A Splitting Headache

Zeus has the mother of all headaches.

“Do your worst!”

Hephaestus, god of technology, obliged and brought his hammer crashing down on Zeus’s head. From the crack in his skull, Athena, goddess of wisdom and justice, burst forth.

“Ooh, that feel’s better”

said Zeus,

“There’s got to be a better way of getting these headbirths out.”

The Birth Of Athena from Andreas Nilsson on Vimeo.

(or see http://www.theoi.com/Gallery/K7.9.html for a more classical depiction.)

About the Blogsite

See About 2.0 for some detail.

Posts So Far

All the posts to January 2017, in reverse-order:

  1. Backpropagation (Python code for training multi-layer neural networks by back-propagation and showing it can handle the XOR problem)
  2. Firing and Wiring (Python code for a Hopfield Network that operates in the spirit of the Hebbian ‘neurons that fire together wire together’.)
  3. Fish, Chips and Ketchup (A simple introductory Python code for demonstrating a neural network learning)
  4. Consciousness and Zombies (According to Tononi’ s ‘Integrated information theory’, a FIR filter is not conscious but an IIR filter is!)
  5. Brexit and the Brain (Relating the EU referendum vote to the recent neuroscience postings here)
  6. Some Good Reason (Joshua Greene thinks neuroscience can shed light on our moral preference for the ‘up close and personal’ but doesn’t say how)
  7. Getting Started on Deep Learning with Python (Installing Python, Anaconda, Theano and the MNIST dataset)
  8. The Great and the Good (People cannot be praised for their good deeds but the fortunate are proud of themselves and feel an entitlement to act as they wish.)
  9. My Brain Made Me Do It (In a physicalist worldview, people cannot be blamed for their misdemeanours. We just need to design better environments to get better people.)
  10. Shallow Learning (The Cerebellum is a shallow network. Here is a OCRed copy of James Albus’s ‘A Theory of Cerebellar Function’)
  11. About 2.0 (What this blogsite is really about)
  12. Guilt and Shame (Other people knowing our disdemeanors helps us to behave.)
  13. Mirroring and Mimicry (How mimicry and mirroring arise in the ‘hierarchy of predictors’ model of the brain, which leads to us empathizing with others)
  14. The Learning Pyramid (An improved description of the ‘hierarchy of predictors’ model which includes sensorimotor integration)
  15. Empathy (Empathy is  not essential for a moral society but it helps)
  16. The Bayesian Inference of the Goat in the Game-Show (Bayesian Inference solutions to the ‘Monty Hall’ problem)
  17. Trust (14: Animal pecking order, cooperation and the development of institutions that build trust)
  18. The Mind of Society (13: Viewing society as a superset of mental processes, in contrast to Minsky’s viewing of mind as a collection of individuals)
  19. Bubbles (‘Bubble diagrams’ showing the transition from pseudo-closed-loop feedback to hierarchical predictors)
  20. Anxiety and Well-Being (12: and Eustress and Oxytocin)
  21. Caring (11: We must also want to care for others)
  22. Ethical Physicalism  (10: The ethical supervenes on the physical)
  23. Is/Ought/Like/Want/Can (9: We can go from ‘is’ to ‘ought’ just like we can to ‘like’, ‘want’, ‘can’ etc)
  24. Morality for Humans (On the New Scientist review of Mark Johnson’s latest book.)
  25. Others, Orders and Oughts (8: Morality originates from the consideration and  intentions of others)
  26. A Unified Morality (7: Unifying Utilitarianism, Deontology and Virtue Ethics)
  27. Virtue Ethics (6:Virtue Ethics)
  28. Consequentialism for Idiots (5: Deontology)
  29. Rules, Hierarchy and Prediction (4: Relating Hare’s Two-level Utilitarianism to Friston’s Variational Free Energy theory of the brain)
  30. Moral Equalization(3: Trolleyology and overcoming intuitional prejudices)
  31. Prospectarianism (2: Improving Utilitarianism with non-linearities)
  32. Ethics 101 (1: Introduction to Consequentialism; the first of a number of parts of the ‘From Neural Is toMoral Ought’ talk)
  33. Science, Religion and Philosophy (4: Worldviews and the compatibility of science and religion)
  34. A Methodological Science (3: Science as a pragmatic methodology of constructed knowledge rather than a metaphysical worldview)
  35. The Manifest and the Scientific (Commenting on Rebecca Goldstein’s article on Wilfred Sellars’s ‘Manifest Image’)
  36. Physicalism (2: Shifting from Dualism to Physicalism)
  37. Dogma and Habit (1: Sheldrake’s dogmatic science; the first of 4 parts of the ‘Science Delusion’ talk)
  38. Changing Your Mind (3: The difficulties of overcoming established knowledge)
  39. The Forest of Neurons (3A: The growth of knowledge in the cortex)
  40. Knowledge is Personal (2: Pragmatic epistemology and Polanyi’s ‘tacit knowledge’)
  41. Nature’s Secret Trick (1: Similarities between Friston’s theory and Susan Haack’s ‘Foundherentist’ epistemology, the first of 3 parts of the ‘What I Know and Why I Know It’ talk)
  42. Could Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (First part of the first talk and so far the only part written up)
