the first MEAD-ing

the first MEAD-ing

from miriam’s virtual presence perspective!


meeting notes 1.11.12


Suggestion to create listserve and reading schedule to invite others to participate as they like

Decision to do an in-group dynamical systems intensive reading, beginning with intro by Ezequiel on 22.11 and then followed by some core readings. Several readings a week with one group member responsible for summarizing one reading. End with applications – contact improv, metaphor/discourse analysis. Prepare for Beer visit and developing research projects.

Discuss readings

Dumas “Towards a Two-body Neuroscience”

Ezequiel fills in details about experiment design. Questions are raised about synchrony and the significance of this measurement. Discussion of how different kinds of coordination can be identified and measured (absolute, relative). hPLV = when the phase relation (difference between what is happening in each brain vis-à-vis the other) is constant. This is a way of measuring coordination (synchrony).

Hanne suggests that interbrain synchrony may have principled relation to intrabrain synchrony a la PSM relates to SM

Miriam asks about the meaning of emergence in light of the idea of information exchange. ‘Emergence’ here taken to mean self-organization, not forced from outside. Question of information or content in two-body neuroscience persists.

Heyes “Mesmerising Mirror Neurons”

In a way similar to Dumas, Heyes questions the significance or explanatory power of mere similarity. Doing and perceiving would be expected to show neural synchrony. Synchronization to stimuli vs. synchronization to interaction. Evidence of mirror neurons can be explained in different ways. Brain sensory maps are built by experience. MN connections are not only modified by experience but can be reversed.

Issue of update, as Miri points out.

meeting notes 18.10.12

Discussed Lewontin & Levins “The biological and the social”

Hanne asks: what are some of the counter-arguments to this position? Highlights the fragility of our situation.

Miriam: questions concluding statements about human nature

Ezequiel: discusses example of rats & stress.

[Autism serves as a case study. Biological causes in the brain; outside influence; in between, what are the principles that guide biological and cultural interaction? Where do we look for explanations? How does the person make sense of the world?]

How are we to understand such complex systems?

This segues into a discussion of enactive method:

1st step: Things are not so clear-cut

2nd step: There are still structures

3rd step: Synthesis that shifts the concepts

*concepts in the enactive toolkit are themselves reshaped in each deployment

Heuristic and pragmatic principles of enactive method:

–          Naïve outlook

–          Attention to phenomenon

–          Critical perspective on literature and discourse

–          Basic, outsider, simple questioning

–          Require non-circularity in concept definitions

–          Rely on already grounded terms: autonomy

Miriam suggests dialogues between a proponent of the enactive paradigm and critics

Thursday 18th Oct

Meeting at 11:00.

We will be discussing

Lewontin, R. and Levins, R. (1997) ‘The biological and the social’, Capitalism Nature Socialism, 8: 3, 89 — 92


Dumas, G. (2011) Towards a two-body neuroscience, Communicative & Integrative Biology 4:3, 349-352.