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Psychology meets philosophy: knowledge, reality, morality, meaning
Paul Thagard Ph.D.
Dreams have been explained as divine communications, wish fulfillments, emotional regulations, or cognitive explorations. But dreams may just be neural byproducts.
Software applications and other technologies work better if they are tuned to the emotional needs of the people who use them.
Leonardo da Vinci used analogies to generate new insights in fields from anatomy to architecture to painting. But not all of his favorite analogies were always useful.
In art, music, economics, and everyday life, we can enrich experience by combining desirable balance with the excitement of imbalance, requiring metabalance.
The influence of Ziva Kunda's concept of motivated reasoning continues to spread. What are its origins?
Misinformation and disinformation are spreading indiscriminately because of a lack of constraints on the generation and transmission of fake news.
Could we be living in a simulation? Is virtual reality a reality?
Anil Seth provides an excellent characterization of the real problem of consciousness as finding mechanisms, but his solution based on predictive processing is implausible.
Retaining democracy and fighting fascism depend on combating misinformation, using critical thinking, motivational interviewing, and political action.
A Personal Perspective: The claims that reality is mental, empirical, mathematical, or social rest on fallacious reasoning.
Understanding of consciousness is impeded by dualists, exaggerators, deniers, obscurers, and underraters, but can be regained by neural mechanisms.
Pinker’s book on rationality has valuable observations on good and bad reasoning, but emphasizes critical thinking over limiting irrationality by political action and empathy.
The hypothesis that you are just a computer simulation is far less plausible than that you operate in reality via your senses.
Metaphors provide concise and vivid depictions of aspects of romantic relationships that are difficult to express literally. They vary from helpful to toxic.
Commentary: Misinformation results from defective processes of representing, collecting, storing, retrieving, evaluating, transforming, sending, and receiving information.
DeepMind researchers claim that reward learning is enough for general intelligence. But this claim ignores the contribution of creative generation of recursive representations.
The pain of writing is balanced by the joy of creation and communication.
Rights to autonomy and privacy are used to argue against requiring people to be vaccinated for COVID-19. But the principle of avoiding harm sometimes justifies limiting freedom.
Misinformation doesn't only arise from false beliefs; sometimes it comes from feelings, such as defective emotions.
People who are misinformed about vaccines and other issues can be confronted using evidence-based logic. But another method that employs empathy and questioning might work better.
Songs about aging and retirement convey negative emotions such as regret, but also positive emotions such as contentment and determination.
We can be more hopeful about social and personal problems if we appreciate the differences between kinds of hope, such as honest versus false hope.
Pandemic fatigue is a complex of emotions that includes sadness, boredom, loneliness, anxiety, fear, anger, frustration, and resentment. These can be changed.
Chopra’s claim that humans have infinite potential is based on dogmas about consciousness and the universe that go against scientific evidence.
Breakup songs can help you identify your emotions, empathize with others, and find paths to overcoming the pain of romantic disappointment.
Misinformation about COVID-19 spreads even more rapidly than the disease. Its appeal has many psychological causes, including motivated reasoning and evidence-free transmission.
Psychotherapists help clients to reduce negative emotions such as sadness, anxiety, and guilt while increasing positive emotions such as happiness and hope.
Neural theories of consciousness are on the rise, but Information Integration Theory is a poor candidate.
Policy choices about the COVID-19 pandemic are often described as requiring a balance between health and the economy, but what is balancing?
The coronavirus pandemic has brought many new concepts such as "flattening the curve" and "quarantine haircut." What is the nature of these concepts and how were they formed?
Paul Thagard, Ph.D., is a Canadian philosopher and cognitive scientist. His latest book, published by Columbia University Press, is Balance: How it Works and What it Means.
Psychology meets philosophy: knowledge, reality, morality, meaning.