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Re: [xmca] Consciousness "only a part of the material quality of the man-sign"

On Sat, 26 Sep 2009, Martin Packer wrote:

To forge a link to Tony's post from Pierce, I think also proposes that humans are ideal, or to be more precise become ideal in ontogenesis. Rather like saying a human is a sign. But that's a big topic.

It is a big topic, but it happens to be what I am working on right now, and it is intimately involved with understanding consciousness. Here is a key paragraph from the same lecture notes as my earlier post (this paragraph is also partially excerpted in the Colapietro ebook page following the one Andy quoted from):

7.591. Enough has now been said, I think, to show a true analogy between a man and a word. I dare say this seems very paradoxical to you; I remember it did to me, at first. But having thought it over repeatedly, it has come to seem merest truism. A man denotes whatever is the object of his attention at the moment; he connotes whatever he knows or feels of this object, and is the incarnation of this form or intelligible species; his interpretant is the future memory of this cognition, his future self, or another person he addresses, or a sentence he writes, or a child he gets. In what does the identity of man consist and where is the seat of the soul? It seems to me that these questions usually receive a very narrow answer. Why we used to read that the soul resides in a little organ of the brain no bigger than a pin's head. Most anthropologists now more rationally say that the soul is either spread over the whole body or is all in all and all in every part. But are we shut up in a box of flesh and blood? When I communicate my thought and my sentiments to a friend with whom I am in full sympathy, so that my feelings pass into him and I am conscious of what he feels, do I not live in his brain as well as in my own -- most literally? True, my animal life is not there but my soul, my feeling thought attention are. If this be not so, a man is not a word, it is true, but is something much poorer. There is a miserable material and barbarian notion according to which a man cannot be in two places at once; as though he were a _thing_! A word may be in several places at once, Six Six, because its essence is spiritual; and I believe that a man is no whit inferior to the word in this respect. Each man has an identity which far transcends the mere animal; -- an essence, a _meaning_ subtile as it may be. He cannot know his own essential significance; of his eye it is eyebeam. But that he truly has this outreaching identity -- such as a word has -- is the true and exact expression of the fact of sympathy, fellow feeling -- together with all unselfish interests -- and all that makes us feel that he has an absolute worth. Some one will ask me for _proof_ of this. It seems to me that I have already given both the proof and the confirmation. The whole proof is very long but its principal _lemmas_ were these: 1st, "What is man?" is an inductive question in its present sense; 2nd, The inductive explanation is only the general expression of the phenomena, and makes no hypothesis; 3rd, Whatever man is he is at each instant; 4th, At each instant the only internal phenomena he presents are feeling, thought, attention; 5th, Feelings, thought, attention are all cognitive; 6th, All cognition is general, there is no intuition; 7th, A general representation is a symbol; 8th, Every symbol has an essential comprehension which determines its identity. The confirmation I offered was the fact that man is conscious of his interpretant, -- his own thought in another mind -- I do not say immediately conscious -- is happy in it, feels himself in some degree to be there. So that I believe that nothing but an undue ascendency of the animal life can prevent the reception of this truth.
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