Peter Godfrey-Smith – “Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life”

Had these book-marked for some time. “The Sucker, the Sucker!” by Amia Srinivasan in the LRB, and “Squishy Sentience” by Marlene Zuk in the LARB, both reviewing “Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life” by Peter Godfrey-Smith Partly because Peter Godfrey-Smith is referenced by Dan Dennett, and I’ve yet to read anything … Continue reading “Peter Godfrey-Smith – “Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life””

Altered States of Consciousness

A running theme throughout Psybertron is the reality of conscious mind and its consequences in the real world. That’s partly because explantory understanding of our understanding and of our decision-making is my main research focus and partly because – probably not coincidentally – it’s also a prime (but not the only) example where politicised scientific dogma … Continue reading “Altered States of Consciousness”

Single-Issue Politics

With so much mainstream partisan politics in disarray both sides of the pond, and so many public policy issues in play at once over rights, freedoms and securities, there is no shortage of issue-groups with which to be associated as an activist or supporter. And so much easier to throw in your lot with a … Continue reading “Single-Issue Politics”

BHA2015 Review in Brief – Rough Notes

BHA2015 Conference – Bristol, Grand Hotel, 19 to 21 June 2015 (~400 delegates) Not detailed notes, just rough for-the-record of my own. Will use some to create constructive feedback. Friday afternoon started with a so-called “Ethical Jury” list of suggested ethical dilemma topics from which to discuss 2 or 3 in round-tables of 8 or so. … Continue reading “BHA2015 Review in Brief – Rough Notes”

Nothing New Under the Sun When it Comes to Atheism?

I promised a fuller review of Nick Spencer’s “Atheism – The Origin of the Species” when I’d completed it. It’s a rather long review with plenty of spoilers and quotes here, since I’m gutting it for content I find useful, but a recommended read for anyone from Mrs Angry Atheist to Mr Tolerant Apologist and all … Continue reading “Nothing New Under the Sun When it Comes to Atheism?”

The Future of Religion – a Rose By Any Other Name?

The evolutionary scientists and philosophers (say, Dawkins & Dennett) seem to be predicting religion is steadily on its way out, quite independently of any immediate ills and conflicts laid at its door, people are finding less reason to believe. Actually I think they may be wrong, but let’s hold off thinking about what might be meant … Continue reading “The Future of Religion – a Rose By Any Other Name?”

It’s Evolutionary Psychology Stupid

(Editorial Note : This paper was originally prepared for the 2005 Liverpool Conference on Robert Pirsig and his Metaphysics of Quality (MoQ). It is a personal non-technical view of the MoQ, and indeed the first part of paper is an entirely subjective and naive account of the author’s “thought journey” that led to reading Pirsig … Continue reading “It’s Evolutionary Psychology Stupid”

Brain Plasticity and Free Will – Really!

Been reading  The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force by Jeffrey M Schwartz and Sharon Begley, at the suggestion of an exchange between Dave Morey and Harvey Taylor on FB. Other than the two title topics being part of any complete brain-mind story, the only real connection between Neuroplasticity and Mental Force … Continue reading “Brain Plasticity and Free Will – Really!”