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  1. #1
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    Can reason be humanized and remain reasonable?

    Can reason be humanized and remain reasonable?

    The pre-Socratic, which became the traditional view of rationality, was that thinking was essentially contemplative action; thinking was regarded as an unmediated interfacing between the thinker and the object of thought. This tradition also drew a distinct line between theoretical and practical thinking.

    Aristotle considered practical thinking was human action whereas theory was a communion with the divine. Man was considered to be essentially a theoretical being guided by a search for truth. Only when practical concerns were bracketed could this communion take place.

    “It is worth noting that for Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and even Spinoza, desires and passions were not original properties of the human soul but the ‘disturbances’ it suffered as a result of its union with the body and which it could and should constantly endeavor to transcend.”

    The first attack on this traditional view was via Hobbes, refined by Locke and the French Enlightenment. They argued that man was essentially a practical creature constantly in search for happiness. As Voltaire said “the passions are the wheels which make all these machines go”.

    The second line of attack came from Hegel and Kant. Kant said that it was the perceiver that placed order upon the universe and that the knower could not know the thing-in-itself, i.e. reality is out there but we can not know it in any absolute fashion. Reality for us is the reality we create in response to our inner cognitive process driven by the sensations from the world out there.

    Hegel argued that human thought was “culturally and historically conditioned and could not transcend the categories and assumptions of its time.”

    “Marx married liberal psychology to Hegel’s historicism…Human thought was determined by interest…not in individual but in socio-historical terms…Each individual thought, he believed, in terms of the categories characteristic of his class…Such limited and distorted thought Marx called ideology.”

    Ideology is the BIG problem of our times and the BIG question is ‘can the historically naïve traditional theory of the rational model be revised without destroying rationality completely?’ In other words can rationality be recovered from its heavenly haunts and be placed securely and solely within the human world without losing the positive aspect of reason.

    Many humans express this common sense view of belonging to a supernatural world through their religious belief; however, even those who are not religious are often captives of the mind/body dichotomy that is so prevalent in Western philosophy.

    I think that to deal effectively with this paradox we must become sophisticated enough to comprehend its source and to modify it at that point or not at all.

    Cognitive science has introduced a new way of viewing the world and our self by declaring a new paradigm which is called the embodied mind. The primary focus is upon the fact that there is no mind/body duality but that there is indeed an integrated mind and body. The mind and body are as integrated as is the heart and the cardiovascular system. Mind and body form a gestalt (a structure so integrated as to constitute a functional unit with properties not derivable by summation of its parts).

    The human thought process is dominated by the characteristic of our integrated body. The sensorimotor neural network is an integral part of mind. The neural network that makes movement and perception possible is the same network that processes our thinking.

    Quotes from Knowledge and Belief in Politics: The Problem of Ideology edited by Robert Benewick, R. N. Berki, and Bhikhu Parekh

  2. #2
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    Re: Can reason be humanized and remain reasonable?

    confusing if we have no concrete definitions of say,what mind "is"? first i would speculate that mind is not hard wired to body since their exists the synaptic gap?and by simple definition mind means do as your told? thought or instinctive impulse does the telling? instinctive means emotion does the telling needing no thought? therfore it reasons out that mind=emotion? emotion=instinct?instinct=life? life=? see,it always comes down to what is life? it's origin and purpose?
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  3. #3
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    Re: Can reason be humanized and remain reasonable?

    if reason means purpose then if man has an existence outside of experienced bodily purposes then it must follow that the reason outside of the bodily experience is to be different from the reasons inside the body? in a sense if the reasons outside/apart are forgotten,as it were, then surely man would no longer be reason-able in that sense? :
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  4. #4
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    Re: Can reason be humanized and remain reasonable?

    Quote Originally Posted by lexx View Post
    if reason means purpose then if man has an existence outside of experienced bodily purposes then it must follow that the reason outside of the bodily experience is to be different from the reasons inside the body? in a sense if the reasons outside/apart are forgotten,as it were, then surely man would no longer be reason-able in that sense? :

    Physicists began in the early twentieth century to study the inner world of the atom. This world, they quickly discovered, is nothing like our world. Mechanics is the study of effect of force on bodies; this new physics is called Quantum Mechanics. It deals with the effect of forces on the bodies within the world of the atom.

