Category Archives: Philosophy

Retro-viral phenomena: The dress over and over again

It is happening again. Another “dress”-like image just surfaced. As far as I can tell, more or less the same thing is going on. Ill defined lighting conditions in the images are being filled in by lighting assumptions, and they differ … Continue reading

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Beyond free will

Some say that every time philosophy and neuroscience cross, philosophy wins. The usual reason cited for this? Naive and unsophisticated use of concepts and the language to express them within neuroscience. Prime exhibit is the mereological fallacy – the confusion … Continue reading

Posted in Neuroscience, Pet peeve, Philosophy | 1 Comment

Mary revisited: The Brian problem

Generations of philosophers have been fascinated what has been termed the “Mary problem“. In essence, Mary is the worlds foremost expert on color vision and knows everything that there is to know about it. The catch is that she is … Continue reading

Posted in Pet peeve, Philosophy | 6 Comments

Did a 6th century Hebrew fortuneteller accidentally do the first documented experiment?

Who did the first experiment? 13th century scholastics like Roger Bacon are usually credited with the invention of the modern scientific method – in particular with regard to doing experiments. Bacon expanded on the work of Robert Grosseteste, who revived … Continue reading

Posted in History, Philosophy, Science | 1 Comment

Ideological opportunity cost (IOC)

Ideology interferes with an unbiased appraisal of reality. This – in itself – would be detrimental enough, but ideology is far more insidious than that. By nature, ideology is designed to be extremely self-serving and inherently creating in- and an out-groups. … Continue reading

Posted in Pet peeve, Philosophy, Social commentary | 3 Comments

What should we call simulated data?

Data is not made. Data is born as a result of a measurement process. Taking measurements (in conjunction with a measurement theory) creates data. But then, what should we call – in contrast – the results of simulations, the output of … Continue reading

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The social mission of perceptual research

Our perception corresponds to an idiosyncratic model of reality, not reality itself. This is easy to forget, as we all share a common outside environment in the form of external reality and process it with a cognitive apparatus that has … Continue reading

Posted in Neuroscience, Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Social commentary | 3 Comments

A primer on the neuroscience of happiness

The age old question of what makes for a happy life is of great interest to almost anyone who is in fact alive. A classic answer, building on Aristotelian notions of happiness, is provided by Charles Murray who points out … Continue reading

Posted in In eigener Sache, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Psychology, Social commentary, Technology | 1 Comment

The consolation of temporal perspective

Few things are more discouraging and galling to the righteous than the raging success of the obviously undeserving and unworthy. This can be particularly dispiriting early in life. The wise will recognize that virtue and non-virtue have fundamentally different time … Continue reading

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The paradox of progress

I often wonder how people managed to get by a thousand years ago, without effective anesthetics or antibiotics or even a fundamental understanding of the underlying causes of illness and disease. However, I realize that people a thousand years from … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Science, Social commentary, Strategy | 1 Comment

A more general relationship between relevance and rigor

Recently, SMBC (one of the few webcomics still worth reading, as he somehow manages to be uncorrupted by his own success) posted another inimitable offering. Except that in this case, it is actually perfectly imitable. This kind of thing can … Continue reading

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In the footsteps of Theodore Roosevelt

The US is at a crossroads. Strong leadership is necessary. What kind? We can look to Theodore Roosevelt for inspiration. Also: Don’t forget the brothers of the cosine. Continue reading

Posted in Life, Misc, Philosophy, Social commentary | 4 Comments