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Ch. 7: When Does a Thought Begin? 
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Post Ch. 7: When Does a Thought Begin?
Ch. 7: When Does a Thought Begin?

Please use this thread for discussing Ch. 7: When Does a Thought Begin? :bananadance2:



Wed Aug 13, 2008 6:37 pm
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This is a chapter I might have to re-read. Anyone have something to say about temporal reordering? I'm having some trouble understanding just how this chapter advances his development of the topic.

DWill



Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:20 pm
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I found this chapter to be unsatisfying. Something didn't seem right about it, and I'm trying to figure out what it is.

One problem is that the question "When does a thought begin?" assumes that a thought is a distinct entity with a distinct starting point. Since neither of those premises is obvious, it seems like you must first ask "What is a thought?"

My own mind is full of ideas, premises, worldviews, feelings, sensations, etc., some conscious and some unconscious, many changing over time. There's often an inner monologue, and when talking or writing various self-contained statements will emerge. Still, viewing my mental activity as a sequence of thoughts with definite start times seems like an oversimplification.

As part of daily life, I frequently observe things or gain insights, and I'm often aware of that happening. Since lots happens at a subconscious level, and the brain is an imperfect machine with a skewed model of everything, including itself, it's not clean that the timing my perceptions is particularly meaningful.

In other words, the human brain imposes a structure on the world, chronologically and in other ways, that has only a partial correlation with reality.



Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:07 pm
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I seem to recall the image of a senseless brain being incapable of thought because it was unable to analyze inputs.

Was the author suggesting that we are an input driven machine?

I also relate the image of the robotic alien shocked at the idea of thinking meat to this topic, where we are more than the sum of our fleshy parts.

Could the inputs to the flesh be the impetus of idea?

This is like asking which came first the object or the observation.



Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:36 pm
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JulianTheApostate wrote:
In other words, the human brain imposes a structure on the world, chronologically and in other ways, that has only a partial correlation with reality.

You seemed to get a handle on the issue. He appears to be saying something like the above, using simple examples. I don't know if he's implying that what seems the case with simple perceptions or thoughts is also the case with our more complex ideas; if he is, he hasn't told us yet how this plays out. I'm still wondering if the reductionist approach of the scientist will end up working with certainty in all its forms.
DWill



Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:04 am
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