  43. Talk: What I Know and Why I Know It (Introduction to the 4 posts from ‘Nature’s Secret Trick’ onwards.)
  44. On Hawkins, Hierarchy, Homunculi and the Hippocampus (expertise through re-learning at lower levels of hierarchy, from the Hippocampus down)
  45. On Jeff Hawkins (Similarities between Hawkins’s prediction/hierarchy/time thesis and Kriston’s/mine)
  46. Dr Crick’s Sunday Morning Service (Selected quotes from Crick’s ‘The Astonishing Hypothesis’)
  47. Intelligence and the Brain: A Quick Summary
  48. Free Energy in Context: A Comparison With Evolution (Friston’s theory is a step in the right direction, like Lamarckism was for evolution)
  49. Free Energy and Free Will (Tying prediction/unpredictability together with freedom)
  50. Agent versus Environment: An Analogy (…with height)
  51. Free Energy: Criticisms and Conjectures (answering the obvious questions)
  52. Free Energy: Hierarchical Message Passing
  53. Entropy, Intelligence and Life (Intelligence is related to Shannon entropy in the same way that Life is related to thermodynamic entropy.)
  54. Talk: Intelligence and the Brain (Introduction to the subsequent 4 posts.)
  55. A Grey Anatomy: The Axon (How signals travel down axons, and the modelling of this)
  56. Phi: An Overview (Giuglio Tononi’s popular book on consciousness)
  57. Scientific Creatures (Dennett’s ‘Tower of Generate and Test’ evolutionary epistemology scale, expanded)
  58. Redefining Turing (Why people in the future might think we’re mad to say computers don’t currently think.)
  59. Building Biological Transistors (Using biological mechanisms as alternative to the electronic transistor.)
  60. A Grey Anatomy: The Electrical Chemistry of Ion Channels (Building models of voltage-gated ion channels from transistors.)
  61. A Grey Anatomy: Mapping the Cortex (Describing locations in the cortex in expanded views is better than the traditional ‘how it looks when folded up’ approach.)
  62. Free Will / Free Won’t: Conclusion (‘Free Will’ is an out-of-date term. Replace it with ‘Conscious Will’ and ‘Freedom’. The role that time plays in providing us with freedom is often overlooked.)
  63. Alief, Belief and C-lief (A battle of Will between different levels in our brain hierarchy.)
  64. Freedom (Our freedom arises from the inability of others to predict our behaviour, plus the role of time.)
  65. Free Won’t (Benjamin Libet and Rodney Brooks. An alternative to horizontal choice: a vertical hierarchy of choosers, operating at different timescales, able to veto lower decisions.)
  66. A Physicalist Account of Free Will (Most modern neuroscientists and philosophers are compatibilists whereas most mere mortals assume dualism. Daniel Wegner’s ‘phenomenal’account of free will, in contrast to an empirical one.)
  67. Talk: Free Will / Free Won’t (Introduction to the subsequent 5 posts.)
  68. Planes, Brains and Automobiles (Scaling of brains. The human hemispheres are not abnormally separated from one another.)
  69. Robotics: Serious, Fun or Serious Fun (Getting underneath the sexy facade of robotics to the important stuff.)
  70. Wegner’s Illusion: An Overview (Chapter-by-chapter overview of Wegner’s ‘The Illusion of Conscious Will’)
  71. Wegner’s Illusion: Intention, Action, Will (Relationships between thought, consciousness, memory, intention, action, agency and will.)
  72. Quantifying Freedom, part 1 (Initial explorations in trying to come up with a way of measuring freedom.)
  73. Not just a Pack of Neurons (It would be surprising if simulating just the neurons can create a good model of brain behaviour and account for consciousness. Two counter-examples, without even mentioning drugs: glial cells and ‘factor S’.)
  74. A Brain of Four Halves (Krista and Tatiana Hogan are craniopagus twins, conjoined at a ‘thalamic bridge’.)
  75. A Brain of Two Halves (Iain McGilchrist’s ‘The Master and His Emissary’ doesn’t talk about successful hemispherectomies done at a very young age.)
  76. Dennett’s Dangerous Ideas (A glossary of terms coined by Daniel Dennett.)
  77. Robo-Ethics for Humans UK’s EPSRC ‘Five Ethics for Roboticists’
  78. Europe’s Emerging Technologies Grand Projets The EU’s FET (Future Emerging Technologies) program
  79. The Evolution of Language (“In the beginning was the grunt”. And before that was the gesture.)
  80. Talk: The Extension of Mind
  81. Understanding Velmans: The Third Hand
  82. Alva Noe against Hubel and Wiesel
  83. Pseudo closed-loop feedback for sensorimotor control
  84. Understanding Velmans: Subjective/Objective
  85. Understanding Velmans: Taxonomy without Representation
  86. English Graffiti (“So many heads … so little understanding”)

The Germans Are Dying Out

In “Headbirths, or The Germans Are Dying Out”, the 1979 short novel by Gunter Grass,
Harm and Dorte Peters, from Itzehoe (twinned with Cirencester) agonize over their “Yes to baby / No to baby” dilemma – whether to bring another German into this world.


One Response to About

  1. Pingback: About 2.0 | Headbirths

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