Metamagical Themas

Questing For The Essence Of Mind And Pattern

Author: Douglas Hofstadter

Publisher: Hachette UK

ISBN: 0786723866

Category: Psychology

Page: 880

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Hofstadter's collection of quirky essays is unified by its primary concern: to examine the way people perceive and think.
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Sacred Pain

Hurting the Body for the Sake of the Soul

Author: Ariel Glucklich

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198030409

Category: Religion

Page: 288

View: 3875

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Why would anyone seek out the very experience the rest of us most wish to avoid? Why would religious worshipers flog or crucify themselves, sleep on spikes, hang suspended by their flesh, or walk for miles through scorching deserts with bare and bloodied feet? In this insightful new book, Ariel Glucklich argues that the experience of ritual pain, far from being a form of a madness or superstition, contains a hidden rationality and can bring about a profound transformation of the consciousness and identity of the spiritual seeker. Steering a course between purely cultural and purely biological explanations, Glucklich approaches sacred pain from the perspective of the practitioner to fully examine the psychological and spiritual effects of self-hurting. He discusses the scientific understanding of pain, drawing on research in fields such as neuropsychology and neurology. He also ranges over a broad spectrum of historical and cultural contexts, showing the many ways mystics, saints, pilgrims, mourners, shamans, Taoists, Muslims, Hindus, Native Americans, and indeed members of virtually every religion have used pain to achieve a greater identification with God. He examines how pain has served as a punishment for sin, a cure for disease, a weapon against the body and its desires, or a means by which the ego may be transcended and spiritual sickness healed. "When pain transgresses the limits," the Muslim mystic Mizra Asadullah Ghalib is quoted as saying, "it becomes medicine." Based on extensive research and written with both empathy and critical insight, Sacred Pain explores the uncharted inner terrain of self-hurting and reveals how meaningful suffering has been used to heal the human spirit.
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Artificial Intelligence

Critical Concepts

Author: Ronald Chrisley,Sander Begeer

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

ISBN: 9780415193320

Category: Artificial intelligence

Page: 500

View: 9166

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The Age of Spiritual Machines

When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence

Author: Ray Kurzweil

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 9781101077887

Category: Computers

Page: 400

View: 7841

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Ray Kurzweil is the inventor of the most innovative and compelling technology of our era, an international authority on artificial intelligence, and one of our greatest living visionaries. Now he offers a framework for envisioning the twenty-first century--an age in which the marriage of human sensitivity and artificial intelligence fundamentally alters and improves the way we live. Kurzweil's prophetic blueprint for the future takes us through the advances that inexorably result in computers exceeding the memory capacity and computational ability of the human brain by the year 2020 (with human-level capabilities not far behind); in relationships with automated personalities who will be our teachers, companions, and lovers; and in information fed straight into our brains along direct neural pathways. Optimistic and challenging, thought-provoking and engaging, The Age of Spiritual Machines is the ultimate guide on our road into the next century. From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Hidden in Plain Sight

The Social Structure of Irrelevance

Author: Eviatar Zerubavel

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199366632

Category: Social Science

Page: 208

View: 4659

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Many of us take for granted that what we perceive is a completely accurate representation of the world around us. Yet we have all had the experience of suddenly realizing that the keys or glasses that we had been looking for in vain were right in front of us the whole time. The capacity of our sense organs far exceeds our mental capabilities, and as such, looking at something does not guarantee that we will notice it. Our minds constantly prioritize and organize the information we take in, bringing certain things to the foreground, while letting others - that which we deem irrelevant - recede into the background. What ultimately determines what we perceive, and what we do not? In this fascinating book, noted sociologist Eviatar Zerubavel argues that we perceive things not just as human beings but as social beings. Drawing on fascinating examples from science, the art world, optical illusions, and all walks of life, he shows that what we notice or ignore varies across cultures and throughout history, and illustrates how our environment and our social lives - everything from our lifestyles to our professions to our nationalities - play a role in determining how we actually use our senses to access the world. A subtle yet powerful examination of one of the central features of our conscious life, this book offers a way to think about all that might otherwise remain hidden in plain sight.
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Rationality + Consciousness = Free Will

Author: David Hodgson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190208600

