Showing posts by: henrys13_wp

New post on Conceptual Short-Term Memory for iCog blog

My new post for the University of Sheffield’s iCog blog is now online! It discusses some of my recent work on Conceptual Short-Term Memory, and what it can tell us about perception, cognition, and consciousness. For an in-depth exploration of the topic, you can find a more detailed treatment in my recent article at the

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Are toddler tantrums a serious ethical issue?

  Toddlers often seem to undergo what look like extreme negative emotions, raging, sobbing, and genuinely seeming massively distraught because they, e.g., can’t have a second cookie. Generally speaking, parents don’t feel too awful about these episodes, regarding them as regrettable but inevitable, and sometimes even funny (see, e.g., this link), and something to be

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Cynicism about voice technology

I vividly remember the month that I first got Siri on iPhone, not least because I’ve barely used it since the initial novelty wore off. Now, The Economist is getting excited about voice technology, and even has a special report about Siri, Alexa, and the future of natural language voice computing. For my part, I’m

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Blog Hiatus

Just in case anyone is wondering, I’m currently on lock down while I finish my dissertation, so my blog is taking a back seat for the time being. I’ll be back to my usual musings on philosophy, politics, science, and whatever else catches my fancy soon; check back in the late Fall if you’re looking

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the new threat

Book Review: “The New Threat” (Jason Burke)

I have a mild addiction to 24 hour rolling news, so this year I’m instead trying to channel that interest into reading good non-fiction books on history and politics. I started with Jason Burke’s latest book “The New Threat From Islamic Militancy”, which gives a history and analysis of violent Islamism. Burke himself is a

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ichthyosaur

Three ways common sense gets biology wrong

Learning about biology can be a humbling and fascinating experience. I never feel more exhilarated by the complexity of the natural world than when I’m reading about hidden relationships between different animal species, finding out the age of different types of organisms, or learning when different traits first appeared. But it’s only in the last

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republican idol

What would a constructive Republican party look like?

Even as a liberal, I found last night’s Republican debate terrifically entertaining. There were big personalities, some good zingers, and a moment of genuine eloquence and dignity from Carly Fiorina. Perhaps most impressively of all, given the relatively anodyne climate of modern politics, there were real disagreements among the candidates about policy – notably about the

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Do we have a moral obligation to host refugees?

It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice that Europe is in the midst of a refugee crisis, with 350,000 migrants arriving by sea this year alone (the comparable figure for the whole of 2014 was 219,000). These migrants, of whom the largest contingents are from Syria, Afghanistan, and Eritrea, are mostly fleeing real threats of violence.

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scumbag

What kind of a jerk are you?

What makes someone a jerk? Is it merely being rude, or selfish, or is there something more subtle that underlies the behavior of the jerk? And just as important, how do you know if you’re a jerk yourself? (NB: ‘jerk’ is far more common in American English than British English; I’m not quite sure whether

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Gestation_crates_3

Veganism and ideological compromise

A very interesting and provocative piece in this week’s NYT argues that some vegans place too much emphasis on ideological purity, at the cost of missing more prosaic opportunities to tangibly advance animal welfare. As usual for this topic, the comments section devolves into pretty lame arguments and invectives directed against veganism (including the perennial favorites, “but humans

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