Book Review: The American Philosopher – Interviews on the Meaning of Life and Truth
“In the early 1990s Giovanna Borradori conducted a series of interviews with many of the most renowned philosophers of the day. The result was her book, The American Philosopher: Conversations with Quine, Davidson, Putnam, Nozick, Danto, Rorty, Cavell, MacIntyre, and Kuhn (University of Chicago Press, 1994). Although some of the stars in the constellation of the philosophical elite were not included (e.g., Rawls), there was an overarching focus for the selection of those who were: she wanted to get a candid, insider’s statement from influential philosophers who, while firmly in the analytic tradition, saw themselves as being more or less also within the pragmatist tradition. The conversations therein covered broad metaphilosophical commitments and reflections, in the sense of charting the course of their own work over their careers as well as musing on American philosophy in general.”
Is Free-Will an Illusion?
“We commonly think it obvious that a person facing multiple alternatives can choose any of them, and that the outcome is decided by free will at the moment of decision, rather than being already determined by earlier causes. All the events in the world, however, obey the law of physics, including those that happen inside a brain. If all events in the brain unfold according to classical physics, then free will in the above sense does not exist. This is because classical physics is deterministic: the state of the world at any moment is the inevitable consequence of its state at an earlier moment. Hence the alternatives are only apparently available to the decision-maker, as in fact only a single alternative is destined to be the one chosen.”
Knowledge Should Be Free
Around 2000 I made the decision to enter the world of technology since my statistical, research and database work was on the decline, and I was no longer taking in young offenders. Although I had a computer company for the previous decade, it had only been supplemental to my other work and just occasional sales/contracts – mostly a way to ensure I kept up with the tools I used in the other areas, including graduate school.
Although it was convenient to just slide over to the technology world full-time given my existing company, this was not the reason behind the shift in careers.
I had been following the development of Linux and open-source software and believed this was a philosophy worth supporting (sharing and developing knowledge in an open and collaborative manner). I believed it could have far more value than simply an efficient way to develop and distribute great software. I believed that open models in science, research publications, education and even government could revolutionize access to, and the development of, knowledge.
So I changed my company name from Advanced Computers to Open Enterprise Solutions.
Seems the Dude was right again….
“Starting this year, any work done there will conform to the principles of the “open-science” movement—all results and data will be made freely available at the time of publication, for example, and the institute will not pursue patents on any of its discoveries. “
#openscience #opensource #openknowledge #linux #philosophy
Gaston Bachelard – The Puzzle of Time
“Puzzled by the paradox of how duration can be composed of instants that are by definition durationless, much as a line is composed of lengthless points, Bachelard begins by considering the nature of the instant and its role in the human experience.”
Why Humans Find it Hard to Give up Religion
“The new atheists decry religion as a poisonous set of lies. But what if a belief in the supernatural is natural?”
All Non-Human Animals Are Conscious Beings
“A prominent international group of cognitive neuroscientists and other experts made a strong declaration, endorsed by Stephen Hawking, affirming that all “nonhuman animals… including octopuses” are sentient and feel emotions such as fear and happiness. In Argentina, an orangutan won non-human rights against his zoo-keeper. Recently, in the news, a monkey won the rights to a selfie photo over the owner of the camera.”
#animalrights #consciousness #ethics #psychology
Why Musicians Need Philosophy
“NOT AS MUCH, I GRANT, AS PHILOSOPHERS NEED MUSIC, but nevertheless the need is real. In the past our musical culture had secure foundations in the church, in the concert hall and in the home. The common practice of tonal harmony united composers, performers and listeners in a shared language, and people played instruments at home with an intimate sense of belonging to the music that they made, just as the music belonged to them. The repertoire was neither controversial nor especially challenging, and music took its place in the ceremonies and celebrations of ordinary life alongside the rituals of everyday religion and the forms of good manners.”
British Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century – Book Review
“This book is the latest instalment in The Oxford History of Philosophy series. The series is supposed to weave together a new history of philosophy based on contextualist treatments of the ideas, arguments, and figures animating a specific place and time. At first hearing, it sounds exciting. Contextualist techniques and approaches have become prominent over the past twenty years. They have proved quite fruitful and illuminating and have opened important new pathways across well-trod texts and figures. Indeed, much of the progress recently made in understanding the development of philosophy is due to the adoption of contextualist techniques and approaches. However, a common criticism of contextualist history of philosophy is that it makes the history of philosophy out to be nothing but one damn thing after another: philosophical content often gets buried among a wealth of historical minutia and detail, so much so that the content gets lost and the relevance of the contextualist material is hard to see. The promise, then, of being shown how our understandings of the arc of the history of philosophy has changed thanks to the rise of contextualist history of philosophy is exciting.”
Philosophical Impact of David Bowie – Submissions
Very strange that the submission deadline for this request for philosophical articles pertaining to the wokrs of David Bowie, was a little more than a week before his passing!
“Any topic of Philosophical interest pertaining to the voluminous work of David Bowie will be considered, provided that it is written for an intelligent lay audience. Minimize footnotes, nix obscure references, take nothing for granted regarding the philosophical background of your audience. Papers should nevertheless have serious philosophical content.”
David Bowie’s Death
“While Bowie’s art is clearly worthy of philosophical examination, I will instead focus on the philosophical subject of feeling for the death of a celebrity. I have written briefly about this in the past, on the occasion of the death of Michael Jackson. When Jackson died, many of his devoted fans were devastated by his death. The death of David Bowie has also caused a worldwide response, albeit of a somewhat different character.”
#davidbowie #philosophy #mortality