The Meaning Problem & Academic Lexicons

Sometimes I spend days trying to figure out what someone means when they use an otherwise common word. I spend even more time trying to the difference between two authors’ use of the same word. It’s a problem. We can call this the meaning problem. In this post I talk about the meaning problem and some solutions. I think the best solutions would be open-source academic lexicons — i.e., lexicons for every academic field edited by academics from the corresponding field. But that’s a big ask, so I will also mention a couple other (partial) solutions as well. Continue reading The Meaning Problem & Academic Lexicons

A Definition of ‘Fake News’ (and Related Terms)

If the public discourse in the United States is any indication, then people in the US mean different things by ‘fake news’. Naturally, then, it is time to agree on a definition of ‘fake news’. While we’re at it, let’s distinguish ‘fake news’ from other terms.

1.  Let’s Agree On Terms

As I see it, we will need to distinguish between at least three terms: fake news, conspiracy theory, and journalism.

A Definition of ‘Fake News’

Also known as “fictional news”. Characterized by outlandish stories — sometimes about paranormal and supernatural events. Any explicit claims to truth are obviously belied by their only semi-serious and comedic tone. Examples include many of the cover stories of the Weekly World News as well as some of the satirical punchlines of The Daily Show.

A Definition of ‘Conspiracy Theory’

Bad explanations designed to glorify their author and undermine the author’s perceived nemeses. Sometimes unfalsifiable. Alas, believed by many people. Examples are voluminous. Examples include certain explanations of the assignation of John F. Kennedy and InfoWars’ Alex Jones’s claims that the Sandy Hook shootings were staged.

A Definition of ‘Journalism’

Continue reading A Definition of ‘Fake News’ (and Related Terms)

100+ Videos about Cognitive Science and Philosophy

Below is a list of videos about philosophy and/or cognitive science. Feel free to share it or suggest additions.  Continue reading 100+ Videos about Cognitive Science and Philosophy

Why Care About Cognitive Science?

How does the mind work? How does language work? What causes bias? What reduces bias? These are all questions for cognitive science.

1. What Is Cognitive Science?

Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary field composed of psychologists, neuroscientists, philosophers, linguists, computer scientists, and other academics. With all these fields combined, cognitive science has lots of tools to solve puzzles about the mind!

2. Why Does Cognitive Science Matter?

Besides being intrinsically interesting, cognitive science does a lot for us. First, cognitive science research has taught us a LOT about the mind, the brain, the body, environmental stuff, and the relationships therein. Second, cognitive science has provided many tools that have proven to be very useful — even in ordinary life!

Neural Networks, …, Siri

For instance, cognitive science is responsible for developing cool stuff like
artificial neural networks. And neural networks have allowed for huge leaps forward in Continue reading Why Care About Cognitive Science?

The Minds Online Conference Is Starting!

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:

Continue reading The Minds Online Conference Is Starting!