Monday, June 26, 2006

"Lacking the Machinery"

"There are those who argue that people can never understand consciousness. The mystery is too deep. Colin McGinn, a philosopher from Rutgers University, argues that because our brains are products of evolution, they have cognitive limitations. Just as rats and monkeys cannot even conceive of quantum mechanics, humans may be prohibited from understanding certain aspects of existence, such as the relation between mind and matter. He says that for humans to grasp how subjective experience arises from matter might be like "slugs trying to do Freudian psychoanalysis--they just don't have the conceptual equipment." Consciousness, in other words, may remain forever beyond human understanding."

From one of my favorite sites, Cyberarts .

1 comment:

mr .waggish said...

I love that this position is called "new mysterianism." From wikipedia:

"Owen Flanagan noted in his 1991 book Science of the Mind that some modern thinkers have suggested that consciousness might never be completely explained. Flanagan called them "the new mysterians" after the rock group ? and the Mysterians. The term originated with the Japanese alien-invasion film The Mysterians. The "old mysterians" are thinkers throughout history who have put forward a similar position. They include Leibniz, Dr. Johnson, and Thomas Huxley. Huxley wrote, "How it is that anything so remarkable as a state of consciousness comes about as a result of irritating nervous tissue, is just as unaccountable as the appearance of the Djinn, when Aladdin rubbed his lamp.""