Category: Philosophy

Page: 288

View: 4108

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In recent years, philosophical discussions of free will have focused largely on whether or not free will is compatible with determinism. In this challenging book, David Hodgson takes a fresh approach to the question of free will, contending that close consideration of human rationality and human consciousness shows that together they give us free will, in a robust and indeterministic sense. In particular, they give us the capacity to respond appositely to feature-rich gestalts of conscious experiences, in ways that are not wholly determined by laws of nature or computational rules. The author contends that this approach is consistent with what science tells us about the world; and he considers its implications for our responsibility for our own conduct, for the role of retribution in criminal punishment, and for the place of human beings in the wider scheme of things. Praise for David Hodgson's previous work, The Mind Matters "magisterial...It is balanced, extraordinarily thorough and scrupulously fair-minded; and it is written in clear, straightforward, accessible prose." --Michael Lockwood, Times Literary Supplement "an excellent contribution to the literature. It is well written, authoritative, and wonderfully wide-ranging. ... This account of quantum theory ... will surely be of great value. ... On the front cover of the paper edition of this book Paul Davies is quoted as saying that this is "a truly splendid and provocative book". In writing this review I have allowed myself to be provoked, but I am happy to close by giving my endorsement to this verdict in its entirety!" --Euan Squires, Journal of Consciousness Studies "well argued and extremely important book." --Sheena Meredith, New Scientist "His reconstructions and explanations are always concise and clear." --Jeffrey A Barrett, The Philosophical Review "In this large-scale and ambitious work Hodgson attacks a modern orthodoxy. Both its proponents and its opponents will find it compelling reading." --J. R. Lucas, Merton College, Oxford
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Philosophy of Biology

Author: Brian Garvey

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317493664

Category: Philosophy

Page: 320

View: 3384

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This major new series in the philosophy of science aims to provide a new generation of textbooks for the subject. The series will not only offer fresh treatments of core topics in the theory and methodology of scientific knowledge, but also introductions to newer areas of the discipline. Furthermore, the series will cover topics in current science that raise significant foundational issues both for scientific theory and for philosophy more generally. Biology raises distinct questions of its own not only for philosophy of science, but for metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. This comprehensive new textbook for a rapidly growing field of study provides students new to the subject with an up-to-date presentation of the key philosophical issues. Care is taken throughout to keep the technicalities accessible to the non-biologist but without sacrificing the philosophical subtleties. The first part of the book covers the philosophical challenges posed by evolution and evolutionary biology, beginning with Darwin's central argument in the Origin of the Species. Individual chapters cover natural selection, the selfish gene, alternative units of selection, developmental systems theory, adaptionism and issues in macroevolution. The second part of the book examines philosophical questions arising in connection with biological traits, function, nature and nurture, and biological kinds. The third part of the book examines metaphysical questions, biology's relation with the traditional concerns of philosophy of science, and how evolution has been introduced into epistemological debates. The final part considers the relevance of biology to questions about ethics, religion and human nature.
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Artificial Intelligence and Literary Creativity

Inside the Mind of Brutus, A Storytelling Machine

Author: Selmer Bringsjord,David Ferrucci

Publisher: Psychology Press

ISBN: 1135692459

Category: Psychology

Page: 262

View: 9881

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Is human creativity a wall that AI can never scale? Many people are happy to admit that experts in many domains can be matched by either knowledge-based or sub-symbolic systems, but even some AI researchers harbor the hope that when it comes to feats of sheer brilliance, mind over machine is an unalterable fact. In this book, the authors push AI toward a time when machines can autonomously write not just humdrum stories of the sort seen for years in AI, but first-rate fiction thought to be the province of human genius. It reports on five years of effort devoted to building a story generator--the BRUTUS.1 system. This book was written for three general reasons. The first theoretical reason for investing time, money, and talent in the quest for a truly creative machine is to work toward an answer to the question of whether we ourselves are machines. The second theoretical reason is to silence those who believe that logic is forever closed off from the emotional world of creativity. The practical rationale for this endeavor, and the third reason, is that machines able to work alongside humans in arenas calling for creativity will have incalculable worth.
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Writing to Learn

How to Write - and Think - Clearly About Any Subject at All

Author: William Zinsser

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 0062244698

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 272

View: 484

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This is an essential book for everyone who wants to write clearly about any subject and use writing as a means of learning.
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