Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Orwellian or Stalinesque

Now that we've discussed Taylor Carman's paper "On the Inescapability of Phenomenology," what do you all make of his conclusion about Dennett's proposed explanation of the phi phenomenon: "If we are unable to choose between the Stalinesque and the Orwellian hypothesis in the case of perceptions of very quickly flashing spots of light (i.e., color phi phenomenon), then, it is not because the two hypotheses are equally good when extended to the general case, as Dennett seems to suggest, but because they are equally bad."

You all saw the moving and color changing dots, so is it indeed "utterly preposterous to suggest that no one can ever really see continuity, movement, or color change in the phi phenomenon" (p. 75)?

No yes or no answers: do at least seem to care about this subtle point. 


Following on from our discussion of infant and pre- and perinatal consciousness, this is what Hubert Dreyfus has to say about Heidegger's understanding of when human beings can be properly said to begin to exist: "...human beings begin to exist in Heidegger's
 special sense of existence only after the first few weeks. They begin to
 exist as they are
 socialized into the understanding of what it is to be a human being that
 is already contained in
social practices" (Being-in-the-World: A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time, Division I, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1991, p. 23). Amanda is curious to find out what all of you think about whether or not the idea of prenatal consciousness is reconcilable with Heidegger's concept of the Dasein? Does the embryo in the womb count as a being-in-the-world, given that for it the womb is the world?