Archive for the ‘ Philosophy ’ Category

Cognitive loading…

“Eight, five, seven, five, three-oh…”

“Twelve! Four! Two! Twenty-six!”

“Eight, five, seven, five, um… Five…”

“Pony! Squirrel! Potato! Potato! Potato!”

“Eight, five, uh… Eight. Five. SEVEN. Eight five seven five three oh…”

“Eight, five seven, five three oh two.”

“Got it! I’ll call you tomorrow.”

Continue reading

Bumping up the stupidity index…

And this is why one doesn’t trust scientific research to the private sector. That validating a given experiment through research (as opposed to doing new research) should be an issue should come as a surprise to no one — it may be essential, but it’s not hard to see where it wouldn’t be as rewarding.

It also isn’t hard to imagine how many people will read this and go “See? Science. It’s just a theory.”

Fictive learning

I’m especially fond of knowing the right word or phrase to describe an idea; this is the second time I’ve encountered the term ‘fictive learning’ and now it finally stuck with me.

Explaining stock market bubbles as a failure of fictive learning.

It never ceases to fascinate me how muddled our thinking can be when we believe ourselves to be thinking clearly and rationally.

Terry Pratchett goes to Dignitas…

Significant in that it’s release also coincides with Terry’s decision to file for his own assisted death with the Dignitas organization, this is, by and large, the kind of documentary one would expect, given the sources involved. What makes it remarkable, however, is to show just how ultimately straight-forward and painless the procedure actually is.

At an hour, the video runs long (especially for youtube), but it’s worth viewing in it’s entirety simply because the narrative lends an impact to the conclusion that won’t be felt if one just fast-forwards to the end.

You are not so smart…

I’m fond of this blog, which tracks various kinds of cognitive disconnects. Here’s an example of something called ‘The Backfire Effect‘. Submitted for your inspection without comment, but I feel it captures the dynamic quite nicely.

Why do people become stupid?

This is a question I wish I would have spent more time examining. I devoted an awful lot of time to figuring out how people should think — and almost no time at all into considering how they actually do, which bears very little resemblance to the former. In fact, I’ve found the latter so distasteful that I actually went to great lengths to avoid it.

Earlier today, I came across a post depicting a semi-redacted Facebook wall post in which the poster effectively said “Now call me racist, but I really hate people from country X” — which, as an example, is probably over-generalizing a bit much to be considered an example of true stupidity so much as general ignorance. But I started thinking about the factors likely behind the mistake.

Continue reading


When I was a kid, I was much more deeply affected by what other people thought of me than I am, now. At the time, I knew that a lot of people who at least claimed that they were pretty independent in this regard, but my own ‘forest for the trees’ worldview made me genuinely question whether anybody ever accomplished such a thing. It took many, many years of attempting to think my way out of this corner, and while I would not at all claim to be completely unaffected by what people tell me, now, it isn’t the end-all, be-all it once was.

Continue reading