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Re: [existlist] Re: was brain drain/ thought

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  • eduardathome
    I’m not saying that you cannot obtain enjoyment from your senses ... or at least to identify some things you sense as being enjoyable. What I am saying is
    Message 1 of 11 , Jun 13 1:04 PM
      I’m not saying that you cannot obtain enjoyment from your senses ... or at
      least to identify some things you sense as being enjoyable.

      What I am saying is that the process of thinking is essentially digital.
      That coffee you are tasting doesn’t enter your brain as coffee. It enters
      as an electrochemical signal from your taste buds. And your sensing of what
      is hot and what is cold. And much of this is learnt. When I was a kid, I
      didn’t like coffee as it tasted bitter. But now I can’t wait till I get my
      first coffee of the day.

      The thing is that Existentialism is about mental states ... your judgement
      about something. As such, it is appropriate to look into the manner in
      which the brain comes up with a judgement or choice. For example, Wikipedia
      defines Bad faith (or "self-deception") as “the guise of existing as a
      character, individual, or person who defines himself through the social
      categorization of his formal identity”. Your “character“ is a mental state
      in that you have adopted mental scripts which produce the role that you try
      to play. It is your chosen behaviour and mannerisms. On this basis there
      is a means to discussion.

      Why should we say that the waiter in playing the role of waiter .. or
      overplaying it .. is a matter of bad faith. The waiter has taken on mental
      scripts that enable him to play that role. Why should this be wrong when he
      needs to play the role of waiter in order to earn a living. On gets the
      feeling that Sartre [as perhaps many French] have a thing against waiters.
      His life is spent in restaurants with his fellow intellectual friends.
      Perhaps the waiter is an interruption and thus Sartre focuses on the waiter
      to give an example Bad Faith.

      Wikipedia goes further in saying ...

      Living a life defined by one's occupation, social, racial, or economic
      class, is the very essence of "bad faith", the condition in which people
      cannot transcend their situations in order to realize what they must be
      (human) and what they are not (waiter, grocer, etc.).

      That makes no sense. The waiter cannot just leave his job at the whim of
      trying to be *human*. And even if he did, would he not then be playing at
      being a human so that may also be bad faith.

      eduard

      -----Original Message-----
      From: hermit crab
      Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2013 7:20 AM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: was brain drain/ thought

      Human experience is whatever is being experienced. I hear a train. a fan,
      chattering birds, and distant thunder as I type. I feel a cool breeze,
      smell fresh air. I reach for my coffee and take a sip. It's that simple.
      Ah, now some pouring rain. Mmm, the air smells good. You are talking
      about some *outside world* but there is no inside/outside really. It's
      all one thing. I'm thinking that cool word *torrential* now because it's
      really coming down now. Like cats and dogs.

      h.

      On Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 7:52 PM, eduardathome <yeoman@...> wrote:

      > Human experience is a matter of how you react to the outside world. In as
      > much as all reactions are mental states, it becomes important put them in
      > the correct context. We cannot monitor our neural processes, but that
      > does
      > not mean that they do not occur. Neither does mean that your reaction
      > isn’t weighed and directed by previous experience. Existentialism, as far
      > as I understand it, is about mental states. It is your view of the
      > outside
      > world and this view is a brain thing.
      >
      > eduard
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: hermit crab
      > Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 4:13 PM
      > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [existlist] Re: was brain drain/ thought
      >
      > On Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 1:11 PM, Mary <josephson45r@...> wrote:
      >
      > > Society and people are mutually implicating, but this wholeness doesn't
      > > preclude activism with its setbacks and victories which engender such
      > > unfolding. I think ideals are what drive progress. I'm not a fan of
      > > withdrawal, but to each his own. If we are implicated, withdrawal also
      > > affects the unfolding. As Sartre said, even not choosing is a choice
      > > with
      > > consequences. Camus reminded us of limits and suggested adopting an
      > absurd
      > > logic toward change. The causal loop between individual and society
      > > indicates to me that we have both the freedom and the responsibility to
      > > act. So what this means, pace Eduard, is that I study the philosophy of
      > > thought rather than the science of neurons.
      > >
      > > ===I have been thinking quite a lot about thought as I remembered
      > polymath
      > Douglas Hofstadter a few days ago and read excerpts from his books,
      > watched
      > him discuss thought on youtube and so forth. I see that it is possible to
      > watch my own thinking processes but I cannot know a thing about my
      > personal
      > neurons (what they are doing) and Existentialism is about concrete human
      > experience.
      >
      > DH sees analogy as the core of cognition:
      >
      > http://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/hofstadter/analogy.html
      > http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/04/26/the-brain-as-analogy-machine
      > http://www.amazon.com/Surfaces-Essences-Analogy-Fuel-Thinking/dp/0465018475
      >
      >
      >
      > hc
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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    • hermit crab
      ... ===I know what you mean but maybe you ought to step back and think more about the information itself before talking about scripts . You and I *are*
      Message 2 of 11 , Jun 13 6:21 PM
        On Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 4:04 PM, eduardathome <yeoman@...> wrote:

