It is a huge building, it has a lot of floors, corridors, rooms, staircases and yet more rooms and staircases seemingly without end. But there are no books. Perhaps you are tempted briefly to think this is a polare bookshop, or a modern university, but that is not the case. In fact, you are witnessing the library with the largest collection of books any library could ever have. This is the library of all books that have never been written. Suddenly you realize you are not alone.
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To begin with, the end of the world is a rather unusual location. If you are pulled over for speeding and you inform the police officer on duty that your residence is the end of the world you will probably stretch his imagination beyond breaking point and suffer the consequences; but then again: if you are concerned about. But the strangeness of the library goes beyond its admittedly slightly exotic location. It is a library for sure. It is located in a nice neo classic building, the kind of impressive architecture you expect to proposal find in the center of large cities with a rich history and culture. Something like het Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. But if you enter it (assuming you were able to find it) you are in for yet another surprise. One might expect that a good library has a lot of books. A better library would parental probably have even more books. This kind of thinking makes perfect sense; if it wouldnt, why would decent people evaluate scientists along similar lines? But what about the library at the End of the world?
When this person came up with the woody Allen" the board was probably pleased: really funny, this Allen guy. This is something people can relate. White on essay black; lets. At the same time i cannot help imagining that this person (my smart girl) has smuggled a little piece of true philosophy through the mazes of the commercial system, a small message in code, so that nobody would take offence (but those who want could. Does this text refer to modernity as the moral vacuum created by the death of God and the birth of science? I have a beautiful solution to this problem, a complete philosophy that solves everything, including the meaning of life, but unfortunately it is too long to fit into the limited space available here. Therefore, i will just end with another" of woody Allen: I do not want to become immortal by my work. I want to become immortal by not dying. The library at the End of the world By: Cornelis Jan Stam Date: Of all the strange places I have known, the strangest place is the library at the End of the world.
Clearly, there is hope. At the same time, things are getting slightly out of hand at the ukrain borders. It is not quite clear what book the kings Greek neighbour is. This mixture of hope and worry, supplemented with sufficient spare time is an ideal condition for philosophy. As Berthold Brecht said, in slightly different words: First we have dinner, than there is time for thought. So is this black shopping back intended to induce people to buy philosophy books? I cannot help to phantasize about the person who designed this bag. I guess some company got an assignment to design a fill bag, appropriate for the theme month of philosophy, and ordered a junior, perhaps promising person (a smart young girl?) to come up with a new idea.
From this perspective it does not seem woody Allen will be of much help. The gloomy perspective of a universe where nietzsche has killed God, god has killed nietzsche, and even woody Allen is starting to lose faith is not one to create proper incentives for consumers. Furthermore, at least in the netherlands, only few bookshops are left, so there is very little to put into shopping bags anyway. Perhaps an explanation for this remarkable shopping bag text is the fact that April, in the netherlands, is the month of philosophy. The netherlands has days, weeks and months for almost everything, from fathers, mothers, secretaties, animals to trees and kings, so the fact that there is also a month of philosophy is not inappropriate. What is the goal of this month? Is it to promote books, lectures, courses, meetings? It seems we even have a philosophers.
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How should we deal with humans (ourselves) if they are deterministic neuronal machines? Can we punish them if they behave badly? Can a machine behave badly? How do you educate machines? Have smart machines more right to essential resources? Do we need laws to protect computers, robots, writing smart software? What should you do with machines that keep asking questions?
Furtunately, at least the last question can be addressed; we just have to read Platos dialoques to find out how the Greeks solved this problem in 399. The shopping bag By: Cornelis Jan Stam Date: This is the story of a shopping bag. It was completely black except for a short text in bold white letters. The text was: God is dead. And i am not fealing very well myself either. Under the assumption that the aim of human life is to sell other people things this text was both amusing and surprising. One might expect that a shopping bag, in the order of things sometimes referred to as a free market, is a device that contains stuff you have bought on the inside, and a text on the outside that induces a strong desire to buy more.
