Saturday, 4 June 2016

unreliable narrator or where is my mind?

Æon magazine (which I realise that to my peril, I am not reading as often as I ought) presents a really fascinating proposition on the philosophy of the mind that suggests that perhaps we are not our own privileged witnesses to our own internal narrative and that the inner-workings of our thoughts are as inaccessible to our conscious-thinking as those presented by others around us.
As we mature, we (hopefully) through a capacity for empathy learn to understand expectations and to reasonably interpret the thoughts of another and react according. What if, however, our treasured internal monologue were only just as “superficial” as our limited mindreading abilities turned inward? If empathy works well enough for social beings, why add another speaking-role to cognition? Evidence in support of this position lies in a battery of tests that demonstrate how individuals readily assign volition (preference) to purely unconscious choices—not that we cannot be aware of our motivations, just that a lot of our actions and beliefs might be less transparent than we’d like to think.