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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 12

Merchandise that’s just out of this world!

smcder

Paranormal Adept
Could the following sentence be written in better English and if so what is your improved version for it:
“The actual components (all their properties included) and the actual relations holding between them that concretely realise a system as a particular member of the class (kind) of composite unities to which it belongs by its organisation, constitute its structure.”
“The actual components (all their properties included) and the actual relations holding between them that concretely realise a system as a particular member of the class (kind) of composite unities to which it belongs by its organisation, constitute its structure.”

Can you provide context? It seems possible that: "actual" "concretely" "all their properties included" and, less likely, "by its organization" could be dropped:

"The structure of a system consists of the components and the relations between them that realize it as a particular member of the class of composite unities to which it belongs." (by its organization)
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
From Robert D. Stolorow, World, Affectivity, Trauma: Heidegger and Post-Cartesian Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2011)

POST-CARTESIAN PSYCHOANALYSIS AS PHENOMENOLOGICAL
CONTEXTUALISM


Extract:

". . . There has been a long-standing debate in psychoanalysis over the role
of cognitive insight versus affective attachment in the process of therapeutic
change. The terms of this debate are directly descended from Descartes's
philosophical dualism, which sectioned human experience into cognitive and
affective domains. Such artificial fracturing of human subjectivity is no
longer tenable in a post-Cartesian philosophical world. Cognition and affect,
thinking and feeling, interpreting and relating--these are separable only in
pathology, as can be seen in the case of Descartes himself, the profoundly
isolated man who created a doctrine of the isolated mind (see Gaukroger,
1995), of disembodied, unembedded, decontextualized cogito. . . ."


icpla.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Stolorow-R.-Post-Cartesian-Psychoanalysis-as-Phenomenlogical-Contextualism.pdf
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
This paper is very good in clarifying the nature of prereflective, pre-thetic, consciousness and its significance for philosophy, which has often been a challenging subject here:

SARA HEINÄMAA, MERLEAU-PONTY’S MODIFICATION OF PHENOMENOLOGY:
COGNITION, PASSION AND PHILOSOPHY

ABSTRACT. This paper problematizes the analogy that Hubert Dreyfus has presented between phenomenology and cognitive science. It argues that Dreyfus presents Merleau-Ponty’s modification of Husserl’s phenomenology in a misleading way. He ignores the idea of philosophy as a radical interrogation and self-responsibility that stems from Husserl’s work and recurs in Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception. The paper focuses on Merleau-Ponty’s understanding of the phenomenological reduction. It shows that his critical idea was not to restrict the scope of Husserl’s reductions but to study the conditions of possibility for the thetic acts. Merleau-Ponty argued, following Husserl’s texts, that the thetic acts rest on the basis of primordial pre-thetic experience. This layer of experience cannot, by its nature, be explicated or clarified, but it can be questioned and unveiled. This is the recurrent task of phenomenological philosophy, as Merleau-Ponty understands it.

Merleau-Ponty's modification of phenomenology: Cognition, passion and philosophy
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
"The structure of a system consists of the components and the relations between them that realize it as a particular member of the class of composite unities to which it belongs." (by its organization)
The structure of a system consists of the components and the relations between them, and they realize it as a member of a particular class of composite unities."

Could also make it two sentences.
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
The structure of a system consists of the components and the relations between them, and they realize it as a member of a particular class of composite unities."

Could also make it two sentences.
In this case the "that" could change the meaning?

