Arien Mack, Editor
Presents an obituary for ethicist Hans Jonas.
The article elaborates how neurobiological processes in the brain cause consciousness. Consciousness means those subjective states of sentience or awareness that begin when one awakes in the morning from a dreamless sleep and continue throughout the day until one goes to sleep at night or falls into unconsciousness. Conscious states are caused by lower level neurobiological processes in the brain and are themselves higher level features of the brain. The key notions here are those of cause and feature.
The article examines Martin Heidegger's critique of Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl's and John Searle's account of intentionality. Searle points out that the experience of acting is phenomenologically distinguishable from the experience of being acted upon. He said that the distinction between mind and world, what Husserl and Heidegger would call the distinction between subject and object, is built directly into the logic of acting. Heidegger questions phenomenological claims of the sort that accompany Searle's analysis of the logic of perception and action.
Presents the author's observations on the return of the unconscious. Opinion on the discovery of the unconscious; Concept of an irresistible belief; Association between the unconscious and psychoanalysis.
The article discusses the structure of knowledge, abilities and skills. There are some types of knowledge/ability/skill that cannot be transferred simply by passing signals from one brain/computer to another. In these types of knowledge the hardware is important. There are other types of knowledge that can be transferred without worrying about hardware. There are four kinds of knowledge/abilities/skills. These are symbol-type knowledge, embodied knowledge, embrained knowledge and encultured knowledge. The Turing Test is a controlled experiment. Exactly what intelligence means under this approach depends upon how the test is set up.
The article discusses a case against various theses in the contemporary philosophy of mind called materialist. Descartes' mind-body dualism may be summarized as the position according to which a human being comprises two essentially distinct substances, namely the body and the mind. Today, we encounter a similar debate between Cartesian dualism and mechanistic materialism. The general intellectual impetus toward the formulation of coherent materialist accounts of the mental properties of human beings is both cogent and persuasive, and it is shared by every modern thinker who has attempted to counter the Cartesian dualist story.
The article discusses the theory and concept of human cognitive evolution. Humans are the only minds in nature that have invented symbols. Cognitive science is broadly divided between the artificial intelligence (AI) tradition, which builds symbol driven models of mind, and the neural net tradition, which develops models of simulated nervous systems that learn without using symbols, by building hologram-like memories of experience. A neural net is basically a diffuse tabula rasa network of randomly interconnected memory units which learns from environmental feedback. AI models, on the other hand, depend on having preordained symbolic tools given to them by a programmer.
The article discusses a social psychological theory of mind and consciousness. Early in this century, the social philosopher G. H. Mead developed a broad if quite preliminary theory of the nature of the human self. His approach tackled head on many of the issues that are now hotly debated: the structure and process of mind, consciousness, meaning and the relationship between the individual mind and group process. His theory traces in outline the reciprocal influence of social structure and culture on the growth and maintenance of individual consciousness. What was problematic about Mead's theory from its beginning was its high level of abstraction.