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According to the article on functionalism in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, written by Thomas Polger,
Functionalism is a theory about the nature of mental states. According to functionalism, mental states are identified by what they do rather than by what they are made of. This can be understood by thinking about artifacts like mousetraps and keys. In particular, the original motivation for functionalism comes from the helpful comparison of minds with computers. But that is only an analogy. The main arguments for functionalism depend on showing that it is superior to its primary competitors: identity theory and behaviorism. Contrasted with behaviorism, functionalism retains the traditional idea that mental states are internal states of thinking creatures. Contrasted with identity theory, functionalism introduces the idea that mental states are multiply realized.
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The opening of this article places emphasis on "the helpful comparison of minds with computers." This sort of approach or version of functionalism is often formulated as "Turing machine functionalism," and has been a major focus of the criticism of functionalism, but it is also responsible for a good deal of the contemporary interest--associated as it is with the topic of strong artificial intelligence and computational conceptions of mind and intelligence. However this is an important contrasting conception of functionalism which arose in the early 20th century and in the wake of Darwinism in psychology. This version takes the biological paradigms of intelligence and consciousness as basic and, it may be argued, avoids many of the criticisms directed at strong A.I. Both versions of functionalism tend to benefit from criticisms of "identity theories" and of behaviorism.
The article continues:
Objectors to functionalism generally charge that it classifies too many things as having mental states, or at least more states than psychologists usually accept. The effectiveness of the arguments for and against functionalism depends in part on the particular variety in question, and whether it is a stronger or weaker version of the theory. This article explains the core ideas behind functionalism and surveys the primary arguments for and against functionalism.
In one version or another, functionalism remains the most widely accepted theory of the nature of mental states among contemporary theorists. Nevertheless, in view of the difficulties of working out the details of functionalist theories, some philosophers have been inclined to offer supervenience theories of mental states as alternatives to functionalism.
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See:
Generally, this article is quite useful for discussion of the topic, and it recognizes problems connected with stronger and weaker versions of functionalism. Although Harvard philosopher Hilary Putnam once claimed to have invented functionalism, it was something like "Turing machine functionalism which he proposed (and later rejected), and the psychological theory of functionalism, rooted in William James and his Principles of Psychology, long predated the contemporary versions which are more directly related to the advent of computers and computer technology.
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Dear Dr. H.G. Callaway ,
Intelligence quotient [IQ] is often hailed as a critical driver of success, especially in fields such as science, innovation, or technology. In fact, many people are endlessly fascinated by looking at the "IQ" scores of the most famous people or those they deduce are superior to themselves, but the reality and the "cruel truth" is that some of the greatest achievements of our "Human Species" have not been based primarily on these assessments, but on true qualities such as creativity, imagination, curiosity or empathy.
My best wishes.
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As far as I know, these ideas have been used mainly in theological discussions. However, it seems to me that such ideas would also have application in more general discussions of Cartesian dualism and the mind–body problem, e.g. they could be used to describe what happens to the Cartesian soul or mind when one is sleeping dreamlessly or when one is unconscious.
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Interesting. I will search for information.
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I have read some journals but having trouble understanding reductionism in psychology. I understand the different stages going from behavioural, cognitive then to biological but what is the importance of this? also what are the issues within reductionism and psychology?
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Dear Nabin Basnet, You addressed a very important question that is underlying all contemporary research in biology, medicine, and beyond.
We are getting literally flooded by data from biological research with a little understanding of them. What does it mean? On one hand, our experimental devices are capable to detect tiny events within biological systems: cells, tissues, bodies. On the other hand we are unable to make the whole picture from the very same data.
The data acquiring is achieved by reductionism. We are gradually dissecting the original system into tinier and tinier chunks. The reconstruction of the system busing classical approaches failed.
This is the moment when mathematicians and biologists found importance of emergence in the description of biological phenomena (details in the following review paper & poster, examples too).
One famous example is an ant colony, where each single ant knows nothing about colony. Yet, the colony is building and maintaining itself, without any leader or supervisor. Each ant simply react by one of the up to fourth reactions (different for different species) on any stimulus. Ant colony emerge through mutual interactions of ants among themselves and with its surroundings.
Such systems can be and are already described by rigorous mathematical models as can be seen from examples provided in the provided links.
Hopefully, this very brief intro into complexity, emergence, and its relationship to reductionism is helpful in curbing your appetite. It takes decades to study those systems until you reach such understanding on your own. I recommend you read literature from those resources as it can speed up your learning curve by decades.
