John Locke

John Locke FRS (pron.: /ˈlɒk/; 29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704), widely known as the Father of Classical Liberalism,[2][3][4] was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social contract theory. His work had a great impact upon the development […]

John Locke FRS (pron.: /?l?k/; 29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704), widely known as the Father of Classical Liberalism,[2][3][4] was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social contract theory. His work had a great impact upon the development of epistemology and political philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence.[5]

Locke’s theory of mind is often cited as the origin of modern conceptions of identity and the self, figuring prominently in the work of later philosophers such as HumeRousseau and Kant. Locke was the first to define the self through a continuity of consciousness. He postulated that the mind was a blank slate or tabula rasa. Contrary to pre-existing Cartesian philosophy, he maintained that we are born without innate ideas, and that knowledge is instead determined only by experience derived from sense perception.[6]

Locke exercised a profound influence on political philosophy, in particular on modern liberalism. Michael Zuckert has argued that Locke launched liberalism by tempering Hobbesian absolutism and clearly separating the realms of Church and State. He had a strong influence on Voltaire who called him “le sage Locke”. His arguments concerning liberty and the social contract later influenced the written works of Alexander HamiltonJames MadisonThomas Jefferson, and other Founding Fathers of the United States. In fact, one passage from the Second Treatise is reproduced verbatim in the Declaration of Independence, the reference to a “long train of abuses.” Such was Locke’s influence that Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Bacon, Locke and Newton … I consider them as the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception, and as having laid the foundation of those superstructures which have been raised in the Physical and Moral sciences”.[11][12][13] Today, most contemporary libertarians claim Locke as an influence.

But Locke’s influence may have been even more profound in the realm of epistemology. Locke redefined subjectivity, or self, and intellectual historians such as Charles Taylor and Jerrold Seigel argue that Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) marks the beginning of the modern Western conception of the self.

Locke, writing his Letters Concerning Toleration (1689–92) in the aftermath of the European wars of religion, formulated a classic reasoning for religious tolerance. Three arguments are central: (1) Earthly judges, the state in particular, and human beings generally, cannot dependably evaluate the truth-claims of competing religious standpoints; (2) Even if they could, enforcing a single “true religion” would not have the desired effect, because belief cannot be compelled by violence; (3) Coercing religious uniformity would lead to more social disorder than allowing diversity.[15]

Appraisals of Locke have often been tied to appraisals of liberalism in general, and also to appraisals of the United States. Detractors note that (in 1671) he was a major investor in the English slave-trade through the Royal African Company, as well as through his participation in drafting the Fundamental Constitution of the Carolinas while Shaftesbury‘s secretary, which established a feudal aristocracy and gave a master absolute power over his slaves. For example, Martin Cohen notes that as a secretary to the Council of Trade and Plantations (1673–4) and a member of the Board of Trade (1696–1700) Locke was, in fact, “one of just half a dozen men who created and supervised both the colonies and their iniquitous systems of servitude”.[16] Some see his statements on unenclosed property as having been intended to justify the displacement of the Native Americans.[17][18] Because of his opposition to aristocracy and slavery in his major writings, he is accused of hypocrisy and racism, or of caring only for the liberty of English capitalists.[19]

Locke uses the word property in both broad and narrow senses. In a broad sense, it covers a wide range of human interests and aspirations; more narrowly, it refers to material goods. He argues that property is a natural right and it is derived from labour.

In Chapter V of his Second Treatise, Locke argues that the individual ownership of goods and property is justified by the labour exerted to produce those goods or utilise property to produce goods beneficial to human society.[20]

Locke stated his belief, in his Second Treatise, that nature on its own provides little of value to society; he provides the implication that the labour expended in the creation of goods gives them their value. This is used as supporting evidence for the interpretation of Locke’s labour theory of property as a labour theory of value, in his implication that goods produced by nature are of little value, unless combined with labour in their production and that labour is what gives goods their value.[20]

Locke believed that ownership of property is created by the application of labour. In addition, he believed property precedes government and government cannot “dispose of the estates of the subjects arbitrarily.” Karl Marx later critiqued Locke’s theory of property in his own social theory.

Locke’s political theory was founded on social contract theory. Unlike Thomas Hobbes, Locke believed that human nature is characterised by reason and tolerance. Like Hobbes, Locke believed that human nature allowed men to be selfish. This is apparent with the introduction of currency. In a natural state all people were equal and independent, and everyone had a natural right to defend his “Life, health, Liberty, or Possessions”.[21] Most scholars trace the phrase, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” in the American Declaration of Independence to Locke’s theory of rights,[22] though other origins have been suggested.[23]

Like Hobbes, Locke assumed that the sole right to defend in the state of nature was not enough, so people established a civil society to resolve conflicts in a civil way with help from government in a state of society. However, Locke never refers to Hobbes by name and may instead have been responding to other writers of the day.[24] Locke also advocated governmental separation of powersand believed that revolution is not only a right but an obligation in some circumstances. These ideas would come to have profound influence on the Declaration of Independence and theConstitution of the United States.

