The significance of Common Sense
A quote from Ellis D Cooper’s Dictionary of Consciousness
Stephen C. Pepper – World Hypotheses, A Study in Evidence – 1966 – University of California Press
“[ extract only] Our evidence, we showed, indicates that every item of common sense is a dubitandum, a matter that ought to be doubted in the sense of being subject to rigorous critical scrutiny, but this very same evidence indicates that the totality of common sense itself, is, so to speak, not a dubitandum. It is a well-attested fact. All evidence points to it as the ultimate source of our cognitive refinements, and as the lowest legitimated level to which cognition could sink should these refinements fail.”
[IMOW – what is known is more than the sum of any facts, in fact the individual facts may be doubtful, and the “conclusion” still true. The holism / emergent property / fractal angle. Compare with the Searle vs Pinker debate.]
Also an intriguing definition of cognitive science : “Cognitive science is the scientific study of the aspects of mind which are governed by finite sets of rules for the formation, transformation, and destruction of information”. [IMOW – in addition to the finite vocabulary issue, note “destruction” consistent with my “reification destroys knowledge” again.]
Diito consciousness : “Consciousness is the overcoming of difficulty”. seen this before somewhere, but cannot locate. “mind as a system for overcoming problems”
Free thinking moment ?
Physio-mechanical hard-wired mechanisms – feedback / causal connections / mechanistic behaviour.
Electro-chemical hard-wired mechanisms – feedback / causal connections / reflex stimulus response behaviour.
Sub-conscious mental soft-wired mechanisms – stimulus response behaviour learned and pre-conditioned by culture / environment.
Conscious mental soft-wired mechanisms – world view model and symbolic (?) memory brought to bear on decision making response.
Higher / other states of consciousness ?
As with my three-layer view – it’s the interfaces betwen these “levels” that seem interesting. eg
Adaptation of physio-mechano-electro-chemical levels from re-inforcement of learned responses.
Neurone connectivity /re-connectivity.
Implication that “harder problem” requires more conscious resource, not always true.
Switch-off / think about something else for a while / sleep on it etc ?
Subconscious has resources not necessarily available to the conscious.
Difficulty of defining the conscious aspect of “consciousness” – awareness / subjectivity
The levels do not build additively, however spookily close to Pirsig’s levels of moral values / Maslow’s hierarchy of needs etc. ?
A new higher level builds on the lower levels, sets the rules and drivers for changing / improving lower levels, must not undermine / short-circuit lower levels, lower levels must not constrain or direct higher levels. I may have spotted this link in reverse working from Lila – must check his descriptions, and my previous blog entries on Pirsig.
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