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

Thanks, Larry!

These back-and-forths do get a bit exhausting!  But I think the issues here are of fundamental importance: they are at the heart of LSV's project for a new psychology. If we can't get these figured out, what progress can we make??


On Nov 26, 2014, at 10:38 AM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> Martin, Andy, Huw
> I have just read your extended thinking process as a drama being "played
> out" and presented to us *readers*.  I wanted to express my appreciation
> with the care and concern you have explored the notions of "appearance" and
> "illusion" [I also would include  "imaginal" as having a family resemblance.
> To myself this "exchange" is the best practice that XMCA offers to myself
> as I participate as a "reader" in this word/play.
> I am now *reading* that a key difference is the notion of consciousness as
> "sometimes" an  illusion OR "always" an illusion.
> A question that matters to me is if "consciousness *is* imaginal?"  and if
> "the imaginal *is* real?"
> As a *reader* participating in our interpretive community, I
> experienced [imaginatively??] this process AS "unfolding" here and now.
> I experienced this *dialogical exchange" among passionate persons as real
> AND imaginal. [Both, not either/or]
> This exchange may be *read* as dispassionate and distanced [reflective] but
> I was not *reading* from this disposition. I was inside the conversation.
> Word/play as rhetorical persuasive dialogue AND scientific exchange. [both
> not either/or]
> Thank you for this experience
> Larry
> On Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 7:16 AM, Martin John Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co
>> wrote:
>> 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.