i just read the note Roger sent commenting on Frieder Nake post
i would say two things
one is that in the construction of abstract scaffolds that work to deal with the world, one important issue i when, how and to what you can atribute a truth value
gotlob frege made the point that there is no way to attribute a truth value to a word, only senteces can be right or wrong. What we mean exactly by strawberyy or 3 cannot be established and each and everyone probaly sees it differently, however strawberries are small plants or 3 tiemes 3 is 9 can be showwn to be more accurate, have a higher truth value than other sentences such as strawberries are blue or 3 times 3 is 2.
then in all cultures there are creative environments where truth value matters.
Ibn Rushd, known in latin as Averroes (cordoba 1126 marakesh 1198) wrote a beautiful and interesting text "discours décisif" (Flamarion, Paris 1996) where he argues that there are three kinds of truth, scientific, legal and religious and each domain works with different methods to identify the truth value a a given statement. He points out that there is a first phase which is to identify a new idea and then a second phase in which the task is to convince others that this idea is true in either scientifc, legal or religious terms
it is interesting to note that Ibn Rushd argumes that in a cool, smart society there is no need for confrontation or conflict between these forms of truth.
so i would say that most probably the capacities of any normal human are quite similar at the base but of course the very large variability in health, nutritional and intelectual environment produce very different people with very different understandgs and competences.
much of catholic europe for instance has had for several centuries a culture in which science was dirty but powerful while art was clean but powerless, in counries like spain the main pedagogical objective for centuries has been to teach, convey a disgust and anthipathy for mathematics.
musical, cooking, scientific, rethorical or artistic skills are social, thus if you are lucky to fall in good company you grow.
--- On Tue, 5/12/09, Sandeep Bhagwati <email@example.com> wrote:
> From: Sandeep Bhagwati <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Subject: Re: [Yasmin_discussions] One Two Three More Cultures
> To: "YASMIN DISCUSSIONS" <email@example.com>
> Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2009, 9:26 AM
> There is one thing about the 2
> cultures hypothesis that I remember from my
> idiosyncratic philosophy readings :
> three German philosophers - Joachim Ritter, Hermann Lübbe
> and, most
> prominently, Odo Marquard - have for many years (since the
> late 1950s)
> argued for what they call a "Compensation Theory" of the
> two cultures,
> arguing that both aspects of knowledge production are
> intimately dependent
> on each other.
> The argument, as far as I can recall, goes thus:
> the humanities are a response to problems arising from the
> historic and
> contextual neutralization necessitated by the scientific
> method - for in
> order to neutralize the context and to neutralize history
> well one must know
> what they are. Also, this neutralization of key modes of
> human perception
> brings forth the need to compensate for an perceptive
> imbalance, and so the
> humanities take on the role as "stories of
> conservation, sensitivity and
> The fertile, but essentially anti-narrative world view of
> the sciences
> produces a desire for stories - and the humanities were
> created to
> compensate for that desire. Thus, and contrary to dominant
> opinion, the
> sciences actually pre-date the humanities in their current
> form - pursuits
> such as history etc in the pre-scientific age were more
> holistic approaches
> to knowledge production (Aristoteles etc) - until the
> isolation and
> deepining of one mode of knowledge production in the
> sciences called forth
> the need for the similarly focused, precise and narrative
> knowledge production, that of the Humanities...
> I do not have the book with me but I remember a lucid
> article by Marquard
> called "Philosophie des Stattdessen" (Philosophy of the
> Instead) discussing
> this theory. And, I have no clue if these ideas have found
> any traction in
> the Anglo debate on CP Snow.
> Perhaps someone who really knows these things intimately
> can tell me ?
> Best Sandeep
> 2009/5/12 roger malina <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > Frieder
> > I enjoyed your story about random generators on
> > that in fact are pseudo random generators
> > the conclusion of your story was
> > ¨""That's the story. Its point is that students
> usually have no way to
> > understand, let alone develop for themselves those
> > But they do need them now. C.P. Snow would treat this
> more or less as
> > a language problem. The two cultures cannot talk to
> each other. But I
> > have come to believe, it is a matter of attitude. What
> do you expect
> > and request from yourself!""
> > Frieder Nake
> > I think I agreee with your point= its what I call the
> burning issue
> > problem.
> > When you really need to do something you dont ask the
> question what
> > university department teaches it, or which funding
> agency paid for it,
> > you work with the people who have the expertise you
> need whether they
> > have a phd or not or what profession they call
> > But the problem is quite deep, because depending on
> the way you
> > grow up, some things are natural and some things are
> really difficult;
> > I was just reading Alan Lightman's book of essays " a
> sense of the
> > mysterious" which is a great book on the two cultures
> > ( there is an interesting interview of him on line
> > http://www.prx.org/pieces/10917)
> > Lightman re iterates a " wisdom" that i remember my
> father telling me
> > as a kid= Alan Lightman makes the generalisation that
> there are
> > a number of good examples of first rate scientists who
> went on to
> > do good work in the arts and humanities, but there are
> > no examples of people who started their careers as
> artists and then
> > went on to make important discoveries in the sciences
> or engineering
> > or mathematics
> > If he is right= there is not only a matter of the
> attitude as you argue,
> > or of language problems as you quote Snow, but that in
> fact the way
> > we are trained as kids and young people actually
> changes your brain
> > and the way that you perceive the world; Someone with
> a strong
> > mathematical training as a young person, actually sees
> the world
> > differently and
> > thinks differently than a person trained and who
> worked as a poet or
> > painter
> > in their youth.
> > Is this true ? is this "asymmetry" true between
> how the arts and the
> > sciences
> > as training affect a brain
> structure/cognition/perception differerence ?
> > Roger
> > _______________________________________________
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