I agree with two sentences.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
"Emotions promote social interaction by synchronizing brain activity across individuals"

Lauri Nummenmaa, Enrico Glerean, Mikko Viinikainen, Iiro P. Jääskeläinen, Riitta Hari, and Mikko Sams

Brain Research Unit, O.V. Lounasmaa Laboratory, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Computational Science, and Advanced Magnetic Imaging Centre, School of Science, Aalto University, FI-00076, Aalto, Finland; and Turku PET Centre, FI-20521, Turku, Finland

Abstract: Sharing others’ emotional states may facilitate understanding their intentions and actions. Here we show that networks of brain areas “tick together” in participants who are viewing similar emotional events in a movie. Participants’ brain activity was measured with functional MRI while they watched movies depicting unpleasant, neutral, and pleasant emotions. After scanning, participants watched the movies again and continuously rated their experience of pleasantness–unpleasantness (i.e., valence) and of arousal–calmness.
Pearson’s correlation coefficient was used to derive multisubject voxelwise similarity measures [intersubject correlations (ISCs)] of functional MRI data. Valence and arousal time series were used to predict the moment-to-moment ISCs computed using a17-s moving average. During movie viewing, participants’ brain activity was synchronized in lower- and higher-order sensory areas and in corticolimbic emotion circuits. Negative valence was associated with increased ISC in the emotion-processing network (thalamus, ventral striatum, insula) and in the default-mode network (precuneus, temporoparietal junction, medial prefrontal cortex, posterior superior temporal sulcus). High arousal was associated with increased ISC in the somatosensory cortices and visual and dorsal attention networks comprising the visual cortex, bilateral intraparietal sulci, and frontal eye fields. Seed-voxel–based correlation analysis confirmed that these sets of regions constitute dissociable, functional networks. We propose that negative valence synchronizes individuals’ brain areas supporting emotional sensations and understanding of another’s actions, whereas high arousal directs individuals’ attention to similar features of the environment. By enhancing the synchrony of brain activity across individuals, emotions may promote social interaction and facilitate interpersonal understanding."

synchronization | feeling | empathy | somatosensation


https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2012/05/22/1206095109.full.pdf
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
I don't remember if I linked here the paper that generated the following book review just linked to me from academia.edu (if not I'll link the former again), but this review looks interesting for all of us in our recent ontological considerations:

From academia.com: "You read the paper "Ontological Emergence: how is that possible? Towards a new Relational Ontology". A new paper related to it was just uploaded to Academia:

Jan Plate, review of Karen Bennett, Making Things Up, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Karen Bennett, Making Things Up

[Note: the online text of Plate's review is reprinted from the journal Dialectica; scroll down on the first page to reach the beginning of Plate's review.]
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Here is a link to the paper that led academia.edu's computer to link the above book review to me:

Ontological Emergence: how is that possible? Towards a new Relational Ontology


"Penultimate Draft
Please cite only the final published version. Foundations of Science
(2015) DOI 10.1007/s10699-015-9419-x

Ontological Emergence: how is that possible? Towards a new Relational Ontology
Gil C. Santos

Abstract: In this article I address the issue of the ontological conditions of possibility for a naturalistic notion of emergence, trying to determine its fundamental differences from the atomist, vitalist, preformationist and potentialist alternatives. I will argue that a naturalistic notion of ontological emergence can only succeed if we explicitly refuse the atomistic fundamental ontological postulate that asserts that every entity is endowed with a set of absolutely intrinsic properties, being qualitatively immutable through its extrinsic relations. Furthermore, it will be shown that, ironically enough, this metaphysical assumption is implicitly shared by all the above mentioned alternatives to Emergentism. The current article concludes that the notion of organization by itself is not enough, and that ontological emergence can only be justified by assuming a relational ontological perspective that, in opposition both to atomism and holism, defends that the existence-conditions, the identity and the causal behavior of any emergent systemic property can only be conceived, and explained, as constructed by and through specific networks of
qualitatively transformative relational processes that occur between the system’s components and between the system and its environment. Additionally, I try to explain how one can make sense of the idea that an emergent phenomenon is both dependent on, and autonomous from, its emergence base."
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
The structure of a system consists of the components and the relations between them, and they realize it as a member of a particular class of composite unities."

Could also make it two sentences.
That reminds me of the problem in ufology where the literal interpretation of the word UFO is assumed to be an accurate interpretation. If I recall correctly it was Vallée who first drew my attention to the idea that ufos are a different class of object than the literal interpretation accounts for. His view definitely makes sense in the context of, "a system consists of the components and the relations between them". In the case for the ufo, the relationships between the types of objects or phenomena that have been reported as ufos, and the known types of natural or manmade objects that could account for them, remains incomplete, and the missing piece is in essence, that class of objects we call ufos.
 

