Traditionally materialists (i.e. those who don’t believe in spooky stuff like souls) have taken the brain to be the object of study when we want to learn about the mind. But a lot of important information processing goes on outside of the brain and outside the body. We use fingers to count and respond to our own gestures when we talk. We refer to instructions or lists we’ve made in order to remind ourselves what it is that we believe. We physically rotate objects to solve spatial rotation problems rather than doing it in our brains alone.
In many cases it is only a kind of brain-bias that prevents us from calling these information processing acts ‘thought’ and counting the external objects as parts of our minds. But, even if we resist claiming that minds are partly constituted by external objects, looking at these interactions focuses our attention on how important stuff ‘out there’ is to our thinking. We really can give someone a lobotomy by hiding their notebook and iphone, tying up their opposable thumbs, and preventing them from using written symbols. In fact there was a time when none of this was actually available to us, and we would have thought in very different ways back then. This begs the question, if minds ‘extend’ in any meaningful sense then what psychological changes will waves of new technology bring?
I will introduce the idea of the ‘extended mind’ and suggest that this way of thinking about the way we think, raises interesting questions about who owns various thoughts, and the impact of technology on our minds.
Matt has recently submitted his PhD thesis ‘As We Build Our World We Build Our Minds’ to Victoria University of Wellington. His research interests are philosophical topics in evolution and the mind. When he’s not arguing with Richard Dawkins in the academic literature, Matt enjoys writing bad philosophical fiction. After nine years in Wellington he is about to take up an academic post at the University of Auckland (the recent snow had nothing to do with this decision).
Matt's presentation is available here: http://prezi.com/bbw--tbr0o-t/
"So here is something staring you in the face, an extraordinary syndrome, utterly mysterious, where a person wants his normal limb removed. Why does this happen? There are all kinds of crazy theories about it including Freudian theories. One theory asserts, for example, that it's an attention seeking behavior. This chap wants attention so he asks you to remove his arm. It doesn't make any sense. Why does he not want his nose removed or ear removed or something less drastic? Why an arm? It seems a little bit too drastic for seeking attention."
V.S. RAMACHANDRAN, M.D., PH.D., Is Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and distinguished professor with the Psychology Department and the Neurosciences Program at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Biology at the Salk Institute. Ramachandran's early research was on visual perception but he is best known for his work in Neurology. His most recent book is The Tell-Tale Brain.
Why do we like what we like? This wide-ranging and humorous discussion explores the idea that there are deep and surprising commonalities in the pleasures that we get from art, food, sex, stories, and consumer products. Paul Bloom is a Professor of Psychology at Yale University whose research explores how children and adults understand the physical and social world, with special focus on morality, religion, fiction, and art. He has won numerous awards for his research and teaching. He is past-president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and co-editor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, one of the major journals in the field. Dr. Bloom has written for scientific journals such as Nature and Science, and for popular outlets such as The New York Times, the Guardian, and the Atlantic. He is the author or editor of four books, including How Children Learn the Meanings of Words, and Descartes' Baby: How the Science of Child Development Explains What Makes Us Human. His newest book, How Pleasure Works, was published in June 2010.
1. Lawrence Krauss, World-Renowned Physicist
2. Robert Coleman Richardson, Nobel Laureate in Physics
3. Richard Feynman, World-Renowned Physicist, Nobel Laureate in Physics
4. Simon Blackburn, Cambridge Professor of Philosophy
5. Colin Blakemore, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Neuroscience
6. Steven Pinker, World-Renowned Harvard Professor of Psychology
7. Alan Guth, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Physics
8. Noam Chomsky, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Linguistics
9. Nicolaas Bloembergen, Nobel Laureate in Physics
10. Peter Atkins, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Chemistry
11. Oliver Sacks, World-Renowned Neurologist, Columbia University
12. Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal
13. Sir John Gurdon, Pioneering Developmental Biologist, Cambridge
14. Sir Bertrand Russell, World-Renowned Philosopher, Nobel Laureate
15. Stephen Hawking, World-Renowned Cambridge Theoretical Physicist
16. Riccardo Giacconi, Nobel Laureate in Physics
17. Ned Block, NYU Professor of Philosophy
18. Gerard 't Hooft, Nobel Laureate in Physics
19. Marcus du Sautoy, Oxford Professor of Mathematics
20. James Watson, Co-discoverer of DNA, Nobel Laureate
21. Colin McGinn, Professor of Philosophy, Miami University
22. Sir Patrick Bateson, Cambridge Professor of Ethology
23. Sir David Attenborough, World-Renowned Broadcaster and Naturalist
24. Martinus Veltman, Nobel Laureate in Physics
25. Pascal Boyer, Professor of Anthropology
26. Partha Dasgupta, Cambridge Professor of Economics
27. AC Grayling, Birkbeck Professor of Philosophy
28. Ivar Giaever, Nobel Laureate in Physics
29. John Searle, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
30. Brian Cox, Particle Physicist (Large Hadron Collider, CERN)
31. Herbert Kroemer, Nobel Laureate in Physics
32. Rebecca Goldstein, Professor of Philosophy
33. Michael Tooley, Professor of Philosophy, Colorado
34. Sir Harold Kroto, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
35. Leonard Susskind, Stanford Professor of Theoretical Physics
36. Quentin Skinner, Professor of History (Cambridge)
37. Theodor W. Hänsch, Nobel Laureate in Physics
38. Mark Balaguer, CSU Professor of Philosophy
39. Richard Ernst, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
40. Alan Macfarlane, Cambridge Professor of Anthropology
41. Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson, Princeton Research Scientist
42. Douglas Osheroff, Nobel Laureate in Physics
43. Hubert Dreyfus, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
44. Lord Colin Renfrew, World-Renowned Archaeologist, Cambridge
45. Carl Sagan, World-Renowned Astronomer
46. Peter Singer, World-Renowned Bioethicist, Princeton
47. Rudolph Marcus, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
48. Robert Foley, Cambridge Professor of Human Evolution
49. Daniel Dennett, Tufts Professor of Philosophy
50. Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate in Physics
Mozart - Requiem Mass In D Minor K 626 - 1. Introitus 00:03
Massive Attack - Two Rocks And A Cup Of Water 02:28, 19:14
Max Richter - Embers 05:13
Ludovico Einaudi - Andare 09:27, 24:30, 26:31
Ludovico Einaudi - Nuvole Bianche 13:13
Max Richter - Vladimir's Blues 29:21
Ludovico Einaudi - Eni 30 Percento (The Earth Prelude) 33:16
On Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010, Michael Cole connected via Skype with the members of EDUC-P631: Theorizing Learning in Context. The broad topic was mediation, and the conversation focused on three texts on mediation, listed below.
Roth, W.-M. (2007). On Mediation: Toward a Cultural-Historical Understanding. Theory Psychology, 17(5), 655-680.
Witte, S. P., & Haas, C. (2005). Research in Activity: An Analysis of Speed Bumps as Mediational Means. Written Communication, 22(2), 127-165.
Cole, M. (1996). Cultural psychology : a once and future discipline. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.