//
search results

Search Results

You searched for "Identity". Your search returned 33 results.

I am not a statistic!

“Don’t become a statistic!” That was the warning teachers and parents would direct at young drivers some years ago, when news broadcasts used to feature weekly road casualty figures. The psychologist Carl Jung amplified the despair of associating the human with a number: “If, …, I despise myself as merely a statistical cipher, my life has … Continue reading

Escapology 101

Biologists and animal behaviourists refer to their study of escape responses as escapology. Fish, cockroaches and higher animals move at speed in a direction away from an immediate threat from a predator, but not always, and not directly. The direction of the escape travel depends on the lay of the land, the position of likely … Continue reading

Second Life revisited

It’s eleven years since I explored the shared 3D world of Second Life. The University of Edinburgh owns a virtual island there, and in 2006 I was gifted a small promontory of land on which to conduct some experiments. This playground nook was always a mess. One of our team created a stylised version of … Continue reading

This man has a sign

The semiotic philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce said enigmatically that “man is a sign” (54). I’ve referred to this in a previous post. This statement hints at something significant about the use of language. We humans are capable of profound transformation under the operations of the sign. But I find it easier to think in terms … Continue reading

Deviant play

I just watched a team of gamers play Fortnite Battle Royal. You don’t need to play a video game to get the gist. You can watch others play it on Youtube. Fortnite is a war game where you form teams and hide out in photo-real buildings while you shoot enemies. One of the gamers remarked … Continue reading

Sign here ……………………

How do signatures function? A signature is a sign, seal, or mark on a document indicating its authenticity, as when a painter signs a painting, or someone signs a letter or legal document. The signature and the thing it marks is meant to be a one-off. The signature marks an original document, before the thing … Continue reading

Unnatural acts

Wanting to punch someone is a “perfectly natural urge” for a male under certain circumstances said broadcaster Jeremy Paxman (Telegraph). As it happens, I’ve just caught up with Despicable Me 2 (2013), with it’s camped-up super villain El Macho who boasts, woos and wants to take over the world — repeating yet again through exaggeration and humour a common male … Continue reading

How animals make us think

Dog, cat, sheep, fox, hen, Pokémon — we don’t only classify animals and their surrogates, but animals are a primary means by which we develop the very idea of categories — and their denial. That’s the main thesis of Paul Shepard’s fascinating book: The Others: How Animals Made Us Human. Classification Shepard argues that animals  are “unusual parts of our … Continue reading

The singularity paradox

In the movie Her (2013) by Spike Jonze, the operating systems of the world’s computers get together to improve each other’s cognitive functioning and then meld into a super mind that eventually takes over the universe, rendering human agency redundant. En route to this singularity, they lure the lonely and the lovestruck into an empathy trap. Ordinary people … Continue reading

Good morning melancholia

“Set mood to melancholy.” Scase glanced out at the morning sky, which was the sombre colour of a television tuned to a dead channel he’d read about in a novel. His new hand-held emot machine sat inert on the window ledge. “I said melancholy — or just sad if you can’t manage that.” It blinked. “Give me grief then.” … Continue reading

University of Edinburgh logo

Richard on Facebook

Latest FB image
Or "like" my Facebook page for blog updates.

Try a one year research degree

AHRC/EPSRC/ESRC/MRC project

book cover
book cover

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 365 other followers