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OD 11.02.2011 FORUM PEŁNI WYŁĄCZNIE ROLĘ ARCHIWALNĄ. NIE JEST MOŻLIWA REJESTRACJA ANI DODAWANIE WYPOWIEDZI.

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How the Body Shapes the Mind
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Slawomir Wacewicz
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Posty: 1117
Skąd: Toruń
Wysłany: 2006-11-06, 21:14   How the Body Shapes the Mind

*** TOMASZ KOMENDZINSKI


Dear Users,
in this topic, we discuss the book How the Body Shapes the Mind



[resources related to the book]

by Professor Shaun Gallagher of The University of Central Florida, who is our Guest of Honour in this thread. Professor Gallagher, who is a recognised authority on the topics related to phenomenology and Cognitive Science (and editor- in-chief of the journal so entitled), has agreed to answer our questions here.

We also count on the participation of other Guests of Honour, namely
Professor Jonathan Cole from Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Southampton, UK,
Professor Daniel D. Hutto from Philosophy at the University from Hertfordshire, UK,
Dr. Dorothée Legrand from Centre de Recherche en Epistémologie Appliquée, France
Professor Jean-Luc Petit of Laboratoire de Physiologie de la Perception et de l'Action, France

Like the neighbouring thread, this one is also based on a proseminar I teach at the Institute of Philosophy (UNC, Toruń), but anyone is welcome to submit their ideas, comments, and questions.
However, please bear in mind that because of his busy schedule, Professor Gallagher will not be able to answer the questions on a daily or even weekly basis. His first replies can be expected around 4-5.04.


*** PRZEMYSLAW NOWAKOWSKI

1. In the first chapter of How the body shapes the mind there is a detailed comparison of body schema and body image. To me, body schema looks much more intriguing. Still, despite a great number of examples, I haven't found a description of how it works (its mechanism), except for the realisation by motor programmes. Could you please say a few words on that?
2. You are a philosopher, but your book is largely based on research conducted in cooperation with scientists (Meltzoff, Butterworth, McNeill, Cole, Marcel). Did you participate in the experiments, or analyse the data? What does such a cooperation look like, and what role does your philosophical background play in it?
3. In the introduction to How the body shapes the mind you write you do do not deal with concepts. But it is precisely concepts that appear to be particilarly difficult to analyse within the framework of embodied cognition. Do you see any connection between body schema and the conceptual aspect of the mind?
4. I'd like to ask about the relation between body schema and 'internal models' (D. Wolpert, M. Kawato). They seem to be convergent in their functions. Do you see any important differences between them? Could the way body schema works be similar to the way internal models do?


*** BARTEK ORLEWSKI

In the book How the Body Shapes the Mind you use a kind of philosophical reflection/inquiry, namely phenomenology, in the context of different cognitive disciplines in order to create the new conceptual scheme concernig the human body and human mind.

1) Could you, if it is possible, describe your metaphilosophical claims concerning relations between (philosophical) phenomenology and cognitive science or if you didn't articulate such claims, then describe your intuitions concerning the same topic. Or, and this is the best option, both.

2) Could you, if it is possible, present your opinion about the possibilities of philosophy in general (not only phenomenology) at the beginnig of XXI century, especially in the context of interdisciplinary project called colectively cognitive science.

3) Could you, if it is possible, describe the way in which results of your philosophical inquiries concerning the human embodiment refers to the topic of moral status of person (for example, the personhood of nasciturus) and others related ethical themes.


*** SHAUN GALLAGHER

Przemysław Nowakowski napisał/a:
1. In the first chapter of How the body shapes the mind there is a detailed comparison of body schema and body image. To me, body schema looks much more intriguing. Still, despite a great number of examples, I haven't found a description of how it works (its mechanism), except for the realisation by motor programmes. Could you please say a few words on that?


First, thanks for all the good qustions. Neuroscientists tend to think of the body schema as located in the brain, but in that regard there is no consensus about where or how. Likely it involves the premotor cortex and other frontal areas; various mechanisms have been proposed, such as forward and feedback models of motor control. Every so often one sees an article published about the latest theory of where the body schema is located.

I think this is the wrong way to think of the body schema. On the model that the brain is embodied, and the body is embedded in an environment, the concept of body schema extends to all processes that involve control of movement. In this case, the kind of environment you are located in will play a role. If you are swimming in water vs walking on a rocky road, there will be differences that will likely show up in your brain and in the way your body moves. If you are leaning on a car vs driving the car, your body schematic processes will be defined differently. So I resist the idea of making the body schema a simply mechanism that might be located neatly in the brain. That makes it more difficult to define.

Cytat:
2. You are a philosopher, but your book is largely based on research conducted in cooperation with scientists (Meltzoff, Butterworth, McNeill, Cole, Marcel). Did you participate in the experiments, or analyse the data? What does such a cooperation look like, and what role does your philosophical background play in it?


I participated in the design and administering of the experiments on gesture with IW, along with McNeill and Cole. In a couple of other cases, I was involved in the design of experiments. Otherwise, I depended on accounts of experiments provided in the literature, and on my conversations with scientists, some of whom were co-authors with me on theoretical papers.

Philosophy can contribute conceptual analysis and can raise questions about what experiments actually demonstrate. I think phenomenology can contribute to the design of experiments specfically by offering descriptions, distinctions, and such in regard to experience. Phenomenology may in fact propose a hypothesis that can be tested out experimentally.

Cytat:
3. In the introduction to How the body shapes the mind you write you do do not deal with concepts. But it is precisely concepts that appear to be particilarly difficult to analyse within the framework of embodied cognition. Do you see any connection between body schema and the conceptual aspect of the mind?


I suppose I meant that I was not going to try to explain conceptual knowlege. I think that Mark Johnson and his work with George Lakoff have already done significant work along this line, and until I see something better, I tend to refer to their work.

Cytat:
4. I'd like to ask about the relation between body schema and 'internal models' (D. Wolpert, M. Kawato). They seem to be convergent in their functions. Do you see any important differences between them? Could the way body schema works be similar to the way internal models do?


I mentioned forward models above. It's likely that they play an essential role in how the body schema works in action. I don't think of such internal models as the complete account.

Hope this helps.

Shaun

*** SHAUN GALLAGHER

Bartek Orlewski napisał/a:
In the book How the Body Shapes the Mind you use a kind of philosophical reflection/inquiry, namely phenomenology, in the context of different cognitive disciplines in order to create the new conceptual scheme concernig the human body and human mind.

1) Could you, if it is possible, describe your metaphilosophical claims concerning relations between (philosophical) phenomenology and cognitive science or if you didn't articulate such claims, then describe your intuitions concerning the same topic. Or, and this is the best option, both.


I have done this in one or two journal articles. Basically the idea is that to the extent that cogSci is concerned to explain cognition and experience, I think that phenomenology is one discipline that can contribute to a description of the explanadum. I think it is better to appeal to phenomenology than to folk psychology for a sense of what we are trying to explain, because phenomenology provides a method that controls for (by bracketing) theoretical biases, or just common sense biases about what it is one is trying to explain. There are various way in which phenomenology can be introduced into the cognitive sciences, and there are ongoing discussions in the journal literature about this.

One question that usually comes up in this regard concerns "naturalizing" phenomenology. That idea can be understood in a number of ways. My own view is that there is no threat to phenomenology if it is simply put to use in experimental settings. The aim is not to explain away phenomenology, or to reduce it to objective processes, but to put it to use in a way that corrects for overly-reductionistic concepts of what constitutes experience.

Cytat:
2) Could you, if it is possible, present your opinion about the possibilities of philosophy in general (not only phenomenology) at the beginnig of XXI century, especially in the context of interdisciplinary project called colectively cognitive science.


Similar to, but not identical to, the possibilities of philosophy at the beginning of the 17th century. At that time, one person could be a philosopher and a scientist. E.g., Descartes, Newton, Locke. There was no clear distinction between philosophy and science (or natural philosophy). I think that is a product of 19th century thinking; and it certainly became institutionalized in 20th century universities.

It may not be easy (or maybe even possible) for one person to be both a scientist and a philosopher today. Science is too specialized, and there is too much to know in any one discipline. So I think the way to go, in regard to a variety of scientific pursuits, including cogSci, is for philosophers to join scientists on research teams. Maybe we need 4 or 5 people to do the sort of thing that Newton could do on his own. This is an oversimplified view, but I'm trying to give you a sense of the way I'm thinking about these things.

Cytat:
3) Could you, if it is possible, describe the way in which results of your philosophical inquiries concerning the human embodiment refers to the topic of moral status of person (for example, the personhood of nasciturus) and others related ethical themes.


