The Kekule Problem: Language and Consciousness

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  • 29 Mar 2017 at 11:55 am #8948

    Rick Wallach
    Keymaster

    In anticipation of Cormac McCarthy’s forthcoming article in Nautilus magazine, we’ve set up this thread for discussion of the piece. This should be interessin’ stuff.


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    29 Mar 2017 at 2:36 pm #8949

    mff9200
    Member

    Ordered a copy last night. Anyone know when we should be expecting it in the mail box?


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    29 Mar 2017 at 2:45 pm #8950

    Richard L.
    Member

    See
    Image and Reality: Kekulé, Kopp, and the Scientific Imagination
    by Alan J. Rocke (2010).

    Back then, we took the existence of atoms only on faith, which went against the scientific method. Today, we take much of quantum mechanics on faith. We only know that its predictions work, as far as we have been able to check them scientifically. It also predicts the multiverse and such things as the superpositioning of choice, or at least many scientists believe that it does.

    McCarthy’s take will likely include….what? Will he simply quote others or will he give us some of his own intuition or dreams? Either way, any way, this is going to be very interesting.


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    29 Mar 2017 at 3:57 pm #8951

    Glass
    Member

    Didn’t McCarthy mention the Kekule dream or some other famous scientific discovery via dreaming in one of the published interviews or maybe on Oprah? Sounds familiar for some reason.


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    29 Mar 2017 at 4:54 pm #8952

    mother_he
    Member

    Glass, here’s the relevant portion:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qidyx3oXqpY

    “It’s that brain thing again!” – Oprah Winfrey


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    29 Mar 2017 at 5:18 pm #8953

    Glass
    Member

    Many thanks, mother_he! Love the “brain thing” quote and Oprah’s perpetual astonishment throughout the segment.


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    29 Mar 2017 at 5:36 pm #8954

    DarlBundren
    Member

    I wish international shipping weren’t so expensive 🙁


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    29 Mar 2017 at 5:45 pm #8956

    mother_he
    Member

    They didn’t charge me for shipping to Alaska, which is a huge breach of price-gouging protocol. Highly appreciated, Nautilus.


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    30 Mar 2017 at 8:34 pm #8959

    wesmorgan
    Participant

    If I might, I would like to offer a couple of observations. The “committee” that McCarthy mentions in the early portion of the Oprah (2007) interview linked to above likely derived from a quotation from Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck: “It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” And the “mathematician at MIT” refers to Donald J. Newman.

    The phrase “the committee of sleep” was also taken as the title of a (2001) book by Deirdre Barrett. [Dr. Barrett was a quite talented graduate student in one of my classes in the late 70s.] She also wrote a relevant article “Answers in your dreams” which appeared in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of Scientific American Mind, pp. 26-33. In that paper, in addition to relating a number of interesting anecdotes, she tells the following story:

    “Shortly after my book The Committee of Sleep was published in 2001, I heard Newman recount his story on a PBS show about John Nash and the film A Beautiful Mind. A year later I was unexpectedly seated next to Nash at a dinner party. I asked him about the incident, which he remembered well. ‘Don actually included a footnote thanking me in the paper,’ Nash chuckled, ‘and he kept acting grateful, like I’d actually helped him when it was his dream.’”

    So those of us searching for the paper coauthored by Donald Newman and John Nash are likely to be unsuccessful.


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    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  wesmorgan.
    30 Mar 2017 at 9:59 pm #8960

    mother_he
    Member

    Barrett paper:
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/241609121_Answers_in_Your_Dreams


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    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  mother_he.
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