[FOM] The Foundations of Logic and Apprehension (event)

Steven Ericsson-Zenith steven at semeiosis.org
Wed Apr 25 04:34:10 EDT 2007

Prof. Michael Friedman, The Positivist Agenda (The Foundations of  
Logic and Apprehension)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 4:15 pm - 5:45 pm at
Cordura Hall - Center for the Study of Language and Information
Stanford University, Palo Alto


Is the manifest existence of experience in the world to be mastered  
only by poets and priests, or is its mystery one that science can  

Before 1950 the answer was clear, experience lay at the foundation  
of  scientific consideration. But the challenge of it seemed  

In 1928, the philosopher of science, Rudolf Carnap, wrote:

"The question is this: provided that to all or some types of  
psychological processes there correspond simultaneous processes in  
the central nervous system, what connects the processes in question  
with one another? Very little has been done toward a solution to the  
correlation problem of the psychophysical relation, but, even if this  
problem were solved (i.e., if we could infer the characteristics of a  
brain process from the characteristics of a psychological process,  
and vice versa), nothing would have been achieved to further the  
solution of the essence problem (i.e., the psychophysical problem).  
For this problem is not concerned with the correlation, but with the  
essential relation; that is, with that which "essentially" or  
"fundamentally" leads from one process to the other or which brings  
forth both from a common root.

...there still remain, in the main, three hypotheses: mutual  
influence, parallelism, and identity in the sense of the two aspect  

Three contradicting and unsatisfactory answers and no possibility of  
finding or even imagining an empirical fact that could here make the  
difference: a more hopeless situation can hardly be imagined..."

Rudolf Carnap, P. 37-38. The Logical Structure of the World. 1928.

Since 1928 a lot of work has been done in neuroscience on what Carnap  
calls the “correlation problem.” We have identified behavior in the  
nervous system that corresponds to certain psychological processes.  
But, as Carnap anticipated, no progress has been made on the  
essential problem.

In workshops and seminars the Institute for Advanced Science &  
Engineering aims to bring together leading theorists, logicians and  
computer scientists, with empirical research in biology and physics  
to ask some of the harder questions regarding the foundations of  
logic and apprehension, with the ultimate goal of addressing what is,  
perhaps, the last remaining really hard problem in science and moving  
toward a demonstrable explanation of experience in nature.

This series of lecture/discussions is a prelude to our workshop in  
December. Speakers from multiple disciplines are invited to present  
in the context the Institute's theme, "Explaining Experience in  
Nature." The format of this series of lectures/debates consists of a  
40 minute lecture followed by a led discussion and debate.

Professor Michael Friedman, a leading scholar of the history of  
logical positivism, gives our inaugural talk on the positivist  
agenda. He is Frederick P. Rehmus Family Professor of Humanities at  
Stanford University and is the author of Reconsidering Logical  
Positivism published in 1999 by Cambridge University Press. For more  
information about Professor Friedman see his Stanford University  

Steven Ericsson-Zenith, Chairman.

Institute for Advanced Science & Engineering

Dr. Steven Ericsson-Zenith
Institute for Advanced Science & Engineering

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