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I came across this quote the other day:

 

"Faith lives on the very boarder of atheism, sees itself there and understands it, and atheism lives on the border of faith and understands it." (M. Bakhtin; 'Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics,' p. 176)

 

I have noticed that the rhetorical style often used on this site is very similar to that used by fundementalists - making you substantailly the same in many respecte. I am curious what ex-X'ns think about this statement and the quote above. Do you think that atheism can exist without faith or vice versa? Can each have any self-understanding without the other? What is the nature of this interrelationship?

Best,

Jimmy

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It could mean that you have to have faith in your positon to be atheist. It could further mean that to have exclusive faith means holding an atheistic position with regard to other religion. If so, then the first idea would be false, in that it does not require faith for one to not believe anything. If I were never introduced to the idea of god, what faith would I require to not believe? For that matter, what faith would I require to not believe in any concept to which I had not been introduced.

 

As to the second, having faith requires that one believe they are right to the exclusion of all else, meaning atheism is a requisite of religious faith.

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I came across this quote the other day:

 

"Faith lives on the very boarder of atheism, sees itself there and understands it, and atheism lives on the border of faith and understands it." (M. Bakhtin; 'Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics,' p. 176)

 

1. I have noticed that the rhetorical style often used on this site is very similar to that used by fundementalists - making you substantailly the same in many respecte. I am curious what ex-X'ns think about this statement and the quote above. 2. Do you think that atheism can exist without faith or vice versa? Can each have any self-understanding without the other? What is the nature of this interrelationship?

Best,

Jimmy

 

 

1. A good observation. It may because many of us were trained in polemics by the church.

 

2. Humans seem to understand who they are by understanding who they are not. I find this to be an artifact of evolution. The first lesson of the first cell must have been this is not me don't let it inside the membrane.

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I have noticed that the rhetorical style often used on this site is very similar to that used by fundementalists - making you substantailly the same in many respecte.

 

After having been attacked by fundies a gazillion times, there comes the day when you think "What the fuck, I'll just retaliate in kind"...

 

I am curious what ex-X'ns think about this statement and the quote above. Do you think that atheism can exist without faith or vice versa? Can each have any self-understanding without the other? What is the nature of this interrelationship?

 

Both can easily exist without the other... however, once contact with "the other side" has been established, interesting things can happen. Sometimes nice, sometimes nasty.

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Do you think that atheism can exist without faith or vice versa? Can each have any self-understanding without the other? What is the nature of this interrelationship?

Best,

Jimmy

 

Faith is bullshit.

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Do you think that atheism can exist without faith or vice versa? Can each have any self-understanding without the other? What is the nature of this interrelationship?

Best,

Jimmy

Atheism doesn't seem to have much to do with "faith" directly, so it doesn't matter if faith exists or not. But, atheism wouldn't exist without theism because it would become a meaningless word/idea. It's pointless to say you are without a belief in something that doesn't exist.

Now that I have actually typed that, perhaps in an indirect way, because without faith existing, theism couldn't exist.

But, I must point out that if faith, and therefore thiesm didn't exist, then atheism would be the "natural" state, ie the only state that exists, making any label arbitrary and pointless.

 

(I really shouldn't try to think about semantics when I'm tired)

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1. A good observation. It may because many of us were trained in polemics by the church.

 

2. Humans seem to understand who they are by understanding who they are not. I find this to be an artifact of evolution. The first lesson of the first cell must have been this is not me don't let it inside the membrane.

 

It is nice to see someone use a temr like 'polemics.' My own state of thinking right now involves the separation of polemics from authenticity in terms of my religious experience. I know that this group would likely say that there is nothing to X'y but empty rhetoric - I am not willing to go there yet.

 

Why do you think that we are dealing with an artifact of evolution? I don't think that a cell can have an apprehension of me/not me of the sort that people seem to have. Such an ability requires the ability for abstract concept formation. I am not entirely sure if it is indeed an evolutionary throwback - i.e. some sort of brain module (cf. http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/research/cep/primer.html ). I would argue that categorization comes from social training such that it is not innate. It seems like these folks who promote this 'module' view seem to rely on the notion of prototypes: the given stimuli overlaps enough with a prototype that it is claimed to be part of the group. Prototypes don't work because it is almost impossible to ever dilineate what the prototype consists of - there is too much variation among members of a class of things to distill the prototpye. Consequenlty, I would argue that this work relies on an implicity 'faith' in the existance of a prototype module. I would be that categorization of more socio-genetic than anything else: we are trained in a form of life as per the significant ones around us and that form of life is grounded in distinction from others.

