Causality and consciousness

Discuss philosophical concepts and moral issues.
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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:35 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]
subsymbolic;673842 wrote:Holist is more of an expert on 'wolf children' and hugely sceptical, but Helen Keller explicitly talks of knowing her teacher was coming from the signs of her mother. That seems to cover all the bases!

As for people in this situations, they already have all the mechanism in place and so are really no helpful. That's more about how poorly a ranging communal animal deals with no supportive community and no range.

Self consciousness (sapience) is dependent on language use which is a public tool that has been developed bit by bit over millennia - if you see so far...

Sentience is just a matter of small subsets of neural function feeling like something.
Without being entirely sure what all this talk of language specifically has to do with the OP (if it has, maybe someone will tell me), I would in any case, whether it's partly a related detour or on point, say that imo language probably greatly enhances self-awareness, but is neither necessary or sufficient to cause it in the first place. Language may enable and help us to maintain a robust sense of self (wherever 'robust' lies on the spectrum, again it's probably blurry, and varies from moment to moment). It may to a large extent create social identity, but not necessarily basic or private identity, albeit those are arguably vague, overlapping categories.

I don't think any of this can yet be proven or conclusively shown, and there are probably so many developmental and ongoing interactions involved that it may make little sense to isolate one thing and say it causes the other. In that sense it may be a form of process symbiosis. At one level, we can see this as informational processing, but where it ends up 'feeling like something' too (on those occasions where it does end up like that, which may involve some sort of activity or informational threshold being reached).

For clues regarding the limits of the role of language, we can try to look to where language isn't, or at least isn't well-formed, that would be in the first instance other animals, but also the behaviour/neurology of infants, or so-called 'feral children' (to the extent that they exist), or those who lose language skills after brain trauma (eg stroke aphasia), or where it is at least altered by medical procedure (such as severing the cortical connections between the hemispheres) or lost/partially lost through the ageing process (which may be associated with diseases and/or declining or degenerative cognitive conditions) or where it is never attained or fully attained in the first instance because of brain impairment or disability.

Or, alternatively/additionally, we may consider our own (variously) 'altered' or non-reasoning states, or dream states (which are as often as not experienced/remembered without explicit language, ie are visual/emotional). Also, most or all of us can, I think, sometimes daily, experience ineffability and limerence. Some things, it seems, cannot be properly expressed in language (and putting them into words may even be imposing limitations, so we could see language as both a facilitator and an obstructor, a double-edged sword), but this doesn't seem to stop us experiencing them, and experiencing them as 'us experiencing them'.

It may also be worth noting that, almost by definition, modern analytic philosophy, with its attendant emphasis on rationality and reasoning, was arguably almost bound to give priority to language (and arguably did so, in the 20th century). This in itself may have been (and still be) an approach which from the outset almost inevitably resulted in language being given primacy of consideration. At a stretch, we might even call it a bias of emphasis, perhaps.[/QUOTE]

I don't know about the OP, as this is really one discussion that has spread over three threads.

I wasn't aware I was giving priority to language. In fact, I've just spent some time talking about brains in a way that it is impossible to insert language into and my last post very clearly talked about sentience and sapience, not merely sapience.

I'm not prioritising language, merely identifying where it fits.

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:08 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]ps

There is also what is called Body Language, which isn't really a language in the way that words and grammar rules are. It seems to be a means of non-verbal communication, and one which even the very youngest babies (some say as young as 1 day old, or less) are tuned in to. And bodily communication/interactions can have to do with sight (of bodily movement and postures, or just facial expressions or even just eye movements) but also smell, hearing, touch, taste, etc.

Think of two lovers embracing pre- or post-coitally, sensing each other's breathing, odours, skin, tongue....and tell me, as best you can manage with mere words, about love, about orgasms, about attachment.....or think of it all merely in terms of information transfer even, if you prefer.[/quote]

I have no idea what you are trying to achieve here. Young babies can discriminate their mother's voice (when played as a recording) from the moment of the basal fusing that unifies the CNS and the brain. That's about twenty weeks and suggests to me that it's hard or firm wired in as it ain't learned.

As for mature lovers, I'm unsure what that tells us. If you can unpick what is conventional or cultural and what is signalling then you are away. However, brains don't know about any of that, they just keep tending towards a lowest energy state and all the tuning, evolutionary, cultural, intentional and otherwise just ensures that these ripples lead to appropriate behaviour, appropriate illusions and so on. Of course, the intentional bit is guided by logic, which also doesn't know or care, that's just algorithmic.

