Re: [anthroposophy] Hanging around
- To the AP critics- "A person who has a cat by the tail knows a whole lot more about cats than someone who has just read about them. -Mark TwainI didn't think such a thing as certainty reguarding spiritual matters existed until finding AP. The Light feels good, The Light feels real, I think I'll stay here where the Light unfolds, for the sake of human kind, I'll stay where the Light feels good and true. Chees
- Ned Block (philosopher NYU) defines functionalism as the theory that
"mental states are constituted by their causal relations to each
other and to sensory inputs and behavioural outputs". He calls the
scientific concept of kidney a function - it filters the blood. This
lends itself well to the computer analogy in that the function is
'software'. The mental is no longer identified with the physical but has
a level of its own so that psychology has a content of its own divorced
from the physical. Reductionism is out.
I reckon that because 'causal' remains a physical notion for the
functionalist then this is why they are attacked for no theory of the
quality of the senses. Functionalism is a sort of hybrid
realist-dynamist theory. They are sure to reject any proposal that
concepts and ideas have an objective validity but will see them as
linguistic description only (They use Wittgenstein's theory of meaning.)
This is the battle to win through for a proper epistemology, that
concepts have a formative influence. They put language as the generator
of the conceptual. In terms of time they have a point but not in terms
of explanation. Explanation has a priority in being.
- Hello Maurice!
In the 70's when I studied Steiner's Philosophy of Freedom,
philosophy became very interesting subject to me. Inspired by Dr.
Steiner's views I started studying theoretical philosophy in a
university in late 70's. Of course academic philosophy was some sort
of a disappointment after PoF. But the history of philosophy was
worth the trouble and from "new philosophy" e.g. the paradigm-concept
of Thomas S. Kuhn was a helpful tool. After the "university years" I
have propably been too lazy in studying philosophy and scientific
subjects (there are just too many esoteric subjects to mess with!).
It is nice to hear that consciousness is nowadays not treated as a
mere attribute of matter. But still there are grave differences. We
can take again the example of a "human being". So some modern
thinkers can take the attitude, where the mind is almost accepted as
a reality. When we think what man is after Saturn-, Sun-, Moon- and
Earth-periods, the "accuracy-level" is remarkably different. Of
course a human being is extremely large and difficult concept to
study, because "we are the microcosm". What makes the subject even
more harder is the fact, that we are in a "halfway position" and
probably in Vulcan-period we can see, what it really means to be a
human being. So there remains a lot of work in "bridging" the
It is fine that you have interest and capability in this "philosophy-
business". Please keep on reporting about your research!
--- In email@example.com, Maurice McCarthy
> On Mon, Mar 01, 2004 at 01:46:27PM -0000 or thereabouts, joksu57wrote:
> > I also have my doubts about the outcome of those debates, when
> > paradigms are so different. E.g. a human being in "anthro-paradigm"
> > means something totally different compared to "scientific-the
> > materialistic" paradigm. When even the basic concepts used in a
> > discussion can mean different things, it is hard to come to some
> > reasonable conclusion. My respect, though, to everyone, who have
> > patience to explain the basics of spiritual science to critics(who
> > obviously have some other agenda than understanding AP or Waldorftime
> > education).
> With respect to materialism and how it has changed since Steiner's
> I've recently read Colin McGuinn's philosophical biography and amnow
> reading Paul Churchland's "Matter and Consciousness". Both areintended
> for the lay reader but the latter especially is challenging.and
> The big change is that the mind is almost accepted as a reality,
> distinct from matter. Almost all cognitive scientists, neurologists
> Artificial Intelligence folk are funtionalists. In the terms ofHuman
> and Cosmic Thought this is a form of dynamism and is adjacent to aexistence of
> Leibnitzian-type monadology - which definitely affirms the
> subjective entities.is
> Chomsky is the man most responsible for this change - that the mind
> born with a pre-configured modularity. As I see it this is withinan ace
> of declaring the soul.
