Vol.30 Nos. 1 and 2 Winter and Spring 2009

 

Quantum Science and the Nature of Mind



Later works of C.G. Jung contain comprehensive descriptions of the relationship between psychological and physical research. These considerations described in Jung’s works and in his correspondence with Wolfgang Pauli represent interesting philosophical ideas that are related to interpretation of psychological data. The so-called “collective unconscious” studied by Jung in analysis of dream material, mythology, psychopathological symptoms, and several cultural manifestations led him to postulate complementarity and unity of scientific principles, and to define the psyche as complementary to physical reality. Likewise recent neuroscientific studies and physical analyses on the role of the observer in physical reality led to the study of “quantum consciousness.” This review compares the philosophical postulates by Roger Penrose with Jung’s and Pauli’s studies, and suggests novel links of these concepts to recent findings of chaos theory in the brain.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Petr Bob, Ph.D., Center for Neuropsychiatric Research of Traumatic Stress & Department of Psychiatry, 1st Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Ke Karlovu 11, 128 00 Prague 2, Czech Republic. E-mail: petrbob@netscape.net

 

The Appearance of the Child Prodigy 10,000 Years Ago: An Evolutionary and Developmental Explanation



Feldman and Goldsmith (1991) sought an evolutionary explanation of the child prodigy phenomenon. Following in this vein, a theory involving the evolution and development of the collaboration of working memory and the cognitive functions of the cerebellum is presented with commentary on Edmunds and Noel’s (2003) report on a child’s literary precocity. It is argued that (1) the evolution of working memory and the cerebellum within the increasing rule-governed complexity of culture may have produced the child prodigy within agricultural villages as early as 10,000 years ago, (2) in child prodigies, heightened emotional–attentional control in the central executive of working memory and modeled in the cerebellum is acquired in infancy through perceptual analysis (Mandler, 1992a, 1992b, 2004), and (3) this heightened emotional–attentional control begins in visuospatial processing, links visuospatial and language processing in working memory (Vandervert, in press), and initiates and accelerates a positive feedback loop with the cerebellum in a specific knowledge domain. It is concluded that the working memory– cerebellar approach provides an evolutionary and developmental explanation of the child prodigy and strongly supports Edmunds and Noel’s visuospatial–high verbal ability explanation.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Larry R. Vandervert, Ph.D., American Nonlinear Systems, 1529 W. Courtland Avenue, Spokane, Washington 99205. Email: LVandervert@aol.com

 

The Access Paradox in Analogical Reasoning and Transfer: Whither Invariance?


Despite the burgeoning research in recent years on what is called analogical reasoning and transfer, the problem of how similarity or invariant relations are fundamentally accessed is typically either unrecognized, or ignored in componential and computational analyses. The access problematic is not a new one, being outlined by the paradox found in Plato’s Meno. In order to understand the analogical-access problematic, it is suggested that the concepts of analogical relations including the lexical concept metaphor, isomorphic relation in mathematics, homology in biology, stimulus generalization in psychology, transfer of learning in education, and transposition phenomena in perception, be reconceptualized as subsets of a higher-order domain as all share the problem of how invariance relations are generated and accessed. A solution is suggested based on two specific evolutionary and neurological models, coupled with findings regarding the cognitive importance of knowledge-base. The paper constitutes a reciprocal complementarity analysis of a previous paper on metaphor. A higher-order form of analogical reasoning called analogical progression is introduced. Implications for research are discussed that indicate the need for a paradigm shift. The paper concludes with a four-stage model of analogical access.

