addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramlinklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahoo

If minds are brains...

Most of the things we associate with thinking take place in the brain (though, there are good reasons to believe bodies do a lot for thinking, too). Given that we believe brains perform many of the functions of minds, what philosophical insights can we gain by understanding how brains do what they do?

Strictly speaking, science is not a substitute for philosophy, but neuroscience and psychology can provide us with insights that mere introspection might miss. Also, a basic understanding of neural networks may help us frame philosophical questions in a more responsible fashion.

Neural networks can learn, create abstractions, perform pattern recognition, and are responsible for attention (and inattentional blindness). And much of what these networks do happens below the level of conscious awareness.

We'll start by talking about what neural networks do and how they do it. Then we'll discuss two related philosophical questions in light of our scientific models of the brain.

1) How does our understanding of brain function mesh with Kant's picture of cognition?

2) Does neuroscience help us understand Wittgenstein's discussion of language in Philosophical Investigations?

No special preparation is required, but I'll try to post some notes on the message board, and update links here in advance.

 

I've uploaded some notes here:

http://files.meetup.com/1470198/If%20minds%20are%20brains.pdf

Also, this video gives some useful background at the 5 minute mark: http://youtu.be/A8sHMcCk0lU?t=5m27s (just watch about 15 minutes).

 

Join or login to comment.

  • Brian

    Appreciated Ivan sharing and bringing new perspective. I love neural networks!!!!!!

    May 4, 2013

  • Jesse H.

    Grrr...so I just got the email that I am no confirmed to come and it is like 7:51. So obviously, sorry would have LOVED to have come tonight. Bummer

    May 4, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry can't make it:( my hackerspace's birthday party is tonight and I'm on cooking duty

    May 4, 2013

  • Cathy

    Running late

    May 4, 2013

  • Jack

    Sorry, can't make it tonight. In my absence, Erik has agreed to bring a large parrot that will squawk out "Awk...Panpsychism...Pieces of Eight...Awk". See if the mighty farces of 'scientific' materialism can outwit a bird brain (not Eric, the parrot)

    May 4, 2013

  • Sonja

    Be there late, very late..

    May 4, 2013

  • Dustin

    Will be there quite late.

    May 4, 2013

  • Ivan

    Reading is optional, but I've uploaded some notes here:

    http://files.meetup.com/1470198/If%20minds%20are%20brains.pdf

    2 · May 2, 2013

    • Tom

      "Either Bonfire ON or Bonfire OFF", this is one of the best analogies about firing of neurons.

      May 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    OMG NEURAL NETWORKS!

    1 · April 23, 2013

  • Anneliese

    I might have to work, but I will try for it!

    April 23, 2013

  • Janet H.

    Any particular reading for this?

    April 22, 2013

    • Brian

      hey no reading required, but Ivan may post links later you can look at

      April 22, 2013

  • Janet H.

    Finally going to be able to attend my first philosophy meetup. See y'all there.

    April 22, 2013

22 went

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy