Posts Tagged ‘ Patricia Churchland ’

Summing up

Oct 1st, 2011 4:56 pm | By

In the final chapter of Braintrust, “Religion and Morality,” Patricia Churchland is doing an exegesis of The Euthyphro.

The pattern of questioning strongly hints, however, that whatever it is that makes something good or just or right is rooted in the nature of humans and the society we make, not in the nature of the gods we invent. There is something about the facts concerning human needs and human nature that entails that some social practices are better than others, that some human behavior cannot be tolerated, and that some forms of punishment are needed. [p 196]

That second sentence makes a nice summing up of the book, and it’s also what Sam Harris was trying to say … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

No one ever talked to me for more than a minute

Sep 23rd, 2011 4:57 pm | By

About appearing Normal, and being different (or not), and independence – Patricia Churchland has a telling little illustrative story in Braintrust. In a section of chapter 6, “Skills for a Social Life,” she discusses mimicry as a social capacity – it’s reassuring because it makes prediction easier.

As social sizing up develops over a few minutes, assuming I got the preliminary signals I needed, I may be motivated to reassure you. So I play my part in mimicry so that you do not start anxiously watching me, making me even more uncomfortable. [p 160]

There’s an endnote there. It’s the illustrative story. When she was a grad student in Oxford she was expected to go to the sherry parties


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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)