By Bruce Lerro
Mystical, Mechanical Materialist, and Socio-Historical Theories of Mind
|Category of comparison||Mystical (Idealism)||Mechanical Materialism||Dialectical Materialism|
|Starting point||Individual relationship to God||Individual’s relationship to nature||Society’ relationship to nature|
|Are there levels in reality?||Yes. Matter, life, mind spirit, Aurobindo||No, just one level primarily – physical Everything else reduces to matter||Yes. Matter, life society, mind|
|How broad is matter?
|Controlled by God – Not infinite or eternal||Infinite and eternal||Infinite and eternal|
|How active is matter?||Spirit is immanent in matter and guides it along||Matter is passive and determined by necessity and chance
|Matter is self-active and creative|
|Relationship between mind and brain||Minds can exist without brains||The brain and the mind are interchangeable – Mind is an epiphenomenon
|The brain is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for the mind|
|What drives the mind?
|Internally driven by self-reflection||Externally driven and adapted to biophysical constraints||Externally driven through laboring to adapt to socio-historical constraints
|What is mind?||Spiritual substance||Secretion of the brain||A function of the brain|
|Theoretical examples of what mind is||Plato’s theory of form||Lenin’s theory of reflection||Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development|
|How important is society in determining human behavior?||Unimportant – We are primarily spiritual beings with our home in the stars||Unimportant – We are primarily biological beings||Vitally important – We could not be human without social life|
|How trustworthy are the senses?||Untrustworthy – Revelation introspective more trustworthy
|Generally trustworthy and corrected by reason||Generally trustworthy and corrected by reason|
|What is the nature of contradictions?||Mistakes of the human mind||Mistakes in the human mind||Contradictions exist in nature, society, and the human mind|
|What is the emphasis in human activity?||Spiritual learning through prayer, meditation.||Individual adaptation||Human socio-historical accumulating practice|
|How active are human beings?||Active in the spiritual domain||Passive and determined by bio-physical forces: sex, senses||Active in socio-history as both products and coproducers of society|
|What is an illusion and what is real?||Matter is an inferior replica or an illusion||Matter is real and the spiritual world is an illusion||Matter is real and spiritual world is an expression of social alienation|
|Theoretical philosophers||Plato, Plotinus, Augustine, St. Thomas, Kant, Schelling, Hegel, Leibniz, Bradley||Democritus, Epicurus Lucretius, Descartes, Hobbes, Laplace, d’Holbach, Helvetius, La Mettrie, Lenin||Heraclitus, Spinoza, Diderot, Marx, Engels, Plekhanov, Ilyenkov, Vygotsky|
Why Are New Age Ideas So Popular in Yankeedom: A Socio-historical Checklist
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