RE: Non-sensory experiences

From: Lee Daniel Crocker (
Date: Tue Nov 06 2001 - 16:30:04 MST

> From: Lee Daniel Crocker
> >There really do exist concepts newly formed _in the mind_, and conscious
> processes operating on them that have no foundation in sensory
> input or memory. They are certainly few and far between, but the
> conjectural nature of science and human advancement depend on them.<
> The mind which 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.

> 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? 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? 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?

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC

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