Along with Rousseau’s Emile (1762), Locke’s Some Thoughts Concerning Education was one of the foundational eighteenth-century texts on educational theory. In Britain, it was considered the standard treatment of the topic for over a century. For this reason, some critics have maintained that Some Thoughts Concerning Education vies with the Essay Concerning Human Understanding for the title of Locke’s most influential work. Some of Locke’s contemporaries, such as seventeenth-century German philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Leibniz, believed this as well; Leibniz argued that Some Thoughts superseded even the Essay in its impact on European society.[54]

Locke’s Some Thoughts Concerning Education was a runaway bestseller. During the eighteenth century alone, Some Thoughts was published in at least 53 editions: 25 English, 16 French, six Italian, three German, two Dutch, and one Swedish.[55] It was also excerpted in novels such as Samuel Richardson‘s Pamela (1740–1), and it formed the theoretical basis of much children’s literature, particularly that of the first successful children’s publisher,John Newbery. According to James Secord, an eighteenth-century scholar, Newbery included Locke’s educational advice to legitimize the new genre of children’s literature. Locke’s imprimatur would ensure the genre’s success.[56]

By the end of the eighteenth century, Locke’s influence on educational thought was widely acknowledged. In 1772 James Whitchurch wrote in his Essay Upon Education that Locke was “an Author, to whom the Learned must ever acknowledge themselves highly indebted, and whose Name can never be mentioned without a secret Veneration, and Respect; his Assertions being the result of intense Thought, strict Enquiry, a clear and penetrating Judgment.”[57] Writers as politically dissimilar as Sarah Trimmer, in her periodical The Guardian of Education (1802–6),[58] and Maria Edgeworth, in the educational treatise she penned with her father, Practical Education (1798), invoked Locke’s ideas. Even Rousseau, while disputing Locke’s central claim that parents should treat their children as rational beings, acknowledged his debt to Locke.[59]

John Cleverley and D. C. Phillips place Locke’s Some Thoughts Concerning Education at the beginning of a tradition of educational theory which they label “environmentalism.” In the years following the publication of Locke’s work, Etienne Bonnot de Condillac and Claude Adrien Helvétius eagerly adopted the idea that people’s minds were shaped through their experiences and thus through their education. Systems of teaching children through their senses proliferated throughout Europe. In Switzerland, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, relying on Locke’s theories, developed the concept of the “object lesson.” These lessons focused pupils’ attention on a particular thing and encouraged them to use all of their senses to explore it and urged them to use precise words to describe it. Used throughout Europe and America during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, these object lessons, according to one of their practitioners “if well-managed, cultivate Sense-Perception, or Observation, accustom children to express their thoughts in words, increase their available stock of words and of ideas, and by thus storing material for thinking, also prepare the way for more difficult and advanced study.”[60]

Such techniques were also integral to Maria Montessori’s methods in the twentieth century. According to Cleverley and Phillips, the television show Sesame Street is also “based on Lockean assumptions—its aim has been to give underprivileged children, especially in the inner cities, the simple ideas and basic experiences that their environment normally does not provide.”[61] In many ways, despite Locke’s continuing influence, as these authors point out, the twentieth century has been dominated by the “nature vs. nurture” debate in a way that Locke’s century was not. Locke’s optimistic “environmentalism,” though qualified in his text, is now no longer just a moral issue – it is also a scientific issue.[62]

Limits to accumulation

Labour creates property, but it also does contain limits to its accumulation: man’s capacity to produce and man’s capacity to consume. According to Locke, unused property is waste and an offence against nature.[25] However, with the introduction of “durable” goods, men could exchange their excessive perishable goods for goods that would last longer and thus not offend the natural law. The introduction of money marks the culmination of this process. Money makes possible the unlimited accumulation of property without causing waste through spoilage.[26] He also includes gold or silver as money because they may be “hoarded up without injury to anyone,”[27] since they do not spoil or decay in the hands of the possessor. The introduction of money eliminates the limits of accumulation. Locke stresses that inequality has come about by tacit agreement on the use of money, not by the social contract establishing civil society or the law of land regulating property. Locke is aware of a problem posed by unlimited accumulation but does not consider it his task. He just implies that government would function to moderate the conflict between the unlimited accumulation of property and a more nearly equal distribution of wealth and does not say which principles that government should apply to solve this problem. However, not all elements of his thought form a consistent whole. For example, labour theory of value of the Two Treatises of Government stands side by side with the demand-and-supply theory developed in a letter he wrote titled Some Considerations on the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest and the Raising of the Value of Money. Moreover, Locke anchors property in labour but in the end upholds the unlimited accumulation of wealth.[28]

When Locke began writing the letters that would eventually become Some Thoughts on Education, he was addressing an aristocrat, but the final text appeals to a much wider audience.[40] For example, Locke writes: “I place Vertue [sic] as the first and most necessary of those Endowments, that belong to a Man or a Gentleman.”[41] James Axtell, who edited the most comprehensive edition of Locke’s educational writings, has explained that although “he was writing for this small class, this does not preclude the possibility that many of the things he said about education, especially its main principles, were equally applicable to all children” (Axtell’s emphasis).[42] This was a contemporary view as well; Pierre Coste, in his introduction in the first French edition in 1695, wrote, “it is certain that this Work was particularly designed for the education of Gentlemen: but this does not prevent its serving also for the education of all sorts of Children, of whatever class they are.”[43]

While it is possible to apply Locke’s general principles of education to all children, and contemporaries such as Coste certainly did so, Locke himself, despite statements that may imply the contrary, believed that Some Thoughts applied only to the wealthy and the middle-class (or as they would have been referred to at the time, the “middling sorts”). As Peter Gay writes, “[i]t never occurred to him that every child should be educated or that all those to be educated should be educated alike. Locke believed that until the school system was reformed, a gentleman ought to have his son trained at home by a tutor. As for the poor, they do not appear in Locke’s little book at all.”[44]

In his “Essay on the Poor Law,” Locke turns to the education of the poor; he laments that “the children of labouring people are an ordinary burden to the parish, and are usually maintained in idleness, so that their labour also is generally lost to the public till they are 12 or 14 years old.”[45] He suggests, therefore, that “working schools” be set up in each parish in England for poor children so that they will be “from infancy [three years old] inured to work.”[46] He goes on to outline the economics of these schools, arguing not only that they will be profitable for the parish, but also that they will instill a good work ethic in the children.

