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Then I will introduce you to some tools that are for very special purposes indeed, designed to explode one specific seductive idea or another, clearing a way out of a deep rut that still traps and flummoxes experts. The physicist Richard Feynman was perhaps an even more legendary genius than von Neumann, and he was certainly endowed with a world-class brain—but he also loved having fun, and we can all be grateful that he particularly enjoyed revealing the tricks of the trade he used to make life easier for himself.

Inspired by the wealth of useful observations in his books, and his candor in revealing how his mind worked, I decided to try my own hand at a similar project, less autobiographical and with the ambitious goal of persuading you to think about these topics my way. I will go to considerable lengths to cajole you out of some of your firmly held convictions, but with nothing up my sleeve. One of my main goals is to reveal along the way just what I am doing and why. Like all artisans, a blacksmith needs tools, but—according to an old indeed almost extinct observation—blacksmiths are unique in that they make their own tools.

What about thinking tools? Who makes them? And what are they made of? Philosophers have made some of the best of them—out of nothing but ideas, useful structures of information. Blaise Pascal gave us probability theory so we can easily calculate the odds of various wagers. But most of the tools that feature in this book are simpler ones, not the precise, systematic machines of mathematics and science but the hand tools of the mind.

Among them are Labels. Sometimes just creating a vivid name for something helps you keep track of it while you turn it around in your mind trying to understand it. Among the most useful labels, as we shall see, are warning labels or alarms, which alert us to likely sources of error.

Some philosophers think that using examples in their work is, if not quite cheating, at least uncalled for—rather the way novelists shun illustrations in their novels. The novelists take pride in doing it all with words, and the philosophers take pride in doing it all with carefully crafted abstract generalizations presented in rigorous order, as close to mathematical proofs as they can muster.

Analogies and metaphors. Mapping the features of one complex thing onto the features of another complex thing that you already think you understand is a famously powerful thinking tool, but it is so powerful that it often leads thinkers astray when their imaginations get captured by a treacherous analogy. Several of the most valuable thinking tools in this book are examples of staging that take some time to put in place but then permit a variety of problems to be tackled together—without all the ladder- moving.

And, finally, the sort of thought experiments I have dubbed intuition pumps. Thought experiments are among the favorite tools of philosophers, not surprisingly. Who needs a lab when you can figure out the answer to your question by some ingenious deduction? If they did, he argued, then since heavy stone A would fall faster than light stone B, if we tied B to A, stone B would act as a drag, slowing A down. But A tied to B is heavier than A alone, so the two together should also fall faster than A by itself.

We have concluded that tying B to A would make something that fell both faster and slower than A by itself, which is a contradiction. I have called these intuition pumps. On the contrary, I love intuition pumps! That is, some intuition pumps are excellent, some are dubious, and only a few are downright deceptive. Intuition pumps have been a dominant force in philosophy for centuries. These are the enduring melodies of philosophy, with the staying power that ensures that students will remember them, quite vividly and accurately, years after they have forgotten the intricate surrounding arguments and analysis.

A good intuition pump is more robust than any one version of it. We will consider a variety of contemporary intuition pumps, including some defective ones, and the goal will be to understand what they are good for, how they work, how to use them, and even how to make them. Every night he waits until all the prisoners are sound asleep and then he goes around unlocking all the doors, leaving them open for hours on end. Question: Are the prisoners free? Do they have an opportunity to leave? Not really.

Why not? There happens to be a fortune in jewelry discarded in the trashcan on the sidewalk that you stroll by one night. These two simple scenarios pump intuitions that might not otherwise be obvious: the importance of getting timely information about genuine opportunities, soon enough for the information to cause us to consider it in time to do something about it.

I hope you feel that there is more to be said on that topic! A whole section will concentrate on free will later. We need to become practiced in the art of treating such tools warily, watching where we step, and checking for pitfalls. If we think of an intuition pump as a carefully designed persuasion tool, we can see that it might repay us to reverse engineer the tool, checking out all the moving parts to see what they are doing. Assume—until proved otherwise— that every part has a function, and see what that function is by replacing it with another part, or transforming it slightly.

Every night 2. The big difference seems to be between being naturally asleep—you might wake up any minute—and being drugged or comatose. When and why do the odds matter? How much would you pay not to have to play Russian roulette with a six-shooter? Here we use one intuition pump to illuminate another, a trick to remember. Other knobs to turn are less obvious: The Diabolical Host secretly locks the bedroom doors of his houseguests while they sleep.

Or what if the prison is somewhat larger than usual, say, the size of Australia? What difference does that make? Every word in your vocabulary is a simple thinking tool, but some are more useful than others. If any of these expressions are not in your kit, you might want to acquire them; equipped with such tools you will be able to think thoughts that would otherwise be relatively hard to formulate. Of course, as the old saw has it, when your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and each of these tools can be overused.

Tools can be used as weapons too. Acquiring tools and using them wisely are distinct skills, but you have to start by acquiring the tools, or making them yourself. Many of the thinking tools I will present here are my own inventions, but others I have acquired from others, and I will acknowledge their inventors in due course.

Some of the most powerful thinking tools are mathematical, but aside from mentioning them, I will not devote much space to them because this is a book celebrating the power of non-mathematical tools, informal tools, the tools of prose and poetry, if you like, a power that scientists often underestimate.

