Friday, May 29, 2015

Somehow we slipped into the mainstream

Phil Paine writes:

One thing that has struck me repeatedly in recent years is that almost everything that I grew up with and experienced as an intimate world of "outsider" stuff is now the stuff of mainstream experience. ... Here's an example I ran across this week:

In Clive Gamble's Settling the Earth: The Archaeology of Deep Human History, there is a discussion about intentionality in theories of mind. Gamble discusses how the neurobiologist J.N. Cole distinguishes four levels of intentionality. Gamble illustrates the levels with these examples:

level 1: Dave, the re-enactor, believes he is a Crusader.

level 2: Dave believes that Ben, a fellow re-enactor, thinks he is a crusader.

level 3: Dave desires that Ben believe that Dave thinks he is a Crusader.

level 4: Dave knows that the re-enactment group is aware that Ben believes that Dave thinks he is a Crusader.

Apparently, medieval re-enactors are now so broadly familiar a feature of life that a scientist assumes that they are what you would call upon to illustrate a point in theory of mind, expecting the reader to visualize it instantly.

I remember, many years ago, when I first realized that you could tell whether a historian was of the generation that read science fiction or not, not just from specific references, but from their attitudes toward history.

1 comment:

  1. One more datum: the death of Chris Squire, bassist for Yes, is mentioned on the CBC News site.