Rafael Araujo

Phenomenology is the study of appearances. Let’s consider an example of the simplest kind: the situation of a person gazing attentively at some physical object, such as a coffee cup. There are two parts of the situation. One is the cup itself. Another is the seeing of the cup, the cup as it appears to the viewer. The former is a physical thing, and the latter a mental thing. (Perhaps the mental thing emerges from the physical thing that is a brain, but it is still of a different character and structure than the cup itself.) …


Image A

Consider the image above. With a glance, you know many things about it. If I asked you to describe it, you would likely come up with something like: “It is a grid with short red horizontal lines at the centers of cells. White lines consisting of the left and top boundaries of grid cells zigzag up and to the right across the grid, but there is also a horizontal band half way down where all four boundaries appear as lines, and a vertical band half way across with the same property. ” All of these aspects are available in your…


By “phenomenology” I mean the philosophical discipline, founded in its modern form by Edmund Husserl, which studies appearances.

Consider an image, and the situation of a person (say Albert) attending to it. The image itself, as a physical object, might be a photograph, or pixels on a screen. The appearance of the image within Albert’s mind (that is, the phenomenon to which the image gives rise) is not itself an image, but a mental object. This note concerns the ways in which the structures of image and phenomenon differ.

There are two perspectives from which the phenomenon can be considered…


I use the word “phenomenon” to mean appearance. This is the sense assigned to it by the philosophical discipline known as phenomenology.

In this note I consider three standpoints, moving from an attitude in which the world is taken as directly present to the mind, next to theorizing the existence of an external world which differs from appearance, through to a stance in which mind and world are both present as topics of contemplation. By considering these standpoints one by one, a picture emerges of how the world of phenomena and the world of physical objects might fit together. …


Above is a high level picture of the structure of the mind. The diagram and its commentary are derived from two primary sources: the global workspace theory of consciousness, and Kant’s view of synthesis as explicated in the chapter “The Deduction of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding” (A95–130) in his Critique of Pure Reason. My own views play a role too. And, I connect the diagram to my earlier thoughts as described in “Consciousness and Mathematical Realism”. I do not claim (of course!) …


The cartoon depicts the simplest but most mysterious of situations: the mind in the act of perception. Consider the appearance of the cup in the mind of the observer. It is not the same thing as the cup itself, surely. It would be strange to say that the appearance is a physical thing of any kind, though it might correlate with physical events (a pattern of neural impulses or something). What is it?

The philosophical word for appearances is phenomena, and their study is called phenomenology. …


In normal practice, the prototype structure of JavaScript objects is missing from their stored (e.g. JSON) versions. Given the central role of prototypes in JavaScript, this means that, in nearly all cases, one can’t save working components of an application as they are. Instead, application-specific encoding of the components is needed for storage, with associated reconstruction of prototype structure upon retrieval.

However, there is another way. Suppose that we restrict attention to JavaScript objects which are trees with respect to their object-property-value edges, but which retain their instance-to-prototype links. A picture of such a structure appears just above.

Two operations…


The concept of a prototype as employed in JavaScript is simple. If object B is a prototype for object A , then whenever B has a property, such as a color, A will inherit that same color, unless explicitly stated otherwise. So we don’t have to repeat all the information about A that it inherits from B.

A might inherit from B and B in turn from C, etc. This is called a prototype chain. Inheritance works all along the chain. …


In normal practice, the prototype structure of JavaScript objects is missing from their stored (e.g. JSON) versions. Given the central role of prototypes in JavaScript, this means that one can’t save working components of an application as they are. Instead, application-specific encoding of the components is needed for storage, with associated reconstruction of prototype structure from the encoded components upon retrieval. Minor proviso: in the vanishingly rare case of applications where prototype machinery is not used at all, JSON will suffice. (For those unfamiliar with prototypes, here is an explanation.)

But suppose that there were a general way of retaining…

chrisGoad

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