Self


In this article, the consequences of transparency in public life are considered. It appears that money revels the collective nature of the system. Lawfulness appears in behavior, but that lawfulness requires us to posit a limited sort of an individual. Essentially selfish, but with a limited notion of self. Revealing our collective side, once again. Brains drive those smaller units, as they generate P-worlds. Consensus will be of our common nature, and not of that which is first person.

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I have long contended that many of the difficulties we have of accommodating experience appropriately within our account of the world stem from difficulties associated with the use of personal pronouns. The use of words such as “I” and”we” and “you” is fraught with metaphysical dangers. C. O. Evans, in “The Subject of Consciousness” is good on this point (see The Experiential Self, p. 174ff). For example, he distinguishes between what he calls a “self-approach” and a “persons-approach”. The latter comes with all sorts of baggage and expectations about continuity through time.

“At the level of ordinary langauge, statements about unprojected consciousness if understood as statements about persons become paradoxical. The reason for this quite clearly has to do with the fact that the conceptual scheme we use presupposes that we are talking about persons, as distinct from subjects of states of consciousness – where it is characteristic of our talk about persons that we are concerned with questions of identification.”

I’m trying to read Fodors “The mind doesn’t work that way”. I’m failing. The main reason is that I simply don’t have any understanding any more of what the word “mind” and the corresponding adjective “mental” mean. They appear to be fictions. There is experience. No doubt about that, but experience is not the same thing as mind. It doesn’t “work” any way, for example. It also is not modular, nor does it have any architecture whatsoever. In fact, experience is our starting point in understanding what “is”. Experience is not a thing, or a stuff, of any kind at all. It is thus not some kind of spooky Cartesian alternative to “material reality”. Experience is the P-world.

P-worlds are countable, discrete. To each belongs a nervous system in a body in an environment. By associating minds with the functional domain of the nervous system, a fictitious entity is created that then can’t be found. As Clark and Chalmers point out, if you take that view, then you find bits of this mind scattered all over the place: in notebooks, artifacts, etc. It leaks out of the head. Nervous systems, considered as things, are just objects in the environment, like notebooks.

I’m confused, but so is everybody else, which is some comfort. My approach hitherto has been to junk the mentalese vocabulary. No more talk of minds and the mental. But that prevents me encroaching on a lot of our collective discourse, and ensures that P-world theory remains marginalized, and can aspire at best to account for aspects of our being that are currently without any story. Hence the focus on madness and sex. How, then, can I develop the discussion towards received areas?

Homuncular strategies for explaining mental faculties are not in fashion. Indeed, you will be laughed out of town if you are incautious with them. Dennett likes to sanction their use as long as they cash out in less-than-intelligent sub-processes, whcih have less intelligent sub-parts themselves, and so down to stupid neurons.

Oddly, while we protest at using homuncular strategies for discussing ‘parts’ of our minds (as if minds had parts), we seem happy to use them willy-nilly when discussing the affairs of nations. It seems natural, even correct, to say things like “Russia bristled”, “China objected”, “The USA wants….” etc. I think this is not accidental, and not “mere metaphor”. From where we are standing, nations seem to behave intentionally. Complex behaviour typically appears intentional. That is, it is about something. (more…)

This is what my brain looks like: I have a rich and deep interpretation of this picture, but I’ll keep it to myself.

brainscannr.gif

…might be taken as an index of the health of the Filter Functions of the ACC.  If the ‘I’ mediates between competing social influences, and biological needs, then a healthy self might be signalled by an ease in the use of the term ‘I’.  Switching allegiance between teams and the personal.  That seems plausible.  And then you realize that Johnny switched to the third person.  And that’s a common manifestation.  Again, we can reason our way into these psychotic patterns.