Philosophy of Biology: Seizing an opportunity

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TitlePhilosophy of Biology: Seizing an opportunity
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsZurn, P, Bassett, DS

As the techniques available to neuroscientists to probe the inner workings of the brain become more powerful, the volume of data generated increases exponentially and the tools used to analyze these data become ever more sophisticated. Alongside this feverish press into the future comes a growing interest in the use of new data technologies to study old literary and philosophical texts. And as researchers develop new methods to unearth patterns hidden within complex data, it is natural to think of these old texts as simply more data reflecting the intricacies of the human mind, waiting to succumb to the powerful, objective, and reliable perception of machines. Here we argue that historical texts are more than prone booty to be exploited: rather, they offer researchers in neuroscience, philosophy, and literature the opportunity to work together, to learn from and enrich each other’s methodologies. Using the study of human curiosity as an illustration, we describe our vision for a collaborative approach to exploring the mysteries of the mind and human behavior.