Request for reprints should be sent to Robert E. Haskell, Ph.D., University of New England, Psychology Department, Hills Beach Road, Biddeford, Maine 04005. Email: haskellre@gmail.com or rhaskell@une.edu

 

Critical Notices

Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind. Evan Thompson. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2007, 568 pages, $49.95 hardcover. Reviewed by Dorothée Legrand, Centre de Recherche en Epistemologie Appliquee, Paris


In Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind, Evan Thompson defends the thesis of a “deep continuity of life and mind” according to which “life and mind share a set of basic organizational properties . . . . Mind is life-like and life is mind-like” (p. 128, also p. ix). On the one hand, Thompson uncovers mind in life, by considering life and explaining how living organisms are organized in a way that involves the biological implementation of properties that are usually attributed to mental states. On the other hand, he roots mind in life by considering the mind and explaining how mental states are anchored to (neuro)biological processes. Following the lead of Merleau–Ponty and his notion of “comportment” (1963, p. 4; see Mind in Life, p. 67), Thompson argues that the notion of autonomous dynamic system can integrate the orders of life and mind, and account for the originality of each order, allowing the understanding that “on the one hand, nature is not pure exteriority, but rather in the case of life has its own interiority and thus resembles mind. On the other hand, mind is not pure interiority, but rather a form of structure of engagement with the world and thus resembles life” (p. 78).

Requests for reprints should be sent to Dorothée Legrand, Centre de Recherche en Epistemologie Appliquee, 32, boulevard Victor, 75015 Paris, France. Email: dorothee.legrand@polytechnique.edu

 

Consciousness and its Place in Nature: Does Physicalism Entail Panpsychism? Galen Strawson [Anthony Freeman, Editor]. Exeter, United Kingdom: Imprint Academic, 2006, 250 pages, $34.90 paperback. Reviewed by Christian Onof, Birkbeck College, London


This collection of papers, Consciousness and its Place in Nature: Does Physicalism Entail Panpsychism?, edited by Anthony Freeman presents seventeen responses to Galen Strawson’s keynote paper which claims that the only plausible way to be a real physicalist is to accept that the intrinsic properties of the physical are experiential (phenomenal) in character, i.e., the doctrine of panpsychism. The book concludes with Strawson’s reply to these responses. This “real physicalism” is, according to Strawson, the only way of dealing with what Chalmers (1996) calls the “hard problem of consciousness.” This problem lies in the fact that the experiential nature of our conscious experience is a puzzling phenomenon for the materialist. It is of an apparently fundamentally different nature from the rest of the physical world, hence the problem of integrating it into a satisfactory naturalistic world-picture.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Christian Onof, Department of Philosophy, Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet Street, London, England WC1E 7HX. Email: c.onof@ philosophy.bbk.ac.uk

 

Book Reviews

Honest Horses — Wild Horses in the Great Basin. Paula Morin. Reno, Nevada: University of Nevada Press, 2006, 376 pages, $24.95 paperback. Reviewed by Nat T. Messer IV, University of Missouri

 

Paula Morin, author of Honest Horses — Wild Horses in the Great Basin, is very knowledgeable and passionate about the Great Basin and its inhabitants. She has obtained very insightful, informative, and candid narratives from 62 people who currently have or have had extensive involvement with the horses, the habitat, the ranches, the wildlife, the history of the region, and the Bureau of Land Management, whose task it is to maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands. These narratives graphically point out that the best intentions are often plagued by unforeseen and unintended consequences.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Nat T. Messer IV, DVM, Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211. Email: messern@missouri.edu

 

Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin. Kenny Shopsin and Carolynn Carreño. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008, 260 pages, $24.95 hardback. Reviewed by Steven E. Connelly, Indiana State University

The best titles resonate, as does Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin by Kenny Shopsin and Carolynn Carreño. “Eat Me” is described, in those dictionaries which include it, as a “rude phrase” essentially meaning “fuck off.” Shopsin’s logo, created by notable designer Laurie Rosenwald, features the phrase “Shopsin’s General Store” and folds to reveal its hidden message: “Eat Me.” Kenny Shopsin is pictured in this book wearing a t-shirt with the logo, and another photograph shows how to perform the equivalent of Mad Magazine’s classic fold in. Surely Shopsin must find “Eat Me,” secreted within what was once the restaurant’s name, consequential.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Steven E. Connelly, Ph.D., Department of English, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana 47809. Email: sconnelly@isugw.indstate.edu