Re: Sensory and sensibility

From: Dace (
Date: Tue Jan 22 2002 - 03:19:30 GMT

  • Next message: Joe Dees: "RE: Recursive def. of the meme"

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    Subject: Re: Sensory and sensibility
    Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 19:19:30 -0800
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    From: Joe Dees

    > >> 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
    > >(transcendent) while Aristotle countered that reality is extensional
    > >(immanent). For Plato the essence of the telephone is our idea of it.
    > >Aristotle its essence is physically inherent to it. This question is
    > >unresolved. The modern outlook is primarily Platonic. Newtonian Laws
    > >a streamlined version of Platonic Forms. Instead of having a Form for
    > >each object is a manifestation, we have a small set of laws, and in
    > >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
    > >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.
    > >new view, known as neo-Darwinism but better known as Weismannism, does
    > >away with the concept of adaptation and replaces it with "exaptation."
    > >mutation in our genes causes a new trait to emerge. Then the organism
    > >use of the newly-acquired trait when the need for it happens to arise.
    > >there's no creativity on the part of the organism, just a mechanical
    > >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
    > >the moderns loudly proclaim the former while silently assuming the
    > >Our approach reflects the survival strategy of the idealism meme, which
    > >propagates by cloaking itself in its exact opposite. It also exploits
    > >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
    > >In this mental environment, there was no possibility that Darwin's meme
    > >would be selected.

    > 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

    In order to render the transcendent immanent, not only would mind have to be
    reduced to brain, but the laws of nature would have to be reduced to nature.
    No one is suggesting that. Atoms don't contain within them the laws
    governing their actions, any more than neurons contain the abstract thoughts
    according to which they behave.


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