Posts filtered by tags: Philosophy[x]


Take an Intellectual Odyssey with a Free MIT Course on Douglas Hofstadter’s Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

In 1979, mathematician Kurt Gödel, artist M.C. Escher, and composer J.S. Bach walked into a book title, and you may well know the rest. Douglas R. Hofstadter won a Pulitzer Prize for Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, his first book, thenceforth (and henceforth) known as GEB. The extraordinary work is not a treatise on mathematics, art, or music, but an essay on cognition through an exploration of all three — and of formal systems, recursion, self-reference, artificial intelligence, e...
Tags: Psychology, Facebook, Math, Music, College, Neuroscience, Mit, Creativity, Philosophy, Computer Science, Lewis Carroll, Bach, GEB, Escher, Josh Jones, J S Bach

Pragmatism: How Americans define truth

Pragmatism is an American philosophical movement that originated as a rebuke to abstract European philosophy. The pragmatic theory of truth argues that truth and reality only can be understood in their relation to how things work in the real world.The trouble is that the theory devalues the term "truth," such that it only applies to one particular moment in time. But Charles Sanders Peirce offers a clever way out.Think of wine. Now take away from this idea every possible property it has. Take a...
Tags: Europe, Germany, Earth, Innovation, Oxford, Philosophy, William James, Copernicus, Immanuel Kant, Kant, Ptolemy, Charles Sanders Peirce, Peirce, Jonny Thomson, American Pragmatic, William James John Dewey

The misguided history of female anatomy

The history of medicine and biology often has been embarrassingly wrong when it comes to female anatomy and was surprisingly resistant to progress.Aristotle and the ancient Greeks are much to blame for the mistaken notion of women as cold, passive, and little more than a "mutilated man."Thanks to this dubious science, and the likes of Sigmund Freud, we live today with a legacy that judges women according to antiquated biology and psychology. The story of medicine has not been particularly kind...
Tags: Psychology, Women, Innovation, Oxford, Philosophy, Sigmund Freud, Freud, Aristotle, Jonny Thomson

"If you thought they were gazing at the earth, and feeling small, and reflecting on the trouble the planet and its inhabitants are in, they weren't. They were trying to catch skittles in their mouths."

A comment at a Facebook post by the NYT: "Watch Jeff Bezos and his fellow passengers on the Blue Origin flight play with Skittles and experiment with gravity on their trip to space on Tuesday."What if you had to argue: The Skittles-catching foolery in space was the best form that philosophical inquiry could take under those circumstances.  If the "what if you had to argue" game seems alien, read my 2012 post "What if you had to argue that it's good for children to play 'What if you had argue?'"...
Tags: Facebook, Law, America, Trayvon Martin, Philosophy, Jeff Bezos, Candy, Skittles, Blue Origin, Donald Trump Jr, Ann Althouse

Everything could have been so different

Jorge Borges' story, The Library of Babel, asks us to imagine all the books that could be written using a random shuffling of 25 characters.Daniel Dennett argues that, in some ways, the genetic makeup of all life is similar but with only four characters.The history of the universe is only one possible way our story could have gone. Much of our reality is simply arbitrary. Imagine all the lives you didn't live. A life where you never met your partner. Where you never had a brother or sister. Wh...
Tags: Innovation, Oxford, Philosophy, Harry Potter, Jesus, Richard Dawkins, Sauron, Darwin, Hermione, Borges, Daniel Dennett, Library Of Babel, Jonny Thomson, Borges Library of Babel, Jorge Borges, Robert Gourley

Why common law cannot guarantee liberty in Australia

I had erroneously claimed in my Griffith Society talk on 8 October 2020 that the rights of Australians are adequately protected and what we are seeing since March 2020 is largely a failure of the laws, a failure of institutions. I cited Timothy Jones who wrote: Australia and Britain have remarkably few constitutional guarantees of fundamental […]
Tags: Travel, Australia, Britain, Philosophy, Timothy Jones, Public Policy, Griffith Society

Have humans always lived in a “pluriverse” of worlds?

