Metaphysics

Populism

I am not qualified to try to define or analyze populism, and other people who are much more qualified have written about it, but I nevertheless want to think about it, and I think there's a chance, however small, that I might end up saying something worthwhile that hasn't already been said. So here goes.I think that, at least roughly (and technological advances aside), what a lot of people want is the kind of world portrayed in the Asterix books. There, people live in villages or small towns in which there is one blacksmith, one fishmonger, and so on, or perhaps a small number who, to the amusement of others, are rivals. Employment is basically self-employment, and the secrets to success are hard work, skill, and competitive pricing. So it's fair, and everyone benefits (with possible exceptions: see below). Each village in a given province is similar, but every province or country has its own peculiar culture. The British drink a lot of tea, the Spanish take siestas, etc. People everywhere are basically the same, but there is an entertaining assortment of cultures.I'm sure things were never quite so rosy as this picture suggests. There have always been wars and plagues and serious inequalities of wealth and freedom. But it seems to be roughly what life was like before the industrial revolution, at least when times were good. The big disruptor of the Asterix model was industrialization, which means the end of cottage industry and leads more people to move... -

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THIS IS NOT A BLOG POST [TO STEAL A LINE FROM MAGRITTE]

I really am taking what they call in kindergarten a “time out” but something happened yesterday that was too delicious to ignore.  I learned what “hectocotyliferously” means.  A word of explanation is called for.Seventy years ago, when Susie and I were high school girlfriend and boyfriend, we used to read together the poems of e. e. cummings [lower case intentional.]  cummings was the son of a Harvard professor and a graduate of Harvard.  One of our favorite poems [#201 in Susie’s copy of Collected Poems] is a hilariously cruel portrait of a Radcliffe student.  It is one of cummmings’ longest poems, filling two pages.  The opening lines are:" Gay " is the captivating cognomen of a Young Woman of cambridge, mass.to whom nobody seems to... -

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Free Thinkers Lost in Vegas

So-called “reaction” videos are big on YouTube and I suspect these guys are the most popular: I can see why. They have a great disposition, a palpable love of music whatever the genre, they offer good insights and don’t take themselves too seriously — they, like me, look for the... -

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Under the Sign of Erasure

This is a definitive statement of postnihilist determination from S.C Hickman. At this crucial juncture in the evolution of life and intelligence, we no longer can rely on hope; what we need now courage. Courage to become otherwise. Break The Code Capitalist realism is about a corrosion of social... -

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Free Thinkers Lost in Vegas So-called “reaction” videos are big on YouTube and I suspect these guys are the most popular: I can see why. They have a great disposition, a palpable love of music whatever the genre, they offer good insights and don’t take themselves too seriously — they, like me, look for the funk-groove in any genre. If academia… Man Without Qualities -


Under the Sign of Erasure This is a definitive statement of postnihilist determination from S.C Hickman. At this crucial juncture in the evolution of life and intelligence, we no longer can rely on hope; what we need now courage. Courage to become otherwise. Break The Code Capitalist realism is about a corrosion of social imagination, and in some ways, that remains the problem: after thirty years of neoliberal domination, we are only just beginning to be able to imagine alternatives... Synthetic Zero -


Postcard from Cornwall Evening sun at St Mawes in Cornwall, where we have been again for a while. So no logic matters for the last fortnight (the book has not been nagging away insistently enough to the break the spell). And we’ve been trying to ignore Brexit too (which all looks even madder than ever). So a lot of walking along coastal paths, visits to some great gardens, and more walking. Or just sitting in the apartment watching the... Logic Matters -


Hello Russia and South America! The Open Logic Project website was hosted on a University of Calgary server that blocked visitors from various geographical regions […] Open Logic -


Populism I am not qualified to try to define or analyze populism, and other people who are much more qualified have written about it, but I nevertheless want to think about it, and I think there's a chance, however small, that I might end up saying something worthwhile that hasn't already been said. So here goes.I think that, at least roughly (and technological advances aside), what a lot of people want is the kind of world... Language Goes on Holiday -


A way forward on the normalizability problem for the Fine-Tuning Argument The Fine-Tuning Argument claims that the life-permitting ranges of various parameters are so narrow that, absent theism, we should be surprised that the parameters fall into those ranges. The normalizability objection is that if a parameter ξ can take any real value, then any finite life-permitting range of values of ξ counts as a “narrow range”, since every finite range is an infinitesimal portion of the full range from −∞ to ∞. Another way to... Alexander Pruss -


Why Fiction Trumps Truth We humans know more truths than any species on earth. Yet we also believe the most falsehoods. The Stone -


Metaphysics in Chinese Philosophy [Revised entry by Franklin Perkins on May 24, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] While there was no word corresponding precisely to the term "metaphysics," China has a long tradition of philosophical inquiry concerned with the ultimate nature of reality - its being, origins, components, ways of changing, and so on. In this sense, we can speak of metaphysics in Chinese Philosophy, even if the particular questions and positions that arose differed from those... Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -


