MOHAMMED’S STORY June 28, 2013Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth.
When the mystic meets the scientist, our assumptions about that which is unknown is challenged. The question then is”: Who might understand consciousness best,if at all? What methodology works best to make sense of consciousness? Or should we ask such questions?
He’s a leading philosopher of consciousness (I’ll make that PoC for short) — the idea being that human consciousness is more than the sum of its parts, i.e. the brain. Not only are we aware (some of us, anyway), but we have the ability to reflect on that awareness. That is, we’re graced — or cursed — with meta-consciousness.
The margins of my copies of Nagel’s books are full of my scribblings, many of them admiring (multiple exclamation marks!). But an increasing number of grumbles began to show up (question marks and disputatious comments). Then I saw that Nagel himself had a grumble or two with another PoC called Colin McGinn, and I had to see what they were about.
So thanks to Nagel, I am currently smitten with McGinn, on whose head (in whose head?) lies full responsibility for the questionable state of my mind these days. In one book, The Mysterious Flame: Conscious Minds in a Material World, he posits that “consciousness has a hidden structure, a covert essence.” It’s “like an iceberg, where the water line corresponds to the limits of introspection.”
As a biographer and agnostic (who were the Gnostics?), Lesley Hazelton gave the following presentation for TED Talks:
Comments on this video can found here. Do we have faith in each other?
- Colin McGinn to resign from the University of Miami… (leiterreports.typepad.com)
- Will Humans Ever Understand Consciousness? Scientists and Philosophers Debate (livescience.com)
- Should Nagel’s Book Be on the Philosophical Index Librorum Prohibitorum? (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)
- The Riddle of Consciousness (newyorker.com)
- Will We Ever Understand Consciousness? (zen-haven.com)