Más contenido relacionado


Neuroeconomics Critique Part 2

  1. How do neuroeconomics, evolutionary psychology and the idea of massive modularity overlap? Stuart WG Derbyshire, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham
  2. Honderich complains “ To linger a last time at this crux, real physicalism or materialism runs up against the most resilient proposition in the history of the philosophy of the mind. It is a simple one you know about, that the properties of conscious events aren’t neural ones, or aren’t only neural ones. Consciousness isn’t cells… Think of another family of answers [to what it is like for you to be conscious]. What is it like for you to be conscious of this room now is for there to be a neural instantiation in your head of a computational or functional sequence. Or an electromagnetic field. Or, God help us, what your consciousness of the room seems to you to be is a generating in your head of macroscopic quantum coherence, with Bose Einstein condensates combining and microtubules microtubuling.”
  3. Reflex Noxious stimulation is captured by dedicated sensory fibres and relayed to a sensory neuron and then to a motor neuron causing withdrawal. The system fires entirely without computation or further information and either goes off completely or not at all
  4. This is an old problem… Descartes Kant Hegel
  5. Descartes’ famous statement of certainty Cogito ergo sum Or I think therefore I am Je pense, donc je suis Or 1596-1650 1596-1650 Descartes R. Discourse on Method , 1637
  6. Descartes nuked certainty “ I wished to give myself entirely to the search after truth. I thought that it was necessary for me to take an apparently opposite course, and to reject as absolutely false everything as to which I could imagine the least ground of doubt, in order to see if afterwards there remained anything in my belief that was entirely certain.” Descartes R. Discourse on the Method , 1637
  7. A point of certainty in an (increasingly) uncertain world “ But I was persuaded that there was nothing in all the world, that there was no heaven, no earth, that there were no minds, nor any bodies: was I not then likewise persuaded that I did not exist? Not at all; of a surety I myself did exist since I persuaded myself of something (or merely because I thought of something). But there is some deceiver or other, very powerful and very cunning, who ever employs his ingenuity in deceiving me. Then without doubt I exist also if he deceives me, and let him deceive me as much as he will, he can never cause me to be nothing so long as I think I am something. So that after having reflected well and carefully examined all things, we must come to the definite conclusion that this proposition: I am, I exist, is necessarily true each time that I pronounce it, or that I mentally conceive it.” Descartes R. Meditations on First Philosophy , 1641 Translated by Haldane and Ross, 1997
  8. Why does this matter? In the Second Meditation , Descartes explains that “perception is neither an act of vision, nor of touch... but only an intuition of the mind.” The penetration of the body by physical stimulation exposes sensation to the reason of the mind. The mind is not subsumed (dazzled or drowned) by the senses. Descartes R. Meditations on First Philosophy (1641). Translated by ES Haldane and GRT Ross. Descartes Key Philosophical Writings . Wordsworth Classics, 1997, pp. 139-146.
  9. Plastic sensory experience Sine wave sound Clear sound Sine wave sound Clear sound What is this? Ah, now I see The physical information does not change but the sensory experience does Remez et al. Speech perception without traditional speech cues. Science 1981;212:947-9
  10. Empiricism The main theme of the empiricist movement begun by Locke in 1690 and continued by Hume is that we can have no knowledge of the world but what we derive from experience . Locke, Berkeley and Hume were part of a tradition which attempted to tie knowledge to what can be observed by use of the senses.
  11. Priors are cultural not innate “ The child… is born… into a living world… He does not even think of his separate self; he grows with his world, his mind fills and orders itself; and when he can separate himself from that world, and know himself apart from it, then by that time his self, the object of his self-consciousness, is penetrated, infected, characterized by the existence of others” FH Bradley, 1846-1924.
  12. Emotion and rationality are historical not neural The substance of faith is something that can only be experienced argues Munzer whereas Luther examines the “ideas” which symbolize faith. Which one is authentic ? This argument continued between Kant and Hume. Tallis’ example of Nurse Ryan illustrates that emotional reactions stretch out across human history

