Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lemmings: A Dialogue with Gualtiero Piccinini on Philosophy and Neuroscience

Gualtiero: Until recently, you were known for armchair philosophizing
and not at all for empirical research. Could you briefly explain how
you became interested in doing empirical
research and what your current empirical projects are?

Brit: Actually, I started out in the sciences. I have a 5-year M.S. in neuroscience from University of Copenhagen and The Danish National Hospital. My research was on neurotransmitters, specifically glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). As a hormone, GLP-1 stimulates insulin-secreting cells. As a neurotransmitter, it modulates stress and anxiety. I was, and still am, very interested in mood disorders,so I really loved this project. But owing to a terrifying event described in the personal information section of my website, I decided to go to graduate school in philosophy. I already had degrees in philosophy and linguistics as well. One of my main areas of specialization in philosophy was, and still is, philosophy of language. Philosophy of language by its very nature is a very empirical area of philosophy.

Philosophy of language by its very nature is a very empirical area of philosophy.

We look at what the linguists do, and they look at what we do. But you are right. Until recently I didn't design my own experiments or studies. My interest in designing my own studies was sparked by a series of events taking place around the time of my divorce. To deal with the consequences of these events, I felt that I had to expand on my knowledge of the brain. Another coincidence sparked my interest in synesthesia.

Posted via email from rakista's posterous

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