Pharoah

Paranormal Adept
“The actual components (all their properties included) and the actual relations holding between them that concretely realise a system as a particular member of the class (kind) of composite unities to which it belongs by its organisation, constitute its structure.”

Can you provide context? It seems possible that: "actual" "concretely" "all their properties included" and, less likely, "by its organization" could be dropped:

"The structure of a system consists of the components and the relations between them that realize it as a particular member of the class of composite unities to which it belongs." (by its organization)
I agree with you @smcder:
I find maturana and varela’s book such hard going, principally because it is full of sentences like this one. It needs translating into Decent English.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
February 2019, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 1–17 | Cite as

Mind and material engagement
Lambros Malafouris
Keble College & Institute of Archaeology
University of Oxford, OxfordUK
Open Access
First Online: 01 December 2018

Abstract
Material Engagement Theory (MET), which forms the focus of this special issue, is a relatively new development within cognitive archaeology and anthropology, but one that has important implications for many adjacent fields of research in phenomenology and the cognitive sciences. In How Things Shape the Mind (2013) I offered a detail exposition of the major working hypotheses and the vision of mind that it embodies. Here, introducing this special issue, more than just presenting a broad overview of MET, I seek to enrich and extend that vision and discuss its application to the study of mind and matter. I begin by laying out the philosophical roots, theoretical context and intellectual kinship of MET. Then I offer a basic outline of this theoretical framework focusing on the notions of thinging and metaplasticity. In the last part I am using the example of pottery making to illustrate how MET can be used to inform empirical research and how it might complement new research in phenomenology and embodied cognitive science.

Keywords
Material engagement theory Things Metaplasticity Pottery making Cognitive archaeology Enactivism

1 Introduction: walk the line
Let’s begin with a simple task. Take pen and paper. Draw a line. The sketch of any form will do. Just leave a trace. Make a mark. What constitutes an adequate description of, and how do we account for the process by which skills, hands, instruments and materials intersect to create a trail of ink on the paper’s surface? Our most habitual actions (psychical or physical) are experienced and become constituted where brain, body and culture conflate. Yet, finding adequate ways to describe this conflation, even in the simple case of line-making, pose a great challenge.1 Where do we start delineating the boundaries of the marks our moving hand leave on a surface? What kind of mental processes and forms of representation can account for the origins and endings of the simple line we have drawn? Consider three common ways to describe the line. The first way is to think of it as an action: the drawing of a line. The second way is to think of it an object: a line drawn on paper. The third way is to think of the line as a sign: the index of our moving hand or perhaps the trace of a creative gesture.2 Ontologically speaking, those three ways of seeing the line are inseparable. Each one of those ways supports, informs, constraints, causes and complements the other. To grasp their unity is to attend the cognitive life of the line. Attentiveness to the cognitive life of the line will allow us to see sentience in the trail of ink. Yet, more often than not, we seem to resist this realization. The preferred analytical convention is to break the line’s cognitive life into pieces: first by separating ourselves from the line and then by seeing the line as the ‘external’ product of a sentient ‘internal’ process. As ‘modern’ human observers we have learned to see the line where the movement stops and the drawing ends. We have also develop the conviction that some pre-formulated ‘idea’ or ‘mental representation’ of a line inside our head precedes and causes the materialization of the line in the outside world. The anthropologist Tim Ingold refers to this representational tendency as inversion. The logic of inversion, characteristic of modernity, manifest as an attempt to reconfigure the relational matrix of the world we live into a series of internal representational schemata of which our actions are but an outward expression: “Through inversion, beings originally open to the world are closed in upon themselves, sealed by an outer boundary or shell that protects their inner constitution from the traffic of interactions with their surroundings” (Ingold 2010, 355). Most of our troubles with the nature and evolution of human cognition depend and stem from this representational logic of inversion that sets up the artificial opposition between mind and matter.

