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Wiredu, Kwasi | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Wiredu, for many decades, was involved with a project he termed conceptual decolonization in contemporary African systems of thought. This term entailed, for Wiredu, a re-examination of current African epistemic foundations in order to accomplish two main objectives. First, he intended to undermine counter-productive facets of tribal cultures embedded in modern African, thought so as to make this body of thought both more sustainable and more rational. Second, he intended to deconstruct the unnecessary Western epistemologies which may be found in African philosophical practices.

A broad spectrum of academic disciplines took up the conceptual challenges of decolonization in a variety of ways. In particular, the disciplines of anthropology, history, political science, literature and philosophy all grappled with the practical and academic challenges inherent to decolonization.
philosophy  africa 
8 weeks ago by juliusbeezer
Viktor Frankl: Doctor prescribed the meaning of life - Big Think
Viktor Frankl was an Austrian psychologist known for his system of psychotherapy known as Logotherapy. As he explained in his book Man's Search for Meaning, many of the key ideas were born out of his time in Nazi concentration camps. He observed how his fellow prisoners dealt with the Nazi atrocities; these observations formed the basis for his theories.

Frankl suggested that a "will to meaning," exists in all of us and impacts our behavior and mental health. Our having it means that what we really want in life is to give a meaning to what we are doing and experiencing. If we fail to do so, we are likely to begin to show symptoms of depression, anxiety, and neurosis. By finding meaning, we can fully function as people and deal with whatever life throws at us.

Logotherapy was designed to help people deal with the problem of finding meaning, and had a robust theoretical framework to help guide it. Frankl assumed that life had inherent value and was worth living, that we have a will to meaning which must be confronted, that we have the freedom to find meaning at every moment, and that people had not only a mind and body but a "spirit" that was our true, unique, essence that also had to be considered...

There are a few issues with Logotherapy that were pointed out by other existential psychologists.

The most notable was Frankl's authoritarian tendencies when conducting therapy sessions. Psychologist Rollo May explained in his book Existential Psychology, Frankl's therapy came dangerously close to authoritarianism because:

"… there seem to be clear solutions to all problems, which belies the complexity of actual life. It seems that if the patient cannot find his goal, Frankl supplies him with one. This would seem to take over the patients' responsibility and. . . diminish the patient as a person."
psychology  philosophy 
february 2019 by juliusbeezer
Epistemology (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Defined narrowly, epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief. As the study of knowledge, epistemology is concerned with the following questions: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge? What are its sources? What is its structure, and what are its limits? As the study of justified belief, epistemology aims to answer questions such as: How we are to understand the concept of justification? What makes justified beliefs justified? Is justification internal or external to one's own mind? Understood more broadly, epistemology is about issues having to do with the creation and dissemination of knowledge in particular areas of inquiry...
When we conceive of epistemology as including knowledge and justified belief as they are positioned within a particular social and historical context, epistemology becomes social epistemology. How to pursue social epistemology is a matter of controversy. According to some, it is an extension and reorientation of traditional epistemology with the aim of correcting its overly individualistic orientation.
philosophy  science 
december 2018 by juliusbeezer
Livre: Accidents d'interprétation
Lionel Naccache, neurologue et chercheur en neurosciences, s’engage dans ce livre sur la piste d’un champ épistémologique nouveau : la collisionologie ; ou la science des collisions des innombrables signes présents dans notre environnement et notre système d’interprétation subjectif. Nous vivons en effet entourés de signes et de symboles que nous pensons univoques : le signe d’un passage piéton, un feu rouge, un hashtag, une croix chrétienne, etc. Et pourtant, justement parce qu’ils sont culturellement marqués et sujets à davantage de significations que nous pourrions le croire, ils suscitent des accidents d’interprétation qui, selon l’auteur, ont une réelle valeur clinique et peuvent nous éclairer sur la mécanique et le contenu de notre vie mentale.
crash_report  philosophy  français 
december 2018 by juliusbeezer
Hard Choices, Fredkin's Paradox and is Ethics a Waste of Time? | Practical Ethics
we might recognise that there is no objective stance from which to judge whether wit or kindness are preferable, and yet decide to commit ourselves to wit, and to choose Andy. In doing so, we effectively make a deliberate decision about who we are: we are the sort of people who choose wit over kindness....

Yet, if Chang is right, then we are failing to do justice to the nature of the values at stake in these decisions. Rather than recognise that we need to commit to a particular kind of qualitative value, we instead seek to maximise ‘value’ as a category in itself. One upshot of this would be the missed opportunity to make those commitments – and ‘constitute our wills’, in the lingo – through the process of actively choosing in cases of hard decisions. Another upshot might be a social failure, whereby we do not recognise that when others make hard choices, they are expressing commitments to particular values (rather than simply maximising expected utility)...

