Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Psychotechnic Theory Of Mind

"'Dad's work was mostly in mass-action psych...but he has plenty of associates trying to understand the individual human being as a functioning mechanism. A lot's been learned since Freud, both from the psychiatric and the neurological angle. Ultimately, those two are interchangeable.'"
-Poul Anderson, The Psychotechnic League (New York, 1981), p. 196.

Similarly, in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, Hari Seldon's psychohistory addressed the galactic population but his Second Foundation also develops expertise in individual psychology.

Are "the psychiatric" (or psychological) and "the neurological" interchangeable? (See also here.) Not exactly. An account of an externally observed cerebral process and an account of an inwardly experienced mental process are not the same account. Minds are neither reducible to nor independent of but emergent from interactions between particles - I think.

4 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I think you are touching here on the ancient mind/body problem which so many philosophers and theologians have wrestled with for many centuries. And one on which I am thoroughly unqualified to comment. If my memory is correct Mortimer Adler discussed this issue in THE DIFFERENCE OF MAN AND THE DIFFERENCE IT MAKES Meridian: 1973).

    Sean

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  2. Sean,
    This is the mind-body problem. A body and brain are a human being as perceived by others whereas that human being's consciousness is his/her perceptions of everything else so it should not surprise us that the body and brain are qualitatively different from the consciousness.
    Paul.

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    Replies
    1. Kaor, Paul!

      And I'm sure many philosophers have pondered problems like HOW consciousness/self awareness could arise from this union of the mind and body. And I'm sure many other related questions and problems were discussed by thinkers.

      Sean

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  3. Sean,
    Here is my best attempt: mobile marine organisms were naturally selected for sensitivity to environmental alterations; organismic sensitivity quantitatively increased until it was qualitatively transformed into conscious sensation; then, sensation was naturally selected because pleasure and pain have survival value; cerebral processing changed mere sensations (e.g., feeling hot) into perception of discrete objects (e.g., that is hot); implicit in perception is the subject of perception (e.g., I perceive that that is hot).
    Paul.

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