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Mark answers – Week 5

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An art installation by Pippa Skotnes - 3-D cube
© University of Cape Town CC-BY-NC

Ask Mark responses

I have recorded responses to some of the many interesting questions arising from this course.
Agency is an important concept for understanding the mind; indeed I’ve argued that it is an essential component for having a mind. Below are some fascinating and important questions I have been asked in relation to agency.
A) I would like to know what Dr Solms would say about resilience. I worked with families for many years and often one or two family members would be resilient to mental instability in highly dysfunctional households whilst most other family members would not. Position in the family or having power did not seem to be a factor, so what does he think resilience stems from?
Response to question A – length 04:51

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

B) In the first video “Agency” is likened to “Free Will”. Would you agree the two are different – agency being the capacity to make decisions and act accordingly, consciously or otherwise, and arising from causal chains of thought which in turn, are the product of brain biochemistry; and free will being a more abstract concept carrying some implication of moral judgment? Actually, does free will even exist?
Response to question B – length 12:51

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

C) I would like to hear you speak about the function of dreams. Some people recall them, others don’t. Some think they’re critical to healthy mental functioning, others don’t. I personally pay a great deal of attention to dreams and find them vastly informative, but I am in the minority amongst my friends and acquaintances. In fact, I suspect many people are disturbed by their dream imagery. Having listened to you discuss confabulation this week, I think the way people distort their memory of dreams could be the most common example of confabulation I can produce. What do you think is the role of dreams in our lives?
Response to question C – length 07:37

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Feel free to add comments in the discussions or ask more questions. Please note I will unfortunately not be recording new responses during this present course run. We will however share further answers to past questions during the week.
You can browse the full collection of Ask Mark responses to questions posed on What is a Mind?
© University of Cape Town CC-BY-NC
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What is a Mind?

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