Contents

Vol. 17, No.5-6, May-June 2010

Refereed Papers

Jason Brown   abstract
Simultaneity and Serial Order
Ted Dace   abstract
Analysis of Russell
Paula Droege   abstract
The Role of Unconsciousness in Free Will
Doris Feil and Harald Atmanspacher  abstract
Acategorial States in a Representational Theory of  Mental Processes
Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka  abstract
Experiencing: A Jamesian Approach
Gordon Globus  abstract
Dissipative Thermofield Logic of the Tao Symbol
Mostyn W. Jones  abstract
How to Make Mind–Brain Relations Clear
Axel Seemann  abstract
The Other Person in Joint Attention: A Relational Approach

Conference Reports

Robert K.C. Forman   full text
A Conference and a Question
Bill Faw   full text
Minds Did Wander At Tucson-2010
Alfredo Pereira et alii   full text
Understanding Consciousness

Book Reviews
full text

István Czachesz
J. Schloss & M. Murray (eds.), The Believing Primate
Bill Faw
T. Bayne, A. Cleeremans & P. Wilken (eds.), The Oxford Companion to Consciousness
C.M. Suchy-Dicey
Thomas Metzinger, The Ego Tunnel
Giovanna Colombetti
Peter Goldie (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Emotion
Richard Moore
Raymond Tallis, Michelangelo’s Finger
Julian Kiverstein
Alva Noë, Out of our Heads


ABSTRACTS

Jason Brown

Simultaneity & Serial Order

Extract: What does it mean for something to be held in memory if the immediate past no longer exists in actuality? If the past must be revived in the present, how is temporal order maintained, revived, perceived? If the past fully perished and could not be revived, every object would be a momentary and unfamiliar novelty, as would the self that perceives it. Without at least an implicit memory of antecedents there would be a stroboscopic succession of disconnected selves and worlds. Clearly, the past must be within the present — indeed, the major part of the present — for both the stability of an object and its change over time.

Correspondence: Dr Jason Brown, 66 E. 79th Street, New York, NY 10075. Email: drjbrown@hotmail.com


Ted Dace

Analysis of Russell

Extract: Whether known as the Grand Doctrine, the Mechanical Philosophy, reductionism, materialism or Russell’s own ‘logical atomism’, the basic idea is that the world consists of simple discrete entities that behave and combine according to timeless mathematical laws of nature. Reality is particle and law. All else is imaginary, a pointless if amusing dream. In the new intellectual climate, the job of philosophers, if they still have one, is to accept the atomized worldview without protest and investigate issues of human existence in light of it. However, blinded by his need to verify the reduction of the world to tangible matter and timeless law, Russell missed the message of the mind, which is neither one nor the other.

Correspondence: Email: tedacious@gmail.com


Paula Droege

The Role of Unconsciousness in Free Will

Abstract: Does neuroscience show that free will is an illusion? No, it shows that unconscious mental states are causally effective in action. Because free will includes initiation by both conscious and unconscious states, the self as free agent should be characterized in terms of more than her conscious deliberations to range over unconscious beliefs, memories and feelings. Further, the ways social relations influence action and the ways actions influence the social environment are relevant to a full account of free will. Given this broader perspective, it is clear that recent neuroscientific studies only show that the conscious feeling of volition does not play the agential role it seems to play. Consciousness is nonetheless causally effective in planning and monitoring actions to ensure they conform to goals. This causal process unfolds over a span of time and encompasses a wide array of factors.

Correspondence: Paula Droege, Philosophy Department, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16801 Email: pdroege@psu.edu


Doris Feil and Harald Atmanspacher

Acategorial States in a Representational Theory of Mental Processes

Abstract: We propose a distinction between precategorial, acategorial and categorial states within a scientifically oriented understanding of mental processes. This distinction can be specified by approaches developed in cognitive neuroscience and the analytical philosophy of mind. On the basis of a representational theory of mental processes, acategoriality refers to a form of knowledge that presumes fully developed categorial mental representations, yet refers to non-conceptual experiences in mental states beyond such established categories. It relies on a simultaneous apprehension of individual representations and their actual ‘representational ground’, an undifferentiated precategorial state. This simultaneity is possible if the mental state does not reside in a representation but in between representations. Acategoriality can be formally modeled as an unstable state of a dynamical mental system that is subject to particular stability criteria.

