Amalgamating ratings 
Although I haven't been following it closely, last year President Obama proposed rating universities using factors like affordability and graduation rates. TIME recently hacked together an example of how such a system might turn out for 2500 colleges and universities in the US.

The ranking is generated from just three components: graduation rate, percentage of students receiving Pell grants, and affordability (the inverse of cost).

The University at Albany comes in at a respectable 129th.

That showing depends on how the various factors are weighted, however, because UAlbany does not do as well given any of the components separately: 299th in graduation rates, 535th in Pell grants, and 277th in affordability.

The greater oddity is that none of these components indicate the quality of instruction offered by the institution. However, they might be as good a thing to base a decision on as alumni giving rates, which is a major component of the usual rankings.

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Omission 
Wikipedia has no entry for "homeostatic property cluster".

Up until just a moment ago, it did not even list it as a possible interpretation of the acronym HPC.

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*PC accounts 
In a just-published article, Manolo Martínez tries to modify the Homeostatic Property Cluster (HPC) account so as to accommodate polymorphic species.* I have two comments about the relation between his discussion and my own work.
Read More...

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D-cog reflux 
Leiter links to an interview with John Searle under the heading "The argument from vomit." Searle says:
I don't read much philosophy, it upsets me when I read the nonsense written by my contemporaries, the theory of extended mind makes me want to throw up...

When I was a visiting fellow at Pittsburgh, I gave a talk presenting what ultimately became the first part of my book on natural kinds. Jim Bogen came up afterwards to say that he very much liked the talk, except for my brief mention of distributed cognition as a natural kind. That part, he said, made him throw up a bit in his mouth.

Searle and Bogen are both esteemed elder philosophers who taught for many years in California (Searle at Berkeley, Bogen at Pitzer), but those facts alone are insufficient to explain the emetic power of the extended mind.

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Franceward 
I will be in Paris later this week for a workshop on causation and natural kinds.

The program looks great. I'm honored to be in that lineup, which includes some people I know and will be glad to see plus others which I don't know but will be glad to meet.

My talk will either be too ambitious or tiresomely obvious. Although it's prepared, I'm not sure which it will be yet! It draws connections between lots of other things I've written, and I'm curious to see what people think of it.

UPDATE: And now I am home. The workshop was great!

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