Presentation at Reading, Jan. 2013

Presentation at Reading, Jan. 2013

2013年9月22日 星期日

A part-time psychologist

I don't really know how to start describing all these.

Since ASSC in 2008, I have been very impressed by empirically-informed philosophy.

However, given many reasons and excuses, many of them cultural, I stayed in my comfort zone. I did very traditional philosophy of mind and epistemology. There is nothing wrong with them. I had fun, and I still like them. Still, I feel that something is missing; something I do not know how to even begin to learn.

When I moved to CUNY in 2010, I have been entirely converted. One single most important thing the western world taught me is that it is never too late - people around me are keen to learn new things, including those are already in their seventies. Why can't I learn new knowledge in unfamiliar areas, even if I was already 30 or so?

The question is how. I had been surveying many ways to learn psychology and neuroscience. I audited classes, studied text books, read papers, attended talks, spent time with scientists. I did learn much from all these, but nothing systematic; nothing good enough to help my research. I felt that I have been doing this for several years but it did not work

During a trip to Berkeley in 2011, I had much time to rethink my approach. At that time I was pretty sure that I will move to London after 2012, so I checked resources in London. I discovered that at Birkbeck there are flexible courses for those who do not have background. Other schools have similar resources too, though many of them are MSc that might be too challenging for me. Basically, I will not get in most of them. But since then I have borne this information in mind.

And I moved to London. Now it has been one year. Lots of things happened during this year, and I have been considering how to start this adventure. Last week, I finally figured out what I should do and all the details. I am starting a certificate course at Birkbeck from this term. It consists of 6 courses that roughly cover the first 1.5 years in undergrad. This is exactly what I need. At the same time, I will seek to apply for MSc for next year's entry. It might not work, but in that case I will simply complete the certificate course. It sounds humble or even boring, but nothing better I can do. I will start from scratch.

The story has been cut down very short, but it should be enough for those who care about my progress. So far I have only got the student ID and nothing has started. But from next week the new adventure will begin. No matter whether this is silly, I am definitely doing it.