Contents

Vol. 16, No.2-3, February-March 2009

Refereed Paper

Peter Ryser   abstract
Creative Choice: How the Mind Could Causally Affect the Brain
Colin Hales   abstract
Dual Aspect Science
Sam Coleman   abstract
Why the Ability Hypothesis is Best Forgotten
Joel W. Krueger   abstract
Enacting Musical Experience
Ravi Prakash et al.   abstract
Inner Light Perception of Vihangam Yogis
Elizabeth Schechter   abstract
Persons and Psychological Frameworks: A Critique of Tye

Continuing Debate

Gregory Minissale   abstract
Enacting Higher-Order Thoughts: Velasquez and Las Meninas
Verna Muitt   abstract
Las Meninas from an Alchemical Perspective

Book Reviews
  full text

Rob Jarman
Robert Arp, Scenario Visualisation
James Messina
Sebastian Rödl, Self-Consciousness
Anthony Freeman
Susan Blackmore, Ten Zen Questions


ABSTRACTS

Sam Coleman

Why the Ability Hypothesis Is Best Forgotten

Abstract: According to the knowledge argument, physicalism fails because when physically omniscient Mary first sees red, her gain in phenomenal knowledge involves a gain in factual knowledge. Thus not all facts are physical facts. According to the ability hypothesis, the knowledge argument fails because Mary only acquires abilities to imagine, remember and recognise redness, and not new factual knowledge. I argue that reducing Mary’s new knowledge to abilities does not affect the issue of whether she also learns factually: I show that gaining specific new phenomenal knowledge is required for acquiring abilities of the relevant kind. Phenomenal knowledge being basic to abilities, and not vice versa, it is left an open question whether someone who acquires such abilities also learns something factual. The answer depends on whether the new phenomenal knowledge involved is factual. But this is the same question we wanted to settle when first considering the knowledge argument. The ability hypothesis, therefore, has offered us no dialectical progress with the knowledge argument, and is best forgotten.

Correspondence: Dr. Sam Coleman, Dept. of Philosophy, de Havilland Campus, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield AL10 9AB, U.K. Email: s.coleman@herts.ac.uk


Colin Hales

Dual Aspect Science

Abstract: Our chronically impoverished explanatory capacity in respect of P-consciousness is highly suggestive of a problem with science itself, rather than its lack of acquisition of some particular knowledge. The hidden assumption built into science is that science itself is a completed human behaviour. Removal of this assumption is achieved through a simple revision to our science model which is constructed, outlined and named ‘dual aspect science’ (DAS). It is constructed with reference to existing science being ‘single aspect science’. DAS is consistent with and predictive of the very explanatory poverty that generated it and is simultaneously a seamless upgrade; no existing law of nature is altered or lost. The framework is completely empirically self-consistent and is validated empirically. DAS eliminates the behavioural inconsistencies currently inhabiting a world in which single aspect science has been inherited rather than chosen and in which its presuppositions are implemented through habit rather than by scientific examination of options by the scientists actually carrying out science. The proposed DAS framework provides a working vantage point from which an explanation of P-consciousness becomes expected and meaningful. The framework requires that we rediscover what we scientists do and then discover something new about ourselves: that how we have been doing science is not the entire story. Dual aspect science shows us what we have not been doing.

Correspondence: Colin.Hales@nicta.com.au


Joel W. Krueger

Enacting Musical Experience

Abstract: I argue for an enactive account of musical experience — that is, the experience of listening ‘deeply’ (i.e., sensitively and understandingly) to a piece of music. The guiding question is: what do we do when we listen ‘deeply’ to music? I argue that these music listening episodes are, in fact, doings. They are instances of active perceiving, robust sensorimotor engagements with and manipulations of sonic structures within musical pieces. Music is thus experiential art, and in Nietzsche’s words, ‘we listen to music with our muscles’. This paper attempts to explicate and defend this claim. First, I discuss enactive approaches to consciousness and cognition generally. Next, I apply an enactive model of perceptual consciousness to the experience of listening to music. To clarify what is at stake, I use Peter Kivy’s ‘enhanced formalism’ as a philosophical foil. I then look at how the animate body shapes musical experience.

Correspondence: Joel W. Krueger, Center for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen, Njalsgade 140-142, 5th Floor, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark.
Email: joelk@hum.ku.dk


Gregory Minissale

Enacting Higher-Order Thoughts: Velasquez and Las Meninas

The special issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies on ‘Las Meninas and Self-representation’ is a major contribution to our understanding of how higher forms of consciousness engage with art. It deserves also to have a lasting impact on art history’s methods and concerns. One could take certain aspects of Uziel Awret’s broad approach in the lead essay, ‘Las Meninas and the search for self-representation’ — in particular the attempt to show a relation between higher-order thoughts (HOTs) and Las Meninas — and extend them to a good many other works of art. In Velasquez’s oeuvre alone, there are paintings such as Christ in the House of Martha and Mary (1619–20) and Las Hilanderas or The Weavers (1667) which share important visual principles with Las Meninas, and cooperate with consciousness and self- consciousness in similar ways. They do this by employing complex frames-in-frames, shown as pictures-in-pictures or rooms within rooms or, in the case of Las Meninas, as a framed mirror inside a room with framed pictures on the wall in the background. These framing devices were produced by the artist’s higher-order thought and have continued to stimulate such thought about the painting long after the seventeenth century. This paper is an attempt to examine in detail how HOTs process these focal points depicted in Las Meninas.

