Re: Irreducibility of subjectivity (was Re: Levels of explanation (was Re: Determinism))

From: Wade T.Smith (
Date: Wed Apr 25 2001 - 21:27:15 BST

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    Subject: Re: Irreducibility of subjectivity (was Re: Levels of explanation (was Re: Determinism))
    Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 16:27:15 -0400
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    Hi Robin -

    >> Robin thus says that the emergent phenomenon we call self (the engine of
    >> subjectivity) is irreducible,
    >No way, Jose. Subjectivity is irreducible. "Self" equivocates so that
    >little if anything unqualified can be said about it.

    Thanks for the rest, too....

    This is perhaps where I mostly tend to wander into fogs, since
    'subjectivity', even in all the ways I think I understand that you mean
    it, is the operation of the self, or, conversely, the 'self' is the
    operating of subjectivity, and I don't see where the divide really is
    between you and Joe here.

    Each would seem to be emergent, and bound to the brain/body, so I can
    only think, right now, that I am looking at two phrases for the same

    >I'm having trouble understanding "minimalize this subjectivity". Of
    >course, in science, we try to maximise objectivity, but you seem to mean
    >something more.

    By which I meant limiting the perceptions of the subjective engine- as
    all experiments limit the stimuli and possible responses to test a range
    of theorized outcomes, minimalizing the response of the subjective engine
    is only possible, since it is intact and operating, through limiting the
    perceptions of the subject. As in taking the chroma out of a TV image so
    that only greys are present, injured persons have served as subjects in
    brain studies and other behavioral experiments.

    To discover a meme, as I've said before, requires a limiting of the
    subject well beyond ethical boundaries, as one would precisely need a
    human without cultural input whatsoever, and that would mean a
    sensory-deprivation of horrific circumstances. But, by limiting
    perceptional stimuli, or using a subject of limited perception, might,
    perhaps, be a way of control in a memetic experiment? I don't know, but
    that was what I was pointing at with 'minimalizing'.

    >I think you might be taking the tipping point too literally.

    Perhaps, but, with subjectivity and the self, certainly this point is
    reached, and indeed, what we are calling the self, and subjectivity (what
    the self does), is dependent upon having reached this point. Yes? What
    you say below seems to say yes -

    >It is absolutely impossible that any discovery of
    >science could take [the essence of subjectivity] away.
    >It cannot, logically, be delusion, because,
    >as Joe says, without that "essential I" there is nothing to be deluded.

    Although it could all be levels of delusion, I suppose.


    >We only know the world through the mind.

    I'm pretty sure the main reason I'm here on this list is because I
    disagree with that. Not that I'm saying there is any _other_ way to
    perceive knowledge of the world other than through the mind (by which I
    mean the brain/body/sensory apparatus that is the human being on this
    planet), but that the knowing of this world can be found from _other_
    minds, by way of artifacts created by other minds attempting to explain
    what their mind knows. So, yes, not only can we know the world through
    minds, but the artifacts of minds are all around us. And it is these
    artifacts of minds that we can easily call memes.

    The behaviors of mind are also knowledges of the world.

    - Wade

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