The King’s Headache: a story about artificial intelligence

Once upon a time, in a small country by the sea, at the highest point of its highest castle, atop two thrones adorned with precious metals, there lived a King and a Queen. Theirs was a long and blessed reign: their people lived in good health, at peace with their neighbors, enjoying brief winters, generous … Continue reading The King’s Headache: a story about artificial intelligence

A humanistic paradigm for mental illness

Da Vinci's "The Skull" Mental illnesses are much more than biological, physiological phenomena. Any attempt to reduce them down to the same features as other illnesses such as fever or cancer is inherently flawed. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS, pronounced "gee wahs"), attempts to scan individuals for thousands of genes to determine which variations lead to … Continue reading A humanistic paradigm for mental illness

Aim-oriented thinking for a wiser tomorrow

A celestial map from the 17th century, by the Dutch cartographer Frederik de Wit In addressing threatening problems of climate change, population growth, nuclear warfare, and other issues of today's era, we need a type of rationality that embraces ideas from both science and philosophy. Towards this goal, philosopher Nicholas Maxwell has argued for education … Continue reading Aim-oriented thinking for a wiser tomorrow

Finding meaning from fMRI research

Scientists and philosophers have discussed the assumptions and premises in fMRI research as they relate to features of the mind. fMRI tends to rely on localizing functions to various parts of the brain, such as the motor cortex being responsible for controlling muscle groups. Psychologists Stephen Hanson and Russell Poldrack and philosopher Martin Bunzl argued … Continue reading Finding meaning from fMRI research

Are mental states reducible to neurobiological states?

Examining arguments of how neuroscience and psychology relate to philosophy by looking at how skeptics and enthusiasts have touched upon the subject. We're going to take apart how psychology and cognitive science can be reduced to neuroscience. Principled skepticism These skeptics may argue there is a distinctive mental dimension that is not reducible to anything … Continue reading Are mental states reducible to neurobiological states?

Describing our world through philosophy, science, and coffee

I take a sip from my coffee mug and lean back as I stare at my writing. Through libraries, coffee shops, hospitals, and other venues, I write and hack away on my laptop. On the intersection of neuroscience and philosophy, I present An introduction to ethics, An introduction to philosophy, and Contextual emergence. I hope … Continue reading Describing our world through philosophy, science, and coffee

Neuroethics: the delicate balance of neuroscience and morality

Pew pew pewHow can we create frameworks of practical moral reasoning in the absence of free will? Can neuroscience research shed light on how we make moral judgements? What are the general implications of neuroscience research itself? How can we differentiate between the study of the mind or the brain to begin with? In the … Continue reading Neuroethics: the delicate balance of neuroscience and morality

"The pursuit of truth," a villanelle

Truth is elusive, nowhere to be found. Footprint and forecast, through reason and verse, through scars and marks that style the ground. Memory and reason, fade to the bland. Glimpse of light, the sight of truth. We converse scratched in concrete or scribbled in sand. From birthmark or gravestone, the discourse abound, of dialogue, debating, … Continue reading "The pursuit of truth," a villanelle

On becoming a better researcher

"Only passions, great passions can elevate the soul to great things." - Denis Diderot, Pensées PhilosophiquesI believe the ways we become better researchers only come through self-reflection and meditating upon the arguments and principles behind what we do - not the simple acts of doing those things themselves. What makes good work that we find satisfying, … Continue reading On becoming a better researcher