A Theory of Immediate Awareness: Self-Organization and Adaptation in Natural Intelligence

Couverture
Springer Science & Business Media, 31 mai 2003 - 316 pages
This book presents a realist, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary theory of immediate awareness showing it is the most primitive cognitive network underlying all our natural intelligence. Including preattentive and attention processes, as well as primitive relations of the senses, imagination and memory, immediate awareness is a kind of knowing deeply embedded and interwoven throughout our multiple kinds of natural intelligence. It permits as well as drives our knowing how, our bodily intelligence. Against the Cartesian mind-body split found in earlier and current theories, the author shows how immediate awareness permits emergent properties of mind in multilayered primitive relations of touching and moving in bodily kinesthetic intelligence. Contrary to existing theories, she argues that sensation is not cognitively "neutral", nor does it require a "representation" in order to be accessible to cognitive processes. Dr. Estep presents empirical evidence and arguments that sensation of immediate awareness is itself cognitive and embedded within our sensory and somatosensory-motor processes. The author's aim is to turn to a more geometric approach to natural intelligence, as opposed to the prevalent symbol-based view. In this approach, she uses random Boolean networks as a way of obtaining law-like properties of those primitive relations of immediate awareness in terms of dynamical systems theory. This demonstrates the properties of self-organization and adaptation of immediate awareness without committing one to a physicalist/materialist theory. It gives us a way of understanding core properties of our own inner conscious lives, and of understanding the smooth and seamless sensitivity of primitive sensory and somatosensory-motor awareness. Dr. Estep's theory of immediate awareness also shows that the computational view of mind is wrong. Though our minds do classify, classification is not all they do. Our immediate awareness indexically selects sui generis objects that are unique and of no kind or class. The influence of nominalism and narrow naturalist theories have resulted in extremely narrow concepts of the human knowing mind and intelligence, leaving out immediate awareness altogether. We slip into subtle nominalist fallacies when we take our language metaphors &endash; and language itself &endash; too far.
 

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