22 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Removing Prepositions in Defining Thought

Having turned my back on propositions, I thought, what am I going to do about this? The area where it really comes up is when you start looking at the contents of consciousness, which is my number one topic. I like to quote Maynard Keynes on this. He was once asked, “Do you think in words or pictures?” to which he responded, “I think in thoughts.” It was a wonderful answer, but also wonderfully uninformative. What the hell’s a thought then? How does it carry information? Is it like ...
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21 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Anecdote of Shamans Responding to Star Trek

DI for documenting his journey to shamanism in the 1994 book Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of African Shaman. He writes about the proverbial dive into the rabbit hole as he was studying with the elders of his community and balancing his newfound wisdom with his Western education. Some paints a picture of a different path to knowledge that contradicts the norms of Western conventions. According to him. the Dagara have no word for the supernatural. "For us, ...
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29 SEP 2017 by ideonexus

 It’s Okay to “Forget” What You Read

What we get from books is not just a collection of names, dates and events stored in our minds like files in a computer. Books also change, via our mental models, the very reality that we perceive. You can think of mental models as psychological lenses that color and shape what we see. Some of this is genetic or cultural (Americans focus on very different parts of a picture than the Japanese do), but much of our perception is also shaped by experience — and experience includes the book...
Folksonomies: experience memory reading
Folksonomies: experience memory reading
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31 JUL 2013 by ideonexus

 Science Manipulates Language to Make it More Precise

Let us consider two spheres moving in different di- rections on a smooth table. So as to have a definite picture, we may assume the two directions perpendicu- lar to each other. Since there are no external forces acting, the motions are perfectly uniform. Suppose, further, that the speeds are equal, that is, both cover the same distance in the same interval of time. But is it correct to say that the two spheres have the same velocity? The answer can be yes or no ! If the speedo- mete...
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The example is "velocity" which in common parlance is the same as "speed," but in science it means "speed and direction."

19 APR 2013 by ideonexus

 How Do We Nourish the Revolution?

Every thing tells us that we are approaching the era of one of the grand revolutions of the human race. What can better enlighten us to what we may expect, what can be a surer guide to us, amidst its commotions, than the picture of the revolutions that have preceded and prepared the way for it? The present state of knowledge assures us that it will be happy. But is it not upon condition that we know how to assist it with all our strength? And, that the happiness it promises may be less dearly...
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We are in a society that is experiencing accelerating happiness, accelerating technology, and social progress. The progress is inevitable, but we must understand it in order to encourage it and recognize the pitfalls it may experience.

08 APR 2013 by ideonexus

 Human Scientific Achievement is Greater Than the Magic of...

And Harry raced back up the stairs and shoved the staircase back into the trunk with his heel, and, panting, turned the pages of the book until he found the picture he wanted to show to Draco. The one with the white, dry, cratered land, and the suited people, and the blue-white globe hanging over it all. That picture. The picture, if only one picture in all the world were to survive. "That," Harry said, his voice trembling because he couldn't quite keep the pride out, "is what the Earth look...
Folksonomies: science magic reality
Folksonomies: science magic reality
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None of the Wizards have gone to the moon. Rational Harry Potter baffles them by showing them a picture of the Earth from space.

28 APR 2012 by ideonexus

 The Idea of Objective Truth

Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world. In our endeavour to understand reality we are somewhat like a man trying to understand the mechanism of a closed watch. He sees the face and the moving hands, even hears its ticking, but he has no way of opening the case. If he is ingenious he may form some picture of a mechanism which could be responsible for all the things he observes, but he may never be quit...
Folksonomies: truth objective truth
Folksonomies: truth objective truth
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Is still like trying to figure out the inner workings of a watch without being able to look inside of it.

24 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 The Limits of Language

The ultimate origin of the difficulty lies in the fact (or philosophical principle) that we are compelled to use the words of common language when we wish to describe a phenomenon, not by logical or mathematical analysis, but by a picture appealing to the imagination. Common language has grown by everyday experience and can never surpass these limits. Classical physics has restricted itself to the use of concepts of this kind; by analysing visible motions it has developed two ways of represen...
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Language grows out of experience, but we have not experienced the alien phenomena of much of physics.

01 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Sifting Through Photographs of Our Ancestors to See Evolu...

Find a picture of yourself. Now take a picture of your father and place it on top. Then find a picture of his father, your grandfather. Then place on top of that a picture of your grandfather's father, your great-grandfather. You may not have ever met any of your great-grandfathers. I never met any of mine, but I know that one was a country schoolmaster, one a country doctor, one a forester in British India, and one a lawyer, greedy for cream, who died rock-climbing in old age. Still, even if...
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A great thought-experiment that takes us all the way back to when our ancestor was a fish, but shows us that the neighbors of any ancestor looked identical.