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Re: [xmca] Consciousness, Piaget

I don't know how I'm to have a heated debate with Andy when he keeps going to bed in the middle of the day! This was written for/to him, and he can read it when he wakes up, but I need to send it before I go to bed, or the flux will leave me all washed up.

My sources inform me that MEC dates from 1908, when Lenin had read neither Hegel nor Kant. He had of course read Marx carefully and with insight, and he was able to get up to speed very rapidly when he did read Hegel's Logic. I am sure that MEC is full of rich insights - but I don't think this way of writing about Cs can get us very far.

Don't forget that in the Crisis LSV used Lenin's "epistemological formula" (that what is material is what exists outside Cs) to argue that Cs itself is material! His argument is that "self-consciousness is the consciousness of consciousness. And consciousness can exist without self-consciousness." I am less impressed by the success of this application of the test than I am by LSV's goal. To argue that Cs is material is impressive and thought-provoking. I actually think that LSV was actually correct, but the fact that he could put Lenin's test to this use surely shows the latter's shaky nature.

For example, to write that material reality is what exists independently of Cs is really misleading. At the very least we need to add immediately "but Cs does not exist independent of material reality." Lenin writes as though Cs were not a property of material beings. Cs emerges in certain kinds of material organization; this is hardly its "independence."

I actually think Kant would have been proud of Lenin. After all, in Kant's view Cs can contain things-as-they appear; things-in-themselves must always lie outside Cs. As you well know, Hegel rejected this as specious nonsense.

I've tried to stay out of this thread, because it's a difficult topic and I'm no philosopher (though I can't seem to put their damned books down!). But my 2 cents, for what they'll buy, are that one needs to begin with an acknowledgement that Cs is, as I said in my last message, relational. I don't mean by this that it is a relationship between mind and matter, I mean that Cs is a relationship between matter and matter. I think we'd all agree that Cs is a property, an aspect, only of living organisms. I completely agreed with your earlier post, Andy, that Cs is not simply present or absent but is a matter of degree or type. My favorite Hegel is the phenomenology, which is a story about the education of Cs over time. So not all living organisms have the same kind of Cs, and humans don't all have the same kind, of have one kind all their lives. Cs develops. But it is always to be found in interaction between organisms (material) and other material stuff.

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