Monday, August 15, 2022

Comments by Nick Drury

Showing 4 of 4 comments.

  • Hi Steve – this is becoming a bit drawn out for me. Although Wittgenstein thought Freud’s psychoanalysis a “foul practice” that’s done “no end of harm”, he was in agreement that it’s a person’s will that gets in the way of understanding – not intellectual argument. Many sciences don’t have experiments – astronomy, anthropology, etc – they are straight descriptive sciences, and every now and then someone comes up with a “fertile new point of view” (Wittgenstein). You and l.e. Cox consider “mind” as a noun; in the new paradigm “mind” is used more as a verb.
    You’ve no doubt heard of “fast” and “slow” thinking – animal intuitions and human social language based thinking. Most of our thinking turns out to be the fast animal kind. Especially relevant is social thinking – we are excellent “mind readers” – we mostly understand each other instantly – there is no interpretation involved in this – think of an obvious example – a friend in pain – Now the Cartesian paradigm gave rise to various ‘Theories of Mind’ – everyone was an imaginary psychologist or anthropologist and understood others by putting their expressions through your theory of mind and your ‘biocomputer’ chugged out “Oh they are hurting”. Now Dreyfus and Dreyfus had a chess grandmaster playing fast chess and at the same time adding numbers delivered at 1 a second. The grandmaster computing ability was taken up with adding – but they still won the majority of games against skilled players – so this shows that you rely on the fast animal intuitions – think of driving, you daydream or have an intense conversation with your passenger. Haidt calls the animal part “the elephant” and the slow social reasoning “the rider”. You can, for example, show the rider an argument for this new paradigm but if the elephant doesn’t want to go there – you’re pissing in the wind.
    Seikkula says he prefers to call open dialogue “a way of life” in preference to calling it a psychotherapy (The Australian & NZ Journal of Family Therapy, 32, 3: 179-193). This fits with this new paradigm – and is where I came in – saying that the relationship (ie ethics) comes first ontology a distant second. [Notice our discussions have focused on questions of ontology rather than ethics].
    I must leave it there – but I will post on other topics on MiA in the future. Thanks for the conversation.

  • Steve – we are somewhat apart on this. Radical enactivism originated in philosophy – (Moyal-Sharrock 2016 – “Wittgenstein today”, the quote “father of enactivism”) – but now it is answering empirical questions. Philosophy comes first in any endeavour that later develops an empiricism. You agree, hopefully, that there is a discipline called ‘Cognitive Science’ that employs thousands of academics in universities around the world, hold conferences, write papers etc etc. Now when a revolution occurs in a science it generally also shakes up some philosophical foundations. For example, it was thought for a long time that just as a bell struck in a vacuum makes no sound, so light must also need a medium to travel through. So the luminous aether was postulated to exist. Then Einstein showed that light waves are different from sound waves in that they don’t need a medium to travel thru. So the luminous aether was dropped from science – a philosophical assumption we found we could do without.
    Cognitive science is currently gripped by papers wrestling with this new paradigm. If you google “4E Cognition” you will find your way to many papers that explain this paradigm far better than I.

  • Hi Steve

    I try to keep my comments very brief. So my bad if I’ve made it appear very shallow. This was a description of radical enactivism – which is all the rage in cognitive science since 2000. It goes way beyond the Cartesian dualism – mind is no longer in the head – but firmly centred in the body. In a way it is the body. People are usually so entrenched in a form of Cartesian dualism that it takes quite a bit to get your head around (ha ha – given that mind is not in the head) this new paradigm. I would suggest some Hutto – although he is a little obtuse at first. I hope to have an article out shortly explaining it for the armchair philosophers.

  • Medicine has made numerous advances since adopting a particular ontological approach since 1800 – see Foucault’s ‘Birth of the Clinic’. Except in psychiatry. Here an ethics first approach is more important. Dethroning ontology is all important. Numerous philosophers have said this (e.g. Wittgenstein, Levinas, even Husserl). For those who don’t understand these terms – I’m saying the relationship comes first in psychiatry – and what a thing (such as the likes of what we call “depression”, “schizophrenia”, “obsessive-compulsive”, etc) is is unimportant. There is ample evidence that when we get the relationship right the ontological problem disappears (or dissipates, or “dissolves like sugar in water” – Wittgenstein).

    For Daiphanous Weeping, you must have a good reason for writing such long replies, but I couldn’t help noticing that you claimed science doesn’t know what emotions are. Yes they do. The enactive cognition approach, which sees “mind” as located in the body, describes emotions as subtle neurological-muscular movements often exhibited as we anticipate events.