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Sunday, December 02, 2012

'Seem' and Seemings

A rough draft of my paper "A semantic account of 'seem' and seemings" is available here. Feel free to email me your comments.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Special Issue of Philosophical Studies on High-Level Properties in Perception

My special issue of Philosophical Studies on high-level properties in perception will be out in the next issue of the journal. It includes contributions by Jennifer Matey, Heather Logue, Ophelia DeRoy, Nico Silins, Bill Fish, Tim Bayne & Ryan Perkins (co-authored contribution), and Roy Sorensen.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Formal Epistemology Course Next Semester

Some of you have requested the course description for the formal epistemology course I am teaching next semester. So I am posting it here.

Formal Epistemology
This course is an upper-level graduate course in formal epistemology that will serve as a broad foundation for anyone who is hoping to get into a good Ph.D. program in philosophy. In the course we will cover Bayesian probability theory and degrees of belief, de se belief, the nature of a priori knowledge, the nature of justification and the knowability paradox. The main book we will read is David Chalmers' Constructing the World. We will also cover several articles in the different areas dealt with in the class. Each week there will be writing assignments devoted to the concepts covered in the course. Students will also be required to write a term paper within the area of formal epistemology. The course encourages, but does not require, prior knowledge of two-dimensional semantics. Undergraduate students can take the course with prior permission from the instructor.

Friday, November 16, 2012

News Posts on the Brain and Superhuman Abilities

We have posted a couple of new posts to our blog on superhuman ability over at Psychology Today

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Change Blindness

See if you can identify the change in this picture. This one is a bit harder.

New Psychology Today blog

I am contributing to a Psychology Today blog, The Superhuman Mind, which may be of interest to you. The first post is up.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Change Blindness

    See if you identify the part of the image that changes.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

More Bad News for Women in Academia

The New York Times, Sept. 24, 2012, has a blurb reporting on a finding in science about this, entitled: Bias Persists for Women of Science, a Study Finds *HT: Claus Emmeche)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New Research Center in Edinburgh

The Department of Philosophy in Edinburgh just announced the launch of a new research center called Eidyn: The Edinburgh Centre for Epistemology, Mind and Normativity. This center will specialize in the areas of epistemology, metaethics, philosophy of mind and cognitive science. It will also be home to empirical and philosophical research projects in these areas, including their recendely funded research project "Extended Knowledge". The center will further sponsor grad students, postdocs, and visiting fellows.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New Synesthesia Blog

Our synesthesia lab has started a new blog on synesthesia. It will feature stories and news from our lab and hopefully from other synesthesia researchers around the world. Kristian Marlow has just posted the first post. Feel free to check it out!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

New Synesthesia Lab Site

Check out our new synesthesia lab site, which Kristian Marlow created. Feel free to click the "like" button on the site :-)

Monday, July 09, 2012

Synesthesia Joke

A grapheme-color synesthete asked a non-synesthete: "What color is your 'P'?". The other person puzzled said "Yellow?" (Thanks to Lidell Simpson and Carol Steen)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Encyclopedia Entry on Color Synesthesia

I just posted a draft of my encyclopedia entry on color synesthesia. The link is here. Feel free to send comments.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Man becomes genius after head injury

Nightline did a feature on our case study, JP, who has acquired synesthesia and savant syndrome video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Poetry Slam

This was one of the syn team's contributions to the poetry slam night at Tucson, 2012

The rave of all conferences (Tucson 2012)

Sitting in the audience, sweating, ice water
in our hands, sweating
boiled blood for later use. The rave
is here. The rave of all conferences
Cactuses and scorpions. The rave
The war
of the world views. The massacre
of consciousness
all over the place,
the rave,
cactuses pricking your mind
pricking, pricking, PRICKING
the rave
The massacre of consciousness, the rave
Deepak Chopra and molecules
David Chalmers and mindfulness
David Copperfield and magic
Dane Cook and mockery
Don Corleone and the mafia
DCs. DCs all over the place. DCs, DCs, DCssss. The rave
Mindfulness, magic, molecules, happy molecules,
Small drops of magic
Mindfulness, molecules, mockery, mafia
Deepak pricking Jesse
unconscious and unattentive
Jesse pricking Bob Kentridge
unconscious and attentive
Attention. Attention. Attention. ATTENTION
of the hospitality suite. Get out
Jesse Prinz! Attention. Attention. The rave.
Rave, magic, mafia:
Out. Out. Out. OUT!
Of the hospitality suite! Out!
The woman, the security guard, the rave
The woman, angry, foaming, red, pricking, like a cactus.
At the Tucson conference, women are more dangerous than shotguns
Pricking. Becoming cactuses. Shutting us out.
There are no worries. Only zombies worry. No worries
The zombies made her an offer she couldn't refuse
We drink
the zombies
We drink
zombie blood
We drink, we speak, we prick, we party
after consciousness.
Zombies party
after the rave
the rave, the cactuses, the shotguns, the zombies, the pricking, the mafia, the molecules
happy molecules, the rave
the rave of all conferences

