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58886Re: [existlist] Re: Knowledge & Experience & Postmodern & Dialectic & Freedom & Responsibility

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  • eduardathome
    Dec 31, 2012
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      Mary,

      All thought, including speculative reason is thinking and it is through
      means of the brain.

      Neuroscience does account for the content of thought. It is what we store
      and produce in our brains.

      Like I said there is a huge resistance to think that we actually think. Or
      that the brain produces the words and all the rest of the stuff that is for
      example on these pages.

      Science has proven what consciousness is. It is just the interior workings
      of our brains. My brain processes thought, therefore I am.

      The problem here is that we cannot accept, in expressing ourselves [the
      content], that this is the workings of our brain. The reason is because we
      cannot monitor our thinking process. For example, I am not aware that my
      brain is actually producing these words because I can't see it happen. But
      it does. If I type the the word "existentialism" this is from my brain. If
      Sartre puts it in a book, it is the workings of his brain.

      Because we can't monitor our thinking, we invent the idea of ourselves as
      other than our brain. As something else that can account for the special
      content of thought.

      It is somewhat similar with sight. People tend to think that when we see
      something, the eye is producing an image which is somehow projected on a
      screen in the back of our heads. But there is no image. The eye senses the
      elements of what is projected on the retina [colour, brightness, vertical
      lines, horizontal lines, curves, etc. etc.]. These elements ... there are
      11 or 15 ... are then sent as electrochemical signals to the brain. Think
      of what happens when I "see" my hand. The eye senses colours of red and
      white and this is an element. It also senses vertical and horizontal
      dimensions as well as depth/thickness. My hand has a certain brightness in
      this light. It has shadowing. There isn't an image of a hand in my brain
      ... only stored elements.

      When we "think" of a remembered image, it is just those elements being put
      back together. And the reason why we tend to forget things over time. The
      storage of some element of the image is lost because neurons weaken if not
      used. When an important element is missing, the brain invents one of its
      own. That's why witness reports can be so different. The coat worn by the
      criminal now becomes red because the brain lost the element of a blue coat
      and did a substitution.

      There's no image in our brain of things seen ... no sound of things heard
      ... no sweetness of candy tasted. It's all a bunch of electrochemical
      signals stored in neurons. The same applies to philosophy, religion,
      mysticism or whatever. And these as well are just neuroscience. But we do
      not want to accept the fact.

      We tend to get carried away by the perceived importance of our thoughts.
      Its Ok for the brain to observe and measure ... that's just ordinary
      thinking ... but to talk about philosophy ... that has to come from
      somewhere else.

      So we invent all sorts of things that enables us to account for what we
      think is non-common thinking. And if it is not our mundane brains, then of
      a larger system extending outside of the body. And from there it isn't much
      of a step to consider that we can transmit our thoughts to others, and get
      into other neat stuff like channelling to the dead. Which of course can be
      a lot of fun, but in the end it is only our brains doing their thing.

      There is no fundamental difference in our brain enabling us to jump across a
      mud puddle than to compose a symphony.

      eduardathome

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Mary
      Sent: Sunday, December 30, 2012 8:57 PM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [existlist] Re: Knowledge & Experience & Postmodern & Dialectic &
      Freedom & Responsibility

      eduard,

      Speculative reason or philosophy is not the same as common or ordinary
      thinking.

      All that neuroscience can do is observe and measure where thinking occurs in
      the brain; it can't account for the content of thought. Nor does it take
      into account the entire body and its environments as part of a feedback
      loop. I don't deny that neuronal processes are involved in thought and
      emotion but that they are only part of a larger system including and
      extending from the body, even to other minds. Neither science nor philosophy
      can prove definitively what consciousness is, nor can one's individual
      experience with it be extrapolated into a universal.

      Philosophical or speculative reason is scientific because it observes and
      examines how thought develops among people and it tries to establish
      abstract and concrete categories or at least improve on existing principles
      which may possibly determine why people think as they do. Any approach which
      cannot sort cause from effect is inherently flawed.

