from month 10/2010

Philippa Foot, Famous Philosopher, Unknown Anthropologist (1920-2010)

Philippa Foot died at her home in Oxford, England, on Oct. 3, her 90th birthday (see the NYT here and the Guardian here, and note the difference). In her career, she defended the view that moral judgments have a rational basis and that they can be said to be true or false. Her writing also helped ...

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Does God’s omnipotence extend to vision?

In a recent paper, Lorenza Colzato and her colleagues have tried to provide some pieces of evidence for cultural influences on perception, and more precisely, for their hypothesis that following religious rules can 'affect' visual processing. I am very sceptical about this paper. One ...

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Why the West Rules–For Now

  Ian Morris, a Stanford historian, has just published a new sweeping history of humanity. In Why the West Rules--For Now, he builds a theory of the evolution of human societies and tries to explain why the East and the West have been swapping seats for millennia in world domination. The ...

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Social interaction in utero?

Fascinating findings by Umberto Castiello, Cristina Becchio, Stefania Zoia,Cristian Nelini, Luisa Sartori, Laura Blason, Giuseppina D'Ottavio, Maria Bulgheroni, and Vittorio Gallese in an article entitled: "Wired to Be Social: The Ontogeny of Human Interaction" freely available at ...

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Josh Knobe and Lera Boroditsky debate on language and thought

You have watched Lera Boroditsky's LSE-ICCI lecture. Here you can see her debating with Josh Knobe: {source} {/source}      

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Poetic rhyme reflects cross-linguistic differences in information structure

An interesting article in the last issue of Cognition suggesting how cognitive differences in language processsing can influence literary tradition. Michael Wagner (McGill) and Katherine McCurdy (Harvard) show that cross-linguistic differences in information structure can explain divergence in ...

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Picture of the week: How segregated is your city?

One of the tools that may change our view of culture is modelization. It helps us understand big phenomena such as language change or the dynamics of hot topics. One of the first and the most convincing use of models in social sciences probably comes from Nobel prize winner Thomas Schelling. In ...

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