8/17/2013

Emotions and Reasoning reading group

Submitted by Errol Lord, Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosphy

The philosophy department will host an interdisciplinary reading group on Emotions and Reasoning. We will start by reading through Marvin Minsky's The Emotion Machine. Here is a blurb from the publisher:

[Minsky offers] a fascinating new model for how our minds work. He argues persuasively that emotions, intuitions, and feelings are not distinct things, but different ways of thinking.
 
By examining these different forms of mind activity, Minsky says, we can explain why our thought sometimes takes the form of carefully reasoned analysis and at other times turns to emotion. He shows how our minds progress from simple, instinctive kinds of thought to more complex forms, such as consciousness or self-awareness. And he argues that because we tend to see our thinking as fragmented, we fail to appreciate what powerful thinkers we really are. Indeed, says Minsky, if thinking can be understood as the step-by-step process that it is, then we can build machines -- artificial intelligences -- that not only can assist with our thinking by thinking as we do but have the potential to be as conscious as we are.

Further readings may include work in psychology, philosophy, economics, sociology and neuroscience, depending on the interests of the participants.  We are (tentatively) planning on meeting the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month from 4:40-5:40 pm (starting on September 10).

If you are interested in participating but can't make that time, let me know. If you are interested in coming, please let me know so I can get a sense of numbers (and perhaps to create a smaller mailing list). I hope to see you there!

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