Hinweis der Redaktion

  1. Conscious experience is always about something – it has content – and for human beings that content is largely about people, objects and language. These things are, in the first instance, outside us and so they must be brought inside. If they are brought inside then conscious experience is dependent on more than just neural activity; it is also dependent on, at least, stuff that is outside and our relationship with it.
  2. Domain Specific: specialised to certain types of input Encapsulated: Isolated from other psychological systems Spontaneous: obligatory firing
  3. The plasticity is founded in knowledge, what we know, not in our nature (in our brains)
  4. We are both a part of nature and apart from nature. This contradiction is the essence of the human project, perhaps.
  5. We are both a part of nature and apart from nature. This contradiction is the essence of the human project, perhaps.
  6. Locke (1690): “Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas:- How comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, from EXPERIENCE. “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.
  7. Locke believed that ideas of innate knowledge all too easily became an excuse to maintain the status quo. Locke does not, however, reject the idea that we are born with faculties to receive and process information (the senses, memory, an ability to use language &c). For Locke arguments about judgement should be based on reason that follows observation of what happens. This protects us from faith based decisions or irrational judgements but Hume points out that we are forced to make irrational decisions because our senses are always woefully incomplete.
  8. There could be no necessary connection between distinct events – we do not experience cause and effect, such things are just suppositions based on one thing following another. All that remains, then, is a series of fleeting ‘perceptions’ with no external object, no enduring subject to whom they could belong, and not themselves even bound to one another.
  9. We think we are on a journey to understand the world but we realise we are on a journey that is constructing the world.
  10. In the flux of experience given by sense-certainty one quality is constantly yielding place to another, and it is impossible to seize what is individual by pointing gestures or demonstrative words such as “This”, “Here”, “Now”, “I”, etc., which are all irremediably general in meaning. Perception, likewise, is dialectically flawed by its incapacity to integrate the separate characters it picks out with the unified individuality of the object to which it seeks to attribute them. Both lead on to Understanding.
  11. The principal idea is that modes of thought and experience cannot be adequately understood as long as their social origins are obscured. All the ideas and sentiments which motivate an individual do not have their origin in him alone, and cannot be adequately explained solely on the basis of his individual life-experience. I imagine that is fairly obvious and uncontroversial when it is directed towards something like our attitudes towards terrorism or our contemplation of meaning but it is clearly more difficult and troublesome when it is directed towards something like the experience of pain. There is a major difficulty in translating across from what can be considered basic sentient experiences and the more complex reflection on those experiences.
  12. When Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Castle Church door in 1517 he was wrestling control from the church and the papacy, demanding that everyone can interpret scripture for themselves using their own reason. He began the reformation and the Renaissance ideal of man as the measure of all things (even though it was Protagoras from Ancient Greece who first coined the idea). Anyway, the point is, ordinary people were expected to feel not understand, understanding was the job of the priesthood. But Luther examined the ‘ideas’ of faith, which is right? Is it more authentic to think or to feel? Kant believed the road to morality was paved with reason; you have to think deeply and subject every corner of your mind to reason in order to wrestle the right course of action from it. That is what makes a moral being. Hume argued that if you need to go through that much effort then maybe you just aren’t very moral… Is it more right to reason or more right to feel? Nurse Ryan was describing a patient during a meeting to discuss moving patients out of H1 ward that was about to be painted: ‘In front of the assembled team, Charge Nurse Ryan referred to the second ward as ‘ h aitch 2’ ward. The superfluous meta-aitch ignited a blush that spread to the roots of his hair.’ Why this sudden charge of blood to the face from a simple misplaced ‘h’? Tallis’ answer begins with speech, which first emerged anywhere between 40,000 and several hundred thousand years ago. Nurse Ryan’s mistake would be impossible without speech. He then moves on to the habit of reporting speech and thus assigning meaning to other beings and introducing the possibility of mistaken meanings. The next step is writing, which is a mere 9,000 years old. Writing is a second-order language that captures meaning in a system of conventional signs that gradually took the form of alphabetisation from about 3,000 years ago. Alphabets mean that spellings will follow a convention and letters will be spelled out loud to indicate that convention. A given letter will have a sound distinct from the sound the letter might make in a word (think of the different way you say ‘t’ in ‘tune’ and ‘the’). Now we are almost there. ‘H’ becomes ‘aitch’ because of the confluence of two naming conventions: the Latin ‘aha’ and the Middle English ‘ache’ were merged by, ironically, dropping the ‘h’ itself and leaving ‘aitch’. The final step before Nurse Ryan’s blush is the snobbery of ‘h’. Missing an ‘aitch’ off a word reveals a working-class background and an inability to cope with the fineries of language and life. Nurse Ryan inserted an aberrant ‘h’ at the start of ‘aitch’, thus betraying his anxiety at dropping an ‘h’ and his true background. His redundant ‘h’ revealed his deceit of trying to be something he wasn’t and his cheeks flushed red at the prospective shame of being caught out as a wannabe, a great pretender. That blush is a glass-bottomed boat opening up to the long history of human development. Millions of years and millions of heads were necessary to generate Nurse Ryan’s glowing red face; he simply couldn’t have generated that crimson colour all by himself, and it simply isn’t the kind of thing you can record with an fMRI scanner.