Since Slawek asked us not to hesitate to post the questions, let us start.
I will begin in asking more general questions:
1) Somewhere in the middle page of “Umysl …” I have found a very clever piece of argumentation which gave me a lot of entertainment as well. I mean when you cited Patricia and Paul Churchlands' phrase about chair’s philosophy, and further when you gave this Dinosaurs` argumentation. Do you think that there exist something like the American style of writing philosophical books, as opposed to the European one ?
If the answer is yes, do you think that you crossed this distinction in “Umysl – czym jest i jak dziala” ?
2) Slawek have signalized during the interview that there are topics in your book (“Umysł…”) that are less precise, e.g. the description of autism, or aphasia. I agree with his point of view. On one hand, the present state of scientific research allows me to think that some parts of your book could be written more precisely regarding available sources.
On the other hand, we expect that a philosopher’s book might not be a therapeutic soluton for autism, but of course may be a solution for something else. My question is: when can we say about some case that it can no longer be dealt with by a philosopher, and it becomes pure job for scientists ? In other words- where is the end of philosophy and the start for science ?
First of all, thanks a lot for the invitation. I'm very happy to discuss some of this stuff with you and learn as much as possible from our interaction.
So let's see those first questions.
1) Somewhere in the middle page of Umysl I have found a very clever piece of argumentation which gave me a lot of entertainment as well. I mean when you cited Patricia and Paul Churchlands' phrase about chairs philosophy, and further when you gave this Dinosaurs` argumentation. Do you think that there exist something like the American style of writing philosophical books, as opposed to the European one ?
Well, the geographical terms are probably misleading as you can find agile texts in Europe and heavy scholastic ones in the US too, but certainly there is a big difference in how we consider philosophy in Europe and how they view in the US. Style is not really a main thing, but a sympthon of a very different view. Of course, Americans tend to prefer a more casual style of presenting findings, doing talks and so on and here we are a little bit more hhhmmm formal on that. But I don't think that is the main reason. Europe is still an "armchair philosophy" zone. Most of my colleagues get mad at me when I mention how people like Dennet or the Churchlands make philosophy. There is a common phrase here, not sure if it is common in Poland too: "Aha, sounds curious but of course THAT IS NOT PHILOSOPHY"
So, that's the main reason that Americans tend to write more freshly, with anecdotes, jokes, and so on. It's not just style. If you don't believe in armchair philosophy, if you do think that everything can be philosophy, if you don't mind about playing the dilletante psychologist, sociologist, whatever then you'll write in a more clear, concise and attractive style. After all you don't have a "target audience" that share a common knowledge with you.
But in Europe, because we believe that "some things are philosophy and some are not" and therefore we have other guys in their own armchairs thinking about how the mind must be like then we tend to this more serious formal texts.
If the answer is yes, do you think that you crossed this distinction in Umysl czym jest i jak dziala ?
Good question. I can talk about attemps of course, not achivements. This is something for readers to decide. I certainly tried to forget about my own peers and write a book which could be read by anyone. And I also tried to make it attractive and somewhat funny, without simplifying things in excess.
But still, I'm more into the armchair zone, in the sense that I can't do, like the Churchlands, meet a neuroscientist, a psychologist and a computer scientist and have a nice chat in a café sharing a common ground. This type of interactions are still under construction in Spain.
2) Slawek have signalized during the interview that there are topics in your book (Umysł ) that are less precise, e.g. the description of autism, or aphasia. I agree with his point of view. On one hand, the present state of scientific research allows me to think that some parts of your book could be written more precisely regarding available sources.
On the other hand, we expect that a philosophers book might not be a therapeutic soluton for autism, but of course may be a solution for something else. My question is: when can we say about some case that it can no longer be dealt with by a philosopher, and it becomes pure job for scientists ? In other words- where is the end of philosophy and the start for science ?
There is a joke among cancer researchers in which God appears to a meeting of them and tell them: Listen! You don't have to worry anymore about the subject. I'm going to make all type of cancers dissapear from the Earth, and the researchers start to cry and beg. Please! Don't do it! We are not interested in cancer! To study cancer is just a way to get money to study how cells work!
The relationship between philosophy and neurosciences is a little bit like that. Keep the secret, but I'm not really interested in autism. Don't get me wrong, I'd love neuroscientists to find a "cure" for autism (and of course I'm sure that cancer researchers would after all be delighted if finally a cure for cancer is found) but like the cancer researchers, I'm interested in basic mechanisms: in learning how the mind/brain compound works, and therefore I use certain characteristics of psychopatologies in order to learn from it.
So, I knew beforehand that autism isn't just a problem on how to construct a model of how other people work, but I thought (and still think) that it is a very graphic and moving way to understand how important it is for us to have a theory of other minds.
About the relationship between science and philosophy... hmmm... tought one! During the good old "Philosophy of language" times the mission of the philosopher was before the science started. We were supposed to make the terms as clear as possible, avoid all ambiguities and clear the terrain of conceptual confusions before the scientists start to make theories.
Now I think we are more in a continuum: scientists produce evidence that we can use to reinterpret common philosophical problems and they can use our clarifications to continue their own research. Maybe the main difference lies in the type of knowledge each one makes. Scientists produce theories which can be then compared with reality and build models on how things are and relate to each other while philosophers mostly build interpretations: something which is neither true nor false but useful to get a general understanding on what can we know, what shall we do and what can we hope.
Thank you for your quick reply.
Since I am interested in brain based education, and applying cognitive science in educational field I’d like to ask some questions from this landscape:
3) On page 59, you mentioned that the distinction between implicit and explicit knowledge should have implications in modern view on education, and learning/ teaching methods at all. Could you elaborate your point of view ?
This one will be touching education field as a whole:
4) In Poland, there are some ideas, that it will be better to do away with writing dissertations work (research papers) by master degree students. The reason is making equal condition for studying in all countries of European Union. What is your opinion on that, regarding your view on intelligence (no intentionality, no pragmatic, no aims = no intelligence) ?
5) In your book (“Umysl…”) you missed a couple aspects of present directions of brain and mind research e.g. “Gender”/ sex of the brain; do you think that it’s not worth to taking time by studying this evidence when we try to establish what the mind is ?
Ostatnio zmieniony przez Slawomir Wacewicz 2007-03-16, 18:08, w całości zmieniany 3 razy
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