On price theory

Locke’s general theory of value and price is a supply and demand theory, which was set out in a letter to a Member of Parliament in 1691, titled Some Considerations on the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest and the Raising of the Value of Money.[29] Supply is quantity and demand is rent. “The price of any commodity rises or falls by the proportion of the number of buyer and sellers.” and “that which regulates the price… [of goods] is nothing else but their quantity in proportion to their rent.” The quantity theory of money forms a special case of this general theory. His idea is based on “money answers all things” (Ecclesiastes) or “rent of money is always sufficient, or more than enough,” and “varies very little…” Regardless of whether the demand for money is unlimited or constant, Locke concludes that as far as money is concerned, the demand is exclusively regulated by its quantity. He also investigates the determinants of demand and supply. For supply, goods in general are considered valuable because they can be exchanged, consumed and they must be scarce. For demand, goods are in demand because they yield a flow of income. Locke develops an early theory of capitalisation, such as land, which has value because “by its constant production of saleable commodities it brings in a certain yearly income.” Demand for money is almost the same as demand for goods or land; it depends on whether money is wanted as medium of exchange or as loanable funds. For medium of exchange “money is capable by exchange to procure us the necessaries or conveniences of life.” For loanable funds, “it comes to be of the same nature with land by yielding a certain yearly income … or interest.”

Monetary thoughts

Locke distinguishes two functions of money, as a “counter” to measure value, and as a “pledge” to lay claim to goods. He believes that silver and gold, as opposed to paper money, are the appropriate currency for international transactions. Silver and gold, he says, are treated to have equal value by all of humanity and can thus be treated as a pledge by anyone, while the value of paper money is only valid under the government which issues it.

Locke argues that a country should seek a favourable balance of trade, lest it fall behind other countries and suffer a loss in its trade. Since the world money stock grows constantly, a country must constantly seek to enlarge its own stock. Locke develops his theory of foreign exchanges, in addition to commodity movements, there are also movements in country stock of money, and movements of capital determine exchange rates. The latter is less significant and less volatile than commodity movements. As for a country’s money stock, if it is large relative to that of other countries, it will cause the country’s exchange to rise above par, as an export balance would do.

He also prepares estimates of the cash requirements for different economic groups (landholders, labourers and brokers). In each group the cash requirements are closely related to the length of the pay period. He argues the brokers – middlemen – whose activities enlarge the monetary circuit and whose profits eat into the earnings of labourers and landholders, had a negative influence on both one’s personal and the public economy that they supposedly contributed to.

The self

Locke defines the self as “that conscious thinking thing, (whatever substance, made up of whether spiritual, or material, simple, or compounded, it matters not) which is sensible, or conscious of pleasure and pain, capable of happiness or misery, and so is concerned for itself, as far as that consciousness extends”.[30] He does not, however, ignore “substance”, writing that “the body too goes to the making the man.”[31] The Lockean self is therefore a self-aware and self-reflective consciousness that is fixed in a body.

In his Essay, Locke explains the gradual unfolding of this conscious mind. Arguing against both the Augustinian view of man as originally sinful and the Cartesian position, which holds that man innately knows basic logical propositions, Locke posits an “empty” mind, a tabula rasa, which is shaped by experience; sensations and reflections being the two sources of all our ideas.[32]

Locke’s Some Thoughts Concerning Education is an outline on how to educate this mind: he expresses the belief that education maketh the man, or, more fundamentally, that the mind is an “empty cabinet”, with the statement, “I think I may say that of all the men we meet with, nine parts of ten are what they are, good or evil, useful or not, by their education.”[33]

Locke also wrote that “the little and almost insensible impressions on our tender infancies have very important and lasting consequences.”[34] He argued that the “associations of ideas” that one makes when young are more important than those made later because they are the foundation of the self: they are, put differently, what first mark the tabula rasa. In his Essay, in which is introduced both of these concepts, Locke warns against, for example, letting “a foolish maid” convince a child that “goblins and sprites” are associated with the night for “darkness shall ever afterwards bring with it those frightful ideas, and they shall be so joined, that he can no more bear the one than the other.”[35]

“Associationism”, as this theory would come to be called, exerted a powerful influence over eighteenth-century thought, particularly educational theory, as nearly every educational writer warned parents not to allow their children to develop negative associations. It also led to the development of psychology and other new disciplines with David Hartley‘s attempt to discover a biological mechanism for associationism in his Observations on Man (1749).

Religious beliefs

Some scholars have seen Locke’s political convictions as deriving from his religious beliefs.[36][37][38] Locke’s religious trajectory began in Calvinist trinitarianism, but by the time of the Reflections(1695) Locke was advocating not just Socinian views on tolerance but also Socinian Christology; with veiled denial of the pre-existence of Christ.[39] However Wainwright (Oxford, 1987) notes that in the posthumously published Paraphrase (1707) Locke’s interpretation of one verse, Ephesians 1:10, is markedly different from that of Socinians like Biddle, and may indicate that near the end of his life Locke returned nearer to an Arian position.[40]


Body and mind

After you—even nervously—assume a confident pose for a meaningful amount of time (studies tested 2 minutes, which was significant enough as you’ll see), your brain will increase your testosterone levels and decrease your cortisol levels. I call this combination the “confidence cocktail,” as lower cortisol makes you calmer and higher testosterone increases your aggressiveness and willingness to […]

After you—even nervously—assume a confident pose for a meaningful amount of time (studies tested 2 minutes, which was significant enough as you’ll see), your brain will increase your testosterone levels and decrease your cortisol levels. I call this combination the “confidence cocktail,” as lower cortisol makes you calmer and higher testosterone increases your aggressiveness and willingness to take risks. This information comes from a very popular TED Talk by Amy Cuddy.power

What to do about it: This is one of the most exciting brain-benders there is. It isn’t a bending of reality as much as it’s your brain changing your reality by altering your hormones!

