The Bayesian Brain

Our next, and last meeting this semester will be on the 20th of June at 19:00, this time we will meet at Tunnel Vienna. Moritz will present us “The Bayesian Brain”, a hypotheses of the field of cognitive science.

The Bayesian Brain Hypotheses: Is knowledge stored probabilistically in our brain?

Literature:

Level 0:
https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/30/science/the-odds-continually-updated.html
A superficial but broad account of where Bayesian statistics can be used and a fun read.

Level 1:
http://www.wcas.northwestern.edu/nescan/knill.pdf
A nice introductory text on how Bayes theorem is used to update knowledge and how it could be used to explain decision-making in our brain and basic psychological experiments.

Level CogSci debate:
http://www.fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk/~karl/Whatever%20next.pdf
A good account of the debate in cognitive science about the advantages/disadvantages of the Bayesian brain hypotheses, which was started by an article from Clark and supplemented by comments of researchers in the whole field from different perspectives.

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The physical interpretation of probability and the quantum theory

The next Naturwissenschaftscafé will take place on the 9th of May at 20:00 in Wuk. This time Flavio will talk about The physical interpretation of probability and the quantum theory. You may find following suggested literature helpful:

  • Book:
    “Philosophy and Probability” by Timothy Childers (pp. 33-36)
  • Extended conference paper:
    “The physical motivations for a propensity interpretation of probability, and the reactions of the community of quantum physicists” by Flavio

In order to get one of the above texts please contact e.schwarzhans(at)gmx.at .

Why (not) vote? – A mathematical approach to the theory of Elections, grassroots democracy & the challenges of decision making in big groups

The next meeting will be on the 11th of April at 20:00, as always in Café Tunnel.
This times topic is Why (not) vote? – A mathematical approach to the theory of Elections, grassroots democracy & the challenges of decision making in big groups” and will be presented by Claude.

Abstract:
According to the current democratic Ideal elections ought to reflect the “will of the people”. We will examine current election methods and discuss alternative societal designs. Both will prove  to be challenging.

Basic considerations:

  • What is an election?
  • How do formal rules influence elections?
  • Can there be fair elections and how should they look like?

All of this will be analyzed using established mathematical methods of the field of economics (so called Public Choice Theory). Apart from classical philosophical-idealistic democracy theories we will see that fair elections constitute a complex as well as a hardly reachable ideal.
At the end of the discussion probably more new questions will have appeared, than we answered. On that account we will have established an exceptional and differentiated point of view on, up to this point accepted, fundamental assumptions of our society.

Suggested literature (in German):
Mathematik der Wahl: Das Arrow-Theorem – Karl Geller

  • Basic: Chapter 5.1 will probably be covered by the Talk.
  • Bonus: Chapter 5.2 bonus material.

Since the literature is neither published nor otherwise available please contact Manu (e.schwarzhans@gmx.at) in order to get it.