The concept of play involves suspending judgment about the rules of the world to become fully immersed in the realm of play. This idea is closely related to Husserl's "epoché," which involves suspending judgment and neutralizing one's beliefs. In this talk, Yuko Ishihara and Olaf Witkowski explore the roles of play, bracketing, and immersion in living, distributed, and learning systems. Within such systems, playful exploration within well-defined, structured boundaries can enable agents to develop and evolve in new directions. The meta-attitude accompanying playfulness allows systems to discover new equilibria that go beyond mere exploration and exploitation paradigms. Examining play through the lens of immersion and bracketing holds significant value, serving as a bridge between multiple fields of research including neurophenomenology, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and artificial life.
About the speakers
Yuko Ishihara (Associate Professor, Ritsumeikan University, Japan) is an associate professor at Ritsumeikan University. She received her Ph.D. degree from the University of Copenhagen in 2017 with a dissertation titled, “Transcendental Philosophy and its Transformations: Heidegger and Nishida’s critical engagements with transcendental philosophy in the late 1920s.” From April 2017 to March 2018, she was a postdoctoral research fellow, and the first philosopher to be employed, at the Earth-Life Science Institute in Tokyo Institute of Technology where she explored avenues in which phenomenology and modern Japanese philosophy could provide insights into the origins of life research. She was also a visiting scholar from February 2017 to March 2019 at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, at the Program in Interdisciplinary Studies. Her research interest lies in the intersection of modern Japanese philosophy (Kyoto School tradition in particular) and phenomenology. Recently, she has been interested in understanding the significance of play and playfulness for human beings. In her recent book project, she reinterprets the phenomenological epoché (suspension of judgment) by taking it out of its limited context as it was introduced by Edmund Husserl and giving it a more practical spin by presenting it as a way to ‘play with reality’ in the sense of becoming co-players with reality, exploring new dimensions of freedom, openness and playfulness.
Olaf Witkowski (Director of Research, Cross Labs • Lecturer, University of Tokyo) is the director of research and founding member at Cross Labs, an AI research institute in Kyoto, leading fundamental research in AI and Artificial Life. He is also an executive officer at Cross Compass Ltd., a lecturer in information sciences at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Tokyo, a research scientist at the Earth-Life Science Institute of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and a regular visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He has co-founded various ventures in science and technology on three continents, including YHouse Inc.—a nonprofit transdisciplinary research institute in New York, focused on awareness, artificial intelligence and complex systems—and the Center for the Study of Apparent Selves—a new institute in Kathmandu studying Buddhist philosophy and AI ethics. He received his PhD in neuroevolution learning and collective intelligence under Takashi Ikegami, from the Computer Science Department of the University of Tokyo. He is currently the vice president of the International Society for Artificial Life (ISAL), and helped co-found ALife Japan in 2021. He is also part of a new project on human flourishing, focused on the study of the current and future concepts of self in biology, AI, philosophy, and other disciplines studying the mind.
The CLEA seminars are taking place simultaneously at the VUB campus and online (via Zoom) and are open to everyone interested!
When. Thursday (!) September 7, 2023 from 15:00 until 17:00 h
Where. VUB campus Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Elsene. Building I, room I.1.01
Online. You can follow the seminar online via Zoom. You may need a Meeting ID and passcode to enter.
Meeting ID: 827 5779 8426
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- Presentation file: