RE: Non-sensory experiences

From: Natasha Vita-More (
Date: Tue Nov 06 2001 - 21:57:05 MST


I have to work tonight, but thanks for your reply.

>> The mind [x] is housed in the brain.
>Of course; I'm arguing against empiricism, not materialism.
>> The evolution of the brain is directly connected to sensory input
>> and output.
>Hmm. That one's not as obvious. There's also the Baldwin effect to
>think about.

It seems that discovering flexible systems than inflexible ones pushes
evolution forward, but inflexible systems cause us to stop and ponder.
Popper thought learning was best achieved from making mistakes. If an
animal makes a mistake and tries again and again, it would become more

Why I mentioned the brain: The brain evolved because it needed to survive.
In order to survive it developed more and different sense capabilities for
communication. The brain grew from Reptilian model to mammalian model to
the frontal lobe attachment (cliff notes version.) The evolution needed,
required, and developed more and advanced senses. We are still advancing
our senses.

>> Let's not disregard Popper. I'm not sure if there aren't a number of
>> strata on which to view this subject. Give some discussion examples of
>> newly formed concepts in the mind that have no realtionship to any aspect
>> whatsoever of sensory stimuli.
>Haven't you ever had the experience of not being able to find the right
>words to describe an idea?

Yes, but often it is due to a faulty memory.

> The existence of that experience makes it
>clear that strict Whorfianism is untenable: ideas don't come from words
>(which come from sounds and visual images). Ideas preceed words, which
>are created to expres them. That doesn't rule out the new ideas being
>visual or auditory, etc.; so we have to dig a little deeper. But it
>does show that concepts like "invisible", "silent", and "non-existent"
>are not necessarily formed from the experience of hearing or seeing
>words. Can't a blind physicist argue rationally about sight?

Yes, she can gathering information about sight using braille or by
listening to others opinions of the experience of sight, and/or by being
told what an object looks like and using metaphor, perhaps, to gain a
similar or parallel experience through sound or taste or touch. (Angry
voice is like a loud noise,rough surface, or bitter taste.)

>What do
>you suppose a mathematician does when he generalizes a formula? Does
>he necessarily visualize the formula in some way first, and then
>substitute the image of a variable for a constant? Of does he first
>think the concepts (not the words) "generalize that 3", and then perhaps
>later conjure up an image and a variable name to help him remember? What
>about the built-in concepts an infant has, like "animated", before he can
>ever experience them? Can we not conjecture about extraterrestrial
>life without visualizing any particular form or place?

Here is my thought: It seems that there is a "current non-sensory" (Max
More phrase which he and I agreed upon works for us when aruging this topic
today) experience that helps to explain the state a person experiences when
he or she does not rely on past sense input vs a current (immediate)
conjecture/experience . A mathematician can conjure up a formula in her
head in a present/current experience. However, her ability to
experience/conjure it is based upon her *past* experience of knowing what
the formula looks like. We can conjecture ideas, but usually they are
based on past information. We can conjure ideas in the current without
sensory input, although it seems that the conjectures stem from past
sensory experience.

If a person is born without vision, audition, the sense of touch or feel,
an inability to smell, or to experience balance, that person resides in a
void with only the innate mental programming and the functioning of brain
waves. He cannot hear the outside world, see it, taste it, touch it, feel
it or perceive it through balance. What type of experiences does this
person have?


"I'd rather be inebriated on a classic life than a 1996 classic Merlot."

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:17 MDT