#TDWB (The Difficulty With Believing, January 17, 2016):

What do you believe ‘in’? Do you hold irrational beliefs? Why is it difficult to revise beliefs? Can it be beneficial to have false beliefs? Do you (objectively) believe that there is Heaven? Can beliefs be like axioms, or are they all (iteratively) based on facts? Are absurd beliefs particularly beneficial in forming a community? Does belief always imply an affect? Do you believe that voting is a foolish thing to do? Is belief an instrument of power? Can one infer beliefs of animals or children? Why is there suspension of disbelief or testing (of the truth criterion) in cinema or theatre? How are ritual spaces different? Does cinema tap into the collective (un)conscious (belief)? Is it profitable to believe that God exists? Will there be belief as long as there are skeptics? Can beliefs become redundant? Is the problem of deciding what a new belief should be NP-complete? How do we automatically change our (practical?) beliefs all the time, when it is technically extremely difficult? Would there be a pristine (messianic?) theory of belief revision in the future? How could belief revision be: a variation, a change, a decision, a monstration, or an event? Would you look through Galileo’s telescope? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from performance theory and philosophy (Dr. Soumyabrata Choudhury, JNU, New Delhi) & logic, philosophy and computer science (Prof. Rohit Parikh, CUNY, New York).

Listen in….

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TDWB show.

Dr. Soumyabrata Choudhury (philosophy, performance theory, literary theory) is an Associate Professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. He has previously taught at Centre for Studies in Social Sciences (CSSS), Kolkata. He has also been a fellow at CSDS, Delhi and IIAS, Shimla. His book ‘Theatre, Number, Event: Three Studies on the Relationship of Sovereignty, Power and Truth’ was published by IIAS, Shimla in 2013. After doing his B.A in Economics from SRCC (Delhi University), he went on to complete his M.A, M.Phil & Ph.D. from Centre of English and Linguistics (School of Languages) at JNU, New Delhi. His thesis was on pragmatics of death and modes of individuation in the figures of Socrates, Antigone & Jesus Christ. His key areas of research include – genealogies and conceptual histories of theater and performance in context of its broader philosophical, political and sociological realities; the relation of theater to various concepts of sovereignties; concepts of culture and its relation to theater and performance studies, particularly the emergence of a politics of performance in current discourses of global capitalism. He has also studied the fields of philosophical enquiries into the interface between science, performance and concepts of representation, and also researched performativity and questions of subjectivity in its relation to social realities like caste, particularly in the works of B. R Ambedkar. Prof. Choudhury has also done comparative research on concepts of the political and social, particularly in relation to caste.

Prof. Rohit Parikh (computer science, philosophy, mathematics) Ÿis the CUNY Distinguished Professor affiliated with Department of Computer Science, Brooklyn College and with the Ph.D. Programs in Computer Science, Philosophy and Mathematics at the CUNY Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY), New York. Prof. Parikh acquired his A.B (Magna with highest honors in Physics) from Harvard in 1957, and then a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Harvard in 1962. His key areas of research are formal languages, recursive function theory, proof theory, non-standard analysis, logic of programs, logic of knowledge, and philosophy of language, belief revision, social software and game theory. One of the key themes which concerns most of his recent papers is social software, an analysis of social procedures, from elections to cake cutting, using ideas from computer science, game theory and logic. Parikh’s Theorem, stating that regular languages and context free languages have the same sets of letter frequency vectors, is named after him. He won the Putnam prize for 3 consecutive years – 1955, 1956, & 1957. In the past, he has also held positions at Courant Institute, Boston University, ETHZurich, TIFR-Mumbai, Bristol University, Panjab University & Stanford University, amongst others. He has been a member of AMS, ACM, ASL, IEEE, and has held editor positions with International Journal for Foundations of Computer Science, and Journal of Philosophical Logic. Prof. Parikh also chaired session on Logic and Computation at the Tenth World Computer Congress in Dublin (1986).

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TDWB mentions: Heraclitus, Descartes, Nicolas Malebranche, Alexis de Tocqueville, Pascal, Dara Shikoh, Charles Peirce, Jean Paul Sartre, Brecht, Carl Jung, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Jacques Lacan, Ritwik Ghatak, & Alan Badiou, among others.