To be conscious is not simply a fact or event like those determinate facts and events which make up our physical world. If we call it a fact, or event, or process, or function, we do so by analogy, and in any analogy the differences can be as important as the resemblances.
Philip Wheelwright (1968)
Wheelwright notes the complexity of consciousness The Conscience and Consciousness page takes tentative steps into this minefield by noting the history of both words. and our reliance on analogy to adumbrate it. Analogies are ever present assistants in building our worlds, linking in The Explanations page concerns the way that thought tries to reconcile conflicting perceptions to create a unified whole.
newly arrived elements, reinforcing bonds with older constituents. Critically we see how they can work beyond language; as when we use a map. Analogies point The Pointing page introduces the way that pointing can be seen as standing at the base of communication before language.
, orientating us to see what others have seen, they let us share learning. However, as we look intently in the direction indicated, we find a conjurer at work: in looking we are also looking away. The picture shows sheep exercising their fabled ability to follow. But, in following we pay the less heed to what is around us. While simple analogies may build, more complex ones may distract. Wheelwright reminds us of the importance of differences in any analogy: being too intent on the sheep in front could reduce our alertness to the wolf in the dark woods.
The quotation is from page 18 of The Burning Fountain published by Indiana University Press.The sheep were seen by the woods north of Hind Hill, just outside Moffat, in southern Scotland.
Above, hovering on blue introduces a link: click to go, move away to stay.