This is complicated, and I approach the issue in two different ways. The first way is to ask about the significance of self-consciousness. A number of theorists (Dennett, for one) define moral personhood in terms of self-consciousness. But it is a complex, reflective sort of self-consciousness that they refer to in this context. Bermudez has suggested that there are simpler forms of self-consciousness (forms that are tied to bodily self-awareness, proprioception, and such), and the question is whether something like proprioceptive self-awareness (which may be present in infants and animals) has moral significance. On the kind of principle that Bermudez uses to make his case, it would seem that proprioceptive self-awareness does have moral significance. But one could argue that self-consciousness is not implicitly valuable in this regard; it is only valuable in a functional way, if it allows for moral self-reflection. I suspect that Dennett might say something like this.

But there is another way to define moral personhood. On this view, the individual has the status of moral personhood if she is capable of having phronesis. The question is then how does one get this capability, and I think that embodiment plays a large role (Dreyfus says relevant things about this).

The concept of embodiment is also relevant to a discussion of intentional action and what we mean by freedom.

So there are a number of ways that embodiment plays a role in the question of moral personhood.

Shaun


*** PRZEMYSLAW NOWAKOWSKI

Welcome and thank you for your reply (at the same time I am sorry for such a delayed response). My question about internal models and concepts was partly motivated by the need to capture in the body schema case distinction into on-line and off-line cognition; Internal models (esp. In the version suggested in Emulation Theory of Cognition by Rick Grush) function in this very way. Because of different character of the body schema I am wondering how you would realise those off-line ones (assignments)? (if you would at all since you suggest in the text on Gestures and protention such possibility)

To a certain extent, the question also concerns body scheme as something without any distinctive features or does it have any distinctive features such as maybe weak, but still, a control centre.

In the second chapter of "How the body schapes mind" you describe some very primitive sense of self(as self/other distinction ), in the other though, "Bodily self-awareness and object perception" I found a very interesting idea of proprioception interpretation. I am curious to know if you can find any interesting connection between those two elements, i.e. between self/other distinction and bodily self (proprioceptive self) and body schema.

And the final question; in your answer you present an essential relation between body schema and environment. Could you possibly describe it in more details? (is this correlation different than the structural coupling suggested by Francisco Varela?)


Hello also to Jonathan Cole.
Since I am not an expert in neurology, I would like to ask only two questions:
Among many fascinating facts which I found in your research on IW one caught my attention, I mean the possibility of using by IW imagery when moving. As I understood it, the movements controlled by imagery are less precise but still, possible. You also mention in one of your texts about people suffering from tetraplegia and their imagery. My question is: How do you understand the concept of imagery, do you have any ideas that could describe the IW possibilities mentioned by me?

The second question:do you know how was it possible to begin the IW visual control over the body, how to tell, without proprioception, the controlled from uncontrolled one?



*** SHAUN GALLAGHER

Przemysław Nowakowski napisał/a:
Welcome and thank you for your reply (at the same time I am sorry for such a delayed response). My question about internal models and concepts was partly motivated by the need to capture in the body schema case distinction into on-line and off-line cognition; Internal models (esp. In the version suggested in Emulation Theory of Cognition by Rick Grush) function in this very way. Because of different character of the body schema I am wondering how you would realise those off-line ones (assignments)? (if you would at all since you suggest in the text on Gestures and protention such possibility)


I certainly think that motor control mechanisms at the level of the brain do anticipate movement, and this is part of body schematic processes. I think the forward models, or Grush emulators are good models for this. One question is whether such emulators can work off line -- and I think they can if by that we mean are they activated in cases where I simply imagine myself moving. I think research by Jeannerod on the time involved in imagining myself moving in some way (e.g., that it takes the same amount of time to imagine myself walk across the room as it takes to actually move across the room) suggests that this sort of emulator does work off line. This also is consistent with the idea that some of the brain areas that are activated during action are also activated during the imagination of that same action.

The one thing I disagree with is the idea that we should call such off-line activation "simulation." Here I think there are two concepts of simulation. Motor control theorists sometimes call the off-line activity simulation, and I don't object to that, since it means something like, I'm simulating movement, I'm not _really_ moving. But others connect this concept with simulation theory (as found in theory of mind) -- and I do object to this because in that context simulation involves pretense (I pretend to move, or I move "as if" I am the other person). I object to this because I don't think that these subpersonal processes can pretend. To see an "as if" in neuronal processes is to read personal categories into the subpersonal, and I don't think this is legitimate.

Przemysław Nowakowski napisał/a:
To a certain extent, the question also concerns body scheme as something without any distinctive features or does it have any distinctive features such as maybe weak, but still, a control centre.


By distinctive features do you mean is it like a thing, located in a particular place? I think it is, in part, certainly instanciated in neuronal processes, but that such processes are distributed in the brain -- both cortically and sub-cortically -- and are part of a system that includes the full body and environment. So I prefer to talk about body schematic processes or a body schema system, rather than "the" body schema.

Przemysław Nowakowski napisał/a:
In the second chapter of "How the body schapes mind" you describe some very primitive sense of self(as self/other distinction ), in the other though, "Bodily self-awareness and object perception" I found a very interesting idea of proprioception interpretation. I am curious to know if you can find any interesting connection between those two elements, i.e. between self/other distinction and bodily self (proprioceptive self) and body schema.


Yes, I think these are very closely connected, with the first implied in the second. I don't think you can have proprioceptive experience of someone else's (lived) body -- proprioceptive experience provides information about your body and no one else's. So there is already a self-nonself distinction built into it.

Przemysław Nowakowski napisał/a:
And the final question; in your answer you present an essential relation between body schema and environment. Could you possibly describe it in more details? (is this correlation different than the structural coupling suggested by Francisco Varela?)


Yes, structural coupling is a description of it. I think Dreyfus, following Merleau-Ponty also has a description of it in terms of coping. Gibson's work on sensory feedback from movement (e.g., visual kinaesthsia) is important here. Think about the moving room experiment. The wall of a room suddenly starts to move toward you -- you lose your balance and fall. One of my first published papers describes the connection between body and environment from a phenomenological perspective. Unfortunately, the paper is not available electronically.

Gallagher, S. 1986. Lived body and environment. Research in Phenomenology 16: 139-170.


*** JONATHAN COLE

Przemysław Nowakowski napisał/a:
Hello also to Jonathan Cole.
Since I am not an expert in neurology, I would like to ask only two questions:
Among many fascinating facts which I found in your research on IW one caught my attention, I mean the possibility of using by IW imagery when moving. As I understood it, the movements controlled by imagery are less precise but still, possible. You also mention in one of your texts about people suffering from tetraplegia and their imagery. My question is: How do you understand the concept of imagery, do you have any ideas that could describe the IW possibilities mentioned by me?

The second question:do you know how was it possible to begin the IW visual control over the body, how to tell, without proprioception, the controlled from uncontrolled one?


Jonathan Cole writes.

Thanks for the good questions and sorry for my delay in replying... Partly technology and partly clinical work.

The use of imagery comes from IW's own report and we can ask imagery in what modality, whether visual or somatosensory, or amodal. He tends to talk about 'seeing' a movement in his imagination. When he sees a new situation you can see him working out how he will move through it, plotting in his mind how he will move, I imagine as a dancer or climber might. This may involve both a visual image of what he will look like in the situation, which athletes use a lot, but also a motoric image of how to put each part in relation to each other to achieve the movment, which a dancer might us at a different level.

It is difficult to know whether movements with imagery are more or less accurate, though I think more. We are elaborating these ideas in a paper on IW's movement in a functional imaging PET scanner, so more on this is forthcoming.

When tetraplegics are asked to try to move their paralysed arm or leg appropriate parts of motor cortex require more oxygen, so we presume they can still in some way form a motor command. What they are thinking of and in which modality during this process is unclear to me. I tend to think visually but others suggest this may too limited.

The second question is about how to know whether a movement for IW is controlled or not, I think. This is probably about motor intention. When IW intends to move then this is a controlled one. How he used visual feedback to make such a movement more accurate requires him to use that visual feedback to correct, consciously, the focus of his motor command. This was done, I presume, slowly since visual correction is slow and repetitively as he refined his motor command. Even now without visual supervision (a term we use to suggest a less exact form of feedback) his motor command soon becomes inaccurate.



*** BARTEK ORLEWSKI

Prof. Gallagher napisał/a:
Bartek Orlewski napisał/a:

2) Could you, if it is possible, present your opinion about the possibilities of philosophy in general (not only phenomenology) at the beginnig of XXI century, especially in the context of interdisciplinary project called colectively cognitive science.


Similar to, but not identical to, the possibilities of philosophy at the beginning of the 17th century. At that time, one person could be a philosopher and a scientist. E.g., Descartes, Newton, Locke. There was no clear distinction between philosophy and science (or natural philosophy). I think that is a product of 19th century thinking; and it certainly became institutionalized in 20th century universities.

