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6. Mind and its connections

Summary points for Week 6: Chapters 22, 25 and 27


Chapter 22: Discrete Degrees in the Mind

      The mind (as a whole) is the recipient and container of thoughts (degree 2)

      And also the affections and desires that motivate and depend on those thoughts.

      The mind (as a whole: section 22.3) has sub-degrees 2.1, 2.2, 2.3:

o   2.1: Thoughts of loves The interior or ‘religious’ rational mind

o   2.2: Thoughts of thinking        The middle or ‘scientific’ rational mind

o   2.3: Thoughts of acting.          The external or ‘sensorimotor’ mind

      Mental growth:

o   Life as infants starts in the external mind, dealing with sensing and acting.

o   Life as young adult develops a rational mind for classes, forms and systems.

o   Life as older adult finds an inner rational that reflects on one’s loves (good or bad)

      These stages can be related to those of psychologist Jean Piaget.

      There are similar stages in emotional development as characterized by Erik Erikson.

      Probably are sub-sub-degrees (or even more details) within the above structures.

      Very many things for psychology to investigate!


Chapter 25: Mind-body Connections

      Simplified views (by ignoring some [sub-]degrees) correspond to known philosophies in history. For example:  physicalism, non-spiritual humanism, even Buddhism.

      Science struggles to explore mind-body connections. It is clear that such connections exist, but is not clear in science which way the causes operate.

      The principles in this book of ‘Generation and Selection’ may be now applied to see how minds and bodies might be causally connected, without reducing mind to body, or reducing body to mind.

      We predict correspondences: similar patterns of function in adjacent levels when there are multiple generative levels (remember from Week 2!).

      These correspondences can help us understand one level in terms of another, as there should be similar functions in operation, even though the substances (loves or propensities are different).

      Sections 25.5 and 25.6: will discuss later, after ‘spirituality’ is outlined.


Chapter 27: Consciousness 

      The ‘hard problem of consciousness’ is to understand how consciousness and physical things could ever be related.

      Here, we use:
Postulate 17 Whenever love acts by means of wisdom, that action is a conscious action. There is consciousness of the production of the result and also of the delight that arises from the achievement of that production.

      We are not immediately aware of the love that leads to our action, nor are we automatically aware of our understanding that was instrumental in selecting that particular action.

      We have to infer our loves, even our own loves, by collecting evidence for how we feel and how we behave in a wide variety of circumstances. We are never directly conscious at a given level of the loves operating at that level.

      Mental sensations and perceptions must be organized by the ‘Selection’ part of  ‘Generation and Selection’. A sensing mind must be able to imagine all that it is capable of perceiving, so that which it perceives can then be selected by what is being looked at.

      Awareness is not:

o   Property of physical objects, or

o   Emerging from complex systems,

o   Causally effective, but rather the operation of mental causes.

      Awareness should be possible in animals (as desires and sensations), and even something primitive in plants.

      Awareness is not always strictly confined to our bodies. In times of stress and other adventures, external awareness is sometimes possible.

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