Do not get distracted by the novelty of the subject and mathematics, once you break the ice, you start to swim in it quite smoothly.
The review paper:
The Poster:
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Much of this is quoted from elsewhere, but I think deserves its own thread:
Kuhn, who I have always seen as having a only a partial (that is: just a "some-parts" understanding) of a paradigm, still seems at least in the direction of being correct in some noteworthy ways. According to Kuhn : An immature science is preparadigmatic -- that is, it is still in its natural history phase of competing schools. Slowly, a science matures and becomes paradigmatic. (End of short summary of some of his views.) [ It will be clear I do not fully agree with these views, in particular: the " 'natural' history" part. ]
I would say that preparadigmatic is not yet science at all and characterized by flailing and floundering UNTIL a paradigm is found (and RATHER: actually, this should be done NOW and with any necessary efforts: FORMULATED). Preparadigmatic is nothing good, clear or even "natural"; it is a state of insufficiency, failing to provide for making for clear sustained integrated progress (and even, as indicated, I would say this situation is: unnecessary -- see my delineation of the characteristics of a paradigm * to see why this situation in Psychology is unnecessary and INEXCUSABLE, because clearly you MUST be doing paradigm definition the best you can, clearly and respectably). _AND_ we are not talking about progress in one vein (sub-"area"), but some interpretable, agreeable findings for the whole field -- a necessary condition of HAVING ANY sort of general SCIENCE AT ALL; obviously Psychology does not have that and should not be considered a science just because people in that field want to say that and supposedly aspire in that way [ ("aspire" somehow -- usually essentially mythologically, irrationally, and just "hoping beyond hope" (as people say)) ] In short: that state of preparadigmatic should not be tolerated; major efforts should be clearly going on to improve from this state immediately ("if not sooner", as they say -- i.e. this SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE SOONER).
Since I think I DO KNOW at least many of the characteristics of a paradigm (presented elsewhere, for one: in the description of the "... Ethogram Theory" Project *) AND since mine is the only paradigm being "offered up", Psychology people should damn well take full note of that and fully read and come to a reasonable understanding of my perspective and approach -- all that leading to clear, testable hypotheses that, IF SHOWN CORRECT, would be of general applicability and importance and very reliable (in the formal sense) and , thus (as I say): agreeable. IN short, I OFFER THE ONLY FULL-FLEDGED GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY PARADIGM and if someone is in the Psychology field and really cares about science, they must take note (and fully assess it) (no reason for any exception): Minimally, all must "see" AND READ:
Barring any "competition", my paradigm should be studied and fully understood -- NO REASONABLE SCIENCE CHOICE ABOUT IT. It stands alone in Psychology, as a proposal for a NECESSARY "ingredient" for SCIENCE for Psychology.
* FOOTNOTE (this footnote is referenced-to twice in the essay above): The characteristics of a paradigm are presented the Project referred to: https://www.researchgate.net/project/Human-Ethology-and-Development-Ethogram-Theory-A-Full-Fledged-Paradigm-Shift-for-PSYCHOLOGY (in particular, in its description)
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I agree with William J. F. Keenan
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Two books: Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature; and Feeling Lonesome: The Philosophy and Psychology of Loneliness
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I work on theories of consciousness in relation to human loneliness. The six studies I have authored include: The Achilles of Rationalist Arguments: The Simplicity, Unity, and Identity of Thought and Soul from the Cambridge Platonists to Kant (1974); Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology and Literature (1979; revised 2012); Contingent Immaterialism: Meaning, Freedom, Time, and Mind (1984); Feeling Lonesome: The Philosophy and Psychology of Loneliness (2015); and Consciousness and Loneliness (forthcoming December, 2018) and supporting articles.
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[ To summarize several of the basic problems with the 'moderation' of this Yahoo Group: The moderator believes it has been determined that a human ethogram cannot be done (is not possible). (And, he cites the view of a 1989 committee, as great support for this (HIS) position.) NOR, in his firm (set) view is an ethogram needed for coming to ANY OR ALL the understandings we need. (And, IF an ethogram were to be done, he insists it address all significant human behaviors at once "BY DEFINITION", as you will read about again in coming paragraphs -- ignoring very cogent and rather indisputable arguments to the contrary.)