 

"Faith is bullshit."

 

Dear Asimov,

 

To think that I almost bought Ayn's latest book after being inspired by your kind comments in another post!! I think that Rand would be a little more sophisticated than this. Do you mind spelling out your statement instead of posting trite banalities? I am currious as to your justification.

 

Best,

Jim

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"Faith lives on the very boarder of atheism, sees itself there and understands it, and atheism lives on the border of faith and understands it." (M. Bakhtin; 'Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics,' p. 176)

 

 

 

I think this is true, and that's why I'm an agnostic, not an atheist. I think either position (religion or atheism) requires faith in yourself and your own beliefs. As for me, I don't have any faith in myself at all, for I am a fallible human; I think faith is bullshit, and no one can know the truth. The truth about these things is simply not knowable.

 

To say there is no God requires faith in yourself that you are correct in your judgment of the lack of God. To say there is one requires both faith in the God and faith in yourself that you are correct in your judgment of the existence of God.

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I don't know how true this statement is nor do I care. This is another statement that's designed to sound nice to the ear, and bring some publicity to its author, while the actual meaning of it or its truthfulness is of secondary concern.

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I don't know how true this statement is nor do I care. This is another statement that's designed to sound nice to the ear, and bring some publicity to its author, while the actual meaning of it or its truthfulness is of secondary concern.

 

Well,

Bakhtin is probably one of Russia's most famous literary critics/philosophers. His work has made its way into every social science and humanities program in NA (His fame came well before this small quote was ever published). Who are you?

 

I suspect that he is refering to the postmodern condition. Wether you believe we are finite b/c we are limited by sin (X'n), unable to apprehend anything metaphysical (agnostic), or proceed through the world formulating and disproving hyposthese based on sense experience alone (athiest), we are all trapped in a relative system. The human condition is one where we are trapped and unable to see beyond our perspective - presenting a problem for people who claim to have truth as it is relative (I mean this in a rich sense and not a cheap 'pop' sense in which it is used). Knowing that Bakhtin was likely inflenced by some lectures he attended on the theory of relativity, it likely that he drawing on this notion to argue that meaning of any sort is relative to something else and only relative to something else(i.e. he developed something like a social philisophy of relativity). In our universe, bodies (social, ideological, or corporeal) only have meaning by virue of their relative positioning. Likewise, any social category, ideology, etc. only has meaning by virtue it relationship to an-other.

 

This statement is burried in a much longer treatise on Dostoevsky's work as a whole so I don't think that it is meant for the purpose of which you accuse it. I am a Christian and I have been lurking around on this web site. You sort of dismissive commentary seems par for the course and it does nothing to really convince me that there is much merit in the anti-christian position - whatever that excatly is I am unsure; ero my post. If you take you conviction seriously, give me somthing that can help me understand your position.

Best,

Jimmy

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Well,

Bakhtin is probably one of Russia's most famous literary critics/philosophers. His work has made its way into every social science and humanities program in NA (His fame came well before this small quote was ever published).

Nope. Never heard of him.

 

Who are you?
Sorry. Didn't work. I have no allusions to fame.

 

I suspect that he is refering to the postmodern condition. Wether you believe we are finite b/c we are limited by sin (X'n), unable to apprehend anything metaphysical (agnostic), or proceed through the world formulating and disproving hyposthese based on sense experience alone (athiest), we are all trapped in a relative system. The human condition is one where we are trapped and unable to see beyond our perspective - presenting a problem for people who claim to have truth as it is relative (I mean this in a rich sense and not a cheap 'pop' sense in which it is used).

This is only problem for people who are think that they have to change the world views of others. I am neither trapped nor blind.

 

Knowing that Bakhtin was likely inflenced by some lectures he attended on the theory of relativity, it likely that he drawing on this notion to argue that meaning of any sort is relative to something else and only relative to something else(i.e. he developed something like a social philisophy of relativity). In our universe, bodies (social, ideological, or corporeal) only have meaning by virue of their relative positioning. Likewise, any social category, ideology, etc. only has meaning by virtue it relationship to an-other.

