TA110 (Mind and metaphysics)


Commentary 28 (to Moodey, C27)




by Harwood Fisher

2 March 2009, posted 7 March 2009-03-02


RQ: Marks HF's reply to query



Reply: it looks like we agree more than disagree. 'The mind' becomes a 'thing' if agency is not accounted for; so I look for a dynamic account that differentiates action from evaluation. The 'person' -- at times and at different levels or modes of functioning -- acts or functions with access to agency. Distinctions between more and less conscious thought and the manifestations of these distinctions in a phenomenological analysis are necessary for an adequate account of the vicissitudes of thought re logical form, and also re the relation of self to intention. The point for cognitive linguistics has to do with overextending linguistic form to

account for these things.


**[RWM]I am not sure how to interpret "access to agency," however. Does it mean something other than "able to act"?


RQ: The sentences following the phrase 'access to agency' contain what I mean. But sure, it could be clearer.


The person who is proffering a theory or model of mind (or thought) should be explaining


(1) how an individual can not only be an agent, but how she can think about her own agency and be aware of such things as how a decision relates to her intention.


Another nested requisite for 'access to agency' is

(2) the explainer's capacity to be aware of his own agency and the relation of his decisions to choose this or that explanation vis--vis his intentions and objectives.


Thus, in a word, an adequate explanation of the psychology of a person's thoughts (or thinking) has to include an account of different levels of consciousness in relation to the capacity for different semiotic and logical levels of thought. Notationally, consciousness of thought 'A' might be,


CA (A)


And consciousness of CA (C) might be C2 as follows:


C2 (CA [A]}.


The parens in the above expressions represent inclusion relations. I might also have used > as an inclusion sign. But either of these notations do not preclude my using a 'dynamic' one, for instance an arrow ->, to indicate something like direction of thought and its outcomes.


These considerations require a picture of phenomenological functioning, which itself is dependent on the capacity to experience and probe them.


Well, yes, that's a lot. Still, I'd like to hold fuller discussion for another day.




Harwood Fisher

e-mail < harwoodfisher (at)optonline.net >