He also insists on strict dualisms BETWEEN classes of major behaviors that DO involve or require innate patterning (and this, in his view, is mainly motor behaviors, motor behavior patterns) AND OTHER very significant behavior patterns/ behavioral systems that he says DON'T -- all this when all reasonable biological scientists would say some significant innate guidance is involved in the development of ALL major systems of adaptation.
PLUS, this moderator insists on NOT discussing what (in his view) need no more be discussed (INCLUDING AN ETHOGRAM), and insists that issues regarding an ethogram (both its definition and how it would have to be done) have already been resolved and warrant no further discussion. He quickly enforces, i.e. CENSORS, expression of views contrary to these. Plus, moreover, his view of what 'THOUGHT' is and what can be considered 'BEHAVIOR' is basically extreme Skinnerian AND he is absolutely insistent on his views here ALSO. Finally: He seems to respect nothing other than the short writings found in peer-reviewed journals -- only such authorities can present all worthy arguments and conclusions about all matters of argument. On all these latter matters he not only insists over and over but, AGAIN, HE WILL CENSOR. ]
What follows may offer more detail about what this 'moderator' accepts and what he doesn't (and what he does not accept is soon CENSORED AND NOT POSTED TO THE HUMAN ETHOLOGY YAHOO GROUP OR MAILING-LIST). :
Basically, he demands that anything that is to be considered an ethogram address ALL the species-typical behaviors of an organism (here the human) ALL AT ONCE, because that is the definition of an ethogram. He would not publish my rebuttal, which says one must start with the discovery of the development of a central ("containing") behavior system (cognitive development) FIRST, to get that major pervasive system understood first, before adding in basically associated or subsidiary systems (like emotions and language). Here is the "moderator's" assessment (NOT based on well-founded assumptions of any sort OR on fact): Quoting:
Jay R. Feierman [NEW]:
(writing to me, and NOT publishing my view. And, see my rebuttal to his rejection of my view (also NOT allowed on the 'list' by him) . ) -- and my exception to the rejection of THAT, below) [ ( Fortunately, my view/perspective expressed is at length here on RG (and elsewhere) ] :
(His objection is just the standard, memorized meaningless junk.): (now quoting Feierman) :
"The cognitive-development behavioral system as it unfolds and develops in ontogeny is important. However, it is not an ethogram, which has a very specific meaning. An ethogram is a catalog of all of the fixed action patterns of a species organized into functional groups. Most but not all of the fixed action patterns are going to be parts of coordinated motor pattern (aka fixed action pattern) instincts. This can be done but it would be very time consuming and difficult, which is why I turned down the offer to do it in the 1980s. Even I. Eibl-Ebesfeldt, who is the father of human ethology, never undertook to do this. ** The reason why it would be so difficult is contrary to all other mammals (with the higher primates partially excepted), humans have many other behaviors that are not fixed action patterns that are innervated by a different part of the nervous system. So for example, a functional category like mother-infant care, can be easily a category in the ethogram of a canine. However, it is not so easy to make an ethogram of mother-infant care for humans. I currently have a collection of Eibl's tribal films of mothers interacting with infants in many different tribal societies. There are behaviors in common but some of the instinctual behaviors are mixed with "voluntary" behaviors that are mediated by another part of the nervous system. It is a lot easier to make an ethogram of the infant's feeding behavior than the mothers' infant care behaviors. "
(end of my quote of him) (This quotation has MANY MANY VERY QUESTIONABLE, but typical, assertions: example: most behaviors with innate action patterns are motor systems; the others are just too variable to involve innate guidance; and, note the complete dualism between innate action patterns and "many other behaviors" -- defying biology, and THUS DEFYING SCIENCE, ITSELF.)
My response to this was (in large part):
Dear Jay Feierman,
You cannot chose for the definition of something (here an ethogram) SOMETHING THAT CANNOT EXIST -- at least the one you 'define' cannot exist, for some time and after a lot of peoples' efforts [(it is not simply something you can, in any way-of-discovery, just 'define' and begin with)]. Thus, to start an ethogram, and appropriately be working for it to be all we want, WHAT I OFFER IS ALL THAT CAN BE OFFERED (and I explain that -- in 500 publicly available [(and published as much as possible)] pages -- if you would only "do me the honor" of reading); my human ethogram is thereby ALL THAT CAN BE CONSIDERED, AT FIRST, AS _THE_ HUMAN ETHOGRAM. THAT'S A LONG SHOT BETTER THAN WHAT YOU OFFER: hopelessness. And, you should strive to offer something better than what is hopeless.