It may not be easy (or maybe even possible) for one person to be both a scientist and a philosopher today. Science is too specialized, and there is too much to know in any one discipline. So I think the way to go, in regard to a variety of scientific pursuits, including cogSci, is for philosophers to join scientists on research teams. Maybe we need 4 or 5 people to do the sort of thing that Newton could do on his own. This is an oversimplified view, but I'm trying to give you a sense of the way I'm thinking about these things.


I understand your stance but I have some doubts. First of all, even - if not especially - among many modern philosophers, mainly from analytic camp there is a shared belief that philosophical claims are not, say, justifable in the manner in which scientific claims are, and because of it is not possible to use science - scientific methodologies or scientific truth-claims - in order to examine the truth or falsity of philosophical claims, and vice versa. This view can be modest or radical - the modest one claims that at least some not important philosophical claims could be examined by the means of natural science(s), but many - more important (say: existential ones) - not. I think that this view - in it's modest or radical guise - is the positivist legacy but without any strong rationale. And, what is important, this is only one possible conception on relation between philosohy and science(s). The other one, very popular in the past and criticized strongly by Richard Rorty, claims that the role of philosophy is to justify or to lay foundations for any other area of our human activity, including science(s). In that sense philosophical claims, conceptions and theories are priviliged, because they cannot be overthrown on the basis of scietific claims, conceptions and theories. But there is also an idea - the holist one - that philosophical and scientific claims are not priviliged, not methodologically incommesurable and able to be used against each other in order to check their cognitive value. This last idea is not popular, I think, but something very close to it was proposed by Quine in Epistemology naturalized and by Rorty in his different papers, mainly from Consequences of Pragmatism.

So, what can you say about each of these stances, ideas or intuitions? Would you agree with the risky claim that the methodological incommensurability (or - more accurately - incommensurabilities) of scientific and philosophical claims, conceptions and theories is only an artifact of the history of science and philosophy - an artifact, which can be changed, if not now then in the future?

Cytat:

Cytat:
3) Could you, if it is possible, describe the way in which results of your philosophical inquiries concerning the human embodiment refers to the topic of moral status of person (for example, the personhood of nasciturus) and others related ethical themes.


This is complicated, and I approach the issue in two different ways. The first way is to ask about the significance of self-consciousness. A number of theorists (Dennett, for one) define moral personhood in terms of self-consciousness. But it is a complex, reflective sort of self-consciousness that they refer to in this context. Bermudez has suggested that there are simpler forms of self-consciousness (forms that are tied to bodily self-awareness, proprioception, and such), and the question is whether something like proprioceptive self-awareness (which may be present in infants and animals) has moral significance. On the kind of principle that Bermudez uses to make his case, it would seem that proprioceptive self-awareness does have moral significance. But one could argue that self-consciousness is not implicitly valuable in this regard; it is only valuable in a functional way, if it allows for moral self-reflection. I suspect that Dennett might say something like this.

But there is another way to define moral personhood. On this view, the individual has the status of moral personhood if she is capable of having phronesis. The question is then how does one get this capability, and I think that embodiment plays a large role (Dreyfus says relevant things about this).

The concept of embodiment is also relevant to a discussion of intentional action and what we mean by freedom.

So there are a number of ways that embodiment plays a role in the question of moral personhood.


Ok, I understand but I want to share with you with my doubt. Only one. Some may question the relevance of inquiry concerning the functions of different types of self-consciousness in the context of being or not being person, because either (loosely speaking) (i) from the fact that someone is person doesn't follow that hurting him is morally wrong or (ii) if it follows then it does it only artifactually, as in the human law, because of some contingent, in principle changeable, humanly made (moral) norm or rule. If (i), then the concept of person is purely factual, without any references to values and deontological concepts. In that case the inquiry into different types of self-consciousness may help only in deciding the factual problem - is X a person or not. If (ii), then the concept of person is value-laden but artifactually, by the power of some human convention (even very old, widespread in many societies and basic to their cultures), which origins fade in the dawn of human culture. Here the role of convention is to bridge the gap between factual and value-laden propositions. In that case the inquiry into different types of self-consciousness is not the last word, for example, in case of abortion, because it's possible to change the concept of person in such a way that it would be no longer moral concept, relevant to the matters of abortion and related ethical themes. And it's possible because conventions are, by their nature, changeable. Of course - from this trivial point follows nothing regarding the justification of a convention's change.

I know that there is albo a third possibility, namely (iii) the one according to which the moral status of person is not artifactual and is based on human nature or nature of the comic order or on a will of some deity (for example, God). But (iii) presuposses that it is possible to draw value-laden conclusions from purely factual premises.

So, what do you think? It's possible to provide some conception which shows how and to what extent human morality (or different human moralities) is based on - rooted in - our embodiment. And if yes, could the embodiment of our moralities provide a legitimation for at least some of them? Could it itself - without our intervention, without any cultural convention, wholly natural - play some justificatory role?


*** PRZEMYSLAW NOWAKOWSKI

1.

. Thank you (Profesor Shaun Gallagher) for the reply. I�ll try to elaborate on some of my previous remarks. When I asked about �distinctive features in body schema� I meant if body schema was a set of processes or motor programmes that are functionally equally important � or whether it was possible to determine a functionally superordinate element, e.g. an emulator, that would in a way control other processes?

2.

a. Thank you (Profesor Jonathan Cole) for the reply. I�ll try to elaborate on some of my previous remarks. In the literature one finds many analyses of imagery as an offline process. In the case of IW what I meant was mostly motor imagery IW uses to move his limbs even when he can�t see them. I was curious how you would explain this fascinating ability of IW to move his limbs relying only on his motor imagery.

b. The second question I asked (though perhaps in non-perfect English) was about how IW could initiate control of the body devoid of proprioception. O. Sacks in � A Leg to Stand On� described the great problems he had in moving his leg � and the deficiency concerned just his leg, not the whole body. In IW�s case a question arises about initiating movement � about determining these elements that � though being sensorily totally inactive � are possible to move.



*** JONATHAN COLE

Przemyslaw Nowakowski napisał/a:

a. Thank you (Profesor Jonathan Cole) for the reply. I�ll try to elaborate on some of my previous remarks. In the literature one finds many analyses of imagery as an offline process. In the case of IW what I meant was mostly motor imagery IW uses to move his limbs even when he can�t see them. I was curious how you would explain this fascinating ability of IW to move his limbs relying only on his motor imagery.


The simple answer is that we do not know. We are not sure if the motor imagery Ian has is domain specific, i.e. visual or sensorimotor or amodal - whatever that means. We do not know either the relation between conscious and non-conscious processing. Since he has not had proprioceptive feedback for 30 plus years we do argue in a paper from a PET study on IW that his imagery may be visual. We are going to argue too that he may use on line visual imagery on line to aid movement when he cannot see the movement he makes. When IW moves he thinks about it to control it. What does he think of; perhaps he images visually the moving part. If he does not think of the movement, and image it visually therefore, accuracy goes down. So on line visual imagery might be necessary for movement without feedback. You'll have to wait for the paper to see the data underlying this, I guess.

Przemyslaw Nowakowski napisał/a:

b. The second question I asked (though perhaps in non-perfect English) was about how IW could initiate control of the body devoid of proprioception. O. Sacks in "A Leg to Stand On" described the great problems he had in moving his leg ? and the deficiency concerned just his leg, not the whole body. In IW's case a question arises about initiating movement ? about determining these elements that ? though being sensorily totally inactive ? are possible to move.


Another good question we do not know the precise answer to. I can only refer you to IW's description that he learnt that if he thought of the part to be moved and then tried to move it and saw it move, and then he could. He did suggest, as did Oliver Sacks, that he had almost forgotten how to move, but this seemed to recover. For Sacks he found it difficult consciously to initiate action and was tricked into it by dance and music as I remember. I considered similar forgettings in a short letter to Journal of Motor Behavior. I have taken the liberty of attaching it in draft form. What we are saying is that if one cannot feel sensation from a part is the motor apparatus and ideation process altered and I think the answer is 'yes', but this is not something that neuroscience has addressed as far as I am aware. Read the letter and see if I have been thinking along similar lines to you.


* Letter to Journal of Motor Behavior

On the relation between sensory input and action. Jonathan Cole, Clinical Neurological Sciences, University of Southampton and Poole Hospital.*

Recently, the role of sensation in the organisation of movement has been considered in terms of how predicted and novel sensory return is compared with motor feed forward commands, (see review by Frith, Blakemore and Wolpert 2000). Their models suggest that awareness of sensory feedback may be limited when motor intention is successful. In some conditions it may even be overcome by illusory visual feedback of movement, (Fourneret and Jeannerod, 1998). From several clinical observations the present letter suggests other roles for sensory feedback in the initiation of action.

