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The 2017 Minds Online Conference Program is here!

The editors of the Brains Blog, together with the Departments of Philosophy at Florida State University and the University of Houston, are pleased to announce the program for the third annual Minds Online conference.



The conference will comprise three weeklong sessions in September 2017. You will find that each session has a keynote and a few contributed papers — each contributed paper with its own invited commenters. Typically, a brief video introduction will accompany each paper. As always, comments will be open to the public once the invited commentaries have been posted. And commenting will close at the end of each session so that our participants’ attention is always on the current session.

September 11-15 

KEYNOTE: Helen De Cruz (Oxford Brookes)
Contributed Papers:

“The Dark Side of Morality: Group Polarization and Moral-Belief Formation”, by Marcus Arvan (Tampa)

Commentators: Michael Bishop (Florida State), Hrishikesh Joshi (Princeton)

“The Mental Affordance Hypothesis”, by Tom McClelland (Warwick)

Commentators: Derek Jones (Evansville), Julian Kiverstein (Amsterdam), Carlos Muñoz-Suárez (Barcelona)

“Water is and is not H2O”, by Kevin Tobia (Yale), George Newman (Yale), and Joshua Knobe (Yale)

Commentators:  Jussi Haukioja (Norwegian University), Dan Weiskopf (Georgia State)

September 18-22

KEYNOTE: Bertram Gawronski (Texas, Austin)
Contributed Papers:

“Remembering as a mental action”, by Santiago Arango-Muñoz (Antioquia), Juan Pablo Bermúdez (Externado de Colombia)

Commentators: Felipe De Brigard (Duke), Kourken Michaelian (Otago)

“The Good of Boredom”, by Andreas Elpidorou (Louisville)

Commentators: Zachary Irving (Virginia), Jennifer Windt (Monash)

“The Unity of Moral Attitudes”, by Derek Shiller

Commentators: Derek Baker (Lingnan), Tristram McPherson (Ohio State) and David Faraci (Georgetown)

“Implicit Bias and the Unconscious”, by Ege Yumusak (Cambridge)

Commentators: Grace Helton (Princeton), Katherine Puddifoot (Birmingham)

September 25-29

KEYNOTE: Edouard Machery (Pittsburgh)
Contributed Papers:

“Two Varieties of Cognitive Penetration”, by Greyson Abid (UC Berkeley)

Commentators: Dimitria Gatzia (Akron), Athanasios Raftopoulos (Cyprus)

“Perceptual Precision”, by Adrienne Prettyman (Bryn Mawr)

Commentators: Alison Springle (Pittsburgh), Christopher Hill (Brown)

“Attention and Encapsulation”, by Jake Quilty-Dunn (Oxford)

Commentators: Wayne Wu (Carnegie Mellon), EJ Green (MIT)





Thank you to everyone who will present, comment, and participate. And, of course, thank you to the many (many!) people reviewed submissions and agreed to comment on papers. We cannot do this without all of you!


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Posted in philosophy of brains.

CFP / CFR: Consciousness Research Network (CoRN) Meeting 2017

Consciousness Research Network (CoRN) Meeting 2017

November 3-5, 2017

National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan

The focus of the meeting is to connect researchers in the fields of philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science, medical science, biology, robotics and related disciplines in order to deepen our understanding of the nature of consciousness.

In the meeting, participants will be encouraged to discuss and develop new collaborations in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. We aim to establish this as an annual meeting to continually encourage international collaborations on consciousness research.

For more information, please visit:

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Zoltan Dienes (University of Sussex, UK)
  • Qiufang Fu (Chinese Academy of Science, China)
  • Jakob Hohwy (Monash University, Australia)
  • Allen Y. Houng (National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan)
  • Brown Hsieh (Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore)
  • Ryota Kanai (Araya, Inc., Japan)
  • Dae-Shik Kim (KAIST, Korea)
  • Yutaka Komura (Kyoto University, Japan)
  • Hakwan Lau (UCLA, USA, University of Hong Kong, HK)
  • Ying-Tung Lin (National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan)
  • Aleksandra Mroczko-Wąsowicz (National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan)
  • Masafumi Oizumi (Araya, Inc. Japan)
  • Clint Perry (Queen Mary, University of London)
  • Jun Tani (KAIST, Korea, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan)
  • Naotsugu Tsuchiya (Monash University, Australia)
  • Jennifer Windt (Monash University, Australia)
  • Karen Yan (National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan)
  • Masatoshi Yoshida (National Institute of Physiology, Japan)


Submissions of abstracts (not exceeding 500 words) are invited for oral and poster presentation. (There are only a very small number of speaking slots available. Please indicate whether you are aiming for a 20-30 min oral presentation or a poster presentation.) We welcome submissions of conceptual/theoretical and empirical work from a wide range of disciplines, including philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science, medical science, biology, robotics, as well as other relevant fields. The deadline for abstract submission is July 31, 2017.

