Perhaps the core problem…after engaging in lots of websites and comment streams promoting and defending old ideas about the primacy of subjective experience-consciousness-cognition-feelings-etc, and also philosophical/religious beliefs, it all seems to come down to the core question – Do words matter?
Since no other animals need or use them – the answer is clearly no.
All of the “higher order concepts” boil down to giving primacy and assumed truth to verbal self-reports – mainly academic English, of course. These all share the same core characteristic of magical thinking – “Mind over matter.”
In magical-ideological-Western models biology doesn’t solely drive behavior – some kind of self-aware “mind” does – not to far from soul. There is some intervening thinking-feeling-reflexive-language mediated process, self-reflective and accessible to everyday language, that controls biological-physiological-genetically determined medical processes.
This also include s the notion that our minds can, verbally, “see” into how our brains operate and accurately report the physiological process of this organ!? Why would our “minds”, really just verbal self-reports, be any more useful then self-reports of how our kidneys work!?
So, this references the classical cultural belief tropes of individual autonomy, self, etc. – all religiously based. Vital to our cultural ideologies, apparently…..
So the “cognitive” model presumes the very old fashioned dualism between mind and brain. Exactly the same idea that supernatural beliefs and religion presume.
There is a clear incentive to support cultural beliefs and many people are paid “by the word.” Fair enough but let’s not fetishize what we are paid to believe.