This is officially the first post of the polemical brain (hereafter abbreviations are surely to appear).
On this web-space, Max Baru & Co. intend to post an open-ended series of recorded interviews with a variety of thinkers who think about minds/brains and language. As the mood strikes us, we will post additional articles about related topics. Expect, initially at least, a generous amount of experimentation and fairly impressionistic hosts.
I (Max) am a lowly undergraduate linguist studying at York University, Toronto. I am not a professional journalist, public speaker, or even a particularly confident private speaker. As Uncle Noam is often wont to note, this is probably for the best as it is a disservice to oneself to be swayed by rhetoric and charisma. Since, in deployment of my discursive capacities, I typically have little of either, you, listener/reader, are in no danger.
My primary partner-in-crime for this blog is Selena Phillips-Boyle, a linguist pursuing her MA at York University. All audio-visual material is prepared by her. No complaints about sound quality--we're on an instant-noodles budget, and besides, grainy audio builds character. Or something.
The title of the blog is chosen to represent two things: (1) the topic of the blog: brains at various levels of abstraction and (2) that we are aware that the field of linguistics is typically in a polemical mood. Part of our aim is thus to erode the animosity between the sects of the profession. We thus begin with ourselves: I am a card-carrying generativist, and Selena is a dyed-in-the-wool sociolinguist. Initial reservations aside, we have found our worldviews to be largely compatible when the misinformation is weeded out. In fact, we strongly believe that the primary epistemological, and metaphysical commitments of generative grammar and sociolinguistics are compatible. Moreover, we feel that many of the topics these fields purport to cover are either orthogonal to each other or else complementary. There are, undoubtedly, important debates to be had, and irreconcilable theories to be chosen between, but the majority of disagreements in and out of the university seem to be of negligible substance once you shine a light on them.
To sum up: we seek to ignite the linguistics community in a feeling of being in a Common Enterprise.