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PHD-DESIGN  August 2009

PHD-DESIGN August 2009

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Subject:

Re: Clarifying an epistemological and ontological confusion

From:

Gavin Melles <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Gavin Melles <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 17 Aug 2009 17:41:19 +1000

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Hi Ben, Terry and others

Perhaps one way to work with this is to acknowledge with Wittgenstein that many uses of the term mind in conversation reveal something other than some hidden recess working mysteriously on stuff and accessible through neurological and pyschological experiment. The different social approaches thinking and learning like distributed congition place and emphasis on the social and material working out of many things we talk about sometimes as mental entities - emotions, thoughts, etc. That is they question the Cartesian split of mind and body. Establishing a foundation for knowedge is another thing which may or may not, if it is actually important and depending on what you mean by foundation, hinge on there being a mind. Popper posited three worlds to get around some of this stuff. Wittgenstein and his crew thought he was off topic. 

Also look at 
The New Scientist : Cool hand illusion reveals mind-body link ...29 Aug 2008 ... The New Scientist  Volume 199, Issue 2671, 27 August 2008, Page 10 ... The mind and body are linked in more complex ways than we thought ...
linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0262407908621545 - Similar
2008



http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16725-religion-may-be-a-product-of-our-evolved-brains.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16535-why-teenagers-cant-see-your-point-of-view.html
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v459/n7246/full/459506b.html
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7240/full/458832a.html (evolution and mind)

BecauseI'm a (neo)pragmatist of sorts I tend to think some of these questions ultimately hide other agendas, e.g. What are the consequences of believing that there is a thing called the mind which can be twisted, medicated, etc., Some though not all questions may resolve into other kinds of ideological, moral etc questions. Mind has a function - it supervises action and retrospectively reconstructs errors etc.,by John R. Shook, Joseph Margolis - 2006 - Philosophy  - 431 pages
According to pragmatism, the mind performs two important tasks in relation to action. It monitors or supervises the ongoing action process, ...
books.google.com.au/books?isbn=1405116218...

That's it's use in relation to the world. Thus most questions in pragmatism are about what use does mind have in relation to action in the world rather than what it is.

We know children behave and develop differently to adults so mind is something that develops. We know that development takes place in social environments so what is the relationship? We know people behave strangely sometimes and some of this behaviour contradicts current social norms and other is just 'crazy' although where the limit is and what to do about it are vexed questions. 

So ther is something other than ilusio but clearly a dependency between mind and language, society, etc.. seems lie potted summaries always miss something.

Dr Gavin Melles
Head, Industrial & Interior Design
Swinburne University of Technology
Office: +613 92146851
Mobile: +61 (0)414374368
Skype: gavin.melles
>>> Ben Matthews <[log in to unmask]> 17/08/09 5:12 PM >>>
On 8/15/09 1:48 PM, "Terence Love" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> That what is now challenged is whether
> humans have a 'mind'.  Clearly, 'mind' does not exist as a  biological
> organ. 'Mind', similar to 'consciousness' appears to be an illusion or
> rather an incidental imaginary artifact of the way humans function.

Dear Terry,
I've never understood how this position becomes a convincing one. I've not
been able to see how one could hold that consciousness is illusory without
sawing off the branch one is sitting on. Surely truth can only be confirmed
within our experience. How does turning our consciousness of the world into
an illusion not create insurmountable difficulties for establishing a
foundation for knowledge? For instance, what results of an experiment are
able to be obtained outside of consciousness?
(Introspection does not provide reliable epistemic foundations, but
introspection is not consciousness.)
I'm not trying to start an argument here. I'm actually interested in
understanding the view, since I've seen it propounded by some illustrious
thinkers and scientists, and have never been able to see how it could hold
much water. I also know you're meticulous about these kinds of philosophical
issues, so I figured you'd be a good expositor.
Kind regards,
Ben

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