apolliana: (Default)
It's a dogma of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that emotions surreptitiously house beliefs, which beliefs when shown to be false or unjustified will defuse said emotions. For example, if I conclude from stubbing my toe that "I am clumsy and inept and no good at anything I do," and proceed to feel terrible about myself, the Cognitive Behavioral Therapist will aim to show me that this belief generalizes beyond my evidence.

My feeling terrible about myself, then, seems irrational because it rests on an unjustified belief. Troubling emotions need not always be the result of epistemic irresponsibility, however; in other cases, an emotion might remain troubling precisely because one does not have the evidence that would support the belief that might defuse it. In this way it does not reflect irrationality, but a less-than-ideal epistemic situation. I will call emotional defeaters beliefs that, for a given instance of an emotion, if the subject came to hold them through accumulating adequate evidence, would defuse the emotion. These inferential connections an emotion has--the facts that, being true, would defuse the emotion--need not be evident to the person experiencing the emotion until they are made clear by the subject acquiring the evidence and coming to hold the belief.

Not all troubling emotions, then, are the results of faulty inferences. Some are the result of imperfect access to the facts. I conclude that though emotions are not equivalent to beliefs, they may sometimes be causally dependent (irrationality case), or inferentially dependent (emotional defeater case) upon beliefs about the way the world is. And these dependencies need not be transparent to the emoting person. Sometimes they are dependent upon unjustified beliefs, but often they are not--they are dependent upon justifiably refraining from believing what isn't justified.

(My evolving position on what emotions are: events or processes, which do possess inferential connections to beliefs, and which perhaps dispose one to make certain value judgments, but which are not themselves to be analyzed in terms of beliefs (generally) or beliefs as value judgments. Like perceptual illusions, emotions may persist in spite of the defeat of beliefs that we believe to contradict them, and in spite of the subject holding value judgments that seem to contradict them. In the former case, the emotion might well be an indication of an imperfect epistemic situation (a sign that one does not know all one needs to know), and in the latter, it might well be a sign that one's value judgment isn't accurate.)
apolliana: (Default)
I ran across this post the week before last, on the avoidance of responsibility enabled by self-deprecation. And immediately I thought of Richard Moran's analysis of weakness of will, and other failures to take the deliberative stance.

From the blog post:

"Call it the "I'm such an asshole" speech or call it strategic self-deprecation, the end goal is always the same: deflect women's anger.....

"These guys figure that if they say truly awful things about themselves, they'll force their partners to cease the search for legitimate discussion and turn to the more traditionally feminine role of soothing male anxiety."

(Aside: the author assumes this is particularly something men do with women, and it may be, though I don't see why it has to be. The many commenters suggesting that appearance-based self-deprecation functions in the same way are wrong, however. Though feeling excessively miserable about one's appearance might deflect anger, it does not do so in the same way as claiming one's character is rotten does. Unlike the latter, the former does not attempt to make it look as if actively managing one's life is an impossibility for the person exhibiting it. Thinking you look like crap is not a character flaw for which one is failing to take responsibility by treating it as an incontrovertible fact.)

Here's Fred Vincy & Mary Garth:

Fred: “I wouldn’t have hurt you so for the world, Mary,” he said at last. You can
never forgive me.
Mary: “What does it matter whether I forgave you? said Mary, passionately.
“Would that make it any better for my mother to lose the money she has
been earning by lessons for four years, that she might send Alfred to Mr.
Hanmer’s? Should you think all that pleasant enough if I forgave you?”
Fred: “Say what you like, Mary. I deserve it all.”
Mary: “I don’t want to say anything,” said Mary, more quietly; “my anger is of no
use” (Middlemarch, Ch. 25).

One might notice a slight difference: namely, that Fred seems to be encouraging Mary's anger rather than trying to defuse it. But the goal--to avoid actually figuring out what to do about the mess he's gotten himself into--is also present in the cases the blogger describes. Anger is superfluous, after all; it's goal is to get the person who's messed up to take a more active stance in dealing with what they've done. If it's not going to accomplish that, it's pointless, as wise Mary Garth can see.