        > What I am saying is that the process of thinking is essentially digital.
        >

        ===I know what you mean but maybe you ought to step back and think more
        about the information itself before talking about 'scripts'.
        You and I *are* information.
        Maybe memes and memeplexes are what you mean by scripts? That language
        would be more familiar to me.

        You'd probably find David Deutsch's Constructor Theory interesting.
        http://edge.org/conversation/constructor-theory
        I'm speaking to you now: Information starts as some kind of electrochemical
        signals in my brain, and then it gets converted into other signals in my
        nerves and then into sound waves and then into the vibrations of a
        microphone, mechanical vibrations, then into electricity and so on, and
        presumably will eventually go on the Internet. This something has been
        instantiated in radically different physical objects that obey different
        laws of physics. Yet in order to describe this process you have to refer to
        the thing that has remained unchanged throughout the process, which is only
        the information rather than any obviously physical thing like energy or
        momentum.


        hc


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jim
        h, there is no inside/outside really û Yes, I agree very much with that. We have direct access to what is going on around us and we hear the cat over there
        Message 3 of 11 , Jun 14 8:21 AM
          h,

          "there is no inside/outside really" – Yes, I agree very much with that. We have direct access to what is going on around us and we hear the cat over there and see trees bending in the wind in front of us, etc.

          Philosophers like Descartes and Locke and their modern materialist successors have over-emphasized the inside/outside distinction, whether the border is the pineal gland, the brain or the skin.

          Eduard is correct to say that there are physical goings-on inside our bodies which are necessary for our phenomenological experiences, but the phenomenology itself can be described as you have described it without any reference to these neurological processes.

          Jim


          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, hermit crab <hermitcrab65@...> wrote:
          >
          > Human experience is whatever is being experienced. I hear a train. a fan,
          > chattering birds, and distant thunder as I type. I feel a cool breeze,
          > smell fresh air. I reach for my coffee and take a sip. It's that simple.
          > Ah, now some pouring rain. Mmm, the air smells good. You are talking
          > about some *outside world* but there is no inside/outside really. It's
          > all one thing. I'm thinking that cool word *torrential* now because it's
          > really coming down now. Like cats and dogs.
          >
          > h.
          >
        • eduardathome
          To an extent. Perhaps an example would do. Lets take the meme of following authority. That is, one should be inclined to follow what is specified by law. In
          Message 4 of 11 , Jun 14 3:35 PM
            To an extent. Perhaps an example would do.

            Lets take the meme of following authority. That is, one should be inclined to follow what is specified by law. In order for a society to work, the members of that society have to agree with the concept that it is necessary to stop on red and go on green. I would consider this as a meme. Granted, laws are also written, but the behaviour to follow the law I should think is spread from person to person. The opposite meme to not follow the law [light signals] can also spread and I should think it does so for teens and 20-somethings may see a value in doing their own thing. John drives through red lights .. I should do the same. In any case, I am searching for a meme that is more complex than just an simple idea.

            I see this meme as a mental script. That is, the person who acquires the meme has it programed in their brains. What I mean by that is the person has a particular sequence or formulation that plays out the meme. It could be a sequence such as ...

            I am aware that I am driving.
            I am required to keep an eye on the roadway.
            I see traffic lights ahead
            I recognize that they are red.
            Red means stop.
            I stop the car.
            I wait for the green.

            I think this is a learned sequence which resides in the brain. It is a sequence we run when the circumstance arises. It has to be that way, since we do not drive whilst reading the road manual to know what to do when red is presented to us.

            I don’t understand what you mean by “you and I are information”. To me “information” is some value or description. For example, that the sky is blue is information. Or John stole money from the cookie jar. I don’t see how a person can be information.

            eduard



            -----Original Message-----
            From: hermit crab
            Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2013 9:21 PM
            To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: was brain drain/ thought

            On Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 4:04 PM, eduardathome <yeoman@...> wrote:

            > What I am saying is that the process of thinking is essentially digital.
            >

            ===I know what you mean but maybe you ought to step back and think more
            about the information itself before talking about 'scripts'.
            You and I *are* information.
            Maybe memes and memeplexes are what you mean by scripts? That language
            would be more familiar to me.