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:42 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]
plebian;673788 wrote:
ruby sparks;673787 wrote:Plebian,

Personally I don't see saying that systems tend towards.....whatever, is teleological.
ok
'Seeking' may be problematic, but I think that at times we all use language that 'could be teleological' if we are adding baggage. Personally I find it hard to police my language so that it doesn't ever contain baggage. That's acquired human language for you.[/QUOTE]

And of course, when doing philosophy carefully, that's exactly and precisely what philosophers are trained to do. Hence 'tending' and knowing damn well that I'd not used words that conflated, slid or equivocated into teleology.

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Post by ruby sparks » Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:47 pm

Without going very far back to other posts, sub, your saying just above, for example, that self-consciousness depends on language does seem to involve proritising language. You didn't say it the other way around.

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:30 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]Without going very far back to other posts, sub, your saying just above, for example, that self-consciousness depends on language does seem to involve proritising language. You didn't say it the other way around.[/quote]

I'm saying that language use is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for self consciousness.

And yes, I've said it the other way around many, many, many times.

I'm saying that having a working brain is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for self consciousness.

I'm also saying that consciousness is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for self consciousness.

I'm also saying that intentionality is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for self consciousness.

By way of a caveat, there may be other routes to self consciousness but not on this planet at this point in time.


Now, about that prioritising?

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Post by ruby sparks » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:46 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
ruby sparks;673874 wrote:Without going very far back to other posts, sub, your saying just above, for example, that self-consciousness depends on language does seem to involve proritising language. You didn't say it the other way around.
I'm saying that language use is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for self consciousness.

And yes, I've said it the other way around many, many, many times.

I'm saying that having a working brain is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for self consciousness.

I'm also saying that consciousness is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for self consciousness.

I'm also saying that intentionality is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for self consciousness.

By way of a caveat, there may be other routes to self consciousness but not on this planet at this point in time.


Now, about that prioritising?[/QUOTE]

Thank you for clarifying. I may have misunderstood. A while back, plebian opined that he thought Dennett prioritised in such a way, and I may have also mistakenly associated your views with that idea (whether or not Dennett does espouse it, which I don't know). In many ways, several of my recent posts have been addressing this, including the one about the two lovers, so it may be that there was no need or that I was preaching to (or at least aiming my layman's brain farts towards) the converted.

As usual, we don't reely reely disagree much when it comes down to it, do we? And thanks for all the posts about the role of language. Very interesting and illuminating.

I may also have mistakenly seen you as eliminating something, possibly as what I thought was a carry over from you saying beliefs don't exist. In essence, I suppose I saw this eliminated thing as consciousness, I suppose. Iow, if brains don't believe, care or know, (which I agree with) then what does?
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Post by ruby sparks » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:50 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
ruby sparks;673790 wrote:
plebian;673788 wrote:
ruby sparks;673787 wrote:Plebian,

Personally I don't see saying that systems tend towards.....whatever, is teleological.
ok
'Seeking' may be problematic, but I think that at times we all use language that 'could be teleological' if we are adding baggage. Personally I find it hard to police my language so that it doesn't ever contain baggage. That's acquired human language for you.
And of course, when doing philosophy carefully, that's exactly and precisely what philosophers are trained to do. Hence 'tending' and knowing damn well that I'd not used words that conflated, slid or equivocated into teleology.[/QUOTE]

That's ok. I had assumed via plebian that you had said seeking, but like him I was mistaken.

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:55 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]
subsymbolic;673876 wrote:
ruby sparks;673874 wrote:Without going very far back to other posts, sub, your saying just above, for example, that self-consciousness depends on language does seem to involve proritising language. You didn't say it the other way around.
I'm saying that language use is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for self consciousness.

And yes, I've said it the other way around many, many, many times.

I'm saying that having a working brain is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for self consciousness.

I'm also saying that consciousness is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for self consciousness.

I'm also saying that intentionality is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for self consciousness.

By way of a caveat, there may be other routes to self consciousness but not on this planet at this point in time.


Now, about that prioritising?
Thank you for clarifying. I may have misunderstood. A while back, plebian opined that he thought Dennett prioritised in such a way, and I may have also mistakenly associated your your views with that idea (whether or not Dennett does espouse it, which I don't know). In many ways, several of my recent posts have been addressing this, so it may be that there was no need or that I was preaching (or at least aiming my layman's brain farts) to the converted.[/QUOTE]

As I have been consistently pointing out for as long as I have been here and have pointed out in this thread at least twice, Dennett is a linguistic behaviourist. I even just posted the explanation from Wittgenstein of how this happened that is the point of separation between Dennett and I, or was the last time I spoke to him.

