Bertrand Russell was frequently abused as a child by his parents and elders with the titling piece of snark to this blog entry. While not a particular Russell fan (though he was a spectacularly clear writer) I find myself of late returning to the above snottily dismissive piece of dogmatic anti-intelligence with singluar antipathy towards those who ennuciate it of late. You see, questions of mind and matter have been weighing heavily on my these last few months.

  • I have a front row seat to my father's delamination due to dementia, possibly early onset alzheimers.
  • His sister, my aunt, is evidently racing to catch up with him.
  • Which additionally suggests that I have a genetic predisposition to join them on the merry-go-round.
What is mind? Or, if you prefer, what is "the mind?" Watching it slowly disintegrate in the man who made it possible for me to achieve my earned Ph.D is not disturbing, it is enraging. How many synonyms for "powerless" do you know? (Do not imagine sharing them all with me here an now is a good idea.)

Again I ask, what is "the mind"? But now I ask, how is the previous question different from, say, Groucho Marx's classic, "are you still beating your wife?" The latter is a paradigm example of the fallacy of the Complex Question (; why don't we recognize the former as such as well?

Why, in particular, do we ask that question as though "the mind" were a noun, a substance, a "thing"? Why don't we frame the question in terms of behavior and process?

The Behaviorists (in psychology) who noted the above issue, responded to it tradtionally by pulling out the biggest honkin' pieces of artillery they could lay their hands on so that they could proudly blow both of the own feet off with a single shot. "Mind is not a 'thing,' therefore there is no mind!"

Uh-huh; who knew stupid came in such vivid colors?

Verbs, actions, processes are arguably MORE real than nouns, substances, "things."

What is "mind"? "It" is the forms and modalities of MINDING. It is not a "thing" supervening upon "matter," but a functional structure of materiality in action and process. Insofar, it is more real than the brute passivity it exploits to manifest the possibilities of its expression.

My father still readily knows who I am. On the other hand (at 81 and after over 16 years of retirement) he became deeply concerned that he should be at work at 3:00 PM this afternoon while I was visiting.

And yes, I do mind.