      Mary

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome <yeoman@...> wrote:
      >
      > Mary,
      >
      > "Thought is empirical and should be examined through philosophy, not
      > neuroscience."
      >
      > It is not about what is thought, but rather the thoughting ... the act of
      > thinking. And that is in the realm of neuroscience. I am assuming your
      > use
      > of "neuroscience" relates to my position that our thinking is of the brain
      > ... the workings of our neurons.
      >
      > But lets look more closely at your statement....
      >
      > Yes thought is empirical. It is what we interpret from observation. But
      > "observation" is also neuroscience [to use your word]. We "observe" by
      > means of our brains. But then so too is rational thought. We rationalize
      > stuff by means of our brains ... neural processing.
      >
      > And philosophy itself is neuroscience. It is what someone thought by use
      > of
      > their brains. Everything we think, philosophize about occurs in our
      > brains.
      >
      > As I said before, there is a huge resistance to accepting that we think by
      > using our brains. We do make some concession to such thinking acts as
      > remembering our telephone number, but things like spirituality and
      > mysticism
      > and such has to occur elsewhere. Whereas they are just more neural
      > activity.
      >
      > By the way, how can one examine thought through philosophy??
      >
      > eduardathome
      >
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Mary
      > Sent: Sunday, December 30, 2012 1:32 PM
      > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [existlist] Re: Knowledge & Experience & Postmodern & Dialectic &
      > Freedom & Responsibility
      >
      > eduard, Bill, and all,
      >
      > I'll try to begin by answering your question about structure, limitation,
      > and the miraculous. Because we are interlocked beings 'wrapped around' our
      > respective voids, the structural alienation of individual perception seems
      > an insurmountable obstacle. What is miraculous is that through our
      > individual development from consciousness to individual sense perception
      > to
      > self-consciousness and the ability to communicate, we are able to overcome
      > our individuality, albeit to a very small degree.
      >
      > What we perceive and think is shared only through verbal and physical
      > communication. Our experiences are individual. Observation of others
      > having
      > what seem to be identical individual experiences simultaneously is not the
      > same as universal experience. As you say, each one is interpreting
      > individually. The only things we can claim as universal are the activities
      > themselves--perception and experience--not particular individual ones. Our
      > particular experiences are instances of the universal and reflect the
      > another indirectly and imperfectly.
      >
      > This is why I hesitate to describe particular and individual experiences,
      > whether perception, thought or feeling, as truth. Truth requires proof:
      > reality and knowledge do not. Though I speak here with a degree of
      > certainty, my "truth" as you call it, is merely informal theory or
      > hypothesis and additionally is based on or adapted from others' ideas.
      > This
      > is the nature of thought: it is shared via common language or symbols, not
      > essentially.
      >
      > I suppose you'll say I'm hair splitting or muddying the terms: knowledge,
      > truth, reality. I've often carelessly used them interchangeably, but they
      > deserve some philosophical rigor. I welcome your questions and challenges,
      > because they help demonstrate our limitations (finitude) and the need for
      > multiple perspectives in order to more precisely show how thought moves
      > within itself and between others. Thought is superior to experience
      > because
      > it is shared through language if one is concerned with the solidarity
      > which
      > accompanies history and politics. Experience is superior is you are
      > strictly
      > solitary.
      >
      > Reality is what we experience. Knowledge is what we learn. Both develop
      > and
      > change. Truth is absolute and wholly unattainable; it appear as, across
      > and
      > between its parts. What reality and knowledge have in common is our
      > thought,
      > but reason is truth itself, not its particular transitory determinations.
      >
      > I think the difficulty with the term 'absolute truth' lies in 'absolute.'
      > For me it means total, whole, universal, infinite, but I can't experience
      > it. Truth is momentarily glimpsed through its particular phenomena but
      > elusively recedes, resisting our grasp. how could we ever comprehend the
      > absolute?
      >
      > You're right that a positivist can't be considered postmodern, since
      > postmodern theory includes scepticism about science itself as an absolute
      > model for truth. Its relativism refutes formal objective truth. So like
      > Bill, I'm also a little confused about its description. It does seem
      > wrapped
      > up in leftist sentiment and terminology, respecting the individual's quest
      > for meaning to a fault, but that aligns with existentialism, along with a
      > political correctness which generally strays from experience, etc. For me
      > postmodern is a reaction to perceived strictures of what is modern and
      > denies formal structure to anything.
      >
      > Dialectical reason means to me the kind of thought which is able to move
      > between oppositions, contradictions and is also characterized by
      > determining
      > between differences, and the principle of negation, that knowledge is
      > developed through negation and sublation.
      >
      > I agree with Sartre's take on freedom and responsibility, an ethical
      > atheism
      > recently promoted by Zizek. If the void means freedom, responsibility is
      > freedom in action. Freedom is and isn't the lack of constraint, and
      > responsibility implies there are things for which we are not responsible.
      > As
      > with Nietzsche, this is a treacherous slough.
      >
      > Thought is empirical and should be examined through philosophy, not
      > neuroscience.
      >
      > Mary
      >




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