After standing for two minutes, participants’ testosterone increased by 20% and their cortisol decreased by 25%. Fascinating! Those are significant chemical changes for just two minutes of easy “work!” It’s hard to think of a situation where this couldn’t be used, as confidence is such an integral part of all aspects of life. You can use it for dates, interviews, speeches, and social gatherings.

A 2 minute confidence pose mini habit is worth considering, as it’s an easy and effective way to temporarily boost confidence.

 

Prolonged, sustained, excessive stress and your similar response to it, not only causes deterioration of your brain, but it also compromises your immune system; your ability to fight off diseases.

Thousands of years ago, we mostly lived until we either starved, were accidentally poisoned or we were eaten by another animal. Now, we have the distinct ability to slowly kill ourselves over a period of about 80 years with chemical laced foods, too much alcohol and prolonged reaction to stressful events. All are avoidable, if we make the choice to do so.

Unfortunately, most of the people who really need the information in this documentary will never see it and the vast majority who do see it will ignore it. Only those determined to live a quality life for as long as possible will pay attention to this video.

At the present time, 1 in 4 of us will die in a state of dementia or with Alzheimer’s. If you want to increase your odds against that happening, then watch this video, pay attention to it, re-watch it several times and invest in a scientifically proven brain fitness program.

National Geographic documentary followed neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky of Stanford as he studied a baboon troop
over a period of 2-3 decades. The baboons with more stress were found to have shortened telomeres.
When a disease struck the troop from eating infected meat – the most stressed baboons died while the others survived. An interesting side note is that the alpha males were the ones that died. The beta males and females survived. Sapolsky said the supportive bonding of the beta males and females activated the regrowth of telomeres with the enzyme known as telomerase. Stress was the deciding factor of life or death for the troop.

In summary: Stress shortens telomeres, and shortened telomeres can kill you.


Turing test

Eugene Goostman is an artificial intelligence chatterbot. First developed by a group of three programmers; the Russian-born Vladimir Veselov, Ukranian-born Eugene Demchenko, and Russian-born Sergey Ulasen in Saint Petersburg in 2001,[1][2] Goostman is portrayed as a 13-year old Ukranian boy in an effort to make his personality and … Continue reading

Eugene Goostman is an artificial intelligence chatterbot. First developed by a group of three programmers; the Russian-born Vladimir Veselov, Ukranian-born Eugene Demchenko, and Russian-born Sergey Ulasen in Saint Petersburg in 2001,[1][2] Goostman is portrayed as a 13-year old Ukranian boy in an effort to make his personality and knowledge level believable to users.

Goostman has competed in a number of Turing test contests since its creation, with several second-place finishes in the Loebner Prize. In June 2012, at a competition marking what would have been the 100th birthday of its namesake, Goostman won what was promoted as the largest-ever Turing test contest, successfully convincing 29% of its judges that it was human. On 7 June 2014, at a contest marking the 60th anniversary of Turing’s death, Goostman became, according to Kevin Warwick, the first ever computer to pass the Turing test, by convincing 33% of judges that it was human.

Personality

Eugene Goostman is portrayed as being a 13 year-old boy from OdessaUkraine, with a father who works as a gynaecologist, and a pet guinea pig. Veselov stated that Goostman was designed to be a “character with a believable personality”; the choice of age was intentional, as one who is thirteen is, in Veselov’s opinion, “not too old to know everything and not too young to know nothing”. His young age also provides forgiveness for minor grammatical errors in his responses.[1][3] In 2014, work was made on improving the bot’s “dialog controller”, allowing Goostman to output more human-like dialogue.[2]

Accolades

Eugune Goostman competed in a number of Turing test competitions; it finished as the runner-up in the 2001, 2005, and 2008 Loebner Prize competitions. On 23 June 2012, Goostman won a Turing test competition at Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes, held to mark the centenary of Alan Turing. The competition, which featured five bots, twenty-five hidden humans, and thirty judges, was considered to be the largest-ever Turing test contest by its organizers. After a series of five minute-long text conversations, 29% of the judges were convinced that the bot was an actual human—only one percent away from the 30% goal suggested by Turing in his paper Computing Machinery and Intelligence.[3]

Turing test pass

On 7 June 2014, in a Turing test competition at the Royal Society, organized by Kevin Warwick of the University of Reading to mark the 60th anniversary of Turing’s death, Goostman was named the first ever computer to pass a Turing test. 33% of the judges (which included John Sharkey, a sponsor of the bill granting a posthumous pardon to Turing, and Red Dwarf actor Robert Llewellyn) were convinced that Eugene Goostman was a human.[4][2]

In response to the achievement, Warwick stated that “some will claim that the Test has already been passed. The words Turing Test have been applied to similar competitions around the world. However this event involved the most simultaneous comparison tests than ever before, was independently verified and, crucially, the conversations were unrestricted. A true Turing Test does not set the questions or topics prior to the conversations. We are therefore proud to declare that Alan Turing’s Test was passed for the first time on Saturday.”[2]