- Dear Joksu
Thanks for the encouragement. I battle on as best I can to understand
and I've always had an interest in the Big Issues. Years ago I played
chess to a minor international level and though I lost more than I won
there is perhaps only a single game in my recollection which I lost
through a lack of strategy oversight. It was in the details that I lost
my way - and 'the devil is in the details', as the saying goes.
Essentially what I am trying to say in these little words is that RS
died a whole human life-time ago teaching us the principle that reality
alters and alters continually, even though some things appear more
stable than others. It is a common human failing to stay with habit of
thought rather than re-think afresh and we anthroposophists have just
this failing as much as anyone else. This does not mean that RS is
irrelevant (words from the spirit are the most stable of all and when
Christ says 'verily, I say unto ye' then listen because what comes next
is true for every level of consciousness and all time. This is why it is
put 'verily'.) RS is not irrelevant but habit ossifies his words which
slowly lose contact with living reality. It is up to us to rework the
truth in our changed circumstances.`
McGinn is a "monkey-hanger" - a term of endearment for a chap from
Hartlepool in the North East of England. During the Napoleonic Wars they
famously hung a monkey there for being a French spy ... ?!? (True story)
In "The Making of a Philosopher" he writes to the effect that:
In the technical works such as Syntactical Structures Chomsky argued
that a child could not learn a language by the Behaviourist's stimilus
and response but had to come pre-prepared with an implicit grasp of
grammar. One of the key arguments was the limited resources a child
posseses to develop rich grammar.
Functionalism now easily arises from the observed necessity to
thrust the mind into stimulus and response. Jerry Fodor is McGinn's
colleague at Rutgers and McGinn says that he is generally acknowledged
to be the best philosopher of mind in the world. (Anglo-Saxon philosophy
is still a very male-ego oriented thing today.) Fodor's Language of
Thought 1975 is considered one of the first robust statements of
Functionalim which now puts the first, if still physicalised, emphasis
on the How as opposed to the what.
From our position we generally think that Computer Intelligence is just
baloney from first inspection. I still agree but this speaking from
habit. Be warned - there is a lot more credit to AI than we at first
On Wed, Mar 03, 2004 at 08:11:00AM -0000 or thereabouts, joksu57 wrote:
> Hello Maurice!
> In the 70's when I studied Steiner's Philosophy of Freedom,
> philosophy became very interesting subject to me. Inspired by Dr.
> Steiner's views I started studying theoretical philosophy in a
> university in late 70's. Of course academic philosophy was some sort
> of a disappointment after PoF. But the history of philosophy was
> worth the trouble and from "new philosophy" e.g. the paradigm-concept
> of Thomas S. Kuhn was a helpful tool. After the "university years" I
> have propably been too lazy in studying philosophy and scientific
> subjects (there are just too many esoteric subjects to mess with!).
> It is nice to hear that consciousness is nowadays not treated as a
> mere attribute of matter. But still there are grave differences. We
> can take again the example of a "human being". So some modern
> thinkers can take the attitude, where the mind is almost accepted as
> a reality. When we think what man is after Saturn-, Sun-, Moon- and
> Earth-periods, the "accuracy-level" is remarkably different. Of
> course a human being is extremely large and difficult concept to
> study, because "we are the microcosm". What makes the subject even
> more harder is the fact, that we are in a "halfway position" and
> probably in Vulcan-period we can see, what it really means to be a
> human being. So there remains a lot of work in "bridging" the
> different paradigms.
> It is fine that you have interest and capability in this "philosophy-
> business". Please keep on reporting about your research!
> Warm Regards
- Bradford asked about modules
Chomsky holds intelligence to be of separate compartments and not an
infinitely plastic unity. There is one for language but to him it is
specifically human. Animal or alien tongues may easily be
unintelligible to a human. Intelligences are separate things - I think
he is saying species specific.
McGinn finds this relevant to what he calls Metaphilosophy, the
philosophy beyond philosophy or philosophy of philosophy. I ask what is
the love of knowledge for the love of knowledge? The pure willingness to
understand - Christ as Anthropo-sophia, human wisdom. He say
metaphilosophy is the most neglected and difficult aspect in all