2 What if the mind has no a priori location?
Setting the boundaries of the human mind was never easy. Specifying the conditions under which a process falls on the ‘inside’ or on the ‘outside’ of those boundaries even more so. As I said, the conventional way of dealing with this problem, marking the mental and delineating those boundaries, has been to divide the world a priori in two parts, a mental part and a physical part. The mental part is the sentient part that thinks by re-presenting the other physical part that is lacking this precious ability. In one sense, the mental part deals with what is absent (representing, remembering, imagining) and the physical part with what is present (in the ways we touch the world and the world is touching us). For instance, the line in our example belongs to the physical part as the end-product of a human intention that originates in the mental part. Perhaps this bifurcation of the world works well within the metaphysical confines of a representational space where lines and material forms have no real life and where the physicality of traces does not matter. Yet, this separatist logic fails in most real-life situations where our ways of thinking, of making, and of doing, are inseparably linked as part of an evolving material ecology.

Cognitive archaeology (which is the field that examines the macro-history of human thinking: how it becomes constituted, transformed and reproduced in different contexts and configurations of brain-body-material environment in the course of human becoming) offers plenty of evidence to support this basic claim against the separation of thinking inside the head and acting inside the world.3 Perhaps this claim is less obvious for other disciplines that do not afford a deep time perspective and lack any particular expertise or familiarity with the causal efficacy of material culture in human cognitive life. I should make it clear, then, that not just the size of our brains and the shape of our bodies but our ways of thinking and of socializing are rooted in those elementary gestures of enactive material signification. Line making is just one elementary example of that process. Humans become ‘through a saturated, situated engagement of thinking and feeling with things and form-generating materials’ (Malafouris 2014, 144 italics in the original). I call that process creative thinging and will return to exemplify its meaning below. Suffice it for now to say that from the earliest lithic ecologies to the latest digital ontologies this process is at the heart of human evolution. Humans think by constructing signs, by drawing lines and by leaving memory traces. They do all that primarily by means of their moving bodies, especially their hands. This is not to say that the signs we make or the lines we draw merely ‘represent’ or ‘reflect’ intelligence. The ‘reflected’ intelligence is not hidden away in some separate ‘mental’ realm inside the skull. The moving hand and its material traces do not just externalise the internal workings of a mind. Instead, intelligence is enacted through them; it proceeds along lines and material signs of one kind or another. For instance, the making of a stone tool is not the product of thinking; it is a way of thinking. When we look at a stone tool we don’t simply see the externalization of form, skill or memory; rather we observe how the affordances of stone make possible for human bodies to learn and to remember skills, to sense causality, or to enact intentions. In short, within a lithic ecology, stone tools bring forth and constrain the organism’s possibilities for action and imagination. In that sense the process of thinking is effectively turned inside out. Our forms of bodily extension and material engagement are not simply external markers of a distinctive human mental architecture. Rather, they actively and meaningfully participate in the process we call mind.

This basic idea of a mind not limited by the skin has a long ancestry in various intellectual traditions. We are mistaken, the early pragmatist and semiotician Charles Sanders Peirce reminds us, “to conceive of the psychical and the physical aspects of matter as two aspects absolutely distinct. Viewing a thing from the outside, considering its relation of action and reaction with other things, it appears as matter. Viewing it from the inside, looking at its immediate character as feeling, it appears as consciousness.” (Peirce 1994, 6.268). Indeed, from John Dewey’s ‘transactional’ sense of ‘situation’, to Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy of becoming, to Henri Louis Bergson’s idea of ‘creative evolution’ (1998)[1911]), to the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty (1962, 1968), to the more recent work in ecological psychology of Gibson (1977, 1979) and Gregory Bateson’s (1973; 1979),4 critiques of the oppressive modernist alienation of the mind from the material world have been gathering momentum throughout the twentieth century. Today, the debate continues more intensely than ever, with new theoretical and empirical work on enactive, distributed, embodied and extended cognition (Varela et al. 1991; Hutchins 1995, 2010a; Clark 1997; Chemero 2009; Thompson 2007; Hutto and Myin 2013; Gallagher 2017; Laland 2017).

