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What he said about the three states of mind makes sense - of course there is more to mental functioning than knowing, willing or intention and feeling however those three functions could describe most of the surface functions of the mind - that is, what is simply going on not necessarily how the mind is doing it.

Later in the book he talks about concepts - it is important to point out that concepts are first simple and then they move to being more complex concepts as one thinks more about them. The three stages he talks about are abstraction, comparison and generalization:

  • The common account of conception here followed, as made up of a sequence of three stages, comparison, abstraction and generalization, rather describes the ideal form of the process as required by logic than the mental process actually carried out. As we saw above, a vague analysis or abstraction precedes that methodical comparison of things by which the abstraction becomes precise and perfect, that is to say, definite points of likeness (or unlikeness) are detected. With respect to generalisation, is has already been pointed out that this is to some extent involved in abstraction. To see the roundness of the ball is vaguely and implicitly to assimilate the ball to other round objects. It is to be added that an imperfect grasp of general features as such commonly precedes the methodical process here described. The child realises in a measure the general function of the name 'horse' before he carries out a careful comparative analysis of the equine characters. At the same time the use of the word 'generalisation' is important as marking off the clear mental grasp of the class-idea as such, that is, the idea of an indeterminate number of objects, known and unknown, answering to a certain description.

That is a simple explanation of concepts, however. Concepts that involve the self are more complicated, and concepts also have personal intentions involved and associated with them. In this next quote Don Perlis talks about intending with expressions and intentions (such as when coining an expression and using self-reference). When someone says an expression they are intending it to refer to something (its referent), and they also intend for the listener to understand that they intend the intending. They also are referring to themselves - to their present, past and future activity:

  • What is it then, for an agent to "take" one thing to "refer" to another? Consider a primitive case: coining an expression, explicitly linking a symbol s to a referent r. This would seem to be no more nor less than an intention to use s as a stand-in for r in certain contexts. Following this trail, we now ask what it is to intend something, and we are smack-dab in the middle of both philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. And to reinvoke Grice, every utterance is a case not merely of intending, but also of intending listeners to understand that the utterer intends that intending. Can all this happen in the absence of a fairly sophisticated (and quite possibly conscious) cognitive engine? Moreover, the natural languages that we use for expression of intentions are-as noted-their own metalanguages, allowing loopy self-reference made possible by our intentions to so refer: We speak of ourselves, not just past or future, but our immediate present self and present activity including the activity of noting that activity.
  • So, once again, does meta have a me? If meta involves reference, and if reference involves agency with intentions, including intentional self-referring activity, and if that in turn is at least a hint of a self, then yes.


Perlis, D. (2011) There's No "Me" in "Meta" - Or Is There? In Cox, M and Raja, A (Eds). "Metareasoning". Massachusetts institute of Technology.

Sully, James. (1892) "THe Human Mind. Longmans, Green and Co. London.

Trigg, J and Kalish, M. 'Explaining How the Mind Works: On the Relation Between Cognitive Science and Philosophy' Topics in Cognitive Science 3 (2011) 399–424

Questions & Answers

Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
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industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
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scanning tunneling microscope
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Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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