Sleep

Someone asked me yesterday just how big this "puzzle" I keep referring to is.   First step, coffee, then working out.    Frankly, it’s a big puzzle, a thousand pieces maybe, and maybe I don’t know what the picture is I’m trying to put together. But it has something to do with wholeness, with well being, …

Making Up the Afterlife: David Eagleman’s SUM

One of my favorite books is Alan Lightman's Einstein's Dreams, in which Lightman, an MIT physicist, imagines Einstein considering multiple modes of experiencing time.   Time moves backwards, in endless repetition, in varying cycles of stunning strangeness.  Einstein's Dreams is an elegant, vastly imaginative look at one of life's deepest mysteries.   David Eagleman's SUM: Forty …

The Crisis of Knowing How We Know: Postscript

There's knowledge, and there's faith. A final salvo in my rumination about epistemology, or the study of knowledge, and knowing how we know. Those things that require faith cannot, by definition, be proven to be true in the sense that epistemology demands if a thing is to be counted as "knowledge."  Faith, by definition, is …

Justified True Belief: The Crisis of Knowing How We Know – 5

From the days of Plato, here's what philosophers have said knowledge is: "Justified True Belief" Interesting that such a jumble of ideas connect to create a fairly solid place to stand.  (Since the 60's, Plato's formulation has apparently come under fire, but let's just stick with that one idea for a moment.)  Simply stated, knowledge …

Choosing Knowledge: The Crisis of Knowing How We Know – 4

Life is hard. There are winners and losers in real time. When competing for jobs, someone doesn't get hired. When applying for colleges and grad schools, someone doesn't get in. When vying for federal funding, someone loses out. When applying for mortgage loans, somebody doesn't qualify. When plays get submitted to theatres, some are produced, …

Placebos and Shams: The Crisis of Knowing How We Know – 2

When healing happens, what (or who) exactly, is in charge of the healing? Years ago, in Bill Moyers' 1993 publication Healing and the Mind, I came across an interview with Dr. Candace Pert in which she makes a stunning claim.  She told Moyers that in multiple personality disorders, it could be shown that within the same …

Brain, Free Choice, and the Limits of Knowing: The Crisis of Knowing How We Know – 1

In August 1966, I was seven years old heading into second grade.  My memory of the guy that went up into the tower at the University of Texas to kill a bunch of people is vague, but it's there.  Turns out, according to David Eagleman's Atlantic Monthly article "The Brain on Trial", Charles Whitman knew …