Philosophy Word of the Day – Introspection

Le Penseur, Musée Rodin, Paris

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Introspection, as the term is used in contemporary philosophy of mind, is a means of learning about one’s own currently ongoing, or perhaps very recently past, mental states or processes. You can, of course, learn about your own mind in the same way you learn about others’ minds—by reading psychology texts, by observing facial expressions (in a mirror), by examining readouts of brain activity, by noting patterns of past behavior—but it’s generally thought that you can also learn about your mind introspectively, in a way that no one else can. But what exactly is introspection? No simple characterization is widely accepted. Although introspection must be a process that yields knowledge only of one’s own current mental states, more than one type of process fits this characterization.

Introspection is a key concept in epistemology, since introspective knowledge is often thought to be particularly secure, maybe even immune to skeptical doubt. Introspective knowledge is also often held to be more immediate or direct than sensory knowledge. Both of these putative features of introspection have been cited in support of the idea that introspective knowledge can serve as a ground or foundation for other sorts of knowledge.

Introspection is also central to philosophy of mind, both as a process worth study in its own right and as a court of appeal for other claims about the mind. Philosophers of mind offer a variety of theories of the nature of introspection; and philosophical claims about consciousness, emotion, free will, personal identity, thought, belief, imagery, perception, and other mental phenomena are often thought to have introspective consequences or to be susceptible to introspective verification. For similar reasons, empirical psychologists too have discussed the accuracy of introspective judgments and the role of introspection in the science of the mind. (Continue article)

(Via Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

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Why Communication in Marriage is Hard

Dr. Gary Chapman always has good things to say on marriage.

Why is Communication So Hard?

Why does communication  break down after marriage?  Often, the answer lies in emotions.  Before marriage we felt one over-powering emotion – love.  But now, the emotions of hurt, anger, disappointment, and fear often dominate.  These emotions do not encourage us to communicate.  Or, if we communicate it is likely to be critical.

We speak out of our anger and create even more negative feelings.  The key is learning how to share emotions without condemnation.  “I’m feeling hurt and when you have time, I need your help.”  Identifying your feelings and choosing to share them is step one.  Step two is accepting the feelings of your mate and asking, “What can I do to help?”

Why is communication so important in a relationship?  Because we are not mind readers. The apostle Paul recognized this reality when he asked the question, “Who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him?  So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”  The reason we know what God is like is because God has chosen to reveal Himself.  If we listen and reciprocate, we can have a love relationship with God.

Likewise, when we reveal ourselves to another person, and they listen and reciprocate, we can build an intimate relationship with that person.  Communication is to a relationship what breathing is to the body.  Don’t stop talking and don’t stop listening.

Adapted from The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted by Dr. Gary Chapman. To find out more about Dr. Chapman’s resources, visit www.fivelovelanguages.com.

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