Marxian themes in ‘nouvelle’ cognitive science - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  1. Marxian themes in ‘nouvelle’ cognitive science Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  2. Plan of Talk • Snapshot of some Marxian Themes 2) ‘Marxian GOFAI’ 3) Parallels between Marxian approach and nouvelle cog sci. 4) Criticisms of Cog Sci derived from a Marxian approach Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  3. What counts as ‘Marxian’? • ‘Younger Marx’ versus ‘Older Marx’ Young Marx = e.g. ‘ Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts’ (1844) Older Marx = e.g. ‘ Capital’ (1862-1866) • Pre and Post Marx Pre Marx = Hegel & Young Hegelians (e.g. Feuerbach) Post Marx = Engels (and a million others). Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  4. ‘Homo Faber’ (‘Man the Maker’) • Man is essentially a producer • He expresses himself and creates himself through production • “By thus acting on the external world and changing it, he at the same time changes his own nature” (Capital Vol. 1 Chap. 7) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  5. ‘Species Being’ • “It is in the working over of the objective world that man first affirms himself as a species-being. This production is his active species-life. Through it nature appears as his work and his reality. The object of work is therefore the objectification of the species-life of man; for he duplicates himself not only intellectually, in his mind, but also actively in reality and thus can look at his image in a world he has created.” (EPMS ) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  6. Man’s inorganic body • “Nature is the inorganic body of man” (EPMS) • “ The first thing of which the labourer possesses himself is not the subject of his labour but its instrument. Thus Nature becomes one of the organs of his activity, one that he annexes to his own bodily organs.” (Capital Vol. 1 Chap. 7) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  7. Marxian Intersubjectivity • Production is production for others. “The relationship of man to himself first becomes objective to him through his relationship to other men” (EPMS) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  8. How things should be • Let us suppose that we had carried out production as human beings. Each of us would have in two ways affirmed himself and the other person. 1) In my production I would have objectified my individuality, its specific character, and therefore enjoyed not only an individual manifestation of my life during the activity, but also when looking at the object I would have the individual pleasure of knowing my personality to be objective, visible to the senses and hence a power beyond all doubt. 2) In your enjoyment or use of my product I would have the direct enjoyment both of being conscious of having satisfied a human need by my work, that is, of having objectified man's essential nature, and of having thus created an object corresponding to the need of another man's essential nature. 3) I would have been for you the mediator between you and the species, and therefore would become recognised and felt by you yourself as a completion of your own essential nature and as a necessary part of yourself, and consequently would know myself to be confirmed both in your thought and your love. 4) In the individual expression of my life I would have directly created your expression of your life, and therefore in my individual activity I would have directly confirmed and realised my true nature, my human nature, my communal nature. Our products would be so many mirrors in which we saw reflected our essential nature. (‘On James Mill’ – K. Marx) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  9. ‘Alienation’ (when things go wrong) There are lots of ways of describing how things go wrong: • Imposition of Division of Labour metaphor of inner fragmentation • Appropriation of my labour by someone else for their ends estrangement from self, from own activity etc • Domination by commodity relations inversion of natural relations Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  10. “Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine” (The Communist Manifesto – 1848) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  11. “According to the laws of political economy the alienation of the worker is expressed as follows: The more the worker produces the less he has to consume, the more values he creates the more valueless and worthless he becomes, the more formed the product the more deformed the worker…..” (EPMS 1844) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  12. 4 Aspects of Alienated Labour (i)Relationship of the worker to the product of his labour as an alien object that has power over him. (ii) The relationship of the worker to his own activity as something that is alien and does not belong to him. (iii) ‘Species being’ of man, both nature and the intellectual faculties of his species, are made into a being that is alien to him, into a means for his individual existence. It (capitalist labour) alienates from man his own body, nature exterior to him and his intellectual being. (iv) The alienation of man from man. Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  13. “The more the worker externalizes himself in his work, the more powerful becomes the alien, objective world that he creates opposite himself, the poorer he becomes in his inner life and the less he can call his own. It is just the same in religion. The more man puts into God, the less he retains in himself.” (EPMS) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  14. Dialectics • A description of the way things unfold in thought? (Hegel?) • A description of the way things unfold in society? (Marx?) • A description of the way things unfold in nature? (Engels?) