Tuesday, September 09, 2008

GSU Neurophilosophy

I am pleased to announce the Fall season of the Neurophilosophy Brown
Bag Lunch Series. We have a terrific line-up (see below). You can find
further information, and a pdf flier for the series, here:
Mark your calendars and join us!
Andrea Scarantino

Neurophilosophy Brown-Bag Lunch Series Fall 2008

All talks will take place in the Philosophy Department at Georgia State
University, 34 Peachtree St., 11th floor. Feel free to bring your lunch.

Friday, September 19, 12:45-2:30 pm

Lawrence W. Barsalou (Department of Psychology, Emory University,

Grounding Knowledge in the Brain's Modal Systems

Abstract: The human conceptual system contains categorical knowledge
that supports online processing (perception, categorization, inference,
action) and offline processing (memory, language, thought). Semantic
memory, the dominant theory, typically portrays the conceptual system as
modular and amodal. According to this view, amodal symbols represent
category knowledge in a modular system, separate from the brain*s
modal systems for perception, action, and introspection (e.g., affect,
mental states). Alternatively, the conceptual system can be viewed as
non-modular and modal, sharing representational mechanisms with the
brain*s modal systems. On a given occasion, multimodal information
about a category's members is reenacted (simulated) across relevant
modalities to represent it conceptually. Behavioral and neural evidence
is presented showing that modal simulations contribute to the
representation of object categories, abstract categories, and to the
symbolic operations of predication and conceptual combination. Although
simulation plays important roles in the conceptual system, linguistic
processes are important as well. Additional behavioral and neural
evidence is presented showing that simulation and language contribute to
conceptual processing simultaneously. Furthermore, either system can
dominate under different task conditions, such that different profiles
of conceptual processing emerge.

Friday, October 31, 12:00-1:30 pm

Lindley Darden (Department of Philosophy, University of Maryland,
College Park, http://www.philosophy.umd.edu/Faculty/LDarden/)

Reasoning in Scientific Discovery: Strategies for Discovering

Abstract: Biologists often work to discover mechanisms. A new analysis
of what mechanisms are aids in finding reasoning strategies for their
discovery. Abstract schemas for mechanisms often play the roles of
theories in biology--providing explanations, predictions, and guiding
experimentation. Reasoning in discovery is analyzed via reasoning
strategies for constructing, evaluating, and revising mechanism
schemas. These strategies are based on work in history and philosophy
of science, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science.

Friday, November 21, 12:00-1:30 pm

Liane Young (Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences, MIT,

How the brain makes up the moral mind: The neuroscience of mental
state reasoning in moral judgment

Abstract: What can neuroscience tell us about morality? While
neuroscience can't determine whether our moral judgments are right or wrong, neuroscience
can show us the processes that support moral judgments - and in so
doing reveal whether we are right or wrong when we introspect on how
we make those judgments. In this talk, we'll look at (1) patterns of
brain activation in healthy adults making moral judgments, (2) moral
judgments of healthy adults with "virtual lesions" to specific brain
regions due to transcranial magnetic stimulation, and (3) moral
judgments of patient populations with specific cognitive deficits.
We'll focus on the challenge of forgiveness, and discuss implications
for moral philosophy.

Andrea Scarantino
Assistant Professor
Department of Philosophy
Neuroscience Institute
Georgia State University
P.O. Box 4089
Atlanta, GA 30302-4089

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