Art and Conscious of Mind – Lecture 3

The Unity and Rationality of the Conscious Mind

6160502943_00c0d60012Lichtenstein’s Rouen Cathedral SET V

-> Visually striking

-> Dizzy and Disorientated

‘Is your experience of seeing the painting unified or multiple?’

– If you believe you see dots and cathedral you are being irrational.-

Do you have one mind or many ??? Is your mind rational or irrational???

By seeing the dots and cathedral we are suggesting that our brain can move from one to another. But would that mean we have more than one brain? One seeing each thing, dots, other cathedral?

Decartes – ‘there is a vast difference between mind and body, in respect that body, from its nature, is always divisible, and that mind is entirely indivisible.’ Anything that is physical can be divided into smaller pieces. But you can’t chop your mind. It means its a unity and one experience.

The Binding Problem: Smell, see a colour, feel a shape..they happen at different times but are not connected to each other in the brain. Yet when we see a red square they seem to appear at a coherent time to us humans.

Dennett argues that we don’t have a unified mind. There is no place in the mind that everything comes together. Observing your own existence. Someone has to have the same mechanism in your head. Who’s looking at that one place? infinite_regress_of_homunculus The Rationality of the Conscious Mind

William James:‘normal waking, rational consciousness’ in contrast with other ‘entirely different’ forms consciousness of a mystical or religious kind. He experimented with substances to alter his consciousness.

Are we rational?

Kajneman + Tuersky 1979


We don’t behave in the same way. Pick one out of irrational reason. Irrational decision making. You are more anxious when you fly rather than when you drive even though there are more deaths in car accidents than in planes. No link between throws of a coin. Irrational to be believing what the result of a flipping coin could be.

The nature of UNITY and RATIONALITY

What do we mean by saying rationality and unity?

Definitions of UNITY:

1. The state or quality of being one, oneness (UNITY 1)

2. The act, state , or quality of forming a whole from separate parts (UNITY 2)


Rationality: We like to believe that we are rational beings living in rational universe.

NON- CONTRADICTION Aristotle says ‘ the same attribute cannot at the same time belong and not belong to the same subject and in the same respect’such that ‘it is impossible for any one to believe the same thing to be and not be be.’

-Its impossible for something to be one thing and not be another.

-Something can’t be true and false at the same time.

-You cannot have contradictions.

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