Re: Introspection and Explanation

From: Harnad, Stevan (
Date: Wed Feb 12 1997 - 19:44:42 GMT

> From: Lowing, Ben <>
> It may be the case that introspection tells us little about the way our
> minds work, but how much has cogsci told us? It has offered numerous
> models all of which seem to be inadaquate and it is my opinion that a
> true explanation of the mind will never be reached because it is far
> too complex for our current technology to explain.

All that, and before even taking the course! I hope your opinion on this
is not TOO firm. I mean is there nothing left to find out in this course
that might change your mind?

> Also, how is it that
> we seek to explain something that we do not understand fully?

Because if we understand it fully then we no longer need an explanation.

> If an
> adequate explanation is found, how are we to know if this is the case
> as we are not aware of the ways in which our mind functions.

We will try to explain what your mind can do. If the explanation
works -- if the model can really do what your mind can do -- then
it's as reasonable to believe the explanation (if there are no better
rivals) as it is to believe any other explanation in science. There can
always be a "true" explanation that we haven't thought of yet, so that
the explanations we have, although they fit the evidence, are not the
right ones. But there's no point worrying about that till the rival

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