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The International Wittgenstein Conference in Taiwan will take place in Taipei City, 11/7-11/8, 2008 in association with the Section of Logic, Mind, and Methodology, Department of Philosophy, National Taiwan University.

We are proud to offer this unique event as part of the 80th Anniversary celebrations of National Taiwan University.


Kai-Yuan Cheng (National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan)
Leo Cheung (Baptist University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Byron Kaldis (Hellenic Open University, Greece)
David MacArthur (University of Sydney, Australia)
David MacCarty (Indiana University, USA)
Eric Oberheim (Humboldt University, Germany)
Nicoletta Orlandi (Rice University, USA)
Marcelo Stamm (University of Tasmania, Australia)
Simon van Rysewyk (Shih Hsin University, Taiwan)
Christian Wenzel (National Chi Nan University, Taiwan)
Daniel Whiting (University of Southampton, UK)
Fengway Wu (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, National Science Council, Taiwan)
Jeu-Jeng Yuann (National Taiwan University, Taiwan)

The conference website will be operational in one week.




Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Prabir Bhattacharya, Canada Research Chair in Information Systems, or at least his computer, might.

For the last three years, Bhattacharya (Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering) and graduate student, Abu Sayeed Sohail, have been working to develop a computer vision system that detects and classifies human facial expressions.

The results of their research to date were recently published by Verlag Dr. Müller in Classification of Human Facial Expression: A Prospective Application of Image Processing and Machine Learning (2008).

Why would you want to teach a machine to know if someone were happy or sad?
As Bhattacharya explained, Japanese banks have been using computers to judge customer mood for quite some time.

Small digital cameras snap photos of each face entering the bank, sending them through an internal network to a computer where they are compared with a database of known facial expressions. By examining details like the lift of the lips and the position of the eyebrows, the computer can make a pretty good guess about whether the customer is happy, tired, angry or sad.

Entire article is here.

Alexander Waugh, author

The Independent, Friday, September 26, 2008

One can understand why Alexander Waugh, himself a scion of a famous family, should have been interested in the Wittgenstein dynasty of Vienna. But the correct analogy for this ill-starred sept is surely the house of Atreus. The multi-millionaire Karl Wittgenstein, an iron and steel magnate, fathered nine children, one of whom died in her first month. The eight survivors were singularly unhappy, prone to cancers and all neurotic at the very least; most of them undoubtedly crossed the border into psychosis. 

Hermine, the eldest child, was a repressed spinster who dabbled amateurishly in painting. Gretl, the youngest daughter, fell prey to an American wastrel who married her for money. She was sexually frigid and consulted psychoanalysts about her problems, which were compounded when her schizoid husband lost all her money in the 1929 Wall Street crash.

Waugh claims that Gretl was the warmest, kindest and most humorous Wittgenstein, but also the bossiest, most ambitious and worldly. The most normal was Helene, who married a civil servant. But it is the brothers who really fascinate Waugh. Three committed suicide, and Waugh is good on the cult of self-slaughter in fin-de-siècle Vienna after the famous suicide of Crown Prince Rudolf and his mistress at Mayerling in 1889.

That leaves the concert pianist Paul and the philosopher Ludwig as the core of Waugh’s excellent book. Paul lost his right arm in the First World War and survived the horrors of Siberia as a prisoner of war until his influential family pulled strings to get him repatriated. He spent the vast fortune inherited from Karl in payment to famous composers (Ravel, Prokofiev, Korngold, Richard Strauss) to persuade them to write concerti for the left hand. Some of these episodes read like black comedy by Flann O’Brien. Paul took the line that because he had bought these works, he had the right to bowdlerise them as he saw fit.

Predictably, his relations with the composers were tense, not aided by his prima donna antics. Because classical music is Waugh’s great love, it is not surprising he finds Paul by far the most interesting of the Wittgensteins. He claims that Paul was a first-rate pianist, though the consensus seems to be that he was guilty of distortions in his playing and did not allow a composer’s music to speak for itself.

Entire review is here.

September 2008
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