624 posts tagged with Philosophy.
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The free development of each is the condition of the war against all

Some Paths to the True Knowledge[*] - "Attention conservation notice: A 5000+ word attempt to provide real ancestors and support for an imaginary ideology I don't actually accept, drawing on fields in which I am in no way an expert. Contains long quotations from even-longer-dead writers, reckless extrapolation from arcane scientific theories, and an unwarranted tone of patiently explaining harsh, basic truths. Altogether, academic in one of the worst senses. Also, spoilers for several of MacLeod's novels, notably but not just The Cassini Division. Written for, and cross-posted to, Crooked Timber's seminar on MacLeod, where I will not be reading the comments."
posted by kliuless on May 19, 2015 - 12 comments

An Interview with T. M. Scanlon

Yascha Mounk at the utopian conducts An Interview with T.M. Scanlon: I: Free Will, Punishment and The Significance of Choice
The Utopian: One of philosophy’s oldest worries is causal determinism: the fear that, if what we do and think is determined by physical processes beyond our control, then we should abandon moral categories like praise and blame and choice. But I take it that you’re less worried about that than many of your colleagues? Tim Scanlon: I think there are three ways in which this problem arises – the problem being the possibility that a causal explanation of a reaction we give would undermine its significance in one way or another.
T.M. (Tim) Scanlon is Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy, and Civil Polity at Harvard, a moral philosopher, expert in contractualism, and the author of What We Owe To Each Other [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 22, 2015 - 6 comments

Revisiting the Spandrels of San Marco: an interview

The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme” was written by Harvard biologists Stephen Jay Gould and Richard C. Lewontin and published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London in 1979. Their critique of their own field of evolutionary biology spilled out of the Ivory Tower onto the pages of general intellectual forums such as the New York Review of Books. I talked by phone with Lewontin on March 2 2015. In his mid-eighties, he is still scientifically active and could recall his collaboration with Gould in detail. Our conversation is highly relevant to the “Just so story” critique that is frequently leveled against Evolutionary Psychology.
posted by sciatrix on Apr 20, 2015 - 15 comments

The golden ratio has spawned a beautiful new curve: the Harriss spiral

is a new fractal discovered by mathematician Edmund Harriss.
posted by boo_radley on Apr 18, 2015 - 29 comments

One man's "cogito" is another's "white mask"

"In short, it seems that when a white male thinks about the meaning of things, any things, it is philosophy..." (SLTheGuardian)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Mar 26, 2015 - 96 comments

People Who Live Forever: Indiana Jones’ Father, The Narrator in Borges’

TODD MAY
[PHILOSOPHER]
“In the seminar on death that I taught, there were moments where we were talking about death, and the class would just go quiet, because it was clear it was there in front of us… there wasn't really anything to say at that moment, because each of us just has to look." [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 13, 2015 - 34 comments

My Father, the Philosopher

Emily Adler remembers her father:
If your father is a philosopher, then you should expect to lose many arguments. You will never lose “because life isn’t fair,” or because your dad “says so.” You will always lose on strict logical grounds… If your father is a philosopher, your premises must support your conclusion. Then, maybe once or twice in a childhood filled with lost arguments, you will win. When you win, you win big.

posted by anotherpanacea on Mar 5, 2015 - 24 comments

The Book of Life

After a year, The Philosophers' Mail (previously) has concluded its project. But fret not: it has been succeeded by The Book of Life, a continuously updated online book that "aims to be the curation of the best and most helpful ideas in the area of emotional life."
posted by jedicus on Mar 1, 2015 - 4 comments

Open Mind - a philosophy and cognitive science resource

Open Mind - "This is a website with numerous peer-reviewed philosophical texts covering a wide range of topics and disciplines that are available for free. This means that the texts are not restricted to the use of academics and students in the developed world who can afford to download them, but are available to anyone, anywhere." [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Feb 15, 2015 - 9 comments

The Man Who Tried to Redeem the World with Logic

Walter Pitts rose from the streets to MIT, but couldn’t escape himself. Pitts was used to being bullied. He’d been born into a tough family in Prohibition-era Detroit, where his father, a boiler-maker, had no trouble raising his fists to get his way. The neighborhood boys weren’t much better. One afternoon in 1935, they chased him through the streets until he ducked into the local library to hide. The library was familiar ground, where he had taught himself Greek, Latin, logic, and mathematics—better than home, where his father insisted he drop out of school and go to work. Outside, the world was messy. Inside, it all made sense. [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Feb 10, 2015 - 24 comments

