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[Xmca-l] Re: Fate, Luck and Chance



Crisis is a text about methodology, Andy, so yes, LSV's central question is how to study consciousness. (His answer is through Analysis, as you know.) But the issue he addresses is how to study consciousness as an objective process. Not as an illusion. Consciousness is an objective process that *sometimes* can *give rise to* illusions.  

(Psychology is "like any other science" but is "unlike physics">>>??)

Martin

On Nov 26, 2014, at 10:06 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> I have to go bed now, Martin, so xmca-ers will be relieved of my nagging voice for 8 hours or so, but ...
> 
> The point is: *how* do you study consciousness, which is, after all, the subject matter of psychology. History and atomic physics face the same problem. None of these sciences (or any science actually) have unmediated access to their subject matter. You would have heard the epigram that "physics is the science of meter readings". So, like any other science, psychology has to reconstruct the illusions which are its subject matter from knowledge of the objective processes which produce the illusions, unlike physics and history which aim to eliminate the illusions and rec9onstruct the objective processes.
> 
> Consciousness is an illusion, but I am not deluded in believing that I experience consciousness.
> 
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> 
> 
> Martin John Packer wrote:
>> Yes, Andy, we're in agreement on the need to distinguish between what is appearance and what is reality. And on the proposal that science studies reality, in order to explain appearances. Where we appear to disagree is that in your interpretation, LSV claims that consciousness is an illusion. In my interpretation, consciousness is an objective process, and so can be studied scientifically. Surely the central argument of Crisis is that psychology should be the scientific study of consciousness, properly understood as a material process? If LSV had argued that consciousness is an illusion, he would not have suggested that we can study it, would he? Only that we could *explain* it by studying objective processes. 
>> Martin
>> 
>> On Nov 26, 2014, at 9:47 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>> 
>>  
>>> Exactly! There is a difference between the objective processes (which can be studied by science) which produce, or as you say, yield the illusion and the illusion itself. That is the *whole* point. To deny this difference in the name of "embedded consciousness" or rejecting "some kind of mental process" as "mysterious" is to retreat into absurdities. We *do* indeed experience consciousness (i.e. mental processes), i.e., we experience illusions, but these illusions arise from objective, material processes which we can understand and study. But the illusion *in itself*, the product, cannot be studied scientifically. And for the same reason - that is, that the illusions arise from from objective material processes, they are *useful guides to those material processes* for the beings which enjoy those illusions and have to live by them.
>>> 
>>> Vygotsky calls them "phantoms". Do a search on "phantom" in that web page.
>>> 
>>> Andy
>>> 
>>> 
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Huw Lloyd wrote:
>>>    
>>>> It may not be clear to foreign readers.  When I read the english phrase, "one has only to apply the formula to see what is the matter", I understand it as "one has only to apply the formula in order to see what is wrong with it".
>>>> 
>>>> This seems quite consistent with LSV's follow on point about separating direct experience from knowledge.  In terms of studying consciousness a useful distinction could be made between the system yielding consciousness at any given time and the experience of consciousness itself.  (Note that I don't consider these to be distinct things, but rather distinct foci).
>>>> 
>>>> Huw
>>>> 
>>>> On 26 November 2014 at 14:13, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>   In physics we try to eliminate the subjective factor from what we
>>>>   perceive as an object. In psychology, when we study perception it
>>>>   is again required to separate perception as such, as it is, from
>>>>   how it seems to me. Who will study what has been eliminated both
>>>>   times, this /*appearance*/?
>>>> 
>>>>   But the problem of appearance is an apparent problem. After all,
>>>>   in science we want to learn about the /*real*/ and not the
>>>>   /*apparent*/ cause of appearance. This means that we must take the
>>>>   phenomena as they exist independently from me. The appearance
>>>>   itself is an /*illusion*/ (in Titchener’s basic example:
>>>>   Muller-Lyer’s lines are physically equal, psychologically one of
>>>>   them is longer). This is the difference between the viewpoints of
>>>>   physics and psychology. It /*does not exist in reality*/, but
>>>>   results from two non-coincidences of two really existing
>>>>   processes. If I would know the physical nature of the two lines
>>>>   and the objective laws of the eye, as they are in themselves, I
>>>>   would get the explanation of the appearance, of the illusion as a
>>>>   result. The study of the subjective factor in the knowledge of
>>>>   this illusion is a subject of logic and the historical theory of
>>>>   knowledge: just like being, the subjective is the result of two
>>>>   processes which are objective in themselves. The mind is not
>>>>   always a subject. In introspection it is split into object and
>>>>   subject. The question is whether in introspection phenomenon and
>>>>   being coincide. One has only to apply the epistemological formula
