On Mind

The Formula

Mind!..jpg
 

Mind​

There exists in the mind of man a block of wax, which is of different sizes in men; harder, moister, and having more or less of purity in one than another, and in some of the intermediate quality. This tablet is a gift of Memory, the mother of the Muses. It molds what we remember, but it disappears when we forgot. (Plato Theatetus p.2255)

In the mind, if each man there is an aviary of all sorts of birds-some flocking together others apart from the rest, others in small groups, others solitary, flying anywhere and everywhere. We may suppose that the birds are kinds of knowledge, and when we were children, this receptacle was empty, whenever a man has gotten and detained in the enclosure a kind of knowledge, he may be said to have learned or discovered the thing which is the subject of the knowledge: and that is to know. (We can catch ignorant birds too) (Plato - Theatetus p.2394)

Why burns it then with love so great To learn the secret signs of truth?

Perhaps it knows already what it seeks To learn?

But who still seeks to learn things that He knows?

And if the mind knows not, what does It then in blindness seek?

For who could search In ignorance for anything, or who Could look for that which was unknown to him, And where could he discover it?

When found Could ignorance discern the hidden form?

When once the mind beheld the mind of God Did it both sum and separate truths perceive?

Now hidden in the body’s density It does not lose all memory of itself. (Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin) p.123)

Impressions 

How do we perceive the object 

Impressions come to us in four ways. Either thing are, and appear so to be; or else they are not, and do not appear to be; or else they are, and do not to appear to be or else they are not, and yet appear to be. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.57)

How does it work?

Impressions are like a ray of light that falls on that water. 

The mind works rather like a bowl filled with water, and impressions are like a ray of light that falls on that water. When the water is disturbed, the ray of light gives the appearance of being disturbed, but that isn’t really the case. So accordingly, whenever someone suffers an attack of vertigo, it isn’t the arts and virtues that are thrown into confusion, but the spirit in which they’re contained; and when the spirit comes to rest again, so will they too (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.151)

Reason is the one who “reads” the impressions

The faculty that takes both itself and everything else as an object of study. And what is that? The faculty of reason. For that alone of all the faculties that we’ve been granted is capable of understanding both itself - what it is, what is capable of, and what value it contributes - and all the other faculties too (...) Faculty that has the capacity to deal with impressions. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.4) 

Abstraction

All our knowledge begins from sense-perception: what informs the senses informs the imagination- a movement, Aristotle says, brought about by the senses - and in us goes on to inform understanding, since what our mind tries to understand is [the world of] our images, as Aristotle explains. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.40)

Our minds are like that, related to what is clearest as owls’ eyes are to the sun so that the little light our understanding has by nature is enough for our understanding. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.151)

Two forms of abstraction

The mind then abstracts in two ways. One corresponds to the way form is joined to the material or supervening property to an underlying subject, and abstracts [mathematical] forms from perceptible material. The other corresponds to the way whole is joined to part, and abstracts universals from particulars, abstracting some nature as a whole in its own definiteness abstracted from all non-constitutive, supervening parts. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.22)

What is abstraction

An existence individuated by it being made the form of the body -from them on always stays individuated. As Ibn Sina says: that minds are one or many depends on bodies in the beginning but not in the end. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.109)

How it knows itself

Moreover, as Ibn Sinia says, the reasoning mind knows itself and the senses don’t is that the senses use bodily organs and the mind doesn’t. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.153)

 When I say ‘the idea in the mind’ I am talking of what is conceived in the mind by the mind out of the thing it is understanding. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.116)

Understanding 

Where is understanding?

The action of understanding stays in the person's understanding but relates to the thing understood because the representation just mentioned, the form from which our activity of understanding starts, is a likeness of the thing. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.241)

The activity of understanding doesn’t really lie between understanding and what it understands, but issues from both conjoined. (Aquinas - Selected philosophical writings (Oxford) p.156)

When it understands

The activity of understanding doesn’t really lie between understanding and what it understands, but issues from both conjoined. (Aquinas - Selected philosophical writings (Oxford) p.156)

When it understands

So, just as bodies that can glow, once actually alight, will glow, so understanding, once something understandable is actually present within it, will understand it. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.153)

It is the essence of desire 

Everything desirable can be either sensed or understood. Now what can be understood fulfills our understanding, and what can be sensed fulfills our senses: and since by nature, everything desires its fulfillment, understanding and sense between them must desire by nature everything that is desirable. So we need no other ability to desire than our abilities to sense and understand. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p. 130)

What it is?

