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Humour & Neural Networks

Administrador del Nodo Postmaster at neubio.sld.ar
Sun Nov 12 15:03:28 EST 1995

Hello again, friend netters!

               Philip Dorrell (p at dorrell.demon.co.uk)
comments on my former posting:

> Lack of empathy seems to me to be distinct to lack of
>sense of humour. Maybe with sufficient damage both could
>be obliterated, but that would only confuse the issue.
>Just because someone doesn't get a joke I don't see why
>they shouldn't exhibit concern about people. What I would
>expect is that people that lacked empathy wouldn't laugh
>at jokes involving anti-empathy, i.e. where something um-
>pleasant happens to someone.

                Philip's answer go deep! ("cala en honduras",
I would say in Spanish). If laugh is to be depicted by neural
networking, it ought to be like an Aplysia's beautifully coordi-
nated reflex. We even do not still know if birdsong is, or if
it is not, accompanied by empathy.  But laughing (except when
sardonic :-)!) is humourous -or, it humours a joke- only if em-
pathizing with the situation understood as jocular. We here in
our Lab follow the analysis of Prof. Marcos Victoria ("La Risa")
and of Dr. Jose Ingenieros; but abroad you can find similar appre-
ciations in the line of thought of Dilthey's distinction between
explanation and understanding and, on the other hand, Bergson's
theses on "Le rire". Agreed: empathy and sense of humour are
pretty different, but you cannot have sense of humour if you lack
the sense of understanding the situations affecting your neighbours,
or "understanding" in the Diltheyan-Jasperian acception. And this
requires hylozoism.

            	What is at the stake is the possibility for neural
networks, or in general for any kinetized, exogenist physics, to
depict laughing. 

		Any non-hylozoist neuroscience framed in such a
physics can solely depict laughing by previous reducing it into a
reflex lacking empathy, i.e. an effect of parahippocampal electro-
stimulation.  But if your electrostimulated subject tells you that
she feels merryment, then you ought to relinquish said reduction
and recognize hylozoistically that reflexes put in action other
processes differentially producing one-witness physical realities. 

		If you preposit a dualism, of course you can insert
a hormic agency navigating accross the bushes of the neuroanatomical 
structures, but only while resigning any physical research.

                Fortunately the cult bussiness now can thrive without
such hormic additions, so I hope in the next decades both physics
and the neurosciences based in it shall accompany the hylozoist stan-
ce of our remote and (until recently) confined tradition.

                Cyberkissing everybody!

       Prof. Mariela Szirko,
       <postmaster at neubio.sld.ar> 
       Centro de Investig. Neurobiologicas, Ministry
       of Health & Welfare, Argentine Republic; and Lab. of
       Electroneurobiological Res., Hospital "Dr. Jose Tiburcio Borda", 
       Municipality of Buenos Aires,
       Office:  Phone/Fax (54 1) 306 -7314
                e-mail <postmaster at neubio.gov.ar>
       Standard disclaimer: Las opiniones de este mensaje son personales 
      y no comprometen las dependencias a cargo de la firmante.
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