In other words, there are different world views and they have different positions. So what? The fact that I was able to summarise your lengthy, wordy paragraph in one concise sentence allows me to expand on my original point, that statements like these are designed to sound good rather than convey any profound meaning. This is an understandable development. Given that there’s no truth left for post-modernist to chase as “truth is relative”, they are left with nothing left to do but be distracted by the “aesthetics of words”.

 

This statement is burried in a much longer treatise on Dostoevsky's work as a whole

I could only comment on what you presented. If the statement makes more sense in its context then present it in its context.

 

so I don't think that it is meant for the purpose of which you accuse it.

Fair enough, but I now think you presented it for the purpose of which I accuse it.

 

I am a Christian and I have been lurking around on this web site. You sort of dismissive commentary seems par for the course and it does nothing to really convince me that there is much merit in the anti-christian position - whatever that excatly is I am unsure; ero my post. If you take you conviction seriously, give me somthing that can help me understand your position.

Best,

Jimmy

I’m not trying to convince you of anything. I simply responded to your invitation to comment. I assumed you wanted an honest comment, so I gave you one (in retrospect, a mistake, it seems). You see, this is a key difference between Christianity and Atheism/Agnosticism: Christianity generally requires its adherents to convince non-Christians of the truthfulness and worth of their world view (the Great Commission); atheism and agnosticism, as I understand them, have no such requirement.

 

If you're looking for "merit" in the anti-christian position, look to your own religion. That's where I found it.

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It is nice to see someone use a temr like 'polemics.' My own state of thinking right now involves the separation of polemics from authenticity in terms of my religious experience. I know that this group would likely say that there is nothing to X'y but empty rhetoric - I am not willing to go there yet.

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Why do you think that we are dealing with an artifact of evolution? I don't think that a cell can have an apprehension of me/not me of the sort that people seem to have. Such an ability requires the ability for abstract concept formation. I am not entirely sure if it is indeed an evolutionary throwback - i.e. some sort of brain module (cf. http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/research/cep/primer.html ).

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I would argue that categorization comes from social training such that it is not innate. It seems like these folks who promote this 'module' view seem to rely on the notion of prototypes: the given stimuli overlaps enough with a prototype that it is claimed to be part of the group. Prototypes don't work because it is almost impossible to ever dilineate what the prototype consists of - there is too much variation among members of a class of things to distill the prototpye.

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Consequenlty, I would argue that this work relies on an implicity 'faith' in the existance of a prototype module. I would be that categorization of more socio-genetic than anything else: we are trained in a form of life as per the significant ones around us and that form of life is grounded in distinction from others.

 

Don't worry there is still time to get there. It took me a number of years.

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Because we are a physical being. Following Lakoff and Johnson, I find it reasonable that our minds are embodied -- no body = no mind. As a way station of evolution we are on a continuum of development. A cell has to have an apprehension of me/not me. I'm not saying that the apprehension is consciousness like yours. Your cells carry on the me/not me tradition and your cells are you in the aggregate. That, me/not me came to be a part of consciousness is not any odder than any thing else that did.

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I have the notion that you may not be up on the latest in Cognitive Science.

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What is not innate, the social training or categorization? The need for social training and the ability to socially train off spring must be innate. The difficulty of training an autistic person in social categorization due to brain damage in the autistic individual shows that the location of the ability is in the physical structure and not in some attached soul that is supposed to immaterial and therefore not subject to damage via ordinary physical causes. The metaphors that describe any categorization are based on the physical structure of the body and its orientation in its space. (see Lakoff and Johnson) The mind is always relative to what it is made of, the place of its physical stuff in space, and the experiences it has from that space.

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If you think that the mind is something separate from the body -- a soul -- that seems to me the ultimate idea of mind as module. The mind, as much as even many of my fellow ex-c's don't like the idea, is a function of the body. It will prove to be as physical as digestion.

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... Wether you believe we are finite b/c we are limited by sin (X'n), unable to apprehend anything metaphysical (agnostic), or proceed through the world formulating and disproving hyposthese based on sense experience alone (athiest), we are all trapped in a relative system.

