Auguste Comte: A General View of Positivism (1856)

“The law is this: that each of our leading conceptions, each branch of our knowledge, passes successively through three different theoretical conditions: the Theological, or fictitious; the Metaphysical, or abstract; and the Scientific, or positive….the phenomena of human life… are yet equally subject to invariable laws; laws which form the principal objects of Positive speculation… [Positivism] rests at every point upon the unchangeable Order of the world. The right understanding of this order is the principal subject of our thoughts; its preponderating influence determines the general course of our feelings; its gradual improvement is the constant object of our actions.”

Think Like A Shrink #1: Don’t Psychoanalyze Your Family and Friends!

Out of 100 minutes of psychotherapy, a patient can expect at most 1-5 minutes to involve interpretations of what was “really” going on. It seldom seems that way because interpretation is what a patient remembers. But a seasoned shrink has learned that patients drop out of treatment if you bombard them with unwanted ideas about themselves. And that defeats the point of treatment. 1-5% of the time is plenty.

Think Like A Shrink: Proof

So here we go, on what will probably a long, drawn out excursion: the tools of my trade. If I were a dentist, what I’d be describing would be my picks and drills. If I were a basketball player these would be my moves. If I were a photographer these would be my camera settings and lenses. In psychiatry they just happen to be words. Which just happen to be the easiest kind of thing to distribute across the internet. Enjoy!

Neuroself Live Blogs the Second Presidential Debate

10:21 – I still think the story of this debate is that Romney has a huge wellspring of arrogant aggression at his disposal, and seems unable to modulate it sufficiently to appear Presidential. Obama comes close to naming it and challenging it, but pulls up short each time. Candy Crowley fails to discuss or contain it. And none of the audience members pulls an audible and ask Romney why he’s so angry.

Bento Spinoza: The Ethics (1677)

As, then, nature abhors a vaccuum (of which anon), but all parts are bound to come together to prevent it, it follows from this that the parts cannot really be distinguished, and that extended substance in so far as it is substance cannot be divided.

Neuroself Live Blogs the Vice Presidential Debate

10:18 Let me follow Ryan’s pro-life reasoning here.
1. My firstborn child looked like a bean on ultrasound in the womb.
2. After my firstborn child was born, we nicknamed them “bean”
3. Beans are human beings
4. Therefore I am against abortion.

10:19 Question: can somebody get a photograph of Paul Ryan eating beans? And then arrest him for murder?

Descartes, Revisted: Cogitans, Extended

The huge mistake Descartes made – and for which we are all still paying – is to conflate mass with extension. We know today that mass is not extension – we think of mass and extension as two different things, and that matter has both properties. They overlap so seamlessly – everything with mass has extension, and the only things we really can sense has mass – that we can forgive Descartes for missing that there are things in this world that have extension but not mass.