Early Career Speaker: Brian Fiala

We are pleased to announce that Brian Fiala, a postdoc at the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology program of Washington University in St. Louis, will be the early career speaker in our next workshop: Animated Objects in Make-Believe! Brian will give a talk entitled “Person-Perception and Puppets: Why It’s so Easy to See Inanimate Objects as Animated” on Thursday, May 15th, 2014, along with invited speakers James Hamilton and Louise Bunce.

You can find the abstract for each talk at the workshop page. Please register, especially if you are considering attending the workshop dinner.

We can’t wait to learn more about puppets and pretense!

For more information on how to apply to be an early career speaker at our other upcoming workshops, please see this call for abstracts.

Open Science Project of the Day

Everything about this “crowdstorming” research project is absolutely lovable:

In a standard scientific analysis, one analyst or team presents a single analysis of a data set. However, there are often a variety of defensible analytic strategies that could be used on the same data. Variation in those strategies could produce very different results.

In this project, we introduce the novel approach of “crowdstorming a dataset.” We hope to recruit multiple independent analysts to investigate the same research question on the same data set in whatever manner they see as best. This approach should be especially useful for complex data sets in which a variety of analytic approaches could be used, and when dealing with controversial issues about which researchers and others have very different priors. If everyone comes up with the same results, then scientists can speak with one voice. If not, the subjectivity and conditionality on analysis strategy is made transparent.

This first project establishes a protocol for independent simultaneous analysis of a single dataset by multiple teams, and resolution of the variation in analytic strategies and effect estimates among them. The research question for this first attempt at crowdsourcing is as follows:

Are soccer referees more likely to give red cards to dark skin toned players than light skin toned players?

Op-ed of the Day

Gary Marcus and Ernest Davis on the limitations of big data, in the New York Times:

Fourth, even when the results of a big data analysis aren’t intentionally gamed, they often turn out to be less robust than they initially seem. Consider Google Flu Trends, once the poster child for big data. In 2009, Google reported — to considerable fanfare — that by analyzing flu-related search queries, it had been able to detect the spread of the flu as accurately and more quickly than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A few years later, though, Google Flu Trends began to falter; for the last two years it has made more bad predictions than good ones.

See also the Language Log commentary. This quote stuck out to me:

Posts here on Language Log (especially those by Mark Liberman) have shown that over and over again, as any regular reader will know. 21st-century linguists would be deeply foolish to stick to typical 20th-century methodology: largely ignoring what occurs, and basing everything on personal intuitions of what sounds acceptable.

Some Experimental Philosophy CFPs

Readers might be interested in the following call for papers (in order of submission deadline, from nearest date):

The Moral Domain: Conceptual Issues in Moral Psychology
Conference Dates: Oct 09 – Oct 11
Submission Deadline: May 01
Location: Vilnius, Lithuania
More Information

5th Workshop of Experimental Philosophy Group UK
Conference Dates: Sep 11 – Sep 12
Submission Deadline: Jun 07
Location: Oxford, UK
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Buffalo Annual Experimental Philosophy Conference 2014
Conference Dates: Sep 19 – Sep 20
Submission Deadline: Jun 30
Location: Buffalo, USA
More Information

Design and Violence

MoMA has curated an exciting exhibit on Design and Violence. There is also an associated series of debates featuring a variety of perspectives, including philosophy (as I learned from Daily Nous).

This is the perfect excuse for me to post my favorite work at the intersection of design and violence, designer Stefan Sagmeister’s 1999 poster for AIGA Detroit.

Stefan Sagmeister's 1999 poster for AIGA Detroit

In Sagmeister’s own words:

For this lecture poster for the AIGA Detroit we tried to visualize the pain that seems to accompany most of our design projects. Our intern Martin cut all the type into my skin. Yes, it did hurt real bad.