Sunday, October 26, 2003

I have a little time and chance gives my my subject:
Read Chris Bertram on why he likes this quote from Colin McGinn.

The metaphor that best captures my experience with both philosophy and sport is soaring: pole vaulting, gymnastics and windsurfing clearly demonstrate it, but the intellectual highwire act involved in full-throttle philosophical thinking gives me a similar sensation - as if I have taken flight, leaving gravity behind. It is almost like sloughing off mortality. (Plato indeed thought that acquiring abstract knowledge is a return to the prenatal state of the immortal soul.) There is also an impressiveness to these physical and mental skills that appeals to me - they evoke the “wow” reflex. Showing off is an integral part of their exercise; but as I said earlier, I don’t have any objection to showing off. In any case, there is not, for me, the discontinuity between sports and intellectual activities that is often assumed. It is not that you must either be a nerd or a jock; you can be both. It has never surprised me that the ancient Greeks combined a reverence for the mind with a love of sports: both involve an appreciation of the beauties of technique skilfully applied. And both place a high premium on getting it right - exactly right.

One thing here should be obvious to anyone who considers himself either thoughtful or observant. And that is that unlike philosophers and scientists, artists and athletes are more interested in being good than 'right.' Sport is skill. And even allowing for the comparison of athletics to intellect, there's no such thing as "exactly right" when you're competing against another human being. There is no strategy without context

"There's a Sucker Born in Every Medial Prefrontal Cortex" The NY Times Magazine

Measuring brand influence might seem like an unusual activity for a neuroscientist, but Montague is just one of a growing breed of researchers who are applying the methods of the neurology lab to the questions of the advertising world. Some of these researchers, like Montague, are purely academic in focus, studying the consumer mind out of intellectual curiosity, with no corporate support. Increasingly, though, there are others -- like several of the researchers at the Mind of the Market Laboratory at Harvard Business School -- who work as full-fledged ''neuromarketers,'' conducting brain research with the help of corporate financing and sharing their results with their sponsors. .

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