Hello Sam, again. Hello Chomsky.

ZusKCJYxRGKtInh3hOgr_Chomsky Vs. Harris

Chomsky and Harris

I strongly recommend all of you to read these two intellectuals among many others. Technically, Sam Harris is neuroscientist. Noam Chomsky is linguist. But they have crossed the boundaries of their respective fields and have become intellectual giants in their own respect. It is not very often when you see two intellectuals in a direct face-off. But it has happened some times. Earlier, as I mentioned in this blog, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett has confronted each other, though only briefly.

This time Sam and Chomsky came into limelight. For the uninitiated souls, it is sufficient to know that Sam is the ‘Leading atheist’ and has been excused of being ‘Islamophobe-in-Chief’. Noam Chomsky is famous for being a harsh critic of American policies. The background of the tussle between them has something to do with 9/11 event. Chomsky thinks it was the result of American policies. Chomsky thinks America has perpetrated far more serious crimes than 9/11 but those crimes went mostly unnoticed. Chomsky thinks American and other western policies are responsible for rise in Islamic terrorism in recent times. Sam Harris thinks otherwise. He looks at these issues from different perspective, that is he thinks such incidents are results of religious fanaticism and bigotry and has very little to do with American policies in Muslim countries.

In any case, Sam tried to arrange a debate with Chomsky which Chomsky refused. Following which, Sam and Chomsky exchanged some e-mails which Sam has published on his website. Check Sam’s blog The Limit of Discourse in which he has published his conversations with Chomsky held through emails. Interesting read.

P.S. – Sam has published a podcast ‘Final Thoughts on Chomsky‘ subsequent to his discussion with Chomsky.

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If Turing’s work shows that there are problems which Turing Machines cannot solve and if our mind is really a Turing Machine, does it correctly follow that our mind is incapable of solving exact those problems? Of course Turing Machine has infinite memory and infinite time at its disposal which our minds do not have. Does that roughly means, in some sense, we are less capable than Turing Machines? Can a person’s brain understand itself? Is this question equivalent to Godel’s second Incompleteness theorem which states a system cannot prove its own consistency? Long time ago, I read something like, “Brain has to be complex enough to understand brain (that is, itself) which has to be simple enough to be understood.”

Is there something more to our mind? Is mind hiding itself from itself?

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