I hadn't known about this new venture.
Reading through the journal yesterday, I thought that Harry Walker's review of Webb Keane's Christian Moderns introduced the book very nicely. Not so sure I agree with the argument of Maurice Bloch's 'Blob' article - simply because I've not convinced that cognitive science possesses the relevance for anthropology that he claims for it. But I can't fault his aim in trying to tackle such a big issue as the 'self' as a matter for comparison. Interesting stuff.
Thanks for the tip-off!
The "Blob" piece is not, I think, the best of Bloch. It raises a bunch of interesting questions but doesn't do much to answer them except point to cognitive science—which won't do most of his readers much good, since they won't know what he is talking about. In my case, the year (1978-1979) I spent as a research assistant/LISP hacker in Schank and Abelson's AI Project at Yale and my recently renewed interest in social networks, data mining and complex system modeling make me a bit more receptive than you seem to be. I don't see cognitive science as the answer to all possible questions that one might have about selves. I can, however, imagine a fruitful dialogue between humanists and cognitive scientists if they learn how to talk with each other. The major obstacle is, of course, the math and computational techniques that are, alas, only black boxes to humanists, who can only critique their input and output while having nothing to say about the mechanisms inside.