>>>>   of materialism, given by Lenin (a similar one can be found in
>>>>   Plekhanov) for the /*psychological subject-object*/, in order to
>>>>   see what is the matter:
>>>> 
>>>>   the only ‘property’ of matter connected with philosophical
>>>>   materialism is the property of being an objective reality, of
>>>>   existing outside of our consciousness ... Epistemologically the
>>>>   concept of matter means nothing other than objective reality,
>>>>   existing independently from human consciousness and reflected by
>>>>   it. [Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism
>>>>   <http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1908/mec/five2.htm#bkV14P260F01>]
>>>> 
>>>>   Elsewhere Lenin says that this is, essentially, the principle of
>>>>   /*realism*/, but that he avoids this word, because it has been
>>>>   captured by inconsistent thinkers.
>>>> 
>>>>   http://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/crisis/psycri13.htm#p1371
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>   Andy
>>>> 
>>>>   ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>   *Andy Blunden*
>>>>   http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>>>   <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>   Martin John Packer wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>       Where does LSV say that consciousness is an illusion, Andy?
>>>> 
>>>>       Martin
>>>> 
>>>>       On Nov 26, 2014, at 8:58 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
>>>>       <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>                   No, no! And we are close to agreement here!
>>>>           LSV says that consciousness is an illusion, and science
>>>>           does not study illusions, but that this illusion arises
>>>>           from the "noncoincidence" of two objective, material
>>>>           processes, physiology and behaviour, both of which can be
>>>>           studied by science (just as light rays and the things
>>>>           reflected by light rays can), therefore we can study
>>>>           scientifically how these illusions arise and how they
>>>>           mediate human activity! This is called psychology. I
>>>>           completely agree with Vygotsky. Don't you?
>>>> 
>>>>           Andy
>>>>           ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>           *Andy Blunden*
>>>>           http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>>>           <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>           Martin John Packer wrote:
>>>>                             Andy, LSV argues in Crisis that a science does not,
>>>>               cannot, study illusions. Science studies what actually
>>>>               exists, and in doing so seeks to *explain* how
>>>>               illusions occur. Science studies the real candle and
>>>>               the real mirror, in order to *explain* how an image of
>>>>               a candle appears in the mirror.
>>>> 
>>>>               By saying that consciousness is an illusion, you
>>>>               appear to be suggesting that it cannot be studied
>>>>               scientifically. Or perhaps you find some flaw with
>>>>               LSV's argument?
>>>> 
>>>>               Martin
>>>> 
>>>>               On Nov 26, 2014, at 8:21 AM, Andy Blunden
>>>>               <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>                                         Huw, don't misunderstand me. By saying
>>>>                   "consciousness is an illusion" I am saying
>>>>                   something very positive about it. It is an
>>>>                   illusion which proves more or less adequate for
>>>>                   guiding my activity, just as for example, my rear
>>>>                   vision mirror is adequate for guiding my driving,
>>>>                   because I am "educated" about mirrors. It is
>>>>                   useful I think to frankly say that consciousness
>>>>                   is an illusion - an illusion with survival value
>>>>                   for humans - because it opens a point of agreement
>>>>                   between the positivists and the psychologists. We
>>>>                   both can say "consciousness is an illusion." OK,
>>>>                   let's discuss that.
>>>> 
>>>>                   But consciousness differs from a material process
>>>>                   like stimuli-response, that is, an unmediated
>>>>                   relation between an organism and its environment,
>>>>                   between physiology and behaviour. This is what the
>>>>                   neuroscientist typically overlooks. We say "yes,
>>>>                   the mediating element is just an illusion, which
>>>>                   is why you can't find it, but hey! it's a very
>>>>                   useful illusion." :)
>>>> 
>>>>                   Andy
>>>>                   ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>                   *Andy Blunden*
>>>>                   http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>>>                   <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>                   Huw Lloyd wrote:
>>>>                                                     I would concur with Andy that 'mysterious' is
>>>>                       not useful, but I'd say
>>>>                       Andy's use of 'illusion' has this problem too,
>>>>                       because any such illusions
>>>>                       are materially manifested.
>>>> 
>>>>                                      
>>>> 
>>>>                      
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>        
>>>> 
>>>>      
>> 
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>>  
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