What then if, trying to answer the fundamental questions about the nature of human intelligence, we start from the assumption that the mind has no a priori location or place of origin? What if, adopting a point of view well supported in cognitive archaeology and anthropology, we assume that the stuff of mind do not exist only inside the head but can be found also, if not primarily, inside the world?

3 Where brain, body and culture conflate
Let me rephrase those questions returning to the example we have started this article with: what if the lines we leave behind in drawing, like the paths we lay down in walking, are marking the mental? Imagine we were to re-describe the process of line-making by focusing on the moment where the pen stops but is still touching the paper’s surface. It seems that, for that single moment, all three aspects of form-making, i.e., the line as gesture, the line as object and the line as a trace co-exist. They are no longer seen as separate, instead, they can be seen as a transformative, constitutive intertwining of neural, bodily, and material recourses. What then if we try to create a theory of human intelligence taking this enactive co-habitation of marks and traces (both neural and extra-neural) as the point of initiation?

Accepting that human thought processes are better described as hylonoetic5 semiotic fields — a mindscape constituted by bodily practices and artefacts— places us in position to restate the problem of the interaction between cognition and material culture. Not just the lines we draw on paper, but also our imaginary lines, those that connect our past with our present and possible future and allow us to become the self-conscious beings we are, exist in the middle space where brain, body and culture conflate: never entirely mental, in the ‘internal’ sense, and never just material, in the ‘external’ sense. Neither mind, in the cognitivist sense, nor matter in the materialist sense. What kind of theory can describe that middle?

Material Engagement Theory suggests a way of looking at, and sets out a possible pathway to approach, this middle in-between space where brain, body and culture conflate (Malafouris 2004, 2013). Grounded in the anthropological archaeology of the mind (Malafouris 2004; Malafouris and Renfrew 2008, 2010; Renfrew 2004; Renfrew et al. 2008; Iliopoulos and Malafouris 2014), the material engagement approach is committed to observing and describing cognitive life as we find it, enacted inside the world by the people of different places and times (past and present). Based on that commitment the material engagement approach comprises some radical ideas, perspectives and epistemic constrains, that allow us to take seriously the materiality of mind-stuff in the way we approach the study of human thought. Below I offer a summary of some major differentiating features.

3.1 On boundaries and mind-stuff: a process archaeology of mind
One important characteristic of the Material Engagement approach that follows naturally from our previous discussion, lies in its conviction that in order to study the cognitive life of any species we need to understand the lines, forms and material traces left or made in the course of it’s becoming. That is, we need to follow the variety of mind-stuff as they fold and unfold, entangle and disentangle, in different temporal and spatial scales of a species’ phylogeny or ontogeny. With mind-stuff I refer to the dynamic ensembles, flows and configurations of matter and energy by which sentient creatures become organized and relate to their surrounding environment and to each other. We should not forget that, what we try to articulate when we use the term ‘mind’, can be better described as a verb. There is no such universal thing as ‘the mind’, rather there is a variety of human (or by extension non-human) ways of thinking enacted by specific bodies in specific situations (historical, social or cultural). What we call mind is a ‘process’ constituted by the continuous recycling and re-organisation of mind-stuff, i.e., a cognitive becoming. Thinking, like form-making, exists in a state of perpetual movement. Minds never stop minding. Minds always become. This applies to every sentient organism but is especially true in the case of humans given the profound plasticity and immense variety of the material forms that we make (Idhe and Malafouris 2018; Ingold 2013).