Correspondence: Email: g.minissale@newarthistory.co.uk


Verna Muitt

Las Meninas from an Alchemical Perspective

The recent articles in this journal on Velasquez’s Las Meninas (JCS, volume 15, issue no. 9) demonstrate the multi-faceted nature of the painting’s meaning for the observer. However, all interpretations must engage with the gazes, the representation of the artist within the painting, and the mysterious mirror image of the King and Queen. It is suggested here that Velasquez is exploring states of consciousness itself via representations of perception and mental (possibly ‘reflective’) images. It is also thought that the painting might be more holistically viewed from an alchemical perspective, because several alchemical symbols can be found in it, the King and Queen being the most highly significant. Further, the painting is naturally embedded in seventeenth- century knowledge, when alchemy was at its height or just beginning to wane, and Velasquez, as an ambitious and intelligent man must have been aware of, even if not actually practising, the art of alchemy.

Correspondence: verna.m@btinternet.com


Ravi Prakash, Zia Ul Haq, Om Prakash, Sujit Sarkhel and Devvarta Kumar

Inner Light Perception of Vihangam Yogis: A Qualitative Study

Abstract:  Meditation hasrecently emerged as a topic of interest for the medicinal scientists as well as for the neuropsychological scientists for different reasons. The methods used by both of these approaches have been mostly objective. This quest of objectification has led to vigorous use of tools like EEG and ERP, which has definitely led to revealing of marvellous aspects of meditation. However, the subjective states of meditation have been much less explored, especially when seen in contrast to the objective states. The need of the hour is to use the qualitative methods for exploration of these states because these methods better depict the unique experiences of meditation. In this context, we conducted a qualitative study in the form of Interpretative phenomenological analysis to explore the subjective experiences associated with the inner-light perception of a group of meditators practising the meditation technique of Vihangam Yoga. It is an ancient meditation technique of India, initiated by HH Sadguru Sadafal Deoji Maharaj in the year 1924 and now being propogated by HH Sadguru Swatantra Deoji Maharaj. When asked in detail, the practitioners often report of many mystique experiences. This particular Yoga group was chosen because in a survey of among four groups, the maximum number of confident mediators reporting of perceiving some sort of luminance during meditation was found in this group. For this study, the inner-light perception experience of this meditation was chosen because of the divine value attached to this experience across all the cultures and religions. This experience was also chosen because of the great impact on their lives that Vihangam Yogis attributed to this experience. As the results of the study, four major themes were obtained which were: (a) Uniqueness of the nature of light (b) Experiences during light perception (c) Explanations of the source of light (d) Change in outlook towards world and associated changes in thinking.

Correspondence: Dr Ravi Prakash (Senior Resident), Boys Hostel No. 1, Room No. 10, Central Institute of Psychiatry, Kanke, Ranchi, India – 834006.
Email: drravi2121@gmail.com


Peter Ryser

Creative Choice: How the Mind could Causally Affect the Brain

Abstract: In this paper a new interactionistic model of mental causation is developed. By analysing the results of physics and neuroscience it is shown that the macroscopic cerebral activity and the resulting behavioural output is not strictly determined. This opens up the possibility that a non-physical mind can influence which of the physically allowed brain states is realised. Most models of mental causation postulate that there are coherent quantum states in the brain which could be influenced by a local mind-brain interaction. Due to environmental decoherence, however, it is questionable whether coherent quantum states can exist in the warm and wet brain. The here presented ‘creative choice theory’ solves the problem of environmental decoherence by including the environment. The whole universe is considered as a quantum system that is in superposition of alternative realities. It is then assumed that a universal mind collapses the universal wave-function whilst individual minds (as part of the universal mind) interact with individual brains. This leads to a holistic model of reality that could also provide an explanation for ESP-phenomena and mystical experiences.

Correspondence: Peter Ryser, Guntramstr. 58, 79106 Freiburg, Germany. Email: ryserpeter@web.de


Elizabeth Schechter

Persons and Psychological Frameworks: A Critique of Tye

This paper concerns the relationships between persons, brains, behaviour, and psychological explanation. Tye defines a ‘psychological framework’ (PF) as a set of token beliefs, desires, intentions, memories, streams of consciousness, higher-order mental states, etc., that ‘form a coherent whole’ and against which a creature’s ‘behavior can be explained’ (p. 141). A person is the subject of such a psychological framework. Each person has one PF, and with each new PF there is a new person. Meanwhile materialism tells us, according to Tye, that brains are the bearers of mental states. In other words, ‘each person is a brain’ (p. 142) — or rather a ‘global physical state of the brain,’ since Tye believes that a single brain might realize multiple PFs and thus constitute multiple persons. Most of this paper simply assumes Tye’s account of personal identity, in order to expose certain contradictions within what Tye says about personhood in split-brain subjects. Towards the end of the paper, however, I turn to alternative accounts of persons. While a method of individuating persons grounded in scientific psychology would identify persons with psychological frameworks, as Tye does, perhaps an account of personhood grounded either in a non-psychological science, or in non-scientific psychology, would better fit the interests we have in personal identity.

Correspondence: Email: lizschechter@gmail.com


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