The Gym Teachers Of Academia

"Philosophy of science is about as useful to science as ornithology is to birds." This is the reported judgment, by the Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman, on my lifelong profession.
Michael Ruse, noted atheist and philosopher, 'stands up for the philosophy of science.'
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 5, 2015 - 75 comments

A History of Ideas

A History of Ideas, animated, on YouTube. Philosophical concepts in under 2 minutes from the BBC Radio 4 programme | A History of Ideas, animated, on BBC Radio | All episodes, both animated and podcasts on BBC, downloadable. Narrated by Gillian Anderson and others. A fresh take on the History of Ideas as big subjects like beauty, freedom, technology and morality get dissected by a team of thinkers.
posted by nickyskye on Feb 2, 2015 - 5 comments

What's Wrong With 'All Lives Matter'?

When we are taking about racism, and anti-black racism in the United States, we have to remember that under slavery black lives were considered only a fraction of a human life, so the prevailing way of valuing lives assumed that some lives mattered more, were more human, more worthy, more deserving of life and freedom, where freedom meant minimally the freedom to move and thrive without being subjected to coercive force. But when and where did black lives ever really get free of coercive force? One reason the chant "Black Lives Matter" is so important is that it states the obvious but the obvious has not yet been historically realized. So it is a statement of outrage and a demand for equality, for the right to live free of constraint, but also a chant that links the history of slavery, of debt peonage, segregation, and a prison system geared toward the containment, neutralization and degradation of black lives, but also a police system that more and more easily and often can take away a black life in a flash all because some officer perceives a threat.
George Yancy interviews Judith Butler for NYT: What's Wrong With 'All Lives Matter'? [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jan 13, 2015 - 24 comments

Indifference is a power

Why Stoicism is one of the best mind-hacks ever. "As legions of warriors and prisoners can attest, Stoicism is not grim resolve but a way to wrest happiness from adversity." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jan 2, 2015 - 70 comments

3 Quarks Daily Philosophy Prize Finalists 2014

3QD's 2014 finalists for best blog posts on philosophical topics: Should animal products have ethical warning labels? Why is scientific uncertainty a moral responsibility [see last 4 mins.]? Should people choose probabilistically among competing moral theories? What are some bad ways of arguing about free will? Are most of us just not good enough to be utilitarians? Are volunteer soldiers morally responsible for unjust wars? Do P2P networks provide a model for something to do with consciousness, reality, and, yep, quantum mechanics? When are delusions good for us (see also)? What's up with philosophical systems that knock themselves down, e.g. Nāgārjuna's, Nietzsche's, and Rorty's? There's also an archive page for older prizes and other categories (previously).
posted by Monsieur Caution on Dec 1, 2014 - 35 comments

Truth is harder to tell than a lie

The habitual liar may be a very honest fellow, and live truly with his wife and friends; while another man who never told a formal falsehood in his life may yet be himself one lie-heart and face, from top to bottom. This is the kind of lie which poisons intimacy. And, vice versa, veracity to sentiment, truth in a relation, truth to your own heart and your friends, never to feign or falsify emotion—that is the truth which makes love possible and mankind happy. Robert Louis Stevenson on truth and writing.
posted by shivohum on Nov 30, 2014 - 5 comments

One of the oldest questions we have about ourselves.

Personhood Week: Why We’re So Obsessed with Persons, by Virginia Hughes (@virginiahughes), National Geographic:
"People have been trying to define personhood for a long time, maybe since the beginning of people. The first recorded attempt came from Boethius, a philosopher from 6th-Century Rome, who said a person was 'an individual substance of rational nature.' Fast-forward a thousand years and Locke says it's about rationality, self-awareness, and memory. Kant adds that humans have 'dignity,' an intrinsic ability to freely choose. In 1978, Daniel Dennett says it's intelligence, self-awareness, language, and being 'conscious in some special way' that other animals aren't. The next year Joseph Fletcher lays out 15 criteria (!), including a sense of futurity, concern for others, curiosity, and even IQ."
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Nov 21, 2014 - 10 comments

Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist?