    Newtonian Mechanics deals with force acting on bodies. In our world bodies follow a continuous course when acted on by force whereas in the atom world bodies change position in increments rather than continuously. Bodies in the world of the atom move in quantum leaps and do not occupy positions in an analog manner.

    Physicists are unable to see directly the forces and the bodies within the atom but they have nevertheless developed the knowledge about these matters to the extent that they can very accurately predict the ongoing actions within this atomic world.

    The study of consciousness might be compared with QM. The world of consciousness is directly ‘seen’ only to a very small extent by the subject itself and only very indirectly by the scientists studying consciousness. Nevertheless this subjective world can be studied scientifically just as the world of the atom.

    Antonio Damasio is a scientist who has set out to organize a scientific study of human consciousness. Damasio utilizes a rather unique method that involves careful observation of individuals who have been deprived of some aspects of consciousness because of brain lesions caused by accidents. He studies brain dysfunction caused by such things as strokes and accidents.

    Damasio wrote “Descartes’ Error” in which he focused on brain-injured patients in an effort to comprehend human consciousness. These partially dysfunctional patients help him to locate the area of the brain in which certain elements of consciousness are centered and to observe the patients performance without that particular function. One primary patient observed was Phinaes Gage, a Vermont railway foreman, who suffered sever brain damage in an accident.

    Damasio uses the performance of an orchestra piece whose score is being created during its performance to give us an idea of his theory of the human as a living organism. He speaks of several parallel lines of performance unfolding in time. “Wakefulness, background emotion, and low-level attention will be there continuously; they are present from the moment of awakening to the moment when you fall asleep.”

  5. #5
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    Re: Can reason be humanized and remain reasonable?

    religion trys to tell us there is another realm of existence besides the body and it's senses!? and we naturally assume it means the denial of the body!? but not necessarily so!? i mean any sort of superior knowledge does not negate the inferior knowledge it merely makes it no longer the dominant knowledge!? it offers more in regards to less!?
    if it actually offers an answer/escape from the unknown curtain of death it could be said to be invaluable!? what other question dominates the whole of life either directly or indirectly!? indirectly as we grow up young and vigorous,directly as we approach the end of life thru old age or sudden dangerous events out of our control!? :freak3: :judges: :
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  6. #6
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    Re: Can reason be humanized and remain reasonable?

    Quote Originally Posted by lexx View Post
    if reason means purpose then if man has an existence outside of experienced bodily purposes then it must follow that the reason outside of the bodily experience is to be different from the reasons inside the body? in a sense if the reasons outside/apart are forgotten,as it were, then surely man would no longer be reason-able in that sense? :
    Lexx, that appears(to me) to be the sharpest thing you've said yet.

    You will find the apostle Paul grappling with exactly this same problem in Romans 7:19-23.

    "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members".

    Take away the general religious connotations, and you see something similar to a paper presented by Minski and Papert which points out that the brain works at such a convoluted level that the mind simply cannot grasp its inner workings.

    In effect, the "software" can't alter the "hardware".

    Or as Paul wrote "I can't understand my actions".

    The mind/body dichotomy is created by that very division, a "compression" of an algorithmic process that must depend on such a complex neuronal system that the mind simply cannot reach down into the brain and alter hardware, although there are visualization techniques that enable alterations by simply visualizing certain "successful" behaviors as we look at ourselves on a large video screen actually performing as we wish.

    By process of visualization, the brain's complexity is somehow activated to work toward a comprehensive realization of the image. Maxwell Maltz' s book "Psycho Cybernetics" is an interesting example of this.

    As to retaining the rational and humanity, I tend to agree generally with Kant, that we do interpret reality and make it conform to our image rather than the actual reality, which is why visualization probably works so effectively.

    Anything which can be reduced to algorithms can be programmed into a computer, so that if all truth can be represented by algorithm, there is no need for humanity, since AI can manage all necessary interactions.

    But Godel's theorem cancels this, since there is no way to place all truth into one finite conceptual package.

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