On becoming a better researcher

"Only passions, great passions can elevate the soul to great things." - Denis Diderot, Pensées Philosophiques
I believe the ways we become better researchers only come through self-reflection and meditating upon the arguments and principles behind what we do - not the simple acts of doing those things themselves. What makes good work that we find satisfying, engaging, morally clear, and even effective for whatever purpose or value we put forward can only come as we contemplate and fully realize the effects of what we're doing.

History transcending science's boundaries

When I attended the 2019 meeting of the American Association of Advancement of Science, I couldn’t help but feel déjà vu. At my second AAAS conference, I found familiar faces among scientists and journalists. I also felt the conference’s theme “Science Transcending Boundaries” resonating with centuries-old writing that has remained relevant to this day. 

Guest post - "Aristotle and Fake News: Why understanding rhetoric illuminates credible arguments"

By Carolyn Haythorn
It’s hard for me to remember the time before the internet became such a pervasive part of daily life. I work online to earn money, watch Netflix to relax, scroll YouTube for advice on anything from personal finance to cooking, and read push notifications from my favorite news outlets to keep up-to-date. I’m part of the generation in which proper computer use was taught in school. Our digital literacy began with typing classes in grade school, then turned to learning about the dangers of Wikipedia in high school, and, by the time I was in college, people used the internet to write class papers more often than physical books in the library. 

But one area where I think our digital education was lacking is in determining how to spot a ‘credible’ source. 

"Governed by darkness," a poem about fear

It overwhelms me. It is everything.

Waking up, walking outside, working in this world,

waiting for time to pass,

Artificial intelligence re-defines reality and the self

Isaiah, you so silly.
Is this strong AI? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a human mind. No escape from reality.
When the Cold War brought the world's attention to revolutions in scientific research, artificial intelligence would shake our understanding of what separates a human from the rest of the world. Scientists and philosophers would draw from theories of mind and question the epistemic limits of what we can know about ourselves. Neurophysiologist and founder of machine learning Warren McCulloch described his cybernetic idealism in his 1965 book Embodiments of MindThis postwar scientific movement he founded with mathematician Norbert Wiener and anthropologist Gregory Bateson was a mix of science and culture at the time. Cybernetics, based on the Greek word kybernētikḗ, meaning "governance," was a collaboration between ideas from machine design, physiology, and philosophical ambition. Since its 1948 inception, it would create the language of science and technology we take for granted today. The advances in artificial intelligence brought upon by cybernetic idealism would continue to define how scientists and philosophers understand the world. 

The beauty of logic throughout history

Kurt Gödel
As I peruse through biographies of the lives of philosophers, scientists, mathematicians, and other researchers, I find myself fascinated. I wonder how their hometowns, education backgrounds, and people they've met throughout their lives influenced their success in their work. In investigating what it means to be a genius and what it takes to produce amazing work, I still wonder about how people interacted with scientist Albert Einstein, mathematician Bertrand Russell, logician Kurt Gödel, and philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and what they thought of their greatness. With the distance and objectivity I have as I read about these famous minds of history, I appreciate the way history becomes more of a gradient of many events that give rise to settings, culture, and ideas themselves.