Category Archives: Cognitive Science

An Inclination Deeper than Words, Thoughts, and Feelings?

In a way, the human will seems to underlie so many of our cognitive processes—and even so, it is not always unified within itself.

I’m going to do my best to keep this short, as I just want to put a couple of thoughts out there without composing the volumes of supporting ideas that should eventually go with it. So here’s my main point: I think that in our complicated selves—somewhere amid that thingor groups of thingsthat we sometimes refer to with words such as mind, heart, soul, spirit, or being, there’s an important part that underlies the parts of which we are more often aware. The parts we more commonly “see” in action—that we are more routinely aware of—have to do with mental functions or features like thoughts, words, actions, feelings, plans, decisions, and actions. Though probably none of us are fully aware of all of these things when they happen, most of us are at least generally aware that such things are indeed doing on inside our selves. That underlying part is what I will (today) call “the will”; it’s our set of desires (wants, wishes, inclinations)—and the important feature of it that I’d like to draw attention to in this post is that not all of the desires that reside there are pointing in the same direction; sometimes they are at odds with one another. And when this happens, it can sometimes make us miserable. I’ve lately taken to describing this misery by use of the metaphor of a horse having a burr under its saddle.

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You Could Fill an Ocean

I suppose you could fill an ocean
With the things I don’t know.

And I should explain that
I say I suppose because
I don’t know that for a fact
But I confess it seems at least
A reasonable stab at
The aggregate volume of
The things I don’t know—
When attempting
To be unbiased in response to
My general experience in this world
And my study of philosophy and cognitive science—
Except that I must further confess
For the record that I realize that an ocean
May indeed be too small a basin
To hold the things I don’t know.

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Being “Neurotypical” May Not Be Something to Which We Should Aspire!

Most people are said to be “neurotypical”—meaning, more or less, that the way their minds work is “normal”. And then, in contrast to that, there are the “neurodiverse” people, who are “wired” differently in one way or another, we are told—and who, as a result, may have different aptitudes and life habits to some extent.

The world is still trying to get its head around this idea, and so am I. And there may well be something to it, but the question is “what exactly is that something”? That’s the question, right?

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