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Blending Extended writing Framing Knowledge Metaphor

Do science fiction writers dream of fascist dictatorships?

Some years ago in a book review, I made an off-the-cuff comment that thriller writers tend to be quite right-wing in their outlook whereas science fiction authors are much more progressive and leftist. This is obviously an undue generalisation (as most of such comments tend to be) but it felt intuitively right. Even then I […]

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Extended writing Knowledge Linguistics Metaphor Philosophy

The brain is a bad metaphor for language

Note: This was intended to be a brief note. Instead it developed into a monster post that took me two weeks of stolen moments to write. It’s very light on non-blog references but they exist. Nevertheless, it is still easy to find a number of oversimplifications,  conflations, and other imperfections below. The general thrust of […]

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Linguistics Metaphor

Literally: Triumph of pet peeve over matter

I have a number of pet peeves about how people use language. I am genuinely annoyed by the use of apostrophes before plural of numerals or acronyms like 50’s or ABC’s. But because I understand how language works, I keep my mouth shut. The usage has obviously moved on. I don’t think, ABC’s is wrong […]

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Extended writing Framing Metaphor

The most ridiculous metaphor of education courtesy of an economics professor

Acclaimed academics have policy agendas just like anybody else. And often they let them interfere with a straightforward critical analysis of their output. The monumental capacity for blindness of highly intelligent people  is sometimes staggering. Metaphors and analogies (same thing for metaphor hacking) make thinkers particularly prone to mis-projection blindness. Edward Glaeser, a Harvard economics prof, […]

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Extended writing

Philosophers’ songbook #philbitescomp

I was so inspired by the #philbitescomp twitter contest that I wrote a short history of philosophy in tweetable fragments of songs. Parmenides’ lament: I guess it will make a change when things stop changing Heracleitus’ blues: I cried you the same river thrice Plato’s polka: two steps out of the cave and look at […]

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Extended writing Metaphor Philosophy Scholarship

Metaphor is my co-pilot: How the literal and metaphorical rely on the same type of knowledge

Image via Wikipedia “Thanks” to experimental philosophy, we have a bit more evidence confirming, that what many people think about the special epistemological status of metaphor is bunk. We should also note that Gibbs’ and Glucksberg’s teams have been doing a lot of similar research with the same results since the late 1980s. This is […]

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Extended writing Framing Metaphor Scholarship

The Tortoise and the Hare: Analogy for Academia in the Digital World?

Image via Wikipedia Dan Cohen has decided to “crowdsource” (a fascinating blend, by the way) the title of his next book with the following instructions. The title should be a couplet like “The X and the Y” where X can be “Highbrow Humanities” “Elite Academia” “The Ivory Tower” “Deep/High Thought” [insert your idea] and Y […]

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Extended writing Linguistics

Why Chomsky doesn’t count as a gifted linguist

Somebody commented on the Language Log saying “of course […] Chomsky was a massively gifted linguist” http://j.mp/9Q98Bx and for some reason, to use a Czech idiom, the handle of the jar repeatedly used to fetch water just fell off. Meaning, I’ve had enough. I think we should stop thinking of Chomsky as a gifted linguist. […]

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Extended writing

Why ideas aren’t enough to solve the Palestine-Israeli conflict

An advertising agency is trying to solve a bloody conflict. This is presumptuous on such as scale that it could be called idiotic. Quoth http://www.theimpossiblebrief.com: “Rather than ‘out of date’ policies, we need ‘out of the box’ solutions. Let’s show the world that creative minds at their best can inspire even political leaders.” Assuming that […]

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Extended writing

I write like… a new more sophisticated stripper name?

Making connections between ourselves and other people no matter how arbitrary, is an incredibly popular communal as well as private activity. The many algorithms for generating one’s stripper, mobster or some other kind of name have graduated from napkins in bars to Facebook apps and now proper quantitative analysis of text samples. But deep down […]