In a wide-ranging discussion about democracy, capitalism, and the American body politic; Chris Hedges interviews political theorist Sheldon Wolin in eight parts. (via) (previously) [more inside]
posted by AElfwine Evenstar on Nov 11, 2014 - 38 comments

The observer at the end of time: Of immortal watchers and imaginary data

In a Multiverse, What Are the Odds? "Testing the multiverse hypothesis requires measuring whether our universe is statistically typical among the infinite variety of universes. But infinity does a number on statistics." (previously) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 9, 2014 - 47 comments

Everything not saved will be lost

Here are some recent thoughts of mine: I am playing too much Destiny. Also, games might be an expression of the futility of the human condition. [more inside]
posted by Sebmojo on Nov 8, 2014 - 11 comments

The fault is not in our stars, but in our bladders

The Philosophical Implications of the Urge to Urinate: Our Sense Of Free Will Diminishes When We Need To Pee Or Desire Sex.
posted by homunculus on Nov 5, 2014 - 33 comments

“We’re all smart. Distinguish yourself by being kind.”

Philosopher Brian Leiter announced that he will be stepping down as editor of the Philosophical Gourmet Report, a highly influential reputational ranking of philosophy Ph.D. programs he created in 1989 while he was a graduate student, and which has been published on the Internet since 1996. [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Oct 17, 2014 - 74 comments

The Troller System

Here's the last ideo-political-philosophico-temperamental spectrum chart you'll ever need.
posted by Iridic on Oct 17, 2014 - 30 comments

This exhibition... has ushered ecstatic experience back into the world.

Thrown by Kerry Howley chronicles the author's exploits as a philosophy grad student turned devoted follower of a succession of MMA fighters; the connection is less odd than it sounds. The Paris Review has an excerpt from the book (parts one and two), detailing the weigh-in process for fighter Erik Koch before his victory over Cisco Rivera in 2010 in Las Vegas. At Salon, Lydia Kiesling writes that Thrown recalls the best of literary fiction: The nearly hysterical circumlocutory gymnastics of the narrator, and her dual position as a predator and supplicant to her fighters, reminded me of nothing so much as Humbert Humbert, with immense cauliflower-eared men in the startling role of Lolita. More reviews of Thrown at Time (paywalled) and Oxford American.
posted by Cash4Lead on Oct 17, 2014 - 5 comments

Philosophical science fiction - suggested reading lists

A collection of philosophical science/speculative fiction reading lists, (with decent amount of short fiction and some media thrown in) with short "why you should read this " blurbs. The suggestions are made by professional philosophers and philosophy-trained SF writers, and curated by Eric Schwitzgebel, Professor of Philosophy at UC Riverside. Part 2, Part 3 With more suggestions promised to come. (Previously, a course on Science Fiction and Political Science , previouslier - curated lists of anarchist and socialist science fiction
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Oct 8, 2014 - 21 comments

Some Essays on Heidegger's Black Notebooks

Heidegger in Black. The King is Dead: Heidegger's Black Notebooks. Heidegger's Black Notebooks: Extreme Silencing. Release of Heidegger’s ‘Black Notebooks’ Reignites Debate Over Nazi Ideology. Is Heidegger Contaminated by Nazism?
posted by Sticherbeast on Oct 2, 2014 - 42 comments

"something like a sense of despair often took hold of me"

The Colour of Our Shame: 3 AM Magazine interviews Chris Lebron [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 29, 2014 - 3 comments

The human being is very often not profitable from the system’s POV

According to the philosopher Anselm Jappe, who has come to Lisbon to give a talk at the Teatro Maria Matos, in capitalism we are defined by our relation to labor. But the system is a “house of cards that is beginning to collapse”. It is time to rethink the concept of labor.
posted by a_curious_koala on Sep 28, 2014 - 67 comments

The Social Construction of Money (Wealth/Capital in the 21st Century)*

The political economy of a universal basic income: "your view of what is feasible should not be backwards looking. The normalization of gay marriage and legalization of marijuana seemed utopian and politically impossible until very recently. Yet in fact those developments are happening, and their expansion is almost inevitable given the demographics of ideology... UBI — defined precisely as periodic transfers of identical fixed dollar amounts to all citizens of the polity — is by far the most probable and politically achievable among policies that might effectively address problems of inequality, socioeconomic fragmentation, and economic stagnation." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 19, 2014 - 62 comments

