The Empirical, Direct Route to One’s Own Mind

I came across a thought-provoking opinion piece written by Alex Rosenberg in The New York Times July 18, 2016 edition of The Stone, entitled Why You Don’t Know Your Own Mind.

The Stone is a series moderated by philosopher Simon Critchley for the use of contemporary thinkers in various cognitive and social science to present research done in the natural environment, and that done in the laboratory.

Howard Gardner is a psychologist who, along with some others, discuss the notion of humans evidencing multiple intelligences, two of which are:

  • Interpersonal: insight; the capacity to know ourselves as well as we can.
  • Intrapersonal: empathy; the capacity to know others as well as we can.

Each ability is critical to adaptation and survival.

There seems to be consensus that via introspection, we derive a position regarding our human existence; our immaterial mind and soul emerging from physical matter; a basic meaning of our life experiences; and some core, universal human values.

How many pieces of what I believe are my mind, and are truly genuine to my own experience and completely independent of the minds of many others? We assemble data both at a conscious and not-so-conscious manner from our various sensory modalities. We then process this simultaneous data via our affective, executive, and operational platforms. The ultimate consequence is an action that only best approximates “our own mind”.

I find the concept of human consciousness as it is defined in this forum to be very useful. We can understand it as a manifestation of a global broadcast as I’ve articulated above.

This dynamic is worthy of further research and disucussion as it relates to normative and non-normative processes.


Gardner, H. (2006). Multiple intelligences: New horizons. New York: Basic Books.

Rosenberg, A. (July 18, 2016). Why You Don’t Know Your Own Mind. The New York Times. Accessed online 1 August, 2016.

Image via geralt / Pixabay.

Richard Kensinger, MSW

Richard Kensinger, MSW, has over forty years of clinical experience in behavioral healthcare as a psychotherapist, trainer, consultant, and faculty member in the Psychology Department, Mount Aloysius College. He has also taught at Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, and Temple University. He is also a lover of "football", known in the USA as soccer. He is currently associated for over 30 years with youth "football", 26 as a referee.
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