KARL  JASPERS  FORUM

TA111 (Beamish)

 

Commentary 1

 

 

GROUND RULES   FOR  ACCESS  TO  CONSCIOUSNESS

by Herbert FJ Müller

1 November 2008, posted 8 November 2008

 

 

How do you see the following rules in relation to your TA111 ?

 

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The approach to the mind-brain question is conditional to some interrelated rules which are very simple, in fact so simple that it may seem absurd to state them explicitly, except for the reason that they are universally neglected.

 

 

1.  THE  MIND  CANNOT  BE  MIND-INDEPENDENT

 

     This is obvious;   but occidental thinking, including epistemology, has since the time of Parmenides been based on the assumption that reality is mind-independently  pre-structured  (MIR-belief).   That is the essence of metaphysics-ontology (and its derivatives, such as realism, positivism, materialism, exclusive objectivity, etc).   Metaphysics assumptions govern thinking even when metaphysics is said to be rejected.  

 

     No part of reality is mind-independent, but much of it can be treated as if were mind-independent.   However, even this as-if-MIR view is not possible for the mind.  The result is that the mind cannot be real in the metaphysical sense, and in practice it disappears from discussion; its existence may even be explicitly denied.  That prevents access to the question of   ‘consciousness’ and the mind-brain relation problem.

 

 

2.  THINKING  CAN  ONLY  START   FROM  ONGOING  EXPERIENCE

 

     This is also obvious, but when reality is seen as mind-independent, one tends to want  (after an ontological  leap of  faith)   to start from a  fictitious   primary external, mind-independent reality.  That leads  to a neglect or denial of subjective experience  in theory-building.  

 

 

3. MENTAL  STRUCTURES   ARE  IN  THE  MIND,  NOT  VICE VERSA 

 

     Mental structures  (concerning everything, including self and world)  occur  upon  the  background  of  encompassing  experience, which encompasses them, and not vice versa.   For instance the mind cannot be found in nature, because nature is a mental structure. 

 

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Herbert FJ Müller
     e-mail <herbert.muller (at) mcgill.ca>