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Re: Knowledge & Experience & Postmodern & Dialectic & Freedom & Responsibility

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  • Mary
    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
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 30, 2012
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      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



      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome <yeoman@...> wrote:
      >
      > I don't quite understand your conclusion that ... "Given this structure and
      > limitation of knowledge and experience, that humans are able to share
      > anything is truly miraculous."
      >
      > The "structure" you posit is that experience is universal but some things
      > may not be a universal experience. And only particular knowledge is not
      > transferrable. I can appreciate that some things are not universal ... as
      > the experience of running a marathon to a legless person. Although at the
      > moment I cannot think of any knowledge that is not transferrable, I will
      > accept your premise. But from this, how can you say that all other
      > experience and knowledge that we share is "miraculous"??
      >
      > eduardathome
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Mary
      > Sent: Saturday, December 29, 2012 11:57 AM
      > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [existlist] Knowledge & Experience
      >
      > I think being restricted to knowing only our own experiences is a
      > philosophical puzzle which requires the ability to think paradoxically. It
      > can cause a lack of empathy and further isolate us from one another. Camus
      > thought the alienation and solitude which occur are a basis for solidarity.
      > We're all alone together. Though experience is universal, there is probably
      > no such thing as a universal experience, only the particular experience. If
      > this is true, there is only particular knowledge which is not transferrable
      > no matter how well communicated. Given this structure and limitation of
      > knowledge and experience, that humans are able to share anything is truly
      > miraculous. If our striving to know is merely a circling round a void, our
      > particular void is entangled with every other void. This implicit structure
      > becomes explicit through the motion of dialectical thought, the very
      > movement of being across the void of other being.
      >
      > Mary
      >
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!
      >
      > Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/existYahoo! Groups Links
      >
    • eduardathome
      Mary, Thought is empirical and should be examined through philosophy, not neuroscience. It is not about what is thought, but rather the thoughting ... the
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 30, 2012
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        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
      • Mary
        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
        Message 3 of 9 , Dec 30, 2012
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          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
          >
        • eduardathome
          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
          Message 4 of 9 , Dec 31, 2012
          • 0 Attachment
            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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