In an Orderly Fashion

Reading Pathways: suggestions for where to start in on the works of Austen, Murakami, Asimov, Munro, Bray, Bradbury, Morrison, Forster, Atwood, and others. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Sep 8, 2014 - 36 comments

Of Kant and many other things

The Enlightenment’s ‘Race’ Problem, and Ours. Why have we chosen to go with Hume and Kant, rather than with the pre-racial conception of humanity?
posted by infini on Sep 6, 2014 - 53 comments

If we're not in pain, we're not alive

You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?
Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website], the long-delayed "sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 25, 2014 - 84 comments

there's nothing that is scientifically proven

(A theoretical physicist explains why) Science Is Not About Certainty [more inside]
posted by flex on Aug 5, 2014 - 33 comments

You want to go and slay all the false statements in the world

This Letter to a Young Haskell Enthusiast is mostly not about Haskell, or about programming, but about being a good person in an online community.
posted by swift on Aug 1, 2014 - 40 comments

Living Books About Life

"... a series of curated, open access books about life — with life understood both philosophically and biologically — which provide a bridge between the humanities and the sciences." Although they offer "frozen PDFs," these books—on topics like biosemiotics, animal experience, and air—are curated collections of links to open access science articles, reviews, interviews, podcasts, sometimes with embedded sounds and videos. They have ISBN numbers and editors vetted by the Open Humanities Press, which is generally a gold mine of interesting books and journals. They feel perfectly at home on the open internet, evoking hope and nostalgia for a flourishing academic world wide web, without paywalls and login screens. [more inside]
posted by mbrock on Jul 29, 2014 - 7 comments

The truth is stranger than fiction

From behind the New Yorker's temporarily removed paywall, a postmodern murder mystery from Poland in 2007.
posted by ellieBOA on Jul 25, 2014 - 10 comments

the three-day workweek

Carlos Slim calls for a three-day working week "We've got it all wrong, says Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecoms tycoon and world's second-richest man: we should be working only three days a week." also btw: The four-day work week (previously)
posted by kliuless on Jul 21, 2014 - 84 comments

Democratic Theory and Mass Incaceration

The new issue of the journal The Good Society is about "Democratic Theory and Mass Incaceration." All articles are available online.

From the Introduction: The United States is the “world champion” in incarceration, to borrow Nils Christie's words, and United Kingdom jurisdictions, though some distance behind, are persistently among the European countries with the highest per capita rates of imprisonment [...] This symposium of the Good Society seeks to catalyze an engaged, multi-disciplinary discussion among philosophers, political theorists, and theoretically inclined criminologists on how contemporary democratic theory might help us think beyond mass incarceration. Rather than viewing punishment as a natural reaction to crime, and imprisonment as a sensible outgrowth of this reaction, we will frame these as institutions with deep implications for contemporary civic identity, which present unmet demands for public oversight and reflective democratic influence.

The rest of the issue can be read online here. [via mefi projects]
posted by OmieWise on Jul 16, 2014 - 9 comments

Mysteries that will not collapse into solutions

Tao Lin became very interested in Terence McKenna over the past two years, and now he's writing a weekly column about the man and his ideas for Vice. Part I: Beyond "Existentialism". Part II: Terence McKenna's Memes, featuring 30 of Lin's favorite memes propagated by the philosopher-explorer, touching upon entheogens, consciousness, evolution, belief, language, the internet, and mankind's search for meaning. If you have time on your hands, here's over ten uninterrupted hours of McKenna as referenced in the first column.
posted by naju on Jul 15, 2014 - 14 comments

A less intellectually lazy atheism?

Atheist bashing or tough love? A thought-provoking review by Michael Robbins of Nick Spencer's new book on the history of atheism in Slate magazine. It reads like an autopsy of the recently murdered religious/atheist dialogue, with the "intellectually lazy" new atheism atop the list of suspects. [more inside]
posted by cross_impact on Jul 9, 2014 - 369 comments

