This is not because our knowledge [..of specifics..] is incomplete, but because we lack a general theory within which this knowledge has a place. There is always a context around a local theory, which is the area of it’s weakness. The more local the theory – and scientific theories tend to be extremely local – the less the theory explains.
In a very real sense, everything needs to be explained before anything can be understood.
Theories do not spring from data but arises as an insight about the context in which the data appear. Data, facts and observations limit the scope in which theory can develop but are more neutral in relation to the development of the theory than is commonly recognised. Theories help to organise experience; they are not waiting to be discovered when all the facts are known, but are engaged in a process of discovery as covert motivations. A theory is not an outcome but an intuition about the concepts that are quietly guiding the research.
In sum there is a tacit bias in any observation or experiment rooted ultimately in collective assumptions on the nature of mind and externality. The concepts driving the research are more important than the concepts that the research seems to be generating. Fundamental ideas implicit in the research shape it in ways that are often not apparent. This is especially important in the study of psychological function.
[If we begin with matter as primary...] In some manner the ‘projection’ of an object into the world entails a contrast between self and object that is so compelling we have difficulty maintaining the thought that the objective world is not quite as it appears.
On the other hand if we begin with with mind as primary and seek to explain objects from inner states and private experience, the discontinuity between inner and outer evaporates: mind is everywhere, a universe. An object is an extension of the mind of the perceiver. Mind reaches out to articulate a world that is limitless lilke a dream and the real world is a reality beyond mental representation. The world that is scrutinised in perception is simply part of the extrapersonal extent of mind.
Regardless of where we begin, with objects, brain activity or cognition, we need a theory of mind sensitive to physical constraints but centered in the subjective fo thie is ultimately what the theory has to explain. Without inner states there is no need for a theory; indeed, there is no mind to theorise with!
(this whole section is reminiscent of the teachings of the Buddha in the Lankavatara Sutra)
The feeling of reality for dream does not arise form the approximation to an object, but to an inability to affirm the unreality of the dream image through alternative perceptual systems.
The shift from dream to wakefulness is not an alternation between two parallel states but a process of emergence.
One challenge that is set to a theory of the world as mental representations is to explain this paradox, the firmness of belief in a world of real objects and actions that effect those objects, and the conviction that mind is independent of the objects of it’s own making.
Evolution delivers a mind that is designed to replicate the world we live in.
We would not say that the structure of a building is in the face it presents to a viewer. That is it’s appearance, it’s form; it’s structure consists in the pattern and composition of it’s elements. Structure means internal structure, not just surface form. Internal structure however is more than the concatenation of parts; it includes the functional relations between the parts.
Structures are not static arrangements but dynamic patterns. … A structure changes with a change instate. … Structure is defined by active processes. … Process is not the output of structure; process niether drives structure nor is instantiated through structure. … Process applies to internal activity and differs from function which is a superordinate term for the action of a system as a whole. … Function accounts for the design of a system but structure is independent of a functional description. … One can say that function constrains growth and outlines process but is not an intrinsic part of structure.
Structure … is the illusion of stability in a system in continuous transformation. … In a process model structural units are like mental snapshots, moments in the life of process artificially frozen in time. … Structure in mind/brain is a conceptual anchor in the unending flow of process.
The structure of the brain, like that of mind and world, is not a rigid framework but a fluid arrangement of dynamic processes.
The pattern of a developmental growth process guided by intrinsic laws generating a variety of forms that struggle to prevail in a slice of the external world, a world in which the selection of organisms occurs through an active, competitive pruning of those less well adapted for the conditions of life, constitutes the basic framework of evolutionary theory. The question is, can this framework also serve as a model for the process of cognition?
But consider how a structure is known. The structure is represented as an object in a perception. During the perception the structure is recorded and described. The perception is a segment in the life of the viewer. It is also a moment in the history of the object being viewed. The time during which the structure is taken in has a certain duration. In this duration, the life of the object is stabilised and captured as a whole.
…the insight that structure is an artificial stasis in the reality of incessant change is at the heart of an understanding of mental structure.
Change is not extrinsic to structure but permeates the concept of what a structure is. In fact the presence of change a the core of a structure, the stability of which is illusory, teaches us the the present (the slice through process to obtain structure) is contingent on a past through which it is actively elaborated. The present rides on the crest of a past that is resurgent, an ever expanding past, always, in pursuit of a present that cannot be demarcated, a present that dissolves away the instant it appears. (emphasis mine)
Growth is the memory of the body. Memory is the growth of the mind.
Habit is recurrence in the context of memory. … novelty is the overcoming of memory in the capacity for change. … The difference between repetition as mechanical and repetition with memory is the presence of mind to record the repetition.
…novelty lies in the conception of the whole, not in the elements derived from this conception. Since the whole is simultaneous, what elements are to be compared? From what prior state is the whole derived? Novelty in change, in the transition across moments, has to be sought in the conceptual growth leading to the whole, not in the change “across time” of it’s constituent features. This type of novelty is creativity, not the novelty that inheres in change.
…the percept ia a concept exteriorising as an existent.
Both natural categories, such as colours, and those that are culture relative, such a s tools, are organising principles of the mind that are engaged prior to object awareness.
In this fuzzy region between tow categories, another category is beginning to form. This region is fertile soil for the growth of new concepts.