677 posts tagged with philosophy.
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"deconstruction, in French, would be nothing without puns"

What was Of Grammatology about? When Madeleine, the heroine of Jeffrey Eugenides's campus novel The Marriage Plot, asks a young theory-head this question, she is immediately set straight: 'If it was "about" anything, then it was about the need to stop thinking of books as being about things.' That's not so far off. In all three books, Derrida's argument was that Western thought from Plato to Rousseau to Lévi-Strauss had been hopelessly entangled in the illusion that language might provide us with access to a reality beyond language, beyond metaphor: an unmediated experience of truth and being which he called 'presence'.
Not in the Mood by Adam Shatz is an essay in The London Review of Books about a new biography of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. The review does a good job of explaining Derrida's theories in simple language and putting it in the context of his life, from his childhood as French Jew in Vichy-controlled Algeria to his later years as a globetrotting academic star. For a complimentary perspective on Derrida, you can do worse than starting with these thoughts on his relevance for historians and progressives.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 14, 2012 - 36 comments

Martin Heidegger's "Being and Time"

Simon Critchley on Martin Heidegger's Being and Time: 1 - Why Heidegger Matters. 2 - On "mineness". 3 - Being-in-the-world. 4 - Thrown into this world. 5 - Anxiety. 6 - Death. 7 - Conscience. 8 - Temporality (previously) [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Oct 22, 2012 - 20 comments

Standing On The Shoulders of Giants

Holt’s philosophers belong to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Compared with the giants of the past, they are a sorry bunch of dwarfs. They are thinking deep thoughts and giving scholarly lectures to academic audiences, but hardly anybody in the world outside is listening. They are historically insignificant. At some time toward the end of the nineteenth century, philosophers faded from public life. Like the snark in Lewis Carroll’s poem, they suddenly and silently vanished. So far as the general public was concerned, philosophers became invisible. [more inside]
posted by jason's_planet on Oct 21, 2012 - 130 comments

howtonotgiveafuck.com

How to not give a fuck
posted by AElfwine Evenstar on Oct 16, 2012 - 91 comments

Heaven is Real: A Doctor's Experience of the Afterlife

Heaven is Real: A Doctor's Experience of the Afterlife. As a neurosurgeon, I did not believe in the phenomenon of near-death experiences...In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.
posted by shivohum on Oct 12, 2012 - 196 comments

" the false equivalence between experts and non-experts"

No, you're not entitled to your opinion [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 12, 2012 - 77 comments

For Lsson Plans, Study Help, or Quick Reference

Are you the type of person who, when flipping through a book or scanning a website, immediately searches for the diagrams or charts because you'd rather absorb the information visually than have to read a bunch of text? If so, then you are probably a visual learner and you may find Useful Charts helpful. The goal is to present useful information in the form of study charts so that students, teachers or simply those interested in increasing their general knowledge can absorb the information quickly and visually.
posted by netbros on Oct 4, 2012 - 9 comments

27.5 years of gameplay

A study-based analysis of UK gaming magazines in the 1980s and 90s argues that the analysis of computer games, independent of attributes such as the platform or narrative, becomes more evident after March 1985 when the term 'gameplay' begins to be used in this media.
posted by Wordshore on Oct 3, 2012 - 10 comments

WHOA, DUDE, ARE WE INSIDE A COMPUTER RIGHT NOW?

NASA Scientist suggests everything we see, touch, feel, taste, and smell could be a simulation running inside a computer. [more inside]
posted by crunchland on Sep 12, 2012 - 271 comments

Paul Ryan as Romney's running-mate

Paul Ryan. Seven-term congressman for Wisconsin's 1st District. Chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee. Architect of the controversial Ryan Budget -- a "Path to Prosperity" [PDF - video - CBO] that would slash trillions from the federal budget, sharply curtail taxes on the wealthy, and transform Medicare into a private voucher system. Proponent (vid) -- and renouncer -- of Ayn Rand 's Objectivism. Social Security beneficiary. Hunter. Weinermobile driver. And as of this morning, the 2012 Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States of America. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 11, 2012 - 1550 comments

Listening in at the Philosopher's Arms

Matthew Sweet and some guest experts discuss philosophical problems with a live audience at a pub. Four episodes are available from the first series: The Experience Machine, A Robot Daughter, The Ultimatum Game, and Moral Disgust.
posted by Jonathan Livengood on Aug 7, 2012 - 13 comments

How much is enough?

