Saturday, August 8, 2009

NOTES: Body and Mind: Past, Present, and Future (ed.) R. W. Rieber

Body and Mind: Past, Present, and Future (ed.) R. W. Rieber (New York: Academic Press, Inc., 1980).

p. 5 …the Hebrew word for the madness feigned by David, meshugga, is borrowed by the Egyptians to designate imbecility or stupefaction.

7 holophrastic:

10 The simplest form of a noun in Hebrew was usually the collective form. … Thought in the mind of the Israelite was always linked to action. … Most primitive languages lack the verb "to be" (Lévy-Bruhl, 1922/1926, p. 148).

12 The earliest reference to the brain subserving neurophysiological function may be that of a case in the Edwin Smith papyrus, c. 1600 B.B., describing a head injury with contralateral paralysis (Laver, 1972).

17 …Albright (1968, p. 24) notes that Hebrew writings provide the first mention in history of religious conversion.

18 Terms for blood or flesh are used to refer to the individual in his weaker, more vulnerable, or temporal qualities as opposed to the vital and potentially powerful aspect of the individual in his nefesh, ruach, or laev. … nefesh … also frequently refers to an individual proper; the Israelites in a group are spoken of as a number of souls, using nefesh in the sense of an individual.

23 The Egyptian view of life and death was rooted in an absolute belief in the eternal coexistence of living, dead, and divine beings. … [25] …it is clear that the ancient Israelites were stringently separated from a realm of the dead. … [26] The contrast with Egyptian practices is so thoroughgoing that one suspects… that the pattern is specifically based on avoidance.

27 The Israelite witnessed the disintegration of the body and therefore concluded that the sol sooner or later ended its existence as well. Separate existences for body and soul were inconceivable to him. The Egyptian, perceiving a static enduring universe, assumed that the noncorporeal aspects of man must also endure. … The dead of the Egyptians needed the living more than vice versa; the dead of the Israelites were completely out of the sphere of the living and of no consequence in daily affairs.

p. 43 In the Aristotelian philosophy to which Descartes opposed himself, the human soul was understood as the form or activity of the human body, just as animal and vegetable souls were identified with the form or activity of the appropriate bodies. … Descartes differs from the Aristotelian view in denying any continuity between what thinks and wills in us, on the one hand, and the operations of animals, plants, and nature in general, on the other hand. … Finally, where the Aristotelian philosophy represents the rational principle in us as conceptually dependent on the boy––reason is the most unique and characteristic activity or function of the human body––Descartes from the beginning conceived the mind as a distinct hing, the exclusive subject of the activity of thought.

46 [According to one argument made by Descartes,] we can clearly conceive of ourselves existing as disembodied minds. There is, then, no contradiction in supposing a mind or a thinking thing may exist without a body: The separation of mind from body is a conceptual possibility.

48 [Hobbes objected to immaterial entities, thus:] …all subjects of all acts seem to be understood only under the concept of body, or under the concept of matter [sub ratione corporea, sive sub ratione materiae] {cf. Oeuvres de Descartes, Paris: J. Vrin, 1957. VII, 173}."

52 Leibniz tended to assimilate mental states to representational states….

p. 65 Wittgenstein does not equate the meaning of a mental word with behavior; he moves the discussion of meaning to a consideration of use and requires use to be specified necessarily by public or behavioral criteria.

72 Can we not assert that a bodily event causes phenomenological state or vice versa? [Negative.] Causal relations from one scheme to the other cannot be coherently formulated. … [73] Why does the phenomenological description of the perception of the dime not appear as an event in this description [of a subject's perception of a dime on the floor]? Because being a phenomenological state, it can't (logically cannot) appear somewhere in a spatiotemporal continuity of physical changes.

p. 80 …there is not one theory but a domain of theories of evolution.

81 At every stage in the growth of an evolving system, the constantly changing relation between form and function opens the way for genuine novelty. … Evolution [82] consumes its own past; each moment destroy the conditions that made it possible. Thus, it is impossible for our species to revert to the instinctual forms of our precursors. On the other hand, every step of evolution makes a new future possible. Thus it is no necessary for us to live within the confines of our past.

83 … Donald Campbell… APA presidential address (1975)… "evolutionary epistemology"… "blind variation-and-selective-retention"… 

85 As Washburn (1978) writes…, "There is obviously no need to postulate genes for altruism. It would be much more adaptive to have genes for intelligence, anabling one to be altruistic or selfish according to the needs of the moment [p. 414]."