In the modern West, we take it for granted that reality is an objectively knowable material world. From a young age, we are taught to visualize it as a vast abstract space full of free-standing objects that all obey timeless universal laws of science and nature. But a very different picture of reality is now emerging from new currents of thought in fields like history, anthropology, and sociology.The most powerful of these currents suggests that reality may not be singular at all, but inherently...
Tags: Europe, Books, Featured, History, Egypt, Sociology, Anthropology, Philosophy, Greg Rakozy, Arts & Humanities, Classics & Archaeology, Pluriverse

Thales: Ancient Greeks built the cosmos with right triangles

Every triangle inscribed inside a circle on its diameter is a right triangle.Upon this discovery, Thales is said to have performed a great ritual sacrifice.Might Thales have believed that the entire cosmos was constructed of right triangles? Thales is credited by the late commentator Proclus, on the authority of Aristotle's student Eudemus, with "discovering" geometrical propositions, some of them more generally and others more practically. Consider some of the diagrams expressing practical ex...
Tags: Greece, Abc, Egypt, Innovation, Philosophy, Mathematics, Aristotle, Plato, BCE, Cosmos, Thales, Ancient Greece, BDA, ADC, Greece Turkey, Robert Hahn

The VSI podcast season two: Homer, film music, consciousness, samurai, and more

The Very Short Introductions Podcast offers a concise and original introduction to a selection of our VSI titles from the authors themselves. From Homer to film music, the Gothic to American business history, listen to season two of the podcast and see where your curiosity takes you! Homer In this episode, Barbara Graziosi introduces Homer, whose mythological tales of war and homecoming, The Iliad and The Odyssey, are widely considered to be two of the most influential works in the history of we...
Tags: Books, Music, Featured, Religion, History, Canada, United States, Literature, Philosophy, Multimedia, Social Sciences, Editor's Picks, Peter Holland, Homer, VSI, Donald Wright

Shakespeare and the sciences of emotion

What role should literature have in the interdisciplinary study of emotion? The dominant answer today seems to be “not much.” Scholars of literature of course write about emotion but fundamental questions about what emotion is and how it works belong elsewhere: to psychology, cognitive science, neurophysiology, philosophy of mind. In Shakespeare’s time the picture was different. What the period called “passions” were material for ethics and for that part of natural philosophy dealing with the so...
Tags: Books, Featured, Literature, Philosophy, Emotions, Francis Bacon, Bacon, Rhetoric, Shakespeare, Hamlet, Smith, Shape, Aristotle, Wright, Locke, Hume

Eastern Philosophy Explained: From the Buddha to Confucius and Haiku to the Tea Ceremony

There was a time, not so long ago in human history, when practically no Westerners looked to the East for wisdom. But from our perspective today, this kind of philosophical seeking has been going on long enough to feel natural. When times get trying, you might turn to the Buddha, Lao Tzu, or even Confucius for wisdom as soon as you would to any other figure, no matter your culture of origin. And here in the 21st century, introductions to their thought lie closer than ever to hand: ...
Tags: Facebook, College, Religion, Harvard, Philosophy, Seoul, Jorge Luis Borges, Buddha, Foucault, Basho, School of Life, Colin Marshall, Kintsugi, Michael Puett, Plato Kant, 21st Century Los Angeles

Aristotle’s guide to the elderly and ancient Greek wisdom

Life is full of complicated and difficult moments, but we can become better at dealing with them. This practical wisdom is a cornerstone of Aristotle's ethics.When we practice this skill, we become more adept at seeing situations and people differently — not unlike an artist viewing a painting.The elderly and experienced of this world have such wisdom in spades. But those of us in the West rarely tap into this precious resource. Who do you turn to for advice? When things are hard, and you don'...
Tags: Greece, Wisdom, West, Ethics, Innovation, Oxford, Philosophy, Ava, Aristotle, Jonny Thomson

