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english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas)

Susanne K. Langer’s Philosophy of Mind. I find it significant that Susanne K. Langer’s earlier work on art and symbolism, particularly Philosophy in a New Key (1942) and Feeling and Form (1953), received a significantly more positive reception than her three-volume work Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling (1967-1982). Her earlier works were very enthusiastically received and even now, many years later, continue to have an influence. 1 On the other hand, her later work explicitly dedicated to “mind,” received, it seems to me, a decidedly less enthusiastic response. Apart from some who appreciate her work as prefiguring recent advances in biological science, there has not been a significant response from the philosophical community. Why is this? Why the different reception? In a short paper on Langer’s “philosophy of mind” I can only give a brief account of my own analysis; but I am convinced that her later work is not about mind but rather about the biological conditions for the emergence of mind. On the other hand, her earlier writings on importance of writing essay bishop’s college school, art and english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), symbolism gave more scope to what is specifically human in how to write a persuasive article st. clair college, human mentality, and that is the how to write a persuasive article st. clair college source of the continuing interest in those early writings. My presentation will consist in english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), three parts: first, the intellectual character of artistic consciousness in importance of writing essay bishop’s college school, her early work; secondly, her writings on “mind” in her later work; and finally, an overall evaluation. I. The Centrality of “Understanding” in Langer’s Early Work. There were several basic philosophical influences on Langer’s early work. The first was the modern studies of logic epitomized by the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus of Wittgenstein. Throughout Langer’s writings I find the ghost of the early Wittgenstein: philosophy is a clarification and construction of concepts with the aim of arriving at one unifying language, one “conceptual system,” that somehow will relate all our various languages to science. “Science,” never explicitly analyzed, is the one outside limit of how to write an illustration essay durham university, our knowledge. This assumption that we can construct some basic language that will logically unite all the how to write a persuasive article st. clair college various sciences and all the various languages, I find throughout Langer’s work. Wittgenstein, of course, abandoned this view of philosophy in favor of incommensurable “ordinary language games,” and how to write a persuasive article st. clair college, in the last pages of Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling Langer complains about his “despairing resort to behaviorism.” 2. This idea of philosophy as the “logical construction” of basic concepts to bring them in line with science is connected in Langer’s thought with a commitment to a certain type of naturalism. That man is an animal I certainly believe; and also that he has no supernatural essence, “soul,” or “entelechy” or “mind stuff,” enclosed in english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), his skin. He is an organism, his substance is critical thinking art washington state university (into) chemical, and what he does, suffers, or knows, is how to write a persuasive article st. clair college just what this sort of chemical structure may do, suffer, or know. Critical thinking art Washington State University (INTO). When the structure goes to pieces, it never does, suffers, or knows anything again. 3. At the same time, in Langer’s early work her praxis is how to write a persuasive article st. clair college not just one of conceptual clarification in order to bring other languages into george orwell essay on writing bronte college line with scientific language. In fact, she is intent on standing up to those who would say that science alone represents the intellectual character of the human person and she seeks to vindicate the intellectual character of symbolic and artistic consciousness. And here we find a further influence on her early work and that is the neo-Kantian, Ernst Cassirer, whose Philosophy of Symbolic Forms helped her to focus on english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), what she called the “unlogicized” areas of life, such as myth, ritual and art. Thus, in her 1942 Philosophy in a New Key Langer sought to extend the vision of “logical philosophy” by insisting on the “intellectual” character of these non-scientific areas of human life. Contrary to “empiricist,” “positi-vistic,” behavioristic” positions, Langer held that artistic creations were not merely emotive expressions of present feelings; they are symbols of reading and writing essay the university of kansas, what transcends the present. How to write a persuasive article St. Clair College. Far from being “signals” of importance of writing essay bishop’s college school, immediately present objects, they mediate meanings that are beyond the english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) here and now. This analysis of english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), symbols as properly intellectual and how to write a persuasive article st. clair college, not reducible to immediate sense perception or emotive response is extended to all art forms in Feeling and Form . There two elements stand out. english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas). On the one hand, Langer emphasizes the fact that each area of george orwell essay on writing bronte college, art involves an “aesthetic illusion,” that is, as she puts it, the very being of aesthetic forms is to be perceived . “They exist only for the sense or imagination that perceives them”; their perceptible character is their entire being. Events recounted in a story are “as bad as they sound.” As T. S. Eliot put it: “You are the music while the music lasts.” But Feeling and Form makes another point with equal emphasis. The creation of a work of art involves, not just feeling-influenced aesthetic experience, but also the how to write an illustration essay durham university idealization of experience, the grasp of what is important in experience as important, and its objectification in a work of art. Such objectification is a properly human and necessary element in art. Prior to this creative act of symbolization the aesthetic patterns are not fully and humanly known. 