Non-sensory experiences and a Bartley Question

From: Phil Osborn (
Date: Thu Nov 08 2001 - 22:30:01 MST

Concepts of mental operations? The structure of consciousness itself? One could argue that none of these derivative functions could happen without first having sensory experience, but even that is questionable. The mind evolves initially via competitive/cooperative functions that learn to control sensory input via motor output. Eg., the touching of thunb and forefinger in the womb, or thumb sucking by foetuses.

Take away all the sensory references, however, and someone with a well-developed set of mathematical or epistemological concepts could function quite well in a total sensory deprivation environment. How are we aware of these mental constructs internally? We tie them to symbols, language, etc., which are the memories of sensory experience. The question is: are there internal events which could be used for this purpose? Emotions come to mind, although they, too, are composed of sensory events. Are there purely internal events not tied to any sensory input of which we are aware or can become aware?

Biofeedback - control of normally autonomic events such as heart rate - also points to possible examples of such, but is biofeedback just a matter of learning to listen, even subliminally to sensory events that are not directly accessible to consciousness?

Interesting question...

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