Why condensed matter physicists reject reductionism

Reductionism — the philosophical position that all phenomena can be explained by interactions between particles — is not inherently a part of the scientific method.For example, most biological processes cannot be explained by appealing to quarks.Those who study complex phenomena, such as condensed matter physicists, often reject reductionism and embrace its alternative, known as emergence. Fundamentally, science is a path to understanding the world. It's a way to enter a dialogue with nature. ...
Tags: Science, Innovation, Philosophy, Wright, Leggett, Philip Anderson, Jason Wright, Robert Laughlin, Thomas Metcalf, Chelsea Harami, Anthony Leggett

Want to help animals? You might have to eat a few more

Many philosophers agree that animal suffering should be avoided and suggest vegetarian or vegan diets. However, a new essay reminds us that growing crops can harm animals too, and this should factor into our calculus. Using virtue ethics, the author provides a way of deciding what is the "best" diet.When people examine the philosophy of food, they're likely to come across more than a few arguments in favor of completely ditching meat and animal products in the name of morality. Arguments for veg...
Tags: Food, Animals, Innovation, Philosophy, Peter Singer, Christopher Bobier, St Mary s University of Minnesota, Bobier

Beyond the two cultures: rethinking science and the humanities

There is a great disconnect between the sciences and the humanities.Solutions to most of our real-world problems need both ways of knowing.Moving beyond the two-culture divide is an essential step to ensure our project of civilization. For the past five years, I ran the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Engagement at Dartmouth, an initiative sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. Our mission has been to find ways to bring scientists and humanists together, often in public venues or — after...
Tags: Science, Dartmouth, Innovation, Cambridge, Philosophy, Crispr, Civilization, Jennifer Doudna, John Templeton Foundation, Doudna, Institute for Cross Disciplinary Engagement

Are you following the rules of life?

Most parts of everyday life involve accepting and applying various rules, from the words we speak to the cultural norms we insist on.These rules are learned largely by observation of others and are very rarely taught explicitly.Saul Kripke asks us how it is that we can ever be sure that we're following the rules correctly? And does it matter? Imagine you're out with some friends and you have to, for whatever reason, add up two numbers: 432 and 222. It's easy, you think! You were great at calcu...
Tags: Innovation, Oxford, Philosophy, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Kripke, Jonny Thomson, Saul Kripke

Ben Shapiro calls for crime to be banned

Punditry about pundits is about the worst thing on the internet, but I didn't believe this tweet from Ben Shapiro was real and feel that it's worth a post. It reminds me of his famous "just sell homes inundated by rising sea levels" remark ("Who to, Ben, Aquaman?") — Read the rest
Tags: Post, Politics, Crime, News, Philosophy, Ben Shapiro, Ben Aquaman

The Einstein-Bohr legacy: can we ever figure out what quantum theory means?

The weirdness of quantum theory flies in the face of what we experience in our everyday lives.Quantum weirdness quickly created a split in the physics community, each side championed by a giant: Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr.As two recent books espousing opposing views show, the debate still rages on nearly a century afterward. Each "resolution" comes with a high price tag. Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr, two giants of 20th century science, espoused very different worldviews.To Einstein, the ...
Tags: Innovation, Philosophy, Albert Einstein, John Bell, Einstein, Carroll, Quantum Mechanics, Niels Bohr, Erwin Schrodinger, Paul Dirac, Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Bohm, David Bohm, Carlo Rovelli, Rovelli

Why Philosophy and Entrepreneurship?

