Philosophical Explorations – ‘Nietzsche and Zen: Towards a One-World Philosophy?’

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Date/Time
Date(s) - Saturday, March 25, 2017
10:30 am - 12:45 pm

Location
Lit and Phil

Categories


 

‘Nietzsche and Zen: Towards a One-World Philosophy?’

 

When: Saturday 25 March 2017, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm

 

Where: The Literary & Philosophical Society (Lit & Phil), Loftus Room, 23 Westgate Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE.

 

Please note that whilst in general our meetings will be held at the Lit & Phil (with a few exceptions), the room itself within the building will switch between the Loftus Room, the Lecture Room, and occasionally, the Reference (aka Silence) Room.

 

Description:

 

An introduction to the theme for the session is given at the start of the meeting; it may be difficult to participate in the discussion without that context. Please aim to arrive shortly before the start time, so that we can begin the session promptly.

 

The Platonic notion of an objective Reality, expressed in terms of a Universal Truth, has defined the structure of Western philosophy for some 2000 years – hence its focus on metaphysics and analytical logic. Eastern philosophy, over an even longer period, has focussed on the subjective and experiential, expressed in terms of the mystical, myth and metonymy. Both approaches address the central philosophical concern of how we account for our experience of Reality, but offer seemingly conflicting paradigms.

 

This session will question the possibility that the radical thinking underlying Nietzsche’s philosophy, and the traditional thinking underlying Zen Buddhism, can be seen to coalesce, forming the possibility of a one-world philosophy.

 

Reading for the session

 

The following resources available on the internet may prove useful when preparing for the session:

 

The following is an article on Nihilism on the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy  http://www.iep.utm.edu/nihilism/

 

A Wikipedia article on Sunyata (emptiness)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C5%ABnyat%C4%81

 

For those who wish to read further on this topic, “Nietzsche, Nihilism and the Philosophy of the Future” edited by Jeffrey Metzger, might be of interest.

http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/nietzsche-nihilism-and-the-philosophy-of-the-future-9780567257611/

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There is a £2 charge for waged attendees to cover room costs. There is no charge for unwaged or new attendees.

 

Background:

 

Philosophical Explorations aims to apply philosophical thought and method to any subject matter or topic of concern to society or observant individuals within it. The idea is to approach any aspect of life, wearing a philosophical hat as it were, that is applying a measure of argumentation and justification, adhering to reason and logical precision, making use of cumulative philosophical thinking over the ages, broadening each subject to its full implications above and beyond particularities and contingencies, seeking that which underpins opinion by unravelling undisclosed basic assumptions and formulating an underlying existential position in life. Above all, Philosophical Explorations invites us to subject our stand to a dialogue with others, by opening up a space in the mind as a precondition of careful and considerate listening, an ongoing examination of our opinion in relation to that of others, a willingness and readiness to allow one’s own stand to incorporate, indeed be transformed, by the growing wisdom of the group in the process of philosophical exchange. What is therefore desirable in this group is a philosophical attitude and an openness of mind. The most commonly accepted definition of philosophy is that of “thinking about thinking”, that is a double move at the outset, where all reflections are simultaneously subjected to meta-reflections. This habit of mind, whilst not intuitive or normative in society, is at the very core and an indispensable attribute of Philosophical Explorations. Everyone is welcome to join in.

 

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A Philosophical Exploration

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Date/Time
Date(s) - Saturday, March 25, 2017
10:30 am - 12:45 pm

Location
Lit and Phil

Categories


When: Saturday 13 May 2017, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm

Where: The Literary & Philosophical Society (Lit & Phil), Lecture Room, 23 Westgate Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE.

Whilst in general our meetings will be held at the Lit & Phil (with a few exceptions), the room itself within the building will switch between the Lecture Room, the Loftus Room, and occasionally, the Reference (aka Silence) Room.

Description:

For a brief description of the aims of this group, please refer to: http://newphilsoc.org.uk/wpress/?page_id=20 – this would be particularly useful for newcomers.

An introduction to the theme for the session is given at the start of the meeting; it may be difficult to participate in the discussion without that context. Please aim to arrive shortly before the start time, so that we can begin the session promptly.

Is the Brain’s Mind a Computer Program? 

Searle’s ‘Chinese Room’ and Artificial Intelligence

Back in 1980 (in the early days of home computers), John Searle published his Chinese Room thought experiment to show that computer programs are not sufficient for minds. For Searle a mind must have content (semantics) while programs are formal (syntactic).  In the Chinese Room, a man who understands no Chinese is still able to answer questions put to him by following a book of rules (a program) and fools an expert outside into believing that the man in the room must understand Chinese.

This is probably the most discussed argument about AI and there have been many papers published on it with no consensus of opinion. Searle’s argument is very relevant in today’s fast moving technological age where Apple have given us Siri that one can ask questions of, via a Smartphone; IBM have produced Watson that can win quiz game shows; and we have driverless cars being tested on our roads.  Do these AIs think? Have they or could they have minds?

Reading for the session

The following resources available on the internet may prove useful when preparing for the session:

An article from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on the Chinese Room Argument:   https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/chinese-room/

A Wikipedia article on the Turing Test (which refers to a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour, making it indistinguishable from that of a human):   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_test

A concise Open University cartoon depiction of the Chinese Room argument on YouTube:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TryOC83PH1g

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There is a £2 charge for waged attendees to cover room costs. There is no charge for unwaged or new attendees.

Attachments area

Preview YouTube video The Chinese Room – 60-Second Adventures in Thought (3/6)

The Chinese Room – 60-Second Adventures in Thought (3/6)

 

 

 

 

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