MET proposes that we can only understand human beings (what is it to be human) by understanding the modes of human cognitive becoming (how human minds become) (Gosden and Malafouris 2015; Malafouris 2015, 2016a, b). These modes of becoming are actualised at different temporal and spatial scales (personal, peripersonal, and extrapersonal) by means of material engagement. That also means that MET, although sensitive to the faster timescales of neural events, is mainly concerned with slower timescales characteristic of human activity both at the developmental and the evolutionary scale (see also Aston this issue). The unhelpful antinomies of mind/matter, nature/culture and people/things now give way to a more productive focus on the ways materiality becomes entangled with our lived experience and thinking. We have a plastic mind, inextricably intertwined with the plasticity of culture. I call that special feature of human becoming metaplasticity (Malafouris 2010a, 2013, 2015). Material Engagement Theory takes this metaplastic recursive relationship between brains, bodies and things as the main analytical unit for the study of human thought processes. Contrary to methodological individualism, that is the view that anything mental must refer to, and is explained by processes internal to the individual, the study of metaplasticity demands an action-centered methodology especially adapted for handling the complexities of human cognitive becoming in a variety of socio-material settings and across the scales of time. As the anthropologist Edwin Hutchins points out “the proper unit of analysis for cognition should not be set a priori, but should be responsive to the nature of the phenomena under study” (Hutchins 2010b, 426). MET provide such a flexible unit of analysis that allows to view the mind as situated within and constituted by the material world rather than merely being about the world.

Perhaps, sometimes, for specific questions and phenomena under investigation, the right boundaries must be closed, narrow and specific. Cognitive neuroscience, to give one example, operates on that assumption focusing on the study of so-called ‘neural’ representations and their complex networks of activation and de-activation human brain. Methodologically speaking, this closure makes good sense if you’re just interested in the human brain and what flows therein, which now can be measured by means of blood oxygen level – dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging. But the narrow substitutional logic of such a reductionist approach embodies a neurocentric attitude that can mislead us to think that all that really matters to study the mind is to understand the nature, formation and processing of internal mental representations. This threatens to turn human cognitive life into a lifeless abstraction. On the contrary, human cognitive life extends beyond skin and skull. As a result, it is important, when we decide exactly how and where to set the boundaries of the cognitive phenomena we seek to investigate, not to “cut lines of interaction in ways that leave key aspects of the phenomena unexplained or unexplainable” (Hutchins 2010b, 426). One of the major challenges for MET is to study the changing nature of those boundaries in the course of human becoming and the role they may have played in determining the possible interactions across the world/body/brain system. . . . continue at Mind and material engagement


Mind and material engagement
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
This extract from the paper I linked above (post #225) -- SARA HEINÄMAA, MERLEAU-PONTY’S MODIFICATION OF PHENOMENOLOGY: COGNITION, PASSION AND PHILOSOPHY -- might quickly open up for non-phenomenologists the distinction MP developed between prereflective (pre-thetic) consciousness and reflective (thetic) consciousness as together grounding and enabling the development and expression of 'mind'.


". . . Husserl explains in the first part of his Ideas that all experience includes primordial belief. [13] Every experience has, in other words, a doxic thetic layer. Merleau-Ponty questions this analysis when describing the bodily bond between the experiencing subject and the world. [14] He argues that experience is basically not thetic, and that the doxic thetic attitude presupposes another kind of relation to the world ([1945] 1995, 242, 396–397, 428–429; [1964] 1975, 28, 36; [1960] 1964, 163). The world is not encountered primarily as an object of a belief act but as an expressing gesture, a face or a figure.[15] These primordial objects are not purely present but appear also as attractive and repulsive ([1945] 1995, 24; [1964] 1975,12).

Merleau-Ponty’s criticism consists of two different but related arguments. First, he claims that Husserl takes for granted the act-object distinction in his description of intentionality. Second, he points out that Husserl treats beliefs and statements as the paradigmatic case of experience when describing intentionality. These two arguments are connected in Merleau-Ponty’s suggestion that if we consider the case of perceiving a face, then intentionality must be described differently: my perception is not an originating act but a response to the call of the face, its attraction or appeal.

