The wand is waved and everyone is acquiescent. Refine your search for cheap womens coats. Warm duvet as we leave sleeping. But to be real he some drams,.
Set you to Helle , shivering, starving, attic dreamer,. Devylles rounde , you putte poysonn to the beere ,. Ignored I found another way, so pull you back to hear a piper. With kids and rats like lemmings we will all to disappear. Once imbeciles, minds alight flying helter-skelter.
From these soarings spied resurrection rising from the river,. Our high ground found for all, sweet other worlds to enter. It is not expected to be finished until the end of His Leg Over Leg.
Its mode of construction, or its way of growth, I am inclined to adopt for the composition of this book. The life of consciousness is not systematic in anyway, or, at least, this I will argue. Systematic focus is simply a tool of consciousness. In this way it may catch its subject or resemble it. But is consciousness a problem to be addressed? I have said to several that I have before me an immense labour, which is a work about consciousness.
Never have I been asked why I am bothering with this, especially at my age. No one has confided to me that they are troubled by the topic and that my setting about the task is for them thereby of interest. And I must say I am a little perplexed myself to find I am committing to such an undertaking. When I finished what is currently my penultimate book I was of the firm conviction that it would be possible to retire from the theoretical life.
This firmness soon dissolved. For one thing I had forgotten my inability to leave loose ends untied. There were several threads left behind from previous efforts which I saw a way of tidying by being able to combine them into a novella extolling the evolutionary advantages of being unnoticed. At the same time I kept returning to the penultimate book, partly because of my interest in promoting it, but also because one of its longest parts which in the context of the parts of that book is known as a cell , and the cell in particular known as Escape, Block 2 Cell 6 , and probably much too long for any considerations appertaining to the aesthetic balance of the book as a whole was, for some of the subject matter intrinsic to it , insufficiently tightly woven, its pattern not fully established or knotted off, so not long enough in fact, but how long is a piece of theory?
More loose ends then. Is this not like my playing chess against my chess-playing machine, Kasparov , dramatizing the encounter as challenging quite legitimately for the world championship, but finding after a few moves, the computer set at one of its more basic levels, that I am already trapped and defeated?
The mind, and as this is only the outset this is much too affirmative, like the universe itself, like any of its parts, is a simmering cauldron, subject to the forces of chaos and order. Loose ends have to be addressed but they will unravel. Revisiting the myth of Sisyphus I suppose, although it was a long time ago I read the Camus. However, there is much more to this task than some inner compulsion for tidiness.
Although if this compulsion is a disorder of the mind it should not be underestimated as I do find myself, wherever I am, constantly straightening reality, i. What then provokes this loathing? The matter is complicated. To begin with I am not any kind of immaterialist , nor do I think that understanding reality requires any abandoning of ordinary, philosophical logic.
I cannot say how in introduction I am best described this will become clearer later but with these disavowals I am saying that what ordinarily would be taken to be positions hostile to science and philosophy I oppose too. Perhaps what I am about approximates to reinstating naive or direct realism , and as a result countering the seduction of what in science and philosophy is smart but careless thinking and insensitive understanding the kind of thinking which leads science, paradoxically, to metaphysics.
However by way of introduction let me approach the matter very, very simply. There is a standard format adopted by film and programme-makers when attempting to educate or introduce the public about or to scientific topics. They start with some very general, theoretical patter leaning over backwards to make learning fun and not alienating , presented by a mix of programme professionals and scientists active in the field, to be followed by what might be mistaken for hieroglyphic text but which is in fact a string of mathematical equations.
It is clear that most of the audience will be at a total loss with this discourse. The text used is presented as proof, therefore as something which is true. And, of course this will be so unless the mathematical subject is contentious. Typically in such films and programmes the equations appear on blackboards, the chalk marks tracing a haste driven by creative frenzy.
The seeming hieroglyph then undergoes a seeming deciphering or translation. There is a movement from propositions in mathematics to propositions about reality. But how is this? Is there not something problematic about the move from mathematical knowledge to ordinary language, and why should it be thought that professional scientists are proficient at this kind of translation.
In fact why should it be presupposed that such translations are possible? Numbers are not hieroglyphs. I might then add to this, reverting to ordinary discourse, that maths therefore proves that two of anything added to two of anything will give four things, whatever those things are.
