Ideals of Scientific Explanation and the Nature of Its Objects

Philosophy 310
Bryn Mawr College
Spring, 2003
Mondays, 2-4, Guild 210

7 April
Re-Thinking Philosophy of Science?
III. Noticing the Brain

"Darwin's dangerous idea is reductionism incarnate, promising to unite and explain just about everything in one magnificent vision. Its being the idea of an algorithmic process makes it all the more powerful, since the substrate neutrality it thereby possesses permits us to consider its application to just about everything. It is no respector of material boundaries. It applies ... even to itself. The most common fear about Darwin's idea is that it will not just explain but explain away the Minds and Purposes and Meanings that we all hold dear. People fear that once this universal acid has passed through the monuments we cherish, they will case to exist, dissolved in an unrecognizable and unlovable puddle of scientific destruction. This cannot be a sound fear; a proper reductionistic explanation of these phenomena would leave them still standing but just demystified, unified, placed on more secure foundations" ... Daniel Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, p 82.

To date ... (Darwin and Emergence)

So ... where does "seems" and "reality" and "intentionality" and "subjectivity" and "objectivity" come from? If one doesn't START with mind and meaning and purpose, where do they come from?:

Grobstein, Paul Getting It Less Wrong: The Brain's Way
Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M. Philosophy in the Flesh, Chapters 1-4

The Bi-Partite Brain - The Brain's Images: Reflecting and Creating Human Understanding
The Brain as Story Teller - The Brain's Images: Co-Construcing Reality and the Self
Dealing With Angst - Who's Afraid of Emily Dickinson? Or ... How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Brain
Moral and Ethical Considerations - A Vision of Science (and Science Education) in the 21st Century: Everybody "Getting It Less Wrong" Together

Philosophical considerations -

For next week:

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