[ExI] Semiotics and Computability

Jeff Davis jrd1415 at gmail.com
Sun Feb 14 00:38:48 UTC 2010

On Sat, Feb 13, 2010 at 3:57 PM, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 14 February 2010 08:02, Jeff Davis <jrd1415 at gmail.com> wrote:

>>  Half a thing is not the thing.

> But half a thing may still perform the function of the thing.

If the nature of the half thing is profoundly different from that of
the whole, the nature of its performance may also be radically

>> ...the God-like nature of man is more about the influence
>> of gut, bone, blood, and sinew, than brain...

> Then there would be a problem with the
> consciousness of people who
> have lost limbs or various internal organs.

Regarding the loss of limbs, kidney, gall bladder, stomach, lengths of
intestine, a lung, etc....  I agree the persona and consciousness
appear unaltered.  That said, I have heard of people who lose a
portion of their visual field, but are unaware of the alteration in
their consciousness.  However, that may be the result of brain damage,
not somatic damage.

But mostly I was thinking of basic human impulses and feelings:
hunger and the urge to feed, the reproductive impulse,
acquisitiveness(greed?), the various behaviors arising from the
instinct for survival: fight or flight, fear, anger, hatred,
dominance, submission, anxiety, depression, shock.  These things are
primitive, and certainly pre-date the features of mammalian (ie
higher) brain function.  I view these impulses as the foundation AND
BULK of animal and human behavior, and gut-centered, with higher-level
mental activity a more recent development.  I wonder if feelings in
the gut aren't in fact real -- like pain -- and our awareness of them
just an additional fact, a mental fact.

So what would consciousness be, what would a mind be without this
foundational context built up over three and a half billion years?
That's why I think the gut (soma) may be critical in defining mind.

But, to be honest with you, I feel way out on a limb here.

Best, Jeff Davis

 "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
                         Ray Charles

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