Epistemology

Epistemology i/ɨˌpɪstɨˈmɒlədʒi/ (from Greek ἐπιστήμη (epistēmē), meaning “knowledge, understanding”, and λόγος (logos), meaning “study of”) is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge.[1][2] It questions what knowledge is, how it is acquired, and to what extent it is possible for a given subject or entity to be known. Much of the debate in this field has focused on analyzing the nature of knowledge […]

Epistemology Listeni/??p?st??m?l?d?i/ (from Greek ???????? (epist?m?), meaning “knowledge, understanding”, and ????? (logos), meaning “study of”) is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge.[1][2] It questions what knowledge is, how it is acquired, and to what extent it is possible for a given subject or entity to be known.

Much of the debate in this field has focused on analyzing the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as truthbelief, and justification.

The term was introduced by the Scottish philosopher James Frederick Ferrier (1808–1864).[3] The field is sometimes referred to as the theory of knowledge.

Edmund Gettier is remembered for his 1963 argument, which called into question the theory of knowledge that had been dominant among philosophers for thousands of years.[5] In a few pages, Gettier argued that there are situations in which one’s belief may be justified and true, yet fail to count as knowledge. That is, Gettier contended that while justified belief in a true proposition is necessary for that proposition to be known, it is not sufficient. As in the diagram above, a true proposition can be believed by an individual (purple region) but still not fall within the “knowledge” category (yellow region).

According to Gettier, there are certain circumstances in which one does not have knowledge, even when all of the above conditions are met. Gettier proposed two thought experiments, which have come to be known as “Gettier cases,” as counterexamples to the classical account of knowledge. One of the cases involves two men, Smith and Jones, who are awaiting the results of their applications for the same job. Each man has ten coins in his pocket. Smith has excellent reasons to believe that Jones will get the job and, furthermore, knows that Jones has ten coins in his pocket (he recently counted them). From this Smith infers, “the man who will get the job has ten coins in his pocket.” However, Smith is unaware that he also has ten coins in his own pocket. Furthermore, Smith, not Jones, is going to get the job. While Smith has strong evidence to believe that Jones will get the job, he is wrong. Smith has a justified true belief that a man with ten coins in his pocket will get the job; however, according to Gettier, Smith does not know that a man with ten coins in his pocket will get the job, because Smith’s belief is “…true by virtue of the number of coins in Jones’s pocket, while Smith does not know how many coins are in Smith’s pocket, and bases his belief…on a count of the coins in Jones’s pocket, whom he falsely believes to be the man who will get the job.” (see[5] p. 122.) These cases fail to be knowledge because the subject’s belief is justified, but only happens to be true by virtue of luck. In other words, he made the correct choice (in this case predicting an outcome) for the wrong reasons. This example is similar to those often given when discussing belief and truth, wherein a person’s belief of what will happen can coincidentally be correct without them having the actual knowledge to base it on.


Unconscious Decision Making

Published on Jul 26, 2012 Instinct is the driving force behind human decision making. Irrationality must be recognized if we’re going to get beyond the risks of not being built as thinking machines, says David Ropeik. David P. Ropeik is … Continue reading

Published on Jul 26, 2012 Instinct is the driving force behind human decision making. Irrationality must be recognized if we’re going to get beyond the risks of not being built as thinking machines, says David Ropeik. David P. Ropeik is an international consultant, author, teacher, and speaker on risk perception and risk communication.[1] He is also creator and director of Improving Media Coverage of Risk, a training program for journalists. He is a regular contributor to Big Think,[2] Psychology Today,[3] Cognoscenti,[4] and the Huffington Post.[5] http://bigthink.com


Published on Nov 26, 2012 Animation describing the Universal Principles of Persuasion based on the research of Dr. Robert Cialdini, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing, Arizona State University. Dr. Robert Cialdini & Steve Martin are co-authors (together with Dr. Noah Goldstein) of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Business Week International Bestseller Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive. US Amazon http://tinyurl.com/afbam9g UK Amazon http://tinyurl.com/adxrp6c IAW USA: http://www.influenceatwork.com IAW UK: http://www.influenceatwork.co.uk/


Nobel Prize winning neuropsychiatrist Eric Kandel describes new research which hints at the possibility of a biological basis to the unconscious mind. Directed / Produced by Elizabeth Rodd and Jonathan Fowler

Eric Richard Kandel (born November 7, 1929) is an American neuropsychiatrist. He was a recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons. He shared the prize with Arvid Carlsson and Paul Greengard.

Kandel, who had studied psychoanalysis, wanted to understand how memory works. His mentor, Harry Grundfest, said, “If you want to understand the brain you’re going to have to take a reductionist approach, one cell at a time.” So Kandel studied the neural system of the sea slug Aplysia californica, which has large nerve cells amenable to experimental manipulation and is a member of the simplest group of animals known to be capable of learning.[1]

