Thinking & Realism

Marxism has a grand tradition concerning realism. There are many documents by major figures in the movement concerning materialism and science, culture and writing, etc. We have invented methods of describing consciousness which are ubiquitous in the world, for example raising consciousnessı. After WWII the world wide scientific community began to seriously approach how the brain works (not to discount prior external studies of behavior). Prior to this point there was speculation about the mind, for example much of philosophy is concerned with how the mind works, and developing methods related to those speculations.

Such speculations though have always reflected the prevailing cultural ideologies. There are tools emerging now to examine the mind and turn upon their head those ideologies that structure us now. I want to put out some of the current scientific understandings of how the brain works in biological terms. I think there are obvious inferences about these typical current theories of the brain. I sense multiple implications for describing directly the structures and causes of racism, and sexism though that does not mean a solution. A solution would be clear enough, with an end to class society.

Some of these fundamental brain understandings have been around for quite awhile, but the ability to know extensive brain details only began during the recent Reagan/Thatcher era (Certainly not because they were interested in brains). We have some sketchy descriptions of the overall system that crudely have been proposed, but at the same time are way beyond anything previously available for Marxist to use.

I will use a study guide text that is now available as a reference in bringing up what is currently understood. "Introducing Mind & Brain", by Angus Gellatly and Oscar Zarate, Totem Books, 1999 (see below a small list of more serious books roughly on the same topic). The virtue of this book I am quoting is the visual illustrations of the text available at a moderate price for those interested. And the clarity of the text that the author uses to explain what is known. However, a warning about the quotations repeated here, The author holds views about the mind at odds with a connectionist view. Connectionism is merely a name for a kind of theory of neural networks which precludes Œalgorithmic rulesı inherited in the mind (see Noam Chomsky as the leader of the innate school). For example; Œthe brain is computer ruled by an algorithmı represents a typical "cognitive" psychologists understanding of the brain which this writer holds to. A neural network does not work like a rule based instantiation (another phrase meaning algorithm) of a logic computation. So the authors words need a context themselves.

"Introducing Mind &