A Materialist Theory of Mind

Reply Tue 22 Jun, 2010 04:51 am

---- `` which words being heard by
`` all the soldiers which were there, di-
`` vers of them being inwardly terrified,
`` did shrink back and make room for
`` the assailant : all this did Gymnast very
`` well remark and consider ; and there-
`` fore, making as if he would have
`` alighted from off his horse, as he was
`` poising himself on the mounting side,
`` he most nimbly (with his short sword
`` by his thigh) shifting his feet in the
stirrup and performing the stirrup-lea-
`` ther feat, whereby, after the inclining
`` of his body downwards, he forthwith
`` launched himself aloft into the air, and
`` placed both his feet together upon the
`` saddle, standing upright, with his
`` back turned towards his horse's head,
`` -- Now (said he) my case goes forward.
`` Then suddenly in the same posture
`` wherein he was, he fetched a gambol
`` upon one foot, and turning to the left-
`` hand, failed not to carry his body per-
`` fectly round, just into his former po-
`` sition, without missing one jot. ----
`` Ha ! said Tripet, I will not do that
`` at this time, -- and not without cause.
`` Well, said Gymnast, I have failed, --
`` I will undo this leap ; then with a
`` marvellous strength and agility, turn-
`` ing towards the right-hand, he fetched
`` another frisking gambol as before ;
`` which done, he set his right-hand
`` thumb upon the bow of the saddle,
raised himself up, and sprung into the
`` air, poising and upholding his whole
`` weight upon the muscle and nerve of
`` the said thumb, and so turned and
`` whirled himself about three times : at
`` the fourth, reversing his body and o-
`` verturning it upside-down, and fore-
`` side back, without touching any thing,
`` he brought himself betwixt the horse's
`` two ears, and then giving himself a
`` jerking swing, he seated himself upon
`` the crupper ---- ''

(This can't be fighting, said my uncle
Toby. ---- The corporal shook his head
at it. ---- Have patience, said Yorick.)

`` Then (Tripet) pass'd his right leg
`` over his saddle, and placed himself en
`` croup. -- But, said he, 'twere better for
`` me to get into the saddle ; then put-
`` ting the thumbs of both hands upon
`` the crupper before him, and thereup-
on leaning himself, as upon the only
`` supporters of his body, he incontinent-
`` ly turned heels over head in the air,
`` and straight found himself betwixt the
`` bow of the saddle in a tolerable seat ;
`` then springing into the air with a sum-
`` merset, he turned him about like a
`` wind mill, and made above a hundred
`` frisks, turns, and demi-pommadas.'' --
Good God ! cried Trim, losing all pa-
tience, -- one home thrust of a bayonet
is worth it all. ---- I think so too, replied
Yorick. ----

Volume V of Tristram Shandy.
0 Replies
Reply Tue 22 Jun, 2010 06:56 am
jeeprs wrote:
The difficulty is that it is first-person knowledge. It is not objective, but it is also not subjective, in that, it is not peculiar to the personal, not a matter of opinion, of what I think is true.

Yes, I agree that first-person knowledge is an essential starting point. The phenomenologists (e.g. Husserl) also took this approach, although they tackled the problem in a different way.
Reply Tue 22 Jun, 2010 04:05 pm
Yes, I am reading up on that approach. I am particularly interested in Merleau Ponty and looking around for an anthology on phenomenology.
0 Replies
Reply Wed 23 Jun, 2010 02:54 am
One particular writer I find very interesting is Francisco Varela.

He has much more interesting perspectives than philosophical materialism.
Reply Wed 23 Jun, 2010 12:59 pm
There is a hidden assumption in the position, jeeprs, that I thought you wouldve noticed, and that would be the idea that physicalism is true (or what you call 'materialism') but that assumption need justification. From the book Im currently reading that seems quite difficult to do. Of course under classic mereology the notion of ontological grounding is typically taken to be true; however, there are some good arguments against it - nor does it being true grant certain reductive explanations.

Just some food for thought jeeprs. Hope you enjoy.
Reply Wed 23 Jun, 2010 03:36 pm
Hey nice to hear from you, it's been a while.

One current title I read earlier this year on the topic is Why Us? How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves, by James le Fanu, a doctor, journalist and author. Shows pretty convincingly that old-style genetic determinism and neurological reductionism both don't stand up any more, to findings by science itself, as the title implies.
Reply Wed 23 Jun, 2010 05:21 pm
Dr le Fanu plays in a jazz band. He wrote to me once when I complimented him on a rather politically incorrect statement he made in one of his witty articles in the Sunday Telegraph.
Reply Wed 23 Jun, 2010 05:56 pm
Is that so? I didn't know that. I like him even more now. I play jazz piano also, although mainly for my own amusement. What instrument does he play?
Reply Thu 24 Jun, 2010 05:12 am
Now I think about it I might be mixed up with another media quack about the jazz.

But you'll be interested in this jeeps-


If you can't link it I intend quoting it in full on the Challenges to Teaching Evolution thread as soon as my last post on that thread has had time to be answered or ignored. If I quote it too soon they will use it as an excuse to dodge that post.
Reply Thu 24 Jun, 2010 05:34 am
It didn't work when I checked it. I don't do facebook, or anything else besides A2K.

Google Dr. James Le Fanu - Doubts About Darwin | Thomas More Institute
Reply Thu 24 Jun, 2010 05:55 am
Here's the correct link

Reply Thu 24 Jun, 2010 03:20 pm
Thanks! That is him. "theories that explain everything in general end up explaining not very much in particular".
0 Replies
Reply Sat 26 Jun, 2010 05:13 pm
I think ultimately 'materialism' simply means a belief, or a desire to believe, that the ordinary world of everyday perceptions is the only reality. This is why any argument against it is treated with such scorn: for those who accept this view, anything which challenges it is actually a threat to your identity and sense of who you are in the world.

An example is provided by ESP research. At the turn of the last century, labs were set up to discover whether such things really occur. J. B. Rhine and others spent years doing trials and amassing evidence. However at each juncture, materialism kept moving the goal-posts: the evidence must be tainted, the trials must be poorly designed, the interpretation must be faulty. In response to each of these complaints, the methodology was refined, more tests run, more data accumulated. The example given above is typical: it is true that remote viewing has been proven by the standards of ordinary science, but because we view it as an extraordinary claim, we will now demand 'extraordinary' evidence.

In 1955 George Price wrote that 'dozens of experimenters have obtained positive results in ESP experiments, and the mathematical procedures have been approved by leading statisticians'. Yet later in the same articles he writes that 'ESP is incompatible with scientific theory [and concludes] that many of them are dependent on clerical and statistical errors....'

This is typical of many of the so-called 'skeptics' discussed in Chris Carter's Parapsychology and the Skeptics, from which this quote is taken. There are dozens more examples.

What we're dealing with in all this is belief system - an emotional attachment to a particular view of reality. It has nothing to do with science, as such. It is just an attitude towards existence.
Reply Sat 26 Jun, 2010 05:37 pm
I have often been accused by my pub mates of putting the "fluence" on women even when they had their back to me. I claimed that was because I thought the right thoughts about them.

Which doesn't prove ESP because women are always looking around to see if anybody looks like they are thinking the right thoughts about them which they can see at a glance.
Reply Sat 26 Jun, 2010 06:01 pm
might have more to do with pheromones....
0 Replies

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