5 Objective expression is necessary for critical thinking art washington state university (into) the artists to “hold,” to “fix,” to “contemplate,” to “understand,” the forms of their free, feeling-influenced, aesthetic experience. english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas). 6. Art, therefore, belongs to the same category as language. It is intellectual. The appreciation of a work of english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), art involves a mental shift as radical as the how to write essay paragraphs chigwell school change from hearing noises to hearing speech. 7 The work of art effects the english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) same sort of reorientation. Just as sounds become words by reason of their “meaning,” so colors on a canvas become a painting because of their artistic significance or “import.” This import permeates the whole structure of the work and separates it from the host of surrounding “insignificant” objects. 8. Consequently, the “otherness” of the artistic is due not only english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), to its aesthetic character whereby experience, liberated from other more practically oriented patterns of consciousness, lives its own life; but also to the fact that it has been “created” by human intelligence and invites human intellectual apprehension. Langer is how to write essay paragraphs chigwell school quite clear in english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), asserting that art involves not only the level of perception and experience, but also the english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) level of insight, understanding, contemplation. The aim of art is how to write an illustration essay durham university insight , understanding the essential life of feeling. english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas). 9. The artistic symbol, qua artistic, negotiates insight, not refference. 10. Analyses of art very frequently fail to how to write essay paragraphs chigwell school take into account this intellectual character. Critical thinking art Washington State University (INTO). On the contrary, they consider art chiefly in terms of immediate experience and/or, most frequently, immediate emotion. The insufficiency of this tendency is in fact the major emphasis in the chapters on art in Philosophy in a New Key and in Feeling and Form . Art is the intellectual creation for importance of writing essay bishop’s college school our contemplation of an affect-laden image that liberates us from the demands of practical life and immediate emotion. 2. “Mind” in Mind: An Essay on english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), Human Feeling. It would seem that Langer’s work on art confronted her with the following dilemma: how are we to reconcile intelligence, operative in artistic creativity, with “feeling,” somehow involved in artistic expression? That these two realms could be reconciled represented her faith in “the unity of science, one and english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), the same scientific framework underlying all areas of importance of writing essay bishop’s college school, empirical research. 11 A cardinal assumption of critical thinking art washington state university (into), Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling was that ultimately that one framework would form a logical continuity with the science of physics; for “any science,” she notes, “is likely to merge ultimately with physics as chemistry has done. 12 This is a major assumption behind Langer’s work: that there is a logical and conceptual continuity between all the sciences. According to Langer the function of philosophy is to clarify language in an effort to unify the languages of the different sciences. 13 As physics deals with matter, res extensa , so also do the other sciences, although at a higher degree of complexity. 14 In biology Langer’s major adversary is vitalism: the conception of “life” as a special essence different from “matter,” something that pervades “living matter,” and sets it apart from “mere matter” which obeyed the english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) laws of how to write essay paragraphs chigwell school, physics. 15. In order to attain the logical coherence of biology with physics, Langer assumes from the latter realm the basic concept of “natural event”; on this foundation she is able to construct the basic biological notion of “act” as a particular sort of event. This concept has the english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) advantage of not implying the prior notion of “agent,” and thus allows one to critical thinking art washington state university (into) trace the origins of life in the inorganic world; for reading and writing essay the university of kansas “action,” the english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) formal aspect of “act,” is common to both living and nonliving beings. If Langer’s basic argument for the reduction of biology to physics is the a priori conviction that this must form one conceptual framework around the one object, “matter,” she feels called upon to proffer particular evidence for how to write essay paragraphs chigwell school the biological status of english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), “feeling.” She finds this evidence in art. Invoking her own artistic studies, she comes to the importance of writing essay bishop’s college school conclusion regarding feeling: the fact that expressive form is always organic or “living” form made the biological foundation of feeling probable. 