Apparently, you indeed fail to read me (any of my writing). Even in 1989 I knew and informed I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt (my friend and associate) what more was needed in his Human Ethogram book to begin the ethogram that I DID begin. (Did you even bother to read the review, which I posted here??) I can tell you that if you do not "slow down" and really try to "smell the roses", neither of us will learn anything from each other. (AND, I WILL REMAIN not only the first and only author [of the first] [partial] human ethogram, but the only ethologist fully using the terms of, and inductive approach of, classical ethology (or at least the ONLY one doing so with human behavior).
Everything else you say in your response other than what I just addressed, is thus irrelevant (completely). You have to be real. As soon as you think in terms of definitions that simply have been "agreed upon" (perhaps, with a little conjuring on your own), you ARE OFF-TRACK. ALL IS FROM THE _SUBJECT_ ; the Subject defines all . If it starts that way and stays that way, you are building the ethogram (a more complete one) -- that is precisely what I am proposing. You should at least try to empirically describe one before "flushing" mine; you will not be able to do better.
Your response is extremely disappointing and makes outrageous impossible requirements. Your only way to argue against this last statement, IS to directly argue against it: this would involve showing/describing a clearly workable, usable COMPLETELY EMPIRICAL alternative [(like the one you ask for)].
Your definitions are foolish (pardon the word, but it only seems apt). For some good therapy: TRY JUST DESCRIPTION, and of only behavior patterns and environmental aspects _and_ associative/discriminatory learning (and with major developments involving all these things at the very same time) -- involved in ALL major behavioral developments, i.e. ontogeny.
(end of me quoting myself).
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Well, if you are in this group (on the mailing list), you will not see me or hear from me any more, because he threw me off for being too "speculative" and seeming like I am describing things that could not be tested. BUT, the truth is, my view is very much less speculative that most of psychology (with its more poorly founded and baseless assumptions; and, with ethology being similar these days). AND though I did not (in this particular post) indicate the more particular nature of hypotheses and how they could/would be discovered true (and tested and verifiable or not), I do describe this in other posts. CLEARLY MY SYSTEM IS IN EMPIRICAL TERMS AND TESTABLE and is less speculative that his write-up of what an ethogram would be like and must be like.
YET: He went on in other responses (I also did not get to rebut) to say my views are untestable (that is FALSE) and just "speculation" (that is FALSE). Again, my view can be considered LESS speculative than the standard view (and more biologically consistent) and I most certainly have clearly and empirically described the phenomenon at the inception of major cognitive developments, as perceptual shifts, and I have indicated how these could clearly be discovered with new eye-tracking technology.
TRUTH IS, IF YOU DO NOT SUPPORT THE PRESUMPTIONS AND 'DEFINITIONS' OF THE EXISTING SYSTEMS (mostly all memorized junk), YOU WILL BE THROWN OUT OF SUCH A GROUP, actually JUST FOR THOSE REASONS ONLY. Not for any empirical or science reasons.
If you would like to ask this "moderator" why he is so off-base, feel free to do so: jay.feierman84@gmail.com . Maybe if you are on this list you might ask him to better explain why I CAN'T BE ON IT.
** FOOTNOTE: A human ethogram has not been done in over 35 years since it has been deemed impossible; yet my start for a human ethogram, which may be the only way to get one, does not even deserve to be heard, according to another "authority" of the "system".
NOTE: Much of the highlighting and a few explanatory phrases, added in brackets, were added by me.
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P.S. about Feierman, the 'moderator' of this Human Ethology Yahoo Group (and mailing list):
Feierman has said : "there is no reason for a human ethogram". Could anything be more ridiculous? How about coming to know what innate guidances there are with qualitative cognitive stage/levels changes? Do we not want to know anything about the innate guidance VERY likely behind the development of our most precious abilities? And, this is not to mention that, without discovering the manifestation OF the innate guidance mechanisms here **, then there literally are absolutely no empirical foundations for qualitatively different levels or stages in the development of thinking. NONE.
Moreover, since we are biological organisms and behavior patterns and responses are BIOLOGICAL FUNCTIONING: then their is no reason not to expect SIGNIFICANT INNATE GUIDANCE for any and all significant human behavioral systems (behavior patterns).
Feierman's position is anti-science. He is a little dictator, in love with JUST peer-reviewed stuff (which is mostly junk) and that is about all he thinks is worth hearing/reading, except for the committees of those same peers that declare what and what is not worth looking into.
