To some, the controlled experiment, with an a priori hypothesis, generating predicted effects, and capable of repeated repetition by independent researchers, represents the epitome of science, the demonstration of its indubitable powers of making the “external” world intelligible, and providing our most secure path out of the thickets of superstition and ignorance. This interpretation values […]Read more "Letting the world speak back"
Averaging is a common way to arrive at a description of a group of particulars. But in obtaining an average, we necessarily lose that which distinguishes any one particular from the more general underlying form, if, indeed, there is an underlying form. There may not be. The average number of legs on a human is […]Read more "Averages and Liturgy"
Once there was simple science. It studied objects and their relations, and it tried to characterise them truthfully, for it was an ethical science. To do this, it had to remove its own biases and opinions from the discussions it curated. This resulted in an objective picture that commanded assent precisely because it was so […]Read more "A little story about science"
The core question of cognitive science has two ends to it: What is it to know a world, and what are we that we should know a world. These are always yoked together. Most kinds of realism park the question of world and labour intensively over the question of the subject, for the world is […]Read more "Fixation crosses and the illusory subject"
Bruce Lee was not a great philosopher. But he did beat Chuck Norris, so there’s that. His words here are not terrifically original, but they stem from an orthodox understanding of the nature of skilled human action as expressed within the Daoist tradition. “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water […]Read more "Becoming Water"
The Pixies well known song “Where is my mind?” has seen cover versions in Dutch and German, in which the title is transformed into “Where is my head?”. It seems that the prevailing discourse around minds and bodies harbours a strong framing assumption that minds are located inside heads. While this view makes no sense […]Read more "The brain-in-the-ass hypothesis (Where is my mind?)"
A colleague recently came upon me from behind with the observation “I recognised you from your gait”. I didn’t say it, but my immediate thought was “I don’t have a gait”. We are familiar with this of course from the pointless insistence that “I don’t have an accent, everyone else does”. How better to demonstrate […]Read more "I don’t have an accent!"
An enactive perspective treats many of the nouns with which we routinely describe ourselves as emergent phenomena. This has serious entailments. The way the elements of our folk psychology crop up as unquestioned formal objects within psychological theory can no longer be sustained. Put simply, taking an enactive perspective means setting aside notions of standard, normal […]Read more "Dynamism vs. defaults"
Marek notes: In a two-line email a couple of weeks ago Fred plucked at a loose thread. It was a simple question: “What sense can we make of the term “direct perception”. Is this perception by a subject of a world?” Like so many simple questions, working with it has produced not so much progress […]Read more "Direct Perception"
These two beetles are walking down the street, and they saw Father Mulligan, and he had a broken arm. And they said “Father, How did you break your arm?” He says “I fell in the bathtub”. They said “Geez, that’s too bad Father”. So they continue to walk down the street. So one beetle says […]Read more "Umwelten"