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I know my mind pretty well, and I can assure you there's no module(s) there of any sort (and this is not the kind of stuff about which one might be in a state of denial or delusion, or an object of self-deception, etc.), and unless I've lost my mind or have succumbed to a rather debilitating mental illness, I doubt there's anyone who can claim to know my mind better than me, hence I can tell you 'what's on my mind,' I alone can let you know if I've struggled to 'put it out of mind,' or if it's been 'uppermost in my mind,' or if my mind is wandering, or if I'm feeling absent-minded, or if I can wrap my mind around it, or if I have a mental block, or if I've made up or changed my mind, and so forth and so on. Now there may well be a language 'module' in my *brain*, and I'll concede that others are better placed than me to answer *that* question.


I've got a lot of sympathy with your view (that is, with the view that I'm attributing to you, based on the reading list you attached to your other comment). I agree that it is a mistake to attribute agent-level activities to the brain, and that it is a mistake that is all too common in neuroscience. But I disagree that this entails that there are no modules in the mind. It is true of me (not my brain) that I experience certain dissociations between kinds of mental (not neural) activities. *I* may have a cheater-detection module, from which it follows that I am much better at certain kinds of modus tollens reasoning (concerning social contexts) than others. It is true of *me* that I am susceptible to priming effects (I can't even begin to make sense of the idea that *my brain* is susceptible to priming). And it follows that it is true of *my mind* that it is not transparent to me. When subjects, say, walk slower because they have been primed with aged stereotypes, their *minds* (not just their brains) is the causal mechanism. My mind is the thing that process information and produces behavior. It is not identical to the brain, for all sorts of reasons (for one thing, because it is not confined within the skull). But it certainly doesn't follow that common sense about the mind is correct.

I should like to know how 'modules' are anything other than a figure of speech, and if not, how does one go about providing evidence for their existence? Your mind may not be transparent to you, but self-knowledge is yours and yours alone, no one can possess your self-knowledge, sufficient to prompt the belief that your mind cannot be any less if not more opaque to a third-person. And perhaps some confusion arises when failing to distinguish between the existential knowledge of a mental state, and the theoretical knowledge of same.

That you are aware of experiencing 'certain disassociations between kinds of mental activities,' and, for example, that you are convinced of your susceptibility to 'priming effects' rather suggests to me you possess a rather uncommon degree and kind of mental transparency. Auyang, for example, argues that such things as disassociation and priming take place at an infrastructural level and by definition mental subjects are unaware of this level of operation and hence cannot report on it, so that it is not your mind that lacks transparency, for the mental infrastructure is probed indirectly, with the methods, say, of cognitive science, in third person reports not first person accounting. I cannot know such things directly, so it is not the mind of experience by which I come to know of such phenomena (my conscious states are my experiences) in the first instance:

'To tease apart conscious and infraconscious effects, scientists often ask subjects to perform other tasks and compare results. In one task subjects recall the words on the study list. In another they recognize the learned words from a test list. Both tasks test conscious memory because subjects explicitly acknowledge that they have seen the words. More often than not, deliberate and priming tests yield different results. Subjects who cannot recall or recognize the word "bread" nevertheless produce "bread" more readily in stem completion. Recall reveals conscious memory, primed fluency reveals the infraconscious effects of a previous experience. The difference between them shows that something is operating without our awareness. That something is infrastructural processes.' Mental infrastructure is not equivalent to mind, which it subserves in the form of many infrastructural processes, hence these processes underlie our experience but are not experience as such, so for you to claim that you are susceptible to priming effects is not a knowledge gained through first -person experience (mind and infrastructure being two distinct organizational levels).

As Auyang has explained, our mental efforts 'create information by conferring significance on some chosen physical structures' before we can be said to figuratively 'process information,' and as a person with a mind, I do not so much 'produce behavior' as engage in activity, in actions, which are not equivalent to behavior although they can be described in behavioral terms. (Cf.: a person's consicious states are her experiences and her conscious processes her activities; '[S]eeing and more generally perceiving are experiences, sensing and detecting are behaviors. Behaviors are exhibited by mental and mindless systems alike, but they are not activities.')

I do not experience modularity, as several or many mental faculties often converge on the same object, lending a unity and/or objectivity to consciosness.

With Auyang, commonsense psychological concepts such as see, know, believe, and desire are the foundation on which philosophizing and scientific research develop, and thus if they are not correct, it would seem our philosophy and science have gone awry.

