Not School Digest Jan 2013: A Bonus Quasisode

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Excerpts of discussions about Deleuze & Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, an article on emergence called “More Is Different” by Nobel Prize Winning physicist P.W. Anderson, John Searle’s Mind: A Brief Introduction, and Italo Calvino’s trippy science fantasy novel Cosmicomics.

How does the world fit together, with its different layers of organization, each with its different science? What’s the relationship between lower layers like particle physics, and biology, and consciousness? Are the higher layers all reducible to the lower ones, or what? What about the different epochs where these layers were built up through cosmological and biological evolution of various sorts? All these discussions strangely fit together around this same ground explored a bit in our recent David Chalmers and Carnap episodes, with Anderson claiming that you can’t even given infinite computing power predict the behavior of a higher level given a lower, John Searle claiming that the mental is causally but not ontologically reducible to the physical (and don’t you dare call him a property dualist!), Deleuze putting forth a whole new metaphor (the “rhizome!”) for thinking about these multiplicities instead of “layers,” and Calvino putting us in the shoes of a cosmic being named Qfwfq who lives and loves through the progression through history all the way back to before the existence of space and matter.

Read more and sign up at www.partiallyexaminedlife.com/pel-not-school-introduction. This will give you access to the full-length (ca. 90 min) recordings of these, plus lots of supporting forum posts on these readings. All of these groups and many more will be available for you to join as well. Jump in and propose a cooperative learning effort yourself!

If you’re already a member or just don’t have time, you can make a targeted donation to buy a spot for someone else who’s hard up for cash. Correlatively, if you’re in need of a not-scholarship, we’ll be giving out a few every month, so tell us who you are and what you’ll bring to the discussion.

We’re posting these quasisodes to the full blog because we think they’re cool, even (especially?) in such small doses, but they do take work to edit together, so come to partiallyexaminedlife.com and tell us if you want to hear more of them.

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