You can see why. There is a good reason for the relentless drabness in the pages of our most serious scientific journals. As one of my doctoral examiners, the neuroanatomist J. The language of mathematics is a reliable enforcer of cogency. Anyone who has played basketball on a playground court with a bare hoop knows how hard it can be to tell an air ball from a basket. But sometimes the issues are just too slippery and baffling to be tamed by mathematics.

Some philosophy professors yearn to teach advanced seminars only to graduate students. Not me. When I gave the John Locke Lectures at Oxford many years ago to a standing-room-only audience, a distinguished philosopher was heard to grumble as he left one of them that he was damned if he would learn anything from somebody who could attract non- philosophers to the Locke Lectures!

True to his word, he never learned anything from me, so far as I can tell. I did not adjust my style and have never regretted paying the price. There is a time and a place in philosophy for rigorous arguments, with all the premises numbered and the inference rules named, but these do not often need to be paraded in public. We ask our graduate students to prove they can do it in their dissertations, and some never outgrow the habit, unfortunately.

And to be fair, the opposite sin of high-flown Continental rhetoric, larded with literary ornament and intimations of profundity, does philosophy no favors either. At least you can usually figure out what the logic- chopper is talking about and what would count as being wrong.

The middle ground, roughly halfway between poetry and mathematics, is where philosophers can make their best contributions, I believe, yielding genuine clarifications of deeply puzzling problems. There are no feasible algorithms for doing this kind of work. Exploring such treacherous conceptual territories is greatly aided by using thinking tools devised on the spot to clarify the alternative paths and shed light on their prospects.

So these scientists turn their backs on philosophy and get on with their work, but at the cost of leaving some of the most important and fascinating questions unconsidered. Seduced by sheer curiosity or, sometimes, perhaps, a yearning for celebrity , they embark on the big questions and soon discover how hard it is to make progress on them. I must confess that one of the delicious, if guilty, pleasures I enjoy is watching eminent scientists, who only a few years ago expressed withering contempt for philosophy, 5 stumble embarrassingly in their own efforts to set the world straight on these matters with a few briskly argued extrapolations from their own scientific research.

Even better is when they request, and acknowledge, a little help from us philosophers. In the first section that follows, I present a dozen general, all-purpose tools, and then in subsequent sections I group the rest of the entries not by the type of tool but by the topic where the tool works best, turning first to the most fundamental philosophical topic—meaning, or content—followed by evolution, consciousness, and free will.

A few of the tools I present are actual software, friendly devices that can do for your naked imagination what telescopes and microscopes can do for your naked eye. Along the way, I will also introduce some false friends, tools that blow smoke instead of shining light. I needed a term for these hazardous devices, and found le mot juste in my sailing experience. Many sailors enjoy the nautical terms that baffle landlubbers: port and starboard, gudgeon and pintle, shrouds and spreaders, cringles and fairleads, and all the rest.

A running joke on a boat I once sailed on involved making up false definitions for these terms. So a binnacle was a marine growth on compasses, and a mast tang was a citrus beverage enjoyed aloft; a snatch block was a female defensive maneuver, and a boom crutch was an explosive orthopedic device.

So I chose the term as my name for thinking tools that backfire, the ones that only seem to aid in understanding but that actually spread darkness and confusion instead of light. Scattered through these chapters are a variety of boom crutches with suitable warning labels, and examples to deplore.

And I close with some further reflections on what it is like to be a philosopher, in case anybody wants to know, including some advice from Uncle Dan to any of you who might have discovered a taste for this way of investigating the world and wonder whether you are cut out for a career in the field. Look in the index to find them, since some of them do not get a whole piece to themselves. Quine called this semantic ascent, going up from talking about electrons or justice or horses or whatever to talking about talking about electrons or justice or horses or whatever.

But before we turn to these intuition pumps, here are a few general-purpose thinking tools, ideas and practices that have proved themselves in a wide variety of contexts. It is like a general informing his soldiers that it is better to keep out of battle forever than to risk a single wound. Not so are victories either over enemies or over nature gained. Our errors are surely not such awfully solemn things. In a world where we are so certain to incur them in spite of all our caution, a certain lightness of heart seems healthier than this excessive nervousness on their behalf.

If we only publish results of a certain kind, we can make the argument look good. We must publish both kinds of results. Chemists typically get by with only a rudimentary knowledge of the history of chemistry, picked up along the way, and many molecular biologists, it seems, are not even curious about what happened in biology before about There is no such thing as philosophy-free science, just science that has been conducted without any consideration of its underlying philosophical assumptions.

Making mistakes is the key to making progress. Of course there are times when it is really important not to make any mistakes—ask any surgeon or airline pilot. But it is less widely appreciated that there are also times when making mistakes is the only way to go.

I often find that I have to encourage them to cultivate the habit of making mistakes, the best learning opportunities of all. Then they have something on the page to work with. We philosophers are mistake specialists. I know, it sounds like a bad joke, but hear me out. While other disciplines specialize in getting the right answers to their defining questions, we philosophers specialize in all the ways there are of getting things so mixed up, so deeply wrong, that nobody is even sure what the right questions are, let alone the answers.

