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Edge: A self worth having

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  • Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy
    ... THE THIRD CULTURE ... What I m now thinking - though it certainly needs further work - is basically that the point of there being a phenomenally rich
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2004
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      What I'm now thinking - though it certainly needs further work - is
      basically that the point of there being a phenomenally rich subjective
      present is that it provides a new domain for selfhood. Gottlob Frege, the
      great logician of the early 20th century, made the obvious but crucial
      observation that a first-person subject has to be the subject of
      something. In which case we can ask, what kind of something is up to
      doing the job? What kind of thing is of sufficient metaphysical weight to
      supply the experiential substrate of a self - or, at any rate, a self
      worth having? And the answer I'd now suggest is: nothing less than
      phenomenal experience - phenomenal experience with its intrinsic depth
      and richness, with its qualities of seeming to be more than any physical
      thing could be.

      A Talk with Nicholas Humphrey


      Nicholas Humphrey is a research psychologist whose interests are wide
      ranging: He studied mountain gorillas with Dian Fossey in Rwanda; was the
      first to demonstrate the existence of "blindsight" after brain damage in
      monkeys; and is the only scientist ever to edit the literary journal
      GRANTA. Thirty years ago he breathed life into the newly developing field
      of evolutionary psychology with his theory about "the social function of
      intellect." His more recent ideas concern the nature of phenomenal

      Unlike Daniel C. Dennett, who sees the role of philosophers as disabusing
      people of their "primitive" ideas about the nature of consciousness,
      Humphrey believes that we should take these primitive intuitions at face
      value. If people say that the problem is what it "feels like" to be
      conscious, then the problem is indeed to explain "feeling." Humphrey and
      Dennett are a pair of bookends. Humphrey has been described as a "romantic
      scientist", who believes in the heuristic value of stories that go beyond
      the limits of established facts. But he would probably not agree that
      there is a hard and fast line between facts and stories. "I'm me," he
      says. "I'm living an embodied existence, in the thick moment of the
      conscious present. I'm trying to work out why."


      NICHOLAS HUMPHREY, School Professor at the London School of Economics and
      Professor of Psychology at the New School for Social Research, is a
      theoretical psychologist, internationally known for his work on the
      evolution of human intelligence and consciousness. His books include
      FAITH, and THE MIND MADE FLESH. He has been the recipient of several
      honours, including the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, and the British
      Psychological Society's book award.

      Nicholas Humphrey Edge Video

      ... [MORE]

      EDGE 142: http://www.edge.org/documents/archive/edge142.html

      Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy

      *** Neuropsychologist, Cand.psych.
      *** PhD student

      Homepage: http://www.ramsoy.dk
      E-mail: thomasr@...

      Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance
      MR-dept., section 340
      Copenhagen University Hospital, Hvidovre
      Kettegaards Allé 30
      2650 Hvidovre

      Managing Editor
      Science & Consciousness Review
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