Alva Noë talks about why we are not our brains

The extended mind is an interesting theory of consciousness and cognition that attempts to reshape the way we look at what it means to be human. Does they mind end at our meaty borders? Can palm-pilots become external modules of the mind? I’m not so sure if there is much about the theory that is explanatorily interesting, but it is fun to think about nonetheless.


Brave police officers take down monster

Yep, a five-year-old’s pet chihuahua:

Two policemen herded Jack onto the family’s front porch and had the dog cornered when it allegedly bit the officer 26 times on both hands and left a tooth embedded in his flesh.

Police then tasered the 2.3kg dog before shooting it three times.

Protect and serve!

GFP reading group

The paper is here; the discussion is over here.
I’ll be in St. Louis for the next few days (I’m pro-dating this post), so I’ll try to add some of my thoughts when I get back. Well, as long as I have any 🙂

Russell on mind and matter

A stone at the top of a hill may start rolling, but it shows no pertinacity in trying to get to the bottom. Any ledge or obstacle will stop it, and it will exhibit no signs of discontent if this happens. It is not attracted by the pleasantness of the valley, as the sheep or cow might be, but propelled by the steepness of the hill at the place where it is. In all this we have characteristic differences between the behaviour of animals and the behaviour of matter as studied by physics.

B. Russell, The Analysis of Mind, p. 14.

I think Russell’s point is important to remember when doing consciousness studies: no matter what your view of ultimate or foundational reality is, there is a prima facie difference between brains that act for reasons and the brute mechanics of dumb matter. This either needs to be explained or explained away, but either way it needs to be accounted for.

Sojourners does it again

These guys really are disgusting. Today’s entry:

Pray that access to child care, Early Head Start, and Head Start will be expanded for low-income families.

How they can whore the Church for their petty (and questionable) political convictions is beyond me. The pretentiousness of the “God’s Politics” people never ceases to amaze me.

Schiff on the Daily Show

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Peter Schiff
Daily Show
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Political Humor Newt Gingrich Unedited Interview

Excellent exchange.

Rorty and Davidson

I’ve never been swayed by Rorty’s philosophy; some of it is interesting and much of it is fluff. Still, one ought to read the Mirror of Nature at some point in their philosophical adventure. His partner in discussion is the admirable Donald Davidson, whose Actions, Reasons and Causes is one of the most influential papers in the second half of the 20th century. Unfortunately, their styles are entirely too thick to be very constructive.