 

Don't you think that your very idea of being trapped is relative to your notion that there ought to be an absolute and that you have no access to it? Is a dog trapped into having a tail?

 

Why can't most people just accept that processes (including minds) are relative to other processes? It is maybe because like Margaret Atwood says we prefer the story with the hero that looks like us to the cold science of atoms that don't seem to be like us. I think she is right. Stories have meanings that move our emotions in a way that atom facts won't. That is not a surprise to me. As social animals our relations consist of emotions of binding and rejection more than anything that can be classified as cold reason. As social animals our experience is made of these emotional relations and until very recently the records of those relations has been story, not graphs and charts. Indeed graphs and charts don't get at what feels like substance in the way that stories do.

 

This appeal is more unconscious than conscious. Consciousness and reason are a rather small sub functions of minds that operate mostly unconsciously.

 

... In our universe, bodies (social, ideological, or corporeal) only have meaning by virue of their relative positioning. Likewise, any social category, ideology, etc. only has meaning by virtue it relationship to an-other.

 

I'm assuming that this describes Bakhtin's position and not yours?

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The ultimate in irony is when the only difference between you and a fundamentalist christian, is you're "Right" and yet the reason you really hate the fundies so much is their arrogance.

 

This is a good point. I am not going to deny that I do enact some of the same patterns as fundies. This paradox is the one that I struggle with: how to a stand against something for taking a stand. Maybe there is a certain arrogance is saying that someone is wrong and I don't think this is such a bad thing. Perhaps it becomes bad when one I close myself off to ever considering any other option. I think that this also separates me from my fundementalist friends - I am in a constant state of limbo on lots of issues.

Thanks for the reply,

Jimmy

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"This is only problem for people who are think that they have to change the world views of others. I am neither trapped nor blind."

So you don't think that you have any taken-for-granted understandings?

 

"In other words, there are different world views and they have different positions. So what? The fact that I was able to summarise your lengthy, wordy paragraph in one concise sentence allows me to expand on my original point, that statements like these are designed to sound good rather than convey any profound meaning. This is an understandable development. Given that there’s no truth left for post-modernist to chase as “truth is relative”, they are left with nothing left to do but be distracted by the “aesthetics of words”."

I am not trying to convey something so simple. I am saying that there is no perspective by which we can gain objectivity when it comes to things besides rocks, trees, etc. People are qualitatively different by virtue of things like language, law, etc. There is also no way that reason can take us to truth because it too is culture bound. The only way in which we can gain any sort of self-understanding (in the grand sense as a human race or in terms of our own self-knowledge) is by virtue of apprehending the perspective of an-other in relation to ourself.

 

I can see your point about the statement seeming trite. It is true that there are lots of trite things said by lots of people and I tend to respond in the same way. I appologize for my harsh response. I am a Christian in limbo between belief and unbelief who has not made a choice to leave the faith I am here in this regard and I admit that I am a little too self-absorbed with my own search - hence my harsh response because I take this seriously.

 

 

I’m not trying to convince you of anything. If you're looking for "merit" in the anti-christian position, look to your own religion. That's where I found it.

 

This is too bad because I am not here to convert you but, rather, out of by pown struggle. I would like some convincing. I don't believe that I (or anyone) am capable of looking at my own religion without learnign the perspective of others who oppose it.

 

Thanks for the reply. Again, sorry for being so harsh.

 

Best,

J

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"Don't worry there is still time to get there. It took me a number of years."

- Thanks. I appreciate you response. This is a seriously wide open issue for me right now.

 

- I too think that our minds are embodied. That is, I whole-heartedly reject the Cartesian mind-body dualism. I just don't think that we can reduce the mind to the self-contained sort of embodiement spelled out by current cognitive science. My initial work shas been in the area of social constructionism (discursive psycholgy) and I find their critiques of cognitive sceince compelling (see: http://www.sagepub.com/booksProdDesc.nav?prodId=Book204266 ). They show how much of the work in cognitive science is more socially constructed than empirical. They do, howver, have no coneption of the body. I think that our mind is not self-contained (see refs below) in the sense that it is constituted socially but this sociality is deeply embodied. Take Lakoff and Johnson's 'Metaphors we live by.' The metaphors by which we understand the world (up is positive, down is negative) are completely grouned in our embodied action in the world. Take the emergence of cognitive science and how it is almost completely dependent upon the metaphor of the computer when we have no strong evidence that our minds opperate on the basis of an aggregation of binaries (take the hermeneutic tradition that says the whole is greater than the sum of the parts).