We are talking about a serious problem with this moderator (anti-biology, and thus anti-science is a problem. There is no "pure learning"). This is INCOMPETENCE.
Is this any kind of Human Ethology group anyone with any dignity would submit to?
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** FOOTNOTE: I say (AND THIS IS NOW RESEARCHABLE AND TESTABLE AND CAN BE VERIFIED OR NOT): there are perceptual shifts, at the inception of such qualitative cognitive changes
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As part of our investigations into the current state of psychiatry, I would like to ask how academics and practitioners, researchers and clinicians, and of course professors of psychiatry, see contemporary psychiatry and its future. My colleague Drozdstoj Stoyanov, MD, PhD, and I are writing a book called "Psychiatry in Crisis" (see Research Project on "Psychiatry in Crisis") in which we pose and will try to answer the following question:
Is psychiatry a social science (like psychology or anthropology), is it better understood as part of the humanities (like philosophy, history and linguistics), or is the future of psychiatry best assured as a branch of medicine (privileging genetics and neuroscience)?
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What are the practical implications of classifying Psychiatry into one of the mentioned categories? Would doing so necessarily bring Psychiatry out of the "crisis' mentioned (is it really in a crisis?). My own Psychiatry colleagues used insights from all the disciplines mentioned. For example, several were involved with the issue of euthanasia and the ethical issues involved (philosophy), issues of anthropology were involved (do forms of mental illness manifest themselves differently in different cultures), and neurology and neuro-psychology (are there underlying specific correlations with present diagnostic categories?). An additional issue is that the boundaries between the disciplines mentioned are not fixed. Further, some areas of medicine have changed to be concerned with enhancing human beings rather than just fixing organic problems, will Psychiatry follow this path in the future? I've probably just muddied the water, but I'm not sure why the question needs to be asked.
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Hello,
I recently read some of Ryle's reproaches of psychologist's dualist thinking and his "linguistic" definitions of thoughts, and emotions. I am now looking for relevant literature: Are there psychologists discussing the ordinary language philosophy and its implications on the programme of psychology? Have some of the philosopher's thoughts been applied to psychological problems?
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Thank you very much for your answers!
I was pointed to A. W. Müller who has already discussed Wittgenstein in terms of empirical psychology (maybe future visitors find this helpful):
Müller, A. W., & Reisenzein, R. (2012). Emotionen–Natur und Funktion (Vol. 12). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
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I find many sources that attribute this quote to Sigmund Freud, but I can find no confirmation that he really said it: "Where does a thought go when it's forgotten?"
I searched through my Kindle copy of his collected works. I did not find it, but that could always be a translation issue. I'd like to quote him in a book but I won't use the quote if I can't confirm it.
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I'm quite sure it's not in The Interpretation of Dreams and suspect it's not from Freud at all, primarily because he objected to the notion of the unconscious as a locality, which is virtually the answer demanded by the wording of the question as it is. Freud focused on the repression process as a dynamic of forgetting. Freud did focus on the fact that the lost material (I suspect he didn't often speak of it as a "thought" either) was available for later retrieval or recollection.
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I think Merleau-Ponty's "brute world" is a sphere similar to the phenomenology of the psychedelic experience.
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I wrote a thesis on Merleau-Ponty years ago and always understood that the brute world refers to unreflective experience. In an important sense, as Artur points out and Csaba explores in the paper he wrote with his colleagues, Merleau-Ponty's philosophy with it's emphasis on the lived body provides an ideal framework through which to explore psychedelic experience. Whether psychedelic experience is best viewed as part of the brute world, however, is another very interesting matter to consider.  Merleau-Ponty uses the term "brute world" to indicate the sense in which unreflected experience is fundamental and unadulterated by reflection. This makes brute experience a clean platform upon which to start interpreting our encounter with the world. Psychedelic experience, however, does not provide such a clean  platform. Psychedelic experience, a sometimes disturbed reshuffling of the ordinary, while providing a possible source of creative insight and pleasure, is an experience, like reflection, artificially adulterated by factors that overflow brute experience. Exploring this further could easily be the subject of further research. How a phenomenological or a computational linguistics approach would inherently bias the results and lead to different kinds of data and different kinds of insight is yet another interesting question
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Can anyone recommend sources for philosophical background on reality therapy? I'm starting with education in reality therapy and I'm interested in its philosophical background.