Well Patrick, if you want to identify the mind with consciousness, fine. You can use words any way you like. It's a revisionary way of using words, but that's okay, as long as you make it clear what you're doing. It's an odd usage, because it require you to think of all kind of functional properties as brain properties. Brains, I thought, were physical organs, and consisted of neurons, dendrites, gross morphological units (anterior cingulate and the like) organised in hemisphere. But (unless you want to introduce a level intermediate between mind, as you understand it, and brain) you seem to think that modules (if there are any) are properties of brains, not minds. They are, to repeat, functional units, which may or may not correspond to discrete brain structures. If it guides behavior, on my usage, its mental.

Partly this might just be a disagreement on terminolgy. But your usage has a cost: sometimes we are conscious of items of information and sometimes they are guide behavior without our being aware of them. It seems odd to think that one and the same item can sometimes be mental and sometimes only neural, even though its functional role is the same in both cases.

Not to charitable is it, or perhaps it's simply disingenuous, to claim that I'm involved in a 'revisionary way of using words,' particularly when I think the mental vocabulary that expresses what most people mean by mind, what is derisively and condescendingly called folk psychology, is fundamental to understanding ourselves and others. At the same time, any philosophy of mind worthy of the appellation will rely on terms it crafts to capture its specific theoretical take on things (its technical vocabulary or jargon), compelled only to be forthright and conceptually clear as to the meanings of its conceptual vocabulary.

The distinction between mind and infrastructure makes it plain that there are not identical functional roles here, for the open mind of human beings that is indicative of the mental cappacity by which we experience things, is of a different (and higher) level than infrastructural processes that are causally related to it (and causation goes in both directions, hence we can consider the causal influence of mental processes on neural behaviors). For Auyang, it is the relation of 'emergence' that 'binds' or connects the infrastructural level to the mental level (keeping in mind that 'emergent' properties are not the same as 'resultant' properties). Cognitive science focuses on the former not the latter level, howevever much scientists and others would like to smuggle the vocabulary of infrastructural processes into the language of the open mind and its faculties. Infrastructural processes are not conscious, a distinction with a difference, one reason why 'mind and its infrastructure have grossly different properties, and their characterizations and explanation demand different sets of concepts.' Indeed, mental life 'is conscious and meaningful. It consists of processes that are effortful, flexible, variable in scope, mostly learned, voluntarily controllable, and slow,' while the 'mental infrastructure is unconscious and mechanical in a wide sense. It consists of processes that are automatic, rigidly specialized, narrow in scope, often genetically determined, beyond voluntary control, and fast....' For instance, one's 'visual infrastructural processes respond to optical stimuli but they do not see; they know no meaning and are not informed.' It is analogous to grammar and language, for we do not 'speak grammar,' however indispensable grammar is to language: grammar is causally related to language but grammar does not cause us to speak. Put yet another way: 'The consequences of focal brain injuries show that many infrastructural processes are necessary for normal experiences. It does not follow, however, that activation of an infrastructural process is sufficient to produce an experience.' To be sure, infrastructural processes generate effects, but because 'many infrastructural processes integrate into a conscious experience, the effects of a process may be lost somewhere and hence are not experienced:'

'Infrastructural processes have no congnizance, hence it is wrong to apply to them mental states such as perceive, recognize, believe or speak. However, because they contribute directly to perceiving, believing, or speaking, they are often described in concepts appropriate for the *contents* of people's visual experiences, beliefs or speeches. Linguists use grammatical concepts to characterize linguistic infrastructure because grammar is a feature of what we say. Similarly, scientists characterize visual processes not in terms of seeing but in terms of shapes or other geometric concepts that describe what we see. Grammatical or geometrical concepts objectively describe and explain infrastructural processes in scientific theories in the same sense that geometric concepts objectively describe planetary motions. They capture certain real characteristics of infrastructural processes but they do not imply that the processes know grammar or geometry.'

Please pardon any typos above: it's a bit early and I've yet to have my first cup of tea.

I just finished perusing a 1978 book titled "On Human Nature" by Edward O. Wilson. I am not particularly well read on the subject, but Hauser's book seems to have some interesting parallels. Wilson also wrote a piece for Atlantic Monthly titled "The Biological Basis for Morality". I'm surprised that no one has comapared the two - but perhaps I lack familiarity with the subject.

I´m also more leaned toward the "Humean creature" or the intuitionist view of morality (Haidt), but the ideal of a well educated citizen pursuing justice evrywhere("Rawls creature")is highly compelling.
When we have a detailed depiction of where (fMRI) and when (TMS,transcranial magnetic stimulation)with an anatomical map, the issue of wether are emotions first or sencondary to moral judgement will be resolve.

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