86 … the "Baldwin effect," … Phenotypical adaptations arising in the individual life history are replaced by changes in the genotype having the same form and the same consequences. … In cognition, too, we have phenotypic adaptations, such as imitation, which establish responses that can later be controlled by more fundamental changes in mental structures replacing the ones that gave rise to the response in the first place (Ayala, 1978).

92 In the M and N notebooks we see Darwin's growing awareness that his evolutionary theorizing opened the way for a thoroughgoing philosophical materialism, with all its painful consequences.

96 …the process of death serves the adaptive function of limiting change and maintaining the integrity of the species.

97 …the [radically non-evolutionary] Quinarian system of William Sharp MacLeay…. [cf. Gavin de Beer, 1960, p. 29]

99 The astronomers had constructed orderly orbits which would account for the appearance of irregularity in the wandering of the planets without having to concede tat suc irregularity in fact marred the face of nature; the physicists had worked out universal laws to explain the orbits. Darwin's task was the reverse. He had to show that the appearance of order, which had been so carefully worked out by MacLeay and other systematists, could be explained a resulting from a random process producing an irregular result and furthermore that his hypothesis was not only tenable but more plausible than the hypothesis of a supernaturally created order.

102 [Thomas Reid, Vol. 1, p. 52, pub. 1967:] "I detest all systems that depreciate human nature. If it be a delusion, that there is something in the constitution of man that is venerable and worthy of its author, let me live and die in that delusion, rather than have my eyes opened to see my species in a humiliating and disgusting light. Every good man feels his indignation rise against those who disparage his kindred or his country; why should it not rise against those who disparage his kind?"

108 [Darwin] had expunged the question of origins from his theory…. Any introduction of intelligent planning or decision making reduces natural selection from the position of a necessary and universal principle to a mere possibility.

109 [Notebook B, p. 169, cited in Gruber & Barrett, 1974/1980, p. 446] "If all men were dead, then monkeys make men.––Men make angels." … [Darwin] is saying that organisms evolve in such a manner as to fill up ecological niches, and there is a place in the world for an intelligent, manlike creature.

110 "Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he is now, it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress [Darwin's Autobiography, p. 92]."

112 …the simplest forms of mind, such as the photosensitivity of plants, are parts of the same evolutionary net as the more obviously purposeful acts of human beings.

p. 118 …the defect of the scientific univrse of discourse is that it has no place in the objective world for information, except information in the bound form.

119 The telephone system may carry the message, but in no sense are the message and the characteristics of the telephone event the same. … There is a particular disorder that plagues the contemporary world. That disorder is depression. It is very widespread and is characterized by the sufferer's belief that his mental acts can have no impact on the world. I would observe that the materialist and the depressive share the same belief….

121 When probability theory is used in measurement, both the possible and the actual are involved. … this is not to say that probability theory does not deal with the objective. But actual is not the same as objective. Objectively, a die can fall in six ways. Actually, it can only fall one way.

122 Ludwig Boltzmann brought to bear the theory of probability on the mechanical theory of heat. Howy many ways can a given number of molecules be spatially distributed in a chamber? … The important thing to recognize is that the measurement of entropy involves not only the actual bu the nonactual possibilities as well.

123 The idea that there could be influence of intelligent beings on physical systems is the natural extension of the bringing to bear of probability theory on thermodynamics. [Cf. Leo Szilard, "On the decrease of entropy in a thermodynamic system by the intervention of intelligent beings. A. Rapoport & M. Knoller (trans.). Behavioral Science, 1964, 9, 301–310. {Oringially published as „Über die Entropieverminderung in einem Thermodynamischen System bei Eingriffen intelligenter Wesen“. Zeitschrift für Physik, 1929, 53, 840–856.] For the application of probability theory is based on the assumption that the realm of the possible, including the contradictions that can exist in the realm of the possible, are determinative of the actual. … Claude E. Shannon … took the measure of information to be a function of the region of possibility. The greater the total region of possibility, the greater the amount of information. The measure of information was the entropy. … the "bit," as the amount of information associated with the simplest contradiction in the realm of the possible, the two-alternative equally probably case.

