Medical Consciousness And The Voices Of The Mind

Ivan Seeking

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Few problems have had as interesting an intellectual trajectory through history as that of the mind and its place in nature. Before 1859, the year that Darwin and Wallace independently proposed natural selection as the basis of evolution, this issue was known as the mind/body problem with its various and sometimes ponderous solutions. But after that pivotal date, it came to be known as the problem of consciousness and its origin in evolution. Now the first thing I wish to stress this afternoon is this problem. It is easy for the average layman to understand. But paradoxically, for philosophers, psychologists, and neurophysiologists, who have been so used to a different kind of thinking, it is a difficult thing. What we have to explain is the contrast, so obvious to a child, between all the inner covert world of imaginings and memories and thoughts and the external public world around us. The theory of evolution beautifully explains the anatomy of species, but how out of mere matter, mere molecules, mutations, anatomies, can you get this rich inner experience that is always accompanying us during the day and in our dreams at night? That is the problem we will consider in this symposium. [continued]
http://www.julianjaynes.org/pdf/jaynes_mind.pdf [Broken]
 
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selfAdjoint

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Could we define Jayne's bicameral theory as the two homunculi theory? Not one but two imaginary little observers in your head, sometimes talking to each other, sometimes not.
 
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Have you had a chance to read '...Breakdown of the Bi-Cameral Mind'?
 
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Ivan Seeking

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As for the bicameral mind, no; in fact I figured it would take me a few weeks to come up with an intelligent response to selfAdjoint's comment. :biggrin:
 
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Ivan Seeking said:
As for the bicameral mind, no; in fact I figured it would take me a few weeks to come up with an intelligent response to selfAdjoint's comment. :biggrin:
I would recommend checking out that book, it was really interesting. If you like this article then you'll like the book.

I thought self adjoint was being a bit cryptic too, but then I looked up homunculi on wikipedia and found Homunculus . Maybe he has something, though I doubt it would actually formulate well with what Jaynes was suggesting, then again it just might. It would make for a good inquiry into mythology and psychosis!

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After reading through the wikipedia on homunculi, I found this:
Very few people would propose that there actually is a little man in the brain looking at brain activity. However, this proposal has been used as a 'straw man' in theories of mind. Gilbert Ryle (1949) proposed that the human mind is known by its intelligent acts. He argued that if there is an inner being inside the brain that could steer its own thoughts then this would lead to an absurd repetitive cycle or 'regress':

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The example of Ryle's theory demonstrates another aspect of the Homunculus Argument in which it is possible to attribute to the mind various properties such as 'internal reflection' that are not universally accepted and use these contentiously to declare that a theory of mind is invalid.
I guess I know what selfadjoint thinks! ouch! :cry:
 
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selfAdjoint

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polyb said:
Do you ever get tired of saying that? :tongue2:



I would recommend checking out that book, it was really interesting. If you like this article then you'll like the book.

I thought self adjoint was being a bit cryptic too, but then I looked up homunculi on wikipedia and found Homunculus . Maybe he has something, though I doubt it would actually formulate well with what Jaynes was suggesting, then again it just might. It would make for a good inquiry into mythology and psychosis!

_______________________________________________

After reading through the wikipedia on homunculi, I found this:


I guess I know what selfadjoint thinks! ouch! :cry:
Oh naw, I was just havvin' a little fun! :devil: I leafed through Jayne's book when it first came out, in the long gone marvelous Kroch's and Brentano's bookstore on Wabash in Chicago. I found it very interesting. AFAIR Jaynes, a psychiatrist, started from trying to find a naturalistic explanation for voices in the head of his patients. Following the ideas of the sixties that mental illness was not a defect but a social category he came to think the problem was not: Why do these patients have voices, but rather: Why do "normal" people not have voices. Following this idea led to envisioning a time in history when everybody had voices, seeing that as a first stage of consciousness, and explicating modern consciousness as a collapsed version of this bicameral mind.

As such I woudn't be shocked if research confirmed it, but I can't imagine what that research might be. And if it were confirmed would it indeed kill the anti-homunculus belief which you quote? The present day homunculus, the "observer" of our thoughts and sensory input, could be a structure derived as the collapsed inner god of the other "chamber".
 
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Isn't the homunculus proposition a bit remeniscent of Maxwell's demon?
 
Do we each have our own homunculus or do we all share the same one ???
 
I'm not quite sure that I agree with his ideas of what constitute consciousness and thinking. Other than that it's an interesting idea. It makes me wonder how much of the "God part of the brain" theory came from this. When I listened to the author of the book "The God Part of the Brain" in interview he seemed to make very similar sorts of arguements.
 

Ivan Seeking

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Bystander

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Jaynes: Caution! Spoilers!

p. 17 --- discusses reticular formation (reticular activating complex) as the source, root, basis, of consciousness, and dismisses it as "too old."

p. 216 --- "How Consciousness Began" rings the big bell on the crackpot meter, Sagan's baloney detector, and other flim-flam indicators; it can be more or less summed up as an admission that his argument hasn't got any basis in fact, and appeals to the reader to develop some provenance or proof for the previous 200 pages of nonsense.

Couple paragraphs worth excerpting, not worth the price of the book, and not worth violating copyright:

p. 55 --- actually seems to be taking an analytical approach toward making a problem statement.

p. 427 --- some interesting comments re. schizophrenia.​

Arguments are generally inconsistent: Moses leads the exodus "post-breakdown," but delivers the Mosaic law(s) pre-breakdown. Demolishes the Homeric history of Troy, then depends heavily on the Homeric descriptions of "godly" interventions as evidence for "the bicameral mind" (pandemic schizophrenia).

p. 289 --- evidence that Bill Gates had a hand in resetting the type for the edition I wasted money on --- "grisly" (unless Jaynes was a total illiterate) has turned into "grizzly."

Mariner edition, 2000, (Houghton Mifflin), ISBN 0-618-05707-2, includes an afterword written in 1990. Not worth the time or money.
 

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