Asking the wrongs questions risks setting any inquiry off on the wrong foot. Whenever that happens, this is a job for philosophers! Philosophy—in every field of inquiry—is what you have to do until you figure out what questions you should have been asking in the first place. Some people hate it when that happens. They would rather take their questions off the rack, all nicely tailored and pressed and cleaned and ready to answer.

We philosophers have a taste for working on the questions that need to be straightened out before they can be answered. But try it, you might like it. One of my goals in this book is to help you make good mistakes, the kind that light the way for everybody. First the theory, and then the practice. Mistakes are not just opportunities for learning; they are, in an important sense, the only opportunity for learning or making something truly new.

Before there can be learning, there must be learners. There are only two non-miraculous ways for learners to come into existence: they must either evolve or be designed and built by learners that evolved. Others must fail. You, who know a lot, but not the answer to the question at hand, can take leaps—foresighted leaps. You can look before you leap, and hence be somewhat guided from the outset by what you already know.

Evolution is one of the central themes of this book, as of all my books, for the simple reason that it is the central, enabling process not only of life but also of knowledge and learning and understanding. If you attempt to make sense of the world of ideas and meanings, free will and morality, art and science and even philosophy itself without a sound and quite detailed knowledge of evolution, you have one hand tied behind your back.

Later, we will look at some tools designed to help you think about some of the more challenging questions of evolution, but here we need to lay a foundation. Most of these typographical errors are of no consequence, since nothing reads them! The DNA of a species is rather like a recipe for building a new body, and most of the DNA is never actually consulted in the building process.

In the DNA sequences that do get read and acted upon during development, the vast majority of mutations are harmful; many, in fact, are swiftly fatal. Each of you has very, very good copying machinery in your cells. Fortunately, the copying machinery does not achieve perfect success, for if it did, evolution would eventually grind to a halt, its sources of novelty dried up. The chief trick to making good mistakes is not to hide them—especially not from yourself.

Instead of turning away in denial when you make a mistake, you should become a connoisseur of your own mistakes, turning them over in your mind as if they were works of art, which in a way they are. Animals that can learn—learn not to make that noise, touch that wire, eat that food—have something with a similar selective force in their brains. What was it about what I just did that got me into all this trouble? We human beings pride ourselves on our intelligence, and one of its hallmarks is that we can remember our previous thinking , and reflect on it —on how it seemed, on why it was tempting in the first place, and then about what went wrong.

I know of no evidence to suggest that any other species on the planet can actually think this thought. If they could, they would be almost as smart as we are. So when you make a mistake, you should learn to take a deep breath, grit your teeth, and then examine your own recollections of the mistake as ruthlessly and as dispassionately as you can manage.

The natural human reaction to making a mistake is embarrassment and anger we are never angrier than when we are angry at ourselves , and you have to work hard to overcome these emotional reactions. Try to acquire the weird practice of savoring your mistakes, delighting in uncovering the strange quirks that led you astray. Then, once you have sucked out all the goodness to be gained from having made them, you can cheerfully set them behind you, and go on to the next big opportunity.

But that is not enough: you should actively seek out opportunities to make grand mistakes, just so you can then recover from them. At its simplest, this is a technique we all learned in grade school. Recall how strange and forbidding long division seemed at first: You were confronted by two imponderably large numbers, and you had to figure out how to start. Does the divisor go into the dividend six or seven or eight times?

Who knew? But eventually I appreciated, as we all do, the beauty of the tactic. If the chosen number turned out to be too small, you increased it and started over; if too large, you decreased it. The good thing about long division was that it always worked, even if you were maximally stupid in making your first choice, in which case it just took a little longer.

This general technique of making a more-or-less educated guess, working out its implications, and using the result to make a correction for the next phase has found many applications. A key element of this tactic is making a mistake that is clear and precise enough to have definite implications.

Before GPS came along, navigators used to determine their position at sea by first making a guess about where they were they made a guess about exactly what their latitude and longitude were , and then calculating exactly how high in the sky the sun would appear to be if that were—by an incredible coincidence—their actual position. Instead they then measured the actual elevation angle of the sun exactly and compared the two values. With a little more trivial calculation, this told them how big a correction, and in what direction, to make to their initial guess.

A GPS device uses the same guess-and-fix-it strategy to locate itself relative to the overhead satellites. Figuring out what to credit and what to blame is one of the knottiest problems in AI, and it is also a problem faced by natural selection. Every organism on the earth dies sooner or later after one complicated life story or another. If not, how could the process of natural selection explain why our eyelids came to have the excellent shapes they have?

Natural selection automatically conserves whatever has worked up to now, and fearlessly explores innovations large and small; the large ones almost always lead immediately to death. Our eyelids were mostly designed by natural selection long before there were human beings or even primates or even mammals. Another part of the answer is that natural selection works with large numbers of cases, where even minuscule advantages show up statistically and can be automatically accumulated.

Other parts of the answer are technicalities beyond this elementary discussion. Here is a technique that card magicians—at least the best of them—exploit with amazing results. There are some effects—they can hardly be called tricks—that might work only once in a thousand times! Here is what you do: You start by telling the audience you are going to perform a trick, and without telling them what trick you are doing, you go for the one-in-a-thousand effect.

