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Lecture 1.docx

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New College
John Vervaeke

Lecture 1 Central theme: 2 Generation Cog Sci research is very similar to the Western arrival of Buddhism. Buddhism is changing! Cog Sci is changing too! One is at a confluence of events for the Next Big Idea in Cog Sci research. Why is this important? The Meaning Crisis. The emergence of cogsci progress is to find a strong response to the Meaning Crisis. What is the Meaning crisis? A societal and personal loss of connection with the world. Brought on by the disproval of the Aristotelian worldview. John says it is a relevance crisis. -How do we know the world? How do we know the mind? How do they interact? What is Aristotle’s worldview? It is the Conformity (consisting of forms) Theory. Q: What is knowledge? A: How to cause something to be Example: Who knows what a chair is? Everybody. Who knows how to make a chair? Only the very knowledgeable. A chair “master” has to the knowledge to create chairs. So an amateur does not have structured ideas about how to take wood and make that chair. The master would have intelligible ideas, ideas strong enough to actualize the chair. Those intelligible ideas are the Platonic forms. Form: an object that is the same in both the mind and in reality. Plato. To con-form means the mind and reality are unity. Q: are you conformed to reality? How do you know? 3 epistemological checks: -is your sensory organ malfunctioning? Eyes, ears, mind (also sensory) -Is there distortion in the image reception? Noise, fog, crowded -Are people seeing what I’m seeing? Let’s apply the 3 checks to the idea: the Earth is centre of the universe. We are standing still and celestial objects are revolving around us -We see it clearly -No distortion, it happens in cycles -Everyone sees the same thing: we are in the middle To think of Earth an centered universe gives a humanistic purpose. Everything revolves in its own predetermined way. This worldview was absorbed by the Catholic church. Both of them have predeterministic themes. Combining Biblical NARRATIVE and Aristotle’s WORLDVIEW of human centrality. Gives a strong sense of understanding of who we metaphysically are. //Cosmos: from Greek, a beautiful and ordered place //Universe: from Latin, a unified place However, this stable worldview is collapsible. Because Europeans start sailing the world navigating by stars, stars are studied in more detail. -How come Mars makes a loop? That’s impossible in a geocentric world. Understand that geocentric universe is an EMPIRICAL understanding: we see it plainly. Why even question it? Copernicus says: the math of celestial orbit makes more sense in a heliocentric world. Everyone is being deceived. This abstract idea of sun in the ce
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