You ≠ Your Brain
Descartes' dualism argued that the mind was entirely distinct from the body. More recently, the computational theory of the mind said it was a rational computer. Neither is accurate.
What's the Latest Development?
Scientists and philosophers alike have begun to realize that our theories of the mind fail to account for how we talk about the world. The metaphors we use to describe our surroundings do not come from a purely mathematical or rational dissection of phenomena. Rather, the way we experience the world informs how we think about it. From an early age, for example, we associate warmth with security—the warmth of mother, warm milk, a warm blanket, etc.—so we describe things we trust as being warm, e.g. "I'm beginning to warm to him".
What's the Big Idea?
Descartes' dualism fell recently to the computational theory of the mind which viewed the brain as a rational calculating machine. It owed much of its impact to our understanding of computers and how our mind seemed to order the world by a similar process. But more and more we realize that personal experiences, shared across communities, also influence how we view and describe the world. For example, participants in scientific studies often lean forward when they think of the future, thus we associate the future with something 'forward'.
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A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.
- The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
- The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
- People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
The rise of anti-scientific thinking and conspiracy is a concerning trend.
- Fifty years later after one of the greatest achievements of mankind, there's a growing number of moon landing deniers. They are part of a larger trend of anti-scientific thinking.
- Climate change, anti-vaccination and other assorted conspiratorial mindsets are a detriment and show a tangible impediment to fostering real progress or societal change.
- All of these separate anti-scientific beliefs share a troubling root of intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.
The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.
- Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
- Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
- Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
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