Tag Archives: reductionism

What’s it like to be a brain?

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I started reading Elizabeth Costello because the premise was irresistible to me: an academic who, when invited to give talks about her literary work, gives herself over to impassioned sermons on vegetarianism. I have often had the impulse, just before giving a talk, to just … Read More

If America’s Boyfriend were a Cognitive Neuroscientist…

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flat map of the US

Last week, America’s Boyfriend Nate Silver made meta-analysis cool beyond belief. The image of a lone geek, sitting at the end of a vast pipeline of data, and turning it into something everyone wants to hear about, is a certain breed of scientist’s deepest fantasy. … Read More

The stereotax and the tachistiscope (Reductionism, part II)

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There is something pleasantly upside-down about the fact that I have spent the first part of this summer flying around the world by invitation to various scientific conferences undermining the methodological assumptions I was so keen to defend before my career had even begun. The … Read More

Defending reductionism, then not so much (Part I)

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Paris in the winter of 1995/96 — the city was chaos because of strikes prompted by a set of neoliberal “reforms.” I am a little embarrassed, in retrospect, by how little I engaged with or understood the enormity of what was going on around me. … Read More


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