Photos of Phineas Gage

Phineas Gage is a staple example in debates about philosophy of personal identity and philosophy of mind.  In 1848, Gage survived an explosion that drove a 13-pound iron rod through his skull.  After months of convalescence, he was able to work again, though his personality was so sharply changed his former employer refused to re-hire him.  He died in 1860.

Through a series of coincidences on Flickr, the first-known photograph of Gage (posing with his tamping iron!) came to light last year.  This led to the revelation of a second photo a few weeks ago.  Enjoy!

Related articles:

Defining Physicalism
By Alyssa Ney, University of Rochester (July 2008)
Philosophy Compass

Think once for “yes” and twice for “no”

BBC News yesterday ran a terrifying article about scientists successfully communicating with people who are apparently in persistent vegetative states.

The idea is straightforward enough.  The scientists told an apparently non-responsive man to imagine playing tennis if he wanted to indicate “yes,” and to imagine walking empty streets if he wanted to indicate “no.”  They then scanned his brain while asking him questions, and read his answers off of the different patters of activity.  Using this technique, he was able to answer Continue reading “Think once for “yes” and twice for “no””