Review – Scandalous Knowledge: Science, Truth, and the Human
by Barbara Herrnstein Smith
Duke University Press, 2006
Review by Bob Lane

Evaluation, interpretation, mimesis, excellence, rationality itself; all of these are under attack these days.  It is a scandal.  In part the groundwork of this attack comes out of philosophical skepticism which attempts to build a theory of knowledge on the claim that nothing can be known.  In the resulting subjectivist world of phenomenology those things which can be known are supposed to be our own precepts, or our own feelings.  If only we introspect long enough or with the help of our therapists seek the invisible we will have a better sense of I-self.  You can see straightaway that if the skeptic claims that nothing can be known then she can not even get her theory of knowledge started since, by her own claim, she can not know that nothing can be known!  I claim against the skeptic that we can know all kinds of things about the world, ourselves, and about all sorts of objective conditions or states of being.  Knowledge of this sort, public, verifiable, accessible, is a necessary condition for interpretation and evaluation.  Value depends upon understanding; it is not something of a different logical category that is added on to a set of facts.  The facts of a situation or a work of art do not march by our consciousness followed by a valuation any more than the platoons and companies march by followed by the regiment.  There can be no description of experience without some conceptualization, interpretation, and commentary.  To the extent that works of art or works of science are descriptions of experience (or guesses at that description) they too depend upon conceptualization, interpretation, commentary, and evaluation.  Concerns like these immediately throw us into the current crisis in epistemology.

Read the review here.

Teaching tip.

Institute for Cognitive Science Studies
Institute for Cognitive Science Studies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Left and Right Brain
Left and Right Brain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)










Dan Lowe from the University of Colorado, Boulder has some suggestions that will help all who teach (not just philosophy).

Abstract: In the past few decades there has been rapid progress in cognitive
science with respect to how people learn. Indeed, it can be difficult to keep
up with all of the recent findings, and it is sometimes unclear how these
findings should influence day-to-day teaching in the philosophy classroom.
But one simple way to use the insights of cognitive science in the philosophy
classroom is to begin each class with a five-minute recap of the previous few
lessons. Cognitive science suggests that such a practice can greatly aid student
learning by increasing retention of material and skills. I explain why teachers
of philosophy ought to take the time to do such a recap by outlining some
recent and surprising findings in the science of how people learn, and put
forward concrete suggestions for making such a recap as effective as possible.


SS: Dreams


Why we dream is still one of the behavioral sciences’ greatest unanswered questions. Researchers have offered many theories—memory consolidation, emotional regulation, threat simulation—but a unified one remains, well, a pipe dream. Nevertheless, people continue mining their nighttime reveries for clues to their inner lives, for creative insight, and even for premonitions. Source.

Symbols are the language of dreams. A symbol can invoke a feeling or an idea and often has a much more profound and deeper meaning than any one word can convey. At the same time, these symbols can leave you confused and wondering what that dream was all about.

Acquiring the ability to interpret your dreams is a powerful tool. In analyzing your dreams, you can learn about your deep secrets and hidden feelings. Remember that no one is a better expert at interpreting your dreams than yourself.  

To guide you with your dreams interpretations, we have interpreted over 5900 keywords and symbols and over 20,000 different meanings in our ever expanding dream dictionary. These meanings are in no way, the final say in what YOUR dream  means, but hopefully it will inspire you to explore and offer a suggestive starting point for understanding your own dreams. There is no “one dream interpretation fits all.” Source.

Dreams in the Bible. Source.