Zombie Philosophy

Bakker (snipped from a crucial post):

There will always be speculation — science is our only reliable provender of theoretical cognition, after all. The question of the death of philosophy cannot be the question of the death of theoretical speculation. The death of philosophy as I see it is the death of a particular institution, a discourse anchored in the tradition of using intentional idioms and metacognitive deliverances to provide theoretical solutions. I think science is killing that philosophy as we speak.

Once philosophy has been completely de-vitalized, compliance with its true vocation can begin …

Underlinings (#30)

Struggling here not to read this as a horror story:

Kim Ung-yong is a 48-year-old former child-prodigy who pushed the envelope on IQ at 210, getting a mention on the Guinness Book of World Records. But his life has been anything but “genius”. He’s had a pretty ordinary life. Still, he considers himself a success despite the lack of telltale (extraordinary) material or academic trappings.

He displayed amazing feats of intelligence shortly after his birth: speaking at four months, conversing fluently by six months, reading Korean, Japanese, German and English by 24 months. And by the time he was at the pre-school age of four, he was a celebrity solving complex calculus problems on Japanese television. Even in early childhood, he began to write poetry and was an amazing painter. Kim was a guest student of physics at Hanyang University from the age of three until he was six. […] At the age of eight, the child was invited by America’s NASA and conducted research work for 10 years. He also received a Ph.D in physics at Colorado State University. But by 1978, he was burnt out and returned to his homeland. He surprised everyone by switching to civil engineering and later chose to work in a business planning department at Chungbuk Development Corporation.

The Korean media soon denounced him a “failed genius”. […] But for so-called failed genius Kim Ung-yong, his life is anything but a failure. He’s happy to be an ordinary company worker, he said. He’s happy with his station in life and exactly the way he is. […] “Apparently, the media belittled the fact that I chose to work in a business planning department at Chungbuk Development Corporation,” Kim said regrettably. …

210 (!) — An intellect like that squandered just to make a qabbalistic point?

Underlinings (#29)


There’s a range, in other words. You don’t need anywhere near a complete brain to function in modern society (in fact, there are many obvious cases in which having a complete brain seems to be an actual disadvantage). And in a basic survival sense, the ability to write and appreciate the music of Jethro Tull and do other “civilised” things aren’t really that important anyway. […] So now I’m thinking, tewwowist virus: something engineered to take out higher brain functions while leaving the primitive stuff intact. Something that eats away at your cognitive faculties and lets your inner reptile off the leash, something that strips your topheavy mind down to its essentials, something that speeds your reflexes and cranks your vision even as it takes the light from your eyes. […] I’m thinking zombies. …

(The lead in is just as ‘good’.)



Back in January, Al Fin found this gem:

A growing body of research has identified the presence of multiple brain networks supporting human behavior. These networks include a salience network involving dorsal anterior cingulate and anterior insula regions thought to be relevant to attending to survival-relevant events in the environment; a central executive network (CEN) consisting of regions in the middle and inferior prefrontal and parietal cortices engaged by many higher level cognitive tasks and thought to be involved in adaptive cognitive control; and a default mode network (DMN) consisting of regions in medial frontal cortex and posterior cingulate, among others, that reliably reduce their activity during active cognitive demands and which may be involved in attention to internal emotional states or self-referential processing.

His gloss:

The model of 3 interacting brain networks — the Default Mode Network (mind wandering), the Salience Network (taking note of change or something of possible import), and the Central Executive Network (on-task focusing of attention) …

Meandering, (opportunistic) attention, and (focused) application — the three neural modes of temporalization.