What if traveling abroad were somehow bad for you? Well, a series of studies seem to find that “[traveling abroad] can lead to [lying and cheating] by increasing moral relativism” (Lu et al 2017, 1, 3). This finding has just the right combination of intuitive plausibility and surprise for us to want to share it uncritically. So, instead, let’s take a look at the methods, measures, and philosophical nuances of the topic. As usual, a bit of reflection makes the finding a bit less exciting and it reveals a need for follow-up research.
If our judgments are dependent on the brain, then maybe we can understand our judgments by studying our brains. Further, maybe we can understand our philosophical judgments by studying our brains. What do you think? Can neuroscience help us understand philosophy? Here are some studies which suggest that it can.
1. Two Opposing Neural Networks/Judgments
Consider two different networks in the brain: the Default Mode Network (DMN) and the Task Positive Network (TPN). These networks are mutually inhibitory. When one network’s activity increases, the other network’s activity decreases. It’s a bit like a seesaw (Jack et al 2013).
Here are some podcasts about philosophy, cognitive science, and maybe science more generally. Feel free to share the list and/or recommend your own podcasts by contacting me.
From September 5 to September 30, there is an exciting, free, online conference about the philosophy and science of mind: the (second annual) Minds Online conference! Loads of wonderful scholars are sharing and commenting on each other’s research — and you can access and participate in all of it!
Here are a few things to note for those who are new to online conferences.
- Sessions: There are four sessions, each with a different topic and its own keynote.
- Timeline: Each session lasts one week. (So the conference lasts four weeks).
- Participating: You can read papers starting the weekend before their session. And you you can comment on papers on Monday through Friday of their session.
So head on over and enjoy the wonder that is conferencing from the comfort of your home, office, favorite coffee shop, etc.
Here’s the program: http://mindsonline.philosophyofbrains.com/minds-online-2016-program/
Being in the hands of a master magician can leave you feeling a bit uneasy. When the magician finishes a trick, you face a jarring disjunction: either your view of the world is deeply mistaken or you’ve failed to understand what happened during the trick. But you’ve no idea what you failed to understand about the trick, so it seems as though the world is not what you think it is.
In this post, I want to argue that something similar can happen when one studies philosophy or science. To explain what I mean, let me offer some context. Continue reading Philosophy, Science, and Magic
Kouider et al have recently reported that infants’ cortical activity (when viewing faces) is isomorphic to that of adults who consciously perceive faces. They conclude that conscious perception develops between 5 and 15 months of age. After reading their paper, I want to consider a different conclusion. Perhaps Kouider et al didn’t find a marker of conscious perception. Maybe they found a marker of unconscious perception.