Daniel Tammet on aesthetic judgement and knowing

Asking for forgiveness if he does not put on a "one man savant show" for the audience, Daniel Tammet goes on to defend a thesis born of his own experience. Do our aesthetic judgements, rather than thought and abstraction, guide the knowing we get? It's an intriguing idea with roots in human biology, and his synesthesia, the "cross talk" between his senses, provides him with a perspective on an answer continually exploited by poets, for example.

Expanded, this intimate connection to the world has dramatically changed how experimentors' - to take another example - now approach the development of artificial intelligence. If thought is embedded in all of human biology, not just our brains, we know more than we can tell. "Our bodies," as Sir Ken Robinson has memorably said, "are not just transport for our heads."

The questions, of course, are inevitable and asked at the 2010 IdeaFestival what the color of a rather large, made-up number might be, he paused and with a comic's timing answered "red, white and blue" - because "everything's bigger in America."

Video of him at the IdeaFestival may be seen here, a brief interview, here