It is the likeness of the object

But understanding goes further, for it also understands things in abstraction from those material conditions without which they cannot exist in nature; and this is only possible because understanding form such a conception for itself. This understood conception in which the act of understanding end up, so to speak, must be distinguished from the object-representation which is actualizing understanding and must therefore be thought of as beginning the act of understanding; though the conception, like the representation, is the likeness of the thing understood. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writing (Oxford) p.242)

How it works

So its characteristic activity is understanding through images: Just as the activity of intellect in immaterial substances is understanding what can be understood through itself. And so we have to look to the metaphysician [i.e. elsewhere] for the reason since different levels of intellect are his subject. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writing (Oxford) p.140)

Understanding is given

Comes from outside (God?)

But human minds, being the lowest and further away from God’s perfect mind, are sheer potentials of understanding - what Aristotle calls blank pages on which nothing is written. And this is clear from the way we start with only a potential to understand and later become people with actual understanding. Human understanding then is clearly a being acted on in some way and undergoing in the third sense above. And so the mind is a passive ability. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.146)

Memory 

What it is?

Preserves in distinct particulars and general categories all the perceptions which have penetrated

Memory preserves in distinct particulars and general categories all the perceptions which have penetrated, each by its own route of entry. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford). p.186)

It remembers by a present mind. Recollects, therefore, the feeling that it was perceiving at that moment.

The mind is one thing, the body another. Therefore it is not surprising if I happily remember a physical pain that has passed away. But in the present case, the mind is the very memory itself. For when we give an order which has to be memorized, we say ‘It was not in my mind’ and ‘It slipped my mind’. We call memory itself the mind. Since that is the case, what is going on when, in gladly remembering past sadness, my mind is glad and my memory sad? (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.191)

It recollects not only the images but also the notions who are perceived through the experience of passion

Who would willingly speak of such matters if, every time we mentioned sadness of fear, we were compelled to experience grief or terror? Yet we would not speak about them at all unless in our memory we could find not only the sound of the names attaching to the images imprinted by the physical senses but also the notions of the things themselves. These notions we do not receive through the experience of the entrance. The mind itself perceives them through the experience of its passions and entrusts them to memory, or the memory itself retains them without any conscious act of commitment. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford). p.192)

It is present to itself through itself, and not through its own image. 

I mention memory and I recognize what I am speaking about. Where is my recognition located but in memory itself? Surely memory is present to itself through itself, and not through its own image. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.192)

Memory is there as a database to recollect what you will say, with the effect of perturbation (fear, sadness, gladness, and cupidity). 

Note also that I am drawing on my memory when I say there are four perturbations of the mind - cupidity, gladness, fear, sadness and from memory, I produce whatever I say in discussing them, when I am dividing particular cases according to their species and genus, and when I am offering a definition. I find in memory what I have to say and produce it from that source. Yet none of these perturbations disturbs me when by an act of recollection I remember them. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.191)

Caverns of memory: Some are there through images Some by immediate presence like intellectual skills Some by indefinable notions or recorded  impressions

Caverns of my memory. Some are there through images, as in the case of all physical objects, some by immediate presence like intellectual skills, some by indefinable notions or recorded impressions, as in the case of the mind’s emotions, which the memory retains even when the mind is not experiencing them, although whatever is in the memory is in the mind. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.194) 

It is a database for us to get experience 

It is from memory that men derive their experience. For many recollections of the same thing perform the function of a single experience. (Aristotle Metaphysics Penguin p.4)

The thought of memory is a picture

For it is clear that one must think of which is thought about by means of perception in the soul and in the part of the body which contains it namely, the affection the state of which we call memory as a sort of picture. (Aristotle On the Soul Oxford p.96)

It is the copy of an image of that which it is. It is responsible for us to perceive time. 

It has been stated, then, what memory or remember is: it is the possession of an image as a copy of that of which it is an image. And it has been stated what part of us memory belongs to: it is the primary faculty of perception, that is the faculty by which we perceive time. (Aristotle On the Soul Oxford p.98)

It has its basis in Imagination

For we have already said that understanding, which of itself understands things in the abstract, conjures up before it images of a certain size. Now memory grasps time as a certain time in the past, this far distant from the present moment. The memory then, of itself, is a kind of imaginative appearance, though incidentally, it can involve mental judgment. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.142)

 It is now clear, he comes to his conclusion. And he says that it is now clear what part of us remembers, namely, the part that imagines; and what is imaginable is memorable in itself, namely, what we can sense, whereas we incidentally remember what we understand, which cannot be grasped by human beings without the help of images. And this is why things which need subtle spiritual consideration are less easy to remember than the gross things we can sense, and why, as Cicero teaches us, if we want to remember intellectual things more easily we must as it tied them to some other images. However, there are people who regard memory as intellectual, understanding by memory all habitual retention of things intellectual (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.144)

It is an incidentally intellectual ability

So we conclude that memory is an ability only incidentally intellectual, belonging in itself to our primary common sensitivity. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.142)

Example in use

I say words to myself and, as I speak, there are present images of everything I am speaking of, drawn out of the same treasure house of memory. 

