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Friday, March 16, 2007

Visit to Churchland...

This morning's podcast "workout" involved one hour with the Churchlands -- Paul and Patricia -- on the March 12 broadcast of On Point. (Having made negative remarks about Lydon in a previous post, I have to admit that OnPoint's Tom Ashbrook is better at that "prodding" business, and he seems to "get it" more often.)

The discussion with the Churchlands was a follow-up to a New Yorker profile and proved interesting at first, but by the end of the show they seemed both (1) a bit extreme in their position on the value of neurophilosophy; and (2) a bit too indifferent to the empirically obvious impact of culture and social factors in shaping human behavior. Although he was on for just a brief time, Colin McGinn did a good job of raising some issues -- but I think it would have been more productive to have on someone like Daniel Dennett whose views on consciousness are a bit more interesting.

In any case, the discussion was in stark contrast with my reading of Sennett, where I am learning a good deal more about the nature of character and respect and the role of guilt and shame in shaping both. More on that soon....


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