And this is an instance of the broader problem Moran sees with adopting the 'empirical'--or 3rd personal--stance in situations in which a commitment, deliberation, or other effort of the will is called for. These things are active, not passive. They determine one's will; and insofar as they do so they must be seen as possibly subject to change. Even if one admits with Frankfurt that some features of one's will are unchangeable, as features of one's will they must be able to be affirmed as such, rather than simply self-defeatingly proclaimed. Saying "I'm terrible, awful, and rotten" is not the same as saying "I'm terrible, awful and rotten; and that's all I want to be." For all the wantonness that it indicates, in the latter, at least, the will is active.
apolliana: (Default)
"Time is a necessary representation that grounds all intuitions. In regard to appearances in general one cannot remove time, though one can very well take the appearances away from time. Time is therefore given a priori. In it alone is all actuality of appearances possible. The latter could all disappear, but time itself (as the universal condition of their possibility) cannot be removed” (Kant, CPR, B46/A31).

Strawson imagined a world without space. Why not, rather, imagine a world without time? Would it similarly bode ill for the possibility of thought about mind-independent objects? Or would it perhaps have the opposite effect--make it such that thought could only represent objects as oddly disconnected from the mind thinking about them? If so, it would seem to be a lesser shortcoming than the inability to think of things as independent from the mind.

Imagine a world with no time. You must set aside the problem that your imaginings of the no-time world take time; we'll come back to that later. The no-time world is a spatial expanse. It may contain whatever entities you like, but they cannot come into being, pass away, or move. It may contain sounds; but they too are instantaneous and frozen. Perhaps it's better to say it may contain 'sound.' (There would in fact be no particulars individuated non-visually.) It is difficult to determine the expanse of this world, as that would require moving through it, which we cannot do. We must either imagine a limited expanse seen from a normal, grounded perspective, or a less limited expanse seen from above.

Could we have a conceptual scheme resembling our own in such a world? Could we have a conceptual scheme that allows for distinct but simultaneous instances of the same universal? The answer to the second question appears to be affirmative. Imagine there are 100 rabbits in the no-time world. There seems to be no problem with saying they are all rabbits. There is invariably simultaneity, since there is only one moment.

What, if anything, do we lose in such a world? We would lose all of the properties of which objects demonstrate possession by changing--i.e., by moving around, being poked, prodded or experimented upon. Unless the observer is imagined to be omniscient, the properties objects have would be only those that are immediately observable; objects would have far fewer properties. The content of a thought about this world would be a report of the things it contains. This suggests that the structure of such a thought would be different from our own. The no-time world, after all, contains no actions or processes, no verbs; and therefore, no agents. None of the concepts we have that include actions or dispositions to react to things in a certain way would be available.

A thought about this world would have the structure of an instantaneous list. Since a list cannot truly be instantaneous, it might better be thought of as a picture--an image. The inhabitant of this world, at the instant that she exists, grasps an image portraying all that the world contains. How she comes to know the 100 rabbits and their locations instantaneously is unclear; she will be epistemically superb--perhaps like a super version of Sherlock Holmes whose deductive capacities are both hard-wired and deliver literally immediate results.

Could thought as we know it really be possible in such a world? Thought, after all, is usually discursive, something that unfolds in time; it is not usually best represented by an unmoving image. But as there would be no reason to suspect that the predicates "is" and "exists" would be lost, we could still form propositions describing this world--providing we do so instantaneously. Spatial demonstratives could be used; although they would not be able to be used for reidentification of things. There would be no need to keep track of objects (or sounds or mental states, or days), for the same reasons.

It is a simpler world. The more difficult question about this world is whether we can make sense of anything recognizable as thought taking place in it. If the imagined instantaneous picture-knowing imagined above is coherent, the answer is yes. What is less clear would be the sense in which the instantaneous picture-thinking mind would be related to the world it pictures. We can conceive of it having a body and being located at a point in space; but what could it know about its own body without having time to discover it in. What it would know would be what is immediately perceivable. It would not, therefore, be a 'self' with memories and a history. Nor would it be able to have knowledge concerning regions of the world it doesn't currently perceive. Time is needed, it seems, to house spatial particulars too. Without the ways of exploring the world and determining our relation to its contents provided by time, together with space, the mental life--if we can call it that--of the perceiver in the no-time world, is hard to imagine. It seems strange even to call a 'mind' something with no knowledge of its own history or stream of current thoughts. Such a mind would be a mirror of nature only. While a world with no space might preclude objectivity, a world with no time, might, in a sense, preclude subjectivity.

Total losses for the no-time world: events (including audible events and mental events), causation, actions, dispositions, agents, unperceived spatial particulars, memory and personal histories, reidentification.