Robert and Edward Skidelsky talk about their book "How much is enough." Mixing economics and philosophy will obviously cause a lot of debate, but they do raise some valid points.
posted by 00dimitri00 on Aug 2, 2012 - 25 comments

Quantifying the Gender Gap in Philosophy

Molly Paxton, Carrie Figdor, and Valerie Tiberius have a new paper in Hypatia quantifying the gender gap in philosophy (pdf). [more inside]
posted by Jonathan Livengood on Jul 30, 2012 - 51 comments

ex nihilo (via negativa) something/multiverse/life/consciousness

Jim Holt asks John Leslie why is there something rather than nothing? [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 28, 2012 - 84 comments

Gyges and his magic ring

"Assassination and targeted killings have always been in the repertoires of military planners, but never in the history of warfare have they been so cheap and easy. The relatively low number of troop casualties for a military that has turned to drones means that there is relatively little domestic blowback against these wars. The United States and its allies have created the material conditions whereby these wars can carry on indefinitely. The non-combatant casualty rates in populations that are attacked by drones are slow and steady, but they add up. That the casualty rates are relatively low by historical standards — this is no Dresden — is undoubtedly a good thing, but it may allow the international media to overlook pesky little facts like the slow accretion of foreign casualties." -NYT Opinionator: The Moral Hazard of Drones
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 23, 2012 - 271 comments

noncommutative balls in boxes

Morton and Vicary on the Categorified Heisenberg Algebra - "In quantum mechanics, position times momentum does not equal momentum times position! This sounds weird, but it's connected to a very simple fact. Suppose you have a box with some balls in it, and you have the magical ability to create and annihilate balls. Then there's one more way to create a ball and then annihilate one, than to annihilate one and then create one. Huh? Yes: if there are, say, 3 balls in the box to start with, there are 4 balls you can choose to annihilate after you've created one but only 3 before you create one..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 21, 2012 - 78 comments

Get Out Of My Dreams, Get Into My University Press

What is the probability that you are dreaming right now? asks Jan Westerhoff, author of Oxford University Press' Reality: A Very Short Introduction (large excerpts at Google Books). Westerhoff explains that since it's accepted that about 20% of time sleeping is REM (dreaming) sleep, if you sleep 8 hours a night, then 10% of your "conscious" time is actually dream time.* [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on Jul 15, 2012 - 88 comments

America the Philosophical?

Is America the Most Philosophical Society on the Planet? "For the surprising little secret of our ardently capitalist, famously materialist, heavily iPodded, iPadded and iPhoned society is that America in the early 21st century towers as the most philosophical culture in the history of the world, an unprecedented marketplace of truth and argument that far surpasses ancient Greece, 19th-century Germany or any other place. The openness of its dialogue, the quantity of its arguments, the diversity of its viewpoints, the cockiness with which its citizens express their opinions, the vastness of its First Amendment freedoms, the intensity of its hunt for evidence and information, the widespread rejection of truths imposed by authority or tradition alone, the resistance to false claims of justification and legitimacy, the embrace of Web communication with an alacrity that intimidates the world: All corroborate that fact." [more inside]
posted by bookman117 on Jul 7, 2012 - 86 comments

The IRL Fetish

The IRL Fetish "If the hardware has spread virally within physical space, the software is even more insidious. Thoughts, ideas, locations, photos, identities, friendships, memories, politics, and almost everything else are finding their way to social media. The power of “social” is not just a matter of the time we’re spending checking apps, nor is it the data that for-profit media companies are gathering; it’s also that the logic of the sites has burrowed far into our consciousness."
posted by stoneweaver on Jul 5, 2012 - 57 comments

Now, draw me a picture of the good life.