            You'd probably find David Deutsch's Constructor Theory interesting.
            http://edge.org/conversation/constructor-theory
            I'm speaking to you now: Information starts as some kind of electrochemical
            signals in my brain, and then it gets converted into other signals in my
            nerves and then into sound waves and then into the vibrations of a
            microphone, mechanical vibrations, then into electricity and so on, and
            presumably will eventually go on the Internet. This something has been
            instantiated in radically different physical objects that obey different
            laws of physics. Yet in order to describe this process you have to refer to
            the thing that has remained unchanged throughout the process, which is only
            the information rather than any obviously physical thing like energy or
            momentum.


            hc


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



            ------------------------------------

            Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!

            Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/existYahoo! Groups Links



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • eduardathome
            Jim, Can the experience really be described without reference to neurological processes?? If you avoid neurological processes, then you are correct, but
            Message 5 of 11 , Jun 15 6:54 AM
              Jim,

              Can the experience really be described without reference to neurological
              processes?? If you avoid neurological processes, then you are correct, but
              surely the only thing you can say about a coffee sip is that it is a sip or
              perhaps that it tastes good. However, the description ends there. If one
              were to fully describe the experience you would have to include that the
              taste buds provide a signal to the brain which then makes a determination of
              bitter against sweet.

              Granted, it is possible to extend the description to a wealth words. I am
              thinking in terms of wine tasting. Thousands of books are written about it
              and it is practically an industry in itself. All without speaking about
              neural processes. But if one were to set out to describe what it is as an
              experience to taste wine it would seem reasonable to say that that this
              should include how the body actually does the tasting.

              I suppose it comes down to what is meant by "description". Perhaps it is
              sufficient to say that my coffee tasted like the recent oil change for my
              car, and leave it at that.

              eduard

              -----Original Message-----
              From: Jim
              Sent: Friday, June 14, 2013 11:21 AM
              To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [existlist] Re: was brain drain/ thought

              h,

              "there is no inside/outside really" – Yes, I agree very much with that. We
              have direct access to what is going on around us and we hear the cat over
              there and see trees bending in the wind in front of us, etc.

              Philosophers like Descartes and Locke and their modern materialist
              successors have over-emphasized the inside/outside distinction, whether the
              border is the pineal gland, the brain or the skin.

              Eduard is correct to say that there are physical goings-on inside our bodies
              which are necessary for our phenomenological experiences, but the
              phenomenology itself can be described as you have described it without any
              reference to these neurological processes.

              Jim


              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, hermit crab <hermitcrab65@...> wrote:
              >
              > Human experience is whatever is being experienced. I hear a train. a fan,
              > chattering birds, and distant thunder as I type. I feel a cool breeze,
              > smell fresh air. I reach for my coffee and take a sip. It's that simple.
              > Ah, now some pouring rain. Mmm, the air smells good. You are talking
              > about some *outside world* but there is no inside/outside really. It's
              > all one thing. I'm thinking that cool word *torrential* now because it's
              > really coming down now. Like cats and dogs.
              >
              > h.
              >




              ------------------------------------

              Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!

              Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/existYahoo! Groups Links
            • Jim
              Eduard, You ask: Can the experience really be described without reference to neurological processes?? My answer is Yes . Experience is a purely
              Message 6 of 11 , Jun 15 12:58 PM
                Eduard,

                You ask: Can the experience really be described without reference to neurological processes??

                My answer is "Yes". Experience is a purely phenomenological notion.

                When you start talking about neurons, etc., you are no longer talking about the experience qua experience, you are talking about the causal basis for the experience in physical terms. And, of course, we might meet aliens who can also enjoy the taste of coffee but not be constructed like us with neurons firing in brains.

                The neurological processes are not of the essence of the experience. The essence is the phenomenological property.

                Jim



                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome <yeoman@...> wrote:
                >
                > Jim,
                >
                > Can the experience really be described without reference to neurological
                > processes?? If you avoid neurological processes, then you are correct, but
                > surely the only thing you can say about a coffee sip is that it is a sip or
                > perhaps that it tastes good. However, the description ends there. If one
                > were to fully describe the experience you would have to include that the
                > taste buds provide a signal to the brain which then makes a determination of
                > bitter against sweet.
                >
                > Granted, it is possible to extend the description to a wealth words. I am
                > thinking in terms of wine tasting. Thousands of books are written about it
                > and it is practically an industry in itself. All without speaking about
                > neural processes. But if one were to set out to describe what it is as an
                > experience to taste wine it would seem reasonable to say that that this
                > should include how the body actually does the tasting.
                >
                > I suppose it comes down to what is meant by "description". Perhaps it is
                > sufficient to say that my coffee tasted like the recent oil change for my
                > car, and leave it at that.
                >
                > eduard
              • eduardathome
                I am quite sure that one can find a wealth of words to paint an experience without the use of neurology, but my point is that to “describe” the experience
                Message 7 of 11 , Jun 16 2:27 PM
                  I am quite sure that one can find a wealth of words to paint an experience without the use of neurology, but my point is that to “describe” the experience fully would need a reference to how it is actually obtained. As for example, seeing an apple is an experience, but this “seeing” is a functioning of both the eye and the brain. So yes, one can describe the experience of an apple in many ways, but the description isn’t complete until the whole of it is described.

