Monday, November 10, 2014
You are, of course, free to ignore this....
I'm not sure what free will has to do with the urge to urinate, except that bladder control is an exertion of free will.*
Sure, you may not be able to choose when you need to pee; but you can control how you pee. It's training, going back to your childhood, reinforced on a daily basis all those days and years after. The fact that you don't pee wherever you are sitting or standing, that you feel a discomfort you need to relieve but don't without an act of will to do so, is the very definition, it seems to me, of "free will." Absent medical conditions, you choose when and where you urinate.
More interesting is this idea of "embodied cognition," which is supposedly new. I first learned about it in Walter Kauffman's Irrational Man, his study of existentialism. Kauffman drew a distinction between the dualism of Hellenism and the embodiment of self of Hebraism. Per Kauffman, the Greeks saw the self as a soul incarnate (even Plato understood the importance of the physical world to the soul as it moved toward rejoining the Good); but the Hebrews drew no distinction between soul and body, because they didn't really believe in the soul the Greeks did. It's a little hard to grasp in this post-Augustinian era without thinking the body somehow corrupts the soul, but for the Hebrews there was no mind/body split because there was no mind v. body: it was all a unity, we were ourselves down to our fingertips. They couldn't conceive of a disembodied pilot embodied only by accident, somewhere behind the eyes peering out through those "windows" upon a world accessible only through the flesh. We were our flesh as we were ourselves.
And now we call that "embodied cognition," and declare it a new thing.
Of course, we used to say it was soul that animated body ("An aged man is but a paltry thing,/A tattered coat upon a stick, /unless Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing/ For every tatter in its mortal dress") until soul was replaced by mind, and now it is a computer wrapped in meat.
Thus is progress made......
*Besides I'm not sure what people think they experience as "free will" is quite the same issue as what philosophers debate is the concept of "free will." What, after all, do they think they are experiencing? How do they define the concept? Aye, there's the rub.....
Posted by Rmj at 8:11 AM