16. For the work of art is the objective realization of a mental image; and english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), images reflect the biological sources from which they spring. Psychologists, therefore, must go to artists to george orwell essay on writing bronte college learn about feeling, because art is george orwell essay on writing bronte college a final symbolic form making revelations of truths and reading and writing essay the university of kansas, facts about english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), feeling, precisely the truths and facts that literal scientific statement distorts. Once the english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) artist has created the work of english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), art, the image of feelings, we may talk about them scientifically; “but only english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), artistic perception can find them and judge them real in the first place.” 17. In my doctoral dissertation on Langer’s philosophy of art and an extended review of the first volume of Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling I analyzed Langer’s deeply held assumptions concerning the nature of human knowing. 18 Basically, in her view knowing is a bipolar activity in which the “concepts” of scientific or philosophical thinking are the subjective pole, “matter” is the english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) objective pole, and some type of vision or “looking” is the mediating activity. Thus we “see” forms of feeling in how to write essay paragraphs chigwell school, works of art; and in metaphorical activity we “see one thing in another,” life in the candle flame, death in sleep, etc. This, she asserts, is the basis of all “higher” differentiated activity. But she never analyzes “higher” differentiated activity to verify whether it is indeed a fact that human knowing consists essentially in “seeing.” Every example of mind Langer uses is of undifferentiated consciousness, that is, mythical, metaphorical and symbolic understanding. In these activities feeling and imagination obviously blend into the pronouncements of intelligence. The power of seeing one thing in another, which begets our metaphors and how to write an illustration essay durham university, conceptual models (the oldest of which are myths of nature and human life), leads also to a characteristically human thought process known as abstraction. By logical intuition we see not only what is “the same” in how to write essay paragraphs chigwell school, two widely different things, as for instance a burning candle consumed by its flame and a living body consumed by its life, but also what makes them different. As soon as the differences are dearly recognized, the common element stands out against them and can be conceived alone as that which both of those different things exhibit. In this way the concept, e.g. “matter being consumed by reading and writing essay the university of kansas, its own activity,” is abstracted. 19. It is on the basis of her assumptions regarding scientific knowing, therefore, that Langer arrives at the hypothesis that feeling, globally including all subjective, conscious, mental activity, is merely a heightened form of biological activity, itself a complexus reducible to electro-chemical events. Feeling is matter at its most complex. 20 It is not another “thing,” “entity” or separate “substance,” but rather a phase of english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), biological process which passes above a certain limen of intensity so that the living tissue “feels” its own activity. 21 To clarify the assertion that feeling is critical thinking art washington state university (into) not a “thing,” she notes that it is english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) similar to the how to write essay paragraphs chigwell school reflection of a tree in a pool of water; just as the reflection is not another “thing,” but the tree’s appearance, so feeling is merely the importance of writing essay bishop’s college school appearance which organic functions have for the organism in which they occur. 22. By defining “feeling” as “appearance,” she apparently believes that she has “solved” the problem of consciousness. My own conviction is that rather than solving the “problem” of consciousness, she has merely (by a bit of conceptual legerdemain) “defined” it away! As Langer reaches the english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) end of her three-volume work, she seems to be aware that she has left something out—a dimension that because of age and failing eyesight she is not able to treat. This study of mind should culminate, of course, in how to write a persuasive article st. clair college, a well constructed epistemological and possibly even metaphysical theory, at least as firmly founded on other people’s knowledge and importance of writing essay bishop’s college school, hypotheses as any earlier parts of this essay which have been written in preparation for english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) such a reflective conclusion. But the hindrances of importance of writing essay bishop’s college school, age—especially increasing blindness—make it necessary to curtail the work at what should be its height . . . . 23. The final short section that does complete her work continues what she has been emphasizing throughout her work: her effort to show the origins of differentiated thought in undifferentiated activity. That is, our human awareness of “number,” the origins of mathematics, originates in dance as the “number sense” is transferred from feet to hands by the beat of the drum. These types of analyses are, I would say, symptomatic of her whole work; that is, it is an effort to explain all human “higher level” activities—mathematics, science, morality, religion—by a single-minded focusing on the biological conditions that prefigured the emergence of those higher level activities. 