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紐時賞析/一切歸結於感受

2018-07-11 10:30紐時賞析

It All Comes Down to Feeling

In “The Strange Order of Things” Antonio Damasio promises to explore “one interest and one idea … why and how we emote, feel, use feelings to construct our selves; how feelings assist or undermine our best intentions; why and how our brains interact with the body to support such functions.”

在《事物的奇特秩序》一書中,作者安東尼奧.達馬西歐承諾探討「一個興趣與一個觀念…我們為什麼以及如何產生情緒、感受,以及透過感受來架構我們自己;這些感受又如何協助或破壞我們的好意;我們的大腦與身體又為什麼以及如何互動,來支持這些功能。」

Damasio thinks that the cognitive revolution of the last 40 years, which has yielded cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience and artificial intelligence, has been, in fact, too cognitive, too rationalist, and not concerned enough with the role that affect plays in the natural history of mind and culture. Standard stories of the evolution of human culture are framed in terms of rational problem solving, creative intelligence, invention, foresight and linguistically mediated planning — the inventions of fire, shelters from the storms, agriculture, the domestication of animals, transportation systems, systems of political organization, weapons, books, libraries, medicine and computers.

達馬西歐認為,過去40年的認知革命,產生了認知科學、認知神經學以及人工智慧,但事實上 ,它過於側重認知與理性主義,不夠關注認知在心智與文化的自然史中,於行為影響中所扮演的角色。人類文化演變的標準故事,是以理性解決問題、創造性智慧、發明、遠見以及以語言為媒介的計畫為框架,如火的發明、風暴的避難所、農業、豢養動物、運輸以及政治組織的體系、武器、書籍、圖書館、醫藥和電腦。

Damasio rightly insists that a system with reason, intelligence and language does nothing unless it cares about something, unless things matter to it or, in the case of the emerging world of AI, things matter to its makers. Feelings motivate reason and intelligence, then “stay on to check the results, and help negotiate the necessary adjustments.”

達馬西歐正確地堅稱,以理性、智慧、語言組成的系統,除非關心某事,或此事對它而言相當重要,在人工智慧的新興世界中則是對它的製造者相當重要,否則它不會發揮作用。感受激發了理性和智慧,然後「繼續留在那裡等著查對結果,再促成必要的調整」。

To bring the central role of feelings to the fore, Damasio undertakes nothing less than a reconstruction of the natural history of the universe — “the strange order” of his title. For the first 9 billion years after the Big Bang there was no Earth. Once Earth formed 4.6 billion years ago, everything that happened on it could be explained in the language of physics and inorganic chemistry. Then 3.8 billion years ago simple unicellular life emerged by way of processes still not entirely well understood, involving nitrogen, ammonia, methane, electricity and water. The first life unconsciously “sensed" or “registered" states of affairs — dangers, the integrity of its boundaries, temperature and light sources — and made adjustments to sustain itself. Once there is life, we need concepts of organic chemistry and biology like metabolism and homeostasis to explain it all.

為突顯感受的中心角色,達馬西歐承擔起不亞於重建宇宙自然史的任務─也是書名中「奇特秩序」的由來。「大霹靂」後的頭90億年裡,宇宙並沒有地球。地球在46億年前形成後,發生的一切可用物理學和無機化學的語言加以解釋。其後,38億年前,簡單的單細胞生物在人類迄今未能完全了解的過程中誕生,其中涉及氮、氨、甲烷、電和水。這初始的生物無意識地「感知」與「記錄」了各種事態,危險、界限的完整性、溫度和光源,並作出調整以期能自給自足。一旦有了生命,我們就需要有機化學和生物學的概念,如新陳代謝和體內平衡以解釋所有的一切。

These unicellular organisms evolved into multicellular organisms and eventually gained nervous systems. Then, 600 million years ago, organisms that experience things, creatures with feelings, appeared.

這些單細胞生物體演進成多細胞生物體,最終還有了神經系統。接著,6億年前,能夠體驗事物的有機體,有感受的生物,誕生了。

文/Owen Flanagan 譯/王麗娟

英語能力紐約時報

紐時賞析

精選紐約時報精彩報導譯為中文並刊出原文,配合賞析導讀,讓讀者除了學英語也能深入了解全球文化。

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