On Wednesday the 2nd of September I will be speaking at York Cafe Scientifique about ‘The Learning Brain’. This is what I promised to talk about:
Your brain is not fixed clockwork, but an ever changing economy of abilities, habits and desires. Everthing we do, every thought and experience, changes the brain and how we think and feel in the future.
Dr Stafford will talk about the discoveries psychologists and neuroscientists have made that reveal just how changeable the brain is, the astonishing ability it has to learn and cope with astounding injuries. Using examples taken from everyday life, he will evidence how the brain’s capacity to learn has a surprising influence on our behaviour. Why do people insist that coffee tastes better from their favourite cup? Why do people compulsively check their email? How do your reduce prejudice? These and other questions will be considered from the perspective of The Learning Brain.
Venue: City Screen Picturehouse, Basement Bar, York
Time:7.30 – 9.00
The lesson I draw … is that a uniform ‘scientific view of the world’ may be useful for people doing science – it gives them motivation without tying them down. It is like a flag. Though presenting a single pattern it makes people do many different things. However, it is a disaster for outsiders (philosophers, fly-by-night mystics, prophets of a New Age, the “educated public”). It suggests to them the most narrowminded religious commitment and encourages a similar narrowmindedness on their part
Paul Feyerabend, in ‘Against Method’ (third edition, chapter 19). ‘the “educated public” is included in the list in his ‘Conquest of Abundance‘, in which this section is repeated with a few changes.