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Physical vs. Mental Consciousness

23 November, 2015 - 09:07
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What is the difference between a type of 'physical' consciousness and a sort of 'mental' consciousness? Is it strictly the difference between being physically aware of your body - or experiencing thoughts or other cognitions that don't pull up a physical feeling? Are some thoughts more 'physical' than other thoughts? Here is (Davidson, Donald):

  • On the proposed test of the mental, the distinguishing feature of the mental is not that it is private, subjective, or immaterial, but that it exhibits what Brentano called intentionality. Thus intentional actions are clearly included in the realm of the mental along with thoughts hopes and regret (or the events tied to these). What may seem doubtful is whether the criterion will include events that have often been considered paradigmatic of the mental. Is it obvious, for example, that feeling a pain or seeing an afterimage will count as mental? Sentences that report such events seem free from taint of nonextensionality, and the same should be true of reports of raw feels, sense data, and other uninterpreted sensations, if there are any.

I guess there are some sensations people 'interpret' to themselves and thus think more about the physical. However, all thinking could be considered to be physical since sensations are the minds inputs and all thought is visual to some degree. Maybe it is a constant mental balance, where a sensation triggers or balances a thought that is free of the physical and makes it more physical or emotional.

It could be that physical sensations are much more emotional than thoughts that are tied to mental representations (vs thoughts that are tied to physical feelings). However, which thought would be tied to a physical feeling vs a thought tied to a mental idea or concept? Or is there some sort of mix? People can internalize things and that is perhaps thinking more mentally and not physically = how could someone internalize a physical feeling? That doesn't seem to make sense - a person could experience a physical feeling, but the deep aspects of mental reflection seem more cognitive and not necessarily tied to the physical (if it is even possible for a thought to be entirely physical (even though it is a thought of a sensation, which is physical)).