Al-Ghazali and Artificial Intelligence

What can the 11th-century Islamic polymath, theologian and philosopher al-Ghazali tell us about artificial intelligence and the possibility of conscious machines, long before Alan Turing developed his imitation game, also known as the Turing test? It is impossible, moreover, to create knowledge in inanimate matter. For we understand by the inanimate that which apprehends. If …

Continue reading Al-Ghazali and Artificial Intelligence

Spreading the Word: History of Medieval Philosophy – Talk on Avicenna

Ibn Sina, or Avicenna as he is known by the Latinized version of his name, was an Islamic polymath and peripatetic philosopher (influenced by Aristotelian philosophy) widely recognized as one of the leading thinkers in the medieval period. His influence spread both in the Islamic world and in the Latin West. Here is a very …

Continue reading Spreading the Word: History of Medieval Philosophy – Talk on Avicenna

Spreading the Word: A Buddhist And A Neuroscientist In Dialogue

What would a conversation between a Buddhist monk and a neuroscientist look like? And what would they agree and disagree on? In the following conversation, Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk trained as a molecular biologist, and Wolf Singer, a distinguished neuroscientist, offer their perspectives on the unconscious and the role of meditation in resolving conflicts …

Continue reading Spreading the Word: A Buddhist And A Neuroscientist In Dialogue

Spreading the Word: Our Access To Reality

One of the oldest debates in the history of human quest for knowledge is whether we can access the objective reality at all. Some think there is no objective reality at all and that "it's all in our minds", others think there is nothing else besides it and that our knowledge directly represents that reality. …

Continue reading Spreading the Word: Our Access To Reality

Self-Knowledge Through Justification

How do you know that you know something? When does a belief or opinion become knowledge? Often an intuitive response to this is - when I can offer justification, proof, for my belief. Justification seems to play a silent but crucial role in our understanding of what counts as knowledge. However, there is more.  When you justify …

Continue reading Self-Knowledge Through Justification

Spreading the Word: 2’000 year-old history of ‘Googling’

Today I share with you a an interesting article about the history of knowledge storage and search. In short - about libraries. I found it fascinating to learn how people developed improved ways of storing, codifying and searching for information. Have you ever heard about the great ancient library of Alexandria? Those are the beginnings …

Continue reading Spreading the Word: 2’000 year-old history of ‘Googling’

Understanding is an Interaction

Whenever we are trying to understand the world, we are, by extension, trying to understand ourselves. Whether we are aware of it or not. Indeed - whether we want it or not. We bring ourselves along to every encounter with the world, and we experience each such encounter through ourselves. We don't really have any …

Continue reading Understanding is an Interaction

Xenophanes from Colophon – a Pre-Socratic Greek Philosopher (ca. 540 BCE)

In my last article on the exploration of the historical context of the time around 130 years before Socrates, we discovered the events of roughly 50 years of the 6th century BCE. It was the time when most known philosophical activity of the Greeks was still taking place in their Ionian city-states, on the coast …

Continue reading Xenophanes from Colophon – a Pre-Socratic Greek Philosopher (ca. 540 BCE)

The Quest for Knowledge

Next to the quest for survival and life itself, I would argue that the quest for knowledge is one of the oldest endeavours of our species. Probably the first 'documented' attempts to understand this world and interpret our place in it are captured in the cave paintings. The currently oldest known cave painting is estimated …

Continue reading The Quest for Knowledge