Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
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Editor's note: This report contains accounts of rape, violence and other disturbing events.

Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice.

Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to, on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon.

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Where Did We Go Wrong?

Jun 14, 2013

This text is adapted from Alva's book Out of Our Heads.


Who, or what, is conscious? How can we decide? Where in nature do we find consciousness? This can seem like the hardest problem in this whole field: the question of the consciousness of others. I am aware. So are you. We think, we feel, the world shows up for us. But what about an ant, or a snail, or a paramecium? What about a well-engineered robot? Could it be conscious? Is there a way of telling, for sure?

The start of almost all reflection on this problem is the idea that our knowledge of how others think and feel, indeed, our knowledge that they think and feel and are not mere automata, is based on what we can see and hear and measure. We observe behavior, or, as in the case of patients with persistent vegetative state or locked-in syndrome, we measure neural activity. It can seem, then, that the closest we can come to knowing other minds, in a theoretically respectable way, is having some account according to which behavior and neural activity provide reliable criteria of a person's psychological state.

But this is really to concede that we don't have knowledge of other minds, at least not in a respectable way. For observations of behavior (what people say and do) and measurements of neural activity, don't yield knowledge of other minds. Surely this is an important lesson from persistent vegetative states and locked-in syndrome. Mere behavior is at best an unreliable guide to how things are for a person. And moreover, we really don't understand the connection between neural activity and experience any way.

Would the results of a brain scan ever convince us that our daughter was no longer a living person, especially when she continues to appear to respond to us, to our words, sounds, touch? If what people say and do, and measurements of what their brain is doing, are the best we have to go on, then it would seem that our commitment to the minds of others is epistemically ungrounded, a mere act of faith.

There is another piece of the puzzle about our knowledge of other minds. It is this: No sane person can take seriously the suggestion that our knowledge of other minds is merely hypothetical. However weak our evidence that others have minds may be, it is plainly outrageous to suggest that we might, for this reason, give up our commitment to the minds of others. That my friends and children and parents are thinking, feeling beings, that a world shows up for them, that they are not mere automata, is something that only insanity could ever allow one to question.

So we face a paradox: Although we lack sufficient reason to believe in the minds of others, it would be plainly unreasonable for us to give up this commitment.

Paradox is a dead giveaway that we've made a mistake in our thinking somewhere along the line. There must be something amiss in the way we have framed the question at the outset.

Our challenge: Where did we go wrong?


You can keep up with more of what Alva Noë is thinking on Facebook and on Twitter: @alvanoe

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