Starting in 1966 James Schwartz collaborated with Kandel on a biochemical analysis of changes in neurons associated with learning and memory storage. By this time it was known that long-term memory, unlike short-term memory, involved the synthesis of new proteins. By 1972 they had evidence that the second messenger molecule cyclic AMP (cAMP) was produced in Aplysia ganglia under conditions that cause short-term memory formation (sensitization). In 1974 Kandel moved his lab moved to Columbia University and became founding director of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior. It was soon found that the neurotransmitter serotonin, acting to produce the second messenger cAMP, is involved in the molecular basis of sensitization of the gill-withdrawal reflex. By 1980, collaboration with Paul Greengard resulted in demonstration that cAMP-dependent protein kinase, also known as protein kinase A (PKA), acted in this biochemical pathway in response to elevated levels of cAMP. Steven Siegelbaum identified a potassium channel that could be regulated by PKA, coupling serotonin’s effects to altered synaptic electrophysiology. In 1983 Kandel helped form the Howard Hughes Medical Research Institute at Columbia devoted to molecular neural science. The Kandel lab then sought to identify proteins that had to be synthesized to convert short-term memories into long-lasting memories. One of the nuclear targets for PKA is the transcriptional control protein CREB (cAMP response element binding protein). In collaboration with David Glanzman and Craig Bailey, Kandel identified CREB as being a protein involved in long-term memory storage. One result of CREB activation is an increase in the number of synaptic connections. Thus, short-term memory had been linked to functional changes in existing synapses, while long-term memory was associated with a change in the number of synaptic connections. Some of the synaptic changes observed by Kandel’s laboratory provide examples of Hebbian learning. One article describes the role of Hebbian learning in the Aplysia siphon-withdrawal reflex.[4] The Kandel lab has also performed important experiments using transgenic mice as a system for investigating the molecular basis of memory storage in the vertebrate hippocampus.[5][6][7] Kandel’s original idea that learning mechanisms would be conserved between all animals has been confirmed. Neurotransmitters, second messenger systems, protein kinasesion channels, and transcription factors like CREB have been confirmed to function in both vertebrate and invertebrate learning and memory storage.[8][9]

Kandel is a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. He is a Senior Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He was also the founding director of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, which is now the Department of Neuroscience at Columbia University. Kandel’s popularized account chronicling his life and research, In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind,[2] was awarded the 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Awardfor Science and Technology.


Learn every gesture and body language cue in one video. Eye, hand, leg, arm, and mouth gestures are completely covered. Gestures and Body Language Series Be an expert in body language. Applies to his and her body language. Article is here http://bit.ly/apSipQ


The Republican Brain

source:  My Take: The religious roots of our political gridlock For many (though certainly not all) Republicans, the root of knowledge is a bedrock certainty about the inerrancy of a literal reading of the Bible. This provides them with clear, … Continue reading

source:  My Take: The religious roots of our political gridlock

For many (though certainly not all) Republicans, the root of knowledge is a bedrock certainty about the inerrancy of a literal reading of the Bible. This provides them with clear, absolute answers – that gay marriage is wrong, that modern science is suspect, and that much of what we see on earth is a struggle between good and evil.

When the 2012 Republican Party platform stated that we should “reaffirm that our rights come from God,” that reflected a sincere and genuine sense of bright-line natural law.

That kind of certainty in faith, which so often draws good/evil lines on theological issues, very naturally supports a similar outlook on political issues that aren’t directly rooted in the Bible. Faith, after all, if it really is faith, structures the way we view and interact with the world.

It shouldn’t surprise us, then, that some American conservatives tend both to see their opponents as evil and to catastrophize potential political losses.

If the world is locked in a battle between good and evil, and our side is good, that leaves only one possibility for our opponents.


By David Roberts

Science journalist Chris Mooney became well-known — and controversial — after his debut book, 2005?s The Republican War on Science, which charted the extraordinary, decades-long assault by the U.S. conservative movement on scientists, scientific institutions, and inconvenient scientific results (see: climate change). He admits to some level of naive hope that a full accounting of the phenomenon would lead to change. But, he says, no one changed their mind about anything. The right just retrenched.

For his new book, The Republican Brain, he set out to discover why. That led him into a burgeoning body of research on the roots of political ideology in deeper psychological traits, brain structures, and even genes — correlations that show up again and again in different circumstances and in different countries. Social scientists, it seems, are busy confirming our gut sense that conservatives and liberals do not merely disagree on matters of policy, but are different kinds of people, who process information differently.

On average, conservatives prefer simplicity and clear distinctions, where liberals display “integrative complexity” and are more comfortable with ambiguity and nuance. Conservatives are “hierarchs” and highly sensitive to in-group/out-group distinctions, where liberals are egalitarians. Conservatives come to decisions quickly and stick to them; liberals deliberate, sometimes to the point of dithering. Conservatives are more sensitive to threats while liberals are more open to new experiences.

The last 30, 40 years is the story of the conservative revolution in America. Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler measured how authoritarianism became concentrated in the Republican Party over time. One can have social change with psychology underlying some aspects of the change. The best explanation is going to be a nature/nurture amalgam

Conservatives have their own evidence, and the growth of the conservative media echo chamber, which has the same effect, more on a mass scale. The echo chamber has the think-tank experts on, but the think-tank experts are mainly for the sophisticated. These are ideology-reinforcing mechanisms. They make you really sure that you’re right.

If James Hansen goes and protests at a coal plant and Fox News attacks him for it, who made conservatives not like climate science? It’s complicated. But in most cases where conservatives are being told now that scientists are their enemy, I don’t think the scientists did anything at all to merit it. If you take something like Climategate — the scientists were being ordinary people who weren’t careful enough in their emails.

A problem like climate change is incremental, ambiguous, and ridden with uncertainty and complexity;  It implies huge changes in the status quo. It looks like liberal psychology is better suited to grappling with it.

When Jefferson said we need a well-informed public as a foundation for making policy — that view doesn’t understand people very well. There can be reasonable deliberation in certain circumstances, but with all that we now know about identity and reasoning, it’s uglier than that.

