Archive for the ‘Vanity Insanity’ Category

i know, i totally did that on purpose

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Re: Mandik (2009) “Beware of the UnicornJournal of Consciousness Studies, Matt Hutson (@SilverJacket):

Mandik repeatedly refers to his Unicorn Argument as “the Unicorn,” creating sentences such as, “In sections 4 and 7, I examine and reject proposals that HORs and FORs may save themselves from the Unicorn by embracing the Direct Reference hypothesis (DR).”

The Unicorn is coming! Save yourself!


Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Ruthlessly reductionistic John Bickle has the website up for Churchlandpalooza, AKA the University of Cincinnati 44th Annual Philosophy Colloquium: The Churchlands (May 15-17, 2008). The website has links to abstracts of the talks and photographic evidence that I may have the largest head in all of neurophilosophy.

The Perils of AutoGoogling

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Normally I’d think an article that satisfied the search string “zombie +computers +Mandik” would be a good thing. Google yourself too much, and this is what you get. From “Zombie Pfizer Computers Spew Viagra Spam“:

Pfizer’s computers appear to have been infected with malware that has transformed them into zombie computers sending spam at the behest of a hacker. Oddly enough, they are spamming the public’s inboxes with ads for the company’s own product.
Much of the spam originating from Pfizer’s machines pretends to be sent from Gmail accounts, says Wesson. Products hocked include penis-enlargement products with the names “Mandik” and “Manster,” as well as pharmaceuticals like Viagra, the sleep drug Ambien and the sedative Valium. The spam also includes ads for Cialis, a Viagra competitor made by Eli Lilly.

I’m changing my name to “Manster”.

Top Ten Brain Hammer Posts of 2007

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

10. Are there any non-question-begging arguments for externalism?

9. Crushing Puppies, Superman

8. Introducing PhiLOLsophers

7. Sellars’ Jonesing a Clark-Chalmers’ Otto

6. Mr. Freeze, the Iced-Time Demon

5. Just the Phacts, Ma’am.

4. The Philosophy and Neuroscience Movement

3. Why Brains?

2. Your Brain is Reading This

1. The Mental, the Epistemic, and the Normative

Conspiracy Theories: Special Issue: EPISTEME

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Volume 4, issue 2, a special issue of EPISTEME: Journal of Social Epistemology on Conspiracy Theories is now available.
Guest Editor: David Coady

Contents and Abstracts available at:

Journal website:

Included is the following:

Mandik, Pete. Shit Happens

Abstract: In this paper I embrace what Brian Keeley calls in “Of Conspiracy Theories” the absurdist horn of the dilemma for philosophers who criticize such theories. I thus defend the view that there is indeed something deeply epistemically wrong with conspiracy theorizing. My complaint is that conspiracy theories apply intentional explanations to situations that give rise to special problems concerning the elimination of competing intentional explanations.

Embodiment in Consciousness and Realism

Friday, August 24th, 2007

Two newish papers on embodiment caught my eye whilst auto-googling the other day.

Jesse Prinz, in his “Is Consciousness Embodied?“, discusses, among other things, my “Qualia, Space, and Control“. Do motor outputs play constitutive roles in the contents of conscious experiences? To put things very simply: Mandik says “yes”, Prinz says “no”.

Tony Chemero, in his “Toward a Situated, Embodied Realism“, discusses, among other things, a paper I wrote with Andy Clark, “Selective Representing and World Making“. Is realism consistent with embodied approaches to cognition? To put things very simply: Mandik and Clark say “yes, definitely” and Chemero, who used to say “no” now seems to say “yes, sorta”.


The Unicorn Hits the Road

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

Everybody Hates My Unicorn

Originally uploaded by Pete Mandik.

The Brain Hammer will be resting in its tool box for the rest of the week as I travel to the Atlanta meeting of the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology. I’ll be presenting “Beware of the Unicorn: Consciousness as Being Represented and Other Things that Do Not Exist” in the invited symposium, “Intentionality and Phenomenal Representation,” with Chris Gauker and John Tienson.