I say words to myself and, as I speak, there are present images of everything I am speaking of, drawn out of the same treasure house of memory. 

Most importantly, it preserves consciousness

The union or communion of soul and body in one feeling and motion would be properly called consciousness. And memory is the preservation of Consciousness. (Plato Philebus p.104)

Thought

What it is 

It exists through itself. 

What is called thought (and I mean by the thought that by which the soul cogitates and judges) is actually no existing object before it thinks. (Aristotle On the soul Oxford p.55)

It must be capable of receiving the form of potentially anything without being the object itself.

Thought is in a way all things

Thought is a form of all things

Thought must be capable of receiving the form, that is, it must be potentiality such as its object without being its object, and just as the perceptive faculty is related to the object of perception so must thought be related in a similar way to the object of thought. “Thought is in a way all things” “thought is a form of all things”. (Aristotle On the Soul Oxford p.Xliii)

It is unmixed

Anaxagoras owns the conception of thought as impassive and unmixed with anything else. (Aristotle on the soul Oxford p.XXV)

He (Anaxagoras) says at any rate that it along of things is simple, unmixed, and pure. And he explains both - that is, knowing and bringing about movements - by the simple principles when he says that thought moves everything. (Aristotle On the soul p.7 Oxford)

It is unmixed because it controls 

Since it thinks all things, is unmixed, in order that it may ‘control’ - that is, in order that it may be aware. (Aristotle On the Soul p.55 Oxford)

It is unaffected 

Thought is unaffected, and that it possesses nothing in common with other things. (Aristotle On the soul Oxford p.8)

It is a collection of impressions

For that reason, it can’t take itself as an object of examination. Well then, why is it that we have received reason from nature? To be able to make use of impressions as we ought. And what is thought? A collection of impressions as we ought. And what is reason itself? A collection of impressions of various kinds. As accordingly fitted by nature to take itself as an object of examination. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.46)

It cogitates and judges

Thought - the faculty by which the soul cogitates and judges (Aristotle On the Soul Oxford p.XI)

It is the conversation within

Thought is the conversation of the soul with herself. (Plato)

Seeing that language is true and false, and that Thought is the conversation of the soul with herself, and opinion is the end of thinking, and imagination or fantasy is the union of sense and opinion, the interface is that some of them since they are akin to language, should have an element of falsehood as well as of truth. (Plato Sophists p.154)

That's why every impulse, desire, or aversion comes from us

Impressions come to us in four ways. Either things are, and appear so to be; or else they are not, and do not appear to be; or else they are, and do not to appear to be or else they are not, and yet appear to be. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.57)

Reason

It recognizes within 

Now, all other animals have been excluded from being able to understand the divine governing order but the rational animal possesses resources that enable him to reflect on all these things, and know that he is a part of them, and what kind of part, and that it is well for the parts to yield to the whole. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.254)

Reason makes us human

Take care that you never act like a sheep or else in that way, too, you will have destroyed what is human in you. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.88)

So instead of such equipment, human beings must use the reason they have to devise for themselves external substitutes for what in other animals is intrinsic. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.87)

It sees itself

It articulates itself

It shapes itself according to will

The mind works rather like a bowl filled with water, and impressions are like a ray of light that falls on that water. When the water is disturbed, the ray of light gives the appearance of being disturbed, but that isn’t really the case. So accordingly, whenever someone suffers an attack of vertigo, it isn’t the arts and virtues that are thrown into confusion, but the spirit in which they’re contained; and when the spirit comes to rest again, so will they too (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.151)

Sexy Reason

Now reason rules sensuality in the way soul rules body. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.404)

Pleasure is the mean, the measure, and the suitable and the like of the mind.

How it works 

Cave analogy Structure (Plato The Republic p. 237)

Visible  

Conjecture/conviction

What is spoken of the unchanging or intelligible must be certain and true; but what is spoken of the created image can only be probable’ being is to becoming what truth is to belief. (Plato Timaeus p.7)

Shadow images

Perceptible world

1) Nothing exists

2) Even if it does it is incomprehensible

3) It is not communication

Is there any self-existent fire? And do all those things which we call self-existent exist? Or are only those things which we see, or in some way perceive through the bodily organs, truly existent, and nothing whatever besides them? And is all that which we call an intelligible essence nothing at all, and only a name? (Plato Timaeus p.58)

Intelligence

Thoughtfulness/Intelligence

- From Hypo to conclusion  directly

-Non - Hyp first principle 

What it is 

It knows itself

Everything knowing knows its own nature and reflects completely on it. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.153)

It is a general standard of measurement 

So there is no alternative only one thing that is its own existence can exist, and all other things must have an existence differing from their whatness or nature or form. Intelligence then must have existed over and above their form; and that explains the saying: intelligence is what has form and existence. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.104)

