Recently in Philosophy Category

Markets in Everything – God Helmet

If you’re interested in a short cut to spiritual experiences, neurobiologist Michael Persinger has devised a wired helmet that he says induces religious experiences in those who wear it.

Another helmet called Shakti – claimed to be better than the above one (price $220)

Shakti and the Koren Helmet - which is more effective?
God on the Brain - questions and answers
The God Experiments
This IsYour Brain on God
God moves in mysterious waves
Visions or Partial-Complex Seizures?
The Significance of Ellen White's Head Injury
Neuroscience - the New Philosophy
Neuroethics (podcast)

Our minds are not what we think

From FT a case of patient with Cotard syndrome;

"She was completely preoccupied with the thought that she was dead," he recalls. "She kept saying that she'd died two weeks before and was worried about whether my office was heaven or not."

The young scientist realised that Liz was suffering from a rare and strange condition known as Cotard syndrome, which for the sake of brevity I'll define as the delusion that one is dead. The condition was named after the French psychiatrist Jules Cotard who wrote about some classic cases in the late 1800s. He called it delire des negations and described a host of other symptoms including feelings of guilt, denial of body parts and even, paradoxically for someone who thinks they are dead, thoughts about suicide….

Roughly 100 cases of Cotard delusion have been reported in the medical literature, which certainly makes it rare, although not as rare as some other strange delusions, such as the single case of a man with "perceptual delusional bicephaly". He believed he had two heads and was admitted to hospital suffering gunshot wounds from where he'd tried to shoot one off….

Eventually he did get through, and posed a series of questions to assess an aspect of her personality known as her attributional style. Broadly speaking, this measures a person's tendency to attribute events in their lives to themselves (internal attribution) or to other people or luck (external).

Podcast of the Day, The Mind-Body Problem Down Under

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Mind. Brain. Are they the same thing, or is the mind something special? The conundrum has perplexed us for centuries. Descartes' split the two - into a spiritual, soul-like mind and fleshly, material brain. But in 1956 a group of 'renegade' Oxford graduates Down Under, now international stars in philosophy, launched a challenge. Consciousness and the brain were united, and any talk of mental spooks and ghosts in the machine was out...almost. Now in their 80s, David Armstrong and Jack Smart join Natasha Mitchell and others to reminisce on taking Descartes to task. Listen to the podcast or see the transcript. (Radio National Australia)

Dennett changes his mind
Fact-checking ``The Female Brain."

“Unfortunately, this is just one of several cases in recent books on sex and neuroscience where striking numbers turn out to be without apparent empirical support. On page 36 of ``The Female Brain," Brizendine writes that ``Girls speak faster on average-250 words per minute versus 125 for typical males." In support of this assertion, her endnotes cite Bruce P. Ryan, ``Speaking rate, conversational speech acts, interruption, and linguistic complexity of 20 pre-school stuttering and non-stuttering children and their mothers," Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 14(1), pp. 25-51 (2000). Alas, in Ryan's paper, you won't find the 250 vs. 125 numbers, and in fact, he gives no data at all that breaks down speaking rates by sex.”

Phantoms in the Brain

An interesting study- Brain electrodes conjure up ghostly visions;

“Simple stimulation of the brain can cause the mind to play complex and creepy tricks on itself, neurologists have discovered. They found that, by inserting electrodes into a specific part of the brain, they could induce a patient to sense that an illusory 'shadow person' was lurking behind her and mimicking her movements.

Doctors treating the patient, a 22-year-old woman with epilepsy, found that when they stimulated a brain region called the left temporoparietal junction, the patient sensed the presence of a sinister figure behind her who copied her actions. They suspect that the effect is due to the mind projecting its own movements onto a phantom figure conjured up by the brain, an effect that is seen in some patients with serious psychiatric conditions….”

Via Mind Hacks

Mind Games; What neuroeconomics tells us about money and the brain.

In the Family - A Journey through Madness
The Dancing Mind
Death; An exploration of the cultural construction of death: the way it's changed in English-based society from rich Victorian ceremony to the simple ritual of today; the difference in response from culture to culture, i.e. Mexico, Ireland and Australia.
The dream debate
Chris Turney on Time, author of Bones, Rocks and Stars: The Science of When Things Happened


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