The platitude of Nick Chater's mind

[réponse à l’article de Science & Vie sur ‘Et si le cerveau était bête’ (The mind is flat) de Nick Chater]

Dear Science, Dear Life,

you have probably just published the worst file capable of consuming divorce between you: the theory of stupidity is certainly that, very profound, of its author. The flat mind… here we are with a resurgence of behavioralism even simpler than Skinner's designs. A thousand apologies! Forgive this emotional beginning, usually I put the arguments before the anathemas, but this file is filled with so many inconsistencies that the issue will one day be one of those you never wanted to publish. Let's go into a bit:

1) The inconsistency of the homoncule:
"The brain explores… "The mind interprets… So what is this subject that explores, interprets? What is this pre-installed 'director general' that philosophers of the mind call the homoncule? It is found everywhere in your article and at Chater, destroying the monism of his speech. In reality, the flat-spirit is a dualism separating the neural machinery and the unknown decision maker who comes to use it, evacuated into limbo. The right answer to the decision maker's problem lies in the very organization of the data processed by neurons, in the gradual construction of these intentional floors, a progression largely unconscious, hierarchical, which is not a platitude .

2) The inconsistency of the on-the-fly interpretation:
The neural machinery would be delivered according to the circumstances. Behaviorist resurgence: it would be the collection of data received by neurons that would decide in real time the behavior. There, no need for a homoncule… but more spirit neither. It becomes a mere epiphenomenon. The tried-and-tested fusion of the self is pure illusion. But why stop in such a good way in reductionism? Why not make neurons an epiphenomenon of quantum arousals ?… Science is not to deny what everyone can experience themselves because they don't know what to do with it. A mind knows perfectly what is identity or not for him, in a changing environment. So what is this personality? Chater does not give any explanation.

3) Psychological studies in support of a neuroscientific theory:
Psychology studies an organization of concepts, neuroscience a neural organization. Foreign paradigms. It takes a lot of blindness to summon each other in support of the other. The reliability of psychological investigations is the subject of deep suspicion, of which the best publications have been echoed, for excellent reasons that I will not detail here but it is certain that including a person in an investigation is already truncating his behavior. In particular it is to erase one's specific personality. The person places himself in the state expected of him, wonders what is the desired behavior, becomes conformist. It is no longer his personality that you are studying, but rather that of the designer of the study. No surprise then if you find the designer's intentions in the results. Occulting personality because you intentionally made it disappear. But Chater does not hesitate to make a demonstration of its non-existence.

4) Other hypotheses are much more consistent than the flat-mind:
It is true that the conscious mind seeks to self-justify its own behaviors, even when they are inappropriate. Why would you do that? Precisely because it does not have direct access to the heart of its genesis and it retro-controls it after the fact. This implies a mental hierarchy and not a single, flat system. Consciousness is the place where conflicts between intrinsic and extrinsic proposals (social rules, opinions of congeners, etc.) are resolved. How can you be wrong but not put a bullet in your head? Illusions fabricated by consciousness are a safeguard for a social animal such as man, and not a proof of a mind in instantaneousness.

In an era when all scientists interested in transdisciplinarity put forward the concept of emergence, the concept of the flat mind focuses the folding of neuroscience on themselves. Consciousness dissolves in the field of neural arousals as matter disappears into the field of quantum arousals, in defiance of what everyone experiences in an elementary way.

The most distressing thing about your record is certainly that you present the theory as a fait accompli ("What happens to cognitive therapies?", "What happens to the unconscious?" …). People are their environment and especially what they read. Even if they do not have a flat mind they will integrate the representation of themselves as platitude. There is no worse guru than the scientist, since he claims that his proposals are refutable and have been refuted without success… but only within the framework of the very narrow scientific paradigm that he uses, as Has he shown. Your folder contributes to the destruction of vertical thinking in your readers. You turn them into mirrors that absorb or reflect words according to their particular atomic structure. Well, no, our brain is, among all the hardware systems processing information, the one that has the greatest thickness.

If you are looking for a scoop, here is a more valid one: our mind is not subject to stupidity but to falsehood. He establishes and maintains incorrect representations of what surrounds him, and that is what makes him act. Presented in this way, it is pejorative, and yet it is also the origin of the qualities that we find most admirable in humans: children who choose their sick parents when they are only a shadow of themselves. People positivist and hyperactive because they host an image of themselves and the world very overrated in the present. All these misrepresentations make us try to force reality to conform to it. Our mistakes are our works, our imprints on the world, this world that has nothing to do with the truth since it is already made up of it.

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