Irish Abortion Duck/Rabbit Human beings have a secret power. It’s called consciousness. A salient feature of consciousness is the capacity to live in the present, past and future all at the same time and to hold as simultaneously true contradictory thoughts. The couple that received the bad news about a fatal foetal condition, trisomy, decided to abort. Later there was an autopsy and OMG the test was wrong. A perfectly healthy baby, much desired, was gone. As Elizabeth... Ombhurbhuva -


Madhyamaka and the Problem of Approach The following post by the writer at Holo-Poiesis addresses issues around the Buddhist concept dependent origination and its relation with similar concepts in western philosophy. It explicates a non-absolutist interpretation of the Madhyamaka or Middle Way school of Buddhist philosophy. While it may appear technical to anyone not familiar with Buddhism, it’s attempt to show the relation between idealist thought and the “fetishistic grasping of the real at a societal level (commodity fetishism)” is relevant... Synthetic Zero -


Improving on Solomonoff priors Let’s say that we want prior probabilities for data that can be encoded as a countably infinite binary sequence. Generalized Solomonoff priors work as follows: We have a language L (in the original setting, it’ll be based on Turing machines) and we generate random descriptions in L in a canonical way (e.g., add an end-of-string symbol to L and randomly and independently generate symbols until you hit the end-of-string symbol, and then conditionalize on the... Alexander Pruss -


Hobbes's Kingdom of Light: A Study of the Foundations of Modern Political Philosophy 2019.05.20 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Devin Stauffer, Hobbes's Kingdom of Light: A Study of the Foundations of Modern Political Philosophy, University of Chicago Press, 2018, 295pp., $50.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780226552903. Reviewed by Adrian Blau, King's College London Devin Stauffer offers a brilliant and controversial esoteric interpretation of Hobbes's attack on religion, and relates it to Hobbes's metaphysics, natural philosophy, and politics/ethics. Although Hobbes apparently tries to show that religion... Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews -


Mini-Heap Lots of interesting stuff this week, so here’s another Mini-Heap: “I reject the idea that philosophy is argument” — “Most real philosophy, as experienced by most people, takes the form of fiction” — Eric Schwitzgebel (UC Riverside) “Lately, I’ve been wondering whether it’s OK for me to be a philosophy professor.” — Robert Gressis (CSU Northridge) lays out the case against… himself A film about an “intense debate” between a longtime mayor in an existential crisis and... Daily Nous -


President of Ireland Speaks at Youth Philosophy Awards Ceremony “Too many policy lobbyists have, often unknowingly, unthinkingly perhaps, accepted a narrow and utilitarian view of… education—one that suggests we exist to be made useful—which leads to a great loss of the capacity to critically evaluate, question and challenge.” These are the words of Ireland’s president, Michael D. Higgins, speaking earlier this month at the second annual Irish Young Philosopher Awards ceremony (as he did last year). The Irish Times reports that President Higgins urged caution about... Daily Nous -


You’re On God’s Time Now The following is the text of a presentation I gave last summer in Berlin. While some of the ideas and problematics articulated here are ones I wouldn’t frame in quite the same way now–that’s the nature of a research project that’s still very much active!–I realized that it’s been a while since I’ve provided any kind of update on the direction my research on time and usury is taking, and thought it might be of... An und für sich -


Liberalism, Through a Glass Darkly Our contribution to a Palgrave blog (typos will be corrected). Austrian Economicsclassical liberalismEconomicsFriedrich HayekG.L.S. shackleHistory of Economic Thoughtpolitical economysteven pinker Man Without Qualities -


Phenomenological Approaches to Self-Consciousness [Revised entry by Shaun Gallagher and Dan Zahavi on May 23, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] For phenomenologists, the immediate and first-personal givenness of experience is accounted for in terms of a pre-reflective self-consciousness. In the most basic sense of the term, self-consciousness is not something that comes about the moment one attentively inspects or reflectively introspects one's experiences, or recognizes one's specular image in the mirror, or refers to oneself with the... Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -


A Neurophilosophy of International Relations: The Case for Symbiotic Realism, Multi-Sum Security, and Just Power by Nayef Al-Rodhan   International Relations (IR) developed as a distinct discipline after World War II but its theoretical and philosophical foundations predate the 20th century. ... Read more... Blog of the APA -


Science Fiction as Philosophy Ploddingly detailed expository arguments deserve a central role in academic philosophy. Yay for boring stuff![*] But emotionally engaging fiction can be philosophy too. And science fiction or "speculative fiction" has a special philosophical value that is insufficiently appreciated by mainstream philosophers. I am inspired to write this after having organized and chaired a session on Science Fiction as Philosophy at the SFWA Nebula conference last weekend. (SFWA is the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of... Splintered Mind -


Holes [Revised entry by Roberto Casati and Achille Varzi on May 23, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Holes are an interesting case study for ontologists and epistemologists. Naive, untutored descriptions of the world treat holes as objects of reference, on a par with ordinary material objects. ('There are as many holes in the cheese as there are cookies in the tin.') And we often appeal to holes to account for causal interactions, or to explain... Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -