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Let’s define an anti-embodied cognitive science.

We start, not by disagreeing with the enactivists, but by agreeing with them up to, but excluding agency.  Let’s discard the assumption that the lived body is the locus of experience.  That should get the party started.

Then we wait for someone to cry foul.  We take their argument, whatever it is, and we examine its agential commitments, and associated mentalese. There is no test one can do to distinguish between the tumblebot and the goldfish without presuming some locus of agency.  There will be many domains of relative autonomy though.

Take whatever ‘mind’ is offered, and call it the P-world.  The domain of present experience.  Identify the P-world in a variety of ways: Umwelt, milieu, consciousness.  The P-bomb is, of course, that the P-world does not exist.  It is a construct that allows the discussion of a world.

What’s the endgame?  Do we no longer draw the boundary at the species?  Is this the way to realize that we are the natural world?  We are the world we see.

So much blood and ink has been spilt trying to bridge the gap between something called mind and something called world. The gap I seek to bridge is instead between something called experience and something called language. This we can do. And with that the game is won.

So I’m reading Tecumseh Fitch (paper here) on the Biolinguistic Enterprise.  He asserts that there are 3 extremely hard problems that stand in the way of bringing biolinguistics to the stage of real science.  Oddly, I seem to have something to say about all three, and from the way he poses the problems, I doubt we are in any danger of reaching agreement any time soon.

The 3 problems are:

  1. We don’t know how brains generate minds,
  2. We don’t know how genes control development form single cell to complex organism, and
  3. We don’t have a theory of meaning.

My brief comments on each after the break.

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This argument has to be worked out in some more detail, but in essence, given my claims about the match between the phenomenal world and the nervous system/organism, it is clear that one might develop a probe of ones self by exposure to stochastic stimuli: like listening to static. But unstructured noise, like static is not rich. Entrails, and tarot cards, and such, are uniformly very rich in structure, albeit without any additional forcing of interpretation. Thus it is not too surprising that they can serve as sounding boards for reading oneself, to find out what is latent within oneself, but not otherwise triggered by the environment.

In a similar vein, the interpretation of coincidences may prove to be a useful technique. Coincidences are important for illustrating what it is that the subject sees. In this way, the world is the sounding board.

More on this anon.

…As so much of what we think of as ineffable and private is actually public and lawful, we should learn to recognize that of which we can speak. We can speak only of our collective nature. We can not speak of the individual.

The Pink Monkey project is underway. Hans Rosling is on board.

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… is not to be less real, in any sense.  Once we “thingify” the P-world–treat it as a discernable object with properties, and temporarily stop trying to describe it from the inside–then phenomena defined over multiple P-worlds are just as real.  When we see the battles of nations, are those not real battles between real nations?  We insist that they are all the act of individuals, but they have a reality of their own, and the participants are less free than they think.  So we are not the participants in these patterns.  We are also constituted by the patterns among the P-worlds.  Nations are emergent phenomena in a very real sense.  The problem with cashing this insight out is that an emergent phenomenon, to be justly so called, is a structural pattern defined over a substratum.  Prior to the emergence, there are lots of individual bits.  Thereafter, there are coordinations, such as bubbles, cells, columns, and nations.  Dynamics is the language in which we are written.

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