Evolution in Biology, the Human Sciences and the Humanities, St. Louis April 26-28

I am really looking forward to this conference here in St. Louis, particularly Patricia Churchland's talk on Saturday April 28.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Promotion and First Book

I recently received two pieces of good news. I got the promotion to full professor and my first book Transient Truths is out with Oxford University Press.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Scientists actually read our articles

I just realized that my article "Are there unconscious perceptual processes?" is among the 25 most downloaded Consciousness and Cognition articles in 2011. So it seems that scientists actually read our articles.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

New Affiliation

I am happy to report that I joined the education team at Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies. From the mission statement: "We, the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies team, are committed to reducing - and ultimately help eliminating - destructive disrespect and humiliation all over the world. We work in three areas (research, education, and intervention) and at all levels (macro, meso, and micro levels), inspired by universal values such as equality in dignity, humility, mutual respect, caring and compassion, and a sense of shared planetary rights and responsibilities. We generate interdisciplinary research (both intra- and interculturally) and disseminate information aimed at enhancing awareness of human dignity. We also apply creative educational methods and strategies, and devise pilot projects and advise on public policy planning."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Talk on Mathematical Savants on Thursday

I am giving a talk on Thursday on mathematical savantism. Feel free to stop by if you are in the St. Louis area. Here is the info (from the center):

"On Thursday March 15, Center member Prof. Berit Brogaard will give a special colloquium jointly sponsored by the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and the Center for Neurodynamics. Please join us at 3 pm in 302 Express Scripts Hall (coffee & cookies available before at 2:30) to hear about Prof. Brogaard's brain imaging studies of a mathematical savant. Her talk will explore the boundaries between neuroscience, mathematics, and the philosophy of mind."

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Color & Philosophy Conference March 2-3, 2012


Michael Watkins
Department Chair
Lanier Professor
Department of Philosophy
Auburn University


Jule Collins Smith Museum of Art, Auburn University
David Hilbert, University of Illinois, Chicago
Diana Raffman, University of Toronto
Larry Hardin, Syracuse University
Brian McLaughlin, Rutgers University
Alex Byrne, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jonathan Cohen, University of California, San Diego
Janet Levin, University of Southern California
Berit Brogaard, University of Missouri, St. Louis
Zed Adams, The New School for Social Research
Joshua Gert, The College of William and Mary
Michael Watkins, Auburn University

Sponsored by the Auburn Philosophy Department
With assistance from the Auburn Philosophy Club and the Auburn College of Liberal Arts

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Press Release/Newsletter Article for Publicity (January 23, 2012)

Our chair Gualtiero Piccinini asked me to post this.


St. Louis, Missouri) The Philosophy Department at the University of Missouri-St. Louis is experiencing a rebirth. UMSL offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in philosophy and has recruited distinguished faculty from here and abroad to demonstrate the relevance of philosophy in contemporary society.

As a 2012 initiative, worthy of the name, the Philosophy Department hosted a 'salon' on the evening of January 20th showcasing the talents of one of his department's brightest stars, Professor Berit Brogaard. Guests arrived at 7:00 p.m. at the World's Fair-era home of Thomas (an alum of the Philosophy M.A.) and Christine Knoten in Parkview, St. Louis County. Chancellor Thomas George mingled with the Honorable Vincent Schoemehl and other guests. In a living room lighted by candelabra and to the muffled sound of clinking champagne flutes, Professor Brogaard wowed her audience of twenty-two with a formal presentation titled: The Superhuman Mind. Tall, elegant and with command of her material, this native of Copenhagen, Denmark left the ladies thinking that she had integrated the study of philosophy into contemporary society. She left not a few of the gentleman in her audience thinking, with homage to Shakespeare, "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!"

The Department Chair, Dr. Gualtiero Piccinini, congratulated Professor Brogaard for her excellent presentation and as a humble token of appreciation made her a present of a box of chocolates. He then announced that the catered buffet would be served forthwith in the dining room.

Chief among Philosophy student volunteers on hand was Krista Hyde, a graduate teaching assistant who aspires to a career teaching philosophy in either the traditional classroom or in venues such as this salon.

Overheard from Professor Eric Wieland during the champagne reception was the Latin accolade:"Tempum bonum habebatur ab omnibus." to which Professor Andrew Black of Great Britain nodded: "So say we all!"