London: Understanding One Another, Saturday 18 July

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Richard Baron
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London: Understanding One Another, Saturday 18 July

Post by Richard Baron » Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:34 pm

On Saturday 18 July, from 2 to 5 pm, there will be a Philosophy for All debate on this topic. (We call these events debates, but rather than have a motion and speakers pro and con, someone (me this time) introduces the topic and then facilitates a discussion. All are welcome to speak, but no-one is obliged to speak.) It will be at the Mary Ward Centre on the south side of Queen Square, London WC1. The event is free and open to all.

The announcement on the PFA website is here:

http://www.pfalondon.org/debate.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Outline

We get on well enough with one another. We explain what people do in terms of their reasons, desires and inclinations. Sometimes we manage to predict what others will do. Do we understand other people by having a theory about how they think or by having empathy? Is psychological understanding completely different from scientific explanation? Is it a miracle that accounts of what people do in terms of their reasons match up with explanations in terms of brain processes? And could we have a psychological understanding of Martians?

Possible topics

(There will be a handout with this list. We may or may not stick to the list.)

The intentional stance

Character + desires + factual knowledge → action

Sophistication: first-order and higher-order desires

Any role for what it feels like to be human?

Theory theory and simulationism

Learning, having and using a theory of mind

Simulationism and empathy

Developing and transmitting our understanding

Psychology and neurons

The coincidence problem

Reasons and causes

Psychological understanding and scientific explanation

Making sense v contrastive explanation

The challenge of Martians

The principles of charity and of humanity

Finding the right intentional stance

Rachel A
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Location: Troy, NY USA

Re: London: Understanding One Another, Saturday 18 July

Post by Rachel A » Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:21 pm

Darn it, wish I could attend this one!! Sigh. :cry:

duszek
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Re: London: Understanding One Another, Saturday 18 July

Post by duszek » Sun Jul 12, 2009 5:19 pm

I think that understanding someone is a very complex procedure, which goes on mostly intuitively or unconsciously.
The tone of the voice may be crucial, depending on the act of speech.
That is why employers do not employ people just after reading the application. They usually want to talk to the applicant in order to get an "impression".

jetsetjason
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Re: London: Understanding One Another, Saturday 18 July

Post by jetsetjason » Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:16 pm

I think we are chaotic systems and hence we can not totally understand each other, but we can co-operate for mutual benefit.

Also, we get lonely, well,some of us do, which makes me think, we are designed to live in tribes.

Have a poem....

http://poemhunter.com/poem/solitude-123/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

duszek
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Re: London: Understanding One Another, Saturday 18 July

Post by duszek » Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:26 pm

Nice poem, Mr. Palmer. :)

On the other hand, even the clumsiest piece of prose can sound very poetic in certain circumstances. I do not know exactly why, but it does for sure.
Anything can sound like poetry if you are in the right mood.
But you could also be over-interpreting.

jetsetjason
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Re: London: Understanding One Another, Saturday 18 July

Post by jetsetjason » Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:40 am

I wrote the poem recently, from experience, and not to celebrate the debate at the Mary Ward centre, but your right, a poem can have different resonance, depending on delivery method, accent, location,timing etc.

... perhaps we try to understand one another for advantage, but, have to contend with trying, due to the background noise of a chaotic world, with far too many variables ?

duszek
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Re: London: Understanding One Another, Saturday 18 July

Post by duszek » Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:18 pm

I wanted to say before that not only your poem sounded poetic to me, but also, and quite as much, your post finishing with the words: Have a poem ...

(I did not consider it clumsy though.)

I am not sure to know very welll what poetry is.
The opposite would probably be "stupid talk for hours".
Poetry is concise, isn´t it ?

duszek
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Re: London: Understanding One Another, Saturday 18 July

Post by duszek » Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:54 pm

And also a pop song can express something .... poetic ?
I hear one now, an old one, coming to me from next door.
I do not understand the lyrics, just pieces of it, but the feeling behind it comes across, subconsciously.
It´s like the tone of the voice.
The words do not matter as such, only as decoration.
The melody does.
And the performance of course.

jetsetjason
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Re: London: Understanding One Another, Saturday 18 July

Post by jetsetjason » Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:30 am

A few people say I sometimes write like a poet, and a friend once said I had the soul of one, I thought it all tosh, and then, when sat in the lake district,composed a poem ( coniston peace ) that is now to be published in a Journal about John Ruskin.

http://www.poemhunter.com/jason-palmer/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.oscholars.com/Ruskin/index.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Perhaps I read too many poems, saw too many poets at the covent garden poetry cafe and my mind got to work,without I knowing it....

http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Or... I have 'factor x' as colin wilson would call it ?

http://colinwilsonworld.co.uk/default.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Who knows, but, I must say, it is all most interesting :)

Nikolai
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Re: London: Understanding One Another, Saturday 18 July

Post by Nikolai » Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:40 pm

I love your poem Coniston Peace!!!!