Since releasing my newest book The Entrepreneur’s Weekly Nietzsche: A Book for Disruptors I’ve been continually getting the questions “Why Philosophy and Entrepreneurship?” and “Why Nietzsche?” Dave and I cover this right off the bat in the book, so I thought I’d toss up an excerpt that addresses the question with part of my own origin story with Dave. It follows. Nietzsche? For entrepreneurs? It was the end of January 1988, about nine months since we had embarked on turning Brad’s ...
Tags: Europe, Entrepreneurship, Boston, Book, Trends, Dave, Cambridge, Philosophy, Mike, Brad, Feld, Nietzsche, Feld Technologies, Sovrn, Walter Knapp

Greed and the philosophy of wealth

It's common wisdom that most things in life are best in moderation.Most of us agree that owning property is okay but are hard-pressed to say why and when it has gone too far.Greed dominates your life if the pursuit of wealth is a higher priority than charity, kindness, and solidarity with others. The great Greek poet, Hesiod, wrote, "Observe due measure; moderation is best in all things." It's a wisdom that finds support across all ages, stages, and aspects of life. Drinking water is a good th...
Tags: Wealth, West, Britain, Innovation, Philosophy, Inequality, Richard Dawkins, Plato, Locke, John Locke, Hesiod, Lockean, John Locke Locke, Godfrey Kneller, Wikipedia Public, Peter Singer Singer

Pyrrho and the Skeptical way of life: ignorance is bliss

Skepticism is the philosophy that there's very little that we can actually know with any certainty.Pyrrho is considered the father of Skepticism, and he believed we ought to suspend our judgment on all those things to which we can never find an answer.By giving up the dogmatic pursuit of some kind of resolution, we can be at peace with ourselves and stop getting wound up so easily. There's always someone, somewhere, who will disagree with you. There will always be a second opinion, a different...
Tags: Innovation, Oxford, Philosophy, Aj, Getty, Bob, Sam, Joe, Laurel, Ella, Toby, Ancient Greece, ELIS, Jonny Thomson, Yanny, OLIVIER HOSLET

Søren Kierkegaard – Subjectivity, Irony and the Crisis of Modernity: A Free Online Course from the University of Copenhagen

The University of Copenhagen and Jon Stewart, PhD present Søren Kierkegaard – Subjectivity, Irony and the Crisis of Modernity, a course exploring the work of Denmark’s great philosopher. The course description reads as follows: It is often claimed that relativism, subjectivism and nihilism are typically modern philosophical problems that emerge with the breakdown of traditional values, customs and ways of life. The result is the absence of meaning, the lapse of religious faith, and feeli...
Tags: Facebook, College, Online Courses, Philosophy, Denmark, Jon Stewart, Socrates, University of Copenhagen, Kierkegaard, Søren Kierkegaard, Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre, Kierkegaard Sartre Camus

Hidden philosophy of the Pythagorean theorem

Ancient Greeks believed that fire, air, water, and earth were the four elements of the universe.Plato associated these four elements with 3D geometrical solids.Pythagoras may have believed that the right triangle formed the basis of all reality. In Plato's dialogue, the Timaeus, we are presented with the theory that the cosmos is constructed out of right triangles.This proposal Timaeus makes after reminding his audience [49Bff] that earlier theories that posited "water" (proposed by Thales), o...
Tags: Greece, Egypt, Italy, Innovation, Philosophy, Mathematics, Plato, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Ancient Greece, Greece Turkey, Robert Hahn, Empedocles, Philosophy Of Science, Locri, Timaeus

Is human consciousness creating reality?

A new study claims networks of observers are responsible for determining physical reality.The scientists propose that observers generate the structures of time and space.The paper could help yield insights into the God Equation, which attempts to unify quantum mechanics and general relativity.Is there physical reality that is independent of us? Does objective reality exist at all? Or is the structure of everything, including time and space, created by the perceptions of those observing it? Such ...
Tags: Space, Biology, Mit, Computers, Physics, Innovation, Stephen Hawking, Philosophy, Albert Einstein, Einstein, Astrophysics, Quantum Mechanics, Monte Carlo, Robert Lanza, Michio Kaku, Lanza

