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This is the archive for April 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

  • What is transhumanism? A pretty good definition is offered by bioethicist and transhumanist James Hughes who states that transhumanism is "the idea that humans can use reason to transcend the limitation of the human condition."[i] Specifically, transhumanists welcome the development of intimate technologies that will enable people to boost their life spans, enhance their intellectual capacities, augment their athletic abilities, and choose their preferred emotional states. What's particularly noteworthy is that Hughes argues that democratic decision-making is central to the task of guiding humanity into the transhuman future.

    tags: transhumanism, grue, CDC, AZB


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

  • WE HAVE all heard of experts who fail basic tests of sensory discrimination in their own field: wine snobs who can't tell red from white wine (albeit in blackened cups), or art critics who see deep meaning in random lines drawn by a computer. We delight in such stories since anyone with pretensions to authority is fair game. But what if we shine the spotlight on choices we make about everyday things? Experts might be forgiven for being wrong about the limits of their skills as experts, but could we be forgiven for being wrong about the limits of our skills as experts on ourselves? (18 April 2009 - New Scientist)

    tags: choice, blindness, mind, psychology, neuroethics, grue, cogsci


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

  • A young man I?ll call Alex recently graduated from Harvard. As a history major, Alex wrote about a dozen papers a semester. He also ran a student organization, for which he often worked more than forty hours a week; when he wasn?t on the job, he had classes. Weeknights were devoted to all the schoolwork that he couldn?t finish during the day, and weekend nights were spent drinking with friends and going to dance parties. ?Trite as it sounds,? he told me, it seemed important to ?maybe appreciate my own youth.? Since, in essence, this life was impossible, Alex began taking Adderall to make it possible.

    tags: neuroethics, enhancement, grue, cogsci

  • Forming a grammatically correct sentence may seem to require advanced cognitive skills, but it turns out that our creative language capacity might rely on a less sophisticated system than is commonly thought. A recent study suggests that our ability to construct sentences may arise from procedural memory?the same simple memory system that lets our dogs learn to sit on command. (Scientific American)

    tags: language, evolution, grue, cogsci

  • This started out to be a paper about why I am so down on evolutionary Psychology (EP), a topic I?ve addressed in print efore. (see Fodor, 19xx; 19xx). But, as I went along, it began to seem that really the paper was about what happens when you try to integrate Darwinism with an intentional theory like propositional attitude psychology.

    tags: Fodor, evolution, grue, selection

  • I first saw Price last May in a YouTube clip of her on 20/20. Diane Sawyer asks Price, an avid television viewer, to identify certain significant dates in broadcast history. When did CBS air the "Who shot JR?" episode of Dallas? When was All in the Family's baby episode shown? And so on. Price nails every question. She not only gives the date for the final episode of MASH but describes the weather that day.

    tags: memory, cogsci, grue


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

  • Emerging technologies raise the possibility that we may be able to treat trauma victims by pharmaceutically dampening factual or emotional aspects of their memories. Such technologies raise a panoply of legal and ethical issues. While many of these issues remain off in the distance, some have already arisen.

    In this brief commentary for the journal Neuroethics, I discuss a real-life case of memory erasure. The case reveals why the contours of our freedom of memory -- our limited bundle of rights to control our memories and be free of outside control -- already merit some attention.

    tags: memory, neuroethics, grue, cogsci


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

  • On the day I visited, there were half a dozen brains sitting on a table. Vonsattel began by passing them around so the medical students could take a closer look. When a brain came my way, I cradled it and found myself puzzling over its mirror symmetry. It was as if someone had glued two smaller brains together to make a bigger one. (Carl Zimmer)

    tags: human-evolution, brain, cogsci, grue

  • How can what we learn about the brain teach us to teach robots? Can we build a machine that can make learn and make decisions? If we mirror the brain's neural hardware, can we create a machine with a soul? (YouTube)

    tags: robots, AI, AZB, CDC, grue, 150, brain

  • Language, memory and intuition depend on rapid communication between both hemispheres of the brain. The corpus callosum is the conduit for that communication. Tony Grobmeier was born without one. Lynn Paul, a neuroscientist, tries to understand how Tony faces the world with a brain disconnected from itself. (YouTube)