124 Information is nonmaterial substance that imparts form. The human mind is a nonmaterial container, as it were, that can accept and store and process information, and inform the action of a body in such a way that the body can inform other parts of the world. … While the materialist is deeply preoccupied with the lawfulness of the material world, he has essentially left no place for the existence of lawfulness in the material world. The materialist argues that the universe if exhaustively described in terms of matter and energy, or perhaps as matter, energy, and law. Now, what is a law? Law is the information that informs the physical motion. Otherwise, what then is it? It is certainly not matter and energy. The materialist might then answer with some version of the constructionist argument, indicating that law is something that is constructed by the scientists. But then, what is the locus of the law? In the mind of the scientist? If it is in the mind of the scientist only, then the materialist has been forced to allow another category of existence: mind. Furthermore, if he takes tany form of constructionist position, he has no way by which to assert the lawfulness of the universe prior to the evolutional production of human beings.

125 …the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. …just because certain great technological developments took place after the development of the materialist viewpoint does not mean that these developments took place because of that viewpoint.

126 If one can raise one's arm if one wants to if it is possible to do so, then a mental event can affect a physical event. …the realm of possibility is beyond the world of actuality, and the materialist would have a problem with that. So, for him, the proposition which is the first sentence of this paragraph is simply that the mental event can affect the physical event (the idea of possibility deleted). Yet he would deny even this. … steering mechanisms, typewriters, telephones, television sets, radios, computers, or tinker toys, bricks, and blank paper for that matter… are devices that are designed to be indeterminate and thus able to receive informational input. … This is not a fancy Heisenberg-type indeterminacy. It is that we build equipment with deliberate intention of introducing indeterminacy.

127 …the very word rational not only means logical but also means engaging in planning. The very concept of rational, as it used in the expression, say, the "rationalization of industry," criticially involves the assumption that mental events affect physical events.

128 Information is substance. … Substance is that which underlies manifestations. … Substance refers to that identity which is subject to transposition. … Energy, as such, has no manifest existence. It is only manifest as mechanical force, electrical force, etc. But that identity is transposable and itself unmanifest is referred to as energy. Similarly, information, as such, has no manifest existence. It is manifest only when it is bound. … Information can be measured. Energy is measured by work, that is, by what it has, as it were, triumphed over. So may information be measured by the possibilities over which it triumphs. … [129] Material actuality is made up out of three components: matter, energy, and bound information. …there is no conservation law with respect to information. The history of the planet suggests ever-increasing amounts of bound information. … Information may exist in an unbound state [such as logical and mathematical relationships]. …the information was available to inform the constructing of squares even during some historical interval during which there were no square objects in the universe at all. Information in the unbound state has no locus in space.

p. 132 The Cartesian split between mind and body arises n the context of a philosophical concern to justify (and find) necessary truth and, with that, to extend a new mathematical mechanics of motion to the study of living bodies. To know nature in terms of mathematical laws that can characterize motion as a mechanism demands a concept of mind as both nonsensory and independent pf natural law. If the mind were subject to mathematical law, it could not freely know, and, if the mind could not free itself of sensory determination, it could not grasp abstract mathematical truth.

133 According to Plato (and Aristotle9, mind is itself the entelechy of the human body, which in the case of man is informed by perception––and in that sense knowledge––of the entelechy of things. n. 2 The mind, as the entelechy of the body, brings order into avaricious impulses by ordering the object of desire. So, for Plato, the relation of the body to the mind is essentially a relation of the appetitive–-chaotic desire or want––to harmonious ordering. This harmonious ordering amounts to the recovery of one's true self. In effect, the recovery of one's true self brings stability into practical or sociopolitical activity by establishing the true objects of desire and allotting them their proper places as ends. Though Descartes and Plato share the concept of mind as essentially knowing––gaining access to what is true as corresponding to what is real independently of the mind––Plato understands the body not as simply spatially extended matter but as intrinsically informed by desire and alive.

134 For Descartes, the clue to thinking substance––the personal awareness implicit in thinking––is a self-reflexive awareness. By doubting, one becomes reflexively aware of that which one cannot doubt––that one is doubting. The awareness that one is doubting achieves awareness as personal reality. Self-reflexivity, in just this sense, has been widely recognized since Descartes as uniquely characteristic of human beings. But reflexive awareness characterizes the awareness that one's body is one's own as well as the awareness that one is thinking. The awareness that one's body is one's own points to the undeniable ontic unity of body and mind, whatever difficulties we have in comprehending this unity (as Descartes, indeed, knew).