We have sectors of society that are more rational than others. It’s tough to talk about now with the Supreme Court case, but in general the legal system is more accurate and deliberative. It does find ways to put checks on some of this stuff, although there’s still a lot of biased views and bad judges and lawyers. There are ways of reforming it to make it more rational. If journalism enforced some norms, like it used to, then a lot of this stuff could be weeded out.

There’s ways we can set up different structures of society — journalism, legal system, scientific community — where there’s reputational risks to not being accurate. There’s a lot of value to that. You lose that if you have echo chambers where you get patted on the back for saying something like, global warming is phony.

In terms of polarization, just arguing facts all the time really does seem to be a trap; it really does seem to just inflame passions on both sides. Because facts are never really what it’s about. Values are what drive the argument. And personalities process information differently.


Deepak Chopra

The Woo of Creation: My evening with Deepak Chopra Michael Shermer On Thursday, March 31, Deepak Chopra and I squared off for a second time in person in a public venue, this time accompanied by the physicist Leonard Mlodinow on … Continue reading

The Woo of Creation: My evening with Deepak Chopra

Michael Shermer

On Thursday, March 31, Deepak Chopra and I squared off for a second time in person in a public venue, this time accompanied by the physicist Leonard Mlodinow on my side and Stuart Hameroff on his side (along with other panelists). The question on the table was this:

“Is there an Ultimate Reality?” and if yes, “Can it be accounted for by science such as mathematics, biology and physics?”

My answers: YES and YES

I explained that I am a Materialist and a Monist. I do not believe that there is a body and a soul, there is just a body. There is no brain and mind, just brain. The mind is just a word we use to describe what the brain does. I said, “you know I’m right” (which got a surprising laugh from the audience) because of the evidence from strokes, tumors, brain damage, senility, dementia, and Alzheimer’s, all of which kill brain cells, and along with the loss of brain comes the loss of mind. I asked Deepak and Stuart where Aunt Millie’s mind goes when her brain slowly disappears from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

I noted that consciousness is just a word we use to describe our inner thoughts about the workings of the brain, and that our “soul” is just a pattern of information stored in our genes and our brains. Consciousness is just an emergent property of integrated brain modules and patterned firing of neural networks.

By contrast, I believe that Deepak’s use of the word “consciousness” is very anthropocentric, once again returning humans to a central place in the cosmos as the “observers” who, in quantum mechanics, brings things into existence. If Deepak is right then the moon doesn’t exist unless it is observed, and yet, quoting that great scientist Bill O’Reilly, “times come in, tides go out—never a missed communication—and they would do so whether or not humans, or any other conscious (or unconscious) being existed.

In fact, I said, Deepak’s quantum consciousness is not holistic but reductionistic in the extreme. We don’t need to go down that far. Quantum mechanics is not needed to explain brain functions: the neuron is the individual unit of thought, the “atom” of mind. I then worked in a little joke I wrote earlier in the day:

Quantum mechanics is spooky and weird.
Consciousness is spooky and weird.
So what? Charlie Sheen is spooky and weird, but we don’t need quantum mechanics to explain his behavior. His “tiger blood” theory works just fine.

Haha.

In Deepak’s worldview, everything is conscious, which means that there is no way to distinguish between consciousness and unconsciousness, which is how I often feel when I listen to Deepak.

Thought Experiment:

  • If humans went extinct instead of Neanderthals, how does that effect the universe?
  • What if the Earth were suddenly demolished by a rogue planet (as in 2012)? Would that mean the end of the universe because observers would disappear?
  • Are whales, dolphins, gorillas and chimps conscious and therefore integral to the universe?
  • What can it possibly mean to say that the universe is conscious? If you will pardon the nerd science pun, that is such a vacuous concept!

Before the debate Deepak asked me to read a paper by himself and Menas Kafatos and Rudolph Tanzi published in the Journal of Cosmology, entitled: “How Consciousness Becomes the Physical Universe.” Deepak asked me to comment on it, which I did in the second half of the debate. I noted that given the prominence of “consciousness” to the central theme of the paper that one might expect it to be defined with semantic precision. Nope. Here is what the authors write:

“We will sidestep any precise definition of consciousness, limiting ourselves for now to willful actions on the part of the observer.”

What can it possibly mean for the universe to be conscious in the sense of having willful actions? The universe behaves with willful action? The universe is an observer? As well, quantum mechanics only requires an observation of any kind: an electron microscope will do. Is an electron microscope willful? Does an electron microscope take action? The authors of this paper write:

Werner Heisenberg concluded that the atom “has no immediate and direct physical properties at all.” If the universe’s basic building block isn’t physical, then the same must hold true in some way for the whole. The universe was doing a vanishing act in Heisenberg’s day, and it certainly hasn’t become more solid since. And Heisenberg again: “The atoms or elementary particles themselves … form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.”

No, sorry, these are different levels of analysis. To prove it I challenge Deepak to climb to the top of this building and jump off and see if the ground is a potentiality or a thing! They also write:

Heisenberg: “What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.” Reality, it seems, shifts according to the observer’s conscious intent.

Once again, NO! This would imply that anyone’s method of questioning is just as valid as anyone else’s, which would mean that the way astrologers question the universe is just as valid as that of astronomers. I concluded by saying that if you want to get a spacecraft to Mars the questions that astronomers ask are absolutely objectively really better than those of astrologers. Q.E.D.!