    tags: neuroethics, splitbrain, theory-of-mind, 150, grue, aapt, cogsci

  • To Steven Quartz & Colin Camerer the brain is a huge number-cruncher, assigning a numeric value to everything from a loaf of bread to our most deeply held moral "values". In that sense, moral decisions are also economic ones. Using a brain scanner (fMRI), they want to catch the brain in the act?to see what it's doing at exactly the moment a tough moral decision gets made. Their research is pioneering a new branch of neuroscience -- neuroeconomics. (YouTube Video)

    tags: neuroethics, 150, grue, morality, brain, cogsci, neuroeconomics, aapt


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

  • What does it feel like to have too many arms? (Scientific American)

    tags: phantom-limbs, mind, grue, cogsci, 150, neuroethics

  • Emotions linked to our moral sense awaken slowly in the mind, according to a new study from a neuroscience group led by corresponding author Antonio Damasio, director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California.

    tags: neuroethics, twiter, cogsci, grue

  • How should we deal with cognitive-enhancing drugs?

    tags: neuroethics, enhancement, grue, cogsci

    • supporting the use?with safeguards?of prescription drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall as a way for healthy adults to improve brain functions, including concentration and memory.
    • our regulatory system isn?t set up to look at or think about the enhancement uses of drugs that are approved for medical conditions. We think there needs to be more research and more work on safety.
    • Well, I think part of it is, drug is a dirty word. Somebody?s talked about our pharmacological Puritanism.
    • There are issues of fairness, safety and coercion.
    • Law?s a very practical subject. It really eschews seeking the best and is in reality a practice of muddling through and making do.
  • What if we could look inside, or even pry open, the mind of a suspected criminal or terrorist? (Neuroworld)

    tags: neuroethics, lie-detection, grue, cogsci

  • n 2005, the British Journal of Psychiatry published a study which found an increased amount of white matter, and a decreased amount of gray matter, in the brains of subjects they categorized as ?pathological liars.? (Neuroworld)

    tags: neuroethics, lie-detection, grue, cogsci

  • In 2001, Philosophy became available in Year 11 and 12 for students in Victoria and in 2008 Western Australia followed suit with a course in Philosophy and Ethics. And as the news gets around about these senior secondary philosophy courses, there are bound to be calls for other states and territories to follow suit.

    tags: philosophy, aapt, grue


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

  • Evolutionary thinking has lately expanded from the biological to the human world, first into the social sciences and recently into the humanities and the arts. Many people therefore now understand the human, and even human culture, as inextricably biological. But many others in the humanities?in this, at least, like religious believers who reject evolution outright?feel that a Darwinian view of life and a biological view of humanity can only deny human purpose and meaning. (Brian Boyd, The American Scholar)

    tags: evolution, human-nature, meaning, purpose, aapt, grue, 150

  • Biologists argue that these and other social behaviors are the precursors of human morality. They further believe that if morality grew out of behavioral rules shaped by evolution, it is for biologists, not philosophers or theologians, to say what these rules are.

    tags: morality, neuroethics, primates, cogsci, grue


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, April 06, 2009


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

  • The study thus shows that there is a unique pattern of activity in the brain in the context of hate. Though distinct from the pattern of activity that correlates with romantic love, this pattern nevertheless shares two areas with the latter, namely the putamen and the insula.

    tags: emotion, neuroethics, brain, grue, cogsci

  • SCIENTISTS have identified the seat of human wisdom by pinpointing parts of the brain that guide us when we face difficult moral dilemmas. (Times Online)

    tags: wisdom, brain, neuroethics, morality, grue, cogsci, aapt

    • medial prefrontal cortex
    • It seems to involve a balance between more primitive brain regions, like the limbic system, and the newest ones, such as the prefrontal cortex.?

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, April 04, 2009


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, April 03, 2009


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.
After reading publius' defense of KY basketball on Obsidian Wings, I recalled Marx's comments on basketball.
Basketball is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man?state, society. This state and this society produce basketball, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Basketball is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against basketball is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion. ... Basketball is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of basketball as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions.
Having spent over $32,000,000.00 on opium, what will KY do for education, health care and new jobs.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

  • In a recent issue of Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (45, 155-60), Daniel Batson?known for his influential empathy-altruism studies?and colleagues find little evidence of moral outrage. In a series of studies meant to measure people?s judgments of torture, they find little evidence that torture evokes much anger unless the subjects have some relation to the person tortured. (Neuroethics & Law Blog)

    tags: neuruoethics, morality, emotion, grue, cogsci


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.