135 …this [physicalist] conception of the relation of physiology to the study of the mind is something like seeking to understand art by a study of the physical principles of colors and sounds.

136 …the artist's intent… functions something like a final cause, which, without violating the laws of physics and chemistry, is nevertheless not reducible to them either. The artist's intent is informed by a sense of the future and of the possible and actual coherence of his materials in terms of their felt qualities. If mind plays something of this role with respect to the body, then physiological study will not provide the clues we need.

There is a sense in which whatever is material is exhausted by the here and now; that is, materiality can be conceived spatially without reference to the temporal, except as an externally related successive order of what is earlier to what is later. In what is describable as spatially material, we will not find the past or the future, neither of which is physically present.

n. 4: D. M. Mackay (1962, pp. 89ff.) points out that the attribution of possibility to automata is marked by conceptual confusion. He distinguishes between possibility as underspecification of physical states, which are, however, as physical states fully determined, and possibility as requiring decision to exclude relevant alternatives. Mackay adds that a Buberian dialogical relationship is a commitment to respond to another in terms of mutual possibility in the second sense.

137 The German biologist Adolf Portmann, n. 5** …points out that every living body is bounded by an appearing surface that mediates the body's relation to its environment so as t maintain its internal organization. On the other hand, this very regulation in terms of the maintenance of internal organization amounts to a centerdness that, in relation to the organized body, is something like the human relation of self to body.

p. 139 By embodying intent in things, work is the first desiring relation to an independent object that does not destroy its object in achieving gratification.

140 …humans are centered in terms of a world disclosed as a structure of possible objects distinct from the human beings themselves.

141 language intrinsically achieves reference beyond the experiential context of its use. n. 10 Thus, the criteria for validity of disclosure are not themselves simply derived from experience but rather structure experience as a coherently supportive order (Bakan, 1974, pp. 28 ff.). n. 11

142 …subjectivity achieves an evaluative temporal synthesis that goes beyond the physically present by indicting the future.

143 (The disposition to see predicatively––that a cube has a top, a side, etc. or is yellow rather than green, etc.––invites the conceptual interpretation of things in terms of language.) n. 14

The achievement of the awareness of feelings is not a simple matter, as Descartes has suggested. Awareness of our feelings amounts to a dialogical relation with our desires that allows our desires to persist as desires without moving to gratification. To suppose that animals are aware of feelings as we are is assuredly absurd.

145 By carrying meaning in terms of the mutual exclusion of possible alternatives, language allows the deliberate transformation of things. Thus, the order of meaning generated in terms of language allows the development of a choice of activity itself in terms of the anticipation of––and actual (physical) exclusion of––possible consequences.

146 It is by virtue of being radically open-ended that we can be aware of ourselves as acting in the sense of origination what we do, determining ourselves with some self-direction in terms of intention that could itself be otherwise.

147 As the mind-matter problem, the mind-body problem concerns the emergence of integrating orders that serve as forms or ends organizing matter by unifying their constitutive elements in terms of their relational possibilities.

150 …the epiphenomenologist must suppose it possible to study the world by studying neural organization itself. But neural organization is perceptually effective by virtue of selectively focusing objects independent of the neural organization.

152 …human communicating and meaning… is achieved in the context of a metalevel that can recover itself as a metalevel, by recovering horizontal possibility as such, a freedom from every specific context, an opening to the world per se, as, perhaps, physiologically, the potential (or rather potential?) innervation of neural pathways. … …when the infant smiles at another, that metalevel consciousness or awareness as primordial self-awareness is there as originating direction into the object-level stemming from the metalevel organizing act itself. …however accurately the mind may correlate the brain, the mind organizes the brain, or we revert to either dualism or epiphenomenalism. …we can make sense of the mind as directing, by, in effect, focusing, achieving clarity, through the brain, much as a blind man may focus, achieving definition of an object, with his hands or even through a probing cane.


158 Limitations on the ability to distribute attention follow logically from the highly linked organization of the brain.

159 …if we apply the more general proposition of the "functional cerebral distance principle"––that unrelated attention-demanding activities interfere in proportion to the interconnectedness of their central control facilities––we can generate further predictions that would not be possible without knowing how the hemispheres are specialized for cognitive function and for manual control….

