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Why is Philosophy like General Motors?

User Thread
 89yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that coberst is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Why is Philosophy like General Motors?
Why is Philosophy like General Motors?

With the aid of new brain scan technology the amalgamation of scientific disciplines that make up what is commonly known as SGCS (Second Generation Cognitive Science) has produced empirical evidence to support theories that challenges two millennia of a priori philosophical speculation.

The three major findings of SGCS that challenges Anglo-American analytic and postmodernist philosophy are as follows:

The mind is inherently embodied.
Thought is mostly unconscious.
Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical.

These newly assimilated (primarily in the last four decades) discoveries require that our Western culture must question and discard some of its most deeply held philosophical assumptions.

We have in our Western philosophy a traditional theory of faculty psychology wherein our reasoning is a faculty completely separate from the body. 'Reason is seen as independent of perception and bodily movement.' It is this capacity of autonomous reason that makes us different in kind from all other animals. I suspect that many fundamental aspects of philosophy and psychology are focused upon declaring, whenever possible, the separateness of our species from all other animals.

This tradition of an autonomous reason began long before evolutionary theory and has held strongly since then without consideration, it seems to me, of the theories of Darwin and of biological science. Cognitive science has in the last four decades developed considerable empirical evidence supporting Darwin and not supporting the traditional theories of philosophy and psychology regarding the autonomy of reason. Cognitive science has focused a great deal of empirical science toward discovering the nature of the embodied mind.

The cognitive science claim is that 'the very properties of concepts are created as a result of the way the brain and body are structured and the way they function in interpersonal relations and in the physical world.'

The embodied-mind hypothesis therefore radically undercuts the perception/conception distinction. In an embodied mind, it is conceivable that the same neural system engaged in perception (or in bodily movements) plays a central role in conception. Indeed, in recent neural modeling research, models of perceptual mechanisms and motor schemas can actually do conception work in language learning and in reasoning.

A standard technique for checking out new ideas is to create computer models of the idea and subject that model to simulated conditions to determine if the model behaves as does the reality. Such modeling techniques are used constantly in projecting behavior of meteorological parameters.

Neural computer models have shown that the types of operations required to perceive and move in space require the very same type of capability associated with reasoning. That is, neural models capable of doing all of the things that a body must be able to do when perceiving and moving can also perform the same kinds of actions associated with reasoning, i.e. inferring, categorizing, and conceiving.

Our understanding of biology indicates that the body has a marvelous ability to do as any handyman does, i.e. make do with what is at hand. The body would, it seems logical to assume, take these abilities that exist in all creatures that move and survive in space and with such fundamental capabilities reshape it through evolution to become what we now know as our ability to reason. The first budding of the reasoning ability exists in all creatures that function as perceiving, moving, surviving, creatures.

Cognitive science has, it seems to me, connected our ability to reason with our bodies in such away as to make sense out of connecting reason with our biological evolution in ways that Western philosophy has not done, as far as I know.

It seems to me that Western philosophical tradition has always tried to separate mind from body and in so doing has never been able to show how mind, as was conceived by this tradition, could be part of Darwin's theory of natural selection. Cognitive science now provides us with a comprehensible model for grounding all that we are both bodily and mentally into a unified whole that makes sense without all of the attempts to make mind as some kind of transcendent, mystical, reality unassociated with biology.

Just as General Moors is headed toward bankruptcy court, likewise is Western traditional philosophy headed for bankruptcy hearings in the court of public comprehension.

Quotes from Philosophy in the Flesh by Lakoff and Johnson

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 71yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that NicOfTime is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Dead aim, Coberst.

Yet -- I consider myself a product of Western philosophy, and yet I see no fundamental issue that makes cognitive function in even its most abstract forms incompatible with a mechanistic, even deterministic, explanation for consciousness. In fact, in my view, it appears to me that Western philosophy almost necessarily leads to a mechanistic explanation for consciousness.

It would seem to me that Eastern philosophy is more insistent upon this dichotomy than Western philosophy is. Perhaps I've parsed Western philosophy wrong?

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 89yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that coberst is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.

Many non human creatures have emotions-'human emotions however have evolved to making connections to complex ideas, values, principles, and judgments'-thus human emotion is special-the impact of feelings on humans is the result of consciousness-a distinct difference between feeling and knowing a feeling-'neither the emotion or the feeling caused by the emotion is conscious'-these things happen in a biological state-there are three stages here; emotion, feeling, and consciousness of feeling-consciousness must be present if feelings have an influence beyond the here and the now-consciousness is tooted in the representation of the body.

We need not be conscious of the emotion or the inducer of the emotion-we are about as effective in stopping an emotion as in stopping a sneeze.

'Emotions are about the life of an organism, its body to be precise, and their role is to assist the organism in maintaining life...emotions are biologically determined processes, depending upon innately set brain devices, laid down by long evolutionary history...The devices that produce emotions...are part of a set of structures that both regulate and represent body states...All devices can be engaged automatically, without conscious deliberation...The variety of the emotional responses is responsible for profound changes in both the body landscape and the brain landscape. The collection of these changes constitutes the substrate for the neural patterns which eventually become feelings of emotion.'

The biological function of emotions is to produce an automatic action in certain situations and to regulate the internal processes so that the creature is able to support the action dictated by the situation. The biological purpose of emotions are clear, they are not a luxury but a necessity for survival.

'It is through feelings, which are inwardly directed and private, that emotions, which are outwardly directed and public, begin their impact on the mind; but the full and lasting impact of feelings requires consciousness, because only along with the advent of a sense of self do feelings become known to the individual having them.'

Damasio proposes 'that the term feeling should be reserve for the private, mental experience of an emotion, while the term emotion should be used to designate the collection of responses, many of which are publicly observable.' This means that while we can observe our own private feelings we cannot observe these same feelings in others.

Core consciousness-'occurs when the brain's representation devices generate an imaged, nonverbal account of how the organism's own state is affected by the organism's processing of an object, and when this process enhances the image of the causative object, thus placing it saliently in a spatial and temporal context'

First, there is emotion, then comes feeling, then comes consciousness of feeling. There is no evidence that we are conscious of all our feelings, in fact evidence indicates that we are not conscious of all feelings.

Quotes from 'The Feeling of What Happens' by Antonio Damasio

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 71yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that NicOfTime is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
First, there is emotion, then comes feeling, then comes consciousness of feeling. There is no evidence that we are conscious of all our feelings, in fact evidence indicates that we are not conscious of all feelings.

Again, Coberst, dead aim. Entirely in concert with my own viewpoint, a viewpoint derived from the process of designing the blueprints for conscious machines.

Also consistent with the "happiness" thread -- a thread that explores the issue of how much or how little "choice" we have over our own happiness.

Good stuff...

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Why is Philosophy like General Motors?
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