mind   14914

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Emmanuel Bezy, review - Pascale Gillot, L’esprit, figures classiques et contemporaines - Histoire du mind-body problem - La Vie des idées - 10 janvier 2008
Pascale Gillot, L’esprit, figures classiques et contemporaines, Paris, CNRS Editions, 2007, 315 p., 30 euros. -- Si l’esprit et le corps sont des substances séparées et distinctes, comment peuvent-ils agir l’un sur l’autre ? P. Gillot montre dans son ouvrage les différentes réponses que la philosophie de l’esprit a apportées au problème ainsi formulé par Descartes. Mais ces réponses parviennent difficilement, selon elle, à s’affranchir totalement du cartésianisme. -- L’ouvrage de Pascale Gillot peut se lire de deux manières, qui ne sont pas exclusives l’une de l’autre : il constitue à la fois une introduction à la philosophie de l’esprit et une mise en perspective de la philosophie de l’esprit contemporaine, telle qu’elle s’est développée aux Etats-Unis depuis le tournant cognitiviste. Pascale Gillot expose la construction du problème du corps et de l’esprit, puis elle met en évidence les rémanences de cette problématique de William James à Jaegwon Kim. -- downloaded pdf to Note
books  reviews  French_language  intellectual_history  17thC  18thC  20thC  21stC  mind  mind-body  cogito  Cartesian  Descartes  James_William  dualism  cognition  neuroscience  psychology  metaphysics  essence  substance  human_nature  analytical_philosophy  naturalism  reductionism  thinking_matter  downloaded 
yesterday by dunnettreader
Emmanuel Bezy, review - Jean-Marie Schaeffer, La fin de l’exception humaine (2007) -- Pour une histoire naturelle de l’homme - La Vie des idées - 21 janvier 2008
Gallimard, 2007, 446 p., 21,50 euros. -- Dans son dernier essai, Jean-Marie Schaeffer s’éloigne de ses thèmes habituels de recherche (le langage, la littérature, la fiction, l’esthétique) et propose une réflexion générale sur l’humanité. Il s’agit de dessiner une perspective qui inscrirait cette dernière en continuité avec le vivant. Il présente ce travail comme l’explicitation de l’arrière-plan de ces précédents travaux. L’ambition est de prendre le contre-pied de ce que l’auteur appelle la « Thèse » selon laquelle l’humanité constituerait une exception parmi les vivants. (...) qu’il pense a conduit à une survalorisation des savoirs spéculatifs au détriment des savoirs empiriques. C’est à critiquer cette vision du monde, véritable obstacle au progrès scientifique, et à redonner toute sa légitimité au naturalisme que son ouvrage est consacré. -- downloaded pdf to Note
books  reviews  French_intellectuals  French_language  philosophy  human_nature  metaphysics  imago_dei  animals  reason  speculative_philosoohy  philosophical_anthropology  philosophy_of_language  epistemology-naturalism  lit_crit  aesthetics  philosophy_of_science  mind  cogito  natural_kinds  essence  naturalism  empiricism  biology  evolution  evolutionary_biology  downloaded 
yesterday by dunnettreader
The unengaged mind: Defining boredom in terms of attention | Mark Fenske - Academia.edu
"boredom is the aversive state that occurs when we (a) are not ableto successfully engage attention with internal (e.g., thoughts or feelings) or external (e.g., environmental stimuli) informationrequired for participating in satisfying activity, (b) are focused on the fact that we are not able to engage attention andparticipate in satisfying activity, and (c) attribute the cause of our aversive state to the environment."
mind  emotion  attention 
4 days ago by gerwitz
the blind man's stick - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
"How Things Shape the Mind: A Theory of Material Engagement, by Lambros Malafouris, is a maddening but also fascinating book that is seriously helping me to think through some of the issues that concern me. Malafouris wants to argue that the human mind is “embodied, extended, enacted, and distributed” — extensive rather than intensive in its fundamental character.

He starts his exploration wonderfully: by considering a thought-experiment that Maurice Merleau-Ponty first posited in his Phenomenology of Perception. Merleau-Ponty asks us to imagine a blind man navigating a city street with a cane. What is the relationship between that cane and the man’s perceptual apparatus? Or, as Gregory Bateson put it in Steps to an Ecology of Mind,
Consider a blind man with a stick. Where does the blind man's self begin? At the tip of the stick? At the handle of the stick? Or at some point halfway up the stick? These questions are nonsense, because the stick is a pathway along which differences are transmitted under transformation, so that to draw a delimiting line across this pathway is to cut off a part of the systemic circuit which determines the blind man's locomotion.

(Bateson does not mention and probably was not aware of Merleau-Ponty.) For Malafouris the example of the blind man’s cane suggests that “what is outside the head may not necessarily be outside the mind.... I see no compelling reason why the study of the mind should stop at the skin or at the skull. It would, I suggest, be more productive to explore the hypothesis that human intelligence ‘spreads out’ beyond the skin into culture and the material world.” Moreover, things in the material world embody intentions and purposes — Malafouris thinks they actually have intentions and purposes, a view I think is misleading and sloppy — and these come to be part of the mind: they don't just influence it, they help constitute it.
I believe this example provides one of the best diachronic exemplars of what I call the gray zone of material engagement, i.e., the zone in which brains, bodies, and things conflate, mutually catalyzing and constituting one another. Mind, as the anthropologist Gregory Bateson pointed out, “is not limited by the skin,” and that is why Bateson was able to recognize the stick as a “pathway” instead of a boundary. Differentiating between “inside” and “outside” makes no real sense for the blind man. As Bateson notes, “the mental characteristics of the system are immanent, not in some part, but in the system as a whole.”

If we were to take this model seriously, then we would need to narrate the rise of modernity differently than we’ve been narrating it — proceeding in a wholly different manner than the three major stories I mentioned in my previous post. Among other things, we’d need to be ready to see the Oppenheimer Principle as having a far stronger motive role in history than is typical.

When I talk this way, some people tell me that they think I'm falling into technological determinism. Not so. Rather, it's a matter of taking with proper seriousness the power that some technologies have to shape culture. And that's not because they think or want, nor because we are their slaves. Rather, people make them for certain purposes, and either those makers themselves have socio-political power or the technologies fall into the hands of people who have socio-political power, so that the technologies are put to work in society. We then have the option to accept the defaults or undertake the difficult challenge of hacking the inherited tools — bending them in a direction unanticipated and unwanted by those who deployed them.

To write the technological history of modernity is to investigate how our predecessors have received the technologies handed to them, or used upon them, by the powerful; and also, perhaps, to investigate how countercultural tech has risen up from below to break up the one-way flow of power. These are things worth knowing for anyone who is uncomfortable with the dominant paradigm we live under now."
alanjacobs  2015  technology  modernity  blind  blindness  lambrosmalafouris  mauricemerleau-ponty  gregorybateson  oppenheimerprinciple  culture  assistivetechnology  disability  mind  materiality  bodies  body 
6 days ago by robertogreco

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