Prima facie this assertion, now an assertion about reality, might seem unobjectionable. Mathematics then tells us about the structure of reality, in this simple case and presumably in much more complex cases. But this is not so straightforward. Thus two reds added to two reds in paint do not give four reds, any more than two drops of water added to two drops of water give four drops of water, anymore than two vols of gas added to two vols of gas give four vols of gas, anymore than two noises added to two noises say cheering at a football match give four noises.
Back in the real world the whole is often more than the sum of its parts or different from the sum of its parts. Again by way of introduction and so very simply we get blackboard hieroglyphics followed by ordinary language claims like this opens up the possibility or makes plausible the notion of parallel universes or the real possibility in the future of time travel , none of these terms being technical.
Professional scientists, mathematicians say things like this, and because they wave the mathematical wand they are believed. There seems to be no notion that what is said outside the seeming hieroglyph gives rise to a complex range of conceptual problems. All of this is bypassed by means of an invitation to the occult, trying to seduce ordinary understanding with the temptation to entertain that reality is much stranger than common-sense supposes.
But even at this early stage just stop to consider. Parallel anyway is a spatial concept so how can there be a space parallel to all of space. There is nothing unscientific or mystical about objecting in this way, it is rather an insistence on logic. The absurdity is one of translation from apriori proof to ontology.
This is not to say that there cannot be material reality beyond the observable universe. Or consider the notion of time travel which has become almost an unquestioned commonplace in popular thinking and to which some science lends credence, a credibility based on equations involving space, time, mass and the mathematical complexities of relativity.
There is little reflection on the logic of a conceptual structure that spans then, now and next, or being before, simultaneous with or after. What sense can be attributed to saying that something that was then but is not now is nonetheless now in that we can go to it now, so that it is then but now. Or, impossible though it is, if we were to travel to x that was then but is not now now then in an entirely different sense x then will become different from the x then that precedes now, but if x then was preceded by w at some other then and someone from some now had travelled to that w then then in that entirely different sense x then will also be different precluding the possibility of travel to x then.
The whole concept is conceptually incoherent. However, the notion of time-travel is not that of living through each next moment to arrive quite naturally at some future date as we might specify it starting out, i. What time-travel into the future requires is that what is now is what will be! We are supposed to go from what is now to what will be but for what will be to be now, but the way of getting to what will be is without living through the intervening period that makes sense of what will be being able to be the now of some future.
What will be has not happened and so cannot exist now. What has not happened does not exist. The fiction that it does by-passes critical intelligence by means of a willing suspension of disbelief. To hasty cognoscenti these objections will incur derision believing as they will that the sophistication of concepts given ordinary language names like time-warp etc.
Perhaps these concepts are much more sophisticated than rudimentary skirmishes can allow certainly the concept of time is contentious between science and philosophy but the trouble is that rarely do such discussions begin. The wand is waved and everyone is acquiescent. But it is my intention to inflict much more damage than scratches in due course.
The loathing then is for a world in which meritocratic power and a veneer of cleverness conceals shallow, hasty thinking, if not ignorance, and yet expects deference. There are so many factors that are a part of this. The cultural divide between science and the humanities plays its part. Typically it is said that scientists do not write well, but what truth there is in this is not a trivial truth about a formal, stylistic difference, rather it is a difference of substance, a difference in understanding how things are, a difference in being able to grasp our variable chaos of things; that our reality is mutable although mathematics supposes it accounts for this in the abstractions of chaos theory but on examination I will argue this is just a case in point, and as far removed from the real as similar cases like games theory and flumes theory; subjects to be returned to.
Turing may not have possessed this, as Wittgenstein may have had to point out to him in their talk of bridges collapsing.
I am not prejudging how any of these particular issues are to be argued out they will be returned to in detail. I am merely expressing at this stage how appalling I think it is that so much complex theory which gets taken seriously is generated by a lack of initial attention to or understanding of basic concepts, and how as a result the whole world may be distorted both theoretically and practically, just as medieval religion, despite the seemingly logical intricacy of its theodicy, warped the medieval mind and its social reality as a whole.
The possible problems in science are compounded by the undoubted success of science in changing the world, so that its pronouncements carry undoubted, meritocratic authority. It is my intention to challenge this presumption, and to challenge it to prevent our real lives being stolen from us. What should be realised about science despite all it has contributed to the unrealised possibilities of an easier life and in the end this is the net value of science is that scientists themselves for the most part do not disassociate themselves from the existing economic order, and, instead, make positive contributions to its progress and protection.
The systems of labour employed by our economic order are highly dependent on scientific theory leading to an attempted reification of social life. If the drift of science in the consciousness debate is to bring the centre of life into a reified system then a radicalised movement is required to build a realist discourse in opposition before it is too late, allowing us confidently and so without apology to live as centres of anarchic or uncontrollable freedom.
