October 25th, 2012


This is a bit last minute, but better late than never:

Tomorrow, October 26th, I’ll be speaking to the New York Pragmatism Forum at Fordham University Lincoln Center (room LL710). The title of my talk is “Cooking Up Consciousness: Neuropragmatist Reflections on the Science of Consciousness.” Zach Piso (Michigan State) will also give a talk on “Growth and Autopoiesis: Environmental Pragmatism Beyond Management.” 

The week after Thanksgiving I’ll be giving a talk at Penn State-Altoona. When those details are finalized, I’ll post them. (Hopefully with more advanced notice!)

July 5th, 2012

Neuropragmatism in Europe

A couple days ago I received an email from Emil Višňovský, a pragmatist philosopher based in Bratislava. He informed me that he had recently given a presentation, titled Brain and Culture: From Pragmatist Philosophy of Mind to Neuropragmatism, to a group of cognitive scientists with the Middle European Interdisciplinary Master Programme in Cognitive Science. From what Emil tells me, there is genuine interest among this group in neuropragmatism. Excellent news!

Emil’s excellent presentation (he shared his powerpoint with me) not only gave a strong synthesis of the history of pragmatist thinking about the nature of mind-brain-body-world, he also gave a plug to the website. This has served as a catalyst for an update. So you’ll find some updated information about me, writings, and speaking.

Unfortunately, it has been so long since I used tumblr that they have changed many things behind the scenes. I suspect it’s to make the site more user friendly to the masses. However, this comes at a cost to the aesthetic of this site. It’s nothing major, but the old HTML tricks I had been using don’t seem to work anymore. If I had the time, I might bother to learn how to do the old things in new ways, but we’ll have to wait and see.

I neglected to mention that in March at the annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, I organized and participated on a neuropragmatism panel. Bill Bywater, Teed Rockwell, and I were on a panel on “Neuropragmatism: Bridging the Sciences and the Humanities Towards Ameliorative Ends.” The panel held together quite well. It received and continues to receive high praise from the audience (which did fill the room to capacity!). I spoke about the difference between reconstruction and reconciliation. Teed gave an energetic presentation on radical empiricism and music, showing how Western conceptions of music are based on sensationalistic empiricism, which limits the possibilities for composing and performing. Teed drew on his own experience as a musician to illustrate how a Jamesian view of experience opens new possibilities for music. For more on Teed’s music, visit his MySpace. For links or access to his papers, visit his academia.edu profile. Bill Bywater closed the panel by discussing the pedagogy of apprenticeship. Bill masterfully drew many strings together, from education and philosophy, to neuroscience and anthropology. This presentation serves as a basis for a paper Bill is working (with Zach Piso) on about neuropragmatism and pedagogy.

Lastly, I want to inform readers of two European pragmatist events that are worth knowing about. The first is the Central European Pragmatism Forum, which just had its 7th international conference in Turda, Romania. The other event is the First European Pragmatist Conference in Rome, from 19–21 September 2012. I won’t be able to make it, but I hope you can. It’s definitely an event worth attending.

Hopefully more soon…

November 2nd, 2011


Just a quick note that I’ve updated the other pages, mostly the writing and speaking pages. I’ve got a couple papers out and published, some more forthcoming, and others in the works. I’ll also be speaking at the APA in December.

As for further updates, we can hope that I’ll be up to it, but I’ve got a lot of other things in the fire till year’s end. If you’re interested in posting here, please do not hesitate to email me!

June 16th, 2011

Review of Neuroscience & Pragmatism Conference

From John Shook, here is a review of an excellent conference last week:

The conference on “Neuroscience and Pragmatism: Productive Prospects” was held on June 10, 2011 at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in Arlington, Virginia. The program was organized by John Shook (Buffalo) and Tibor Solymosi (Southern Illinois). James Giordano, Director of the Center for Neurotechnology Studies and Vice President for Academic Programs at the Potomac Institute, was the host and emcee. The Society of Philosophers in America, and the American Philosophical Association provided financial support.

