X-Message-Number: 3330
From:  (David Stodolsky)
Subject: SCI.CRYONICS: survival/Ettinger
Date: Sat, 22 Oct 94 11:53:51 +0100 (MET)

In Message: #3312 - survival/stodolsky,  writes:
> David Stodolsky  (#3307) seems to reject the reality/importance of internal
> states because they are "unobservable." 

No. I reject any "science" based upon the "unobservable". But a majority
of scientific psychology in this century is based upon the rejection
of internal states, as a methodological starting point. Recently, behaviorists
have started treating "ideas" as behaviors, however.

> NOTHING is more important than a scientific understanding of feeling and
> consciousness. 

A scientific understanding means you can put numbers on these qualitative
phenomenon. It is by no means obvious that this will ever be done.
Investigation may prove that these concepts are not measurable or
just not useful.

> In sum: I do not "depend upon unobservable internal states." Rather, I point
> out that we MUST find ways to observe them, since they constitute our
> essence. 

It seems your entire argument is, in fact, based upon unobservable internal 
states. Saying that they one day will be scientifically measurable
does not change that. After they have been measured you will have
an argument.

> I (among many others) have sometimes had better specific ideas than (say)
> medical or legal professionals in their own fields. That doesn't mean I can
> do everything they can do, or that I can't blunder; but it does mean  that
> nobody's perfect and common-sense ideas or observations can come to anyone,
> including amateurs and kibitzers. 

Well, all evidence points to this one being a blunder. But my main
point was that to connect with the professionals, you must talk their
language. A professional psychologist (not a clinician) will 
just not use the term "feeling", in a professional context. It means
something different to each person.

Everyone must be, at least, an amateur psychologist, to make sense
of their own and other peoples' behavior. The fact that psychology
uses everyday terms, such as "memory", in an extremely precise way,
that may have little to do with the normal meaning, certainly doesn't
help matters. When someone picks up a physics paper and starts reading
about bosons or mesons, they immediately realize that this is not
anything they are competent to discuss (unless they are physicists).
Except in areas such as mathematical psychology and physiological
psychology, it is very easy for people to think they are competent
when they are not. 

A good example, though one that may generate controversy, is the promotion
of the term "meme" in the cryonics community. There are perfectly
good concepts within psychology and marketing, which are much more
useful to explain propagation of ideas and rumors. This
new term, just made it obvious that the users were amateurs and blocked
the employment of more rigorous terms in marketing analysis. 
Let's avoid repetition of that mistake.

David S. Stodolsky, PhD               Internet: 
Peder Lykkes Vej 8, 4. tv.      (C)         Tel.: + 45 32 97 66 74
DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark                Fax: + 45 32 84 08 28

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