Abstract submission:

About CoRN

Consciousness Research Network (CoRN) focuses on connecting researchers in the fields of philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science, medical science, biology, robotics and related disciplines in order to deepen our understanding of the nature of consciousness. CoRN seeks to facilitate collaboration on interdisciplinary projects, research and activities.

Affiliated Organizations:

  • Consciousness Club Tokyo (Organizer: Ryota Kanai)​
  • Consciousness Research Group (Director: Allen Y. Houng)
  • Initiative Group for Consciousness Studies in Japan (Director: Naotsugu Tsuchiya)​
  • Institute of Philosophy of Mind and Cognition, National Yang Ming University (Director: Wen-Fang Wang)

If you are unfortunately unable to attend the meeting, please sign up and stay in the loop:

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Posted in philosophy of brains.

Disrupted sleep could increase the risk of dementia, studies suggest 

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Posted in Telegraph Science.

Ori’s robotic furniture zooms across apartment

A robotics start-up creates voice-controlled furniture that moves to maximise space in small flats.

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Posted in BBC Sci Tech.

Bermuda shipwreck digitally recreated by divers

The seas around Bermuda have more shipwrecks per mile than any other place on Earth.

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Posted in BBC Sci Tech.

Neural stem cells steered by electric fields can repair brain damage

Electrical stimulation of the rat brain to move neural stem cells (credit: Jun-Feng Feng et al./ Stem Cell Reports)

Electric fields can be used to guide transplanted human neural stem cells — cells that can develop into various brain tissues — to repair brain damage in specific areas of the brain, scientists at the University of California, Davis have discovered.

It’s well known that electric fields can locally guide wound healing. Damaged tissues generate weak electric fields, and research by UC Davis Professor Min Zhao at the School of Medicine’s Institute for Regenerative Cures has previously shown how these electric fields can attract cells into wounds to heal them.

But the problem is that neural stem cells are naturally only found deep in the brain — in the hippocampus and the subventricular zone. To repair damage to the outer layers of the brain (the cortex), they would have to migrate a significant distance in the much larger human brain.

Migrating neural stem cells with electric fields. (Left) Transplanted human neural stem cells would normally be carried along by the the rostral migration stream (RMS) (red) toward the olfactory bulb (OB) (dark green, migration direction indicated by white arrow). (Right) But electrically guiding migration of the transplanted human neural stem cells reverses the flow toward the subventricular zone (bright green, migration direction indicated by red arrow). (credit: Jun-Feng Feng et al. (adapted by KurzweilAI/ StemCellReports)

Could electric fields be used to help the stem cells migrate that distance? To find out, the researchers placed human neural stem cells in the rostral migration stream (a pathway in the rat brain that carries cells toward the olfactory bulb, which governs the animal’s sense of smell). Cells move easily along this pathway because they are carried by the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, guided by chemical signals.

But by applying an electric field within the rat’s brain, the researchers found they could get the transplanted stem cells to reverse direction and swim “upstream” against the fluid flow. Once arrived, the transplanted stem cells stayed in their new locations weeks or months after treatment, and with indications of differentiation (forming into different types of neural cells).

“Electrical mobilization and guidance of stem cells in the brain provides a potential approach to facilitate stem cell therapies for brain diseases, stroke and injuries,” Zhao concluded.

But it will take future investigation to see if electrical stimulation can mobilize and guide migration of neural stem cells in diseased or injured human brains, the researchers note.

The research was published July 11 in the journal Stem Cell Reports.

Additional authors on the paper are at Ren Ji Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Shanghai Institute of Head Trauma in China and at Aaken Laboratories, Davis. The work was supported by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine with additional support from NIH, NSF, and Research to Prevent Blindness Inc.

Abstract of Electrical Guidance of Human Stem Cells in the Rat Brain

Limited migration of neural stem cells in adult brain is a roadblock for the use of stem cell therapies to treat brain diseases and injuries. Here, we report a strategy that mobilizes and guides migration of stem cells in the brain in vivo. We developed a safe stimulation paradigm to deliver directional currents in the brain. Tracking cells expressing GFP demonstrated electrical mobilization and guidance of migration of human neural stem cells, even against co-existing intrinsic cues in the rostral migration stream. Transplanted cells were observed at 3 weeks and 4 months after stimulation in areas guided by the stimulation currents, and with indications of differentiation. Electrical stimulation thus may provide a potential approach to facilitate brain stem cell therapies.

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Posted in kurzweilai.

Afghan female robotics team land in US

An Afghan all-girl robotics team who were initially denied visas arrive in the US for a competition.

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Posted in BBC Sci Tech.

Telescopes to reach nine billion light years away

New radio telescopes far more powerful than any used before aim to shed light on extra terrestrial activity.

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Posted in BBC Sci Tech.

T Rex could not have outrun a speedy human, scientists conclude 

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Posted in Telegraph Science.

‘Cyber-insurance cost to double’

Inga Beale says the threat of cyber-attacks is ‘really alive for businesses’

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Posted in BBC Sci Tech.