In the course of a whole performance, you will be very unlucky indeed if you always have to rely on your final safety net, and whenever you achieve one of the higher-flying effects, the audience will be stupefied. How on earth could you have known which was my card? For instance, the vast majority—way over 90 percent—of all the creatures that have ever lived died childless, but not a single one of your ancestors suffered that fate.

Talk about a line of charmed lives! One big difference between the discipline of science and the discipline of stage magic is that while magicians conceal their false starts from the audience as best they can, in science you make your mistakes in public. You show them off so that everybody can learn from them. This, by the way, is another reason why we humans are so much smarter than every other species.

I know distinguished researchers who will go to preposterous lengths to avoid having to acknowledge that they were wrong about something. I guess I made a mistake. All kinds of people love pointing out mistakes. Generous-spirited people appreciate your giving them the opportunity to help, and acknowledging it when they succeed in helping you; mean-spirited people enjoy showing you up. Let them! Either way we all win. Of course, in general, people do not enjoy correcting the stupid mistakes of others.

Carefully building on the works of others, you can get yourself cantilevered out on a limb of your own. I know extremely careful philosophers who have never—apparently—made a mistake in their work. They tend not to get a whole lot accomplished, but what little they produce is pristine, if not venturesome. Their specialty is pointing out the mistakes of others, and this can be a valuable service, but nobody excuses their minor errors with a friendly chuckle.

It is fair to say, unfortunately, that their best work often gets overshadowed and neglected, drowned out by the passing bandwagons driven by bolder thinkers. They are somewhere on that line of position LOP. Wait a few hours until the sun has moved on quite a bit. Then choose a point on your LOP, any point, and calculate how high the sun would be now if that point were exactly the right choice. Make the observation, compare the results, apply the correction, and get another LOP. Where it crosses your first LOP is the point where you are.

The sun will have changed not only its height but also its compass bearing during those hours so the lines will cross at a pretty good angle. In practice, you are usually moving during those few hours, so you advance your first LOP in the direction you are moving by calculating your speed and drawing an advanced LOP parallel to the original LOP. In real life everything has a bit of slop in it, so you try to get three different LOPs. You take the assertion or conjecture at issue and see if you can pry any contradictions or just preposterous implications out of it.

If you can, that proposition has to be discarded or sent back to the shop for retooling. Can your opponent really be so stupid as to believe the proposition you have just reduced to absurdity with a few deft moves? I recall attending a seminar on cognitive science at MIT some years ago, conducted by the linguist Noam Chomsky and the philosopher Jerry Fodor, in which the audience was regularly regaled with hilarious refutations of cognitive scientists from elsewhere who did not meet with their approval.

After a few more minutes of this I intervened again. What about my own reductios of the views of others? Have they been any fairer? Here are a few to consider. You decide. Changeux and I were the materialists who maintain that the mind is the brain , and Popper and Eccles the dualists who claim that a mind is not a material thing like a brain, but some other, second kind of entity that interacts with the brain.

Eccles had won the Nobel Prize many years earlier for the discovery of the synapse, the microscopic gap between neurons that glutamate molecules and other neurotransmitters and neuromodulators cross trillions of times a day. According to Eccles, the brain was like a mighty pipe organ and the trillions of synapses composed the keyboards. The immaterial mind—the immortal soul, according to Eccles, a devout Catholic—played the synapses by somehow encouraging quantum-level nudges of the glutamate molecules.

If the mind was in the glutamate and I poured a bowl of glutamate down the drain, would that not be murder? These afternoon sessions were informal lab meetings where visitors could raise issues and participate in the general discussion. And then he proposed a strikingly simple hypothesis: the conscious experience of red, for instance, was activity in the relevant red-sensitive neurons of that retinal area.

Hmm, I wondered. Smart was famous for saying that yes, according to his theory of ethics, it was sometimes right to frame and hang an innocent man! Crick decided to outsmart me. It would be an isolated instance of consciousness of red!

He later refined his thinking on this score, but still, he and neuroscientist Christof Koch, in their quest for what they called the NCC the neural correlates of consciousness , never quite abandoned their allegiance to this idea. Perhaps yet another encounter will bring out better what is problematic about the idea of a smidgen of consciousness in a dish. The physicist and mathematician Roger Penrose and the anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff teamed up to produce a theory of consciousness that depended, not on glutamate, but on quantum effects in the microtubules of neurons.

Microtubules are tubular protein chains that serve as girders and highways inside the cytoplasm of all cells, not just neurons. After all, the microtubules in the nerves of the hand would be doing their thing, just like the microtubules in the rest of the nervous system, and that hand would be in great pain, would it not?

The idea that consciousness of red, of pain, of anything is some sort of network property, something that involves coordinated activities in myriads of neurons, initially may not be very attractive, but these attempts at reductios may help people see why it should be taken seriously. He slipped getting out of the motorboat at the boathouse of the Isola di San Giorgio and fell feet first into the canal, submerged up to his knees before being plucked out and set on the pier by two nimble boatmen.

Italian ingenuity took over, and within about five minutes I enjoyed an unforgettable sight: Sir Karl, sitting regally on a small chair in the exact middle of a marble-floored, domed room Palladio designed it surrounded by at least half a dozen young women in miniskirts, on their knees, plying his trouser legs with their hairdryers. The extension cords stretched radially to the walls, making of the tableau a sort of multicolored human daisy, with Sir Karl, unperturbed but unsmiling, in the center.