 

Anyway, can you explain the cell's "apprehension of me/not me"?

 

Your reference is ironic b/c I am currently reading Damasio's 'Descarte's Error.' My points come from ideas that are drawn from Tomasello ( http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067400582...ce&n=283155 ) in conjunction with the aformentioned social constructionism. I am heavily influenced by the work of Wittgenstien, Mearleau-Ponty, and Bakhtin. I think that they are promote an embodied conception of mind that allows for a socially consituted self that is not purely discursive in nature. My critique is more from this perspective than my Christian perspective.

 

Gergen, K. J. (1985). The social constructionist movement in modern psychology. American Psychologist, 40: 266-275.

Sampson, E. E. (1989). The challenge of social change for psychology: Globalization and psychology’s theory of the person. American Psychologist, 44: 914-921

 

"What is not innate, the social training or categorization? The need for social training and the ability to socially train off spring must be innate."

- Why is this a nescessity? It seems to me that such training is only nescessary when you have language and cultural symbols (which are too new on the scene to be a product of evolution) that shape anc consituted the experience of the world as much as the world shapes and constitutes them.

 

"The difficulty of training an autistic person in social categorization due to brain damage in the autistic individual shows that the location of the ability is in the physical structure and not in some attached soul that is supposed to immaterial and therefore not subject to damage via ordinary physical causes. "

- I have rejected the typically Christian notion that the soul is the seat/location of the mind. I would certainly not disagree with the fact the brain and the mind are, to use a borrowed phrase 'sturcturally coupled' (Maturana and Varela). I think that we are taking a presumptous a leap in reducing the mind to self-contained innate modules. My current thought right now is that the (socially-consituted) mind and brain form an indissoluable dialectic of some sort. I have just picked up Varela, Thompson, and Rosch ('The Embodied Mind') to do some work in this direction.

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Thanks for the reply. Your responses are exaclty what I ahve been hping to find on ex-christian.net.

 

"Don't you think that your very idea of being trapped is relative to your notion that there ought to be an absolute and that you have no access to it? Is a dog trapped into having a tail? "

- I don't really hold to a notion of an absolute. You are correct, I certainly conceed that these are relative positions. I should be careful here b/c I think that the absolutism-relativism dualism is a bit of a naive epiphenomenon of pop culture and it doesn't characterize the issues so well. For example, Harre and Krausc (1996 'Varieties of Relativism') spell differences among notions such as absolutism, universalism ... I spelled out a little bit of this here: http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?show...=9422&st=20

 

Why can't most people just accept that processes (including minds) are relative to other processes? ... Stories have meanings that move our emotions in a way that atom facts won't. That is not a surprise to me. As social animals our relations consist of emotions of binding and rejection more than anything that can be classified as cold reason. As social animals our experience is made of these emotional relations and until very recently the records of those relations has been story, not graphs and charts. Indeed graphs and charts don't get at what feels like substance in the way that stories do.

- This is true. However, it doesn't seem too hard to make the case that ideologies about atoms etc. are often just as much of a story as anything else (I would site the sociology of scientific knowlede stuff here: Berger & Luckmann). This story happens to be the one that we take for granted as truth right now. The question is: Does positivism (or some empiricist derivative) get us further than before or is it the new dogmatism? You seem to be playing with a cultural form of cognitive science with the invocation of narrative psychology.

 

"I'm assuming that this describes Bakhtin's position and not yours?"

- I support Bakhtin's position and hold a fair bit of sympathy for it. I was once a hard core empiricist. I read social constructionism and now realize that reason and objectivity are not possible such that they don't help us out like we think they should. Social construction purports, I argue, a naive understadnign of the body and corporeal experience. Thus, I have turned to the philosophy of aesthetics (hence Bakhtin) when neither of the latter options have gotten me very far.

There you have it: my epistomological paradox.

 

Best,

Jimmy

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Jimmy,

 

I've read your posts, but it is too late to give you a decent reply tonight.

