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19 Apr 2012
1. Summary of Merleau-Ponty Part 1
Visual agnosia cannot point to an isolated stimuli (but can grab)
Optic ataxia cannot grasp an isolated stimuli (but can point)
CONCLUSION: two visual pathways in brain a. identifying what objects are, b. identifying how to engage with them
Pathological Cases cannot just draw a straight line from pathological to normal behaviour
-we must identify the patient’s pathological activities as allusions, then identify what fundamental functions those allusions are
striving to make good, but failing to furnish then reason back to normal activities that strive to make good and succeed in that
fundamental function
SO WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL FUNCTION OF PATHOLOGICAL ACTIVITY? The world structure at the core of consciousness how
the mind understands the world
Sedimentation habituation, reactive attitudes
Spontaneity activity, spontaneous behaviours
Shneider’s Pathologies
Spontaneous behaviours movements not solicited by or relevant to the current situation
Starting Problem difficulties initiating spontaneous behaviours
Habitual behaviours movements solicited by or relevant to the current situation
Stopping Problem difficulties modifying habitual behaviours (e.g. unable to light lamp if asked question)
-Shneider neither seeks nor finds his movement, but moves his body about until the movement comes (spontaneous)
-he is aware of the command, and has the intention to move he cannot convert the thought of movement into actual movement
he is missing the anticipation of/arrival at the objective ensured by motor intentionality
BACKGROUND every normal person has a background to their movement ‘movement and consciousness of it’
Abstract movements- not relevant to any actual situation (projected background)
Concrete movements- necessary for regular life (actual background)
-accounts other than MP only focus on the stopping problem
Shneider lacked both:
Bodily Freedom bodily openness to be drawn in to, or to be solicited by new situations
Concrete Liberty a bodily openness to put oneself in to or to initiate a new situation
-psychic blindness, unable to perform abstract movements with his eyes shut; i.e. those movements which are not relevant to any
situation; nor can he describe the position of his body or the passive movements of his limbs; also, when he is touched, he cannot
identify what point on his body he was touched
MOTOR INTENTIONALITY - both bodily freedom to be solicited by situations and concrete liberty to put yourself into a
-in the normal case, we make good on the world through a special class of action that combines habitual and spontaneous
behaviours, uniting bodily freedom and concrete liberty in actions
-inseparable unities between intentions and bodily movements
REFLEX ACTIONS consciousness is not involved; reflexes adjust themselves to a direction of the situation and express our
orientation towards a behavioural setting
TWO BODIES habit body and body at the moment
HABIT motor grasping of motor significance body catches and comprehends movement
-items regarding a task needing to be done e.g. mouse, keys, are poles of action which open a situation calling for work
2. Summary of Descartes Selections
-body as machine free-standing physical system whose behaviour as a whole is a function of the workings of its individual parts,
which interact rigidly by direct causal contact
-the body is the chunk of the physical world that happens to be causally contingent with the soul
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-the animal spirits have the power to change the shape of muscles in which the nerves they pass through are embedded, and this is
how the body is moved
-external objects by their mere presence stimulate the bodies sense organs and cause them to move in ways depending on how the
brain is disposed
-lights, sounds, smells, tastes, heat etc. qualities of external objects can imprint various ideas on the brain through the mediation of
the senses; the common sense part of the brain receives these ideas; the corporeal imagination changes them and forms them into
new ideas, distributing the animal spirits toward muscles and make our bodies move without the will
-the organs need some particular disposition for each particular action
-bodily movements such as moving heart, arteries and stomach digestion do not involve thought and are simply bodily movements
-the soul cannot produce bodily movement without the appropriate disposition of the bodily organs which are required for making
the movement
-when all the bodily organs are appropriately disposed for some movement, the body has no need of the soul in order to produce
the movement; the movements we experience that are not caused by thought must not be attributed to the soul, but to the
disposition of the organs
3. Searle Selections from Intentionality
-act of arm-raising involves two components intentional component (experience of acting) and the condition of satisfaction of that
component (moving my arm)
-the experience of acting a presentation of its conditions and satisfaction
-action, like perception, is a causal and intentional transaction between mind and world
-for every conscious intentional actions there is the experience of performing that action, and that experience has an intentional
-a conscious experience of acting involves a consciousness of the conditions of satisfaction of that experience
1. There is a distinction between prior intentions and intentions in action
2. Both are causally self-referential
3. The action contains two components: the experience of acting and the event of one’s arm going up (e.g. arm-raising)
-the intentional content of the intention in action and the experience of acting are identical
-the experience of acting just is the intention in action
-action is, in some sense, the condition of satisfaction of the intention to perform it
-the prior intention represents and causes the entire action, but the intention in action presents and causes only the bodily
-we have the capacity to make intentional bodily movements where the conditions of satisfaction of our intentions go beyond the
bodily movements
-our ability to expand true descriptions of actions (where conditions go beyond action) is the accordion effect
-an intentional action consists of two components an intentional component and an event which is its intentional object; the
intention in action is the intentional component and it presents the intentional object as its conditions of satisfaction
Background a set of nonrepresentational mental capacities that enable all representing to take place
-without the background, intentions could not be formed at all
-local background (opening doors etc.) and deep background (that all humans can inherently do)
-intentional states are underlain by nonrepresentational, pre-intentional capacities
-presentational stance I take toward oranges (how things are) allows for a completely different range of possibilities (how to do
things) from that which I take toward rocks or cars
-repeated practice enables the body to take over and the rules to recede into the background
-our intentional states, some conscious some unconscious, form a complex network
-the background is not on the periphery of intentionality, but permeates the entire network of intentional states, since without the
background the states could not function, they could not determine conditions of satisfaction
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