Total wins for the no-time world: simultaneously instantiations of the same universal, mind-independent particulars.
apolliana: (Default)
I was reading along in Individuals, when I came across as passage that stated the way I'd been thinking of the Generality Constraint. I thought I was perhaps seeing what I'd been primed to see, as this passage was a footnote to an argument against what he calls the "no-ownership" or "no subject" view of the self (the view that there is no subject of mental states--that there seems to be is only an illusion); but it is indeed the passage Evans cites when he introduces the Generality Constraint.

Strawson says, "When I say that the no-ownership theorist's account fails through not reckoning with all the facts, I have in mind a very simple, but in this question a very central, thought: viz. that it is a necessary condition of one's ascribing state of consciousness, experiences, to oneself, in the way one does, that one should also ascribe them, or be prepared to ascribe them, to others who are not oneself" (99).

The footnote:

"I can imagine an objection to the unqualified form of this statement, an objection which might be put as follows. Surely the idea of a uniquely applicable predicate, i.e. a predicate which belongs to only one individual, is not absurd. And, if it is not, then surely the most that can be claimed is that a necessary condition of one's ascribing predicates to a certain class of individuals, i.e., oneself, is that one should be prepared, or ready, on appropriate occasions, to ascribe them to other individuals, and hence that one should have a conception of what those appropriate occasions for ascribing them would be; but not, necessarily, that one should actually do so on an occasion.

"The shortest way with this objection is to admit it, or at least refrain from disputing it; for the lesser claim is all that the argument strictly requires, thought it is slightly simpler to conduct it in terms of the larger claim. But it is well to point out further that we are not speaking of a single predicate, or merely of some group of other predicates, but of the whole enormous class of predicates such that the applicability of those predicates or their negations defines a major logical type or category of individuals. To insist, at this level, on the distinction between the lesser and the larger claim is to carry the distinction over from a level at which it is clearly correct to a level at which it may well appear idle and possible senseless.

"The main point here is a purely logical one: the idea of a predicate is correlative with that of a range of distinguishable individuals of which the predicate can be significantly, though not necessarily truly, affirmed (99)."

In the context of the section of the chapter in question, Strawson is talking about mental predicates, e.g., 'is in pain." So it is clear that he doesn't think it should make sense to say that, e.g., a rock is in pain. He is concerned with explaining why mental predicates are properly applied to persons, rather than to unminded bodies or disembodied minds. I'm happy to accept that if I can sensibly self-ascribe a mental state, it will be logically possible to imagine ascribing it to other subjects to which mental predicates may be ascribed.

Strawson's argument against the no-ownership view is that if it makes sense to ascribe a mental state to oneself, it makes sense to ascribe them to others, in principle. And the no-ownership theorist is committed to ascribing mental predicates to himself insofar as he talks of "my experiences" as things that can't properly be ascribed to a self.
apolliana: (Default)
I'd been thinking that one argument Evans might but doesn't make for his requirement that to successfully refer to yourself using 'I' you must possess the ability to locate yourself in space is the following: without space, there would be no other selves and thus no need to distinguish between yourself and other entities.

This of course is implicit in what he says about Strawson's "Sounds" chapter, where Strawson himself concludes that although we can achieve an analogue of spatial distance in the sound-world via the master-sound, we can't as easily make sense of distinguishing between oneself--Hero, hearing the sounds--and other entities. (And very possibly one reason it makes more sense to do this in a spatial world is that we can close our eyes and thus separate ourselves from the things we see.)

I had been thinking this, without knowing that Strawson himself suggested such a thing, at the opening of the subsequent chapter, "Persons":

"We drew a picture of a purely auditory experience, and elaborated it to a point at which it seemed that the being whose experience it was--if any such being were possible at all--might recognize sound-universals and reidentify sound-particulars and in general form for himself an idea of his auditory world; but still, it seemed, he would have no place for the idea of himself as the subject of this experience, would make no distinction between a special item in his world, namely himself, and the other items in it. Would it not seem utterly strange to suggest that he might distinguish himself as one item among others in his auditory world, that is, as a sound or sequence of sounds? For how could such a thing--a sound--be also what had all those experiences? Yet to have the idea of himself, must he not have the idea of the subject of experiences, of that which has them? So it might begin to look impossible that he should have the idea of himself--or at any rate the right idea. For to have the idea at all, it seems that it must be an idea of some particular thing of which he has experience, and which is set over against or contrasted with other things of which he has experience, but which are not himself. But if it is just an item within his experience of which he has this idea, how can it be the idea of that which has all of his experiences? (Individuals, 88-9).