Fifteen minutes later he was dry and pounding his fist on the podium to add emphasis to his dualistic vision. If there are somewhat hidden contradictions, you should carefully expose them to view—and then dump on them. But the search for hidden contradictions often crosses the line into nitpicking, sea- lawyering,1 and—as we have seen—outright parody. The thrill of the chase and the conviction that your opponent has to be harboring a confusion somewhere encourages uncharitable interpretation, which gives you an easy target to attack.

You should list any points of agreement especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement. You should mention anything you have learned from your target. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism. One immediate effect of following these rules is that your targets will be a receptive audience for your criticism: you have already shown that you understand their positions as well as they do, and have demonstrated good judgment you agree with them on some important matters and have even been persuaded by something they said.

But when it is called for, and it works, the results are gratifying. In fact, I like it a lot, our differences notwithstanding. The treatment of my view is extensive and generally fair, far more so than one usually gets from critics. You convey the complexity of my view and the seriousness of my efforts to address difficult questions rather than merely sweeping them under the rug.

And for this, as well as the extended treatment, I am grateful. Other recipients of my Rapoport-driven attention have been less cordial. The fairer the criticism seems, the harder to bear in some cases. It is worth reminding yourself that a heroic attempt to find a defensible interpretation of an author, if it comes up empty, can be even more devastating than an angry hatchet job. I recommend it. My version is somewhat more portable and versatile.

Ninety percent of science fiction is crud. Ninety percent of experiments in molecular biology, 90 percent of poetry, 90 percent of philosophy books, 90 percent of peer-reviewed articles in mathematics—and so forth—is crap. Is that true? A good moral to draw from this observation is that when you want to criticize a field, a genre, a discipline, an art form,. Go after the good stuff, or leave it alone. This advice is often ignored by ideologues intent on destroying the reputation of analytic philosophy, evolutionary psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology, macroeconomics, plastic surgery, improvisational theater, television sitcoms, philosophical theology, massage therapy, you name it.

Now, in order not to waste your time and try our patience, make sure you concentrate on the best stuff you can find, the flagship examples extolled by the leaders of the field, the prize- winning entries, not the dregs. This is particularly true, I find, when the target is philosophers. The very best theories and analyses of any philosopher, from the greatest, most perceptive sages of ancient Greece to the intellectual heroes of the recent past Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, John Dewey, Jean Paul Sartre—to name four very different thinkers , can be made to look like utter idiocy—or tedious nitpicking—with a few deft tweaks.

Yuck, yuck. A Latin name for it is lex parsimoniae, the law of parsimony. This much is uncontroversial, but extensions of the principle have not always met with agreement. Conwy Lloyd Morgan, a nineteenth-century British psychologist, extended the idea to cover attributions of mentality to animals.

As we shall see, the tensions that arise when minds are the topic are not well settled by absolute prohibitions. How could postulating something supernatural and incomprehensible be parsimonious? It strikes me as the height of extravagance, but perhaps there are clever ways of rebutting that suggestion. The prospect of turning it into a Metaphysical Principle or Fundamental Requirement of Rationality that could bear the weight of proving or disproving the existence of God in one fell swoop is simply ludicrous.

One of the earliest ultra-stingy thinkers was the ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides, whose catalogue of existing things was minimal indeed. No doubt it loses something in translation. This is our first boom crutch, an anti-thinking tool, and you should keep your eyes peeled for it. How on earth can you keep on the lookout for something invisible?

Get some help from the experts. Stephen C. In a spirited correspondence I had with him after his rave appeared, he demonstrated that he knew quite a lot about the history of work on the origin of life, enough to think he could trust his own judgment. Learning that the book he admired was a stealth operation might have shaken his confidence in his judgment, or it might not have. The scientific establishment has been known to squelch renegade critics unjustly on occasion, and perhaps—perhaps—Meyer had no choice but to launch a sneak attack.

But Nagel would have been wise to explore this prospect warily before committing himself. It is fair to say that the scientists working on the origin of life do not yet have a secure and agreed-upon theory, but there is no dearth of candidates, an embarrassment of riches rather than an almost empty arena. Unlike the other practices I have been describing, this one takes time and money to do properly. I hope others will pursue this technique vigorously and report the results.

I have decided to put it here because it addresses some of the same problems of communication that the other general tools confront. In many fields—not just philosophy—there are controversies that seem never-ending and partly artifactual: people are talking past one another and not making the necessary effort to communicate effectively.

Tempers flare, and disrespect and derision start creeping in. It can get ugly, and it can have a very straightforward cause. When experts talk to experts, whether they are in the same discipline or not, they always err on the side of under-explaining. So just to be safe, people err on the side of under-explaining. It is not done deliberately, for the most part, and it is almost impossible to keep from doing—which is actually a good thing, since being polite in an unstudied way is a nice character trait in anyone.

If anything it will make matters worse since now people will be particularly sensitive to the issue of inadvertently insulting somebody. But there is an indirect and quite effective cure: have all experts present their views to a small audience of curious nonexperts here at Tufts I have the advantage of bright undergraduates while the other experts listen in from the sidelines.

