At its regularly scheduled reading and discussion group on the first Tuesday of November, the Camden Philosophical Society will return to our normal format involving discussion of readings assigned ahead of time. The session will be led by Richard Ogle on the topic of “Mind, Brain, and Science.” The discussion will take place Tuesday, Nov. 7th, from 4:00 – 6:00 pm in the Picker Room of the Camden Public Library. All are welcome.
Analytic philosophers have long claimed the mantle of science. This has lead them to approach the study of mind within the overall framework of rational empiricism. In recent times it has also resulted in a specific focus on the physical study of the brain. By contrast, philosophers within the “continental” tradition of hermeneutical phenomenology have typically taken a broader, less narrowly focused approach that largely eschews science. A refreshing break was made by the Edinburgh University philosopher Andy Clark, who enthusiastically identifies himself with Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Daniel Dennett, and the anthropologist Clifford Geertz, while using the latest methods of neuroscience.
Clark roundly claims that the mind was never in the brain. Instead, Clark looks to the cultural environment in the broadest sense as the means whereby human cognition and thinking are shaped, including instruments, tools (Heidegger’s equipment), practices, texts, institutions, etc. Although Clark does not explore this avenue himself, it is proving possible to use the dynamic network science associated with Albert-Lázló Barabási and others to begin to model mental processes of thinking and creativity.
For a copy of this month’s readings, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.