The primordial attitudes, or postures, that Merleau-Ponty thematizes are affective attitudes, passions in Descartes’ sense: sensations, sense-perceptions, and emotions ([1945] 1995, 198–199).[16] They have an original intentionality which differs from that of the doxic thetic attitudes (Auffassung-Inhalt, noesis-noema)
(Merleau-Ponty [1945] 1995, xviii,152, 243ff).[17] They do not allow for reduction in the sense of a suspension of the thesis. Or, to put it more accurately, reduction in the sense of suspension cannot be applied at this level for the simple reason that the experience is not (yet) structured as a thesis (scientific or commonsensical). Both the thesis and its suspension presuppose – as their condition of possibility – the affective bonds that tie us to the world ([1945] 1995, 429).[18]

Merleau-Ponty states that it is Husserl himself who led him to realize the autonomy and primacy of non-thetic experience. He points out that Husserl in his manuscript for the second part of his Ideas and in other
unpublished works characterized our natural attitude as non-thetic. {Note: in MP's writing this 'natural attitude' grounds the 'perceptual faith' already established in prereflective consciousness that the surrounding and encountered world is real, actual.} The natural attitude turns into a thesis only in “naturalist” thinking. Thus, the suspending of the thesis in not an operation performed on the natural attitude as such, but an operation performed on the naturalist interpretation of this attitude (Merleau-Ponty [1960] 1964, 163).[19]

So when Merleau-Ponty states that a complete reduction is impossible, he argues that we have bonds to the world that are not articulated as belief-acts or theses and consequently do not allow for suspension (of the thesis).[20] The question then becomes: What should and can be done on this primordial level? In particular, we need to ask what can be done, if we still want to practice philosophy in the phenomenological sense of the word. And this question forces us to problematize our notion of philosophy itself: What is the meaning of philosophy? Does it have to be thought of as explication or reflection? Or can it (still) mean love or wonder, self-criticism and responsibility? This is the topic of the last sections of my article, but before proceeding I want to point out the problems of Dreyfus’s interpretation of the pre-reflective, or pre-thetic. . . ."

ETA: I don't mean to suggest that all that HEINÄMAA has to say in the linked paper is contained in this brief extract. By all means, do read the whole of it. Here, again, is the link:

Merleau-Ponty's modification of phenomenology: Cognition, passion and philosophy
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Further, concerning prereflective consciousness in Husserl, this extract from a paper by Dan Zahavi, "Self-Awareness and Affection":

". . . Husserl does not deny the existence of a pre-reflective self-awareness. But he does deny that this self-awareness can provide us with more than awareness. It cannot give us knowledge of subjectivity. As already mentioned it is also possible to unearth passages where Husserl describes the pervasive pre-reflective self-awareness as a type of inner perception,13 but a closer examination of these texts does not substantiate the claim that Husserl is trying to reduce self-awareness to a type of object intentionality:

1) On the one hand, Husserl's terminology is a relic from his classical investigation of the hierarchy of foundation existing between different types of acts. In contrast to various kinds of presentiating (vergegenwärtigende) acts, such as recollection, fantasy or empathy, perception is characterized by bringing its object to an originary kind of presentation. That which appears in perception is given leibhaftig, and it is exactly this feature which Husserl is focusing upon when he discusses pre-reflective self-awareness. This is brought to light in a passage from Erste Philosophie II, where Husserl writes that the life of the subject is a life in the form of original self-awareness. He then equates this self-awareness with an innermost perception, but adds that it is a perception, not in the sense of being an active and thematic self-apprehension, but in the sense of being an originary self-appearance.14

2) On the other hand, Husserl's (at times rather misleading) terminology can also be taken as illustration of an often noticed tension in his writings. The tension, namely, between his actual and innovative analysis and the more traditional systematical or methodical reflection accompanying it. It was the latter (representing Husserl's self-interpretation) that determined the terminology used, but Husserl's analyses were often more radical than he himself knew of and than his nomenclature ever suggested.15 In the passage from Vorlesungen zur Phänomenologie des inneren Zeitbewußtseins quoted above, Husserl speaks alternately of pre-reflective self-awareness as an inner perception and as an inner awareness (inneres Bewußtsein - one feels the influence from Brentano). As will gradually become clear, Husserl ultimately opts for the latter expression, and much misunderstanding might have been avoided if he had done that from the very start. It is called inner awareness, not because it is a type of introspection, but because it belongs intrinsically to the very structure of the act itself.

