The mind is something that interests me. What is the mind? Lets give a preliminary distinction. The mind is that which is knowable of what one knows, feels, thinks and acts; it is a part of our being qua being. Pretty bad definition; but that’s my ad hoc musing for now.
Anyway; what I think is interesting is if we introspect and think about the ‘furniture of the mind’. What does this mean? I am referring to the content of our minds. Thoughts, and feelings; how do they relate? We can express thoughts in propositions; but what about feelings? Does a proposition really express a thought (if it is without sentiment)? There are so many things we can learn through our introspection. So much activity that goes on in the mind. It would be interesting to examine all the things that happen and note them; perhaps even to order them, understand the relations between parts.
This suggestion is a predominantly ‘cognitive’ endeavour. Understanding how we understand. This as a project seems to be a deeply fascinating, deeply troubling and immensely complex project. How do we think, learned from thinking about our thoughts themselves.
I know that one of my readers will point out ‘Godel’s second incompleteness theorem’ and show the impossibility of a completeness about a set of all propositions about the mind. Sure, that’s all good and well; maybe we won’t have completeness about the mind.
But isn’t this suggestion the worry we must have? That the mind understanding itself internally is fundamentally flawed? How then are we to understand our furniture through a means that really makes sense?
The foundations of knowledge is one thing; understanding how we understand is something that subsumes the former. To say “I know” presupposes ascent to knowledge; to ascent, there must be a process by which one knows. We must have the process before we have the knowledge-veridity. We must do psychology before philosophy. Perhaps psychology IS philosophy.
The mind is a very dark and murky thing. In order to reach the sunlight, we must go INTO the cave; this irony seems frightening for me.
1. I am aware of the allusions to Kant, here
2. I am aware that I said ‘mind’ and not ‘brain’
3. This is a joint authored article