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Thank you very much for answers
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Is anybody aware of research, writing or thinking within psychology that has explicitly considered mereology and ontology? I would be really grateful for any assistance about these forms of understanding within the discipline. Thanks.
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My PhD was in open-field activity after different kind of learning types in Mus Musculus L in a laboratory. The main study was supposed to be in our aggressive and non-aggressive mouse strains but somehow I was put on a side track.  At the same time I studied psychological aftermath of certain conditions (based on childhood traumas:) in Finland, then attitudes towards mental disordered persons in Sweden, then moral distress, stress, resilience and so on with reference to philosophy in nursing science, . In sum: biological psychology, clinical psychology and the like. I have had the preparedness to be interested in many things: Weakness or strength?
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Recently, Prof. Max Tegmark has posted a paper on the arXiv.org website "Consciousness as a State of Matter" (see arXiv:1401.1219v1), which purports to explain consciousness as arising out of matter. This is a matter of debate for physicists, philosophers and psychologists alike, as also for people from other fields of research.
Did consciousness evolve from matter all anew? Or, was it present in some form in matter(energy) from the very beginning itself? Is it present in all forms of energy including all elementary particles as also behind space and time ?
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Nice discussion here.
Some ideas seem to me are replications of discussions by Descartes, the connection of mind and matter and the question of the reality of dreams for example. I am sure you all know his famous solutions.
On the other hand ideas of panpsychism are discussed.
Let me try it systematically:
1. We have to admit that our knowledge is limited.
2. Language as means to talk about experience is limited (It is flat compared to experience or to the complexity of reality, but it often is useful.).
3. The only thing that is concrete to us and to which we have direct access is our 1. person perspective.
4. Concepts like consciousness, matter, substance, particles, life, dreams, awareness, … , are abstract concepts or constructions. We learn about their meaning obviously by interacting with others (co-constructing) or by the interaction with the world (Whatever that means).
5. Objectivity is nothing else than inter-subjectivity.
6. The relation of the construct of matter and the construct of consciousness / mind depends on definitions and meanings.
7. If one tends to follow realism, it must be a weak form. We perhaps have to admit, that something outside exists but our descriptions of it depends on perspectives.
8. It is a problem to talk about the experience even of other persons. And it is even harder to talk about the experience / consciousness of other species etc. (see Thomas Nagel: What is it like to be a bat?). We cannot take up their position or perspective. Therefor if there is consciousness outside of our 1. person perspective, we can only assume or admit it.
In consequence of 1-7 it is possible to argue that consciousness was first and it is manifested in matter (e.g. if consciousness is defined as something like god or a conscious universe and matter is defined as something like biological substance). But it is also possible to argue that consciousness has developed by evolution in specific species (e.g. if consciousness is defined as a product of nervous systems and nervous systems are defined to be biological matter).
Perhaps Immanuel Kant’s antinomies inspired my statement, sorry. Additionally one book of Thomas Nagel (Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False) can be an interesting reading material in the context of our discussion here.
Regards Thomas
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There are anecdotes about people with a special talent who can move a slide rule (a slipstick) in their head and get a result which they had not had before.
I doubt this for a number of reasons:
Our imagination is not an objective counterpart to us. In other words the imaginary slide rule might behave in a strange way – it could be “made of rubber” and we could not be sure that it is not behaving in a strange way.
There is a difference to imaginary chess games: for chess there are rules to prevent that some constellations of the figures are sensible constellations. Rules of this kind are not available in the case of a slide rule.
Special talent: I do believe that there are people who stored an immense number of snapshots of constellations and situations. But to call up these images is not activating a process in the head that will reveal new constellations, is it?
What about thought experiments? They can be very creative indeed. But I think in this case we apply many laws of nature that limit the number of possible outcomes.
For non-historians: here’s a picture of a slide rule: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slide_rule
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As far as I know in Asia the use of abacuses is widespread.
True masters are able to operate with a mental abacus.
There seem to be two distinct mathematical systems in the brain.
One is symbolic. Even if one imagines the hands of an analog clock,
if the imaginary positions can be distinguished, they are symbolic,
because these positions can be used to reference something else.
That's what symbols do.
Another number system is logarithmic. It is the number sense.
Even animals have it. It seems to be based on integrators.
For example, single neurons are able to "count" incoming
spikes by integration: an analog storage is filled by a spike
and emptied by a continuous efflux.
