MIND

Parallel Memories: Putting Emotions Back Into The Brain

[2.17.97]

We have to put emotion back into the brain and integrate it with cognitive systems. We shouldn't study emotion or cognition in isolation, but should study both as aspects of the mind in its brain.

Neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux seeks a biological rather than psychological understanding of our emotions. He explores the differences between emotional memories (implicit--unconscious--memories) processed in pathways that take information into the amygdala, and memories of emotion (explicit--conscious--memories) processed at the level of the hippocampus and neocortex. 

What Kind Of Thing Is A Number?

[2.10.97]

What is mathematics? It's neither physical nor mental, it's social. It's part of culture, it's part of history. It's like law, like religion, like money, like all those other things which are very real, but only as part of collective human consciousness. That's what math is.

For mathematician Reuben Hersh, mathematics has existence or reality only as part of human culture. Despite its seeming timelessness and infallibility, it is a social-cultural- historic phenomenon. He takes the long view. He thinks a lot about the ancient problems. What are numbers? What are triangles, squares and circles? What are infinite sets? What is the fourth dimension? What is the meaning and nature of mathematics?

In so doing he explains and criticizes current and past theories of the nature of mathematics. His main purpose is to confront philosophical problems: In what sense do mathematical objects exist? How can we have knowledge of them? Why do mathematicians think mathematical entities exist forever, independent of human action and knowledge?

Chapter 11 "THE THICK MOMENT"

[5.7.96]

Daniel C. Dennett: Nick Humphrey is a great romantic scientist, which sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it isn't. Nick's early pioneering work in recording the firing of individual neurons in live animals, in cats, helped pave the way for work by the neuroscientists David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel. They got the 1981 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their work on such single-cell recordings in cats, but it was a technique that Nick had helped develop. Very typically, once he got the technique developed, he thought, "Well, I can spend the rest of my life doing this, or I can do something else. I don't see what the residual problems are." Of course, there were lots of problems, but at any rate, typical of Nick, he wanted to turn to other things as soon as he'd done that.

__________

NICHOLAS HUMPHREY is a psychologist; senior research fellow at Darwin College, Cambridge; author of Consciousness Regained (1983), The Inner Eye (1986), A History of the Mind (1992), and Leaps of Faith: Science, Miracles, and the Search for Supernatural Consolation (1996).

Nicholas Humphrey's Edge Bio Page

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