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- I too think that our minds are embodied. That is, I whole-heartedly reject the Cartesian mind-body dualism. I just don't think that we can reduce the mind to the self-contained sort of embodiement spelled out by current cognitive science. My initial work shas been in the area of social constructionism (discursive psycholgy) and I find their critiques of cognitive sceince compelling (see: http://www.sagepub.com/booksProdDesc.nav?prodId=Book204266 ). They show how much of the work in cognitive science is more socially constructed than empirical. They do, howver, have no coneption of the body. I think that our mind is not self-contained (see refs below) in the sense that it is constituted socially but this sociality is deeply embodied. Take Lakoff and Johnson's 'Metaphors we live by.' The metaphors by which we understand the world (up is positive, down is negative) are completely grouned in our embodied action in the world./// Take the emergence of cognitive science and how it is almost completely dependent upon the metaphor of the computer when we have no strong evidence that our minds opperate on the basis of an aggregation of binaries (take the hermeneutic tradition that says the whole is greater than the sum of the parts).

 

My intial work is only in theology, ministry and food service.

 

I'm following you and not dissagreeing up to here ///. What I mean by cognitive science is what Lakoff and Johnson refer to as 2nd generation cognitive science. The first generation looks at the mind from a functional standpoint leaving out the peculiarities and specifics of the physical construction and operation of brain/body as contributing anything to the nature of human concepts and reason. The second generation, represented by Damasio, finds a strong dependence of the concepts and reason upon the body. The body is directly involved in the construct of concepts, metaphor, imagery, metonymy, prototypes, frames, mental spaces, and categories. The second generation doesn't attempt to fit the mind into a metaphoric system of wetware and software.

 

Anyway, can you explain the cell's "apprehension of me/not me"?

The cell has to have some mechanism to determine what can be let inside its membrane and what cannot. The membrane itself must be a factor in this, as its physical existence draws a physical line between cell and other. Something must decide, perhaps the membrain itself, that certain things can join or pass and certain things cannot. The biology of how that works is beyond me. Humans and other animals take this act of descrimination a great deal further than a cell, but I imagine that the concept of good vs bad has its primitive physical basis in this cellular ability.

 

 

"What is not innate, the social training or categorization? The need for social training and the ability to socially train off spring must be innate."

- Why is this a nescessity? It seems to me that such training is only nescessary when you have language and cultural symbols (which are too new on the scene to be a product of evolution) that shape anc consituted the experience of the world as much as the world shapes and constitutes them.

 

What evidence do you have that language and symbols are too new to be a product of evolution? Is this idea an ingredient of the glue that holds you to ChristianGod?

 

I'm not imagining training in terms of modern systems of schooling. Training is the child following the adults around listening and learning the language and watching and imitating actions until they are skilled at both. It is also the adults selections of what the child should be exposed to, when they should be exposed, and what experience should be emphasized. Lets say it is how humans would learn as wild animals instead of tame ones.

 

"The difficulty of training an autistic person in social categorization due to brain damage in the autistic individual shows that the location of the ability is in the physical structure and not in some attached soul that is supposed to immaterial and therefore not subject to damage via ordinary physical causes. "

- I have rejected the typically Christian notion that the soul is the seat/location of the mind. I would certainly not disagree with the fact the brain and the mind are, to use a borrowed phrase 'sturcturally coupled' (Maturana and Varela). I think that we are taking a presumptous a leap in reducing the mind to self-contained innate modules. My current thought right now is that the (socially-consituted) mind and brain form an indissoluable dialectic of some sort. I have just picked up Varela, Thompson, and Rosch ('The Embodied Mind') to do some work in this direction.

 

Please define "innate modules". If mind and brain are inseperable, why are they not then one thing.? My thinking is that mind is something that the body does, rather like the body does breathing, digestion or what have you. It seems obvious to me, having raised my kids and now helping to raise a grandchild that physical structure of the process we label a human comes before mind and so I would say produces mind. Having watched my grandfather, who took some 10 years in a nursing home to die, slowly loose his mind/self as his body deteriated, gives me another clue that the mind requires a body with some minimum of functional health to produce it.

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I spelled out a little bit of this here: http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?show...=9422&st=20[/quote

 

I read you overthere.

 

You do not want to be labeled an apologist and I think that would be fair except that you call yourself Christian and this is Ex-Christian. Our minds haven't developed many catagories outside of Christian and non-Christian.