160 …interference is greatest between functionally adjacent control centers, that is, between the verbal processor and the right-hand control center (both represented in the left hemisphere) rather than the verbal processor and the left-hand control center (represented in different hemispheres).

162 When an asymmetrically represented control center is in action simultaneously with either of the bilateral control centers, it interferes ("cross-talks") more with the one closer to it and in the same hemisphere. Thus, the effect of the thought process on the quite unrelated bodily movement was not inherent in the thought content but arose simply and purely from the relative locations in the brain of their neural representation. Were the thought process snot based on a specific and invariant pattern of brain activation, it would not have generated the particular pattern of movement activity and interference that was in fact observed.

164 The patient with right-hemisphere damage is already in imbalance, with an attentional bias to the right. Left-sided activation intensifies the bias, rendering the neglect gross and obvious. The patient with left-sided disease, to the contrary, is helped in reinstating an impaired left-right balance by adopting a verbal mental set.

165 No one cortical analyzer, nor any one other part of the brain, is the "seat" of consciousness. Rather, the sum total of the activity of the cortical analyzers determines the content of awareness as that moment. The sum total possible states of the analyzers determines the individual's potential for conscious experience.

166 hemianopia: half-field blindness

167 …ideomotor theory (Greenwald, 1970)… conceives of movement as being programmed in terms of the sensory feedback to be expected once it has occurred. If one cannot mentally represent the sensory situation as it would be changed once the movement has occurred, one cannot move.

170 …much of the typical behavior of autists become intelligible if regarded as having the purpose of protecting the child from overarousal (Hutt, Hutt & Ounsted, 1965). … The stereotypies [i.e., iterative stimuli responses] themselves preoccupy the child and deter interaction. … In the absence of visual information, [blind] children have a severely depleted world to which to respond. Accumulated pressure to respond may break through as stereotypies ["blindisms"].

171 Whereas intact humans [sic] attention can only be focused on one area at a time (Posner, 1977), split-brain subjects can simultaneously attend to discrete locations on either side. … Theoretically, one could rear a plight-brain child in such a way as to have him amass completely different, and even contradictory, funds of knowledge based on opposite hemispheres … [but] not only does this not occur… [p. 172] but even if it did , it would not constitute two central consciousnesses, but one consciousness utilizing a variable date base.

173 A reorganization of the brain underlies the reorganization of behavior. [And the converse?] …mind as an emergent property of the brain (Bunge, 1977)… is not an emergent entity, in the sense of a novel and unique level of functioning, because it has no independent existence. Instead, mental states form a subset of brain states, as shown by the fact that when the mental states change, the brain states follow suit.

179 Metaphysics does not really transcend experience in any other sense than that in which the whole transcends its parts.

180 moiety:

182 …James Mark Baldwin… "symbolic interactionism" and the Piaget-Kohlberg "cognitive-developmental" approach…. From an initial "adualistic" or animistic consciousness the psychic organization is transformed through a dualism of "inner" versus "outer" to a stage of "psychological dualism" proper: a Cartesian dichotomy of mutually exclusive metal and psychical substances. Subsequently, this structure is transformed into an epistemological dualism of subject and object, culminating in logical, theoretical, or scientific thought (the contemplative consciousness of Kant's pure reason).

197 "It's all joined together, like a double exposure."

AMY'SHOP –– the S: is it a possessive suffix of an initial letter of a word? Or both? How is one thing two things at once? ~hypostatic union

224 …translation must occur twice. On the afferent side a form of energy such as light, as photons, must be translated into a visual perception with meaning––a psychological event––which may then lead to a change in heart rate, a change that also requires energy. The double translation from one form of energy will in the ensuing paragraphs be called "transduction."

225 Nerve impulses or spikes are… quantal phenomena: Impulses o not vary with stimulus intensity once the stimulus exceeds threshold.

228 [Wiener argues for an External Loop Model of Transduction: external stimuli can trigger psychological responses which themselves trigger physical changes, which are then reinforced or frustrated by ongoing, newly interpreted external stimuli; e.g., bulimics may respond to social pressure about weight and then alter their behavior, which then is exacerbated by more social psychosis; or they may have a physiological change on its own, which they then psychologically misinterpret, which then exacerbates the physiological process in conjunction with self-pressured behavior]

1 comment:

UnBeguiled said...

Please post something like "not missing" or "I'm alive". Thanks.