Electric eels and gladiator blood: the curious beginnings of modern medicine

Ancient "medicine" once consisted of sacrificial offerings and divine petition. Disease was a supernatural infliction; health was a gift.Hippocrates invented medical science, and his theory of the humors and holistic health dominated Western medical thought for more than two thousand years.Today, medicine is much more disease centred, and perhaps something has been lost from the Hippocratic doctor-patient relationship. You're feeling sick — so sick you can barely walk — and so you visit a prof...
Tags: Greece, Medicine, Innovation, Oxford, Philosophy, History of science, Hermès, Alexandria, Tallinn Estonia, Voltaire, Ancient Greece, Hippocrates, Philosophy Of Science, Jonny Thomson, Wikipedia Public, Raeapteek

In praise of African art: How Shona sculpting emerged

How Shona stone art came into its own after independence The post In praise of African art: How Shona sculpting emerged appeared first on The Mail & Guardian.
Tags: Art, Tradition, Sculpture, Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, Philosophy, Henry Moore, Museum of Modern Art, Friday, British Museum, Symbolism, Civilisation, Tristan Tzara, Constantin Brancusi, Shona, Rhodesia

The incredible story of Wu Hsin and Roy Melvyn

Wu Hsin is an allegedly ancient Chinese sage whose inspiring teachings were brought to light by an obscure character named Roy Melvyn.Wu Hsin's teachings have inspired millions of people across the globe — even if all evidence indicates that he never existed and was made up by Melvyn.The remarkable story of Wu Hsin and Roy Melvyn explores the conflict between the nature of faith and literal or interpretative readings of religious texts. Last week, a renowned and highly respected Brazilian jour...
Tags: Japan, Youtube, China, Wikipedia, Religion, David, Brooklyn, Innovation, Philosophy, Dante, Thompson, Don Juan, Adam Frank, Michelangelo, Evan Thompson, CC BY SA

How to live an intellectual life

When you picture an intellectual, who do you see? Professor Zena Hitz says that somewhere along the way, the idea of what an intellectual is and does became distorted. "The real thing is something more extraordinary but also more available to us," Hitz adds, differentiating between an intellectual life constantly in pursuit of something else, and one that enjoys ordinary activities like reading and thinking.An example is young Albert Einstein, who spoke highly of his time working in a patent off...
Tags: Film, Intelligence, Teaching, Brain, Innovation, Philosophy, Albert Einstein, Mind, Humanity, Hitz, Zena Hitz

Twisted humor and life advice from Diogenes the Cynic

The Cynics were an ancient Greek school who believed that society suppressed, corrupted, and buried the human spirit.Diogenes of Sinope was the best known Cynic, and he resorted to some incredible shock tactics to jolt people from their societal stupor.Today, we're swamped and overwhelmed by the sheer scale of everything, and there are lessons to be found in Cynicism. Have you ever wasted an hour flicking through your phone and felt… hollow afterward? Have you had days when you're so overworke...
Tags: Wikipedia, Innovation, Oxford, Philosophy, Academy, Aristotle, Alexander, Cynicism, Plato, Socrates, Ancient Greece, Diogenes, Sinope, Jonny Thomson, Wikipedia Public, J H W Tischbein

Will virtual reality be the death of truth?

Philosopher Robert Nozick asked if we would rather live in the real world or inside a virtual reality machine of never-ending pleasure. Frederich Nietzsche asked if truth is really the greatest virtue.People seem to be hard-wired to want the truth, no matter how brutal or unpleasant. The year is 2045, and an eccentric billionaire has revealed to the world an incredible new invention. It's called the "experience machine," and it's an utterly immersive virtual reality device. It provides multi-s...
Tags: London, Innovation, Oxford, Philosophy, Virtual Reality, THOMSON, Friedrich Nietzsche, Nietzsche, NASA Kennedy, Mughal Empire, Robert Nozick, Nozick, Frederich Nietzsche, Philosophers Nietzsche, Wikipedia Public domainDespite Nietzsche