On the contrary, everybody can and should be fully informed that the point of the exercise is to make it comfortable for participants to speak in terms that everybody will understand. By addressing their remarks to the undergraduates the decoy audience , speakers need not worry at all about insulting the experts because they are not addressing the experts.

When all goes well, expert A explains the issues of the controversy to the undergraduates while expert B listens. Now I get it. It may not go perfectly, but it usually goes well and everybody benefits. The experts dissolve some of the artifactual misunderstandings between their positions, and the undergraduates get a first-rate educational experience.

Several times I have set up such exercises at Tufts, thanks to generous support from the administration. They will be expected to raise their hands, to interrupt, to alert the experts to anything they find confusing or vague. They do get required reading to pore over beforehand so that they are not utter novices on the topic; they are interested amateurs.

They love the role, and so they should; they are being given made-to-order tutorials from some big guns. Creativity, that ardently sought but only rarely found virtue, often is a heretofore unimagined violation of the rules of the system from which it springs.

Or it might be the assumptions and principles of some theory or research program. Being creative is not just a matter of casting about for something novel—anybody can do that, since novelty can be found in any random juxtaposition of stuff—but of making the novelty jump out of some system, a system that has become somewhat established, for good reasons.

It helps to know the tradition if you want to subvert it. Sit down at a piano and try to come up with a good new melody and you soon discover how hard it is. All the keys are available, in any combination you choose, but until you can find something to lean on, some style or genre or pattern to lay down and exploit a bit, or allude to, before you twist it, you will come up with nothing but noise.

And not just any violation of the rules will do the trick. I know there are at least two flourishing—well, surviving—jazz harpists, but setting out to make your name playing Beethoven on tuned bongo drums is probably not a good plan.

Here is where art shares a feature with science: there are always scads of unexamined presuppositions of any theoretical set-to, but trying to negate them one at a time until you find a vulnerable one is not a good recipe for success in science or philosophy. It would be like taking a Gershwin melody and altering it, one note at a time, looking for a worthy descendant.

Good luck! Almost always, mutations are deleterious. Advising somebody to make progress by jootsing is rather like advising an investor to buy low and sell high. Notice that the investment advice is not entirely vacuous or unusable, and the call for jootsing is even more helpful, because it clarifies what your target looks like if you ever catch a glimpse of it. Everybody knows what more money looks like. When you are confronting a scientific or philosophical problem, the system you need to jump out of is typically so entrenched that it is as invisible as the air you breathe.

Both sides consider it so obvious, in fact, that it goes without saying. Finding these invisible problem-poisoners is not an easy task, because whatever seems obvious to these warring experts is apt to seem obvious, on reflection, to just about everybody. Sometimes there are clues. Several of the great instances of jootsing have involved abandoning some well-regarded thing that turned out not to exist after all. Phlogiston was supposed to be an element in fire, and caloric was the invisible, self-repellent fluid or gas that was supposed to be the chief ingredient in heat, but these were dropped, and so was the ether as a medium in which light traveled the way sound travels through air and water.

More about those ideas later. I think that occasionally, at least in my field of philosophy, the opponents are enjoying the tussle so much that neither side wants to risk extinguishing the whole exercise by examining the enabling premises. Nobody said the truth had to be fun. Here are three related species, of the genus Goulding, named by me in honor of their most effective wielder. Rathering is a way of sliding you swiftly and gently past a false dichotomy.

Here is a fine example of rathering by Gould in the course of his account of punctuated equilibrium: Change does not usually occur by imperceptibly gradual alteration of entire species but rather [my italics] by isolation of small populations and their geologically instantaneous transformation into new species. But of course it can be. In fact, that is just what evolutionary change must be, unless Gould is saying that evolution tends to proceed by saltations giant leaps in Design Space —but elsewhere he has insisted that he never ever endorsed saltationism.

During that brief moment a typical member of a species might increase in height from, say, half a meter to one meter, a percent increase, but at a rate of a millimeter every century, which strikes me as an imperceptibly gradual change. Again, why not both? This example plays on a common—but controversial—assumption. Nothing could be further from reality.

So what can Gould be saying here? This is true: they are unbroken continuous lineages of mainly local progress. We come away from this passage from Gould—unless we are wary—with the sense that he has shown us something seriously wrong with the standard proposition of evolutionary theory that there are continuous pathways unbroken lineages from monads to man. It has always been obvious that the most perfect dinosaur will succumb if a comet strikes its homeland with a force hundreds of times greater than all the hydrogen bombs ever made.

If Gould thinks the role of mass extinctions in evolution is relevant to either of the central problems Cronin addresses, sexual selection and altruism, he does not say how or why. Because it marks the very edge of what the author is actually sure about and hopes readers will also be sure about. Being at the edge, the author has had to make a judgment call about whether or not to attempt to demonstrate the point at issue, or provide evidence for it, and—because life is short—has decided in favor of bald assertion, with the presumably well- grounded anticipation of agreement.

I went through dozens of papers—about sixty—on the philosophy of mind at philpapers. In those that did use it between one and five times in the sample I checked , most instances were clearly innocent; a few were, well, arguable; and there were six instances where the alarm bell sounded loud and clear for me. I encourage doubters to conduct their own surveys and see what they find. Take that, doubters! A rhetorical question has a question mark at the end, but it is not meant to be answered.

