"'Looking for Spinoza': The Source of Emotion", By COLIN McGINN
I can't afford to purchase Damasio's book, but if I could, I would.
This review is a rather-withering criticism, that, although I've not
read the book, I'm certain is more of an instance of TD E/I(up)
resulting from encounters between relatively-mutually-exclusive TD
Since I've not read the book, I cannot comment upon either its stuff
or the Reviewer's criticisms.
What I can do is [as always :-] state my own position.
My view is that everything reduces directly to abstract TD
E/I-minimization. It's in terms of such that nervous systems
cross-correlate their internal energydynamics with the energydynamics
in which their host organisms exist.
It's this energydynamics integration that is the fundamental thing,
because it's what determines an organism's capacity for existing
within, and acting upon, the external environment in which it exists.
With respect to such, 'emotions" are 'just' another 'language'
interface. 'Just' another means of communication of the internal
energydynamics 'state' to the external world. 'Emotions' do not drive
behavior. TD E/I-minimization drives behavior, including 'emotion'.
'Emotion' is is added 'on top of' TD E/I-minimization in order to
make the nervous system's internal energydynamics 'state' more or
less comprehensible to other organisms sharing the proximal external
environment. An easy example of all of this is the "facial
expressions" example discussed in AoK, Ap4. 'Emotions' are secondary
to primary TD E/I-minimization. 'Emotions' exist as a
non-verbal-symbolic 'language' interface, at any stage of phylogeny,
'sitting on top of' underlying, globally-integrated TD
E/I-minimization. This is not to imply, however, that 'emotions'
'superfluous' stuff. They do not. Just as verbal-symbolic
'language'-interface stuff communicates information which constitutes
'stimulation' that impinges upon other nervous systems, thereby,
acting upon those nervous systems 'at a distance', so does
'emotionality' [see the "infant's crying behavior" example in the
section of AoK, Ap5 that discusses hypothalamic function, for
instance]. And, of course, as 'emotion' waxes and wanes, it's
abstract internal TD E/I-correlates constitute a 'self-dialog' within
a nervous system.
My main impression in reading the review was that, taken together,
the Author and Reviewer constitute an instance of "TD
E/I-minimization 'ships' passing in the 'night'" of their
relatively-mutually-exclusive "experiential totals" [AoK, Ap7 & 8].
Tehy each exist at different 'point' upon a mutually-inclusive
"continuum of relative familiarities" [AoK, Ap4].
The take home lesson is that the thing to do is share experience
that'll 'bridge' between the the two positions, which will be
accompanied by TD E/I-minimization within the nervous systems of both
the Author and the Reviewer, with an accompanying experiencing of
"True reward" [AoK, Ap5, 7, 8] that will be experienced as the
'emotion' of 'Joy' :-]
But it's all 'just' the 3-D energydynamics that are TD
k. p. collins