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  15. Vague characterizations • Progress is made by transcending oppositions / contradictions / antinomies. • The ‘unity of opposites’ / the ‘interpenetration’ of opposites. • Analysis of phenomena in terms of their interconnectedness (internal relations) and continuous change. • Reciprocal causation Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  16. “In a real life argument there is something true in every idea. Nothing is wholly or ‘indisputably’ true, nothing is absolutely absurd or false.” (Lefebvre – ‘Dialectical Materialism’- ) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  17. A and not A • “A is indeed A, but A is also not-A precisely in so far as the proposition ‘A is A’ is not a tautology but has a real content.” (Lefebvre – ‘Dialectical Materialism’) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  18. The third term 1 X is happy 2 X is not happy 3 X is hysterical Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  19. A ‘dialectical engine’? T F F T D D Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  20. Social phenomena • Empowerment/impoverishment of the worker: “Activity that is passivity, power that is weakness, procreation that is castration” (EPMS 81) Money….”is the true agent of both separation and of union” • Internal contradictions of Capitalism. Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  21. Nature • Engels - 3 dialectical laws: • The law of the transformation of quantity into quality • The law of the interpenetration of opposites • The law of the negation of the negation (Engels – ‘Dialectics of Nature’ – written 1850-1870? Pub. 1920) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  22. Material basis of thought (I) • “The mode of production must not be considered simply as being the production of the physical existence of the individuals. Rather it is a definite form of activity of these individuals, a definite form of expressing their life, a definite mode of life on their part. As individuals express their life, so they are.” (German Ideology) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  23. Material basis of thought (II) • The phantoms formed in the human brain are also, necessarily, sublimates of their material life process, which is empirically verifiable and bound to material premises. …. Life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life.” (German Ideology) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  24. Material basis of thought (III) • Religion • Philosophy • Political ideologies • Cultural Forms Enmeshed in various ways with the economic organization of society Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  25. ‘Enactivism’ (Theses on Feuerbach) I The chief defect of all hitherto existing materialism is that the thing, reality, sensuousness, is conceived only in the form of the object or of contemplation, but not as sensuous human activity, practice.. VIII All social life is essentially practical. All mysteries which lead theory to mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice. XI The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it. Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  26. Against Philosophy “When reality is depicted, philosophy as an independent branch of knowledge loses its medium of existence.” ( p.48) • “Philosophy and the study of the actual world have the same relation to one another as masturbation and sexual love” ( p.103) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  27. GOFAI Marx? • "...A bee would put many a human architect to shame by the construction of its honeycomb cells. But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is that the architect builds the cell in his mind before he constructs it in wax." (Capital Vol. 1, Chapter 7) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  28. Direct influences • Lev Vygotsky (1896 – 1934) • Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908 – 1961) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  29. Parallels (I) • Man transforming himself as he transforms nature Extended Mind • Supercession of dichotomies : Action : Perception (Gibson, Noe…) Reason : Emotion (Damasio) Fact : Value (Torrance?) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  30. Parallels (II) • The Primacy of Action as above. Also Gallese: “Action is the ‘a priori’ principle enabling social bonds to be initially established”(‘Shared Manifold Hypothesis’) • Dialectics : - emergence? - dynamic systems? Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  31. Parallels (III) • End of Alienation: Clark? Embodied/Embedded/Enactive approaches? Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  32. Parallels (IV) • Ambivalent attitude to Philosophy? (Put your favourite quote here) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  33. Criticisms (I) Dodgy historical claims of some writers: Developmental Psychologists were probably among the very first to notice the true intimacy of internal and external factors in determining cognitive success and change. Clarke – BT These findings of cognitive science are profoundly disquieting in two respects. First they tell us that human reason is a form of animal reason…Second … that our bodies, brains and interactions with our environment provide the mostly unconscious basis for our everyday metaphysics, that is, our sense of what is real. Lakoff & Johnson Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  34. Criticisms (II) Insufficiently Dialectical Comrade! E.g. Damasio on reason & emotion Somatic Marker merely prunes Decision Tree Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  35. Criticisms (III) You can’t abolish alienation by meditation. (pace Varela, Thompson and Rosch 1991) Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  36. Criticisms (IV) Problems with Andy Clark: 1) Cyborgianism 2) Extended Mind is Uni-Directional 3) Extended Mind is context free. 4) Language as an external ‘resource’. Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science

  37. Criticisms (V) Cognitive Science will eat itself? Marxian Themes in Cognitive Science