In Deepak’s rebuttal, in discussing quantum mechanics, he actually used the phrase “the womb of creation.” Nice. It’s that sort of precise language that makes people all gushy and mushy about science. I pressed him for a definition of consciousness, which he gave me as “consciousness is the ground of existence.” I replied that this sounded tautological to me: since reality needs consciousness to come into existence, this means that reality = consciousness = existence; or existence = existence. A is A. Very Aristotelian. But what does that really tell us?

In the end I pressed both Deepak and Stuart Hameroff for an answer as to where Aunt Millie’s mind goes during the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. Stuart’s answer was so rapid fire and jargon laden (something about the collapse of the wave function inside the microtubules in the neurons inside Aunt Millie’s brain) that I couldn’t quite get an answer, so Deepak clarified it for me later: Aunt Millie’s mind is in the matrix. Okay, I asked, how does poor Aunt Millie access the matrix. “We’re working on that,” was the reply. Okay, fine, and if our memories really are stored somewhere outside of our brains, then that would indeed be one of the greatest discoveries ever made in the history of science: Nobel worthy. But, until that is proven, I remain … skeptical.

POST SCRIPT

I am often asked if I believe that Deepak believes what he says, with an underlying assumption behind the question that Deepak is knowingly selling snake oil and doesn’t really believe his public patter. Having gotten to know Deepak over the years I can assure you that he absolutely positively believes what he says, and that while he may make a lot of money in the process of writing books, giving lectures, hosting radio and television shows, and running his various business enterprises (but, hey, that’s not exactly something anathema in America), this fact is quite orthogonal to his deeper mission in life: to shift the Western worldview Eastward.

I had never met Stuart Hameroff before, but I liked him as well, sharing a beer after the debate while watching a Laker game and schmoozing about science. Although I do not accept his theory of consciousness (most neuroscientists are skeptical as well), it would be fun to engage him again in a spirited debate over the brain and the mind.


Newton’s contributions to the study of mind

Published on Apr 30, 2012 Professor Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “The machine, the ghost, and the limits of understanding: Newton’s contributions to the study of mind” at the University of Oslo, September 2011. Q&A at 45:33

Published on Apr 30, 2012
Professor Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “The machine, the ghost, and the limits of understanding: Newton’s contributions to the study of mind” at the University of Oslo, September 2011. Q&A at 45:33


Irrationality

Dan Ariely Uncovers the Truth About Dishonesty from The RSA on FORA.tv Uploaded on Jan 13, 2009 Dan Ariely, a professor of behavioral economics at Duke University, presents examples of cognitive illusions that help illustrate why humans make predictably irrational decisions. EG is the celebration of the American entertainment industry. Since 1984, Richard Saul Wurman […]

Dan Ariely Uncovers the Truth About Dishonesty from The RSA on FORA.tv

Uploaded on Jan 13, 2009
Dan Ariely, a professor of behavioral economics at Duke University, presents examples of cognitive illusions that help illustrate why humans make predictably irrational decisions.

EG is the celebration of the American entertainment industry. Since 1984, Richard Saul Wurman has created extraordinary gatherings about learning and understanding. EG is a rich extension of these ideas – a conference that explores the attitude of understanding in music, film, television, radio, technology, advertising, gaming, interactivity and the web – The Entertainment Gathering

Dan Ariely is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Behavioral Economics at MIT Sloan School of Management. He also holds an appointment at the MIT Media Lab where he is the head of the eRationality research group. He is considered to be one of the leading behavioral economists. Currently, Ariely is serving as a Visiting Professor at the Duke University, Fuqua School of Business where he is teaching a course based upon his findings in Predictably Irrational.

Ariely was an undergraduate at Tel Aviv University and received a Ph.D. and M.A. in cognitive psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Ph.D. in business from Duke University. His research focuses on discovering and measuring how people make decisions. He models the human decision making process and in particular the irrational decisions that we all make every day.

Ariely is the author of the book, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, which was published on February 21, 2008 by HarperCollins.


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDAzsZLvfPw&w=560&h=315]

Published on Jul 26, 2012
Instinct is the driving force behind human decision making. Irrationality must be recognized if we’re going to get beyond the risks of not being built as thinking machines, says David Ropeik.

Ropeik an Instructor at Harvard, a consultant in risk perception and risk communication, author of How Risky Is it, Really? Why Our Fears Don’t Always Match the Facts, and principal co-author of RISK, A Practical Guide for Deciding What’s Really Safe and What’s Really Dangerous in the World Around You.

http://bigthink.com


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFdCzN7RYbw?list=UU8IMseLCZx2BZe3thxHXnog&hl=en_US&w=560&h=315]

Published on Nov 26, 2012
Animation describing the Universal Principles of Persuasion based on the research of Dr. Robert Cialdini, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing, Arizona State University.

Dr. Robert Cialdini & Steve Martin are co-authors (together with Dr. Noah Goldstein) of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Business Week International Bestseller Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive.

US Amazon http://tinyurl.com/afbam9g
UK Amazon http://tinyurl.com/adxrp6c

IAW USA: www.influenceatwork.com
IAW UK: www.influenceatwork.co.uk/


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph7LcupAENw&w=560&h=315]

Nobel Prize winning neuropsychiatrist Eric Kandel describes new research which hints at the possibility of a biological basis to the unconscious mind.

Directed / Produced by
Elizabeth Rodd and Jonathan Fowler


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUXtGQkJcQ0&w=560&h=315]

Learn every gesture and body language cue in one video. Eye, hand, leg, arm, and mouth gestures are completely covered. Gestures and Body Language Series Be an expert in body language. Applies to his and her body language. Article is here http://bit.ly/apSipQ

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