                  Otherwise one get’s into all sorts of fanciful ideas of consciousness and intentionality. The early Greeks [e.g. Plato] believed in the emission theory of sight by which rays would be emitted from the eye to determine the characteristics of the object being seen. Or one gets into “pools of consciousness” or a differentiation of consciousness into 2 forms. Or Descartes's pineal gland. After a while there just isn’t any sense to it.

                  I would suggest that “experience” is not a purely phenomenological notion, if by the term you mean Husserl’s phenomenological.

                  Whilst goggling this subject, I came across ...

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenomenology_(philosophy)

                  “Sometimes depicted as the “science of experience,” the phenomenological method is rooted in intentionality, Husserl’s theory of consciousness (developed from Brentano). Intentionality represents an alternative to the representational theory of consciousness, which holds that reality cannot be grasped directly because it is available only through perceptions of reality that are representations of it in the mind. Husserl countered that consciousness is not “in” the mind but rather conscious of something other than itself (the intentional object), whether the object is a substance or a figment of imagination (i.e., the real processes associated with and underlying the figment). Hence the phenomenological method relies on the description of phenomena as they are given to consciousness, in their immediacy.”

                  I am inclined to the to the representational theory of consciousness.

                  I cannot conceive of an alien who is devoid of some kind of neurology by which they experience things. Even a worm has a form of brain in that it can sense and react to the outside world. If an alien evolved on some distant planet, in order to travel the light distances, it would have to evolve in the same fashion as humans.

                  eduard



                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Jim
                  Sent: Saturday, June 15, 2013 3:58 PM
                  To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: [existlist] Re: was brain drain/ thought

                  Eduard,

                  You ask: Can the experience really be described without reference to neurological processes??

                  My answer is "Yes". Experience is a purely phenomenological notion.

                  When you start talking about neurons, etc., you are no longer talking about the experience qua experience, you are talking about the causal basis for the experience in physical terms. And, of course, we might meet aliens who can also enjoy the taste of coffee but not be constructed like us with neurons firing in brains.

                  The neurological processes are not of the essence of the experience. The essence is the phenomenological property.

                  Jim



                  --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome <yeoman@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Jim,
                  >
                  > Can the experience really be described without reference to neurological
                  > processes?? If you avoid neurological processes, then you are correct, but
                  > surely the only thing you can say about a coffee sip is that it is a sip or
                  > perhaps that it tastes good. However, the description ends there. If one
                  > were to fully describe the experience you would have to include that the
                  > taste buds provide a signal to the brain which then makes a determination of
                  > bitter against sweet.
                  >
                  > Granted, it is possible to extend the description to a wealth words. I am
                  > thinking in terms of wine tasting. Thousands of books are written about it
                  > and it is practically an industry in itself. All without speaking about
                  > neural processes. But if one were to set out to describe what it is as an
                  > experience to taste wine it would seem reasonable to say that that this
                  > should include how the body actually does the tasting.
                  >
                  > I suppose it comes down to what is meant by "description". Perhaps it is
                  > sufficient to say that my coffee tasted like the recent oil change for my
                  > car, and leave it at that.
                  >
                  > eduard




                  ------------------------------------

                  Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!

                  Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/existYahoo! Groups Links



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Jim
                  Eduard, You write: I am quite sure that one can find a wealth of words to paint an experience without the use of neurology, but my point is that to describe
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jun 16 2:40 PM
                    Eduard,

                    You write:

                    "I am quite sure that one can find a wealth of words to paint an experience without the use of neurology, but my point is that to "describe" the experience fully would need a reference to how it is actually obtained. As for example, seeing an apple is an experience, but this "seeing" is a functioning of both the eye and the brain. So yes, one can describe the experience of an apple in many ways, but the description isn't complete until the whole of it is described."

                    You are just repeating what you said in a previous post, without acknowledging that I have replied to this precise point. To repeat myself: You can describe any experience qua experience fully without talking about the neurological basis for the experience. The neurological basis is not of the essence of the experience. The essence of the experience is exhausted by its phenomenology.

                    Jim
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