Questions to “What Is Thought?”, May 7 meeting.

by alexeyburov

Dear colleagues, for the sake of discussion I’d like to suggest the following statements and questions.

There is nothing closer associated with ‘me’ than my self-awareness, consciousness, thought seeing itself. ‘I’, the self-referential thought, is loaded with memory, feelings, habits, abilities, tastes, prejudices, etc. I can imagine myself without any specific part of this baggage, but I cannot imagine myself without self-awareness. That is what Descartes meant by his “cogito ergo sum”, “I think so I am”.

Thus, self-awareness is at the core of all sorts of considerations, including applications of any sort of theory, doing any sort of experiment or observations and all statements about truth. Does it mean that self-awareness belongs to the most fundamental level of being? Remember that any answer implies self-awareness.

Thought is more fundamental than science: scientific cognition can be understood as a branch of more general thinking (rational, metaphysical, philosophical, religious). However, can the reversal be true as well?

Can thought be scientifically defined? Can thought be scientifically detected?

If both answers are “No”, does it mean that the mental world is in principle outside of scientific cognition?


R. Penrose, “Three Worlds, Three Mysteries”