In other words, most rhetorical questions are telescoped reductio ad absurdum arguments, too obvious to need spelling out. Here is a good habit to develop: Whenever you see a rhetorical question, try—silently, to yourself—to give it an unobvious answer.

If you find a good one, surprise your interlocutor by answering the question. I remember a Peanuts cartoon from years ago that nicely illustrates the tactic. My late friend, the computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum had a yearning to be a philosopher and tried late in his career to gravitate from technicalities to profundities.

Dad just said a deepity! A deepity is a proposition that seems both important and true—and profound—but that achieves this effect by being ambiguous. On one reading it is manifestly false, but it would be earth-shaking if it were true; on the other reading it is true but trivial.

The unwary listener picks up the glimmer of truth from the second reading, and the devastating importance from the first reading, and thinks, Wow! Here is an example. Better sit down: this is heavy stuff. Love is just a word. Oh wow! Mind-blowing, right? On one reading, it is manifestly false. Whoever said that love is just a word meant something else, surely. But neither of these claims is actually very plausible.

Not all deepities are quite so easily analyzed. Richard Dawkins recently alerted me to a fine deepity by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who described his faith as a silent waiting on the truth, pure sitting and breathing in the presence of the question mark. I leave the analysis of this as an exercise for you. SUMMARY A tool wielded well becomes almost as much a part of you as your hands and feet, and this is especially true of tools for thinking.

Equipped with these simple all-purpose thinking tools, you can approach the difficult explorations ahead with sharper senses: you can see an opening, hear a warning bell, smell a rat, or feel a misstep that you might well miss without their help. Yes, thinking tools are also weapons, and the imagery of combat is appropriate.

Competitiveness is, apparently, a natural by-product of the intellectual ambition and boldness required to tackle the toughest problems. The problems we will be confronting are all hot-button issues: meaning, evolution, consciousness, and especially free will. You will feel dread or repugnance welling up as you approach some of the prospects, and rest assured that you are not alone in this; even the most vaunted experts are susceptible to wishful thinking and can be blinded to a truth by a conviction that is supported more by emotional attachment than reason.

People really care about whether they have free will or not, about how their minds can reside in their bodies, and about how—and even whether—there can be meaning in a world composed of nothing but atoms and molecules, photons and Higgs bosons. People should care. What could be more important, in the end, than these questions: What in the world are we, and what should we do about it? So watch your step. There is treacherous footing ahead, and the maps are unreliable.

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it drives us reflective human beings into thickets of bafflement. The first step in any effective exploration is to get as clear as we can about our starting point and our equipment. Words have meanings. How is this possible? We word-users mean things by saying things. How can we understand each other? Sometimes animals strike us as very much like us, as people dressed up in cat costumes, bearskins, and dolphin suits. This is true in every human culture: animals are seen as seeing, knowing, wanting, trying, fearing, deciding, lusting, remembering, and so forth.

In short, they are seen as like us in h a v i n g minds filled with meaningful. How can there be meanings in brains? A perennially tempting idea is that since words have meanings, maybe the meaningful things in our brains—and in animal brains—are like words, composed into mental sentences, expressing beliefs, and so on. But if words get their meanings from the minds that utter them, from where do mindwords get their meanings? Do animal brains store both the mindwords and their definitions, in a sort of cerebral dictionary?

What else could it be? Jacques shoots his uncle dead in Trafalgar Square and is apprehended on the spot by Sherlock; Tom reads about it in the Guardian, and Boris learns of it in Pravda. Now Jacques, Sherlock, Tom, and Boris have had remarkably different experiences—to say nothing of their earlier biographies and future prospects—but there is one thing they share: they all believe that a Frenchman has committed murder in Trafalgar Square.

Yet they all believe that a Frenchman committed murder in Trafalgar Square. This is a shared property that is visible, in effect, only from one very limited point of view—the point of view of folk psychology. Ordinary folk psychologists—all of us—have no difficulty imputing such useful commonalities to people. We do it without knowing much of anything about what lies between the ears of those to whom we attribute those beliefs.

We may think that these four fellows must also have something else in common—a similarly shaped something-or-other in their brains that somehow registers their shared belief—but if so, we are lapsing into dubious theorizing. This shared property, the meaning of the two sentences in their respective languages , or the content of the beliefs they express , is a central topic in philosophy and cognitive science.

Aside from the agreement that meaning and content are intimately related and mutually dependent phenomena, or even a single phenomenon intentionality , there is still precious little consensus about what content or meaning is and how best to capture it. Why did I choose the particular proposition I did? Because I needed something memorable and striking enough to get reported in different languages many miles away from the scene.

A videotape of the event might provide legal evidence of this, for instance, but it would be lost on Fido and Clyde. So this intuition pump risks carrying a seriously anthropocentric bias into our exploration of meaning.

The phenomena of intentionality are both utterly familiar—as salient in our daily lives as our food, furniture, and clothes—and systematically elusive from scientific perspectives. You and I seldom have difficulty distinguishing a birthday greeting from a death threat from a promise, but consider the engineering task of making a reliable death-threat-detector. What do all death threats have in common? Only their meaning, it seems.