A few years ago I was living skint in Manchester and I was reading Unto This Last and got so enthused that I decided to get in my car and zoom up to Brantwood. In many ways your poem reminds me of the day I spent there. Rusking was rum in some ways, but I agree entirely that we should have listened to him and not to Adam Smith.

Only problem was, I ran out of fuel on the way home and had to get a RAC man to tow me to the garage.

People hardly read Ruskin nowadays and they should, should, should!!

1804
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Re: London: Understanding One Another, Saturday 18 July

Post by 1804 » Tue Jul 14, 2009 5:54 pm

I am going to be in london at the time. I've never been to a philosophy group or meeting in London before. I'd love to come along. I'm a bit scared as I don't know what will happen, also, philosophy of mind isn't really my area. I've done a bit of metaethics though...

Richard Baron
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Re: London: Understanding One Another, Saturday 18 July

Post by Richard Baron » Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:19 pm

Hi 1804

These Saturday afternoon debates work like this.

We run from 2 pm to 5 pm, and take a break from about 3.30 to about 3.45.

Everyone will be given the handout that I posted at the beginning of this thread. I speak for ten minutes or so, introducing the subject and highlighting some of the areas where there are philosophical issues.

Then people join in the discussion, I respond to points made and point out where things that people have said raise interesting issues, and we take more contributions. So it is more like a big seminar than a debate.

We may or may not stick closely to the topics on the handout. If the discussion develops in an interesting new direction, we'll take that direction.

No-one gets picked on. If you don't put your hand up, I won't invite you to speak. But if you do, I will. And it's fine to ask for points to be clarified. If something puzzles you, it probably puzzles half of the people in the room.

jetsetjason
Posts: 107
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Re: London: Understanding One Another, Saturday 18 July

Post by jetsetjason » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:47 am

Nikolai wrote:I love your poem Coniston Peace!!!!

A few years ago I was living skint in Manchester and I was reading Unto This Last and got so enthused that I decided to get in my car and zoom up to Brantwood. In many ways your poem reminds me of the day I spent there. Rusking was rum in some ways, but I agree entirely that we should have listened to him and not to Adam Smith.

Only problem was, I ran out of fuel on the way home and had to get a RAC man to tow me to the garage.

People hardly read Ruskin nowadays and they should, should, should!!
All the best people like my poems ! :)

duszek
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Re: London: Understanding One Another, Saturday 18 July

Post by duszek » Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:27 pm

I go more or less regularly to a discussion group, which is not necessrily a philosophical one, but sometimes the topics sound philosophical. At least, they are always controversial.
People usually want to say much more than they are allowed to. Many stretch their hands in vain.
Some just speak without being given permission, because what they want to say fits in at a given moment, according to them.
It is an excellent leisure activity.
And it is also an excellent training for the emotional intelligence, because each contribution is an expression of the speaker´s personality in a unique moment "in the history of the world" and so you can learn subconsciously about the emotions of your brethren and increase your general experience of "human nature".

mhoraine
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Re: London: Understanding One Another, Saturday 18 July

Post by mhoraine » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:47 pm

Richard Baron wrote:
These Saturday afternoon debates work like this. We run from 2 pm to 5 pm, and take a break from about 3.30 to about 3.45.

Everyone will be given the handout that I posted at the beginning of this thread. I speak for ten minutes or so, introducing the subject and highlighting some of the areas where there are philosophical issues.

Then people join in the discussion, I respond to points made and point out where things that people have said raise interesting issues, and we take more contributions. So it is more like a big seminar than a debate.

We may or may not stick closely to the topics on the handout. If the discussion develops in an interesting new direction, we'll take that direction.

No-one gets picked on. If you don't put your hand up, I won't invite you to speak. But if you do, I will. And it's fine to ask for points to be clarified. If something puzzles you, it probably puzzles half of the people in the room.
This sounds like an excellent model for debate/discussion for the PN forum. Here, we would have more time to consider the topics. If people get fired up with enthusiasm for a particular philo issue, then they could steam ahead to a new thread ?

Whaddyathink ?

M.

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