Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Mind & Cosmos (Agreement & Extension)

Originally posted on June 25, 2013

Professor Thomas Nagel of New York University’s Department of Philosophy recently wrote a book titled Mind & Cosmos, and supports the concept of a cosmos that is somehow integrated with mind. Many other philosophers don’t agree but some do, as do I, and Hartshorne, Whitehead, John Cobb, and other Process Philosophers. Nagel sidles up to the problem and finds that mind is no epiphenomenon, just an illusory afterthought, but rather intrinsic to the whole shebang.

My own twist is sort of neo-Platonic and neo-Spinozan, and I think it’s okay to express it as myth, because this middle ground of non-traditionally theistic philosophy seems more coherent. I would add that the mind as a core element is in its bulk more non-rational than rational. That doesn’t mean it’s not true in some multi-dimensional fashion, but rather that aspects of mind cannot ever be subjected to the confines of rationality. It would be a Procrustean act of reductionism, trimming off the elements that can’t be readily accommodated by ordinary rationality.

If you think about, the rational mind cannot really explain in linear  terms something so fundamental as beauty,  humor,  or  love. Nor can neuroscience do more than find correlates, parts of the brain that on certain tests “light up,” which does not mean that these parts “cause” those experiences. It could be equally true to say that they resonate to those experiences.

The enterprise of philosophy is worthy,  but not absolute. Recognizing its own limitations and articulating well why and  how conscious and rational mind  is limited is also a kind  of philosophy.

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