Monday, July 24, 2006

And a philosophy program (paca)

And here is something else I wrote up. I had once developed a program of research, that I never got going, of course, and had spent some time identifying backgrounds that would be useful. Some of this actually made it into my Statement of Interest the first year I applied to grad schools. Not surprisingly, I now understand, I didn't get in anywhere. Not a single school. That's because no one is doing this - still - and what grad schools look for is research matches with their faculty. I did get interviewed for the Johns Hopkins cognitive science program but didn't make it there either. I remember trying to explain this program to one of the profs and not impressing anyone. The only person I remember ever understanding what I was going for is my older brother. "So you are trying to build a mathematical model of the nature of relationships." Holy crap! He got it! Which is strange because we only speak about once a year. Literally. Anyway here's my program. You can get insight into the nature of the Paca due to the fact that I have ancient philosophy side by side with cognitive neuro and predicate logic. It's almost laughable how little I knew what I was talking about when looking at this list. Yeah, I'll just learn quantum physics as one of five hundred other things on the way. Anyway, this is also the sort of thing that I used to dream about when bored:

Philosophy Program

Research Goal:

The world appears to be constructed not of bouncing billiard balls (not that this was ever a complete theory, just simplified stereotype) but instead of patterns, waves, and occasions inter-relating to each other. These relating occasions give rise to all that we experience – and are us as well. There has been much work in various specialized fields concerning the relations of these occasions to one another – for instance, in quantum physics and molecular biology. However, there is little work analyzing relations generally and how they create the nexus of the phenomenal world. I hope to develop such an analysis. Ideally this should follow Whitehead’s criteria of being applicable, coherent, and adequate. I am calling this a “relational calculus”. The result should be something quite useful to people in all fields to perform their own research, using tools and a vocabulary which did not exist previously. I believe such work will also benefit the examination of many other traditional philosophical problems in ethics, aesthetics, philosophy of life, and philosophy of mind.


Study Program

Logic and Mathematics Program
Solid foundation in Symbolic Logic, especially Predicate Logic.
Philosophy / Foundations of Logic
Familiarity with Modal and Sub-structural Logics
At least differential and integral calculus

Complexity Sciences
Quantum Physics, String Theory, , etc.
Chaos Theory
Complexity

Cognitive Neuroscience
Cognitive Science
Artificial Intelligence

Philosophy
History:
Parmenides, Heraclitus, Zeno

Plato
Parmenides *
Timaeus?
Theaetetus (sp?)

Aristotle
Physics
Metaphysics
Logic

James
Radical Empiricism
Pragmatism
A Pluralistic Universe
The Will to Believe
Essay on the “One and the Many” *

Dewey
Studies In Logical Theory
Experience and Nature
Logic: The Theory of Inquiry *

Pierce

Bergson
Mind and Memory
Creative Evolution (?)

Whitehead
Process and Reality
Modes of Thought
Adventures of Ideas
Science and the Modern World
Symbolism
The Function of Reason

Hartshorne
Creative Synthesis and the Scientific Method
Reality as a Social Process
Whitehead’s Philosophy: Selected Essays
Creativity in American Philosophy

Locke
Essay Concerning Human Understanding

Hume

Descartes
Meditations
Discourse on Method
The big final work no one reads

Kant
Critique of Pure Reason

Hegel
Phenomenology of Spirit

Heideggar
Being and Time

Buddhism:
Nagarjuna
Mulamadyamikakarikas
Mahdyamika
Pratitya-samutpada
Sunyata
Dogen
Shobogenzo
Hua-yen
Kyoto School – Nishida, Nishitani

Areas of Focus:
Problem of One and Many
Reductionism
Essentialism / Substances
Properties and Relations
Emergent Properties
Space/Time
Ethics
Aesthetics

1 comment:

Sammy Jankis said...

That seem rather, uhm, ambitious. If I were a college admissions officer, I'd have to scratch my head at that one too. That proposal seems more like a lifetime of research, rather than research contained within a doctoral program. You'd have probably had better luck if you just zeroed in on step one and focused on just researching one subject as a phase one sort of thing.

But, what do I know? I'm too lazy to get a PhD and I actually selected my Master's degree on not having to write a thesis.