Utility, welfare, and efficiency

  1. Welfare economics: an introduction
  2. The perils of Potential Pareto
  3. Inequality, production, and technology
  4. Welfare theorems, distribution priority, and market clearing
  5. Normative is performative, not positive

posted by kliuless on Jul 7, 2014 - 7 comments

The geese are all facing in angles

Pianist Jeremy Denk has been living in a state of emergency. Instead of consulting a professional, I have come up with a three step solution. Recalibrating my life solution. The first step is to ignore all existing emergencies. Now, this—I can already hear you saying it—can’t last, this is not a workable solution. It sounds in fact like the opposite of a solution. Patience! Wait till you hear my next two steps. Step two—the real genius hinge of the whole thing—is then, in the absence of all emergencies, in the vast plain of false calm left after the tyrannical banishment of all the old emergencies, to choose to treat the smallest things as emergencies.
posted by shivohum on Jul 6, 2014 - 13 comments

Routledge Gives Free Access to 6,000 eBooks

After digitizing over 15,000 books, Routledge has made 6,000 of these e-texts free for viewing during the month of June.
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 27, 2014 - 8 comments

Is philosophy a bunch of empty ideas?

An interview with Peter Unger, Professor of Philosophy at NYU, regarding his new book, Empty Ideas: A Critique of Analytic Philosophy: "In a way, all I’m doing is detailing things that were already said aphoristically by Wittgenstein in Philosophical Investigations. I read it twice over in the sixties, pretty soon after it came out, when I was an undergraduate. I believed it all — well, sort of. I knew, but I didn’t want to know, and so it just went on. And basically what Philosophical Investigations says is that when you’re doing philosophy, you’re not going to find out anything. You find out some trivial things, you’ll be under the delusion that you’re doing a great deal, but what you should do is stop and do something more productive."
posted by bookman117 on Jun 23, 2014 - 113 comments

Eigendemocracy: crowd-sourced deliberative democracy

Scott Aaronson on building a 'PageRank' for (eigen)morality and (eigen)trust - "Now, would those with axes to grind try to subvert such a system the instant it went online? Certainly. For example, I assume that millions of people would rate Conservapedia as a more trustworthy source than Wikipedia—and would rate other people who had done so as, themselves, trustworthy sources, while rating as untrustworthy anyone who called Conservapedia untrustworthy. So there would arise a parallel world of trust and consensus and 'expertise', mutually-reinforcing yet nearly disjoint from the world of the real. But here's the thing: anyone would be able to see, with the click of a mouse, the extent to which this parallel world had diverged from the real one." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 23, 2014 - 45 comments

On the illusion of infinite happiness

For it is the future generation in its entire individual determination which forces itself into existence through the medium of all this strife and trouble...That growing affection of two lovers for each other is in reality the will to live of the new being, of which they shall become the parents...The lovers have a longing to be really united and made one being, and to live as such for the rest of their lives; and this longing is fulfilled in the children born to them, in whom the qualities inherited from both, but combined and united in one being, are perpetuated...Therefore Nature attains her ends by implanting in the individual a certain illusion by which something which is in reality advantageous to the species alone seems to be advantageous to himself... Arthur Schopenhauer on the Metaphysics of Love.
posted by shivohum on Jun 17, 2014 - 11 comments

Time : a flat circle :: Consciousness : a state of matter?

"While the problem of consciousness is far from being solved, it is finally being formulated mathematically as a set of problems that researchers can understand, explore and discuss.

Today, Max Tegmark, a theoretical physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, sets out the fundamental problems that this new way of thinking raises. He shows how these problems can be formulated in terms of quantum mechanics and information theory. And he explains how thinking about consciousness in this way leads to precise questions about the nature of reality that the scientific process of experiment might help to tease apart.

Tegmark’s approach is to think of consciousness as a state of matter, like a solid, a liquid or a gas. 'I conjecture that consciousness can be understood as yet another state of matter. Just as there are many types of liquids, there are many types of consciousness,' he says."
posted by Strange Interlude on Jun 12, 2014 - 235 comments

Cogito Ergo Publish Openly

Discouraged by limited access, exclusivity in subject matter and author demographics, lack of transparency and long wait times, Ergo is a new take on the philosophy journal that recently released their first volume.
posted by Lutoslawski on May 28, 2014 - 13 comments

Cause 8 bit is all you need

8-Bit Philosophy: What is Real? (Plato) 8-Bit Philosophy: Does SCIENCE = TRUTH? (Nietzsche) 8-Bit Philosophy: Do Humans Operate Like Computers? (Kant)
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 22, 2014 - 11 comments

The madness of the suburbs: who knows it but you?

Nietzsche and the Burbs.
posted by homunculus on Apr 30, 2014 - 10 comments

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