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Meditation Center Presents Part 18 of Mind-Body Philosophy Video Series

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By Frank Simons

Part 18 of the 24-part Great Courses series, Mind-Body Philosophy, is entitled “Thinking Body and Extended Mind.” The Meditation Center will be presenting this installment of the series on May 10.

One could characterize a great deal of the history of philosophy in terms of just two questions. Both are questions of how we can cross a divide. The first question asks how we cross the divide between the mind and the world. In other words, how can we possibly know what the world is really like beyond our experience? The second problem is the one we’ve been tracking throughout this course: how can we understand the relation between our mental self and our physical self? This lecture considers a range of phenomena and a handful of theories suggesting that those two problems are ultimately artificial ones of our own making.

The brain isn’t separated from the larger nervous system. So why think the mind is separated from the body? After all, what would it be like if your mind was separated from your body? You couldn’t feel pain, for one thing. That might sound wonderful, but it’s not. Those with the disability are prone to bone fractures they don’t realize, problems of eye irritations they don’t feel, cavity-caused toothaches that don’t ache, and infections for which they don’t feel symptoms. If your mind were separated from your body, you also wouldn’t be able to feel the position or movement of your body.

We tend to think of thinking—of cognitive processing—as something that happens in the head. But maybe we use our bodies for at least some of our cognitive processing. For instance, is a child counting on her fingers doing all her thinking inside her head? When thinking internally with inner speech, people’s mouth and throat muscles make minute movements. This is called subvocalization and shows that even silent soliloquies aren’t totally private. Can you think of ways you use your body or something from the world as part of your thought process?

Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook Patrick Grim has provided his students with invaluable insights into issues of philosophy, artificial intelligence, theoretical biology, and other fields. Professor Grim was awarded the university’s Presidential and Chancellor’s awards for teaching excellence and was elected to the Academy of Teachers and Scholars.

There will be an opportunity for discussion following the video.

Presentations of the Center are offered without charge. Donations are gratefully accepted.


Video Presentation

Mind-Body Philosophy: Part 18- Thinking Body and Extended Mind

Thu, May 10, 5:30pm

Meditation Center

Callejón Blanco 4

Free, donations accepted

044 415 156 1950




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