We have an understanding of our universe, matter, living organisms and their development that would probably have been awe inspiring for the ancient Greeks; Goldsteins Plato is duly impressed. In fact, this state of affairs does not come as a surprise: modern science and modern logic are the legitimate children of philosophy. Do these brilliant, highly successful children still need their mother? They can do their homework perfectly well without her help, and no longer need her good advise in all sorts of worldly affairs. It is symptomatic that serious philosophers like patricia churland, together with her husband paul one of the founders of the modern philosophy of mind, went back to college to study the nuts and bolts of neuroscience. Has mother lost her self-confidence?
However, it may be that Shokets self-confidence is slightly premature. The reply of the re incarnated Plato was quite interesting: perhaps self-deception? Where it reigns, science seems supreme; but it does not reign everywhere. Sometimes it behaves as an overly enthusiastic adolescent: it is blatendly unaware of its own boundaries. It is certainly possible, perhaps even quite likely, that neuroscience will come up with a scientific description of brain processes underlying phenomena as consciousness, decision taking and free will. Perhaps morality will be reduced to dopamine levels going up or down, and the amygdala doing overtime. However, the irony is that this will not drive out the philosophical problems,- it will just blow them.
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He starts at the googleplex, where he hardly makes it motto to the lecture hall since he gets absorbed in a discussion with his media escort and a google programmer. In the rest of the book he has many interesting meetings and discussions until in the final chapter he volunteers to participate in an fmri experiment in the laboratory of the famous doctor Shoket, a dedicated and ambituous neuroscientist who is convinced that neuroscience has. Plato, who is apparently very interested in the enormous progress of science and neuroscience in particular, has done a lot of homework on his new ipad, but being a philosopher he still has many questions. He asks what the famous neuroscientist thinks about the philosophical implications of his work. Shoket: With the neuroscientists explaining consciousness, free will, and morality, whats left for the philosopher to ponder? This short exchange nicely summarized Goldsteins central question: does modern neuroscience make philosophy superfluous? According to Shoket, who represents a point of view held by many scientists, it clearly does. Many deep questions that have puzzled philosophers for more than two millennia can now be rephrased in scientific terms, and often turn out to have exact, and sometimes surprising solutions.
Usernames, passwords and pin codes: the human element. Scientific knowledge as shareware, unexpected encounters, seeing patterns, and filling holes: the nature of scientific discovery. Think patterns, not people, biking and the secret of life. Survival of the nicest, connecting minds by weaving the web. Popular science: what's the point? Google-think as an antidote to free market disasters in healthcare, science and education. The pleasure of pointing things out The barbarian bialik networks of Alessandro baricco From humorist to tumorist If we are our brains, who is reading this? Plato in the mri scanner By: Cornelis Jan Stam Date: In her book plato at the googleplex Rebecca goldstein imagines a plato who has been transported to our modern time, and who is doing an extensive tour to promote his best seller The republic.
scratch, a free university for free thinking. The problem with hubs, the face of science, why moral philosophers should go to medical school, and neuroscientists may consider treatment for philosophical agnosia. All together now: the complex science of cooperation. While you were awake, your brain was sleeping. Coli of social psychology.
In contrast to the rest of Connected Brains this page is about opinions, not hard scientific facts. If you want, you can send a comment on any of the Blogs. Comments of sufficient quality and interest for readers of Brainview will be published below the texts they refer. Table of contents: Plato in the mri scanner, the shopping bag, the library at the End of the world. Inside out, closing the circle, kandel's vienna, on the Edge. Phi in the sky, never mind, it's mere matter, how can evolution be constructive? Do you love event my connectome? The Small Brain Project, are you out of your mind? Waiting for doctor Watson, life in a hub.
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Brainview: a collection of Blogs and Columns about brains, networks, complexity and science. In the essay "Unpacking my library" Walter Benjamin writes: "Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method.". He may have been right, but nowadays not everyone has the time or inclination to write a book, or, for that matter, to read a book or any text that does not fit on the screen yoga of an iPhone or Blackberry. Benjamin was a master of the essay, a short, well-written piece of opinion with no limits to the topics that can be addressed. Would he have loved Blogging and Twittering? Perhaps he would have been the first to see the boundless new possibilities opened up by publishing texts on the world Wide web. Brainview is a collection of Blogs on a variety of topics, all related in some sense to brains, networks, complexity and science.