Feb. 17: Darwin's Strange Inversion of Reasoning
Daniel Dennett is the Austin B. Fletcher professor of philosophy at Tufts University. Before Charles Darwin wrote "Origin of the Species," people assumed that living organisms were built according to a pre-existing plan. When Darwin showed that species change because they inherit traits that ensure their better chances at survival, critics lashed out at Darwin for his "strange inversion of reasoning." Dennett argues that evolution can explain some of the content-producing features of consciousness, that researchers can observe and understand Darwin's reasoning in terms of "trillions of tiny robotic agencies called cells, that know nothing of the role they are playing, yet work together to compose the human minds that are able to discover this very fact."
March 10: Really Intelligent Computers
Paul Cohen, the UA computer science department head, will talk about developing really intelligent computers. Really intelligent computers will do more than current artificial intelligence, which has delivered cars that drive themselves, airline reservation...
March 3: Visualizing Human Thought
Elena Plante heads up the UA's speech, language and hearing sciences department. Throughout most of medical history, the human brain's ability to think and communicate thoughts could only be understood in terms of behavior following brain damage. But new tools...
Feb. 10: A Great Leap for Bioresearch
Vicki Chandler is a Regents' Professor of molecular and cellular biology and director of the BIO5 Institute. Understanding plants – from their most minute cellular processes to their roles in ecosystems – is critical to sustain life on Earth. Chandler is...