Correspondence: Email: haa@igpp.de


Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka

Experiencing: A Jamesian Approach

Abstract: This paper suggests an approach to consciousness that focuses on the evolutionary transition from pre-conscious animals to the simplest types of conscious (experiencing) animals. Our argument is that experiencing originated with the evolution of associative learning, and that one of the major functions of experiencing was what William James called ‘fighting for ends’: endowing animals with motivation. We propose that the sensory states generated during associative learning act as internal guides and selectors of new neural relations, new behaviours, and new ends, leading to the unitary, subjective and intentional internal dynamic states that we recognize as experiencing.

Correspondence: Professor Simona Ginsburg, Dept. of Natural Science, The Open University of Israel, 1 University Road, P.O.Box 808, Raanana 43107, Israel.
Email: simona@openu.ac.il jablonka@post.tau.ac.il


Gordon Globus

Dissipative Thermofield Logic of the Tao Symbol

Abstract: The well-known symbol of the Tao is freshly interpreted in terms of dissipative quantum thermofield brain dynamics. The primary duality of the Tao is between two dynamical modes of operation. The secondary duality (‘holes’) within each mode of the Tao symbolizes creation and annihilation operations. The relation between the dual modes is ‘intrinsic’ in that these modes do not exist independently of their relationship. What is ontologically primary is the dual modes belonging-together in the ‘between-two’. Three sources of constraint on the between-two are considered: sensory input, intention and ‘re-traces’ of recognitions. ‘Awareness’, ‘subjectivity’, ‘intentionality’ and ‘world’ are located in the dissipative thermofield framework. On this interpretation the Tao symbol’s composure is monadological.

Correspondence: Professor Gordon Globus, 400 Newport Center Dr., Suite 701, Newport Beach, CA 92660, USA. Email: ggglobus@uci.edu


Mostyn W. Jones

How To Make Mind–Brain Relations Clear

Abstract: A clear, simple mind–body solution is suggested here. Neuroscience is finding growing evidence of neurochemical correlates to memory, perception and emotion. This supports mind-as-brain views over mind-as-computer views. Admittedly, the former can’t intelligibly reduce privately experienced pain, fear, etc. to publicly observed neurochemistry. Yet ideas in Strawson, Stoljar, etc. can be reworked to treat pain as what certain neurochemical activity is like beyond observed appearances. This bridges the gulf between pains and brains, for (unlike reductions) it intelligibly explains why hidden, private pains accompany pain-detector activity (instead of this activity being nonconscious). By contrast, mind-as-computer views are obscure. They connect radically disparate entities — private pains, abstract computations and neural hardwares — through puzzling reductions and multiple realizations. The mind-as-brain view may thus offer a clear, simple solution to the mind–body problem that explains current experimental evidence without perennial metaphysical obscurities (reductionism, multiple realization, dualism, etc.). It may make mind–body relations clear.

Correspondence: Email: mwj@comcast.net


Axel Seemann

The Other Person in Joint Attention: A Relational Approach

Abstract: John Campbell recommends a relational view on joint attention. In this paper, I ask what his position implies for the perceptual experience of jointly engaged persons, and suggest that this experience can be accounted for by taking seriously the notion of intersubjectivity. I provide an account of what I call the ‘direct acquaintance’ of jointly engaged persons with one another. To be so acquainted is to enjoy an experience of feelings that are shared in a particular way. I spell out what it is for feelings to be so shared and end by briefly introducing the idea that the subjects of such feelings may be best understood as part of a system that also consists of aspects of their natural and social environment.

Correspondence: Axel Seemann, Associate Professor, Dept. of Philosophy, Bentley University, 175 Forest Street, Waltham, MA 02452. Email: aseemann@bentley.edu


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