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...we show that searching the Internet for explanatory knowledge creates an illusion whereby people mistake access to information for their own personal understanding of the information. Evidence from 9 experiments shows that searching for information online leads to an increase in self-assessed knowledge as people mistakenly think they have more knowledge “in the head,” even seeing their own brains as more active as depicted by functional MRI (fMRI) images.


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Если я принимаю решение "от противного", это значит, что мы с противником "живем" в одной категории. Schadenfreude из той же серии. Стандартная ошибка интуитивных решений (по Канеману).

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...to any willing there belongs something willed, which has already made itself definite in terms of a "for-the-sake-of-which". If willing is to be possible ontologically, the following items are constitutive for it:
(I) the prior disclosedness of the "for-the-sake-of-which" in general (Being-ahead-of- itself);
(2) the disclosedness of something with which one can concern oneself (the world as the "wherein" of Being-already);
(3) Dasein's projection of itself understandingly upon a potentiality-for-Being towards a possibility of the entity 'willed'.

In the phenomenon of willing, the underlying totality of care shows through.
The average everydayness of concern becomes blind to its possibilities, and tranquillizes itself with that which is merely 'actual'. This tranquillizing does not rule out a high degree of diligence in one's concern, but arouses it. In this case no positive new possibilities are willed, but that which is at one's disposal becomes 'tactically' altered in such a way that there is a semblance of something happening.

this tranquillized 'willing' under the guidance of the "they", does not signify that one's Being towards one's potentiality-for- Being has been extinguished, but only that it has been modified. In such a case, one's Being towards possibilities shows itself for the most part as mere wishing.

--- Martin Heidegger. Being and Time.

The latter is what the fashion industry is all about.
upd. also note the important distinction b/w willing and wishing.
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I've always wondered why labeling something as "idiotic" or "very very bad" makes people happy. In rational thinking, labeling is considered fundamentally flawed because it simply shows how the labeler positions an object/event on his/her internal value map without explaining the reasoning why s/he does so. As John R. Searle would say, something is good or bad in virtue of something else, not because its intrinsic goodness or badness.

Yesterday, I found a review paper* that describes multiple psychological experiments on Schadenfreude. For example,
In the context of a real-world sports rivalry, Red Sox and Yankees fans report feeling pleasure, and show activity in reward- related brain regions (i.e., right ventral striatum including nucleus accumbens) when they watch their rival fail to score against their favored baseball team, and also against a less competitive team in the same league (i.e., the Orioles). Attaching positive value to outgroup members' suffering may provide motivation for inflicting suffering: People who show more reward-related activity when watching the rival team fail also report being more likely to actively harm the rival team’s fans (Cikara, Botvinick, & Fiske, in press). These findings extend to situations in which the rival fans themselves are in physical pain: Soccer fans exhibited reward-related activity (again, the right ventral striatum) when watching a rival team’s fan receive a painful electric shock; the magnitude of this activity predicted participants’ later unwillingness to relieve the rival’s pain by receiving half of the electric shock themselves (Hein, Silani, Preuschoff, Batson, & Singer, 2010).

It looks like, labeling facilitates Schadenfreude-based pleasure. In other words, a social activity that looks irrational from a purely logical perspective, has significant psychological advantages because it creates positive in-group empathy.

* Cikara, M., E. G. Bruneau, and R. R. Saxe. “Us and Them: Intergroup Failures of Empathy.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 20.3 (2011): 149–153. Web. 13 Apr. 2012.
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And had not Agrippina prevented the bridge over the Rhine from being destroyed, some in their cowardice would have dared that base act. A woman of heroic spirit, she assumed during those days the duties of a general, and distributed clothes or medicine among the soldiers, as they were destitute or wounded.

According to Caius Plinius, the historian of the German wars, she stood at the extremity of the bridge, and bestowed praise and thanks on the returning legions. This made a deep impression on
the mind of Tiberius. "Such zeal," he thought, "could not be guileless...
Agrippina had now more power with the armies than officers, than generals. A woman had quelled a mutiny which the sovereign's name could not check."

--- Tacitus. The Annals.
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395. There is a lack of clarity about the role of imaginability in our investigation. Namely, about the extent to which it ensures that a sentence makes sense.

-- Investigations.

I wonder whether AI is going to have a big advantage over humans in imagining things. Furthermore, two (or more) AI agents equipped with superior imagination can come up with a productive agreement/disagreement much faster than humans. All this comes on top of superior data access, processing, communications, and memory capabilities.