This conference brought together some pragmatist philosophers interested in neuroscience and some neuroscientists interested in pragmatism. There was much audience participation, including Q&A after each presentation, discussion through the luncheon, and audience discussion with a panel of speakers for an extended conversation. The speakers were: William Casebeer (cognitive science, US Air Force); Anthony Chemero (neurophilosophy, Franklin and Marshall College); David Franks (sociology, Virginia Commonwealth University); James Giordano (neuroscience and neuroethics, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies); Teed Rockwell (cognitive science[TS1], Sonoma State University); Jay Schulkin (biophysics and cognitive science, Georgetown University); John Shook (neuroethics and pragmatism, University at Buffalo); Tibor Solymosi (neurophilosophy, Southern Illinois University).

Read More

June 7th, 2011

Neuropragmatism Conference Schedule

This Friday is the first conference on neuroscience and pragmatism. It is at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in Arlington, VA. Information about the event location and registering for it is available here.

Here is the tentative schedule:

  • 9:15-9:30 Coffee and Introductions
  •  9:30 Prof. J. Giordano: Welcome; “Pragmatism in the Age of Neuroscience”
  •  9:45 Dr. W.Casebeer: “What is Neuropragmatism? Some Principles and Why They Matter”
  • 10:15 Prof. T. Rockwell: “How Computational Neuroscience Revealed that the Pragmatists Were Right”
  • 10:45-11:00 BREAK; Coffee and refreshments will be served
  • 11:00 Prof. A. Chemero: “The End of the Debate over Extended Cognition”
  • 11:30 Prof. J. Schulkin: “Pragmatism, Cognitive Capacity and Brain Function”
  • 12:00-1:00 LUNCH
  • 1:00 T. Solymosi: “Reconstruction in and of Neurophilosophy”
  • 1:30 Prof.  D. Franks: “Neurosociology and Some Confirmations of Chicago Pragmatism via Work on Mirror Neurons”
  • 2:00-2:15 BREAK; Coffee and refreshments will be served
  • 2:15 Prof. J. Shook: “The Emergence of Morality and the Social Self”
  • 2:45 Prof. J. Giordano: “What Neuro Really Means: Obligations for Intellectual Honesty, Veracity and Cosmopolitanism in Neuroethics”
  •  3:15-3:30 BREAK
  • 3:30-4:30 Panel Discussion, Open Q/A
  • 4:30-6:00 Wine & Cheese Reception/Mixer
April 19th, 2011

Neuropragmatism Course: Week 12 Question

This week the students move on to Shaun Gallagher's book, How the Body Shapes the Mind. Here is this week’s question:

What are the complications that Gallagher has with the concept of proprioception?

April 13th, 2011

Neuropragmatism Course: Week 11 Question

The class continues with Jay Schulkin’s book. Here’s this week’s question:

How would Freemen view Schulkin’s distinction between external and internal memory? Also, can memory be externalized and still preserve the original meaning of that memory? 

April 5th, 2011

Neuropragmatism Course: Week 10 Question

The semester carries forward. The Allegheny course on neuropragmatism begins Jay Schulkin's excellent book (see my review in the recent issue of Contemporary Pragmatism), Cognitive Adaptation this week. Here’s the students’ question:

Schulkin differentiates between mechanical and animate. What distinguishes one from the other and how does this difference compare to Dewey’s views?

March 30th, 2011

Neuropragmatism Course: Week 9 Question

After a week off for their spring break, the students of the first course in neuropragmatism are reconvening. They’re finishing Freeman’s book before moving on to Schulkin next week.

Here’s the question for this week:

Freeman argues that our minds are “isolated within a solipsistic barrier” (p. 154) and also that because our brains are the “foundry of new meanings” we can choose our actions or inactions — as opposed to having a more causal structure.  Does this fit neatly in the pragmatist tradition?  If not, is it possible to argue against causality without recognizing some amount of personal, private meaning?

March 19th, 2011

Neuroscience and Pragmatism Conference, 10 June 2011, Washington, DC

I am pleased to announce that the web page for the upcoming conference on Neuroscience and Pragmatism is up and running. It includes the list of speakers.

The date is June 10th, 2011

The location is the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, in Arlington, VA

As more information becomes available, I’ll be sure to post about it here as well as on the events tab.

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"To see the organism in nature, the nervous system in the organism, the brain in the nervous system, the cortex in the brain is the answer to the problems which haunt philosophy. And when thus seen they will be seen to be in, not as marbles are in a box but as events are in a history, in a moving, growing never finished process."
– John Dewey