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2006 - Volume 27, Number 2, Spring

Association Mechanisms and the Intentionality of the Mental

The Journal of Mind of Behavoir, 2006, Volume 27, Number 2, Pages 91–120, ISSN 0271–0137

This paper is an explanation of how the intentionality of perception is due to specific associations of sensations. It describes the intentionality of the mental and the problem that intentionality poses for accounts of the mind. The concept of “direction of fit” or “fulfillment of the act” is central to this description. An amalgamation of various recent interpretations of intentionality into a unified theory is presented along with an account of why even such a unified theory fails to account for direction of fit. The direction of fit of perceptual intentionality is then elucidated as a function of patterns of association of sensations. Objections to this associational manner of conceiving of intentionality are responded to and evidence in support of the overall conception is provided. The paper concludes with a brief explanation of how this characterization of direction of fit applies to other domains of mental activity that exhibit intentionality.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Mark Pestana, Ph.D., Philosophy Department, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan 49401. Email: pestanam@gvsu.edu

On the Temporal Continuity of Human Consciousness: Is James’s Firsthand Description, After All, “Inept”?

The Journal of Mind of Behavoir, 2006, Volume 27, Number 2, Pages 121–148, ISSN 0271–0137

Contrary to James’s emphasis on the sensible continuity of each personal consciousness, our purported “stream,” as it presents itself to us, is not accurately described as having a flowing temporal structure; thus Strawson has argued based on how he finds his own consciousness to be. Accordingly, qua object of inner awareness, our consciousness is best characterized as constituted successively by pulses of consciousness separated in time, one from the next, by a momentary state of complete unconsciousness. It seems at times that one’s consciousness is flowing along, but this is an illusion (a) that is owed to taking continuities of content, across pulses, for continuity in the process itself of consciousness, and (b) that can be overcome by the proper mode of reflection upon one’s consciousness as it is taking place. With reference to James’s original account and to commentaries from Dainton and from Tye on Strawson’s claims, the present article examines the latter claims, and proposes that Strawson errs in how he gives expression to what he observes firsthand with respect to his consciousness. His own introspective reports indicate that what he describes to be states of complete unconsciousness that directly precede and follow each of his conscious thoughts, are actually totally qualified states of consciousness and so they are not stoppages in the flow of his consciousness. Also, Strawson’s special mode of reflection – which he labels “attentive” and speaks of as one’s “reflecting very hard” – likely works not to reveal his consciousness to him but, rather, to prevent his apprehending that “phenomenal background,” (a) which is there, perhaps always, while he is in the general state that we call “awakeness” and (b) of which each of his states of consciousness partially consists, including the purported states of complete unconsciousness he truly apprehends but misdescribes.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Thomas Natsoulas, Ph.D., 635 SW Sandalwood Street, Corvallis, Oregon 97333. Email: tnatsoulas@ucdavis.edu

The Structure of Scientific Knowledge and a Fractal Model of Thought
Jean-Pierre Courtial, Université de Nantes and Rafael Bailón-Moreno, Universidad de Granada
The Journal of Mind of Behavoir, 2006, Volume 27, Number 2, Pages 149–166, ISSN 0271–0137

We begin with a theory of thought as a biocognition not precisely situated in the individual, and still less in the brain alone, but deriving from a shared field of bioinformation. The structure of associations among elements of speech may reflect the structure of this field. Then we demonstrate that the analysis of the structure of the scientific discourse applied within this logic shows the fractal structure of the field of bioinformation. We also show that scientific culture can be interpreted as a cultural model. So, scientific culture would be the elaboration of a cultural scenario in which each human being is another “myself” according to circumstances, an identification making a relationship of aid possible. This aid relationship is governed by an energy equilibrium defined by the cultural scenario, and may be calculated according to fractal theory. The result is a fractal model of consciousness and of the energies at work, whose equilibrium is necessary for the correct functioning of the human being. The consequences are determined concerning the reinsertion of the logic of the culture within the purely objective logic of medicine, in particular that of “giving-receiving” inherent in all cultures, even at the levels of giving birth in the context of modern medicine. We thank R. Ruiz-Banos for a long-time fruitful collaboration in the field of scientometrics.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Jean-Pierre Courtial, Laboratoire de Psychologie, Université de Nantes, BP 81 227, 44 312 Nantes, France. Email: jean-pierre.courtial@univ-nantes.fr

Kuttner and Rosenblum Failed to “Objectify” Consciousness

The Journal of Mind of Behavoir, 2006, Volume 27, Number 2, Pages 167–176, ISSN 0271–0137

Kuttner and Rosenblum’s (2006) presentation of the “only objective evidence for consciousness” is criticized for (1) not adequately defining consciousness (moreover, it is argued that the authors should have referred to the mental processes which they brought into question as working memory), (2) not providing at the outset an explanation of the philosophical-theoretical interpretation of quantum theory that would lead to a direct rationale for their “impossible” (their characterization) quantum experiments, and (3) suggesting that data from their impossible experiments could be treated as non-theoretical “facts.” It is concluded that Kuttner and Rosenblum fail to objectify consciousness.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Larry R. Vandervert, Ph.D., American Nonlinear Systems, 1529 W. Courtland Avenue, Spokane, Washington 99205. Email: LVandervert@aol.com

A Response to Vandervert’s Critique

The Journal of Mind of Behavoir, 2006, Volume 27, Number 2, Pages 177–182, ISSN 0271–0137

We respond to Vandervert’s (2006, this issue) critique of our paper “The Only Objective Evidence for Consciousness” (Kuttner and Rosenblum, 2006) by refuting each of the three points he makes. Namely: (1) he improperly faults our defining of “consciousness”; (2) his complaint that we do not provide “at the outset an explanation of the philosophical-theoretical interpretation of quantum mechanics” misses the crucial point that the evidence we present is wholly empirical; and (3) his claim that we suggest data from “impossible experiments could be treated as non-theoretical ‘facts'” is a misreading of our paper.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Fred Kuttner, Ph.D., Department of Physics, University of California, Santa Cruz, California 95064.


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