‘The Brain That Changes Itself’: neuroplasticity and the future of cognitive science

 Scientific progress rarely develops in a linear, steady fashion. Though volumes of data are always accumulating, the theories they ‘fit in’ take time to adjust in light of new or anomalous findings. The concept of paradigm shifts, developed by the philosopher Karl Popper, is a reminder that groundbreaking ways of thinking are always around the… Continue reading ‘The Brain That Changes Itself’: neuroplasticity and the future of cognitive science

God in the age of Abraham: scientific materialism and religion

     Science and religion, it seems, are not good dance partners. Over the past few centuries, scientific progress has coincided with a sharp decline in religious belief. The bounties of technology and research are an ever-present testament to the power of the scientific method. At the same time, religion is perceived as something archaic… Continue reading God in the age of Abraham: scientific materialism and religion

Puzzles, prisoners, and discs: how time structures human subjectivity

     If you look carefully enough, there's a paradox at the heart of our experience. Consider the flash of a walk signal, inviting you to cross an intersection. It seems to happen immediately: an observation which seems obvious enough. The image presents itself to our consciousness in an all-or-nothing, singular moment of experience.  … Continue reading Puzzles, prisoners, and discs: how time structures human subjectivity

Kant, demystified

     I bought Critique of Pure Reason a little too early; for a few years, Kant's breakthrough masterpiece just sat on my bookshelf collecting dust. I picked up on hints of Kantian philosophy in high school — references to a priori judgements and the categorical imperative in particular — but I was never formally introduced to the German… Continue reading Kant, demystified

Critique of Cartesian dualism III: Jacques Lacan’s theory of the subject

To call René Descartes a father of Western philosophy is no exaggeration. His contributions to philosophy and mathematics dominate our thought, ranging from his famous declaration 'I think, therefore I am' to his construction of the Cartesian coordinate plane. But what were once considered foundational paradigms are becoming increasingly frustrated by advances in contemporary neuroscience.… Continue reading Critique of Cartesian dualism III: Jacques Lacan’s theory of the subject

Critique of Cartesian dualism II: Daniel Dennett’s multiple drafts theory

To call René Descartes a father of Western philosophy is no exaggeration. His contributions to philosophy and mathematics dominate our thought, ranging from his famous declaration 'I think, therefore I am' to his construction of the Cartesian coordinate plane. But what were once considered foundational paradigms are becoming increasingly becoming frustrated by advances in contemporary… Continue reading Critique of Cartesian dualism II: Daniel Dennett’s multiple drafts theory

Critique of Cartesian dualism I: Antonio Damasio’s somatic marker hypothesis

To call René Descartes a father of Western philosophy is no exaggeration. His contributions to philosophy and mathematics dominate our thought, ranging from his famous declaration 'I think, therefore I am' to his construction of the Cartesian coordinate plane. But what were once considered foundational paradigms are becoming increasingly becoming frustrated by advances in contemporary… Continue reading Critique of Cartesian dualism I: Antonio Damasio’s somatic marker hypothesis

‘Jake and Amir’ and the function of fantasy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcX0Ve9abHo   Anyone familiar with Jake and Amir, one of the most successful web series to emerge from CollegeHumor, will recognize this video as a perfect encapsulation of the eponymous characters' dynamic: Amir as the borderline-psychotic but somehow lovable counterpart to Jake's role as perpetually tormented straight man. But more than eliciting laughs, I claim that… Continue reading ‘Jake and Amir’ and the function of fantasy

Marx, social media, and the rise of Twitter-forms

In a world where information reaches us through Twitter notifications, Snapchat stories, and a perpetual breaking news cycle, a familiar pattern has developed. On a regular day, we’re presented with an urgent news report — some important event happened somewhere in America, we’re told — and suddenly, public discourse becomes fixated on a specific topic.… Continue reading Marx, social media, and the rise of Twitter-forms