If you won’t be an Atlanta, there’s a draft here and a synopsis here.

Fred Adams is a Mammal

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

Taken completely out of context, this Ken Aizawa comment regarding the localization and multiple realization of cognitive functions is somewhat amusing:

Consider my friend Fred Adams, who has red hair.

I claim “Fred is a mammal” does not entail “Fred has red hair”.

In other news, Fred Adams has written a very nice review of Andrew Brook and Kathleen Akins (eds.), Cognition and the Brain: The Philosophy and Neuroscience Movement, over at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

Vanity compels my quoting Fred on my chapter, “Action-Oriented Representation“:

Pete Mandik also recounts the enactivists’ views of perception, as against the representational theory. Enactivists, such as O’Regan and Noe, postulate that perception is the product of sensori-motor knowledge (289). Mandik explains why this is a threat to the representationalists (290). Perception is underdetermined by sensory inputs and has to be supplemented by sensori-motor outputs. Mandik argues that even perception based essentially in part on efference copy information is consistent with the representational theory of perception (292-3). Imperative representational content can figure in determining the sensory input content of a perceptual representation. Mandik shows that his account is implementable in a robot, consistent with evolutionary cognitive models, (296-7) and instantiated in human vision (299).

Take that, enactivists!

A Book, a Chapter, and Two Bald Heads

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

A book I co-authored, Cognitive Science: An Introduction to the Mind and Brain, is out now. [Link to Routledge's page for the book.] If you have a mind and/or a brain, but have not yet been introduced to them, this may be the book for you.

Also out now is The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. With a title like that, you can probably guess it was published by Blackwell. [Link to guess-who's page for the book.] If you are conscious and in need of a companion, this may be the book for you. This book contains many excellent chapters by many excellent people. It also contains a chapter by me: “The Neurophilosophy of Consciousness.” [Link to draft of my chapter.] Here’s the abstract:

The neurophilosophy of consciousness brings neuroscience to bear on philosophical issues concerning phenomenal consciousness, especially issues concerning what makes mental states conscious, what it is that we are conscious of, and the nature of the phenomenal character of conscious states. Here attention is given largely to phenomenal consciousness as it arises in vision. The relevant neuroscience concerns not only neurophysiological and neuroanatomical data, but also computational models of neural networks. The neurophilosophical theories that bring such data to bear on the core philosophical issues of phenomenal conscious construe consciousness largely in terms of representations in neural networks associated with certain processes of attention and memory.

Regarding the books, both volumes bear handsome cover illustrations of bald heads. Until someone figures out a better way to draw a picture of the mind, we are going to be stuck with bald heads.


Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

I was interviewed a few years back for a documentary on robots that will be screened Thursday, Sept. 28 in Hoboken, NJ. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m thinkin’ “Oscar”.

From the press release:

HOBOKEN, NJ–The next film screened by the Hoboken Film Society will be the documentary “UnWound” on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2006 at 8 pm at Symposia Bookstore, 510 Washington Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030.

“UnWound,” from producer/director Jeff Cioletti, explores the world of toy robots, beginning with the earliest Japanese scrap-metal pieces from the 1940s. It tracks more than six decades of history, including the modern-day remote-controlled battling robot craze. Old favorites such as Machine Man, Mr. Machine and Rock Em Sock Em Robots make appearances, as do toys based on TV and movie characters from the 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. (Yes, good friends such as Robby from “Forbidden Planet,” Robot from “Lost in Space” and Star Wars legends R2-D2 and C-3PO feature prominently). The film incorporates insight from writers, collectors and academics, as well as a visit to Pennsylvania’s Toy Robot Museum, home to more than 3,500 pieces.

But the centerpiece of the film is a suspenseful toy auction in which a man anxiously waits for his childhood toy to go on the block. Items from what’s known as the “Golden Age” of space toys tend to fetch eye-popping sums when they go under the gavel.