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Lyceum Society: Brain and mind, knowledge and ignorance


for Members

Lyceum Society: Brain and mind, knowledge and ignorance

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

Presented by the Lyceum Society


The Lyceum Society comprises the Academy's retired and semi-retired members. Talks cover various scientific fields. All Academy members are welcome. All Lyceum meetings (except December) are Brown Bag lunches.

Brown Bag: 11:30 AM
Brief-Brief: 12:45 PM
Lecture & Discussion: 1:00–3:00 PM

Update on Infrastructure Planning — Sustainability
Speaker: Alvin Goodman

Al Goodman is Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of NYU. His degrees are from City College, Columbia and NYU, and he is a Professional Engineer and Professional Hydrologist. In addition to teaching and research, he was associated for 35 years with an international firm of consulting engineers, 10 years full-time followed by 25 years as staff consultant. This practical experience was the basis for textbooks on water resources planning and infrastructure planning. He and his co-author are currently updating the book on infrastructure planning, and he also serves two mornings a week as the Chief Engineer for the Borough President of Brooklyn.

Main Presentation
Brain and mind, knowledge and ignorance

Moderator: Edward B. Harris, BS degree in mathematics from the University of Chicago; graduate study and research at the University of Chicago and the City University of New York.


Uldis Blukis, Agnepilogy
The science of ignorance and knowledge studies the two and their nature shaped by the complexity and multifunctionality of matter, the processes of evolution and knowledge production.

[This is an attempt at systems thinking about aspects of philosophy, neuro and evolution science found in texts by Damasio, Deacon, Edelman, Fields, Firestein, Giere, Goldberg, Gopnik, James, Koch, LeDoux, Proctor, the journal Science, & more.]

Uldis Blukis, PhD, is professor emeritus, Brooklyn College, CUNY, where from 1960 to 1991 he taught chemistry, integrated science, and history of the scien-ce of matter. From 1991 to 1998 he served in the diplomatic service of Latvia as a representative to the UN. From 1994-2000 he was a member of the UN Committee on Contributions. He is the co-author of a physical chemistry textbook, as well as of a series of educational short films, author and co-author of articles and reviews. His BS in chemistry is from the U. of Illinois, Urbana. His PhD in physical chemistry is from the U. of California, Berkeley.

Charles Byrne, Ethical Modules
Ethical Modules are the hypothetical principles of ethical behavior that have evolved within our brain. My source is "Human — The science behind what makes us unique", by Michael S. Gazzaniga.

Drawing on his knowledge of the physiology of the brain and behavioral studies by others, he suggests that our ethical behavior as social beings is led by five "modules" (not identifiable structures, but neural patterns). These are assumed to be evolved and therefore having survival value. They are parts of our unconscious mind and propose actions to our conscious mind for action when faced with social phenomena. The conscious mind considers the messages from one or more modules in a given situation and takes action, inhibits action, or modifies the messages according to learned cultural information and remembered experiences.

The ethical modules are: Reciprocity, Suffering, Hierarchy, In-Group — Out-Group Coalition, and Purity.

Charles Byrne, MSEE, Caltech, was a system engineer with Bell Laboratories and other AT&T subsidiaries with experience in mathematics research, the Apollo Project, software development, and national and international telephone standards. In semi-retirement he conducts research on lunar imagery and topography, authoring three books on the Moon. He has participated in a small group discussing books on philosophy for several years.

Herb Klitzner, Self-Knowledge and Its Influences on Other Knowledge
Antonio Damasio, veteran neuroscientist, clinician, and theorist, treats knowledge of the Self (state of the body) as an integral part of knowledge formation that links the impact of external stimuli on the body state at the image level – the triad of image of the body state, image of the stimulus, and image of the interaction/impact.

This suggests that the knowledge of Self could be of significance in higher-level knowledge. What indications are there that this speculation could be useful in performance and learning, and in seeing the Self as an object of scientific representation and research, with the person as the Head Researcher – after all, who knows that person better overall?

Herb Klitzner received his BS in mathematics from the University of Chicago, his MS in educational psychology from Queens College, and his master of philosophy degree in a hybrid program of computer science and cognitive and developmental psychology from the CUNY Graduate Center.

Hillel Schiller, In–Depth Learning via Contextual Perception
The editorial of a December 2012 issue of Science is titled "Failure of Skin-deep Learning." The editorial then excoriates our present educational establishment for its hollow scope and sequence designed science curricula forms. Research shows that the most meaningful learning takes place when students are allowed to address an issue in depth. This can be done only for a relatively small number of topics in any school year.

Many reforms have been designed through the years with varying degrees of failure and success. Online courses and Technology enhanced learning have not proven to be entirely effective. New ideas such as "Science Learning Progression" and due to be published in 2013(NGSS) New Generation of Science Standards are in the pipeline. These latter educational approaches are undergirded by and support my Contextual Perceiving thesis.

Hillel A. Schiller earned his MA in linguistics at the University of Chicago. He is a retired teacher and curriculum consultant, a learning therapist, and an instructional materials designer. He has taught a the New School for Social Research and was a teacher trainer Baruch College, City University of New York. His essays and reviews have been published in Insight, Process Papers, Process Studies, and The Journal of Mental Imagery on the subjects of visual literacy, the nature of perception, and Whitehead's and Dewey's psychologies of education. Recent publications include the chapter "Toward a Process Curriculum" in The Adventure of Education (2009).

Registration Pricing

Student/Postdoc Member$0
Nonmember (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$10

Travel & Lodging

Our Location

The New York Academy of Sciences

7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street, 40th floor
New York, NY 10007-2157

Directions to the Academy

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