Category: "Mind and Consciousness"
William James, the father of American psychology, wrote gloriously about consciousness a hundred years ago. But following James, his field became dominated by behaviorism which focused exclusively on experimental methods with measurable data. Because conscious awareness can neither be observed nor measured, the very concept became marginalized, and consciousness became quite literally a ‘dirty word’ in academic psychology for most of the 20th century. Beginning in the late 1980s, consciousness re-emerged as an important scientific topic, but has remained largely hidden in psychology’s closet. One reason, I believe, is that psychology is wedded to a strictly computational view of brain function.
IN 2002, THE PSYCHOLOGIST STEVEN PINKER appeared on the New York Times bestseller list with The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature,1 a book that attempts to catapult the nature-nurture issue back into public debate, while squarely coming down on the side of human nature. I shall argue, however, that there is overwhelming evidence that learning exerts the most significant influence on human behavior— a fact that is rarely acknowledged, publicized or even understood. If anything, there is a modern denial of human nurture, not human nature.
This essay presents an account of a new paradigm in physics, cosmology and neuroscience that involves a change in our concepts of space, time and consciousness. This is a variation of brane theory in physics. It has been fitfully developed for a periond of over 300 years by various scientists and philosophers including Henry More, Joseph Priestly, C.D. Broad, H.H. Price, Bertrand Russell, Bernard Carr, and myself. The theory suggests that the real universe has more than 3 space (or 4 space-time) dimensions. It distinguishes the phenomenal space B of a person’s consciousness from physical space A, as two different cross-sections of a common higher-dimensional space.