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Meaningless Verbiage

October 24, 2008


For would-be philosophers and those who find no meaning in language, I present you:

Some thoughts from the East –

On reductive materialism, eliminative materialism, behaviourism etc.


Gilbert Ryle, who was for many years the editor of the reputed philosophical journal Mind, in his well-recognized and polemical work Concept of Mind tried to refute the Cartesian view of the separation of mental and physical existence – ‘the ghost in the machine’ concept. He argued that human nature differs only in degree from a clockwork and that thought, imagination, perception, feeling and the like are nothing but expressions of different physical states (a position termed reductive materialism) if not, on occasions, simple meaningless verbiage (eliminative materialism). In his later days, however, Ryle was more discreet about writing off mental phenomena, probably realizing that doing so would reduce all his arguments also to meaningless verbiage; arguments after all are not physical entities. Although Ryle’s was essentially a linguistic analysis, his ideas were also boosted by the behavioural school of psychologists, remarkable advances in neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, and the early ideas of the exponents of artificial intelligence.

 Read More at:

 Any discussion on mind or consciousness must, of necessity, be marginal – at the margins of science, philosophy, psychology, and spirituality; and there are a host of other disciplines willing to pitch in. This is so, not because mind and consciousness are marginal to our preoccupations – there would not be any preoccupation without mind or consciousness – but because both consciousness and mind, though impinging on virtually every domain of human concern, continue to be poorly understood.



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  1. a-robot permalink

    thanks for sharing! from your study, can you tell me how a robot learns consciousness and mind from the point of view of process of recognization?

  2. deadvocate permalink

    Well, Dr. Gao, I have no idea. You are the robotics expert, why don’t you give it a try?

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