Scientists often pose as radical wizards. Their knowledge is proffered as a sort of magical enlightenment for ordinary understanding which paradoxically science characterises as gripped by something resembling witchcraft from the Dark Ages Richard Dawkins! The spell is the maths and a grossly insensitive version of scientific method, the wizardry is a metaphysical invasion of terrestrial commonplaces, backed by a presupposition that everything reduces to quantifiable, measureable matter.
So that, for example the solidity of the real world, the world we experience dematerializes into an underlying reality of particles and charges, measurements of energy and a preponderance of empty space, seemingly not at all the world as ordinary understanding experiences it. The enticing smile of the wizard like Brian Cox on the telly is there before us beckoning us to, like Alice, abandon the mundane for the rabbit-hole and Wonderland, and, of course Dodgson too was a mathematician and logician.
But it is a misunderstanding to suppose that the translation from one mode of discourse to another is swapping a superior for an inferior language. Reality is as both these languages describe it, and if you lack the language of solidity and materiality your grip on reality is that of a Bowie avatar, weightless and abandoned in space.
Scientists are careerists, conformists, upholders of the status quo as well as the existing system of class differentiation. In their tactile dealings with reality scientists are indistinguishable from everyone else but their institutional claim to knowledge establishes a deference towards their subject and so to towards all the systems it supports.
But we need to say that reality is metaphorically as much a slab of solid concrete as it is a worm-infested plank of wood and that one is the other and one not realer than the other. So these are some of the grounds of loathing on which this path to correction lies. And what is at issue is much more than disputed theory. The reification of consciousness is not simply a theoretical claim and if true an irresistible reality, but an assault on life itself, a social mechanisation, a pacification, a social practice and part of something much larger.
The dominance of work, the dominance of time and motion is the landscape as a whole. It is an ethic, it is social movement, life is for it not it for life, it drives the time and space in which we exist, nationals and migrants alike, it is the form of every slogan in political exhortation, it is the medium in which consciousness struggles not to suffocate.
Instead they struggle to make ends meet, they take on debilitating debts that take lifetimes to repay; a life of anxiety and exhaustion, incarcerated in work wage labour. This is the negative-side of work, its positive-side is accumulated capital, itself precarious.
In the early stages of capitalist development the system lacked the professionalisms to dragoon its potential labouring classes, as a result this system was threatened by dissoluteness, laziness, depredation, so called, at the time, moral weaknesses of the poor , which professional application transformed into criminality Foucault. The reification of society had begun and on a scientific basis, driven by the reflexes of capital.
The point will be to extract from it what it contains about consciousness, putting to one side its main concern, namely the negation of determinism, although its positive account of autonomy is very much integral to the account of consciousness I want to give. The extracted content will be amplified to yield a fully articulated theory of consciousness as an irreducible, physical property , the nature of which does not exceed ordinary language and ordinary understanding.
To this extent consciousness is not a mystery, and the efforts to make out that it is amounting to theoretical obfuscation: Alongside the idea of consciousness as an irreducible physical property and fundamental to understanding this idea two other concepts, as I conceive the enterprise, will need detailing. One is the concept of direct perception and the other the concept of non-representational thought. Two concepts challenging to the axioms of science. Much more of this later.
This then will constitute the exposition. I add to the exposition a bundle of notes, unsystematic reflections, commentaries , on a number of texts they demonstrate the application of ideas from the exposition in engaging with other texts.
Reading these texts has accompanied the formation of my approach to consciousness and the notes I have made have helped in clarifying my position to myself, as well as suggesting to me a range of topics that must be dealt with before the topic as a whole can be concluded. As will become obvious there has been much reading beyond these texts but only these have compelled commentary. I include these notes because in their own right they are an impression of how being conscious of something can unfold, in this case the being conscious of consciousness as a subject.
My intention though is never academic, never scholarly. I have neither the time, given my age, the resources, nor the inclination to produce a definitive textbook for students or a work competing for professional advancement those days have gone. However, it is my intention to produce a work of rigorous argument and grounded vision challenging the professional treatments of the subject of consciousness both in philosophy and science.
I do this in solidarity with what I call the vanishing and unnoticed masses! Quite seriously I intend this as a substantial addition to human thought, a motivation, ambition or possibly a grand delusion always present in my own being conscious. Before concluding these preliminaries there is something else.
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