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Post by ruby sparks » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:04 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
ruby sparks;673877 wrote:
subsymbolic;673876 wrote:
ruby sparks;673874 wrote:Without going very far back to other posts, sub, your saying just above, for example, that self-consciousness depends on language does seem to involve proritising language. You didn't say it the other way around.
I'm saying that language use is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for self consciousness.

And yes, I've said it the other way around many, many, many times.

I'm saying that having a working brain is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for self consciousness.

I'm also saying that consciousness is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for self consciousness.

I'm also saying that intentionality is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for self consciousness.

By way of a caveat, there may be other routes to self consciousness but not on this planet at this point in time.


Now, about that prioritising?
Thank you for clarifying. I may have misunderstood. A while back, plebian opined that he thought Dennett prioritised in such a way, and I may have also mistakenly associated your your views with that idea (whether or not Dennett does espouse it, which I don't know). In many ways, several of my recent posts have been addressing this, so it may be that there was no need or that I was preaching (or at least aiming my layman's brain farts) to the converted.
As I have been consistently pointing out for as long as I have been here and have pointed out in this thread at least twice, Dennett is a linguistic behaviourist. I even just posted the explanation from Wittgenstein of how this happened that is the point of separation between Dennett and I, or was the last time I spoke to him.[/QUOTE]

No prob.

(I also, btw, added to my post, possibly while you were writing).

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Post by ruby sparks » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:10 pm

And now that I'm a little clearer that I'm not reading posts that are necessarily about the OP......I should say that I struggled to distinguish between discobulus and Bronze Piece. Or was it mainly just the naming and/or understood/ascribed meaning of either that differentiated them, or what?

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Post by ruby sparks » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:15 pm

I was in any case very reminded of this 'piece' by Marcel Duchamp:

Image

Image

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:26 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]And now that I'm a little clearer that I'm not reading posts that are necessarily about the OP......I should say that I struggled to distinguish between discobulus and Bronze Piece. Or was it mainly just the naming and/or understood/ascribed meaning of either that differentiated them, or what?[/quote]

Remembering what I've said about brains...

One of the two or three unique things about my personal position on all this is the idea that the neural states that carry the information that makes pain or the taste of orange more than an unconscious ability to discriminate or nociception are the same thing as the mental states that are felt in your head, just seen from a different perspective; that is the perspective of the initial user illusion that supervenes upon the brain. The information bearing states share information across the brain in such a way as it feels like something. Not to the brain, but to the user illusion that the brain generates. None of this has anything to do with language at all (yet). It's just biology.

Now, there are two ways it could be the same thing. One is identity and the other is constitution. For a long time I went with identity, but constitution is a more useful and powerful way of thinking about it and makes the property dualism of P and M states significantly more intuitive to people unfamiliar with the position.

I assume that, at the very least, this is common to all mammalian and avian brains. However, there are theorists I respect who now think that some insects might be there too. However, I still draw the line at (mostly) carnivorous fish

Language, and more importantly, intentional language, comes later.
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Post by ruby sparks » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:27 pm

It's one of my all-time favourites, and in fact I may be attending a viewing tomorrow morning, at half-time in The British Lions test match....

Image

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:34 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]I was in any case very reminded of this 'piece' by Marcel Duchamp:

Image

Image[/quote]

Yeah, I reckon that's a spot on intuition to get you started, but when you actually consider that particular bit of found art, it all gets a bit 'Ship of Theseus'. Perhaps something a bit more unequivocally singular...

I've used Whiteread's House (I have a lump of it somewhere which I'm rather proud of in a Berlin Wall sort of way) and something nasty by Kurt Schwitters in the past.

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:36 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]It's one of my all-time favourites, and in fact I may be attending a viewing tomorrow morning, at half-time in The British Lions test match....

Image[/quote]


Huh, there's an irony, I'm off to see this:

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/ ... view-magic

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Post by ruby sparks » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:52 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
ruby sparks;673881 wrote:And now that I'm a little clearer that I'm not reading posts that are necessarily about the OP......I should say that I struggled to distinguish between discobulus and Bronze Piece. Or was it mainly just the naming and/or understood/ascribed meaning of either that differentiated them, or what?
Remembering what I've said about brains...

