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

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  • eduardathome
    Jim, Can the experience really be described without reference to neurological processes?? If you avoid neurological processes, then you are correct, but
    Message 1 of 11 , Jun 15, 2013
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      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.
      >




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

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    • Jim
      Eduard, You ask: Can the experience really be described without reference to neurological processes?? My answer is Yes . Experience is a purely
      Message 2 of 11 , Jun 15, 2013
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        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 3 of 11 , Jun 16, 2013
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          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 4 of 11 , Jun 16, 2013
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            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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