"Descartes is smaller than you’d think" in this graph of the history of philosophy [more inside]
posted by mc2000 on Jun 28, 2012 - 63 comments

the dawn of a Star Trek generation

In Praise of Leisure - "Imagine a world in which most people worked only 15 hours a week. They would be paid as much as, or even more than, they now are, because the fruits of their labor would be distributed more evenly across society. Leisure would occupy far more of their waking hours than work. It was exactly this prospect that John Maynard Keynes conjured up in a little essay published in 1930 called 'Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren.' Its thesis was simple. As technological progress made possible an increase in the output of goods per hour worked, people would have to work less and less to satisfy their needs, until in the end they would have to work hardly at all... He thought this condition might be reached in about 100 years — that is, by 2030." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 22, 2012 - 117 comments

#nodads

The philosophers have only sought to impregnate the world in different positions; the point is to pleasure it. "What is it to Philosophise Fatherlessly?" The inaugural post of the (slightly NSFW) #nodads Tumblr, which celebrates the #nodads Twitter hashtag. #NoDads Is Our Principal Of Solidarity. Happy Father's Day!
posted by gerryblog on Jun 17, 2012 - 61 comments

The key to beginning a long journey toward understanding which, as we have learned, is something for which each human being cries out, cupping his hands over the mouth.

Strange and Unproductive Thinking, off David Lynch's fantastically weird album Crazy Clown Time, is a humorous, rambling, insightful essay disguised as a song in which the legendary director gives his thoughts on the purpose of evolution, the process that leads us to knowledge, and "the remarkable idea of a world free of tooth-decay".
posted by Rory Marinich on Jun 12, 2012 - 5 comments

6 Things I Learned about Myself through 100 Hours of Meditation

6 Things I Learned about Myself through 100 Hours of Meditation
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 11, 2012 - 80 comments

sovereignty and taxation

David Graeber: Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 8, 2012 - 85 comments

How Markets Crowd Out Morals: A Forum On The Corrupting Effects Of Markets

How Markets Crowd Out Morals: A Forum On The Corrupting Effects Of Markets [more inside]
posted by jhandey on May 30, 2012 - 31 comments

"IT WAS ALL DREAM," thought Cobb as he woke up in the shower.

"The question of whether or not Cobb's top falls doesn't really matter." Kyle Johnson, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, gives a detailed, multi-layered analysis of Inception as part of Authors@Google talks. Very insightful and interesting, even if you think he's dead wrong.
posted by litleozy on May 30, 2012 - 85 comments

Woody Allen's favorite question.....

Is death bad for you? [more inside]
posted by lalochezia on May 19, 2012 - 99 comments

This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike’ by Augusten Burroughs

This is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike. is Augusten Burroughs' new self-help book (reviews here, here, and here), one which scorns the genre cliches of goal-setting and affirmations in favor of a hard-nosed philosophy of self-honesty based on lessons learned from his own background of abuse, neglect, and rape. In an interview with CNN, he gives snippets of his views on subjects like the harm of people "clinging to a dream which maybe they don't actually have the talent to do", suicide ("it doesn't release you, it adds a new layer of horror") and the quest for thinness ("the brain is magnificent and to focus on your gastrointestinal track is a complete waste"). (previously)
posted by shivohum on May 14, 2012 - 42 comments

How many ways to get what you want

Anarchy is Boring
posted by Artw on May 14, 2012 - 120 comments

Christopher Alexander lectures at Berkeley

Legendary architect-philosopher Christopher Alexander delivers a fascinating lecture at Berkeley, in which he criticizes "modular" design and offers a radical new vision of architecture's relation to nature. Alexander is best known for A Pattern Language, which aimed to make buildings and towns more "alive" through a series of pleasing and comfortable patterns (five sample patterns can be found here). His most recent work, the four-part The Nature of Order, theorizes that life, whether organic or inorganic, emerges from a single simple process, which can be found on page 4 of Amazon's preview of the third volume. In the first volume Alexander lists fifteen properties that make a structure whole. Also worth reading: Alexander's classic essay A City is not a Tree.
posted by Rory Marinich on May 9, 2012 - 28 comments

Never Tell Me The Odds

Dr. Nick Bostrom puts the probability of an existential event wiping out humanity in this century at 10-20%.

