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Cliodynamics

Peter Turchin is a Professor of Mathematics, and of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut. For the last nine years, he's been taking the mathematical techniques that once allowed him to track predator–prey cycles in forest ecosystems, and using them to model human history -- a pattern identification process he calls Cliodynamics. The goal of cliodynamics (or cliometrics) is to turn history into a predictive, analytic science. By analysing some of the broad social forces that shape transformative events in US society: historical records on economic activity, demographic trends and outbursts of violence, he has come to the conclusion that a new wave of internal strife is already on its way, and should peak around 2020. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 2, 2012 - 60 comments

Famous Theist Retires

The man who made philosophy safe for theists again is retiring. The conference in celebration of his impressive academic career is in progress on the campus of Notre Dame University and has brought together many important figures in contemporary analytic philosophy of religion. Many of Plantinga's seminal works are available in their entirety online.
posted by MultiplyDrafted on May 21, 2010 - 64 comments

How many existentialists does it take to change a lightbulb?

The Philosophy Research Base features thousands of annotated links and text resources for philosophy research on the Internet. Categorized by history, subject and author, this meta-index serves as both a study guide and a platform for a wide variety of community services for students and teachers in philosophy and related subjects.
posted by netbros on Aug 26, 2007 - 5 comments

Philosophy as practiced in most English-speaking philosophy departments today.

Long .pdf paper on the state of mainstream "analytic" philosophy. In a recent thread, we discussed the current state of philosophy departments in English-speaking countries. Philosophers are often asked why we don't take Ayn Rand seriously as a philosopher, or why we aren't up on literary Theory or deconstruction, etc. The short answer is that most academic philosophers in universities in the English-speaking world are engaged in a broad consensus (about how to do philosophy, what counts as a good question, etc) that's called "analytic philosophy" for short. Here is a long, informative encyclopedia entry by Scott Soames describing the history and current state of play in analytic philosophy. If you want to understand the background of the currently dominant school of philosophy in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, this will explain it. Link goes directly to a 44-page .pdf file.

Here are a few bonus bits: Jerry Fodor on Why no one reads analytic philosophy. One of the Philosophy talk podcasts from the Stanford philosophy department, on The Future of Philosophy. Some answers at askphilosophers.org -- a site where you can ask questions directly of professional philosophers -- that say the distinction between analytic and continental philosophy should be retired. (In a way, I agree, but the terms are used so widely that it's useful to get a sense of what they're meant to describe.) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on what different philosophers have meant by "analysis".
posted by LobsterMitten on Aug 24, 2006 - 56 comments

Philosophy trivia and snacks

Test your knowledge of philosophy with the 2006 IAP Philosophy Trivia Quiz! This quiz is extremely hard, so you might want to take a break at the Cognitive Science Cafe [pdf].
posted by painquale on Feb 7, 2006 - 10 comments

Hypertextual antimony contra postmodernist discourse claims

Characterizing a Fogbank. A prominent analytic philosopher discusses whether postmodernism is worth taking seriously.
posted by painquale on Oct 24, 2005 - 97 comments

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