I would like to know if there is any work discussing whether conscious entities (minds) are perceived by different "experiencers," arguably who we are. The other option as far as I know would be whether all consciousness is perceived by one "experiencer" that shifts from consciousness to consciousness and, in this sense, we are all the same person.

  • 1
    You could try the literature of mysticism as this promotes a view similar to your 'one person' idea. – PeterJ Sep 23 at 11:56
  • They could also be both (separate and continuous). Separate in the sense of personal free will. Continuous in the sense of communication / communion. – Bread Sep 23 at 15:33
  • philosophized for ages. read here - archive.org/details/IndianPhilosophyACriticalSurvey – Swami Vishwananda Sep 24 at 5:00
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Mind continuous with environment

There is a considerable body of literature on 'the extended mind'. David Chalmers and Andy Clark are major names here. The basic idea is that 'the mind "extends" into the environment in cases in which a human organism and the environment become cognitively coupled systems' (Erik Myin, 'Unbounding the Mind', ' The Extended Mind by Richard Menary', Science, New Series, Vol. 330, No. 6004 (29 October 2010), pp. 589-590 : 589.)

In just a bit more detail :

The Extended Mind Hypothesis (EMH) made its public debut in the pages of Analysis in 1988, with the appearance of a landmark paper by Clark and Chalmers. They advanced the bold claim that some cognitive processing has an extent that is beyond the boundaries of the skin or the skull. Their claim differs from the still much disputed idea that the content of mental states must be individuated, at least in part, by external factors. With a different focus, the originators of EMH defend active externalism - the view which holds that the underlying cognitive processes that make certain mental happenings possible are, at least sometimes, not entirely brainbound. This kind of wide ranging cognition allegedly occurs when the use of external resources is unavoidable for enabling the completion of specific cognitive tasks. (Daniel D. Hutto, 'The Extended Mind by Richard Menary', Analysis, Vol. 71, No. 4 (OCTOBER 2011), pp. 785-787 : 785.)

Mind continuous with other minds

This is a different line of thought, often referred to a 'distributed cognition'.

Ed Hutchins' (1995) analysis of navigation aboard navy ships is a locus classicus for distributed cognition. Hutchins describes the process by which a ship's navigation team calculates the position of the ship over time by plotting a series of lines of position. The process involves several crewmen who use instruments to determine the bearings of certain landmarks, another who coordinates their work and records the bearings, and still another who plots the bearings on a map and projects the ship's future position. The first several crewmen are clearly involved in a computation that they do not fully understand. Since the plotter chooses the next set of landmarks, it may be tempting to see the rest of the system as a sort of instrument that he uses to determine the position of the ship. Yet it would be wrong to think that the things happening inside the mind of the plotter are sufficient to reconstruct the process... (P. D. Magnus, 'Distributed Cognition and the Task of Science', Social Studies of Science, Vol. 37, No. 2 (Apr., 2007), pp. 297-310 : 298;

Fisher, Kimball & Fisher, Mareen D., Distributed Minds, ISBN 10: 0814403670 / ISBN 13: 9780814403679. Published by Amacom, 1997, might also help here.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Reading

Andy Clark and David Chalmers, 'The Extended Mind', Analysis, Vol. 58, No. 1 (Jan., 1998), pp. 7-19.

David Chalmers, 'Idealism and the Mind-Body Problem' : https://philpapers.org/archive/CHAIAT-11.pdf. (Thanks to Yechiam Weiss for this suggestion.)

Erik Myin, 'Unbounding the Mind', ' The Extended Mind by Richard Menary', Science, New Series, Vol. 330, No. 6004 (29 October 2010), pp. 589-590.

The Extended Mind, ed. R. Menary, МIT Press, 2010 vii + 382.

P. D. Magnus, 'Distributed Cognition and the Task of Science', Social Studies of Science, Vol. 37, No. 2 (Apr., 2007), pp. 297-310.

Edwin Hutchins, Cognition in the Wild, Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 1995.

Kimball Fisher & Mareen D. Fisher, Distributed Minds, ISBN 10: 0814403670 / ISBN 13: 9780814403679. Published by Amacom, 1997.

  • I would also add Bernardo Kastrup's name to the mix, as a (supposedly) critic of Chalmers but still pushes an idealistic view. – Yechiam Weiss Sep 23 at 14:54
  • 1
    Also Chalmers' "Idealism and the Mind-Body Problem" lays out some basic views in the field, which would be a good reference. – Yechiam Weiss Sep 23 at 14:58
  • 1
    @Yechiam Weiss. Good suggestion now included with acknowledgement in the Reading. Thanks - G – Geoffrey Thomas Sep 23 at 15:21
  • 1
    This answer seems to be about mind while the question was about consciousness. The price of confusing the two is evident from the present state of philosophy of mind. – PeterJ Sep 24 at 10:49
  • @Peter J. I excuse myself on the grounds that the OP uses the phrase 'conscious entities (minds)'. This does not nullify your point about the present condition of the philosophy of mind. Your comments are always valuable and I have flagged this one accordingly. – Geoffrey Thomas Sep 24 at 10:54

Your Answer

 

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.