Commentary 22 on|
Karl Jaspers Forum, Target Article 22, 2 November 1999
MENTAL ACTIVITY AND CONSCIOUSNES...
By Timo Jarvilehto
ON MILITANT IGNORANCE
by Paul Jones
10 May 2000
Sue Pockett's commentary (TA 22 C08) is a regrettable example of a narrow-minded approach to a problem
that is obviously far from being solved in the past, and possibly
in the nearest future.
Declaring that she had "always been an opponent of calls
for a definition of the word consciousness," she plays hypocrite,
since it is only the others' attempts of comprehending
consciousness that she derogates, thus defending the mystical
attitude to consciousness as somewhat incomprehensible.
It is utterly insolent of her to claim for being a representative
of the absolute majority of the humanity in understanding
"No wonder Jarvilehto thinks that consciousness is not located
in the brain. He's right what he calls consciousness clearly
isn't. But what the rest of us call consciousness almost certainly is."
Who are those "rest of them"? Primitive mystics like Bucke,
whose classification is nothing but a pale vulgarization of
Hegel's system? A couple of Sue Pockett's friends of whom we
know nothing? I even doubt that "psychologists like Baars
and philosophers like Chalmers, Dennett and Searle" would
greet Pockett's attempts to sneak in their company, though
I would not assert that just a few interesting observations
made by the above writers make them the ultimate authority to
judge on what conscious is. There are other thinkers who have
much more right to be consulted on such matters, including
K.Marx, of whom S.P. seems to know very little.
That T.Jarvilehto tries to suggest his own definition of
consciousness is quite normal for every conscious person,
who attempts to understand the idea rather than obscure it.
Even if Jarvilehto's suggestions had been "ill-defined" (which
they are certainly not), it would have been much better than
the refusal to know anything at all advocated by Pockett.
A narrow circle of the so called "neuroscientists" (S.P.
proudly adds: "like me") have created a pseudo-science
of their own, which has nothing in common with consciousness
studies; they have never suggested any hint to what
consciousness really is, they simply do not know that,
and they do not want to know anything but their arbitrary
decision that it is something in the brain. One could
justify the attempts of different schools (materialism,
idealism, constructivism etc.) to formulate their views
on the subject all of them contribute into the understanding
of consciousness to be virtually spread but the propaganda
of ignorance cannot be tolerated.