Wednesday, June 06, 2007


- Brandon discusses "value cocktails". Is 'democracy' equivocal, "a label for a mixture of different values", or can we pin down a unified understanding of 'democracy' that captures all the value we associate with it, at once?

- New blog "Ethics Etc." discusses Velleman's view that "unbearable pain" disintegrates the person. They point out a curious consequence: we cannot suffer unbearable pain (for our self would already have disintegrated)!

- TNR's Open University summarizes a recent panel on blogs and historical scholarship:
DeLong suggested that the basic point to understand with respect to the Internet is that the cost of scholarly communication has decreased dramatically over time and that this can't be bad.

- Chris at Mixing Memory discusses new evidence that monkeys have a theory of mind:
When they knew the experimenter couldn't see the containers, they chose the silent one so that they could get the food without the human noticing, but when they knew the experimenter could see them approaching, they preferred the noisy container. This implies that the macaques understood how both visual and auditory information would affect the experimenter's behavior, and furthermore that auditory information would only affect his behavior if he couldn't see what the monkey was doing.
It still seems open to deflationary explanations, however. Mightn't the monkeys know that noises provoke responses from "eyeless" creatures, without grasping the underlying (mental) reasons why?

- Also interesting: David Ryfe on the sociology of deliberation.


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