Philosophers have traditionally assumed that knowledge of our own thoughts is special. Descartes famously believed that knowledge of our current thoughts is infallible. He also believed that those thoughts themselves are self-presenting, so that whenever one entertains a thought, one is capable of infallible knowledge of it. Many figures in the history of philosophy have
Continue reading Knowledge of our own thoughts is just as interpretive as knowledge of the thoughts of others
It is “easy” to explain doing, “hard” to explain feeling. Turing has set the agenda for the easy explanation (though it will be a long time coming). I will try to explain why and how explaining feeling will not only be hard, but impossible. Explaining meaning will prove almost as hard because meaning is a hybrid of know-how and what it feels like to know how.
Continue reading Doing, Feeling, Meaning and Explaining
The apparent differences between humans and apes are not biologically fixed, but they are biologically and culturally instantiated. Differences in maternal care patterns, which human and bonobo infants experience from the moment of birth forward, are responsible for the many of the behavioral distinctions that later emerge between the species. They are culturally instantiated and are open to change at any time. From these caregiver patterns emerge the different styles of human/ape consciousness.
Continue reading Human Language—Human Consciousness
Self-insight is often considered one of the most distinctive aspects of human experience. While other species can recognize themselves in the mirror or have a rudimentary sense of self, the human capacity for self-insight and self-reflection is what makes our species unique. However, this capacity has many, often hilarious, limits. We all have some version
Continue reading Bright Spots and Blind Spots in Self-Knowledge