Brownian thought space

Cognitive science, mostly, but more a sometimes structured random walk about things.

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Chronically curious モ..

Friday, September 15, 2006

With Henry G

Henry asked the question I dread: why do I do the specific (scientific) things I do. I said because (a) sheer curiosity (b) historical accident and (c) a capability to do such stuff (rather, an incapacity to solve equations or spend large amounts of time traipsing in forests and such-like). Later at dinner he expanded on the theme: some people are like those that want to get to the south pole at any cost (like Judit)... others do not (me). But in either case, what is essential is a love for the subject; being careful that the "love" is not promiscuous :) Well, so there is, I think a first inkling of a response to why I do what I do: the deep love is in human nature, corny as that might sound...

Henry & EC Tolman

Henry told us a lovely quote from his mentor, Edward Tolman: "I now believe that anything of interest in human affairs (with the possible exception of language and the super-ego) can be understood by studying the behaviour of a rat at a choice-point in a maze". :)) Translated into contemporary language, the exceptions of course represents the two most puzzling and deeply human facets: language and morality. Another historical gem: According to Henry, as students, psychologists modeled themselves after physics. According to him, in retrospect, psychologists should have modeled themsleves after biologists instead: Darwin instead of Newton.

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