One of the two or three unique things about my personal position on all this is the idea that the neural states that carry the information that makes pain or the taste of orange more than an unconscious ability to discriminate or nociception are the same thing as the mental states that are felt in your head, just seen from a different perspective; that is the perspective of the initial user illusion that supervenes upon the brain. The information bearing states share information across the brain in such a way as it feels like something. Not to the brain, but to the user illusion that the brain generates. None of this has anything to do with language at all (yet). It's just biology.

Now, there are two ways it could be the same thing. One is identity and the other is constitution. For a long time I went with identity, but constitution is a more useful and powerful way of thinking about it and makes the property dualism of P and M states significantly more intuitive to people unfamiliar with the position.

I assume that, at the very least, this is common to all mammalian and avian brains. However, there are theorists I respect who now think that some insects might be there too. However, I still draw the line at (mostly) carnivorous fish

Language, and more importantly, intentional language, comes later.[/QUOTE]

That you would have said it was the user illusion, and not the brain, which feels, would have been my guess. That would only leave me asking about the difference between something being an illusion (as opposed to having illusory 'features') and not existing.

I don't understand why constitution is a more powerful way to understand than identity, but I'm going to ruminate. The difference between the two is new to me.

Have you seen this:

https://web.archive.org/web/20131109230 ... usness.pdf

I thought it was interesting, and I intuitively went along with it, though having watched a video by the woman who owns the clever grey parrot, I did wonder if she was making more of it than it deserved....

http://fcmconference.org/#talks

Irene Pepperberg, one of the signatories to that declaration, I think.

ETA: Some magpies, of course, appear to pass The Mirror test, which is at least interesting, though of course we have to be very cautious about interpreting that.

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Post by ruby sparks » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:54 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/ ... view-magic[/quote]

That looks like it should be good.

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Post by ruby sparks » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:58 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]Yeah, I reckon that's a spot on intuition to get you started, but when you actually consider that particular bit of found art, it all gets a bit 'Ship of Theseus'. Perhaps something a bit more unequivocally singular...

I've used Whiteread's House (I have a lump of it somewhere which I'm rather proud of in a Berlin Wall sort of way) and something nasty by Kurt Schwitters in the past.[/quote]

I see what you mean about the Ship of Theseus thing, though in some ways, the non-uniqeness adds something to the issue of whether it's art or not. The impressive thing, for me, was the declaring it a sculpture, since that was not, or not much, part of the maker's intention.

There is also, of course, Tracy Emin's unmade bed, though that's not quite the same thing, but sort of is.

As for Whitehead's House, I can only find, through Google, this sort of thing:

https://www.propertypal.com/property-for-sale/whitehead

..but maybe I need to persevere. Is it anything like Wittgenstein's House?
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Post by ruby sparks » Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:04 pm

Your posts have, unsurprisingly, also moved me to google a bit about Wittgenstein, with whom I am pretty unfamiliar. Bit of a tortured (possibly depressed) genius (and one time child-hitter). And from what little I read, I get the gist of some of the things he said about language (or rather how others have interpreted what he said) and Language Games, and I reckon it was pretty profound, or at the very least thought-provoking.

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:29 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]
subsymbolic;673885 wrote:
ruby sparks;673881 wrote:And now that I'm a little clearer that I'm not reading posts that are necessarily about the OP......I should say that I struggled to distinguish between discobulus and Bronze Piece. Or was it mainly just the naming and/or understood/ascribed meaning of either that differentiated them, or what?
Remembering what I've said about brains...

One of the two or three unique things about my personal position on all this is the idea that the neural states that carry the information that makes pain or the taste of orange more than an unconscious ability to discriminate or nociception are the same thing as the mental states that are felt in your head, just seen from a different perspective; that is the perspective of the initial user illusion that supervenes upon the brain. The information bearing states share information across the brain in such a way as it feels like something. Not to the brain, but to the user illusion that the brain generates. None of this has anything to do with language at all (yet). It's just biology.

Now, there are two ways it could be the same thing. One is identity and the other is constitution. For a long time I went with identity, but constitution is a more useful and powerful way of thinking about it and makes the property dualism of P and M states significantly more intuitive to people unfamiliar with the position.

I assume that, at the very least, this is common to all mammalian and avian brains. However, there are theorists I respect who now think that some insects might be there too. However, I still draw the line at (mostly) carnivorous fish

Language, and more importantly, intentional language, comes later.
That you would have said it was the user illusion, and not the brain, which feels, would have been my guess. That would only leave me asking about the difference between something being an illusion (as opposed to having illusory 'features') and not existing.

I don't understand why constitution is a more powerful way to understand than identity, but I'm going to ruminate. The difference between the two is new to me.