Jan. 31st, 2017 02:08 pm
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It turns out that in the Aeneid Love is a male god:
“So Venus makes an appeal to Love, her winged son:
“You, my son, are my strength, my greatest power—
you alone, my son, can scoff at the lightning bolts
the high and mighty Father hurled against Typhoeus.
Help me, I beg you. I need all your immortal force.”

Virgil (translated by Robert Fagles). “The Aeneid.”
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...time seems to constitute one of the major parameters of the context on which the meaning of social acts and situ­ations depends.

Ac­cording to Durkheim, the real characteristic of religious phenomena is that they always suppose a bipartite division of the whole universe, known and knowable, into two classes which embrace all that exists, but which radically exclude each other. For Durkheim, no way of classifying the universe is more funda­mental to human cognition than the one between these two cate­gories - the sacred and the profane: In all the history of human thought there exists no other example of two categories of things so profoundly differentiated or so radically opposed to one another.
To achieve such an absolute distinction in the human mind, a total separation of these two domains in actuality is essential.

--- Evitar Zerubavel. Hidden Rhythms, 1985.

What would be long-term advantages of such separation? Is this the fundamental feature of our civilization that allows for rule making and rule following?
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To me, the most disturbing message of Haidt's book (The Righteous Mind) is that you can't rationally argue with people on moral issues. The best you can do is manipulate their intuitions to reach a working understanding. Here's how he uses this approach in the book:

“I began this chapter by trying to trigger your intuitions about the five moral foundations that I introduced in chapter 6.”
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“Tetlock found two very different kinds of careful reasoning. Exploratory thought is an “evenhanded consideration of alternative points of view.” Confirmatory thought is “a one-sided attempt to rationalize a particular point of view.” Accountability increases exploratory thought only when three conditions apply: (1) decision makers learn before forming any opinion that they will be accountable to an audience, (2) the audience’s views are unknown, and (3) they believe the audience is well informed and interested in accuracy.”

Jonathan Haidt. “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.”

It's really hard to be your own audience. My taichi teacher always tells me to practice with an inanimate object because I won't be able to fool it.
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Удивительно, но в короткой русской сказке о Сестрице Аленушке и братце Иванушке есть (почти) все шесть моральных принципa* из книжки The Righteous Mind, by Jonathan Haidt.

1. Care/Harm - сестрица Аленушка защищает права братца-козленочка, несмотря на то, что он нарушил ее запрет. Купец (муж Аленушки) защищает Аленушку и братца-козленочка, несмотря на то, что не может отличить ведьму от настоящей Аленушки.

2. Propoprtionality/Fairness – купец наказывает ведьму предполагаемой мучительной смертью за попытку заточения Аленушки и убийства ее братца.

3. Loyalty – все положительные герои сохраняют верность своим родственникам.

4. Authority – несчастья случаются, когда фигура-авторитет либо отсутствует, либо нарушается прямое указание.

5. Sacrilege/Sanctity of the body – братец Иванушка пьет из копытца. Аленушка проходит ритуал очищения после того, как ее вытащили из реки.

6. Liberty – стремление к свободе в сказке найти трудно, но при желании можно предположить, что ведьма сажает Аленушку в виртуальную тюрьму и, в конечном итоге, расплачивается за свое преступление смертью.

*upd: не уверен, как надо писать: принципа или принципов или еще как-нибудь.
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It's interesting to watch (from afar) how the process of self-selection is working out

Before the Haidt's book, I'd be tempted to comment and show logical and factual mistakes in the original post. But now I know that it would be a waste of my time because "you can’t change people’s minds by utterly refuting their arguments." Kinda sad.
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“The social intuitionist model offers an explanation of why moral and political arguments are so frustrating: because moral reasons are the tail wagged by the intuitive dog. A dog’s tail wags to communicate. You can’t make a dog happy by forcibly wagging its tail. And you can’t change people’s minds by utterly refuting their arguments.”

Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 4.49.58 PM

Jonathan Haidt. “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.” iBooks.
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The Trump discussion starts at the 10min mark.


Nov. 23rd, 2016 01:07 pm
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Arguably, ageing population doesn't necessarily make the world wiser, but it definitely makes it less open to new experiences.

Wisdom and Mental Health Across the Lifespan Webster 2012



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