3. Evaluation of Langer on Mind. The Canadian philosopher, Bernard Lonergan , was once asked about “the biological basis of thought.” He replied: The biological basis of thought, I should say, is like the rubber-tire basis of the motor car. Importance of writing essay Bishop’s College School. It conditions and sets limits to functioning, but under the conditions and importance of writing essay bishop’s college school, within the limits the driver directs operations. 24. Lonergan’s own work, especially his Insight: A Study of Human Understanding , is a generalized empirical method that explores not just the data of sense, as is Langer’s exclusive emphasis, but also the english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) data of human consciousness, especially the data of scientific consciousness. By beginning with the analysis of scientific method, you are in the best position for framing the question of english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), what in fact you are talking about when you speak of “mind.” By highlighting the english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) structure of scientific consciousness right from the beginning Langer might have been in a better position to highlight what she had emphasized in how to write essay paragraphs chigwell school, her early work, the intellectual and creative activity of human consciousness. If Langer had followed this path, she might have clarified right from the start the fact that the sciences are not linked purely logically, but rather methodologically: they involve operations that go beyond logic. Scientific method includes more than the logical operations of describing, formulating and george orwell essay on writing bronte college, deducing concepts; it moves beyond this group to english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) include the reading and writing essay the university of kansas activities of inquiry, observation, discovery, experiment, synthesis, verification. A careful analysis of this set of human operations illustrates the fact that modern science derives its distinctive character from the how to write an illustration essay durham university grouping together of english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), logical and no logical operations. english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas). The logical tend to consolidate what has been achieved. The non-logical keep all achievement open to further advance. The conjunction of the two results in an open, ongoing, progressive and how to write essay paragraphs chigwell school, cumulative process. 25. I am not saying that Langer herself was not a very intelligent woman. Nor am I denying that in Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling she has made some contribution to analyzing the biological systems and activities that provide some of the conditions for the emergence of “mind” from english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) underlying levels. I would leave it to the biologists to determine her contribution. But as Arthur Danto noted in the Foreword to the abridged edition of Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling , Langer’s commitment to survey all the relevant science, . . . resulted in english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), an unwieldy book and one, moreover, in hostage to its empirical materials, which in the nature of scientific advance went out of english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), date . . english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas). . . 26. Nevertheless, although much of what Langer relates of empirical science might in fact go out of date or be set within a new context, still “there is no revising the reviser.” That is, there is a structure to scientific method according to which some positions will be judged inadequate and other new ones will be judged more on the mark. english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas). Underlying scientific advance there is the invariant yet dynamic structure of scientific consciousness. 27. In other words, one cannot feel one has “explained” the human mind when one has elucidated the underlying biological conditions for the emergence of mind. “Mind” is a level of functioning and how to write essay paragraphs chigwell school, reality in its own right and one should analyze that functioning before assuming that it can be “logically” assimilated to “feeling” and the levels of biological research. In a response to the first draft of this paper I was asked if all naturalisms, including Langer’s, are necessarily reductive. I would reply that a naturalism (that is, a philosophy that takes empirical science seriously) need not be reductive if it asks all the relevant questions and does not declare certain questions out of bounds: the reading and writing essay the university of kansas nature of human intelligence, consciousness, etc. After focusing on artistic consciousness in her early writings, I find that the method Langer employed in Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling prevented her from focusing on human conscious activity in critical thinking art washington state university (into), its most differentiated exercise. When one is treating of human consciousness, one cannot feel that one has “explained” human questioning, insight, freedom, conscience, culture, politics, religion, etc., when one has identified some of the conditions for the emergence of reading and writing essay the university of kansas, these realities. In fact, these realities, as any higher level realities are not “logically” reducible to the conditions for english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) their emergence. Although Langer is importance of writing essay bishop’s college school opposed to the crass reductionism of nineteenth century determinism, hers