Category Archives: On Certainty

On Certainty at Bose Pacia, New York

Shifter 14 was released in conjunction with a group show featuring Lindsay Benedict, Joshua Hart, Abhishek Hazra, Pat Palermo and Kiran Subbaiah curated by Sreshta Rit Premnath. A weekly series of lectures and presentations accompanied this show.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Lack of clarity in philosophy is tormenting. It is felt as shameful. We feel: we do not know our way about where we should know our way about. And nevertheless it isn’t so. We can get along very well without… knowing our way about here.”

“…In any serious question uncertainty extends to the very roots of the problem.”

-from “Remarks on Colour,” Ludwig Wittgenstein

John Keene and Christopher Stackhouse

March 14, 2009
Bose Pacia, New York

John Keene and Christopher Stackhouse presented a polyvocal performance reading with image and text projections from their collaborative book Seismosis (1913 Press). The book features drawings by Stackhouse and text by Keene in dialogic response to each other. The presentation is part performance, part lecture/reading. The audience has the opportunity to experience the drawings, text, and vocalizations of both writer and artist in this immersive setting.

Christopher Perkins – Guess and Check is Valid Math

March 21, 2009
Bose Pacia, New York

The basic problem of looking for the unknown leads to questions regarding where to look and what to look for. New discoveries in the field of physics are based on previous discoveries but the problem remains of which leads to follow and which to abandon. Even once an avenue for further research is chosen, the scientists involved must design an experiment and decide whether or not this experiment is capable of finding what they are looking for, even before they know what they will find. All that can be done is to choose a subset of the parameter space that offers the possibility of new discovery. We will lead a discussion on the process that precedes the reporting of scientific results and how scientists believe an avenue of research is valid.

Arjun Jayadev – Uncertainty, Confidence and Crises

March 28, 2009
Bose Pacia, New York

"We are seeing things that were 25 standard deviations moves, several days in a row". This was the comment that David Viniar, CFO of Goldman Sachs offered as his explanation for the crisis. In other words, bad luck– an awful lot of it– has brought the world to the edge of a recession.. How accurate is this statement, and what made Viniar, one of the central players in the financial system believe this to be true? How does one understand the crisis from the viewpoint of uncertainty in financial markets? And what does this mean for the future?

Lawrence Liang – Rewiring the Soul: Technologies of the Truth

April 11, 2009
Bose Pacia, New York

Truth technologies at the service of law from the Lie Detector to Narco-Analysis have made a sudden reappearance in the world after 9/11. In the Indian context, high profile cases including Abu Salem and Telgi’s have centered on highly performative extractions of the truth, which are often televised on television. This paper attempts to provide a philosophical and cultural history of technologies of lie detection. It looks at the ways in which truth and lies were rendered technologically accessible, and how the body simultaneously becomes the archive of the soul and in turn produces a new regime of physiological truth. Popular discourse on crime and detection are vital to the legitimacy of these technologies of truth, and in many ways lie detectors were legitimized through popular culture before the found acceptance in law. This paper will locate the re-emergence of lie detectors within the dynamics of secrets and lies in the hyper mediatised world that we live in.

Kenneth Perrine – The Neuroscience of Language and Certainty

April 18, 2009
Bose Pacia, New York

In his presentation Dr. Perrine will discuss language and certainty, weaving together the questions posed by philosophers from Western (e.g., Wittgenstein, Bateson) and Eastern (Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism) traditions regarding language and subjectivity, with his research findings from performing the Wada test in which a sedative is injected into one hemisphere of the brain at a time. The effect is to shut down all functions in that hemisphere in order to evaluate the capabilities of the other, “awake” hemisphere. During this period of anesthesia he probes the neural mechanisms of memory, language and thinking in each hemisphere separately. He also performs Cortical Stimulation during awake neurosurgery to localize language and other cognitive processes by selectively disabling small (1 cm) cortical areas during cognitive testing. These procedures allow testing of hypotheses relating the neural bases of language, certainty, self-awareness and other mental functions to the questions posed by philosophers for millennia.