Interdisciplinarity, metabiology and creativity

A paper by Virginia Chaitin was recently brought to my attention. She is currently a Post-Doc at the Univeridade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, with research interests that include, among others, the history and philosophy of science, epistemology, and interdisciplinarity. The paper I just read, Metabiology, Interdisciplinarity and the Human Self-Image, focuses on the kind […]

A mathematical philosophy – a digital view

I’ve become fascinated with Gregory Chaitin’s exploration of randomness in computing and his impulse to bring these observations to bear on physical, mathematical, and biological theories. His work inevitably addresses epistemological questions – what it means to know, to comprehend – and leads him to move (as he says in a recent paper) in the […]

Pufferfish, bowerbirds and pragmatism

One of the reasons that the nature of mathematics has been such an enigma, is that we associate it with thought, and we tend to distinguish thought from the physical world.   We do find mathematics in natural structures – some of these beautifully represented in a film you may have seen called Nature by the […]

Quantum Mechanical Words and Mathematical Organisms

My post appeared on the Scientific American Guest Blog this morning.  Here’s the link:

Quantum Mechanical Words and Mathematical Organisms

Lines on ochre and the roots of creativity

A nice article, focused on the origins of creativity, appears in the March 13 issue of Scientific American. Author, Heather Pringle, surveys research that seems to indicate that the human talent for innovation actually emerged over hundreds of thousands of years ago, before homo sapiens left Africa.  This is contrary to the view held previously […]

Chaitin, creativity, biology and mathematics

I was looking today, once again, at Gregory Chaitin’s most recent work which is described in his book Proving Darwin.  I realized that much of what has been written about this work (even what I have written) doesn’t give adequate attention to the crucial shifts in perspective that metabiology proposes. Chaitin says concisely:

According to […]

Life’s music, movement, language and mathematics

Things happen in nature.  Cells socialize and build structure, organisms grow, and move, and interact, and then more things grow – like music, language, and mathematics. Generally, talk about evolution is very pragmatic.  Cell organization, the shaping of roots, leaves, nourishment mechanisms, reproductive drives, are all usually understood as fairly specific purposeful processes.  Perhaps by […]

Ant arithmetic and prairie dog conversation

One of the points I wanted to make in last week’s post was that studies in animal cognition suggest the presence of mathematics in the behavior of non-human species – the ants, for example, who can be seen to pass on quantitative information to other ants. We don’t see the mathematics they may be doing […]

Kurzweil’s How to Create a Mind, and mathematics

I listened last week to Diane Rehm’s interview with Ray Kurzweil, author of the book “How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed”  A transcript of the interview can be found here.

Published in mid-November, it is already a New York Times bestseller, and some of the responses to it from prominent […]

Finger counting, finger gnosia and cerebral structures

In June The Guardian posted an interesting piece on finger counting and numbers.  The main content of the article concerns the work of cognitive scientists Andrea Bender and Sieghard Beller which explores the cultural diversity in finger counting.  It tells us that if asked to use you hands to count to 10, these variations will […]