History/philosophy of science

Neuron Culture

Category archives for History/philosophy of science

Research Digest has posted an q&a interview with me as part of their The Bloggers Behind the Blog series. Here are a few key tidbits. Do read the rest there, as well as the other interviews already run and to come. On why I write about psychology, psychiatry, and other behavioral sciences: Science constitutes our…

John Hawks, in his paleodreams. I mean that in the best way. John Hawks bumps into a prescient estimate of the total gene number in humans: While doing some other research, I ran across a remarkable short paper by James Spuhler, “On the number of genes in man,” printed in Science in 1948. We’ve been…

  Phineas Gage enjoys an unfortunate fame in neuroscience circles: After a 5-foot iron tamping rod blew through his head one September afternoon in 1848, the once amiable and capable railroad foreman became a uncouth ne-er-do-well — and Exhibit A in how particular brain areas tended to specialize in particular tasks. (In his case, the…

Gold in the tweetstream

I’ll try doing this now and then, maybe regularly, to gather the more notable tweets I get in my twitter feed. Darwin2009: Population-level traits that affect, and do not affect, invasion success http://ow.ly/1mMUp jayrosen_nyu: “The New York Times is now as much a technology company as a journalism company.” <— Bill Keller http://jr.ly/2pfz dhayton: “H-Madness”…

Jonah Lehrer’s story on “Depression’s Upside” has created quite a kerfuffle. The idea he explores — that depression creates an analytic, ruminative focus that generates useful insight — sits badly with quite a few people. It’s not a brand-new idea, by any means; as Jonah notes, it goes back at least to Aristotle. But Jonah…

Note: The version below is altered from the original, which was near-gibberish in a few spots. Why? Because I mistakenly posted a pre-edit version that contained the raw ‘transcription’ from voice-recognition software I’ve been trying out. (I suppose it could have been a lot worse.) Here, more or less as I meant it to appear:…

Stress is an old, old companion

 A nice short piece on “The Prehistory of Stress” by Matt Ford at Ars Technica (newly designed site worth checking out). I have heard people say, on multiple occasions, that they think stress is a modern, Western phenomenon. While the psychological phenomenon known as stress has only had a formal name for just over 80…

Hardly a day passes without yet another breathless declaration in the popular press about the relevance of neuroscientific findings to everyday life. The articles are usually accompanied by a picture of a brain scan in pixel-busting Technicolor and are frequently connected to references to new disciplines with the prefix “neuro-”. Neuro-jurisprudence, neuro-economics, neuro-aesthetics, neuro-theology are…

Posted via web from David Dobbs’s Somatic Marker The Maldives, featured in a Wired gallery of islands shot from space. A place crucial to the story I told in Reef Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Agassiz, and the Meaning of Coral. It was in this unique archipelago that Alexander Agassiz found the evidence he felt proved…

via press.princeton.edu I am extremely pleased to report that my friend Adrienne Mayor’s riveting (if queasy-making) biography of Mitradates, “Poison King,” is a finalist for the National Book Award. It’s wonderful to see a skillfully executed and absorbing account of an obscure bit of history get this sort of well-deserved attention. Congratulations, Adrienne. And to…