But let me return to self-reflection proper. Reflective self-awareness is often taken to be a thematic, articulated and intensified self-awareness,16 and it is normally initiated in order to bring the primary intentional act into focus. However, in order to explain the occurrence of reflection it is necessary that that which is to be disclosed and thematized is (unthematically) conscious. Otherwise there would be nothing to motivate and call forth the act of reflection. This argumentation affirms the founded status of reflection: It presupposes pre-reflective self-awareness. But it also calls for a proper analysis of the very process of motivation.

In Husserl's analysis of the different layers of intentionality, one encounters an important distinction between activity and passivity. According to Husserl, we can find acts in which the subject is actively taking position; acts in which the subject is comparing, differentiating, judging, valuing, wishing or willing something. But, as Husserl points out: Whenever the subject is active, it is also passive, since to be active is to react to something.17 Every kind of active position-taking presupposes a preceding affection:

"Jedes Ich-tue ist Bezogensein des Ich auf ein Etwas, das ihm bewusst ist. Und bewusst muss schon dem Ich etwas sein, damit es sich ihm überhaupt zuwenden kann, und ohne Zuwendung ist keine Betätigung in Beziehung auf dieses Etwas. Die Zuwendung setzt voraus Affektion, aber affizieren kann wieder nur etwas, das bewusst ist, nur das kann auf das Ich einen grösseren oder geringeren 'Reiz' üben.18"

If we follow Husserl a step further in his analysis, he distinguishes between receptivity and affectivity. Receptivity is taken to be the first, lowest and most primitive level of intentional activity, and consists in responding to, or paying attention to that which is affecting us passively. Thus receptivity understood as a mere 'I notice' presupposes a prior affection, presupposes that that which is now brought into focus and consequently ontified, was already affecting and stimulating the ego unnoticed.19 In order to provoke this change of attention, in order to force the ego to pay heed, the affection must however be sufficiently strong, and it is in this context that Husserl analyses the relation between affection and differentiation. That which affects us must be more conspicuous than its surroundings. It must stand out in some way through contrast, heterogeneity and difference, if it is to impose itself on the ego.20 Thus our attention will quickly be aroused if we are affected by something unusual and abnormal, for instance - to use an example of Husserl's - by the smell of gasoline in the ladies room.21 If it succeeds in doing this, that which affects us is given, whereas it is only pre-given as long as it remains unheeded.22

The relevance of this analysis for our present problem is obvious. Reflection is not an act sui generis, it does not appear out of nowhere, but presupposes, like all acts initiated by the subject, like all intentional activity, a motivation. To be motivated is to be affected by something, and then to respond to it.23 That which motivates reflection is exactly a prior self-affection. I can thematize myself, because I am already passively self-aware, I can grasp myself, because I am already affected by myself.24 . . . ."

https://cfs.ku.dk/staff/zahavi-publications/Self-awareness_and_affection.pdf/
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Partially Examined Life podcast - Heidegger - Being & Time


NOTE: I find it preferable to just listen and not pay attention to the slideshow.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
from Aeon ~~

Teppo Felin, The fallacy of obviousness
A new interpretation of a classic psychology experiment will change your view of perception, judgment – even human nature


Are humans really blind to the gorilla on the basketball court? | Aeon Essays


Referenced in the above paper and relevant here:

"SOME PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS FROM THE STANDPOINT OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE" by John McCarthy and Patrick J. Hayes, Computer Science Department Stanford University Stanford, CA 94305

http://www.inf.ufsc.br/~mauro.roisenberg/ine6102/leituras/mcchay69.pdf
I received an alert in my messages that the link in the above post was broken. It appears to work now. Any clarification will be appreciated. Thanks to whoever fixed it.

http://www.inf.ufsc.br/~mauro.roisenberg/ine6102/leituras/mcchay69.pdf
 

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