Re: virus: Re: The saga continues!

Eva-Lise Carlstrom (
Fri, 12 Sep 1997 09:24:15 -0700 (PDT)

On Fri, 12 Sep 1997, Nathaniel Hall wrote:

> > >.The best theories predict
> > >something otherwise unexpected! If we could not trust are own senses
> > >then all experimental evidence would be pointless.
> >
> > .I never said we shouldn't trust our senses, I said that the senses
> > should
> > not get authoritative status--for instance, the fact that
> > eye-witnesses
> > often give conflicting reports of the same scene means the senses
> > might not
> > always be reliable.
> The senses were reliable. The memory and the processing are what got
> screwed up. Kinda like Windows 95.

Ok--in addition to stumping for George Lakoff, I feel the need to highly
recommend Dennett's _Consciousness Explained_ to the participants in this
thread. One of his points, which he makes fairly early on, with some good
examples, is that there is no way to make a clear distinction between
"sensing something incorrectly" and "processing information from the
senses incorrectly". At what point has a given phenomenon been "sensed"
and what point has it been "processed"? Dennett makes an excellent case
that there is no distinct point or boundary at which a given idea can be
said to have "passed into consciousness". Rather than consciousness being
a "place" (physical or metaphorical--in the brain or mind) where
processed items are "presented for viewing" (by whom?), he presents a view
of consciousness as the very *processing* itself.

> > >If they were ,you'd find out about it. Natural law is self enforcing.
> >
> > Not necessarily. The nature of far off galaxies, the small
> > constituents of
> > matter or even how my own mind works could be totally different than I
> >
> > imagine. In other words, my notion of existence could be so different
> > than
> > existence itself..
> Far away or extremely small. Notice how you worry about things that
> don't affect you. If you should ever find yourself in a far away galaxy
> or dependent on the nature of some strange quark I advise you to get
> their nature down pat. As for how the mind works, it works is all I can
> say. If I really knew the answer to that I'd have my computer type out
> these responses for me!

As for how the mind works, it certainly can't be dismissed as not
affecting us! Dennett gives loads of good evidence that "how my own mind
works" IS "totally different than I imagine". And that this is in fact
important, because the mistaken ways we tend to think about thinking can
mislead us badly (see also _Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion_, for
more ways a lack of understanding how our minds work can hurt us in our
daily lives).

If anyone wants to argue about Dennett's claims, great; it would be really
nice if they could read Dennett first, since he puts everything so well
and I'd really rather not type the whole book. :) Besides,
_Consciousness Explained_ is really fun reading and I could recommend it
to smart people on that ground alone!

living bibliography