Friday, July 24, 2009

SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: PTSD... a Parent's Perspective

SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: PTSD... a Parent's Perspective

Read this.

Propositions and Neurological-Structures: More Caffeinated Ramblings.

Like the basic units of atoms, in various combinations give us the elements, so too one can gain specificity of mental properties by changes in neuronal-network structure. Just as one can, by adding electrons, changing the orbit level of electrons, or adding nuclear components, create new physical elements, entities with differing chemical properties, so too one can bring about differing mental properties by adding to, or changing the structure of a neural complex.

If sentience, consciousness, rationality, emotions and other mental properties are emergent from and dependent upon neural structures, and, further, specific neuro-structural entities gain status as ‘contentful,’ or propositional upon being in some way “interpreted” by sentience, then we see that there is a very tight relationship between neuro-structure, consciousness, propositional contents and propositional attitudes. They are all of a piece, and come with each other. Furthermore, given the fact that external environment has effects on neuronal structure, simply by being perceived via sensory organs, and given that selective forces are always at work, it shouldn’t be a great surprise that within organisms presently existing, structures are set up in brains and other neuro-structures, that tend to fairly well ‘mirror’ structures in the world.

At some level, all animals are ‘aware of’ these neuro-structures that indeed constitute their experience of the world. They are not aware of them as neural structures, but simply as their world. With greater neural mass and increased complexity in the neuro-structures created by interactions with the world, comes concomitant finer grained categories of experience, higher levels of resolution and detail concerning the structures taken to exist in the world. With this increase in mass and complexity comes richer consciousness and self-consciousness as well.

Humans are ‘aware of’ these complex neural structures, interact with them, in a very explicit and meta-cognitive way that cannot be matched by lower animals. They call this “conceptual analysis” or “science” or “philosophy.” Humans are capable of mirroring that increased complexity, once again to some extent, in language. Once again, we are not aware of these complex entities as neural structures per se, but as our first person, and inter-subjective experiences of the world.

This is not to say that there can be no mismatches, or misleading elements between world and neuro-structure, or in our reads of neuro structures themselves (errors in transcription or interpretation, as it were), but it does seem true to say that any large scale errors are very unlikely to have survived to this point. So, with that caveat, we can approach our view of the world critically, with a view to clearly expanding it, explicating it, describing it for inspection and further learning, not only about it, but about the world itself.