#THOE (The Habits Of Experience, March 25, 2017):
Observe. Which colour do you see? Is blueness in there? Which languages do you speak? Does experience tell us anything by itself? Would language make any sense without it? What is it to be grounded in experience? Does some of our reasoning depend upon it? What makes a concept legitimate? How does science try to make itself less subjective, & more observationally verifiable? Do experiments expand our experience? Do ordinary habits of languages sometimes perpetuate misconceptions? Is it important to distinguish between the reality, the appearance, and the ‘tag’? Why is learning a new language difficult? What is the logical process by which naive concepts become sharper – & does experience play a role in this? When might eye witnesses at a crime scene see different things? Must we defy intuition? Does experience both constrain and free us: how are/were we able to say that simultaneity is not absolute? Is experience really undifferentiated? Will experience remain a logical problem in the future? Would we need to understand both the metaphysics of the Self and the physicality of phenomenology to this end? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from psycholinguistics & coaching (Ravi Bhoothalingam, Manas Advisory, New Delhi), philosophy (Prof. Anil Gupta, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), & physics (Prof. Arvind Kumar, ex-HBCSE-TIFR, Mumbai).
SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #THOE show.
Ravi Bhoothalingam (psycholinguistics, leadership coaching) is Founder & Chairman of Manas Advisory (New Delhi), a consultancy practice focusing on psychology-based management coaching. His corporate career includes stints as President of The Oberoi Group of Hotels, Head of Personnel Worldwide with British American Tobacco p.l.c (London), Managing Director of VST Industries Ltd. (Hyderabad), and Director of ITC Ltd. (Kolkata). Ravi received his B.Sc. (Hons) in Physics from St. Stephen’s College (University of Delhi), & then received his M.A. in Experimental Psychology from Cambridge University, UK, as also an AMP certification from Harvard University. He was trained by the well known scientist and Sinologist Joseph Needham in psycholinguistics and Chinese language & culture. Ravi’s current work and interest in management and life coaching has stimulated him to undertake a quest that spans psychology and the creation of authentic communication and experience across individuals and cultures. The interaction between language, thinking, emotion, experience and the puzzle of behavior modification is a matrix that deeply fascinates him. As part of his research & consulting work, he travels extensively in High Asia including along the Silk Route, & within and across China, Myanmar, Mongolia, Japan and the Tibetan plateau. Ravi also serves on several corporate and NGO boards, is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (London), Treasurer and Honorary Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi and on the Editorial Boards of China Report and World Affairs. He is also a regular speaker and writer on China, Mongolia, and the psychology of language.
Prof. Anil Gupta (philosophy) is Alan Ross Anderson Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. He received his B.Sc. (Honors) from University of London (1969) & then received his M.A. (1973) & Ph.D. (1977) from University of Pittsburgh. Before joining the University of Pittsburgh in 2001 as a professor of philosophy, he also taught at Indiana University (1989-2000), University of Illinois at Chicago (1982-1989), and McGill University (1975-82). Prof. Gupta’s main research interests lie in logic, philosophy of language, metaphysics, and epistemology. Topics that are of special interest to him include definitions, truth, meaning, and perception. Prof. Gupta is the author of ‘The Logic of Common Nouns’ (Yale, 1980), ‘Empiricism and Experience’ (Oxford, 2006), and ‘Truth, Meaning, Experience’ (Oxford, 2011), and a co-author (with Nuel Belnap) of ‘The Revision Theory of Truth’ (MIT, 1993). Prof. Gupta has received several fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council for Learned Societies, and he was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford (1998-99). He was the Nelson Philosopher-in-Residence at Michigan (in 2010), and is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Prof. Gupta gave the Simon Lectures at Toronto in 2007 and the Whitehead Lectures at Harvard in 2012. He serves on the editorial boards of leading journals such as Journal of Philosophical Logic, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews & is on the advisory board of journals such as Episteme. He is also on the advisory board for Center for Philosophy and Foundations of Science.
Prof. Arvind Kumar (physics, pedagogy) is currently teaching Physics at the UM-DAE Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences (CBS), University of Mumbai. He retired as the Senior Professor and the Center Director (1994-2008) at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE, TIFR) after having joined HBCSE in 1984. He did his Ph.D. in Physics at TIFR (1969), and after 2 years of postdoctoral work at CERN, Geneva, and at London (Westfield College), taught at the Department of Physics, University of Mumbai (1971-83). He has published & supervised research in a range of areas such as particle theory, quantum black holes, atomic & optical physics, mathematical sociology and physics education. His book ‘Chaos, Fractals and Self-Organization’ brought out by NBT has been translated into Marathi and Bengali. He wrote and devised two notable commemorative radio programmes: ‘A Grain of Sand’ (on Albert Einstein), and ‘Compliments to Complementarity’ (on Niels Bohr). Prof. Kumar has also played a central role in launching the science Olympiad movement in India in 1997. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI), and has been a recipient of INS Science Communication Award (2002), TWAS Regional Prize related to Education (2009), and the INSA Teacher Award (2014). He was a member of the National Steering Committee for formulating National Curriculum Framework (2005). In 2010, he was awarded ‘Padma Shri’ by the President of India for his for distinguished service in the field of education. [Note: Also a SynTalkr on #TEMAF (The Errors Mistakes And Failures)]
Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.
#THOE mentions: David Hume, Paul Feyerabend, & Noam Chomsky, among others.