Monday, November 15, 2010

'Looking for Spinoza' by Antonio Damasio

Dr. Damasio likes Spinoza. He visited the last place that Spinoza lived in Amersterdam. He talks about him lovingly. One of the things that he likes is that he believes that Spinoza believed in a mind body connection. They were NOT separate. Here is a quote from the book: "I am convinced that mental processes are grounded in the brain's mappings of the body, collections of neural patterns that portray responses to events that cause emotions and feelings." I am looking forward to Dr. Damasio expanding on this thought: "Spinoza seems to have gleaned a relation between personal and collective happiness." On page 27, Dr, Damasio defines his terms. He uses the words emotion and feelings. BUT he defines them very specifically. You can't go on unless you agree with how he is using these terms. One of the reviews I read had a problem with it. The reviewer said that it was too big of a leap. So here is the way he intends to use the words: Emotions are actions or movement, many of them public, visible to others as they occur in the face, in the voice and in specific behaviors. Emotions play out in the theater of the body. Feelings are always hidden, like all mental images necessarily are, unseen to anyone other than their rightful owner. Feelings play out in the theater of the mind. And here is the leap: Emotions and related reactons seem to precede feelings. Emotions and related phenomena are the foundation for feelings, the mental events that form the bedrock of our minds and whose nature we wish to elucidate. I feel that Dr. Damasio explains it and I'm looking forward to the ride. "Turning emotion and feeling into separate research objects helps us discover how it is that we feel."

These are my notes to arrive at 9 topic questions for the December meeting:

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