Literature/1976/Jaynes

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Jaynes, Julian (1976). The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Excerpts[edit]

Afterword
  • ... is this consciousness or the concept of consciousness? This is the well-known use-mention criticism which has been applied to Hobbes and others as well as to the present theory. Are we not confusing here the concept of consciousness with consciousness itself? My reply is that we are fusing them, that they are the same. As Dan Dennett has pointed out in a recent discussion of the theory,[1] there are many instances of mention and use being idential. The concept of baseball and baseball are the same thing. Or of money, or law, or good and evil. Or the concept of this book. (p. 454) -- cf. #Comments

Reviews[edit]

Dennett
Daniel Dennett (1998). "Julian Jaynes's Software Archeology," (maybe reprinted from [1]) in: Brainchildren: Essays on Designing Minds.
  • If we are going to use this top-down approach, we are going to have to be bold. We are going to have to be speculative, but there is good and bad speculation, and this is not an unparalleled activity in science. […] Those scientists who have no taste for this sort of speculative enterprise will just have to stay in the trenches and do without it, while the rest of us risk embarrassing mistakes and have a lot of fun.

Comments[edit]

Is the concept of baseball baseball?
  • This sounds a radical concept of Berkeleyan idealism. For Jaynes, thinking of a thing is the thing itself, or simply, thinking is thing. He may dare to run risks of a category mistake. Yet, should his thinking or sense of happiness be exactly the same as mine, not to mention that perhaps out there for no one or everyone else? Isn't Christianity Christian (source and consciousness of) happiness while Islamism is Muslim's? Some still think the earth is flat while most think it is round. Isn't to say that the various ideas of earth are the earth itself, then, to say that the earth is flat and round and perhaps square and so on. Isn't this a fancy crazy idea? You may find here a use of Hilary Putnam's (1975) dictum that "meanings just ain't in the head," which is somewhat uneasy because ancient people did mean (conceive or imagine) the flat earth indeed by "earth" whether in word or in thought or action. All thoughts, ideas, concepts, or meanings are not true and real. What a curse and blessing!
  • Thinking equals to thing, according to Saussure's (1916) dyadic view of "signified" (thinking or meaning) related to the "signifier" (word). Thinking differs from thing, however, according the Ogden & Richards's (1923) triadic view of "thought or reference" (thinking) that dares to relate "symbol" (word) to "referent" (thing), whether or not plausibly. Percy (1975) (in favor of Catholicism) strongly argues for such a holist trinity of symbolism as "irreducible" while dubbing it as "delta factor."
  • Then, as dehumanizing or mindless of the mind, neither Quine's (1960) text-based semantic holism nor Putnam's (1975) semantic externalism is plausible, especially from the pragmatic perspective. "The map is not the territory," as noted by Korzybski (1936). While both remain merciless, the mind is laden and ridden by value including mercy, hence all difference in conference! It may be that "meanings just ain't in the head." Without the cognitive mind but the cognitivist dehumanizing surrogate, say, whether the tall or digitall library, however, there may be no proper thinking or meaning whatsoever anywhere else, whether true or untrue, real or unreal. This looks like the strange case of Dr. Cognitive and Mr. Cognitivist, as it were.
  • For Ogden & Richards (1923), thinking relates or "refers to" thing, especially in symbolizing, whether encoding or decoding. They mark the referring process as "adequate". As such, this process would make a greater or lesser success while willing to adapt to the context or situation at issue, whether real or imaginary. That is, more or less adequately, properly, rather than equalizingly, varying from mood to mood, from temperament to temperament, and so on. It may be that thinking makes little or at least lesser sense of identity or correspondence to thing.
  • Rorty (1979) refuses to regard the mind as the mere, passive "mirror of nature". That is, the idea or concept is not the mirror image of an object or event, which in turn should not be defined by anybody privately or subjectively according to his or her own concept. How should the Bedouin casual concept of baseball be baseball at all? Wittgenstein (1953) suggests the inadequacy of private language. He seems to respond to some predecessors including Locke (1690) who argues that the referent of a word is the idea it stands for. Intuitively, the more public rather than private language, the greater communication, community or society. -- KYPark [T] 02:49, 29 June 2011 (UTC); last modified -- KYPark [T] 03:34, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Without need of communication or sharing of ideas, it would not matter at all to believe that your idea of God is God itself. Otherwise, it might matter very seriously, say, between theists and atheists. Underlying your communication is an assumption that your idea, say, of baseball is quite similar to his or hers. What if hers were wrongly of basket ball? It would lead to communication breakdown. What if a Muslim proudly tells a group of atheists Allah's miracles? They may accuse him of lying. Needed therefore indeed is Grice's (1975) cooperative principle, which may be faded by Jaynes's and perhaps Dennett's dangerous idea such that anyone's idea of God is God itself. You need to level your idea or invention up or down to your audience or their convention. The reality would better remain a social construction or convention of fair generality or stability than a messy mass of all different inventions. Either communication or cooperation is sharing in essence, whereas either conservatism or conspiracy is not. -- KYPark [T] 05:55, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Wikimedia[edit]

w: Bicameralism (psychology)

Related works[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Daniel Dennett, "Julian Jaynes' Software Archeology," Canadian Psychology, 1986, 27:149-154.