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.
Friday, May 29, 2015
Somehow we slipped into the mainstream
Phil Paine writes: