Death Penalty: Report From Canada

Chuck Grimes cgrimes at
Sun Mar 7 12:50:21 PST 1999

"Rather, we would have the alternative of saying that although for many purposes, the central nervous system can be construed without loss as a complex system of physical particles, when it comes to an adequate understanding of the relation of sensory consciousness to neurophysiological process, we must penetrate to the non-particular foundation of the particulate image, and recognize that in this non-particulate image the qualities of sense are a dimension of natural process which occurs only in connection with those complex physical processes, which, when 'cut up' into particles in terms of those features which are the least common denominators of physical processes--present in inorgnic processes alike--become the complex system of particles, which in the current scientific image, is the central nervous system." Science, Perception and Reality p37. (Wilfred Sellar)

Brutal, huh? (Sam Pawlett)


Yeah way brutal, but I'll keep it in mind as something to read. In the meanwhile this problem of the non-material and material dialectic or the problem of the mind versus the brain (sensory consciousness v. neurophysiological process) is certainly interesting, but never seems to escape this opposition. We have been arguing this duality since Plato(?) and never seem to get very far.

I don't think that recognizing in the non-particulate image, the qualities of sense that are a dimension of complexity of natural process themselves will do us much good. Although it is a start, since at least the idea recognizes that orders of complexity exist in the world itself independent of a biological perception.

Since I was never able to solve this grand riddle, I started blaming the world. That is, I started looking at the world and demanding that the physics of the world start taking on more responsibility for the complexity we seem to think is actually in our mind/brain.

This bizarre impulse of mine was partly motivated by deciding that I was sick of the Right and its morality of individual accountability, while leaving the entire spectrum of social, economic, and political conditions blameless.

Here is a game to play. Ask how it is that everything living thing can organize itself in time and orient itself in space, without apparently having the sensory-perceptual mechanisms to do so?

Chuck Grimes

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