Blog

Order in Chaos: Presentism, Eternalism, and the Arrow of Time

Time is strange. Very strange. If you think you understand time, then you probably don’t. No one does. Our clocks tell us that time is ticking away at a constant rate, but our experience tells us otherwise… That’s the thing about time. When you’re busy, there’s never enough of it. When you’re bored, there’s always too much. When you’re having fun, time flies… But when you’re waiting impatiently for something, every passing minute feels like an hour… Some memories feel like a lifetime ago, but at the same time you can remember them as vividly as if they happened yesterday. We may forget the passage of time altogether, at least for a while, but it’s always there… Isn’t it? Hold on… Is time moving forward, or are we travelling through time (and relative dimension in space)? Does time flow like a river, carrying us downstream with the unstoppable current? Or do we hop from one pre-existing moment to the next, on the infinitesimally thin knife’s edge that we call the present? Does everything change… or nothing? Is only the past set in stone, while the future is uncertain? Or maybe free will is an illusion, and our fate is predetermined? Are the past and future even real? Or do they exist only in memory and imagination? Do we perceive time… or create it? Questions like these have baffled philosophers, scientists, and artists alike (along with pretty much everyone else too) since time immemorial…

Continue reading “Order in Chaos: Presentism, Eternalism, and the Arrow of Time”

Objectivity in social sciences

The 10 Thinking Errors That Will Hold You Back In Life - Amy Morin ...

Objectivity in science is an ideal to be aimed for and not a perspective that can be simply adopted. The recognition that we engage with the world in an enactive, co-creating way does not negate the value in aiming for the ideal of objectivity, it simply helps highlight how much more difficult it is to achieve something approximating objectivity the more dynamically involved we are with the subject of study.

Continue reading “Objectivity in social sciences”

Stretching the enactive framework

Our personal choice is, in the great majority of cases, within a field shared by other vectors. Within it, the power of each action makes an echo, a resonance not inconsiderable for the other interactors.

In the integrity of the autopoiesis affirmation, the modulation of other autopoiesis is involved.

Beginning with the etymology of the term, we find the combination of two concepts, αὑτός and ποίησις.  The first one signifies self, mostly conceived as a intensifier of self, as himself.

In the choice of the following suffix, ποίησις, it should be noted that, in the Greek language, the action “to make” could be expressed by three different verbs. 

Continue reading “Stretching the enactive framework”

Embodiment and work

Repairs on the New York City subway in Park Slope. Credit: Cormac Cathal Duffy

Approaching the ‘4E’ cognitive science (embodied, embedded, enactive, and extended) for the first time has often been a disorienting experience for me, previously conditioned as I was by the strongly representationalist and computationalist traditions that I had encountered in my studies as a philosophy student. I sought a reference point that might help me approach the topic at a familiar angle, and returned to a text I’d read several years ago: Matthew Crawford’s 2015 book ‘The World Beyond Your Head’.

Continue reading “Embodiment and work”

Rhythm and Experiences

To live is to be musical, starting with the blood dancing in your veins. Everything living has a rhythm. Do you feel your music? ~ Michael Jackson.

One of the few things common across cultures is our ability to respond to and synchronize with musical rhythms. Wouldn’t it be really difficult to resist tapping your feet to Irish music? Of course, you’d still enjoy listening to the music but there is a whole different level of experience added to it when you’re tapping your feet to a lively song. There is something about this structured repeated pattern of sounds that profoundly engages us.. Somehow, we extract a beat and rhythmically tense particular muscles to the inferred beat (which in turn also affects our perception of the beats).

Continue reading

What If Ghosts Are Real? Panpsychism, Relativity, and Intersubjectivity

“Are you what we would call ‘spirit’?”
“From what we are, spirit. From what we do, matter. Matter and spirit are one.”
~ Philip Pullman, The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials)

Ghosts? Real? You must be joking. There’s no such thing. Spirits don’t exist… and even if they did, they certainly wouldn’t stick around after death to spend their disembodied days spooking the living. If you open up my skull, you will find no immortal soul infused with my material body. Who do you take me for? Some sort of dualist? I think not (therefore I am not). Ghosts are just hallucinations, delusions, and nothing more. After all, we live in a closed physical universe… don’t we? Everything that ever happens is the result of material interactions, governed by the forces of nature. We swim amidst a sea of atoms in perpetual motion – colliding, bonding, emitting and absorbing energy – all within the playing field of time and space. But wait… if the universe evolves deterministically, according to immutable laws of cause-and-effect, what role does consciousness play? What is the point of all this experience stuff? My thoughts and feelings? My hopes, dreams, and emotions? Don’t even get me started on free will… Surely these things must be real, and not just some elaborate illusion.

Continue reading “What If Ghosts Are Real? Panpsychism, Relativity, and Intersubjectivity”

Affordances and Phantom Limbs

Image Source

James J. Gibson’s ecological psychology attempts to bridge a gap in the science of perception. He aimed to include the semantic qualities of perceived objects in his account of how their perception. Traditionally, objects are conceived of being devoid of meaning when perceived, it is only after some mental representation is produced of the light which reflects off the surface of the object, through the retina to the visual cortex, and back to the frontal cortex again that we can then find meaning in things. Gibson refuted this notion however, stating:

“There is a need to study the perception of surfaces with a realistic attitude as well as a phenomenological attitude.”

Gibson, 1979, p.112
Continue Reading