Tag Synthesis

Synthesis

Science has mostly been an analytic pursuit; we try to break the universe into its constituent parts and analyze these parts for what they are. This method is also often called reductionism, but one can be analytic without being a…

The Cognitive Synthesis

I am giving a talk at NIAS tomorrow on what I am calling the cognitive synthesis. Cognition and it’s cognates such as mind, thought etc are now among the most important topics of investigation in the sciences and in philosophy.…

The Concrete Universal

In my previous post I introduced the idea of a concrete universal and asked if it wasn’t a contradiction in terms. The critic might argue that a concrete entity, like this computer in front of me has shape and size…

Consciousness in the World

This post is partly a response to Sartaj’s post from a few days ago. He starts his post with a rather remarkable quote: “Colors are an artefact of perception.” This one line captures four hundred years of western investigations of…

The Foundations of Measurement

There was a time in the 1960’s and 70’s when mathematical psychology was considered an important field. One of the defining tomes produced in that era is the three volume Foundations of Measurement by Krantz, Suppes, Luce and Tversky. Measurement…

The Varieties of Representational Forms

The traditional approach to modeling in the cognitive sciences starts with the identification of the problem — let us say, causal explanation patterns — and then moves on to a a representational framework in which that problem can be addressed (let us say Bayesian…

A Typology of Beliefs

1. Introduction. The goal of this essay is to analyze the cognitive structure of beliefs. While beliefs vary tremendously, from sacred beliefs that are codified in texts to scientific hypotheses about the cosmos, I want to understand the structure of…

Doing Justice to an Idea

This piece is part of an ongoing response to Amartya Sen’s book that continues the discussion of reason, emotion and ethics from the seminar I taught last year. Introduction. Amartya Sen’s “The Idea of Justice” (IOJ from now on) is…

Sense-Organs

In ordinary language, we use the word “sense” in three different ways: sense as in sensation; sense as in making sense and finally, sense as in being sensitive. The first use of sense is about perception, the second use of…