Have you seen this:

https://web.archive.org/web/20131109230 ... usness.pdf

I thought it was interesting, and I intuitively went along with it, though having watched a video by the woman who owns the clever grey parrot, I did wonder if she was making more of it than it deserved....

http://fcmconference.org/#talks

Irene Pepperberg, one of the signatories to that declaration, I think.

ETA: Some magpies, of course, appear to pass The Mirror test, which is at least interesting, though of course we have to be very cautious about interpreting that.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, I posted it here when it was first signed. On one level I'm still unsure that drug effects or behavioural criteria cut it. If they do than great, but I'm acutely aware that having the lights on, so as to speak, is something I can only consider from my own case and the further anything gets from the human case, the harder it is to speak with any authority.

I know that Christof carried the debate on the precautionary principle, but I think he's a closet pan psychist (consciousness is a bit like mass, but it takes complexity for it to become apparent). This solves big problems for free, but I'm profoundly suspect of adopting ideas because they solve problems that will not go away. I'd rather adopt them on their own merits. I agree on the precautionary principle, but that's not actually the same as it being true.

I'm pretty certain that looking in a mirror and being able to see yourself as yourself isn't the same as responding to a spot. Gareth Evans had a really good analysis of how a system could come to recognise and interact with a pattern in the behaviour of its environment without recognising that that pattern was them.

Mind you it's always hard to think about the precognitive from a cognitive perspective. We are always so tempted to put ourselves in that place and we can't.

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:41 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]Your posts have, unsurprisingly, also moved me to google a bit about Wittgenstein, with whom I am pretty unfamiliar. Bit of a tortured (possibly depressed) genius (and one time child-hitter). And from what little I read, I get the gist of some of the things he said about language (or rather how others have interpreted what he said) and Language Games, and I reckon it was pretty profound, or at the very least thought-provoking.[/quote]

The biggest problem is that his legacy fell into the hands of three Catholics and one of his arguments rather cleverly demonstrated that you could have language or you could have souls but not both.

There was a finished copy of The Investigations, but it was stolen from Trinity library, I suspect by Anscombe. The theft is attributed to W's sister, in the trinity library index of the collection but she wasn't in the country when the theft occurred. With the support of my Supervisor I brought this up with Anscombe. She told me to fuck off. That's hardly conclusive either way as I had just implicitly accused her of not only theft but damaging Wittgenstein's legacy and the deliberate mistranslation of the word verknüpfung.

I did most of my later research on Wittgenstein directly from the Cornell microfiche collection which sadly came after this but avoided later omissions.
As for depressed genius, he was also a Jewish anti semite and all round complex chap. Ray Monk did a fine biography which is a good read.

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:44 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]
subsymbolic;673888 wrote:Yeah, I reckon that's a spot on intuition to get you started, but when you actually consider that particular bit of found art, it all gets a bit 'Ship of Theseus'. Perhaps something a bit more unequivocally singular...

I've used Whiteread's House (I have a lump of it somewhere which I'm rather proud of in a Berlin Wall sort of way) and something nasty by Kurt Schwitters in the past.
I see what you mean about the Ship of Theseus thing, though in some ways, the non-uniqeness adds something to the issue of whether it's art or not. The impressive thing, for me, was the declaring it a sculpture, since that was not, or not much, part of the maker's intention.

There is also, of course, Tracy Emin's unmade bed, though that's not quite the same thing, but sort of is.

As for Whitehead's House, I can only find, through Google, this sort of thing:

https://www.propertypal.com/property-for-sale/whitehead

..but maybe I need to persevere. Is it anything like Wittgenstein's House?[/QUOTE]

No, it was a piece of public art that the moronic council destroyed:

https://www.apollo-magazine.com/house/

Cool huh?

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Post by ruby sparks » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:28 am

[quote=""subsymbolic""]No, it was a piece of public art that the moronic council destroyed:

https://www.apollo-magazine.com/house/

Cool huh?[/quote]

Yeah. I misread. Thought you had typed Whitehead (thought of Alfred North).

Had vaguely heard of that sculpture, but found out more about it by reading over the weekend.

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Post by ruby sparks » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:31 am

On a slightly different tack, I was also reminded of these portraits:

Image

Image

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/m ... aeces.html

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Post by plebian » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:14 pm

Subsymbolic, it just occurred to me, you take a position surprisingly close to George Mead's. Is that a coincidence? I seem to recall you once saying that the American pragmatists didn't make a deep impression on you.

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