It brought order to chaos 

Everything was mixed together and at rest for an infinite amount of time, and the intelligence instilled change and separated one thing from another. (Aristotle Physics p.185)

All was confusion, and then mind came and arranged things. (Plato Timaeus p.31)

It characterizes logic

It is ethics

It is a third nature science

The human reason as such isn't measured of things, but certain principles imprinted in it provides a general standard of measurement for everything human beings do since our natural reason can lay down standards for such things even if it can’t lay down standards for the products of nature. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.421)

With it we know

The fact

The reason why

If something is

What something is

The things which we inquire are equal in number to the things we understand, we inquire about four things: the fact, the reason why, if something is, what something is. (Aristotle Stanford)

It is what has form and existence

So from all that has been said we can gather that in its first sense using reason characterizes logic, in its second ethics, and in its third natural science. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.35)

However, the quality of knowledge depends on the capacity of the knower to know

His solution is provided by the combination of two considerations. First, the argument that the quality of knowledge depends on the capacity of the knower to know, not on the capacity of the object to be known: and second, the comparison of God’s capacity to know with man’s. (Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin)

It arises from the representation of the known to the knower

For all knowledge arises from a representation of the known in the knower. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.150)

Knowledge  a Harmonizing taken out of understanding 

Now all knowledge is achieved by way of some assimilation of the knower to the thing known, as assimilation which causes the knowledge: thus sight is aware of color because it suffers modification by the kind of the color. So the first way in which what exists relates to mind understanding it is by harmonizing with it - a harmonizing we call the matching of understanding and thing - and it is in this matching that the formal notion of truth is achieved. So this is what being true adds to existing, namely, the conformity or match of things and understanding, from which knowledge of the thing follows, as we have said. So that the existence of things precedes their being true, but knowledge follows on as a certain effect of their being true. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.54)

The repetition of experience brings us the truth

Cognition stages:

Common to all animals: Perception of what is present some animals: memory (reflection of sensation)

Fewer animals: imperial (reputation of the same memory)

Humans: kstholou (Many experiences give rise to knowledge of a single universal truth) (Aristotle Prior Analytic Oxford p.64)

It simplifies many things into a single truth

Clearly then reason when analyzing ends in intelligence, simplifying many things into a single truth, and when synthesizing and discovering begins from intelligence, where many things are comprehended in one. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.35)

It is the highest level of life. 

So the highest, most perfect level of life is that of intelligence, for the intellect can reflect upon itself and understand itself. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.116)

It is limited from above and unlimited from below

And so intelligence is described in the book of causes as unlimited below but limited above: limited in existence which they acquire from above, but unlimited below since their forms are not limited to what some acquiring material can take on. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.107)

Intelligence comes to us. 

Why else unaided can man answer true, Unless deep in the heart the touchwood burns? And if the muse of Plato speaks the truth, Man but recalls what once he knew and lost. Then I said, ‘I agree strongly with Plato. (Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin) .78)

It discerns good from bad

And wisdom, in turn, has been granted to us for the examination of what? Of what is good, and what is bad, and what is neither the one nor the other. What is wisdom itself, then? A good thing. And foolishness? A bad thing. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.46)

Imagination

Who found out

In “On the soul” we witness Aristotle on the verge of a theoretical breakthrough. He is exploring the boundary between perception and thought, and he discovers something between fantasia, which “does not occur without perception, and without there is no judgment” He speaks of it as imagination, a mode of awareness involving images. (Aristotle On the soul Oxford p.X) 

What is imagination

A mode of awareness involving images.

Seeing that language is true and false, and that thought is the conversation of the soul with herself, and opinion is the end of thinking, and imagination or fantasy is the union of sense and opinion, the interface is that some of them since they are akin to language, should have an element of falsehood as well as of truth. (Plato Sophists p.154)

How it works 

Similarly, man himself is beheld in different ways by sense-perception, imagination, reason, and intelligence. The sense examines his shape as constituted in the matter, while imagination considers his shape alone without matter. Reason transcends imagination, too, and with a universal consideration reflects upon the species inherent in individual instances. But there exists the more exalted eye of intelligence which passes beyond the sphere of the universe to behold the simple from itself with the pure vision of the mind. (Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin) p.126)

Does not occur without perception, and without it, there is no judgment.

Imagining, then, because it emerges from this secondary stimulus, is a being affected by our common root sensitivity; for it results from the completed stimulation of our senses, beginning with the particular senses and ending up in the common root of our sensitivity. Clearly then these three things: extension, change, and time, as features of our images, are perceived by that common root sensitivity. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.142)

It is the origin of knowledge

But our intellectual knowledge starts from imagination, since, as Aristotle says, images are to our mind as color to sight. In divine matters then we must have recourse to the imagination. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.39)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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