Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Jay Joseph at Mad in America has another good take on the state of behavioral genetics.

Jesse Prinz gives a good interview on social constructionism at Philosophy Bites (~20 minutes long). Also, see his book Beyond Human Nature which has some parallels to a lot that I write about on this blog. He has a more dense tome on consciousness, The Conscious Brain, which opened my eyes to a few things. He espouses an attended intermediate level representational theory (AIR) for consciousness. On social constructionism, see my post on gender and sexuality.

Coel Hellier at Coelsblog has a good post on morality and why subjective morals are the best we can hope for. I say discard moral language altogether and discuss the kinds of worlds and selves we can create and build. We can then shrug at those people who say, "That's all I ever meant and mean by morality!". Likely, they still wish to reproduce unnecessary discourses, and we should be wary, from a practical standpoint, of what they are sneaking into such discourses.

Joachim Krueger at One Among Many recounts some of the wrangling over the dual system model of cognitive processing. This is the fast versus slow thinking within Daniel Kahneman's work Thinking Fast and Slow.

More technical, an article by Steven Frankland and Joshua Greene on how the brain can form infinite meaning from infinite possible sentences.

At the cognitive level, theorists have held that the mind encodes sentence-level meaning by explicitly representing and updating the values of abstract semantic variables in a manner analogous to that of a classical computer. Such semantic variables correspond to basic, recurring questions of meaning such as “Who did it?” and “To whom was it done?” On such a view, the meaning of a simple sentence is partly represented by filling in these variables with representations of the appropriate semantic components.. . . Here, we describe two functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments aimed at understanding how the brain (in these regions or elsewhere) flexibly encodes the meanings of sentences involving an agent (“Who did it?”), an action (“What was done?”), and a patient (“To whom was it done?”).

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