Subject IW, without movement/position sense or touch below the neck for the last 26 years, was initially, after his illness at age 19, completely unable to move (Cole, 1995). Without peripheral feedback, movement control – immediately - was no longer possible. His feed forward control system could not function without mismatch correction from peripheral sensory feedback. This is not unexpected. But, in addition IW, without peripheral feedback, had profound problems in knowing what he had to do to move. He knew intellectually, of course, what movements were needed, but found it difficult to form ideas, and so motor commands, in his head about movement. His ideational programs for action were no longer accessible to him, or were themselves degraded without feedback. It was during this early period that he felt most disembodied: the ability to initiate and make controlled action may underlie a sense of the embodied self, (see Gallagher, 2000).

When making his first controlled movement, sitting up in bed, by realising that if his abdominal muscles contracted he should sit, his problem was in converting an intellectual idea into a cognitive motor plan. Without peripheral feedback action was difficult to control but, more than that, the link between thought and action had been disrupted. If his motor programmes were disabled without feedback, then his conscious focus onto and choosing of motor commands were also affected.

The second observation concerns a colleague who, running to a crash call, landed awkwardly on his heel and fractured his os calcaneus. Once the pain had subsided, and out of the plaster, he was very surprised to find that he could not move his foot. He said that it was as though he had ‘forgotten what to do.’ Experimenting, he found that he could dorsiflex the injured foot better if he did the same movement on the uninjured and unaffected side. For several months the automaticity of foot movement escaped him. I take this to be a similar phenomenon to that described by Oliver Sacks, (1984), and may be a central consequence of a peripheral injury. In the presence of immobilisation, or pain, movement is reduced and with that, over time, the central automatic motor commands to move may be lost or reduced. Here there was no sense of disembodiment, but there was a loss of automatic movement and, with that, of the conscious selection of action.

Lastly a personal recollection: recently I suffered from viral meningitis. Having headache and photophobia I thought I should try, when lying prostrate in bed, to move my neck. I was astonished to realise that I, too, did not know how to. The scarcely conscious linkage of a desire for an action and the motor command for that action, followed by the action, was broken. I went to move my neck with my arm and it was rigid, stiff, and painful. But at rest, though still rigid, I was not aware of pain, and was surprised when I tried to move it and no longer knew how to. I presume this is an inhibition of movement secondary to meningitic irritation, which is protective and anti-nociceptive. But it had reached not only to spinal levels. It had (almost) by passed my perceptual level to affect my motor ideational level, proscribing action. Inhibition of motor command, presumably by afferents from the meninges, at a level below attention, led to a loss of the idea of movement and of action.

Peripheral sensory information may have effects not limited to those at a post-conscious comparator level or at a level involved in the presentation of formed percepts to sensation. Withdrawal of sensory feedback appears to disrupt not only accurate movement but also the focussing of attention into action commands. A similar effect may follow pain or disuse. Action or, more correctly, the merging of thought - conscious intention - into action seems to be dependent on the state of the peripheral sensory apparatus and feedback from it in subtle and difficult to investigate ways.

Theories of motor control employing feed forward mechanisms with peripheral sensory return acting at a comparator level may need to be aware that sensory input may facilitate the elaboration of motor plans at higher levels. Theories focussing on the ideational and sensory construction of movements may, likewise, need to assimilate a role for sensory information in the construction of motor plans and goals. Peripheral sensory information may have greater roles than in the feedback of position and movement.

Acknowledgement. I am most grateful for constructive comments of Shaun Gallagher on earlier drafts of this letter

References.

Cole, J. 1995. Pride and a Daily Marathon. Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press.

Gallagher, S. (2000) Philosophical conceptions of the self: implications for cognitive science. Trends in Cognitive Science, 4, 14-21.

Fourneret, P. and Jeannerod, M. 1998. Limited conscious monitoring of motor performance in normal subjects. Neuropsychologica, 36, 1133-1140.

Frith, C.J., Blakemore, S.-J. and Wolpert, D.M. 2000,Abnormalities in the awareness and control of action. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B. 355, 1771-1788.

Sacks, O. 1984. ‘A Leg To Stand On.’ London: Duckworth.



*** SHAUN GALLAGHER

Cytat:
I understand your stance but I have some doubts. First of all, even - if not especially - among many modern philosophers, mainly from analytic camp there is a shared belief that philosophical claims are not, say, justifable in the manner in which scientific claims are, and because of it is not possible to use science - scientific methodologies or scientific truth-claims - in order to examine the truth or falsity of philosophical claims, and vice versa. This view can be modest or radical - the modest one claims that at least some not important philosophical claims could be examined by the means of natural science(s), but many - more important (say: existential ones) - not. I think that this view - in it's modest or radical guise - is the positivist legacy but without any strong rationale. And, what is important, this is only one possible conception on relation between philosohy and science(s). The other one, very popular in the past and criticized strongly by Richard Rorty, claims that the role of philosophy is to justify or to lay foundations for any other area of our human activity, including science(s). In that sense philosophical claims, conceptions and theories are priviliged, because they cannot be overthrown on the basis of scietific claims, conceptions and theories. But there is also an idea - the holist one - that philosophical and scientific claims are not priviliged, not methodologically incommesurable and able to be used against each other in order to check their cognitive value. This last idea is not popular, I think, but something very close to it was proposed by Quine in Epistemology naturalized and by Rorty in his different papers, mainly from Consequences of Pragmatism.

So, what can you say about each of these stances, ideas or intuitions? Would you agree with the risky claim that the methodological incommensurability (or - more accurately - incommensurabilities) of scientific and philosophical claims, conceptions and theories is only an artifact of the history of science and philosophy - an artifact, which can be changed, if not now then in the future?


I reject the foundationalist claims about philosophy. Beyond that, I think it depends on precisely what sort of thing we are discussing. I agree that science cannot explain everything -- e.g., you mention certain existentialist dimensions. So I am not a positivist in that sense. But I do think that science can throw light on certain things that may condition or constrain existentialist dimensions. So if we think that embodiment has something to do with our experience, and that the lived body is not a different body from the biological body, then science can certainly tell us something about that. It's not that science will be able to tell us everything we need to know; nor is it the case that philosophy will be able to tell us everything we need to know. And perhaps both science and philosophy will be inadequate to the task, and we will have to turn to literature and poetry. If truth is complicated, perhaps our approaches need to be complicated. I think of this as a kind of pragmatic epistemology. John Searle once said that if drinking a glass of wine will provide insight into consciousness, then we should drink a glass of wine. Pursue insight whereever you can find it. But I certainly think that it is important to worry about the epistemological concerns you raise. I could stop what I'm doing and start worring about them; or I could include an epistemological worrier on my team in order to keep everyone in line. Or there may have to be a whole team of epistemologists who will argue about the proper epistemological approach. When they reach a decision they should let us know.[/quote]


*** SHAUN GALLAGHER

Cytat:
Ok, I understand but I want to share with you with my doubt. Only one. Some may question the relevance of inquiry concerning the functions of different types of self-consciousness in the context of being or not being person, because either (loosely speaking) (i) from the fact that someone is person doesn't follow that hurting him is morally wrong or (ii) if it follows then it does it only artifactually, as in the human law, because of some contingent, in principle changeable, humanly made (moral) norm or rule. If (i), then the concept of person is purely factual, without any references to values and deontological concepts. In that case the inquiry into different types of self-consciousness may help only in deciding the factual problem - is X a person or not. If (ii), then the concept of person is value-laden but artifactually, by the power of some human convention (even very old, widespread in many societies and basic to their cultures), which origins fade in the dawn of human culture. Here the role of convention is to bridge the gap between factual and value-laden propositions. In that case the inquiry into different types of self-consciousness is not the last word, for example, in case of abortion, because it's possible to change the concept of person in such a way that it would be no longer moral concept, relevant to the matters of abortion and related ethical themes. And it's possible because conventions are, by their nature, changeable. Of course - from this trivial point follows nothing regarding the justification of a convention's change.

I know that there is albo a third possibility, namely (iii) the one according to which the moral status of person is not artifactual and is based on human nature or nature of the comic order or on a will of some deity (for example, God). But (iii) presuposses that it is possible to draw value-laden conclusions from purely factual premises.

So, what do you think? It's possible to provide some conception which shows how and to what extent human morality (or different human moralities) is based on - rooted in - our embodiment. And if yes, could the embodiment of our moralities provide a legitimation for at least some of them? Could it itself - without our intervention, without any cultural convention, wholly natural - play some justificatory role?


I think that our conceptions of human morality have to be rooted in our embodiment simply because we are embodied animals. Even if we are something more than embodied animals, our embodiment constrains the something more. Even if our moral law came directly from God, it would be a strange moral law if it stipulated an ought that we were incapable of -- and our human body defines what we are capable of. If we leave God out of it, and if we are Kantian in our approach, we might say, "Act only in such a way ..." Since action is only possible because we are embodied (as Aquinas would say), then even the categorical imperative has to consider the constraints of the body. Are we persons (in the moral sense) independently of whether we are self-conscious? Again, that's going to depend on how you define the concept of person. Are we persons (in the moral sense) independently of whether we are embodied? Well, in my view, there is no such thing as "independently of whether we are embodied." Of course a functionalist like Dennett, or religious believers like the majority of people in the world may want to disagree (obviously for different reasons).