This is an argument to the conclusion that the no-space world is solipsistic. If there is no space, there will be no use for 'I.' We might also infer that if there is a use for 'I', there is space. It would seem to be a further step that one be able to locate oneself within that space.

Evans is also concerned to explain how our indexicals and demonstratives link up with the objective world. And thinking about ourselves as positioned in the objective world, he thinks, requires knowing something--which, I believe, is actually quite minimal--about where in that world one is. I take this as roughly meaning that one has the capacity to use a map, even if one doesn't currently have the knowledge it would bestow upon one. It is the requirement that one be able in principle to link up one's egocentric space with objective space. This might have the consequence that small children who do not yet possess this ability do not refer to themselves in quite as rich a way as adults do (if indeed we wish to describe it as successful reference), but that it a consequence that seems correct.
apolliana: (Default)
"if Hero is to think of unperceived particulars existing simultaneously with, and in relation to, perceived particulars, he must have simultaneous spatial concepts, and not those that turn essentially upon change" (Evans, "Things Without the Mind," Collected Essays, 290).

"...It is not the opposite of Capgras syndrome, but a natural consequence of the same cause: a loss of the sense of a unique whole. Such 'delusional misidentification' applies not only to people, but to objects: another patient of mine began a vendetta against someone who, she believed, had entered her bedroom and changed all her clothes for copies of a slightly inferior quality. It can even apply to places: one individual held that there were eight 'imposter' cities, duplicating his own, and said he had spent the last eight years wandering between them, without finding the real one. There were also eight duplicates of his wife and children, each duplicate living in a separate duplicate city with a double of the patient" (McGilchrist, The Master and His Emissary, 54).


1. Objects in the World of Sounds

In "Things without the Mind," Evans examines Strawson's famous exploration in Individuals of the possibility of a world wherein the only sensible qualities are sounds. This is an indirect way of testing whether we need space, as well as time, in order to have a conceptual scheme recognizable as our own--a conceptual scheme in which "it is logically possible that such [auditory] items should exist whether or not they were being observed, and hence should continue to exist through an interval during which they were not being observed" (Strawson, Individuals, 72) . (Of course, in reality, sounds do require space in order to travel; but if one lost vision and touch, the world one would thereby inhabit might seem purely auditory and spaceless.) Both Evans and Strawson think a thought experiment of this kind shows that space, or something that performs the role of space in allowing for simultaneous instances of the same universal, is in fact necessary for a conceptual scheme like our own, though Evans thinks Strawson makes his argument--to the extent that it is an argument, and not simply an exploration--weaker than it could be through the use of a sound against which to locate all other sounds, the "master-sound." The master-sound, Evans thinks, is too obviously weak, as it does not allow for a distinction between qualitative and numerical identity, in the following way.

Imagine that you are the person Evans calls Hero (the 'hero' of our tale about the sound-world), who inhabits the purely auditory world. How do you tell whether the sound you hear at time t1 is the same sound you heard at t0? There is, in the background, a single continuing master-sound, which changes in pitch; other sounds can be 'located at' different pitch levels of the master-sound, with which they correlate. The pitch-level of the master-sound, and your memory of the other sounds and the pitch-levels of the master-sound with which they correlated, is your only 'landmark.' There is, Evans thinks, no way of deciding whether a sound S2 is a new instance of a previous sound, or another sound altogether. Is it "one of those" again, a token of a certain type, or a distinct entity? As sounds occur in serial order, Hero can never directly compare two sounds to say whether or not they are of the same type. Further, he can never say they are completely identical. They aren't; they occur at different times. The patient with right-hemisphere brain damage in my second epigraph seems to suffer from the inability to consider identical two 'instances' of a person, or a place; City at t1 and City at t2 are, for him, different cities. Inhabitants of the normal world do not usually suffer from this problem, however, as we have the ability to think about objects continuing to exist, and to be the same individuals, though some of their observable properties may change. (McGilchrist believes that this dysfunction points to a role for the right hemisphere of the brain in recognizing and reidentifying individuals.)

