Minds and Societies

Summer InstituteWell, after managing to play Keystone Kops for the last 10 days as our departmental office has been moved without mercy across campus, I’m giving up. Featuring lost and collapsed book carts, on-the-wall shelving that quickly became off-the-wall, collapsable shelving, and many other adventures in chaos, I’m dropping out of this whole experience-thing: to Philadelphia and then Montreal, Toronto and Kingston. And as part of my almost unlimited capacity for distraction from actually writing a talk for the upcoming Summer Institute on Cognitive Science that is being hosted at UQAM in Montreal, June 28 – July 6th, which is, after all, the pre-text for my secret escape, I have convinced myself that it’s more important to know what everyone else is talking about here than to know what one will talk about oneself, and so devoted most of my attention today to checking out some of the details. The theme for the institute is Minds and Societies, and the two-week program features about 50 pretty damned interesting people. Heading the line-up is my favourite atheist philosopher, Dan Dennett, whose special guest appearance in Dickie D’s rap peez, blogged right here previously, must rank as an all-time high in his cameo appearances. Dennett will lead a public conference on the first Friday night of the conference: From Animal to Person: How Culture Makes Up our Minds. Other speakers include

Frank Keil, Kristine Onishi, and Rebecca Saxe (mind and developmental psychology)
Richard Byrne, Dan Kelley, and Elisabeth Pacherie (more theory of mind)
Jesse Prinz, James Blair, and Josh Knobe (morality and cognitive science)
Larry Sanger, Deb Roy, and yours truly (multi-agent cognition)
Pierre-Leonard Harvey, Pierre Levy, and Toru Ishida (collective intelligence)

As if that ain’t enough reason spontaneously to drop all one’s other plans and head immediately to Montreal, the Institute just happens to coincide with the Montreal Jazz Festival. Damn it, don’t just sit there: go!

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