Who are you dressed up as today?

Since we've been talking about theatre, (and had a guest post from an actress) I have all the excuse I need to link to Eve Tushnet's tribute to John Keegan. She wrote: Keegan proposes that leadership requires theatricality: Heroic leadership–any leadership–is, like priesthood, statesmanship, even genius, a matter of externals almost as much as of internalities. The exceptional are both shown to and hidden from the mass of humankind, revealed by artifice, presented by theatre. The … [Read more...]

“What’s Hard is Simple, What’s Natural Comes Hard”

This post is part of Patheos's book club for T.M. Luhrmann's When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God. I recieved a review copy free of charge. In T.M. Luhrmann's ethnographic study of charismatic evangelical Christians, When God Talks Back, communing with God is a strenuous practice.  Cultivating a personal, two-way relationship is a choice for these Christians, and the sheer level of effort they put into changing their minds trips a lot of … [Read more...]

Simulated Ethics and Brainmodding

It's not all science fiction.  Check out Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcranial_magnetic_stimulation) or brain implants for depression (http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110207/full/news.2011.76.html)

It's a week of tough questions about transhumanism.  After reading my post on moral hazard for uploaded humans, Gilbert asked: OK, so people value other people based on some kind of proximity function. In practice they instinctively use some evaluation procedure that generalizes badly to modern situations (where interactions can be more remote) and even worse* to uploads. Perhaps a bit like different polynomials may be functionally identical on some finite fields but not on others so that … [Read more...]