When Philosophy Lost Its Mind

Inspired by an improvised tenor saxophone solo by Dexter Gordon, 1970


When philosophy lost its mind

Inspired by an improvised tenor saxophone solo by Dexter Gordon, 1970

Tell us your thoughts - What do you think about the philosophical issues raised in this song?

Let me tell you
Let me tell you
Gonna tell a story you should know about philosophy of mind

We’re having a thought
We’re having a feeling
We all have experience
They wanted to show
They wanted to show that they’re just brain states
Cos materialists will only let a thing exist if they think science lets it

So along came Ullin Thomas Place
He was a philosopher from Yorkshire
He thought that when you feel a pain all that’s happening is changes to your brain state
He said the pain is just C-fibres like the water’s H2O
But that just means pain’s not real, I’m contending
That injury, injury, injury’s really painful
That injury, injury, injury’s got your leg half falling off
And all you know, the only thing you think about is pain
If that’s really your brain
You’ve got it all wrong

Cos brains are all grey
They sit in your skull when you’re thinking
So if it’s that you’re saying is a painful experience
All you’ve done is tell some lies about the brain inside your head and there’s no pain
And there ain’t no other mental states too

So forget about the thoughts that you think
And forget about the love that you feel
And forget about the times you feel high
Everything you feel’s unreal
Everything you thought is wrong
Shows how dumb you are about the brain inside

Some materialist thinkers
They didn’t like that
So they tried to find
Another way
Just to say that your feelings are your brain states
They went back to the drawing board
And then they said we are computers

Computers aren’t all the same but they can run the same programmes
So maybe my mind’s a programme too
A programme that’s got materialist blues
Yeah, well, I don’t think it is

Well, a feeling is so real and a programme is so abstract
Just like a number
And a number ain’t real
So what I’m saying
Is that a mind
Can’t be like that
The mind cannot be software, it can only be the hardware and that’s brain again

Then it got real complex and they said that we are pointing to a brain state that we do not really understand
We’re using phenomenal concepts
They’re just material concepts
But no, that one’s a failure also
Because when you feel, it’s a thing you know
You light up the fire, to an inner glow
And boodala, boodala, boodala, boodala, boodala, boodala, boodala, boodala,
I ain’t just pointin’

Why can’t materialists dig that feeling is reality for people
Why can’t materialists dig what’s obvious to you and me all people
Why’s their faith in science so strong
Why do they dig Democritus
His philosophy failed
It makes me wanna scream so high
When will this die
We need a philosophy that makes some sense now

But look what we got
Daniel Dennett
He says that we’re machines that say they feel
It’s an illusion you see, friend
If you can believe that then I’m Mickey Mouse
And this music here is gangsta rap


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