E5        The foundation of physics requires reconstruction

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