And meaning is not like radioactivity or acidity, a property readily discriminated by a well-tuned detector. The sheer size and sophistication of Watson are at least indirect measures of how elusive the familiar property of meaning is. But there are problems with this attractive idea. If we can learn to read brain-writing, presumably we can write brain-writing, if our tools are delicate enough. Let us suppose the cognitive micro-neurosurgeon can do the requisite rewiring, as much and as delicate as you please.

Consider the two outcomes. Whose name? Oh my gosh, what was I saying? For a moment, there, it seemed to me that I had an older brother living in Cleveland! And if poor Tom persists with this pathology, as in the second alternative, his frank irrationality on the topic of older brothers disqualifies him as a believer. This science-fiction example highlights the tacit presumption of mental competence that underlies all belief attributions; unless you have an indefinitely extensible repertoire of ways to use your candidate belief if that is what it is in different contexts, it is not a belief in any remotely recognizable sense.

What this intuition pump shows is that nobody can have just one belief. Nor will I try to say now how one might use a variation on this very specific thinking tool for other purposes—though you are invited to turn the knobs yourself, to see what you come up with. I want to get a varied assortment of such thinking tools on display before we reflect more on their features.

In one sense, of course, but what would she have to know to really believe it? Suppose we suspected that she was speaking without understanding, and decided to test her. Must she be able to produce paraphrases or to expand on her claim by saying her father cures sick people?

Does she know what a doctor is if she lacks the concept of a fake doctor, a quack, an unlicensed practitioner? For that matter, how much does she need to understand to know that Daddy is her father? Her adoptive father? If understanding comes in degrees, as this example shows, then belief, which depends on understanding, must come in degrees as well, even for such mundane propositions as this. The philosopher Wilfrid Sellars devised it in to clarify thinking on what science shows us about the world we live in.

The manifest image is the world as it seems to us in everyday life, full of solid objects, colors and smells and tastes, voices and shadows, plants and animals, and people and all their stuff: not only tables and chairs, bridges and churches, dollars and contracts, but also such intangible things as songs, poems, opportunities, and free will. Think of all the puzzling questions that arise when we try to line up all those things with the things in the scientific image: molecules, atoms, electrons, and quarks and their ilk.

Is anything really solid? Some people said that what science showed was that nothing was really solid, solidity was an illusion, but Eddington knew better than to go that far. Some people have said that color is an illusion. Is it? But still, color is not an illusion in the sense that matters: nobody thinks Sony is lying when it says that its color televisions really show the world of color, or that Sherwin-Williams should be sued for fraud for selling us many different colors in the form of paint.

What does that future need from me? Time rolling away, time like a river, time like a train, Time like a fuse burning shorter every day Maybe you knew it when you were young Not that much distance between you and the sun But now you're wiser and you're afraid You see the stakes, and the mistakes that have been made It's a good question to be asking yourself What is well being, what is health?

What is illusion and what is true? What is my purpose - what can I do? Time rolling away, time like a river, time like a train Time like a fuse burning shorter every day Ain't no directions, there ain't no map Ain't no instructions, and you know there ain't no app You want power? You'll need help. Look to each other and you find it in yourself It's a good question to be asking right now What'll you put up with - what'll you allow? What is the color, the color of change? What is the reason these times are so strange?

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Gaudi no prisoners download torrent Every organism, whether a bacterium or a member of Homo sapiens, has a set of things in the world that matter to it and which it therefore needs to discriminate and anticipate as best it can. People also downloaded these free PDFs. She has taught herself to identify promises and purchases, telling jokes and telling lies. Here, then, is our inventory of everything a register machine can do, with handy short names: End, Inc, and Deb for Decrement-or-Branch. You can see why. We philosophers have a taste for working on the questions that need to be straightened out before they can be answered.
Bittorrent tracker web interface whole child Before there were bacteria, there were sorta bacteria, and before there were mammals, there were sorta mammals, and before there were dogs, there were sorta dogs, and so on. The robot inhabits a dangerous world, with many risks and opportunities. Here is where art shares a feature with science: there are always scads of unexamined presuppositions of any theoretical set-to, prisoners trying to negate them one at a time until you find a vulnerable one is not a good recipe for success in science or philosophy. Printed labels in Turkish mean nothing to you unless you understand Turkish. If you cut off my arms, I can still sign a contract with a pen in my toes or a vocal directivebut if you shut down my brain, download torrent my arms and hands could do counts as signing a contract.
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Hero editor for diablo 2 expansion torrent Ordinary folk psychologists—all of source no difficulty imputing such useful commonalities to people. It appears that you are in an impossible situation. Figuring out what to credit and what to blame is one of the knottiest problems in AI, and it is also a problem faced by natural selection. For instance, the vast majority—way over 90 percent—of all the creatures that have ever lived died childless, but not a single one of your ancestors suffered that fate. Wonder Tissue
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3g store novi sad kontakt torrent The first step in any effective exploration is to get as clear as we can about our starting point and our equipment. Semantic Engines and Syntactic Engines Folk psychology is a talent we excel in without formal education. Animals that can learn—learn not to make that noise, touch that wire, eat that food—have something with a similar selective force in their brains. If we are to evaluate these strong skeptical claims about the powers of computers in general, we need to understand where computer power in general comes from and how it is, or can be, exercised.
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