Each time we make one of these new discoveries we are putting our hand into a big urn of balls and pulling up a new ball---so far we've pulled up white balls and grey balls, but maybe next time we will pull out a black ball, a discovery that spells disaster. At the moment we have no good way of putting the ball back into the urn if we don't like it. Once a discovery has been published there is no way of un-publishing it. (Dr Bostrom, previously on Metafilter.)
posted by COD on Apr 28, 2012 - 74 comments

The Strangest Man

The trend of mathematics and physics towards unification provides the physicist with a powerful new method of research into the foundations of his subject, a method which has not yet been applied successfully, but which I feel confident will prove its value in the future. The method is to begin by choosing that branch of mathematics which one thinks will form the basis of the new theory. One should be influenced very much in this choice by considerations of mathematical beauty. [1939] [more inside]
posted by smcg on Apr 28, 2012 - 8 comments

Much Ado About Nothing

Physicist Lawrence Krauss wrote a book titled A Universe from Nothing. Philosopher David Albert wrote a rather scathing review. In a later interview with The Atlantic, Krauss suggested that philosophers feel threatened by science "because science progresses and philosophy doesn't." Philosopher Massimo Pigliucci weighed in on Krauss' comments, and Krauss non-apologized to philosophers who may have been offended. Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne reflects on the controversy.
posted by Jonathan Livengood on Apr 27, 2012 - 84 comments

All the cool kids know their logical fallacies!

Your Logical Fallacy Is... complete with free downloadable infographic poster.
posted by Miko on Apr 19, 2012 - 41 comments

Philosophical Expresso

A Timothy Leary for the Viral Video Age: Like Leary, Silva is an unabashed optimist; he sees humankind as a species on the brink of technology-enabled transcendence. Silva is an avid evangelist for the technological singularity---the idea that technology will soon bring about a greater-than-human intelligence. It's an idea that Ray Kurzweil has worked hard to popularize in tech circles, but Silva wants to push it out into the mainstream, and he wants to do it with the slickest, most efficient idea vehicle of our time: the viral video. He has spent the last three years making (really) short films that play like movie trailers for ideas; he compares them to shots of "philosophical espresso."
posted by troll on Apr 13, 2012 - 54 comments

Vangelis Speaks

Shortly after his concert in December 2011 inaugurating Katara amphitheater in Doha, Qatar [facebook photoset, available to the public], Vangelis sat down with Al Jazeera English anchor Tony Harris to spend a half hour talking about music, philosophy, the state of the world, and his career. It was his first television interview in about 20 years. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Apr 10, 2012 - 23 comments

Stanley Fish on religion and science

Stanley Fish takes on the similarities and differences between scientific and religious evidence and gets a barrage of responses, to which he replies. Michael K. declares that “the equivalence between the methodological premises of scientific inquiry and those of religious doctrine is simply false.” I agree, but I do not assert it. Neither do I assert that because there are no “impersonal standards and impartial procedures … all standards and procedures are equivalent” (E.). What I do assert is that with respect to a single demand — the demand that the methodological procedures of an enterprise be tethered to the world of fact in a manner unmediated by assumptions — science and religion are in the same condition of not being able to meet it (as are history, anthropology, political science, sociology, psychology and all the rest).
posted by shivohum on Apr 10, 2012 - 259 comments

Sacred text

Meg Hitchcock creates intricate collages out of individual letters from spiritual and philosophical texts (via).
posted by EvaDestruction on Apr 3, 2012 - 7 comments

Is Procreation Immoral?

Elizabeth Kolbert explores the case against kids. Drawing from the work of philosophy professors David Benatar, Christine Overall and economist Bryan Caplan, Kolbert examines the justifications for reproducing.
posted by Kitty Stardust on Apr 2, 2012 - 125 comments

Apple's design philosophy

The idea that the form of a product should correspond to its essence does not simply mean that products should be designed with their intended use in mind. That a knife needs to be sharp so as to cut things is a non-controversial point accepted by most designers. The notion of essence as invoked by Jobs and Ive is more interesting and significant—more intellectually ambitious—because it is linked to the ideal of purity. No matter how trivial the object, there is nothing trivial about the pursuit of perfection. On closer analysis, the testimonies of both Jobs and Ive suggest that they did see essences existing independently of the designer—a position that is hard for a modern secular mind to accept, because it is, if not religious, then, as I say, startlingly Platonic.
Form and Fortune is an essay about Steve Jobs and Apple's design philosophy by Evgeny Morozov.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 5, 2012 - 23 comments

You can't kill me without becoming like me! I can't kill you without losing the only human being who can keep up with me! Isn't it IRONIC?

