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Ch. 11: Sensational Thoughts 
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Post Ch. 11: Sensational Thoughts
Ch. 11: Sensational Thoughts

Please use this thread for discussing Ch. 11: Sensational Thoughts. :shock:



Wed Aug 13, 2008 6:30 pm
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The feeling of knowing is now labeled a sensation? I'm a little confused by Burton's nomenclature. But it seems okay to say "Awareness that we are thinking is a sensation that happens to us; it is not a thought that we can consciously will."

A statement he makes in the chapter becomes a larger theme in later chapters: "Disembodied thought is not a physiological option. Neither is a purely rational mind free from bodily and mental sensations and perceptions.

The discussion of the difference between how we experience conscious vs. unconscious thought is pretty interesting. He seems to say that unconscious thought is really not less "iintentional" than conscious thought; it just feels that unconscious thoughts come to us unbidden because we are usually not aware--to avoid being overwhelmed by simultaneous thoughts--of what is gong on in the hidden layer. Somehow the unconscious decides "what should be delivered into consciousness." It uses some kind of probability formula, the thought most likely to be correct making it through. We sometimes refer to these thoughts that have seemed to arise on their own ias ntuitions or gut feelings. They are nothing more than unconscious thoughts that become imbued with the feeling of knowing as they emerge into consciousness.

Burton comes down on the side of a single mode of cognition, whether we call it conscious or unconscious. The only difference is in how we feel each type, and in fact we don't feel unconscious thoughts at all.

He downplays the role of rationality in our thinking. The autonomous rational mind is our own myth about our mind. "We know the nature and quality of our thoughts via feelings, not reason. Feelings such as certainty, conviction. rightness and wrongness, clarity, and faith arise out of involuntary mental sensory systems that are integral and inseparable components of the thoughts they qualify."

DWill



Sat Sep 27, 2008 3:51 pm
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I didn't understand what point Burton was trying to make in this chapter. Some of his statements were obvious and some didn't make sense, and there wasn't much in-between.

In other words, his broader conclusions, quoted below, agreed with my own understanding, but his arguments supporting those conclusions were somewhat incoherent.

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To summarize: Thoughts require sensory information. A disembodied mind cannot contemplate beauty or feel the differences between love, infatuation, and pure lust. To avoid confusion and chaos, our brains have sensory systems that selectively tell us when we are thinking a thought. These sensory systems also determine how we experience mental cause-and-effect and intentionality.

I would like to read Philosophy of the Flesh, which was quoted near the start the chapter, since Lakoff's other books have contained many worthwhile ideas.



Thu Oct 02, 2008 11:43 pm
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DWill wrote:
The feeling of knowing is now labeled a sensation? I'm a little confused by Burton's nomenclature. But it seems okay to say "Awareness that we are thinking is a sensation that happens to us; it is not a thought that we can consciously will."


My bold of the word feeling. The word is the problem. Feeling is used to mean sensation and emotions. I believe in this instance Burton is meaning it somewhere in between a physical sensation and an emotional feeling. The feeling of knowing is not really an emotion per say and not the result of external stimulation -- but more like external stimulation than an emotion.



Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:51 am
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