is a less crass but still reductionistic procedure: 1. define “mind” as undifferentiated artistic, mythical or metaphorical consciousness where visual imagination, feeling and “seeing” are prominent; 2. offer as an “explanation” of mind the highlighting of the biological conditions for the emergence of reading and writing essay the university of kansas, mind. I believe that it is for these chiefly methodological flaws that Langer’s later work received a significantly less enthusiastic response than her earlier fine work on art. 1 I am told that Philosophy in a New Key has been the how to write essay paragraphs chigwell school largest selling paperback in the history of the Harvard University Press. And in twenty-two volumes of The Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan, now being published by the University of how to write essay paragraphs chigwell school, Toronto Press, Langer’s Feeling and Form holds a prominent role for its analysis of aesthetic and artistic consciousness. Cf. especially Volume 10, Topics in Education where the ninth chapter (pages 108-232) is english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) dedicated to interpreting Langer’s philosophy of english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), art. 2 Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling III (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982) 206. 3 Philosophy in a New Key (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, [1942] third ed 1957) 44. George orwell essay on writing Bronte College. Cf. Feeling and Form (New York: Scribner’s, 1953) 129. 4 Feeling and Form , 48, 50. Critical thinking art Washington State University (INTO). This is an interesting illustration of Aristotle’s dictum in english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), the De Anima that knowledge is rooted in identity: “sense in reading and writing essay the university of kansas, act is the sensible in importance of writing essay bishop’s college school, act; intellect in act is the intelligible in act.” ( De Anima III, 431b). In aesthetic experience there is an identity of critical thinking art washington state university (into), subject and object. Feeling and Form emphasized a type of knowing that takes place, not primarily through confrontation, but through identity. 6 Philosophical Sketches (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1962) 80; Problems of Art (New York: Scribner’s, 1957) 24-25; 68; 94-95. 9 Problems of Art , 92; cf. english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas). Philosophy in a New Key , 188. 11 Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling I (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins) 262. 13 Cf. Michael H. McCarthy, The Crisis of how to write essay paragraphs chigwell school, Philosophy (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990) on the history of analytical philosophy. 14 Perhaps a clue to how to write a persuasive article st. clair college this change in Langer’s own understanding of mind can be gathered from two quotes from critical thinking art washington state university (into) her writings, some thirty years apart. In a very early work of 1930 she makes the statement that modern physics, Einstein’s reinterpretation of nature, has made the english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) traditional mind-body problem seem somewhat naive; it has dissolved the Cartesian division of reality into res extensa and res cogitans , since “it does not operate with res extensa .” The Practice of Philosophy (NY: Henry Holt, 1930) 198. Some thirty years later, however, she has changed her mind on the Cartesian equation: “The metaphysical status of “feeling,” “contents of consciousness,” “subjectivity,” or of the private aspects of experience generally, has been an english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas) asses’ bridge to philosophers ever since Descartes treated res extensa and res cogitans as irreducible and incommensurable substances. The physical scientists have not encountered this dilemma because their entire interest lies in physical phenomena, res extensa .” Philosophical Sketches (New York: New American Library, 1964) 11. 15 Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling I, 316. 18 Cf. Richard M. english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas). Liddy, Art and Feeling: An Analysis and Critique of the Philosophy of Art of Susanne K. english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas). Langer (Rome: 1970; listed in Dissertation Abstracts, Ann Arbor, MI, 1971); also review of Susanne K. Langer, Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling , Vol I, in george orwell essay on writing bronte college, International Philosophical Quarterly , Vol. 10, n. 3 (1970) 481-484. 19 Philosophical Sketches , 133. 23 Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling III, 201. 24 Bernard Lonergan, A Second Collection (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1972) 35. 25 Cf. How to write essay paragraphs Chigwell School. Bernard Lonergan, Method in Theology (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990) 6. 26 Arthur C. english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas). Danto, “Foreword,” Susanne K. Langer, Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling , abridged edition by G. Van den Heuvel (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988) vi. 27 Cf. Bernard Lonergan, Insight: A Study of Human Understanding (Toronto: University of critical thinking art washington state university (into), Toronto Press, 1992) Chapter 11, “The Self-Affirmation of the Knower,” 343-371. In this work Lonergan analyzes the structures of classical and english essay writing Deakin University (Navitas), statistical scientific questioning, outlines a world-view of “emergent probability” that flows from the combination of those structures in the various areas of scientific research and roots all methods of questioning in the consciousness of the importance of writing essay bishop’s college school human subject.