Paul Grobstein's blog

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Evolution/Science: Inverting the Relationship Between Randomness and Meaning

The past Sunday's NY Times Book Review has a review of a book by Anne Harrington called The Cure Within: A History of Mind-Body Medicine. Its interesting in its own right, directly relevant to a course I'm currently teaching, but connects in interesting ways to some other things bubbling around as well. The book is reviewed by Jerome Groopman, a cancer specialist, who writes ....

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A challenge not only to getting it "right" but getting it "less wrong" as well

See The Empirical Non-Foundationalist and the Phenomonologue: Getting It Less Wrong?  A continuing dialogue, between ... science and humanities?  A taste of the issues:

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More on getting it less wrong

From a graduate school admission essay by Bethany Keffala, BMC '07, posted with her permission ...

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Science and Public Responsibility

Perhaps the oldest and most persistently problematic ethical ambiguity in contemporary views of science relates to the question of the degree of responsibility that scientists have for the social consequences of their activities.

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If there can be no single definitive description of reality, nor of beauty, nor of virtue ...

What then is the business of inquiry? of education? Notes for a talk along these lines ("Empirical Inquiry: Limitations and Possibilities")  is available is available here. Thoughts triggered by the talk/notes are, of course, more than welcome. Same for a second version of this talk ("Inquiry as Emergence: Product and Contributor") aimed at a more "empirical" audience (the first was aimed at a more general audience, including those already predisposed to recognizing the value of stories).
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Exploring the unconscious empirically

A csem student this year came up with an interesting project to look at people's unconscious evaluations of things along a female/male axis, which in turn reminded me of some earlier thoughts of my own about how to explore the unconscious evaluations of beauty.  For myself, and any one else interested, here's a link to the student project and some thoughts of my own about how to do a relevant data analysis.  My hunch is there is some serious work to be done along these lines that would combine acknowledgement of the grist from which conscious stories are made and of the diversity of human experiences.  My bet, as developed in part in csem discussions, is that people are substantially less similar in their unconscious processing than it app
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The Brain and Social Well-Being, Follow Up

I spent the end of last week in Washington, D.C. at a very rich conversation about "The Brain and Global Harmony" organized by Epi Haidemenakis and the International S.T.E.P.S Foundation. Sixteen papers on basic and clinical neuroscience, neuroethics, social organization, and education provided the grist for extensive discussions of the significance of existing and ongoing research on the brain for humanity, ways one might like to see it go in the future, and steps that might be taken to take to influence future directions. Participants came from the United States, Greece, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Singapore.
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