Touching A Nerve - The Self as Brain by Patricia S. Churchland

Read the review in the NYT:
http://tinyurl.com/mqs2awg

Carol Dorau

http://tinyurl.com/mqs2awg

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  • Sharon

    Vatsal, thanks for the sophisticated explanation of this view. I've thought about it more since the meeting and grasp its plausibility better, though I'm still fuzzy on even the definition of free will v. choosing, problem-solving, evaluating, and planning capabilities. We covered a bit how neuroscience has seemed to solve some age-old questions of philosophy, but I would have liked to also get into what philosophy can still offer neuroscience, esp. in terms of models that could help understand more about the nature of consciousness.

    1 · June 9

  • Vatsal

    If anyone is interested in doing a short reading on 'free will', I consider reading the following paper which is mostly non-technical. http://www.pnas.org/content/107/10/4499.full

    It covers example like blindsight(which Leo brought up) and fMRI activity in parietal and prefrontal cortex noted up to 10s before the subjects were conscious(which I can't remember who brought up). Other than arguing for the idea of lack of free will, author also talks about its implications on criminal justice system and proposes an alternative to the current(rather ineffective) one.

    2 · June 7

    • Carol R.

      I think it's question-begging to say "made you do that task," because whether the action is freely chosen or coerced is exactly what's at issue. Saying "made you" conflates the very distinction Leo is going for.

      June 8

    • Leo F.

      The difference is also important in that, in the case of the "unwilling" action, you can call the police and have the other guy arrested, while in the "willing" situation you cannot. In other words, that distinction has practical consequences. Whether all of these actions are ultimately pre-determined by physical laws or subject to metaphysical free will may be an interesting philosophical distinction, but it is irrelevant to our daily lives. We all behave as if we had free will, whether we believe in it or not.

      June 8

  • Dave

    Another really good discussion yesterday. The discussions of the book and the digressions were very interesting and stimulating, which is just what a great conversation should be.

    2 · June 8

    • Eileen T.

      We thought so too. And thanks for the list of books.

      June 8

    • Dave

      Thanks are due to the other David.

      June 8

  • Carol R.

    This was my first time attending, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of sharp minds, er brains, in the room.

    2 · June 7

  • leonard /.

    GREAT ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION! MANY OPINIONS, REMARKS, GOOD SPARKERS AND GOOD LISTENERS.

    SONNY

    2 · June 7

  • Paula S.

    As always, thank you Leo for bringing the group together and to everyone who attended.

    2 · June 7

  • Michelle M.

    Thank you for today. I did read the book was quiet today as i flew in from taiwan and am a bit jetlagged. Truly enjoyed listening to the variety of perspectives.

    3 · June 7

  • John P.

    Excellent

    3 · June 7

  • Eileen T.

    Interesting discussion; diverse group of participants; great to see new people as well as people we've seen before (2 previous discussions).

    2 · June 7

  • Eileen T.

    Leo, there are going to be 5 of us: Bob, our daughter, 2 friends from out of town and me.

    June 6

  • Carol

    Here is a Youtube interview with author Churchland.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0V7QrxEAbLM

    1 · June 5

  • leonard /.

    I WAS TO THE LAST CLUB MEETING AND I WILL TRY TO ATTEND THIS ONE. IT'S GREAT TO HEAR ALL OF THE OPINIONS FROM SO MANY PEOPLE COMING FROM TOTALLY DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS.

    1 · May 20

  • Mary E. L.

    This sounds like a fascinating book that will be enjoyable and challenging. Returning from vacation on June 6th. I will share my thoughts on your message board. Thanks Leo.

    1 · May 8

  • Michelle M.

    So looking forward to discussions. I will be arriving from Taiwan so may be a bit jetlagged but did not want to miss this opportunity

    1 · May 8

  • John P.

    This is something in which I have a very strong interest. I very much hope it is scheduled at a time that I would be able to attend.

    1 · January 27

    • Leo F.

      Hi John, the meetings are always on the first Sunday of the month, from 3 to 5 pm. Would June 7 or July 5 work, in principle?

      January 27

    • John P.

      HI, Leo,
      Thanks for getting back to me. I have no plans this far in advance, so either June or July should work.
      I am brand new to this, so I don’t know how far in advance specific books are generally scheduled. Of course, the sooner the better.
      John

      January 27

  • Leo F.

    If anyone else has a similar request (i.e., if you want to exclude a date you know you can't make), please let me know by posting it here.

    January 27

  • Eileen T.

    Bob and I would hate to miss the discussion on this. Please don't schedule it for May.

    1 · January 27

    • Leo F.

      No problem, Eileen. We'll find a date that works for everyone interested.

      January 27

  • Carol

    Leo, I would co-host this with you. I think I would need to fall back on your neuroscience expertise !

    1 · January 27

    • Leo F.

      Great, that should be fun :)

      1 · January 27

  • Leo F.

    I would be willing to host this one, unless Carol would like to do it.

    January 27

  • Leo F.

    Patricia Churchland is a very influential scholar in the field of "philosophy of mind", and has written several books on the interface between philosophy and neuroscience. This books touches on some of the issues we were talking about in the online discussion of our last book.

    January 27

  • Eileen T.

    Sounds very interesting.

    January 25

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