Skip to main content.

Archives

This is the archive for May 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

  • Darwin saw our minds, like our bodies, as resulting from the accumulation of adaptive differences through selection. Wallace, on the other hand, thought that our higher mental powers would be evolutionary overkill?faculties that were simply not needed to become human. Wallace saw these as arising instead from the intercession of ?a superior intelligence?, and so was the first exponent of ID after Darwin.

    tags: evolution, cognition, grue


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

Friday, May 28, 2010

  • ...one of the most influential ideas in the study of language is that of universal grammar. Put forward by Noam Chomsky in the 1960s, it is widely interpreted as meaning that all languages are basically the same and that the human brain is born language-ready, with an in-built program that is able to decipher the common rules underpinning any mother tongue. For five decades this idea has dominated work in linguistics, psychology and cognitive science. To understand language, it implied, you must sweep aside the dazzling diversity of languages and find the common human core.

    tags: language, universal-grammar, grue


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

Saturday, May 22, 2010


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

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

On disability rights
You know a lot of things on employment ought to be done locally. You know, people finding out right or wrong locally. You know, some of the things, for example we can come up with common sense solutions — like for example if you have a three story building and you have someone apply for a job, you get them a job on the first floor if they’re in a wheelchair as supposed to making the person who owns the business put an elevator in, you know what I mean? So things like that aren’t fair to the business owner.*

On civil rights legislation
I don't like the idea of telling private business owners - I abhor racism - I think it's a bad business decision to ever exclude anybody from your restaurant. But at the same time I do believe in private ownership. But I think there should be absolutely no discrimination on anything that gets any public funding and that's most of what the Civil Rights Act was about to my mind.

And if Martin Luther King, Jr. were refused service at Woolworth's?
I would not go to that Woolworth's, and I would stand up in my community and say it's abhorrent. ... In a free society we will tolerate boorish people who have abhorrent behavior, but if we're civilized people we publicly criticize that and don't belong to those groups or associate with those people.*

On the immorality of racial discrimination
I think it's a bad business decision to ever exclude anybody from your restaurant.

On not liking government
We've come to take our government back.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

  • tags: AI, learning, inference-algorithm, grue

    • At the heart of each of these new languages is a so-called inference algorithm, which instructs a machine-learning system how to draw
      conclusions from the data it?s presented. The generality of the inference algorithm is what confers the languages? power: The same
      algorithm has to be able to guide a system that?s learning how to recognize objects in digital images, or filter spam, or recommend DVDs
      based on past rentals, or whatever else an artificial-intelligence program may be called upon to do.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.
"For my own part I would as soon be descended from that heroic little monkey, who braved his dreaded enemy in order to save the life of his keeper, or from that old baboon, who descending from the mountains, carried away in triumph his young comrade from a crowd of astonished dogs - as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies, offers up bloody sacrifices, practises infanticide without remorse, treats his wives like slaves, knows no decency, and is haunted by the grossest superstitions.

"Man may be excused for feeling some pride at having risen, though not through his own exertions, to the very summit of the organic scale; and the fact of his having thus risen, instead of having been aboriginally placed there, may give him hope for a still higher destiny in the distant future. But we are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with the truth as far as our reason permits us to discover it; and I have given the evidence to the best of my ability. We must, however, acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system - with all these exalted powers - Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin."

From Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (New York: Appleton and Co., 1883)
Dear Gwen Ifill,

I watch "Washington Week" but I try to see it for what it is, which is just what Jay Rosen describes, insiders reporting on insiders. You can still learn something from this kind of journalism, so I don't know why Rosen would just toss it out. Still, he has a point, and I wish you, Gwen, could have offered more critical commentary on the state of journalism and the place of "Washington Week" (an honest assessment of its limitations included) rather than just assume a defensive posture. To boil his position down to a plea for more yelling is disingenuous; I want some of your reasoned analysis.

UPDATE: They never did post the abbreviated version of this comment on Ifill's blog site. Only a bunch of "Thank you, Gwen, you're great" comments (and one "Jay Rosen does good stuff" comment). So much for integrity.

Monday, May 17, 2010

  • SAS faculty share their insights on the human brain.

    Everything from education to warfare comes down to the workings of the human mind, and now the mind itself is being understood in terms of the brain. Across numerous disciplines, Penn Arts and Sciences faculty are studying this amazing three-pound organ and the insights it is offering on diverse human problems.

    As part of the spring 2010 Take Your Brain to Lunch Lecture Series, Martha Farah, Annenberg Professor of Natural Sciences in the Department of Psychology and Director of Penn's new Center for Neuroscience & Society, led conversations with Penn faculty members about the brain.

    tags: neuroscience, society, grue


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

Sunday, May 16, 2010


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

Thursday, May 13, 2010

  • we want to describe the 'real world out there' by using a model that has explanatory power. The model itself captures some features of the world, it uses the framework of a theory, but should not be confused with the theory itself. I found it useful to think of this much like a function (the theory) acting on a set (some part of the real world out there) to give us a picture (the model).

    tags: emergence, reduction, science, grue


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

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

From Tomorrow's Professor (Msg. #1023). Article by Michelle Beld, professor of political science and director of evaluation and assessment, St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. The article is from the Winter, 2010 issue of Peer Review, Volume 12, Number 1.


Assessment helps us figure out whether our students are learning what we think we're teaching.- Chemistry faculty member

Discussing how to go about assessing the intended learning outcomes of our major led to some of the best-and longest!-conversations we've ever had about pedagogy.-Romance languages faculty member

Assessment played a key role in being awarded an NSF grant for curriculum and pedagogical innovation, and now that the grant is completed, we're able to show convincingly that it had great results. -Psychology faculty member

Assessment can be useful in the classroom insofar as it helps make our expectations more transparent to our students. -Political science faculty member.

Assessment at the department level is a bit like living in Minnesota-it's not always easy, but in the long run, it's worth it. To be sure, gathering credible evidence of student learning in a major, minor, or concentration takes commitment, creativity, and, occasionally, some courage. But as a growing number of faculty are finding, there can be real payoffs to the work, particularly at the department level.

Monday, May 10, 2010


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

Friday, May 07, 2010


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

Thursday, May 06, 2010


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

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

  • The mental life of young humans not only is an interesting topic in its own right; it also raises ? and can help answer ? fundamental questions of philosophy and psychology, including how biological evolution and cultural experience conspire to shape human nature. - NYTimes.com

    tags: moral, morality, children, neuroethics, grue


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

Monday, May 03, 2010


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

Sunday, May 02, 2010

  • * Homepage
    * Ethics and Humanity
    * Philosophy, beliefs and conflicts
    * The light and the dark in human nature
    * Genetic Ethics and neuroethics
    * Psychiatry
    * Teaching Philosophy
    * Books and other publications
    * Bits and Pieces
    * Travesties & Encounters

    tags: philosophy, grue


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

Saturday, May 01, 2010

  • What I think my incompatability argument shows is that this "paradox of phenomenal judgment" is wider than Chalmers may have realized. It is not simply a paradox of phenomenal judgment. It is a paradox of judgment, period. Specter of Reason

    tags: zombie, mind, philosophy, grue, consciousness, AZB

    • conceivable
    • zombies make judgments just like human beings do
    • "it seems that consciousness in the phenomenal sense is explanatorily and causally irrelevant to the making of phenomenal judgments, though not to their justification or truth-value"

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