*** JACEK PODGÓRSKI

Phantoms – image or scheme

In our discussion about the book “How the body shapes the mind”, we came to the main problem of the fourth chapter – phantom limbs (“4. Pursuing a Phantom”). In a long discussion we came to the conclusion that all (almost) persons after a loss of some limb still feel the presence of the amputated limb. Approximately 50 to 80% of amputees experience these phantom sensations in their amputated limb. In a long brainstorm among many members of our seminar, we proposed these questions. These questions are directed to both our guests: Prof. Gallagher and Jonathan Cole (please excuse my English, I’m still working on it).

1) In a book by Jay Ingram “The Burning House: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Brain” (1996), the author describes a case of a women named “K.G.”. K.G. lost her leg at the age of six, and at the age of twenty three she could feel three types of “phantom limb”:
1))) little small fingers (like those when she was six years old), they were moving rapidly from time to time, and they itched.
2))) a foot that was phantom, and felt warm when she was standing near a radiator or some other source of high or low temperature.
3))) when she was putting on her artificial limb, she felt immobilized, and even she was convinced that her leg was able to move before the loss (but that wasn’t true).

All these ‘kick in’ at the time when K.G. puts on her artificial limb. And most important is the fact that from time to time she is able to feel such sensations as pain, itching, coldness, warmth and even wearing objects. The point is – are there any leakages of stimuli? Maybe the problem is in the crushed neurons (errors with apraxia)?
Let us imagine a situation when we have a person with a whole phantom leg (following Ingram’s example of described women), standing by a warm radiator. What will happen, when we “cut-off” this person’s visual channel (putting some sort of band on her eyes)? Is this a problem of proprioception or perception?

2) The second problem is: how does the shaping of body image/body scheme take place in the case of Siamese Twins? How about extreme cases of this phenomenon? What will happen when one of the twins dies? Medical literature on such cases is abundant. But what about cognitive science and embodiement?

3) Often people with phantom limbs suffer horrible pain. The question is: are there any specific relations between phantom limbs and pharmacological medicines? For example: a patient with a phantom foot feels no pain whatsoever (and maybe even no presence of the phantom) after being injected with some specific medicine, e.g. a tranquilizer or. Or the patients feel the injuries to the limbs before their loss (imprints, wounds etc.) Are there any connections between phantom limb pain and neuropathic pain in neurology?

4) Let us imagine another situation. We have a patient that lost his arm at the age of 20. At the age of 60, his doctor state a diagnosis: Alzheimer’s disease. How is this patient likely to behave, with such a specific disease for example: the mentioned Alzheimer's disease (apraxia) or rheumatism? How does that person feel (especially his phantom limbs in such diseases)? Are there any changes on the neurological level (neurochemistry etc.)?

Thank you in advance for the answers.
 
 
Slawomir Wacewicz
Administrator


Posty: 1117
Skąd: Toruń
Wysłany: 2006-11-06, 21:16   continued

*** JONATHAN COLE

Cytat:
In our discussion about the book ?How the body shapes the mind?, we came to the main problem of the fourth chapter ? phantom limbs (?4. Pursuing a Phantom?). In a long discussion we came to the conclusion that all (almost) persons after a loss of some limb still feel the presence of the
amputated limb. Approximately 50 to 80% of amputees experience these
phantom sensations in their amputated limb.


This is correct and there are large series giving good data on this.

Cytat:
In a long brainstorm among many members of our seminar, we proposed these questions. These questions are directed to both our guests: Prof. Gallagher and Jonathan Cole (please excuse my English, I?m still working on it).

1) In a book by Jay Ingram ?The Burning House: Unlocking the Mysteries of
the Brain? (1996), the author describes a case of a women named ?K.G.?.
K.G. lost her leg at the age of six, and at the age of twenty three she
could feel three types of ?phantom limb?:
1))) little small fingers (like those when she was six years old), they
were moving rapidly from time to time, and they itched.
2))) a foot that was phantom, and felt warm when she was standing near a
radiator or some other source of high or low temperature.
3))) when she was putting on her artificial limb, she felt immobilized,
and even she was convinced that her leg was able to move before the loss
(but that wasn?t true).

All these ?kick in? at the time when K.G. puts on her artificial limb. And
most important is the fact that from time to time she is able to feel such
sensations as pain, itching, coldness, warmth and even wearing objects.
The point is ? are there any leakages of stimuli? Maybe the problem is in
the crushed neurons (errors with apraxia)?


People have long debated the origin f phantom sensations and whether they
arise in the neuromas in the stump or centrally in the CNS. There is
evidence for both, but it makes some sense to suggest that many arise
centrally.

It is interesting that this woman felt phantom sensation in relation to
external factors and to her prosthesis. It is unusual but intriguing and
plausible. I am not sure how far people have explored the individual
phenomenology of phantom sensations.

Cytat:
Let us imagine a situation when we have a person with a whole phantom leg
(following Ingram?s example of described women), standing by a warm
radiator. What will happen, when we ?cut-off? this person?s visual channel
(putting some sort of band on her eyes)? Is this a problem of
proprioception or perception?


A-ha, a thought experiment! I know of some people with tetraplegia and no
sensation in their legs who feel touch in their leg when they see their
leg touched. This is cross modal sensation, so to start with beware of
separating sensory modalities. Secondly phantom sensation does not appear
dependent on vision, (though whether a congenitally blind person would
have the same phantom sensation of leg size and shape is a good point, and
of course, phantom limbs do themselves have odd shapes and lengths in
normally sighted people).

Cytat:
2) The second problem is: how does the shaping of body image/body scheme
take place in the case of Siamese Twins? How about extreme cases of this
phenomenon? What will happen when one of the twins dies? Medical
literature on such cases is abundant. But what about cognitive science and
embodiment?


Another thought experiment. I would consider the important thing was where
the twins were joined. The original twins, the Bunkers, were only joined
at the live and abdomen and married and fathered 23 children between them,
each absenting himself from the other at the right times. Their body
image/schema I would suggest would have been near controls. If there is
one head and two bodies then such matters would depend on the physiology
and wiring underpinning perception. I would work up from the
anatomy/physiology, and of course ask any people in this position. Then
such a thought experiment would move to an 'experiment of nature.'

Cytat:
3) Often people with phantom limbs suffer horrible pain. The question is:
are there any specific relations between phantom limbs and pharmacological
medicines? For example: a patient with a phantom foot feels no pain
whatsoever (and maybe even no presence of the phantom) after being
injected with some specific medicine, e.g. a tranquilizer or. Or the
patients feel the injuries to the limbs before their loss (imprints,
wounds etc.) Are there any connections between phantom limb pain and
neuropathic pain in neurology?


This is a big question. Phantom limb pain is usually considered a form of
deafferentation pain, a centrally elaborated pain, which has proved
intractable to medicine as yet. So there are lots of chemical and synaptic
changes underpinning it and upregulation of transmitters, but we still
don't really understand it. Pat Wall in his last book suggested pain was a
need state and alerted one to damage and the need for action.
Deafferentation pain might be a need state without an end organ to act on
(unless one gives the person a limb back as Ramachandran and ourselves
have been trying to do).

Cytat:
4) Let us imagine another situation. We have a patient that lost his arm
at the age of 20. At the age of 60, his doctor state a diagnosis:
Alzheimer?s disease. How is this patient likely to behave, with such a
specific disease for example: the mentioned Alzheimer's disease (apraxia)
or rheumatism? How does that person feel (especially his phantom limbs in
such diseases)? Are there any changes on the neurological level
(neurochemistry etc.)?


Another thought experiment! I am not sure Alzheimer's necessarily leads to
apraxia. I think you are asking about the effect of an organic dementia on
phantom limb sensation. I am not sure, but since the phantom does seem
quite deeply elaborated within the person's neurology then the phantom
might not change, thought the person's insight into it might.

Hope that helps for now.


*** SHAUN GALLAGHER

Cytat:
Cytat:
In our discussion about the book ...


This is correct and there are large series giving good data on this.


Sorry for my absence. These are all interesting questions, and although many involve thought experiments, in some sense they are also empirical questions. Jonathan had done very well in answering them, and I'm not sure what else I can say.

Cytat:
Cytat:
In a long brainstorm among many members of our seminar...


People have long debated the origin f phantom sensations and whether they
arise in the neuromas in the stump or centrally in the CNS. There is
evidence for both, but it makes some sense to suggest that many arise
centrally.


I would add that where ever they originate, they likely involve both peripheral and central processes. As Jonathan notes later, any particular process is going to go intermodal, so something like tactile stimulation can generate a variety of sensations.


