Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. Everything has been figured out, except how to live. One always dies too soon or too late. And yet, life is there, finished. The line is drawn, and it must all be added up. You are nothing other than your life. There is only one day left, always starting over. It is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk. We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are, that is the fact. When you live alone you no longer know what it is to tell a story: the plausible disappears at the same time as the friends. You let events flow by too.Suddenly you see people appear who speak and then go away; you plunge into stories of which you can't make head or tail. You'd make a terrible witness. It is true that people who live in society have learned how to see themselves in mirrors as they appear to their friends. Luckily, I only have a few...

Dr Shaw is a lecturer in Further Education at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk. She also offers philosophy courses at the School of Continuing Education, Lifelong learning, at the University of Liverpool. In 2015, she has completed her Doctorate in philosophy with a focus on existentialism, the equilibrium doctrine and narrative. She has worked as a teacher of English and Comparative literature and Philosophy at The American University in Cairo, Egypt where she also obtained her BA (Hons). Dr Shaw has an MA in Philosophy and Literature from the University of East Anglia where she also taught on a number of humanities subjects. Whilst working in North Wales in Further education, she gained a PGCE aimed at teaching in FE and HE sectors. Dr Shaw moved to Liverpool in 2010 where she now resides.

Interests: Existentialism, Narrative, Comparative Literature, Feminist Thought, Public Speaking, Arab Existentialism, Philosophy of Education, Art, Music, Film and Theatre, Greek Mythology, Existential counsellor and psychotherapist.


Sunday, 3 July 2011

Perceiving Other's Minds_Friday 1st July Conference

A conference organised by Manchester University at Arthur Lewis building by Dr.Joel Smith.

The question asked and discussed in this conference is how do we have knowledge of Other's minds and mental features. The simple answer is through perception. Perception secures us some- if not all- knowledge as we use seeing and hearing to come to know they have minds and what is on their minds accordingly. Some say that perception could only give us information about other bodies and bodily  behaviour, i.e. frown, grin, smile or a look of terror. This could be used to show that, through these observations, we could come to know of other's mental features and what goes on in the mind.

Papers given in the conference suggest that there is a "more recent proposal which states that the transformation of this bodily information might come by way of a mental simulation or empathic connection. However an alternative is that information about other's minds and mental lives can itself form part of our basic evidence; that we might perceieve other's minds or some of their mental features."

One of the papers that interested me the most is by Will McNeil, University of York, who presented the following on his handout which sums up what he had basically on the power-point presentation.

Perceptual Hypothesis: [PH] It is sometimes possible to see other's mental features
Perceptual Hypothesis*: [PH*] it is sometimes possible to see- non inferentially or directly- other's mental features.

Question is....Do we say "I saw his anger or I saw his anger in his face?"
and How is embodiemnet suppose to help ?

Embodiment hypothesis:
[EH] Some mental features are (just) partly constituted by outward bodily features
[EP] Embodiment Perceptualist: PH* is plausible, but only when the mental feature is embodied.

Strategy: understand the first disjunct of the dilemma in such a way that does not entail behaviourism.

Opaque Seeing
[R1] by identifying some particular kinf of facial expression, you come to identify O's disgust
[R2] you identify O's facial expression as being one of disgust; you identify O's disgust 'in' their facial expression.

Transparent seeing: 3 things to transparent seeing DOESN'T automatically deliver:
1) Seeing O by seeing part of O
2) Seeing any particular feature of O
3) Seeing any particular feature of O by seeing some particular part of O

Image Source: http://prof.irfanessa.com/1994/08/30/dspace-at-mit-analysis-interpretation-and-synthesis-of-facial-expressions/
[C1] The EP needs some explaination of why seeing mental features is like seeing icebergs, rather than seeing woods.
[C2] The relationship between a feature and its parts seems more like that between the wood and a component tree than an iceberg and its tip.
[C3] We should not model the seeing of features on the seeing of objects.

Other Minds: How Humans Bridge the Divide between Self and Others

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