Batman should kill the Joker. No, he shouldn't. Yes, he should. No really, he shouldn't. What would Kant, Mill, Hobbes, Nietzsche, and Rawls think? [more inside]
posted by BitterOldPunk on Mar 2, 2012 - 73 comments

Slavoj Žižek on The Wire

The Wire or the clash of civilisations in one country is lecture by philosopher Slavoj Žižek on the television show The Wire.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 2, 2012 - 89 comments

Only *You* Can Prevent Irrationality

The Irrationality of Politics is a TEDX talk by Michael Huemer.
posted by anotherpanacea on Feb 29, 2012 - 16 comments

"It's a pretty obscure scandal, you probably haven't heard of it...."

Faux Philosophy News remixes stories from Leiter Reports and New APPS in the Horatian style popularized by the Onion.
posted by anotherpanacea on Feb 25, 2012 - 9 comments

Digital Images are SomeThing to aspire to? (A reflection on Hito Steyerl's proposal)

Artist and film-maker, Hito Steyerl, asks us to stand shoulder to shoulder with our digital equivalents. Digital images are Things (like you and me) - a plethora of compressed, corrupted representations pushed and pulled through increasingly policed and capitalised information networks. If 80% of all internet traffic* is SPAM - a liberated excess withdrawn** from accepted channels of communication - perhaps it is in The Poor Image we find our closest kin? [more inside]
posted by 0bvious on Feb 16, 2012 - 5 comments

The Mystery of the Millionaire Metaphysician

The Mystery of the Millionaire Metaphysician "In June 2000, the philosopher Dean Zimmerman moved from the University of Notre Dame to Syracuse University with his wife and three kids, only to see their new house catch fire the day they moved in." Months later, he received the second hopeful fortune cookie since the fire, which told him "A way out of a financial mess is discovered as if by magic!"; the next day, magic arrived in a letter offering Zimmerman a generous sum of money, which he later learned was $12,000, to review a sixty-page work of metaphysics titled "Coming to Understanding." [more inside]
posted by MCMikeNamara on Feb 12, 2012 - 45 comments

Sacred Economics and Beyond

"It’s a very ancient idea that the universe runs by the principles of the gift...in fact the purpose for our existence, the reason why we’re here, is to give." Writer Charles Eisenstein speaks on his book Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition.
posted by velvet winter on Feb 7, 2012 - 41 comments

The creeper that can be exploded is not the eternal creeper

Joe Hills is a Minecraft player from Nashville, Tennessee, who's probably best known for his Let's Play videos of adventure map designer Vechs's Super Hostile maps such as Nightmare Realm and Spellbound Caves (he was also the inspiration for Vechs's "Super Docile" map, Hills of Moo, where nothing evil happens and everything is peaceful). But lately he's embarked on a new Minecraft adventure, Minecraft Morning Musings, where he sails perpetually eastward while talking about the Dao de Jing. In each episode, he reads and discusses several translations of a chapter of the Dao. Sometimes, though, things get radical.
posted by mothershock on Feb 1, 2012 - 15 comments

On Becoming Infertile - by an Anonymous Feminist Philosopher

Let's Talk About Reproductive Norm Enforcement, Baby. An anonymous philoso-blogger recounts, in an honest, intelligent, compelling, and occasionally poignant way, the process of undergoing medically necessary surgery that would cause infertility. If you care about the reproductive expectations with which women are saddled by contemporary society, you should read this. You should also read this if you care about bioethics, medical decorum, feminism, women in academia, the ethical behavior of philosophers, or, you know, justice. If you care about those last four things, you should have been reading Feminist Philosophers already.
posted by MultiplyDrafted on Jan 24, 2012 - 114 comments

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