Posts Tagged 'Communication'

Human Satellites and Creative Extension – SERRC

This was a risky short paper in response to a provocative article by Russian philosopher Lyudmila A. Markova at the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective. The initial paper left out the ‘many worlds’ perspective, i.e. that human beings may perceive ourselves as living in a ‘human multiverse.’ I thought it would be helpful to add it as a brainstorming possibility. Quite openly, I ask for feedback from anyone with thoughts about it: “Do the satellites extend (as technologies, media, cognition) from human beings or are we all self-sustainable ‘worlds’ around which our satellites fly in a greater social epistemological multiverse?”

This is an on-going discussion related to extended mind and human extension, soon with a visit to the extended knowledge project.

http://social-epistemology.com/2014/02/23/human-satellites-and-creative-extension-gregory-sandstrom/

Continue reading ‘Human Satellites and Creative Extension – SERRC’

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Extending Knowledge and the Extended Mind – SERRC

This post duplicates a précis and audio interview published at the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective.

Audio available here: http://social-epistemology.com/2014/01/20/extending-knowledge-and-the-extended-mind-gregory-sandstrom/

This Echo Chamber [1] interview with Professors Georg Theiner and Orestis Palermos was conducted by SERRC member Gregory Sandstrom in Torún, Poland at the Avant – Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies conference on 9 November 2013.

The interview focuses on the Extended Mind Thesis (EMT [2]), that was featured in no less than six presentations at the conference. It starts by hearing about the historical contact by Theiner and Palermos with the EMT of Andy Clark and David Chalmers. The main topics of the interview are cognitive science, psychology, philosophy of mind, science and technology studies, epistemology and the relevance of the EMT in interdisciplinary collaboration.

Theiner mentions that he had some hesitations at first to the EMT, which he learned about in a presentation by Andy Clark. At the end of the talk, Clark brought up René Descartes’ view of trying to empower the human mind by ‘shrinking’ it into something immaterial; “to save it from materiality” instead of allowing it to be ‘extended.’ Yet Theiner believes that instead of shrinking our minds down to just the material level, it is rather the extension of our minds and cognition into the world, into the physical, social and cultural environment that makes human beings special.

On ‘the Character of’ (tCo) vs. ‘the Nature of’ (tNo) – A Social-Realist Account*

In a previous entry I wrote about ‘non-natural’ and ‘extra-natural’ things as if they pose a challenge to the phrase ‘the nature of’ (tNo). This perhaps needs some clarification, especially for those who have come to embrace the ideology of ‘naturalism’ and the view that there is nothing ‘real’ other than that which is ‘natural.’

Showing my position upfront, I admit that I am not an ideological ‘naturalist,’ nor am I a ‘naturalist’ in the sense of that being my professional occupation (as Charles Darwin was on the Beagle or David Attenborough is today). That is to say, there are (at least) two distinct meanings of ‘naturalist’: 1) as an ideology (i.e. ‘naturalism’), and 2) as an occupation or vocation (i.e. working as a ‘naturalist’). What this means is that my academic activities are focussed on things other than purely ‘nature,’ except for the rather ambiguous concept duo of ‘human nature,’ which is of course part of the human-social sciences and humanities.

This short message contends that one way to articulate the distinctiveness of the human-social sciences in contrast to the natural-physical sciences is to replace or substitute (or simply provide a suitable alternative to) the phrase ‘the nature of’ with the phrase ‘the character of’ (tCo). This linguistic move displays a ‘personalist’ instead of a ‘naturalist’ approach. But why should others adapt their language this way and for what purpose?

Continue reading ‘On ‘the Character of’ (tCo) vs. ‘the Nature of’ (tNo) – A Social-Realist Account*’

Big-ID and small-id – Why does it matter?

“I believe in intelligent design, lower case i and lower case d. But I have a problem with Intelligent Design, capital I and capital D. It is being sold increasingly as a political movement, as if somehow it is an alternative to Darwinian evolution.” – Owen Gingerich (God’s Universe. Cambridge: Belnap Press, 2006)

 I’m going to refer to this distinction here as Big-ID and small-id and support Gingerich’s position against the IDM.

A few months ago, over at the Blog ‘Uncommon Descent,’ a key Big-ID forum, one of the most outspoken critics of BioLogos and ‘theistic evolution’ and biggest defenders of ‘intelligent design’ theories, pseudo-named ‘Timaeus’ said this about what he called ‘big ID’ and ‘small id’:

“By ‘small id’ I meant any argument that infers design (not necessarily God, just design, though of course God could be the designer) from the facts of nature, whether it was written 2500 years ago or today. By ‘big ID’ I meant the formal organization of people sympathetic with such arguments into bodies such as the Discovery Institute and Uncommon Descent and more generally with prominent people such as Behe, Dembski, Wells, Meyer, Nelson. All ‘big ID’ people accept ‘small id’ arguments, but not all ‘small id’ sympathizers want anything to do with ‘big ID’ institutional activities.” – Timaeus (http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/biologos-claims-not-to-be-darwinist-after-all-and-its-not-april-1-either/#comment-422126)

Continue reading ‘Big-ID and small-id – Why does it matter?’

‘the Nature of’ – One of the Emptiest Phrases in the English Language

The purpose of this thread is to offer a communicative massage. The main questions are first, whether or not people think they need such a massage and second, whether they will allow them-self to be massaged communicatively by unknown ‘hands’ on the internet, i.e. by someone they don’t know and thus likely will find hard to immediately trust. Can I influence the way people speak and think simply by highlighting a feature of English language expression that often goes unnoticed or is taken for granted?

My opponent is the ideology of ‘naturalism.’ Why do I choose it as an opponent? Because I am a human-social scientist and don’t wish to accept the argument put forward by many naturalists that ‘social’ things are actually ‘natural’ simply by virtue of society being constructed out of our ‘human nature.’ I reject the ideology of naturalism for its encroachment on the sovereign territory of human-social sciences and their objects/subjects of study and argue that there is an alternative and more accurate way to discuss what naturalists actually mean in one particular phrase they commonly use.

The argument I would like to make here is so simple and straightforward that it will be easily accepted by some, while it will be immensely tough and thought as challenging to others, primarily those employed in natural-physical sciences. The main point is this: the phrase ‘the nature of’ is one of the emptiest in the English language.

Continue reading ‘‘the Nature of’ – One of the Emptiest Phrases in the English Language’


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E-mail: gregorisandstrom@yahoo.com

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