Cytat:
...
Cytat:
Let us imagine a situation when we have a person with a whole phantom leg
(following Ingram?s example of described women), standing by a warm
radiator. What will happen, when we ?cut-off? this person?s visual channel
(putting some sort of band on her eyes)? Is this a problem of
proprioception or perception?


A-ha, a thought experiment! I know of some people with tetraplegia and no
sensation in their legs who feel touch in their leg when they see their
leg touched. This is cross modal sensation, so to start with beware of
separating sensory modalities. Secondly phantom sensation does not appear
dependent on vision, (though whether a congenitally blind person would
have the same phantom sensation of leg size and shape is a good point, and
of course, phantom limbs do themselves have odd shapes and lengths in
normally sighted people).


I agree.

Cytat:
Cytat:
2) The second problem is...


Another thought experiment. I would consider the important thing was where
the twins were joined. The original twins, the Bunkers, were only joined
at the live and abdomen and married and fathered 23 children between them,
each absenting himself from the other at the right times. Their body
image/schema I would suggest would have been near controls. If there is
one head and two bodies then such matters would depend on the physiology
and wiring underpinning perception. I would work up from the
anatomy/physiology, and of course ask any people in this position. Then
such a thought experiment would move to an 'experiment of nature.'


My first thought was simply "I don't know." But I would second Jonathan's remark that everything would depend on where they are joined.

Cytat:
Cytat:
3) Often people with phantom limbs suffer horrible pain...


This is a big question. Phantom limb pain is usually considered a form of
deafferentation pain, a centrally elaborated pain, which has proved
intractable to medicine as yet. So there are lots of chemical and synaptic
changes underpinning it and upregulation of transmitters, but we still
don't really understand it. Pat Wall in his last book suggested pain was a
need state and alerted one to damage and the need for action.
Deafferentation pain might be a need state without an end organ to act on
(unless one gives the person a limb back as Ramachandran and ourselves
have been trying to do).


This is Jonathan's field.

Cytat:
Cytat:
4) Let us imagine another situation...


Another thought experiment! I am not sure Alzheimer's necessarily leads to
apraxia. I think you are asking about the effect of an organic dementia on
phantom limb sensation. I am not sure, but since the phantom does seem
quite deeply elaborated within the person's neurology then the phantom
might not change, thought the person's insight into it might.


Yes. Perhaps the question suggests that phantom sensations depend on memory. Then we would need to ask what sort of memory -- episodic (which may involve the body image -- i.e., our memory of what our body looked like), vs procedural memory (which may involve body schematic processes).

*** PRZEMYSLAW NOWAKOWSKI

Prof. Gallagher,

In Chapter Five - Body in Gesture, there is a very complex analysis of the theory of gesture. How do you define the term 'gesture'? You cite McNeill's belief that 'Gestures are movements that occur only during speech- etc.', but how about movements such as showing ok and not ok, which are speechless?

1) Could a pointing move, which occurs during a conversation, be correctly classified as a gesture? If it is not a gesture, then are gestures only these movements that have morphological correlations with an action description that is present in speech acts? (2) Is a gesture possible without hand movements? (3) If there is a connection between speech and gesture, are there observable correlations between the highness of sound or direction of sound highness change and a gesture and its own direction?

You write about the construction of narrative space by gestures. Could you please explain what you mean by the concept of narrative space?


*** SHAUN GALLAGHER

Przemysław Nowakowski napisał/a:
Prof. Gallagher,

In Chapter Five - Body in Gesture, there is a very complex analysis of the theory of gesture. How do you define the term 'gesture'? You cite McNeill's belief that 'Gestures are movements that occur only during speech- etc.', but how about movements such as showing ok and not ok, which are speechless?

1) Could a pointing move, which occurs during a conversation, be correctly classified as a gesture? If it is not a gesture, then are gestures only these movements that have morphological correlations with an action description that is present in speech acts? (2) Is a gesture possible without hand movements? (3) If there is a connection between speech and gesture, are there observable correlations between the highness of sound or direction of sound highness change and a gesture and its own direction?

You write about the construction of narrative space by gestures. Could you please explain what you mean by the concept of narrative space?


These are good questions. There are many different kinds of gestures -- emblematic, iconic, metaphoric, deictic, gestural beats -- these are all identified by McNeill (1992), who also suggests that 90% of all gestures are found in speech. So the simple answer to what I mean by gestures, are gestures that are found in speech. This include hand gestures, but also gestures made by other parts of the body, including the face, shoulders, feet. Signifying 'ok' is, in my view, a speech act that is enacted gesturally. Pointing during speech is also a gesture. According to McNeill, gestures don't simply repeat something that is said, it contributes to the meaning -- indeed, gives extra meaning than can be found in the speech. So I might say "The dog over there" but the meaning of that may not be specified without pointing or gesturing in a certain direction. So gestures add meaning in many cases. I think there are close connections between speech, intonation, and gestures. Intonation is something like a vocal gesture -- it also adds meaning.

Narrative space. That's a metaphor, of course. What I think I meant was that gestures helps to define, in an almost literal way, the metaphorical space of the narrative. I mean, as I set up a narrative, a hand movement may draw the line that signifies the limits of the narrative, and nothing that belongs to the ensuing narrative will fall outside of that line. So a movement of my hand to the right side of my visual field may mark the boundary of the narrative that I tell. I might be telling a story about going to my office and my two hands might gesture a delineation of a space about 18 inches wide in front of my body just at the word 'office'. Anything that happens at the office will then involve gestures and even head nods and eye directions within that originally defined space. If in the middle of the narrative I digress by saying, 'By the way, that reminds me of something else that happened at the beach' -- or whatever, then it would be likely that my gestures would indicate something outside of the 18 inch wide space previously defined by my office. So quite literally, gestures draw the space that metaphorically represents the topic or place or idea under discussion or being narrated.


*** JONATHAN COLE

Przemyslaw Nowakowski napisał/a:


In Chapter Five - Body in Gesture, there is a very complex analysis of the theory of gesture. How do you define the term 'gesture'? You cite McNeill's belief that 'Gestures are movements that occur only during speech- etc.', but how about movements such as showing ok and not ok, which are speechless?

1) Could a pointing move, which occurs during a conversation, be correctly classified as a gesture? If it is not a gesture, then are gestures only these movements that have morphological correlations with an action description that is present in speech acts? (2) Is a gesture possible without hand movements? (3) If there is a connection between speech and gesture, are there observable correlations between the highness of sound or direction of sound highness change and a gesture and its own direction?

You write about the construction of narrative space by gestures. Could you please explain what you mean by the concept of narrative space?


Cytat:
Prof. Gallagher
These are good questions. There are many different kinds of gestures -- emblematic, iconic, metaphoric, deictic, gestural beats -- these are all identified by McNeill (1992), who also suggests that 90% of all gestures are found in speech. So the simple answer to what I mean by gestures, are gestures that are found in speech. This include hand gestures, but also gestures made by other parts of the body, including the face, shoulders, feet. Signifying 'ok' is, in my view, a speech act that is enacted gesturally. Pointing during speech is also a gesture. According to McNeill, gestures don't simply repeat something that is said, it contributes to the meaning -- indeed, gives extra meaning than can be found in the speech. So I might say "The dog over there" but the meaning of that may not be specified without pointing or gesturing in a certain direction. So gestures add meaning in many cases. I think there are close connections between speech, intonation, and gestures. Intonation is something like a vocal gesture -- it also adds meaning.


Jonathan.

I would agree with Shaun. It is striking to me that people with spinal cord injury and little movement in their hands and below, still make gestural movements of their remaining parts, whether shoulders shrugged or head moved. The need for gesture seems deep and to find outlet in wherever it can. So gesture is possible without hand movement whether or not the hands can be moved or indeed are present.

I do not know if there is a correlation between highness of sound and direction etc. My initial thoughts are that these variables are unlikely to be complex enough to determine such things. Gestures can be from different perspectives, (first or third person etc), so that would determine their perceived direction.


Cytat:
Prof. Gallagher
Narrative space. That's a metaphor, of course. What I think I meant was that gestures helps to define, in an almost literal way, the metaphorical space of the narrative. I mean, as I set up a narrative, a hand movement may draw the line that signifies the limits of the narrative, and nothing that belongs to the ensuing narrative will fall outside of that line. So a movement of my hand to the right side of my visual field may mark the boundary of the narrative that I tell. I might be telling a story about going to my office and my two hands might gesture a delineation of a space about 18 inches wide in front of my body just at the word 'office'. Anything that happens at the office will then involve gestures and even head nods and eye directions within that originally defined space. If in the middle of the narrative I digress by saying, 'By the way, that reminds me of something else that happened at the beach' -- or whatever, then it would be likely that my gestures would indicate something outside of the 18 inch wide space previously defined by my office. So quite literally, gestures draw the space that metaphorically represents the topic or place or idea under discussion or being narrated.


