AlphaPsy

Thursday 16 November 2006

Adaptation in mind

Interdisciplines.org launched tuesday an on-line colloquium about “Representation and Adaptation”. The interdisciplines conferences are among the most exciting intellectual events on the Internet; this one features, among others, Daniel Dennett and Peter Godfrey-Smith, along with scholars from philosophy, AI, and theoretical biology. It tackles the difficult question of how natural selection could give birth to entities as refined as mental representations, while it kept remaining its usual stupid self (full disclosure: Hugo and I are among the discussants, so don't take our word for it, go see the site).

NB: note à ceux qui lisent AlphaPsy en traduction Google : interdisciplines est aussi un site en langue française.

Read more...

Wednesday 25 October 2006

Methodological opportunism

In November the Ecole des hautes études in Paris will organize a conference about social sciences and the “threat” of reductionism.

Read more...

Monday 16 October 2006

Still frightened of the Postmodern Scarecrows?

It's official: from Benedict XVI to Dan Dennett, debunking postmodernism is fashionable. Even in a feminist book review, one can read such things as:

In her last book, The Female Thing, Laurence Kipnis offers no answers but does a Derrida on the female situation and leaves us to sort out the awful mess.

As though the author was alluding to some entry in our mental lexicon, reading:

Derrida (to do a): to spoil a subject-matter. To obscure it with irrational sophistry. ex: "Your next exam shall deal with physical geography of the Netherlands. This time, please, don't do a derrida!" ; "In the eighties, talking seriously about AIDS became very difficult after Susan Sontag did a derrida on it"

To Derride: to demean one's claims to truth and accuracy with a spurious mixt of ideological and historical arguments; to debase a science or an academic field with the same technique (also: to do a derrida of it). Ex: "I wonder how long he will keep on derriding quantum mechanics without some real physicist stopping him".

A picture of the Hard Rock band Derrida; below: the Derrida Faux Leather Couch (which you can order here).

Read more...

Friday 6 October 2006

Who killed Gwen Stacy?

Or why Superheroes need to know about physics' law of momentum conservation, causal deviance, possible world ontology and memetics.
Spider-man comic strip

Read more...

Thursday 14 September 2006

Jerry Fodor does some neo-pragmatism bashing

In a piece in the London Review of Books, Fodor 'reviews' (conducts a mounted attack on would be closer to the truth -- but is there a truth?) the last book by Michael Frayn: "The Human Touch: Our Part in the Creation of a Universe" (Fraser). Fodor is acid and also truly funny to read. Here are some nuggets.

Read more...

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.
Locations of visitors to this page