Re: Sensory and sensibility

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Tue Jan 22 2002 - 01:39:26 GMT

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    > "Dace" <> <> Re: Sensory and sensibilityDate: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 17:22:18 -0800
    >> Salice:
    >> >Wasn't platon already thinking about this? I can remember the
    >> >example of the horses being all different from each other but we
    >> >can all identify them as horses.
    >> Steve:
    >> >Yes, Plato did discuss this in The Republic when he was arguing
    >> >about representation of Ideal forms and their worldly couterparts.
    >> Now that we come to mention it, here's some additional
    >> info. I quote from Darwin's Dangerous Idea page 36:
    >> `Thus Aristotle had taught [...], all things-not just
    >> living things-had two kinds of properties: essential
    >> properties, without which they wouldn't be the
    >> particular kind of thing they were, and accidental
    >> properties, which were free to vary within the kind.'
    >> `Aristotle had developed his theory of essences as an
    >> improvement on Plato's theory of Ideas, according to
    >> which every earthly thing is a sort of imperfect copy
    >> or reflection of an ideal exemplar of Form that existed
    >> timelessly in the Platonic realm of Ideas, reigned
    >> over by God.'
    >> What an active imaginition these guys had. But
    >> different times, different memes.
    >Different times, same memes. We're still faced with exactly the same
    >debate, now characterized in terms of "intension and extension." For
    >instance, the intension of telephone is the idea that each of us comprehends
    >in our mind, while the extension of telephone is the set of actual
    >telephones in the world. Plato argued that reality is intensional
    >(transcendent) while Aristotle countered that reality is extensional
    >(immanent). For Plato the essence of the telephone is our idea of it. For
    >Aristotle its essence is physically inherent to it. This question is still
    >unresolved. The modern outlook is primarily Platonic. Newtonian Laws are a
    >streamlined version of Platonic Forms. Instead of having a Form for which
    >each object is a manifestation, we have a small set of laws, and in obeying
    >these laws, matter naturally forms into the various objects of the world.
    >Like Plato, we take a mathematical approach. We don't believe anything
    >until we've seen the math, be it electromagnetism, relativity, or chaos.
    >It's the math that makes it so.
    >The only real challenge to the dominance of Platonism in Western thought was
    >Darwin. Like Aristotle, Darwin regarded matter as inherently creative.
    >There's no deity shaping the species. Our forms arise from within.
    >Organisms are material entities which creatively adapt to environmental
    >conditions, and these adaptations are passed on to future species. Alas,
    >the Darwinian view was entirely discredited early in the 20th century. The
    >new view, known as neo-Darwinism but better known as Weismannism, does away
    >with the concept of adaptation and replaces it with "exaptation." Random
    >mutation in our genes causes a new trait to emerge. Then the organism makes
    >use of the newly-acquired trait when the need for it happens to arise. So,
    >there's no creativity on the part of the organism, just a mechanical process
    >in which randomly altered genes are selected by environmental conditions.
    >In conformance with Newton, matter is under the control of mathematical,
    >deterministic processes.
    >While the ancients struggled with the issue of materialism versus idealism,
    >the moderns loudly proclaim the former while silently assuming the latter.
    >Our approach reflects the survival strategy of the idealism meme, which
    >propagates by cloaking itself in its exact opposite. It also exploits our
    >male-centric attitude. Matter is another word for mother. The earth is
    >traditionally regarded as feminine, while the sky is masculine. That
    >intelligent idea dominates helpless and random matter is sky-god thinking.
    >In this mental environment, there was no possibility that Darwin's meme
    >would be selected.
    >> By the way, these kind of memes are pathological according to Ted,
    >> as they obviously give an false interpretation of reality.
    >I'm not the one reducing an unresolved 2500 year-old philosophical debate to
    >a battle of the memes. Obviously, there's going to be some truth in there s
    >omewhere. I'd take Aristotle over Plato any day (and Darwin over Weismann).
    >The point is that some memes carry truth (or the nearest we can come to it)
    >while other memes carry nothing other than whatever enables them to
    >procreate more effectively. The essence of logical memes is their content.
    >The essence of pathological memes is their memeness, that is, their ability
    >to reproduce and to colonize minds.
    Of course, the unfounded assumption here is the one that automatically assigns transcendence to intensionality (mental memes). They are instead manifestly part of the immanent world, as dynamic pattern-configurations of neurons, dendrites, axons and synapses, encoding semantic content. Their activation when an individual is performing mental tasks can be registered on PET scans and fMRI. No ephemeral skygodisms necessary, just the measuring technology that good science has allowed us to create, combined with experimentation under controlled conditions utilizing the scientific method.
    >This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    >Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    >For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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