Ask Mark - Week 2 responses

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Thank you to everyone who posted questions last week. I have recorded a response to four of the many interesting questions you had posed in Step 2.12 of Week 1. My video responses are on YouTube with links below along with transcripts. (Please bear with us for occasional technical glitches in the Ask Mark response videos - I’m currently in Chicago and at times had poor video and audio connectivity with the team in Cape Town).

Question 1: I’m wondering if your conceptualization of subjectivity – and hence of mind – requires a representation or modeling of the self (in the brain)? That is, do all minded creatures, in effect, inform themselves of their subjectivity: “I am a self that is having this experience”. (Though obviously not necessarily language-mediated.)

Response to question 1 - length: 2:28


Question 2: Would you agree that a mind is the subjective experience of being, appreciable only by that mind, and that the mind cannot subjectively experience being any other mind beside itself (except by its attempts at empathy, the accuracy of which is not verifiable, and the experience of which remains within the original subjective experience of being)? In other words, whatever a mind is, we can only experience or know our own. With behavioural observations and empathy we can assume similarity, but is there any evidence?

Response to question 2 - length: 6:26


Question 3: Are there different levels of the mind? By this I mean, the mind of e.g. elephants and dolphins in many ways seem superior to ours, yet according to us humans we see ourselves as superior. We are judging them against our own experiences because we can’t experience some of theirs.

Response to question 3 - length: 8:15


Question 4: I would love you to address the role of deep anaesthesia and the mind; and how the states of consciousness can be controlled by the means of chemicals and then reversed. Also what has been learned from it when a state of almost ‘brainstem death’ has been achieved?

Response to question 4 - length: 6:50


I look forward to your questions for this week - you can post them in Step 3.10 of Week 3.

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This article is from the free online course:

What Is a Mind?

University of Cape Town