The largest part of Evans's essay is taken up with an attempt to say what is necessary for a conceptual scheme that allows for simultaneous instances of the same universal. Someone who lives in a purely serial, purely auditory world, he thinks, will not develop a theory that allows for primary, non-relational properties of objects. That is, the auditory world can only tell you about what exists insofar as you hear it; you are a Berkeley-an ear--the world is only what you can hear of it. Both Strawson and Evans gesture at ways one might draw conclusions about where sounds might be when one isn't hearing them (one sound drowning another out, for example), but neither think they're very compelling. Sounds don't really seem to demand such a theory. The spatial world--at least insofar as we see it--does. Evans does not make explicit why he thinks this is so, but I think the implied answer is, distance--particularly visual distance. If something can get farther away, yet remain itself, surely it can go out of view and remain itself. But while this feature of our visual world seems to prompt the development of a naive physical theory in which unperceived objects can continue to exist, Evans seems not to want to tie concepts of primary properties of objects to any one sensory modality. For this reason the congenitally blind can have such concepts; if primary properties are not limited to connection with a single sensory modality, it shouldn't matter whether one modality is lost: "it is no more possible to have a purely sensory concept of hardness than it is to have a purely kinaesthetic conception of what it is for one's legs to be crossed, or to have a purely muscular conception of the motion of one's body, or to master the concept of electricity solely by learning to recognize electric shocks" (270).

An inhabitant of the auditory world would have no reason to believe sound 'objects' exist when no one is around to hear them, since he has no concepts of 'primary' sound properties--properties not inherently dependent on their being heard. This, roughly, is Evans's conclusion.

2. Objects in and of the Mind

What conclusions from the sound-world can we draw about the way we identify and reidentify our own mental states? It seems, few, as we are not inhabitants of such a world; we do have access to things we more properly call 'objects.' The problems that plague Hero--not being able to distinguish numerical from qualitative identity, not knowing whether or how to divide a process into distinct events--still arise insofar as we aim to identify particulars to which others have only indirect access, and which we know mainly in serial order. But I don't think we need be so deeply troubled as Hero might be (or as we ought to be on his behalf), for this is not the whole of our world.

For bodily sensations, emotions, and thoughts, minus any references they make to the outside world, one will have to decide, based upon one's purposes, whether to consider Sensation1 and Sensation 2 instances of a single type. Since they occur at different times, they will never be thoroughly identical. But it is much less problematic for normal humans not trapped in a purely auditory universe, as we can simply borrow and adapt our ordinary ways of handling instances of universals, to suit our purpose. There is no reason we cannot refer demonstratively to our mental states (this pain, that sadness).

Keeping track of them makes slightly less sense, however. One can make successive reports tracking the continuation, increase or decrease of some sensation (e.g., anxiety), but--absent rigorous Buddhist training--it's hard to see what it could mean to 'keep one's eye on it' in the same way one keeps one's eyes on an object in one's visual field. (However, the 'keeping track of' function is not so literal with indexicals: one doesn't keep one's eye on the day with 'today' in anything like a literal sense.) If I keep my eye on my current mental state and note that the anxiety has lessened, it seems what I'm keeping my eye on is not my anxiety, but my current mental state. I can't follow the anxiety offstage and see where it's gone. (Sensations are not like rabbits.) Thus the 'reidentification' of mental states can never be literal, as it can be with rabbits and other space-occupying entities. I might identify another instance of a state I've experienced before, and I may say--"it's that otherworldly feeling again," but it is not literally, numerically, the same feeling. So talk of reidentification will only be of state-types. The only thing one can continuously monitor is one's current mental state, and that is too vague to admit of reidentification.

Sensations, thoughts, emotions and sounds are not--obviously--the only particulars in our universe, if indeed we wish to call them particulars at all. They are dependent upon the persons in whom they are located, and we refer to them as particulars, rather than as instances of types, very rarely. In what sense, then, can we refer to them on an Evansian view? In Varieties of Reference, mental states are treated in the chapter on self-reference, so I believe the idea would be that we refer to mental states as states of persons. This will say enough to position a mental state referred to non-demonstratively in the objective world. It will also say enough to refer to someone else's mental state demonstratively ('that otherworldly feeling you keep having'); you need to know it's mine, and that I've had it on certain past occasions. For demonstrative reference to one's own mental states, it is less clear whether to use the requirements on the use of the indexical 'I' to refer to oneself, or the requirements on using 'this' and 'that' to refer to objects. In any case, the stricter of the two sets, the requirements for 'I,' would probably be met, so long as one possessed the ability to locate oneself in some way in space; the information- and action-links are clearly fulfilled if in fact the states to which you're demonstratively referring are your own mental states, barring complicated multi-brain cross-wiring cases.

