Friday, November 10, 2006

A Cognitive Science Dialogue

I just heard a podcast with Dr. Wallace and I have heard/read many thing by Dr. Searle. I'm very excited about this debate, but I cannot stay up all night! More later....

A Cognitive Science Dialogue

This debate between Wallace and Searle will focus on a question at the foundation of Cognitive Science -- how can human consciousness be understood? The roots of contemporary scientific approaches to this question lie firmly in western philosophical traditions. The philosophical approach of attempting to understand human experience via pure reason is now accompanied by a wealth of empirical approaches in cognitive science aimed at understanding the various forces that shape human thought and perception. Observations of the brain in action are sometimes used to explore the underpinnings of subjective experience as well.

A central concern with understanding the human mind is also evident in Buddhism. Meditation has become quite popular in the west and is often used as a method of stress reduction. However, contemplative methods for training the mind were developed in Tibetan Buddhist traditions over many centuries as a strategy for understanding the nature of human experience. Insights derived in this way also involve an empirical approach, but one that is based on introspective experiences rather than objective measurements. Extensive training in meditation can lead to keen abilities to control and monitor one's attention, and ultimately, to expert observations of the human mind in action. This expertise can provide a novel perspective on human consciousness with important

1 comment:

daddy_phantom said...

There was a lot of meat here. Searle comes off as a bit of a bully, but he has been doing this a long while, and he has never been very patient with other people.

I think Wallace is advocating using highly trained subjects in fMRIs and such, not just staring at your navel. Why he does not speak up I cannot say (but I did just listen, perhaps there was something on the video I missed).

I have no end of research left to do. Frankly I'm still starting out here.