Re: Two Cultures (Was: Mind/Body dualism)

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Wed Aug 15 2001 - 10:33:14 MDT

On Wed, Aug 15, 2001 at 09:11:17AM -0700, Lee Corbin wrote:
> silently opened between the people raised in the computer and scientific
> culture of the 1960's, and the literary crowd, to the point that the latter
> simply cannot understand the former. And this is *not* the two cultures of
> C. P. Snow, whatever the historical linkage. That old split had to do with
> literary people not *appreciating* science. This has to do with the
> development of a completely different mindset on philosophical issues.

An interesting observation. But I wonder if it is true?

What is the underlying philosophical issues? I think it has to do
with the new information ontology that is emerging from computer
science, the neo-Darwinian synthesis in biology, genomics,
cognitive neuroscience and perhaps even the economy-as-information
ideas that seem to follow from the Austrian school. In this
ontology or paradigm, what matters is information and how it is
processed. While it might not be deliberately functionalist, it
has a functionalist flair to it, and it has the usual scientific
acceptance of interdisciplinary approaches.

What would the corresponding literary paradigm be? To me it seems
to be the postmodern paradigm, but maybe that is too narrow?

Perhaps the important thing is the allegiance of the scientific
culture to an objective world; even the most elusive concepts in
quantum mechanics or information theory are deep down something
objective. That they can be viewed in many arbitrary ways doesn't
mean that wave functions or entropies are arbitrary in themselves.
Compare this to the far more subjective approach found in literary
circles, where the intertextual relationships are more important.

Any thoughts?

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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