Re: Explaining Mind II

From: Zero Powers (
Date: Mon Mar 06 2000 - 21:04:40 MST

>From: Robert Owen <>
>Summing up one position I happen to endorse:
>"Mind" is the origin of "thoughts" or intrapsychic conceptual
>structures. It is possible to focus attention of the "thought"
>OF "Mind", but since "Mind" qua "Mind" is not a "thought" it
>cannot be a constituent of any cognitive experience.
>For this reason, it cannot as such be designated by any term
>in a description of experience.
>The word "Mind" is simply used to designate the necessary
>and sufficient Reason for the experience of thoughts. In
>this sense it is a logical construct, and it is unnecessary to
>argue about whether "Mind" exists or not. It is an explanatory
>principle, and as such inexplicable.

I think the Buddhists deal with it fairly well. In Buddhist thought
*nothing* can be precisely described by human language, simply because
language is an attempt to describe immediate subjective experience using an
obliquely shared set of symbolic verbal constructs.

The term "foot" may suffice for everyday conversation such as to convey
experiences such as "my foot hurts." But the word "foot" does not
necessarily mean the same thing to all people. To you does "foot" emcompass
toes? How about the ankle? If so, how far up? Where exactly does the foot
end and the leg begin? In actuality there is no such thing as a foot.
There are human bodies and in our Western scientific tradition we attempt to
dissect the whole into its constituent parts for purposes of measurement and
analysis. But even the "standards" we use to measure with are, ultimately,
artificial semantic constructs of human language.

If such "problems" present themselves in the attempt to define a foot, I
don't suppose there is much use in trying to define "mind" in any
transcendent (or even precisely accurate scientific) sense.



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