 

I think from reading you, that you have a different God concept such that 99% of Christians wouldn't fell comfortable taking communion with you. Are you a fan of John Shelby Spong?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

I am sorry that my reply has taken so long. I am preparing for large exam and find myself very busy at times.

 

"The second generation, represented by Damasio, finds a strong dependence of the concepts and reason upon the body. The body is directly involved in the construct of concepts, metaphor, imagery, metonymy, prototypes, frames, mental spaces, and categories. The second generation doesn't attempt to fit the mind into a metaphoric system of wetware and software."

-I have only read half of Damasio's book. While he may not rely on the computer metaphor, he still seems to embody (smile) a particular form of functionalism. I wonder if we are not talking about the same thig since the notion of training that you invoke is pretty close to what I have in mind (sounds like Vygotsky, Wittgenstein). I think that you see the body as having a certain primacy where I would grant culture that primacy. I do not think that the body can be thought of as an individual body. Our participation a member of collectivity (suclture/subculture) shapes out body in the sense that we come to embody a complete way of being that is constituted in our relationships. That is, we are trained-into a whole lexicon, embodied style, and ideological structure (these three components are insepparable). Our brain is irreducibly coupled with our participation in collectivity such that the world of lived experience shapes the brain (within certain biological constraints - there are limits of course based on certain biological factors but I do not go so far as to agree with the detemrinism inherent ni much natrualistic work in this area).

 

"The biology of how that works is beyond me. Humans and other animals take this act of descrimination a great deal further than a cell, but I imagine that the concept of good vs bad has its primitive physical basis in this cellular ability."

- I think that there is a qualitative difference. Take a look at the Tomasello ref - he spells this out.

 

 

"What evidence do you have that language and symbols are too new to be a product of evolution?"

- Like anything in evolutionary psychology, we are are not dealing with evidence in a strict sense but, rather, post hoc interpretations. At best, language/culture seemed to pop up 200,000 years ago. We generally think that language started out as a representational tool and then grew into 'higher' levels of symbolism such as intentional language (space-time representations, goal directed behavioral attributions) and morality, art. The problem is that we don't see this linear progression on an evolutionary scale because this transition would have to have taken place over 150,000 years (Rock are shows up ~50,000 yrs ago) wich is very fast if you think about the tremendous span of development from representation of a given reality to an 'advanced' symbolism that shapes our reality. IT is as if the dice were certainly loaded int eh case of language (I mean it in a reich Hidergerian sense here of course): we see more of a near immediate explosion. I would also refer to you Charles Taylor's discussion on the topic where he argues that this development is not possible ( http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067466477...ce&n=283155 ).

 

Is this idea an ingredient of the glue that holds you to ChristianGod?

-No. not really - my tenacity in this area comes from work by Bakhtin and the hermeneuts such as Dilthey.

 

 

- I have not addressed the innate module thing. If you would like, I can write something up in a few weeks in response to Damasio and post it. I also attached an article that I have written on the notion of culture and embodiment.

 

"You do not want to be labeled an apologist and I think that would be fair except that you call yourself Christian and this is Ex-Christian. "

- Good point. I am playing around in bad faith for the fact that I have ideas that I would like to test. I am not trying to explicitly defend the gospel. I really like argument and discussion about ideas. To be honest, I am lonely because I like to talk to people who think about religion in a critical manner and many Christians are not comforable with this level of self-reflection. Perhaps this is not the best place for me to be.

 

"I think from reading you, that you have a different God concept such that 99% of Christians wouldn't fell comfortable taking communion with you."

-I think that this statement would apply if you qualified it with 99% (probably more like 90%) of evangelical Christians wouldn't... There are lots of Christians who are far more liberal than I. In fact, I have done some sessional work at a Dutch Reformed University College and I was considered a conservative by many of my collegues. I am explicit about my views and I attend a fairly mainstream pentecostal church. My membership has never been questioned nor have I been asked to resign from any committees that I sit on. In fact, our associate pastor and I spend a fair bit of time talking about these things and, besides the stabdard rejection by laiety b/c I am simply taken as weird, I have never been rejected outright.

 

Are you a fan of John Shelby Spong?

- never read him. Why would you recomend him?

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