Jonathan.

Again I agree. There must be spatial limits to gesture. In IW without sensation these are different when he is safely seated, and can have a large gestural work space and when standing this safe space is reduced so his gestural space is reduced.

People who go progressively blind (and deaf) with Usher's Syndrome, get tunnel vision and their gesture compress in space so they can still be seen by their owner. Then when they finally go blind and can see nothing at all the gestural space increases (Oliver Sacks described this).

But these are examples of neurological constraints on the work space for gestures, which is not quite what was asked for.



*** MAREK PIETRASZCZYK

Hello to everybody who visits forum in English.

In the chapter “the interactive practice of mind” there is a mention of “a more comprehensive account of autistic symptom”. There are a couple things that are implicit in this model psychopathology and etiology of autistic syndrome disorder.

1) what is the neurological basis of ASD ? is it possible that Weak brain links 'explain autism' ?
(Gazzainga -the split brain in man. 1967. Scientific American, 217, 24-29;)
Gazzainga -The integrated mind.1978 New York: Plenum Press;
Hommet, C., Billard, C. 1998 Corpus Callosum syndrome in children. Neurochirurgie, 44(1), 110-112.)

2) if Weak brain links really explain autism, what about mental representation ?
I mean – what are the components of mental representation (for example Temple Grandin said that she mainly THINK IN VISUAL representation, but she has a level of thinking above average) and is the lexical component necessary for effective mental operation ?

3) in stereotypes thinking about the brain of man, and the brain of woman, the man is characterised as better at visual thinking, space orientation, and self concrete, on the other hand, women have a higher lexical ability, and are socially oriented. The question is: does that mean that the autistic children have extremely male brains ???

4) it is proven that children with ASD, “aren’t able to learn social skills”, but if we incorporate term: acquisition( "learning vs acquisition") will the situation be changed ?


(sorry for my English)



*** SLAWOMIR WACEWICZ

Dear Professors,

I hope you do not mind another 'Sci-fi' question - a thought experiment that occured to me some time ago. I think it likely it has been described before in philosophical literature, but what I would like to enquire about is:

is this experiment impossible in principle for some fundamental reason (and if so, why?), or merely technically impossible?

If a person was beheaded (say, by the order of the queen), and if it was somehow possible to keep both the head and the trunk in homeostasis, for the whole system to keep functioning one would need just to preserve the continuity of signal transmission in the severed spinal cord. One could then proceed to place - on each and every severed fibre, on both sides of the severed spinal cord - the transmitters/receivers of infrared or bluetooth signal that could convert this signal to the 'language' of electrical impulses in the nerves (and vice versa). The continuity would be preserved, and the system would be functional (as long, that is, as the person didn't open their eyes or touch themselves above the neck...).
We could then go on to speculate about a successful simulation of the input/output neural activity of the trunk in the absence of the trunk itself; as a final result, we could remove the trunk altogether, and be left with a thiniking head!

SW



*** JONATHAN COLE

Cytat:
In the chapter "the interactive practice of mind" there is a mention of "a more comprehensive account of autistic symptom". There are a couple things that are implicit in this model psychopathology and etiology of autistic syndrome disorder.

1) what is the neurological basis of ASD ? is it possible that Weak brain links 'explain autism' ? (Gazzainga -the split brain in man. 1967. Scientific American, 217, 24-29;) Gazzainga -The integrated mind.1978 New York: Plenum Press; Hommet, C., Billard, C. 1998 Corpus Callosum syndrome in children. Neurochirurgie, 44(1), 110-112.)


I am not sure we know the neurological basis of autism. I share with Shaun some scepticism about Theory of Mind being the core, rather than an aspect of autism, albeit a very important aspect.

Whilst no wishing to plug my book, About Face' I do have a chapter on the difficulties people with autism have with facial expression where I try to unpick the subjective experience of the condition, based on an interview with Donna Williams. This does not 'explain' the neurology of autism, but in showing how global a problem it is moves autism from just being about ToM.

Cytat:
2) if Weak brain links really explain autism, what about mental
representation ?
I mean - what are the components of mental representation (for example Temple Grandin said that she mainly THINK IN VISUAL representation, but she has a level of thinking above average) and is the lexical component necessary for effective mental operation ?


Another good question. Again this is not my field. I suspect we may begin to have answers to such questions with some functional imaging experiments. The brain does an enormous amount of high order processing, of language and of visual inputs of which we are not aware at a conscious level. But this work comes from people with normal linguistic/perceptual function. Whether this analysis goes on in those without these functionalities might be testable.

Cytat:
3) in stereotypes thinking about the brain of man, and the brain of woman, the man is characterised as better at visual thinking, space orientation, and self concrete, on the other hand, women have a higher lexical ability, and are socially oriented. The question is: does that mean that the autistic children have extremely male brains ???


You need to read Simon Baron-Cohen, The Essential Difference, which is all about this. Asperger mentioned this idea and Simon follows it up.

Cytat:
4) it is proven that children with ASD, "aren't able to learn social skills", but if we incorporate term: acquisition( "learning vs acquisition") will the situation be changed ?


I think this is one for Shaun. One might say that when they do have social
skills they have 'rote' learnt them rather than simply acquired them by osmosis so to speak. Do children learn language initially? Do you learn a foreign language aged 11 differently from your native tongue as a very young child?


Thought experiment.

Cytat:
If a person was beheaded (say, by the order of the queen), and if it was somehow possible to keep both the head and the trunk in homeostasis, for the whole system to keep functioning one would need just to preserve the continuity of signal transmission in the severed spinal cord. One could then proceed to place - on each and every severed fibre, on both sides of the severed spinal cord - the transmitters/receivers of infrared or bluetooth signal that could convert this signal to the 'language' of electrical impulses in the nerves (and vice versa). The continuity would be preserved, and the system would be functional (as long, that is, as the person didn't open their eyes or touch themselves above the neck...). We could then go on to speculate about a successful simulation of the input/output neural activity of the trunk in the absence of the trunk itself; as a final result, we could remove the trunk altogether, and be Left with a thiniking head!


A lot of if's here, not least that the queen can order an execution (I write from the UK!). As a scientist this is not possible at present and it seems unlikely it will be. Lots of people have speculated thus and Shaun's book makes a plea for the importance of embodiment and for the mind being only 'in' the brain. He can discuss this with more philosophical rigour than I obviously.

But more interesting I think is the way in which perception of movement say, can follow motor commands and, when sensory return is absent or predictable, is related to that command and not to peripheral feedback. So Chris Frith talks of us constructing a virtual world of perception. Ramachandran's mirror box work and some of my own, attached, offers support for these ideas. So to an extent you can have top-down fed-forward sensory percepts, which I think the thought experiment was interested in.



*** SHAUN GALLAGHER

Cytat:
4) it is proven that children with ASD, "aren't able to learn social skills", but if we incorporate term: acquisition( "learning vs acquisition") will the situation be changed

Jonathan wrote: I think this is one for Shaun. One might say that when they do have social skills they have 'rote' learnt them rather than simply acquired them by osmosis so to speak. Do children learn language initially? Do you learn a foreign language aged 11 differently from your native tongue as a very young child??


Acquisition may be a good alternative word to 'learning' -- but both words would need to be defined more precisely since there are many theories of learning, and the term acquisition is sometimes used as a synonym for learning. But it seems clear to me that autistic persons do learn some things differently, and have different capabilities -- some of them positive. In regard to social understanding there are good descriptions from high-functioning individuals in the autism spectrum, including Temple Grandin, that indicate that they certainly do aquire social knowledge quite differently. In effect, they consciously construct a folk psychology and use it as a theory for figuring out what others are up to. So the interesting question is about what they are missing, and what non-autistics normally use. The answer is not theory of mind (ala theory theory or simulation theory) -- more likely it's the capabilities that we have for social perception that develop normally in primary intersubjectivity. These capabilities normally support our abilities to understand others within pragmatic situations, and within narrative settings.

Dan Hutto and I have been working on the concept of narrative as an alternative to theory of mind solutions for the more subtle and sophisticated social understandings in adults. I've put a piece of our co-authored paper online at http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu...llHutto06N.html if you are interested.


Cytat:
If a person was beheaded (say, by the order of the queen), and if it was somehow possible to keep both the head and the trunk in homeostasis, for the whole system to keep functioning one would need just to preserve the continuity of signal transmission in the severed spinal cord. One could then proceed to place - on each and every severed fibre, on both sides of the severed spinal cord - the transmitters/receivers of infrared or bluetooth signal that could convert this signal to the 'language' of electrical impulses in the nerves (and vice versa). The continuity would be preserved, and the system would be functional (as long, that is, as the person didn't open their eyes or touch themselves above the neck...). We could then go on to speculate about a successful simulation of the input/output neural activity of the trunk in the absence of the trunk itself; as a final result, we could remove the trunk altogether, and be Left with a thiniking head.

