Re: Levi-Strauss etc.

Bill Benzon (
Wed, 18 Jun 1997 06:26:18 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 1997 06:26:18 -0500
From: (Bill Benzon)
Subject: Re: Levi-Strauss etc.

Mark Mills quoting Dennett:
>"The subject's arm rests cushioned on a table, and mechanical tappers are
>placed on two or three locations along the arm, up to a foot apart. A
>series of taps in rhythm are delivered by the tappers, e.g., five at the
>wrist followed by two near the elbow and then three more on the upper arm.
>The taps are delivered with interstimulus intervals between 50 and 200
>msec. So a train of taps might last a second, or as much as two or three
>seconds. The astonishing effect is that taps seem to the subjects to
>travel in a regular sequence over equidistant points up the arm - as if a
>little animal were hopping up the arm." Consciousness Explained, pg 143)
It's not clear to me where the bunny story comes from. Is Dennett claiming
that subjects spontaneously offer a hopping bunny story as an
interpretation of what they feel, or is that just a metaphor Dennett is
using to convey to the reader what people apparently feel?

In any event, I don't see that story grammars will give you much help here.
They aren't much concerned with how sensory experience gets interpreted in
the brain.

>and the story is the 'uncoded' experience (meaning). There is also some
>very interesting things happening with time and memes here, since there is
>no way to know the 'story' of the bunny hopping up the arm until all the
>sensations are available to the brain, but the conscious perception
>involves a confirming sensation about a bunny hop at the beginning of the

1. There is a lot of evidence (& speculation) that central brain processes
actively "sculpt" & interpret sensory input. So this fits in with that
body of work.

2. On time, you might what to look at a book Robert Ornstein published
awhile back: On the Experience of Time, Penguin, 1969. He did a series of
experience on how people experience duration and some of his experiments
involved recoding events sometime after they took place.

William L. Benzon 201.217.1010
708 Jersey Ave. Apt. 2A
Jersey City, NJ 07302 USA

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