Tuesday, 26 June 2007

What's In A Name?

What is a "cognitive blindspot" you might ask? There's no Wikipedia entry on it, and that surprised me I have to admit. If you search in Google for the exact phrase (like here) then we are now the top result for that, which is kind of nice (until you notice that there are only 38 hits in total), but if you just search more generally it does come up more (we're still in the top ten though, which is pretty good for over 100,000 hits).

I first came across the term when I was studying Philosophy of Mind as an undergraduate, and my professor explained it as something that is beyond your comprehension in some sense. Say that there is an object that exists inside the collective cognitive blindspot, for argument's sake let it be a big pink cube that just hovers in the sky above London. Because it is in a cognitive blindspot you cannot perceive it with any of your senses, and to all intents and purposes for you it does not exist even though in objective reality it does.

(one similar idea that I think draws a nice parallel is the concept in Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex of someone having their eyes hacked; in this case they are aware that their is someone there but they cannot see them - the person is not invisible but the information of their location is removed from the viewer's optic nerve or brain)

So why did we choose this name for our blog? In the end, after some deliberation it seemed like the best thing we could come up with. We tried so many different names, but they were all taken. At first we just wanted a name that was going to be relatively easy to remember, and the name of the band that we were briefly in during high school ("Nocturnal Emission") seemed like a good enough name but it was already taken.

Then we decided to go along some kind of pop culture route, and for a time we tried several variations all involving Chewbacca, but nothing seemed to stick. Finally I remembered this concept that my philosophy professor had mentioned and had really made an impression on me. There are many things that people choose to ignore, an abundance of selective cognitive blindspots, and I think that we all have a duty to try and highlight those things that others are missing or choosing to deny.

And sometimes we just need to talk about rubbish as well, which is this blog's other function. I'll probably start doing that in my next post.

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