THE PANTANETO FORUM


Issue 36: October 2009

Mindboggling: Preliminaries to a science of the mind   by Roy Harris.  Do you have a mind?  Answers to this question have divided Western thinkers for centuries, and still do.  Mindboggling sets out to identify a nucleus of basic issues about the mind, and present the main arguments for and against in each case.  Targeted to a lay readership, each chapter discusses a different theory, myth or idea about the mind.  Anticipate wails from theorists whose theories have been given short shrift.  Mindboggling is available on Amazon, from Bookshops or direct from Publishers. 

 

Science on Television by Bienvenido León.  

The book is a clear and systematic guide to the narrative and rhetorical techniques used by science documentary filmmakers. The book is priced at £18.50, but for direct orders we are offering a 20% discount.

 

Motivating Science is a collection of articles from the first five years of The Pantaneto Forum.  We are offering a 20% discount for direct orders.

 

 
Editorial

 

One area which is poorly understood, not least by scientists, is “Risk”.  In “Fallacies of Risk”, Sven Hansson elaborates ten such fallacies which are commonly found in public debates on risk.  According to Hansson: “exposing fallacious reasoning is much like garbage collecting: Neither task can ever be completed, since new material arrives all the time”.  However, it is nevertheless important to expose bad thinking whenever it arises.

 

Can the love of learning be taught?  According to Rodney Nillsen the direct answer to this question is: “unlikely”.  But the challenge (and privilege) for teachers is “to create an environment in which it may occur”.  In Rodney Nillsen’s article, using examples from mathematics and history, he explores some of the issues raised by the question and explains ideas for teaching, which promote a joy in learning as well as in teaching. 

 

In dealing with ecological problems, now and in the future, T.N. Narasimhan argues for the importance of human qualities and societal issues in our adaptation to our environment.  In “Limitations of science and adapting to Nature” he argues that these “beyond science” imperatives are an integral part of any environmental debate.

 

A plea to improve both the understanding and perception of science is always welcome.  That this plea is directed at scientists, politicians and the general public in such an important area as the management of the planet on which we all reside is as important as it is opportune.  In “A Precautionary Tale: Towards a Sustainable Philosophy of Science”, Andrew Baker posits that we should stop worrying about proving cause and effect and concentrate on “not doing harm”.  A bit more “open-minded humility” and a bit less overstating the capabilities of science would go a long way.

  

The proceedings of the Science Matters conference, which we reported in Issue 28, October 2007, have just been published and are available from the publishers – World Scientific.

 

Nigel Sanitt
Editor

ISSN 1741-1572

Contents

Articles

Fallacies of Risk, Sven Ove Hansson

Can the love of learning be taught?, R. Nillsen

Limitations of science and adapting to Nature, T. N. Narasimhan

A Precautionary Tale: Towards a Sustainable Philosophy of Science, Andrew Michael Baker

 

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