Thoughts and Notes

New category: Feminism

I realized that I needed another category dealing with issues related to the position of women in society and cognition. I decided to call it feminism in protest against the frequent dilution of the concept by labeling it 'gender studies' or 'women's lib'. Now, I very much agree that to understand the way our brains and our society conceptualize and treat women it is important to study men. If only to avoid making assumptions about what is normal.

Complexities of representation of women in traditional narrative

Christmas season's TV brings a lot of classic stories back to people's narrative environment. Many of these contain complex and multilayered representations of humanity's quest for self-understanding. These narratives play other roles, as well, connected to the psychological well-being of individuals. They are broadcast in moments of communal and familial rituals designed to promote group cohesion and they play a performative role, as well.

Parents' role in education - framing in practice

BBC - Radio 4 - Woman's Hour -Phone-in: parents and schools
A recent survey from the Department of Education shows that parents are increasingly unhappy with their local schools. Satisfaction levels have fallen by 10% during the past year and more than half of parents saw no change in the quality of schooling or thought it had got worse.

Individuality and culturality of psychotherapeutic needs

BBC - Radio 4 - All in the Mind
It's just under a year since the Tsunami devastated coastal communities around the Indian Ocean . Raj reports from his recent visit to the Tamil Nadu region of India with the charity Action Aid, where he met some of the people affected, and observed the work that's being done on the emotional rebuilding of their lives.

Determinism and evidentiary value of belief based on personal experience

BBC - Five Live - Mark Kermode film reviews included this and last week an interesting exchange. First, the reviewer claimed that watching the film The March of the Penguin makes it possible to assume some level of intelligent design (while criticising some American views stating essentially the same thing). Predictably, in the subsequent program, a discussion on this topic ensued which bore some interesting gems.

Expertise and suitability for policy responsibilities

Another great interview on This one dealing with the reliability of expert predictions (in the media and in general).

PHILIP TETLOCK: When an expert has very, very strong opinions on an issue, when the expert places a high value on simplicity and has little patience with contradictions or ambiguity, and when the expert is making longer-term predictions, that expert's likely to go off the cliff.

New home

My Week in Thought has found a new home right here.

CADAAD - Conference on Discourse Analysis

I am coorganizing a conference Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines (CADAAD) to be held at the University of East Anglia on June 29-30, 2006. The first call for papers goes out today. More on

My Week In Thought and Hermeneutic Suspicion

My Week In Thought
This PBS essay neatly summarizes almost all the arguments I would ever make - or in some cases have made - in defense of video gaming.

OK, there may be a fine line between vanity and self-referentiality but here we go.

There's no Wikipedia entry for 'moral responsibility' | The Register

There's no Wikipedia entry for 'moral responsibility' | The Register
The first, and the most immediately absurd of these two defenses, is that since nothing at all can be trusted, er, "definitively", then Wikipedia can't be trusted either. This is curious, to say the least, as it points everyone's expectations firmly downwards.

Online scholarship

"I've read the internet, and it's rubbish" - a comedian on a BBC Radio 4 show.

Complexities of women's rights

BBC - Radio 4 - Today Programme Listen Again
David Cameron promised to tackle the lack of women MPs from his party. What can he do? Audio here

Salient cases and social causality

The great 'On the Media' had an interview with 'the devil' - Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard. But he did bring up an interesting point regarding the actual influence of the magazine in particular and the media in general.

BROOKE GLADSTONE:: What do you think the world would be like if the Weekly Standard hadn't come along?

Conceptual integration and the creation of news

The President gave a major speech on Wednesday, and TV news reacted. For every story there's a formula, whether earthquake, missing child, sex scandal or State of the Union, but this event was none of those. So the anchors reached into their bags and pulled out the mode that fit the best - campaign reporting. They covered the plan for victory in Iraq as a stump speech.

How we should judge torture - Los Angeles Times

How we should judge torture - Los Angeles Times
Naturally, human rights groups are appalled by the suggestion that harsh treatment is ever justified. Similarly, blogger Andrew Sullivan dismisses the ticking time bomb as a "red herring" and argues that "you cannot raise or lower the moral status of mass murderers with respect to torture. The only salient moral status with respect to torture is that the mass murderers are human beings."

Cultural images of the powerless

One article, two thoughts. Good going!

TPM Online Article
One of the things you notice, both as a skeptic and as an American in the UK , is that according to the British media – and a lot of non-media folks, too, I might add – pretty much all foolishness comes from the US. | Beyond bones & stones | Beyond bones & stones
Anthropology is defined as the study of humankind and their origins throughout different places and times. The study focuses in detail on cultural, biological, linguistic, and archaeological research.

'Gay weddings' become law in UK

BBC NEWS | UK | 'Gay weddings' become law in UK
Hundreds of gay couples are preparing to form civil partnerships in the coming weeks as the law changes after decades of campaigning.

Kazakhstan and the principles of democracy

World News Article |
Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev won re-election by a landslide on Monday, official preliminary results showed, but the opposition in the former Soviet republic alleged vote-rigging.

Common sense vs.hypocrisy

Be realistic about death penalty: PM - National Breaking News - Breaking News 24/7 -
"But I think we have to be a little bit realistic in suggesting that the Government should complain as loudly as a death sentence being carried out on Saddam Hussein as we did in relation to Nguyen [Australian citizen executed in Singapore] is a bit unrealistic," [Australian prime minister Howard] said.

"Call it hypocrisy if you like, I think call it just normal human common sense."