Regards,
Joachim
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Galen once stated that the best physician is also a philosopher, and a physician without philosophy is like an architect without a plan.
A lot has changed since Galen. Science took over in many fields. But especially in the field of psychotherapy a lot of approaches are sill based on philosophical assumptions (e.g. psychoanalysis, humanistic therapy, cognitive therapy, also behavioral therapy). Slife (2004) stated that psychotherapy contains a lot of such philosophical assumptions (e.g. objectivism, materialism, atomism, objectivism, hedonism, universalism). On the other hand study / training programs of psychotherapy rarely integrate philosophy. This probably leads to a false naturalistic or scientistic attitude. Additionally epistemology seems to be rare in psychotherapy training programs. So the graduates often seem to have severe problems in drawing clinical conclusions from theories or evidences.
What do you think? How relevant is philosophy in psychotherapy and philosophical training for students? What do you think about the current relevance of philosophy in the field of psychotherapy?
Slife B.D. (2004): Theoretical Challenges to Therapy Practice and Research: The Constraint of Naturalism. In Lambert M.J. (ed.): Bergin and Garfield‘s Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change. 5th edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York. pp 44-83.
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This is such an important question. Any reading of Michel Foucault's work immediately draws our attention to the genealogy of some of the ideas underpinning medical practice and psychiatric/psychological/psychotherapeutic practices. Without awareness of at least the paradigms which shape our practice (post-structuralist, social constructionist, modernist, positivist etc), we are unaware of the practices of power we step into as we position ourselves in relation to our clients, and our clients in relation to ourselves. When philosophy is taught with training, it is possible to have somewhere firm to stand as we practice. Understanding our epistemological orientation allows us to intentionally construct ourselves as ethical subjects as we work.
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Mary Midgley wrote of the Ethical Primate and recently, Christian Smith has written a book entitled Moral, Believing Animals. Why is it that human beings alone seem to experience the phenomenon of guilt? When they experience it what exactly is occurring within them?
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Hello Deborah, you raise the distinction which I would make in response to your question. It is the contrast between guilt and shame as regards dogs and other animals. Shame is a social phenomenon - it is something that a creature feels in front of other creatures, humans as well as higher order non-humans. The dog feels shame for wetting the rug, and the human feels shame for having failed at a task s/he was assigned to do. We can tell, by observing an intelligent animal, that shame is not a uniquely human experience.
Guilt seems to be quite different from shame (although in human experience they often "travel" together). I believe guilt is uniquely human. That we should be "the ethical primate" (per Midgley) and the "moral, believing animal" (per Smith) seems a phenomenon of human intellect and human cognition. It seems to be solely a human distinctive.
When I am guilty there is something odd going on. The judging self sits in judgment on the guilty self. If I have done or said what I know to be truly wrong and malicious (even if I have had particularly malicious or unworthy thoughts) there is a part of me that disapproves of the me who has used his moral agency in this fashion. An internal voice or presence, which is a part of my consciousness, judges me. This seems decidedly strange and uniquely human. We give this phenomena the name "conscience" but I doubt taxonomy brings us any closer to true understanding. We know that many people suffer from false guilt, and that one's conscience can be defective in either direction (too much or too little sensitivity), but when we experience what we would deem appropriate guilt (I feel guilty because I am guilty), then what is going inside of me?
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If so, what are they and why might they arise?
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Schizophrenia as an evolutionary advantage at the kin level:
Schizotypal personality: schizophrenia falls on a genetic continuum where relatives show schizotypal traits and features, even when they are not diagnosed as schizophrenic.
Milder forms of schizophrenia tend to exhibit more divergent thinking
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Is abstraction possible without perception
The impossibility of abstract thinking without the processes of perception is a highly debated issue in the literature of the philosophy of mind. Contentious arguments are galore in the research corrigendum of whether such a possibility of abstract thinking without the processes of perceptional experience, or pure perception is possible or not. I extend my theory and a complementary explanation that the issue still remains unresolved, but in terms of artificial thinking and artificial perception, the proposition holds good that there is no abstraction possible without the process of perception, and that perception is an independent process which is essential for abstract thinking, albeit in AI thinking. But what about in humans?
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John,
You are right -- "perception" should not be restricted to vision and audition. But as for the Kantian (and perhaps earlier) ideas about pre-ontogenetic basic ideas -- this is a tough task for behavioural/neuroscientific research to prove by traditional research methods. But as I am not a philosopher, I better will not try go into some well-informed discussion on these matters.