Jonathan wrote: A lot of if's here, not least that the queen can order an execution (I write from the UK!). As a scientist this is not possible at present and it seems unlikely it will be. Lots of people have speculated thus and Shaun's book makes a plea for the importance of embodiment and for the mind being only 'in' the brain. He can discuss this with more philosophical rigour than I obviously.

But more interesting I think is the way in which perception of movement say, can follow motor commands and, when sensory return is absent or predictable, is related to that command and not to peripheral feedback. So Chris Frith talks of us constructing a virtual world of perception. Ramachandran's mirror box work and some of my own, attached, offers support for these ideas. So to an extent you can have top-down fed-forward sensory percepts, which I think the thought experiment was interested in.


John Campbell once posed a question to me that started out in the same way. But it was about defining the body schema. Picture a man on a walking exercise machine who is walking along, doing his morning routine. Let's leave the queen out of it, and let's say for the sake of science we cleanly and suddenly sever his head. Apparently the trunk of the body would continue to walk for some short amount of time. Death follows rather quickly, however, but if you could keep the body alive, and walking, it would seem that the headless trunk would have a body schema.

Your question is different, and it more or less ends up with the classic brain-in-a-vat scenario. Here is my answer to that. One might think that we need to come up with a knock-down argument against such brain-in-the-vat scenarios. Perhaps, one might think, it is incumbent on the phenomenologist, or on the theorists of embodied cognition, to show that there is no cognition without embodiment. But clearly we do not have to demonstrate that the brain-in-the-vat thought experiment is anything more than a thought experiment since it is a scientific and empirical fact, as well as a clear phenomenological intuition that we are indeed embodied, that our perceptions and actions depend on the fact that we have bodies, and that cognition is shaped by our bodily existence. This is, we might say, a �no-brainer.� Even what we might call the pure brain-in-the-vat requires absolutely everything that the body normally provides � for example, sensory input and life support. Indeed, the importance of the body can be measured in precisely what it would take to sustain a disembodied brain (or the amount of information, programming, and computational power required to replicate anything approaching even the simplest animal experience, if that were possible) and the supposed experience that goes along with it. What is possible for a brain-in-the-vat is only possible if it is provided with a properly balanced nutrition, a properly balanced mix of hormones and neurotransmitters, and a complex stream of sensory information, properly adjusted for the temporal differentiations that are in fact involved in intermodal binding. If we consider only the visual input, we would have to assume that any poking around in the visual cortex that would replicate our human visual experience would have to be so specified in its details, that an analogue or digital input mechanism would have to be as complicated, as chemically complex, and as enactive as the human eye. That is, the full and extraordinary support system that would be required to allow a brain-in-a-vat to experience things as we experience them, or in other words, to allow a brain-in-a-vat to be phenomenologically in-the-world and not just physically in-a-vat, would have to replicate the bodily system that already supports our ordinary existence.
So, clearly, whatever our cognitive experience is like, it is produced by a brain that is embodied. But to really capture what we might call the full cognitive system, we need to realize that that system includes not only the brain in a body, but a brain in a body that is situated in an environment that is itself complex, including both physical and social complexities. Cognition is not only embodied, it is situated, and of course, it is situated because it is embodied.


*** SLAWOMIR WACEWICZ

Thank you very much for your replies. Let me say (if I may) that I especially like that from prof. Gallagher - partly because it's so clear, and partly because it's consistent with my initial intuitions (only much more precise and developed).

SW



*** BARTEK ORLEWSKI

Prof. Gallagher,

1. What is your opinion of a philosophical claim, typical for pragmatism (in the vein of Hilary Putnam, Joseph Margolis and Nicholas Rescher), that the human adult perception, in it's every modality, is propositionally structured? In other words: whatever we perceive, as human adults, we interpret it and we perceive it as we interpret. Or, to put in otherwise, we cannot exit from our language or conceptual scheme. Are such claims - if properly construed - compatible with an account of percepction proposed and defended in your book, How the Body Shapes the Mind?

2. According to this account, prior to conceptual understanding of others,
human child understands other persons pre-conceptually, without inferences and without evidentiary based imputations of mental states. A child simply non-conceptually sees (reads, as you claim) emotions or meanings embodied in actions of others. And this capacity, although posited from the level of conceptual access to the world, affects constantly all conscious and conceptual perception of other humans. So, if you are right, our cognitive access to all objects in the world, not only to persons (intentional beings), is dual: namely, non-conceptual, perceptual, emotional, based on sensory-motor mechanisms and (later) concepual but non-conceptual is primary at least in social interactions. But I think that it's hard to describe the nature of this non-conceptual, perceptual, emotional and sensory-motor understanding of others because the most known notions of understanding implicate that their designates are conscious processes. So we apply to unconscious doings notions generally applied to conscious action of person. There is similar problem with knowledge - we can say that we have a pre-theoretical knowledge of how people behave in particulal contexts but a notion of knowledge involves a normatively judged belief which has a conceptual element (a sentence believed to be true). My question is how you avoid this kind of conceptual difficulties?



*** SHAUN GALLAGHER

Bartek Orlewski napisał/a:
Prof. Gallagher,

1. What is your opinion of a philosophical claim, typical for pragmatism (in the vein of Hilary Putnam, Joseph Margolis and Nicholas Rescher), that the human adult perception, in it's every modality, is propositionally structured? In other words: whatever we perceive, as human adults, we interpret it and we perceive it as we interpret. Or, to put in otherwise, we cannot exit from our language or conceptual scheme. Are such claims - if properly construed - compatible with an account of percepction proposed and defended in your book, How the Body Shapes the Mind?

2. According to this account, prior to conceptual understanding of others,
human child understands other persons pre-conceptually, without inferences and without evidentiary based imputations of mental states. A child simply non-conceptually sees (reads, as you claim) emotions or meanings embodied in actions of others. And this capacity, although posited from the level of conceptual access to the world, affects constantly all conscious and conceptual perception of other humans. So, if you are right, our cognitive access to all objects in the world, not only to persons (intentional beings), is dual: namely, non-conceptual, perceptual, emotional, based on sensory-motor mechanisms and (later) concepual but non-conceptual is primary at least in social interactions. But I think that it's hard to describe the nature of this non-conceptual, perceptual, emotional and sensory-motor understanding of others because the most known notions of understanding implicate that their designates are conscious processes. So we apply to unconscious doings notions generally applied to conscious action of person. There is similar problem with knowledge - we can say that we have a pre-theoretical knowledge of how people behave in particulal contexts but a notion of knowledge involves a normatively judged belief which has a conceptual element (a sentence believed to be true). My question is how you avoid this kind of conceptual difficulties?


First, let me apologize for my long absence. A number of family issues and conferences have taken up all my time this summer.

In response to your first question, I must say that I'm a convert from a position like the pragmatic one. Specifically, I am greatly influenced by a similar hermeneutical position, of the sort outlined by Gadamer, which states that all understanding is linguistic -- perhaps slightly more general than saying that all understanding is propositional. I've been moved away from that position by developmental science. I think that there is non (or pre) linguistic understanding, and this is non-conceptual understanding. I think there is a basis for this too in phenomenological texts -- Husserl's discussion of kinaesthesis, Scheler's notion of a direct perception of emotion, Heidegger's notion of the Zuhanden, Merleau-Ponty's concept of intercorporality. Much of this is supported by recent neuroscience as well.

So this sets up my answer to your second question. First, this nonconceptual kind of understanding is not unconscious. We are talking about perceptual consciousness, feeling, haveing a conscious sense of what is going on with the other person.

Second, I also want to say that once we do come into language in the right way (language acquisition is something like how language acquires us, as Merleau-Ponty might say), this transforms the non-conceptual experience of others. Our linguistic and narrative competencies and practices start to reshape the kinds of abilities that we describe as primary and secondary intersubjective interaction. So I don't want to downplay the importance of language. But language shapes something that is already there (our primary capacities for understanding others), and what is already there doesn't disappear or get supplanted by language. I can still be affected by others and their situations in ways that go beyond (or perhaps fall short of) words.

I agree it is difficult to describe this. But if there is a phenomenon that is so complex (or so simple) that we have difficulty describing it, the strategy should not be to deny it and be satisfied with an explanation of something that we can describe simply because we can describe it better. Perhaps we could have a very nice and neat and conceptually clear theory of mind explanation of how we understand others, and of the rules we follow to attain this understanding. Perhaps we could even perfect this explanation by formulating the algorithms in mathematical or computational terms. We could end up with brilliant formulations that have nothing to do with the real and messy ways that we actually do engage in interactive understanding.

I don't want to claim that this issue is settled. I think the debate continues.
 
 
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