Vilayanur Ramachandran

Read and recently re-read “The Emerging Mind” originally prepared as the 2003 BBC Reith Lectures byVilayanur Ramachandran – Rama to his friends aparently. First time through (the book) I was initially disappointed (as ever) but in fact the book of 5 lectures is a gem. I was initially put off by his early suggestion that … Continue reading “Vilayanur Ramachandran”

Somatic Markers

I’ve been thinking of something positive to say about Antonio Damasio’s Somatic Marker Theory since finishing “Descartes’ Error”. For anyone who believes … the common-sense view of decison-making is a logical sequence of weighing up all available options objectively. the common-sense view of mind and body involves understanding the “brain” distinct from the “body proper”. … Continue reading “Somatic Markers”

The Value of Faith

Is, paradoxically, its endurance. Political systems come and go … so the values of faith (any faith) are those that can be preserved through culture. Johnathan Sacks (UK Chief Rabbi, BBC R4 Today, “Thought for The Day”) echoing Parmjit Dhanda (Sikh, UK Ministerial speech) on the need to celebrate the UK’s Christian heritage. Interesting angle. Effectively … Continue reading “The Value of Faith”

Of His Own Free Will

John Stuart Mill of his own free will, On half a pint of shandy was particulary ill. Will. The Pythons’ song memeing itself in my brain the last day or so, was prompted by listening to the BBC’s “In Our Time” this last Thursday. Anthony Grayling, Janet Radcliffe Williams, and Alan Ryan discussing the life … Continue reading “Of His Own Free Will”

What’s it like to educate Archie – III

Rather than a bat, how about a ventriloquist’s dummy ? Steve Jones in todays UK Daily Telegraph writes on the opposite effect to the seeing through hearing post earlier. Using “Educating Archie”, successful ventiloquism on the radio, he is discussing the importance of visual clues in voice communication. Hearing through seeing. (See also all the … Continue reading “What’s it like to educate Archie – III”

Consciousness and Pirsig

Following a search hit I find a source that links many of mine …. Pirsig and VUB/Heilighen, (Einstein Meets Magritte) with Josephson (explaining the paranormal with open minded science) with Dennett, Searle and Chalmers (PoM / Consciousness) in the Journal of Consciousness Studies. A paper in the 1995 JCS reviewing the 1995 Einstein Meets Magritte … Continue reading “Consciousness and Pirsig”

What’s it Like to be a Bat – II

Man hears in colour, or “sees” with the sound of music. [report via BBC]. Another variation on the Neuroscience explanations of consciousness – see earlier blogs on Sacks, Zeman and others. I stand corrected that it is not quite what Nagel’s bat was about. He was being general about the concept of “being like” something … Continue reading “What’s it Like to be a Bat – II”

It’s A Funny Old Brain

As you may have noticed, I’m reading my way through a number books by neurosurgeons and brain scientists, as part of reviewing state of the art understanding of “perception”. Recently I read Edeleman, Zeman and Austin’s books, and more recently started Oliver Sacks “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat”, full of intriguing … Continue reading “It’s A Funny Old Brain”