Tag Archives: William James

Cartesian Dualism and Brains In Vats

If you could put your brain in a nutrient bath so that it could keep on functioning outside of your body what would it (or would it still be you) experience? Would it still have your memories in it? Would it remember that they were yours? Would it still experience itself as you? Would you […]

The Ego Tunnel and the Nature of Reality

Thomas Metzinger’s new book The Ego Tunnel weaves research in out-of-body experiences, lucid dreaming, phantom limbs and other extraordinary human occurrences with leading edge neuroscience to create a convincing picture of how neural activity constantly creates what we experience as reality. Our entire experience of what is; our bodily sensations, our identity and our experience […]

The Evolution of Dissatisfaction

What moves us? Why do we keep going, always striving to better ourselves, our circumstances and the conditions of others? It isn’t completely rational. We all die in the end anyway so why does it seem so important for us to be here and give more and more? Why do we take life so seriously […]

Everything Exists in Relationship

Things do not exist unless they exist in relationship with something else. In fact, things do not exist at all. Relationships exist. There are no individual things. The existence of anything is always contingent upon something else. When I was an undergraduate student I studied physics, but my favorite course in four years was one […]

We don’t create time – we freeze it in its tracks.

We have learned to see time as if it appears in chunks – minutes, hours, days, and years. But if time comes in chunks how do we experience past memories in the present? How does the previous moment’s chunk of time connect to the chunk of the present moment? Wait a minute. It will take […]

Experience and Understanding

There are two kinds of knowing – experience and understanding – and the confusion between them is the cause of all sorts of trouble for any thinking person. Experience is the knowing of things. It appears to our senses simply as what is there  without us doing anything. It is immediately and directly present to awareness with […]

Are Relationships Real Things?

Our sense of reality is dominated by things. Things feel real to us. We live in a universe that we experience as empty space filled with things. And some things have relationships between them. But what is a relationship? Is a relationship a thing? Is it real, or is it just a connection between two […]

Into The Human Flow

I am currently completely captivated by the image of a Human Flow. The American Pragmatist philosophers developed a view of humanity as a constant flow of activity and society was a flow of flows. There is always a flow that organizes what people do, say and think. And there are local flows that flow into […]

Mead, Mind and World

George Herbert Mead is the fourth major figure in Classical American Pragmatism. Mead studied philosophy at Harvard while William James chaired the department. He taught with John Dewey at the University of Michigan before they both left there to teach at the University of Chicago. Mead is known more as a sociologist than a philosopher […]

Alfred North Whitehead: And the Three Components of Knowledge

This week I wanted to share a quote from the English philosopher Alfred North Whitehead. Whitehead is the originator of what is commonly known as Process Theology. And many of his ideas follow closely in a line that was drawn earlier by William James and Charles Sanders Peirce.  Whitehead in a series of lectures collectively […]