Predictive brains, sentient robots, and the embodied self

Is the human brain just a rag-bag of different tricks and stratagems, slowly accumulated over evolutionary time? For many years, I thought the answer to this question was most probably ‘yes’. The
Is the human brain just a rag-bag of different tricks and stratagems, slowly accumulated over evolutionary time? For many years, I thought the answer to this question was most probably ‘yes’. The [More]

Threat Assessment II: Demons of Fear & Anger

Embed from Getty Images In the previous essay on threat assessment I looked at the influence of availability heuristics and fallacies that directly relate to errors in reasoning about statistics and
Embed from Getty Images In the previous essay on threat assessment I looked at the influence of availability heuristics and fallacies that directly relate to errors in reasoning about statistics and [More]

Trumping Along

Embed from Getty Images When Donald Trump announced his candidacy, many people laughed. He even managed to create some bipartisan agreement among my liberal and my conservative friends: they
Embed from Getty Images When Donald Trump announced his candidacy, many people laughed. He even managed to create some bipartisan agreement among my liberal and my conservative friends: they [More]

Doubling Down

One interesting phenomenon is the tendency of people to double down on beliefs. For those not familiar with doubling down, this occurs when a person is confronted with evidence against a beloved
One interesting phenomenon is the tendency of people to double down on beliefs. For those not familiar with doubling down, this occurs when a person is confronted with evidence against a beloved [More]

Fox, Planned Parenthood & Guns

View image | gettyimages.com Robert Dear is alleged to have murdered three people and wounded nine others at a Planned Parenthood clinic on November 29, 2015. This incident is, unfortunately,
View image | gettyimages.com Robert Dear is alleged to have murdered three people and wounded nine others at a Planned Parenthood clinic on November 29, 2015. This incident is, unfortunately, [More]

Trump & Truth

View image | gettyimages.com As this is being written at the end of November, Donald Trump is still the leading Republican presidential candidate. While some might take the view that this is in
View image | gettyimages.com As this is being written at the end of November, Donald Trump is still the leading Republican presidential candidate. While some might take the view that this is in [More]

Paradox and self-evident sentences

According to philosophical lore many sentences are self-evident. A self-evident sentence wears its semantic status on its sleeve: a self-evident truth is a true sentence whose truth strikes us
According to philosophical lore many sentences are self-evident. A self-evident sentence wears its semantic status on its sleeve: a self-evident truth is a true sentence whose truth strikes us [More]

What might superintelligences value?

If there were superintelligent beings – creatures as far above the smartest human as that person is above a worm – what would they value? And what would they think of us? Would they treasure,
If there were superintelligent beings – creatures as far above the smartest human as that person is above a worm – what would they value? And what would they think of us? Would they treasure, [More]

Is “Nothing nothings” true?

In a 1929 lecture, Martin Heidegger argued that the following claim is true: Nothing nothings. In German: “Das Nichts nichtet”. Years later Rudolph Carnap ridiculed this statement as the worst sort
In a 1929 lecture, Martin Heidegger argued that the following claim is true: Nothing nothings. In German: “Das Nichts nichtet”. Years later Rudolph Carnap ridiculed this statement as the worst sort [More]

Political Candidates & Expertise

View image | gettyimages.com As I write this, the number of Republican presidential contenders is in the double digits. While businessman and reality TV show star Donald Trump is still regarded
View image | gettyimages.com As I write this, the number of Republican presidential contenders is in the double digits. While businessman and reality TV show star Donald Trump is still regarded [More]