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

From: Robin Faichney (
Date: Sat Apr 28 2001 - 12:08:15 BST

  • Next message: Wade T.Smith: "Re: Irreducibility of subjectivity (was Re: Levels of explanation (was Re: Determinism))"

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    Subject: Re: Irreducibility of subjectivity (was Re: Levels of explanation (was Re: Determinism))
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    In-Reply-To: <[]>; from on Wed, Apr 25, 2001 at 04:27:15PM -0400
    From: Robin Faichney <>
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    On Wed, Apr 25, 2001 at 04:27:15PM -0400, Wade T.Smith wrote:
    > 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.

    I see the self as subjective. That does not make it unreal, but
    I consider the word "real" in the phrase "the self is real" to have
    insufficient context to be meaningful. In some contexts, it is useful
    to consider the self to be real, and others, it is not. Certainly,
    taking subjectivity seriously does not commit one to any particular view
    of the self.

    I don't think any use would be served by Joe and I going over this
    ground again.

    > 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
    > thing.
    > >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'.

    OK, I didn't realise you were addressing the question of isolating
    memes there. It's just as well we don't need to do so, isn't it? :-)

    > >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 -

    No, I really don't see any direct application of the tipping point
    concept in this context.

    > >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.

    Actually, I agree, though Joe won't. I won't say what, ultimately,
    is deluded, because when I did that before, some people around here got
    rather upset about it -- including yourself, if I remember correctly.

    > Now....
    > >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.

    "The mind" means the generic mind, and is therefore not limited to your's
    or mine, but includes them all, and cooperation is no problem.

    > 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.

    We can, but we'll be much clearer about it all if we consider
    artifacts to encode memes, rather than being them. Encoding allows
    memes to be viewed as in behaviour/artifacts *and* in brains.

    > The behaviors of mind are also knowledges of the world.

    Not sure what you mean by that.

    Robin Faichney
    Get your Meta-Information from
    (CAUTION: contains philosophy, may cause heads to spin)

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