It is easy to think of a regularity as a platonic ideal, an eternal form that regulates a particular phenomenon or process. However, the platonic regularity is not the view I have in mind. In fact, a regularity is a pattern that regulates the response of an organism to its surroundings in the here and … Read more Understanding Regularities 5: Regular Gestalts
1. Introduction. Emotions are everywhere, or so it seems. Antonio Damasio talks about the importance of emotion for reason. Martha Nussbaum talks about the importance of reason for emotion. Yet, there are reasons to think that emotions are the most private, the most inner of our experiences. A pain or a colour can be pointed … Read more A Room of One’s Own: The Where of Emotions
The last fifty years have seen a great expansion of our knowledge of the mind/brain and it relationship to the external world. Significant advances have been made on the experimental front, in areas as diverse as Psychophysics, Neurophysiology and Cognitive Psychology. However, the corresponding advances in theory have not materialized. Some of the disciplines within … Read more Cognitive Regularities 2: Perceptual explanations
The Inner-Outer dyad is a regularity that shows its trace in many domains of human thought and action. Many fields of inquiry base themselves on a cognitive core involving a mapping between the microcosm and the macrocosm. Consider mystical traditions: despite their different emphases, the unitive experiences of Jewish, Islamic, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist provenance … Read more Understanding Regularities 5: Inner Space and Outer Space
The idea of a primeval order or design is central to Indo European cultures — it is there in the Rig-Vedic corpus in the notion of Rta, and it is there in Plato when he talks about ideas. Someone like Thomas McEvilley would argue that these notions have circulated within the ancient world for a long time. … Read more Understanding Regularities 4: Some more groping.
This piece is part of an ongoing response to Amartya Sen’s book that continues the discussion of reason, emotion and ethics from the seminar I taught last year. Introduction. Amartya Sen’s “The Idea of Justice” (IOJ from now on) is arguably the most awaited and critically acclaimed work of ethics of the twenty first century. … Read more Doing Justice to an Idea
There are two ways of understanding the physical world. The first is a view from “nowhere,” a God’s eye view of the world. Physics, for the most part, has taken this line of understanding. However, it is also possible to describe the physical world from a particular perspective, that of an ant or an elephant. … Read more Understanding Regularities 3: Groping Toward a Definition
Perception and cognition are traditionally considered as sources of knowledge. Consider the opening paragraph of Marr’s book on Vision (Marr 1982), which says “Vision is the process of discovering from images what is present in the world, and where it is.” According to Marr, the role of vision is to acquire knowledge about the geometric … Read more Cognitive Regularities 2