Volume 22, Number 1, Winter
Much epistemological theorizing is the attempt to specify what makes for meritorious cognition, but epistemologists have not, despite meritorious effort, achieved unity when it comes to picking out the feature and principles that are distinctive of epistemic normativity. In this essay we explain why this is the inevitable outcome. We isolate important but overlooked variations in the link between epistemological theorizing and the idea of epistemic unification, and then argue that much epistemological theorizing is misguided because it aims toward complete epistemic unification when only partial epistemic unification, at best, is possible. But our arguments — based on work in moral epistemology and philosophical psychology — stop short of epistemological eliminativism, and thus we stake out a middle ground between philosophers such as Descartes, the earlier Alston, Audi, and the earlier BonJour on one hand and Rorty, Fish, and Patricia Churchland on the other.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Mitchell R. Haney, Ph.D., Department of Humanities, Missouri Western State College, 4525 Downs Drive, St. Joseph, Missouri 64507 or Herman E. Stark, Ph.D., Department of Humanities, South Suburban College, 15800 S. State Street, South Holland, Illinois 60473.
It is argued that a radical relocation of subjectivity began several thousand years ago. A subjectivity experienced in the centric region of the heart, and in the body as a whole, began to be avoided in favor of the eccentric head as a new location of subjectivity. In ancient literature, for example in Homer’s epics, the heart and various other bodily organs were described as centers of subjectivity and organs of perception for spiritual experience and communion with others and the world. Mind and body were integrated. But also in the early historical record, as in the Old Testament, the heart and body were increasingly described as rebellious and rejected as impure. Head and heart, mind and body, became estranged. The body was judged an unsuitable, impure vessel for spiritual experience. This change in the location of subjectivity presaged the later development of Platonic, Gnostic, Christian, and Cartesian distinctions favoring mind over and against the body. It may also have contributed to some of the characteristic psychological and pathological processes (e.g., psychosomatic illnesses, repression, narcissism) currently attributed to the psychology of the modern Western, and specifically, North American self.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Richard E. Lind, Ph.D., P.O. Box 548, Springfield, Missouri 65801–0548.
This and the planned next article of the present series mine the wealth of reports and astute discussions of states of consciousness contained in William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience. Thus, I bring out further arguments in favor of the kind of understanding of consciousness4, or inner awareness, that, as it happens, James explicitly opposed in The Principles of Psychology. The alternative, appendage kind of account that James advanced there for consciousness4 stands in marked contrast to intrinsic theory: by requiring that having inner awareness of any mental-occurrence instance must take the form of a separate mental-occurrence instance directed on the first. Intrinsic theory holds instead that every conscious4 mental-occurrence instance possesses a phenomenological structure that includes reference to that very instance itself.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Thomas Natsoulas, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616–8686. Email: email@example.com
The right hemisphere syndrome refers to various disturbances in patients’ relationships with space and body due to right hemisphere lesions. While the psychological aspects of this syndrome have been discussed at length in the literature, the relevance of the Lacanian psychoanalytic notion of specular image (the image that is acquired from the mirror phase and permits the subject to identify with a whole body image while being unaware of his or her real body) has not yet been considered. The present study is an attempt to evaluate, in a case report, whether the right hemisphere syndrome has subjective coherence regarding the pathology of the specular image. The patient described here exhibited anosodiaphoria, hemineglect, and personification of his hand. From the words and self-portrait of the patient, gathered during semi-directive interviews, we concluded that the patient’s specular image was split into an “hemi-injured” image and an object-like hemibody deprived of its symbolic value. In this case, anosodiaphoria and hemineglect seem to contribute in different ways to the repression of this intrusive appearance of the real body.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Stéphane Thibierge, Ph.D., or Catherine Morin, M.D., LEAPLE (CNRS, UMR8606, Paris V), 7 rue Guy Moquet, BP8, 94380 Villejuif, France.
This essay argues that Spinoza’s metaphysics offers a theoretical framework for dissolving the conceptual gap in contemporary consciousness studies. The conceptual origins of the gap have their roots in Cartesian substance dualism. If phenomenal experience is conceived as substantially distinct from correlated physical processes in the brain, an explanatory gap opens in our understanding of the mind/body relation. Spinoza’s metaphysics offers an ontology that preserves the qualitative difference between phenomenal experience and physiological processes while conceiving the ultimate numerical unity of mind and its correlated physical processes. The notion of qualitative difference within substantial unity is deduced from Spinoza’s redefinition of the basic features of the Cartesian universe: substance, attribute, and mode. Redefinition results in a property dualism that is internally consistent and dissolves the conceptual gap in contemporary consciousness studies. This paper identifies and explains the central argument for qualitative distinction within substantial unity and recommends a framework for consciousness studies that views phenomenology and neuroscience as complementary disciplines.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Fred Mills, Ph.D., Bowie State University, Department of History and Government, 14000 Jericho Park Road, Bowie, Maryland 20715–9465. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shamanism: The Neural Ecology of Consciousness and Healing
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 2001, Volume 22, Number 1, Pages 103–106, ISSN 0271–0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.]Readers of The Journal of Mind and Behavior (JMB) will most probably be familiar with the following quotation, taken from James (1902/1958):
. . . our normal waking consciousness . . . is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness . . . . How to regard them is the question, — for they are so discontinuous with ordinary consciousness . . . they forbid a premature closing of our accounts with reality. (p. 298)
James is one author not cited by Michael Winkelman in his extensive study of shamanism (Shamanism: The Neural Ecology of Consciousness and Healing). This is not necessarily a fault (he does list 502 sources in his bibliography!); a plausible reason is that it is only from a Western perspective that these other forms of consciousness, or altered (or, alternate) states of consciousness (ASCs) seem to be so discontinuous from everyday experience. The point is, that when viewed cross-culturally, as Winkelman does, ASCs are by far not an isolated occurrence. In this book, he is able to make a very clear case for the ubiquity of such ASCs, suggesting that an anthropological approach should be coupled with a neurobiological one, in order to better elucidate the phenomena, the shamanic path of knowledge inherently tied to these phenomena, and the psychobiological bases and dynamics associated with shamanistic experience and healing.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Joseph Glicksohn, Ph.D., Department of Criminology, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, 52100, Israel.