Objectively speaking, mental states will be located at the persons whose states they are. This requirement seems reasonable enough, as we can't conceive of mental states occurring outside of minds. We will not be able to say, "If you were to go to position x [Bob's mind], you would experience sadness," however, as they are not events everyone can view in the same way; though perhaps we can say that if you go to Bob, you can discover sadness there."

apolliana: (Mum)
That the content of dreams might be nonconceptual is suggested by the regularity with which I remember them, but cannot describe them, even to myself. I find myself saying things like,

"It was a tree, but also a house; and you were there, but you were also Bill Clinton, and then you disappeared; and we were in a theme park, then airport, then country house in Italy, and everyone was naked and on drugs."

And invariably the description will seem to miss the experience. This happens with descriptions of ordinary experiences, too; but dreams even moreso because of the apparent inability of the scenery and characters in dreams of fitting into conceptual categories. There's no question that "it was a tree, but also a house" will fail to miss what it was like. The strange superimposition of things in dreams takes care of this. Places and people are often composites; and the way in which they are composited is difficult to describe. It's possible that some cognitive attitudes come in here: "knowing" the identity of someone in a dream, while in fact they look like someone else.

But perhaps we might want to say there are concepts in play, but they don't fit things properly because the relevant things are ambiguous and mutable. But such are my paradigm cases of nonconceptual content: the object in the dark room that looks suddenly too strange for recognition. In that case there is something you're looking at, but it does not immediately present itself to you as falling into a category smaller than 'something.' The content of the experience, phenomenologically, is an indeterminate object. In dreams it's a raging river of them.

But is "an indeterminate object" nonconceptual? Object individuation is partly involved; a thing can be discerned. Can it be distinguished from all other things? Only partly, as the perceiver doesn't know what it is. Is a thought about it Russellian? Yes; where there is no thing, there is no thought, regardless of the indeterminacy of the object. However, when the thing is perceived in proper lighting, the previous thoughts about it as indeterminate will lose their force.

Very often I decide the content of one of my dreams cannot be the content of a thought. I give up on describing it. I decide whatever it was doesn't suit the content of a thought; whatever the thought purports to be about is not the sort of thing to sustain the thought. There is no thought there. Perhaps the combination of fluid ambiguity and being past-tense (not something I'm presently looking at) renders the content of dreams less thought-apt than even the vague object in the dark. Perhaps this is because demonstratives don't work in dreams (or in past-tense accounts of them). We cannot use 'this', 'that', 'I', and 'here' where none of those work as they normally do. Demonstratives themselves are undermined in a world that cannot be still. Even if the properties that won't be still are conceptualizable properties, demonstratives--which do not seem to rely on concepts--rely at least on their stability, or on at least a backdrop of stability, so that if the object itself is not stable at least the environment is.

Do dreams have nonconceptual content? They have content, which is not apt to be the content of thoughts. But it is less apt to be the content of thoughts than the content of indeterminate experiences, as demonstratives don't quite work. And it is less apt to be the content of thoughts than non-indeterminate experiences, because the qualities of things that go along with their conceptualizable properties aren't stable. But the sense in which the contents of dreams cannot be contained in the contents of thoughts partly parallels the sense in which the same is true of non-ambiguous experience, of which the detail, the experience, cannot be conveyed. But in dreams there's nothing else. So many a dream-thought turns out not to have been a thought at all.
apolliana: (Mum)

An illustration from Craig, B. (2009). "How do you feel--now? The anterior insula and human awareness." Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 10(1), 59-70. The caption reads: "When salient moments occur rapidly, the number of global emotional moments increase during that time and, as a consequence, subjective time dilates."

I have apparently stumbled upon the Next Big Thing in "Consciousness" Studies innocently looking for material on interoception (awareness of bodily sensations)--which, it seems, lives in the insula. The author of this paper makes a grand case for the role of the insula in "awareness" generally. Occasionally these neuroscience papers contain unexpectedly neat turns of phrase or illustrations--albeit with none of the supporting conceptual argument I expect as a philosopher: e.g. "music (viewed as a rhythmic temporal progression of emotionally laden moments)" (same paper: 62), or the anxiety theory term "looming vulnerability."

This particular image captures my favorite thing in life--moments when time stops. Or the way I, anyway, seem to dwell in those moments long after they've passed; indeed, to live there, to find them my home. Because, perhaps, there is (are?) more of me in them.


apolliana: (Default)

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