Posts Tagged ‘mind’

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The Neurofeminist: Anne Jaap Jacobson interviewed by Richard Marshall

November 30, 2012

Anne Jaap Jacobson is the neurofeminist philosofunskster whose mind is setting fire to the boys’ club and putting the academy straight whilst doing edgy work in the philosophy of mind. Nuns have called her a ‘wicked girl’ but she’s one of the crazy-gang of experimental philosophers looking at bigotry, bias, cognitive neuroscience, naturalism, worrying about traditional philosophical approaches and wondering how to do things better. She’s considered Hume from a feminist perspective, brings a cross-disciplinary jive to the philosophical party and doesn’t think looking is like being given pictures. Her mind is a hive of ideas even though she worries that women are having to face too much resignation, bitterness, disillusionment and discouragement in philosophy and everywhere. Which makes her a seminal figure, and bodaciously groovy.

Read the interview HERE

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An Unquenchable Gaiety of Mind

July 15, 2012

On visits to Cambridge University late in life, Jorge Luis Borges offered revealing last thoughts about his reading and writing.

By his last years Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986) was often seen as a skeptic. Michel Foucault began Les mots et les choses (1966, published in English as The Order of Things) by acclaiming him for having defied certainty and demolished every familiar landmark of knowledge, since everything “bears the stamp of our age and our geography.” Foucault cited something Borges claimed to have found once in an old Chinese encyclopedia, a hilarious taxonomy of animals using the following categories: those belonging to the emperor, those that are embalmed, those that are tame, sucking pigs, sirens, stray dogs, et cetera. That was impressively credulous of Foucault, since Borges (as I once heard him say) often made up his quotations: “One is allowed to change the past.” Among the literal minded, however, his reward was to be thought to have sounded the death knell of all human hopes to know the world or to understand our place in it.

Excerpt of an essay wriiten by George Watson at The American Scholar. Continue HERE

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Mind bending: Why our memories are not always our own

July 15, 2012

Without memories, we would be lost. Yet, in an extract from his new book,the psychologist Charles Fernyhough reveals that some of our most precious recollections are perhaps not ours at all.

Adult siblings generally do not face the same pressures as, say, married couples to agree on a story about their pasts. Individuals who have spent a lifetime trying to define themselves in opposition to each other are unlikely to be quite as motivated to settle their memory differences. And the fact is that adult siblings usually do not get as many opportunities as couples do to negotiate their memory disputes.

Excerpt of an extract from ‘Pieces of Light: The New Science of Memory’ by Charles Fernyhough. Read it at The Independent

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The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

July 5, 2012

The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society works to integrate contemplative awareness and contemporary life in order to help create a more just, compassionate, reflective, and sustainable society.

Contemplative practices, including prayer, meditation, yoga, and many contemplative arts, help individuals regain balance and calm in the midst of challenging circumstances. This state of calm centeredness provides effective stress reduction and can also help address issues of meaning, values, and spirit. Contemplative practices can help people develop greater empathy and communication skills, improve focus and concentration, reduce stress and enhance creativity. In time, with sustained commitment, they cultivate insight, wise discernment, and a loving and compassionate approach to life.

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The crayola-fication of the world: How we gave colors names, and it messed with our brains

June 18, 2012

“Who in the rainbow can draw the line where the violet tint ends and the orange tint begins? Distinctly we see the difference of the colors, but where exactly does the one first blendingly enter into the other? So with sanity and insanity.” —Herman Melville, Billy Budd.

In Japan, people often refer to traffic lights as being blue in color. And this is a bit odd, because the traffic signal indicating ‘go’ in Japan is just as green as it is anywhere else in the world. So why is the color getting lost in translation? This visual conundrum has its roots in the history of language.

Blue and green are similar in hue. They sit next to each other in a rainbow, which means that, to our eyes, light can blend smoothly from blue to green or vice-versa, without going past any other color in between. Before the modern period, Japanese had just one word, Ao, for both blue and green. The wall that divides these colors hadn’t been erected as yet. As the language evolved, in the Heian period around the year 1000, something interesting happened. A new word popped into being – midori – and it described a sort of greenish end of blue. Midori was a shade of ao, it wasn’t really a new color in its own right.

Excerpt of a paper via Empirical Zeal. Read it HERE. Part 2 HERE

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The Age of Insight: Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel Explains How Our Brain Perceives Art

May 12, 2012

Many strands of Eric Kandel’s life come together in his latest work, The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present. The 82-year-old University Professor and co-director of the Mind Brain Behavior Initiative was born in Vienna, where, as a boy of 8, he witnessed the Nazis march into the Austrian capital. Decades later, he recalls how much his own intellectual interests were shaped not only by the Holocaust that followed, but by the cosmopolitan city that in the early 1900 served as an extraordinary incubator for creativity and thought that shaped the world we live in today.

Q. What made you decide to turn your attention to the neurobiology of how we perceive art?

There are many motivating factors. One was my longterm interest in Klimt, Kokoschka and Schiele, the three Austrian Modernists, my fascination with Vienna 1900 and with Freud. I wanted to become a psychoanalyst and I’m Viennese so I sense a shared intellectual history, particularly with turn-of-the-century Vienna. But the immediate stimulus actually came from [Columbia President] Lee Bollinger. The idea behind the Mind Brain Behavior Initiative is to try to understand the human mind in biological terms and to use these insights to bridge the biology of the brain with other areas of the humanities. Lee expressed the belief that the new science of the mind could have a major impact on the academic curriculum, that in a sense everyone at the University works on the human mind. I felt I was doing this for personal reasons, but isn’t it wonderful that it is also in line with one of the missions of the University?

Excerpts from an Interview at Columbia University in the City of New York

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(Non-)Essential Knowledge for (New) Architecture / Call for Submissions

January 30, 2012

For the next 306090 book, guest editor David L. Hays wants to know, “What is essential knowledge for architecture?”What is essential knowledge for architecture?

This frequently posed question targets fundamental principles of design, those basic criteria and priorities through which disciplinary stability is ensured. Yet, insofar as relevance is a core value of architecture, in both theory and practice, the contingent nature of the future guarantees that some forms of knowledge not presently considered essential will eventually become indispensable.

With that condition in mind, the editors of 306090 15, (Non-)Essential Knowledge for (New) Architecture, seek contributions that envision possible futures for architecture through speculations about new disciplinary knowledge. What specific methods, materials, or understandings—tools, ratios, formulas, properties, principles, guidelines, definitions, rules, practices, techniques, reference points, histories, and more—not presently considered essential to architecture could, or should, define its future? Pertinent knowledge might be previously forgotten, currently undervalued, generally misunderstood, or not yet recognized. Architects have long looked both to the outmoded traditions of their discipline and to other fields altogether when imagining possible directions for their work. In blurring the boundary between essential and non-essential knowledge, this inquiry seeks not to codify the contemporary state of the art for architecture, nor to assert the value of multidisciplinarity, but to envision, and potentially catalyze, new disciplinary approaches.

(Non-)Essential Knowledge for (New) Architecture will serve as both a gauge of contemporary concerns and a manual for emergent theory and practice. Submissions are sought from practitioners, theorists, historians, critics, artists, activists, and anyone else with direct or indirect interest in the future of architecture.

Click HERE to submit and for more information.
Deadline: Friday, March 30, 2012