Chang gives us a way of seeing that, even when all our other reasons have run out, it still makes sense to deliberate hard and make an active choice (rather than surrendering to chance) in these hard choice cases. In doing so we acknowledge the specialness of the values at stake, be they the need to relieve suffering, or the commitment to supporting life, or the rights of parents over their children’s treatment, or the trust in medical expertise. We consider how all of these different values are expressed in the different options available to us, and we make a commitment to care about some of them more than others. The options may be on a par, but that doesn’t stop us from choosing.
ethics  philosophy  psychology 
december 2018 by juliusbeezer
How do I know if an article is good? an #ACSBoston tale | Rapha-z-lab
However the entire paper is based largely on a false premise: the idea that it is the “introduction of a deluge of new open-access online journals” which creates this reliability problem. This is hardly the case. The difficulty in identifying poor articles is not the deluge of open access journals nor is it predatory publishing. The growth in the volume of publications is not particularly related to open access and predatory publishing can be easily identified (with a little bit of common sense and a few pointers). The abstract (and to a lesser extent the talk) also conflates the evaluation of the reliability of a journal (an impossible task if you ask me) and the reliability of an article (an extremely onerous task if you ask me, but more on this later). Do I need to comment on the “rule of thumbs“?

I do teach third year undergraduate students on a similar topic. I ask them this same question: “how can you evaluate the validity of a scientific article?”. I write their answers on the white board; in whatever order, I get: the prestige of the University/Authors/Journal, the impact factor, the quality (?) of the references… I then cross it all.
openaccess  peerreview  philosophy  sciencepublishing  science 
november 2018 by juliusbeezer
The Empty Core of the Trump Mystique | The New Republic
I suppose that if I’m going to define nihilism as a lack of values—or to use Rauschning’s summation of Nazism, a “hostility to the things of the spirit, indifference to truth, indifference to the ethical conceptions of morality, honor, and equity”—I’m obliged to say what I mean by a value. I would call it any kind of allegiance for which you are willing to check your own desires for reasons other than pure self-interest. All values manifest themselves in restraint. You’d like to pitch out all those empty wine bottles, but you recycle them instead. You’re late for a doctor’s appointment but slow down your car so as not to hit a pedestrian crossing the street. (If your sole motivation is not to get gore on your front bumper, that is something else.) Values are by their very nature at odds with the amoral dynamism Rauschning describes; they are what applies the brakes. They also threaten the dynamism of an advanced capitalist economy by daring to suggest that something lower than the sky might be “the limit.” All the nameable avatars of the Almighty Market—pop psychology, digital fundamentalism, addictive consumption, cutthroat competition—are based on the premise that what you want is what you ought to have, and the quicker you can have it the better. By its very operation, the market inclines us away from principled restraint and toward nihilistic abandon...
A sense of radical incredulity, spectacularly typified by Trump’s refusal to believe his own intelligence services, is but one manifestation of the nihilism that brought him to power. What makes him “the real deal” in the eyes of his most ardent admirers is largely his insistence that almost everything else is fake. Like him, they know that the news is fake, the melting ice caps are fake, the purported citizenship of certain voters is fake, science is fake, social justice is fake, the whole notion of truth is fake. Whatever isn’t fake is so relative that it might as well be fake; “true for you,” maybe, but that’s as far as it goes. Among those who call themselves “believers” and are thus at least technically not nihilists, one frequently finds an obsession with apocalypse, a gleeful anticipation of the living end that will destroy the inherent fakery of all things. The social teachings of the Gospels need not trouble the Christian conscience so long as the troubles predicted in Revelation come to pass.
philosophy  authoritarianism  politics  agnotology 
october 2018 by juliusbeezer
Francis Fukuyama: ‘Trump instinctively picks racial themes to drive people on the left crazy’ | Books | The Guardian
“Thymos”... comes from Plato’s Republic. It represents a kind of third way for a soul instinctively divided into two competing impulses – reason and appetite – by Socrates. If the former of those two made us human and the latter kept us animal, thymos fell somewhere in between. Most translations of The Republic suggest its sense for Plato as “passion”. For his purposes, Fukuyama takes it to mean “the seat of judgements of worth”, a kind of eternal status thermostat.

The importance of thymos, he believes, is not only that it has been seriously overlooked by other political theorists. Whereas classical economics tried to explain the world in terms of individuals acting to maximise their financial self-interest, behaviouralists, thinking fast and slow, have proved that our rational capacity is often undermined by more intuitive forces. Perhaps the most powerful of these, Fukuyama insists, is the desire for respect...
“You were told Brexit was clearly going to be very costly for the British economy, therefore it would be irrational to support Brexit,” he says. “But what has been proved is not only that a lot of people voting to leave the EU didn’t care about that, [but] they were actually willing to take a hit in terms of their prosperity. The issues were cultural and they were willing to pay a price, it seems, to have greater control of immigration. In general, the mistake a lot of elites have made is that you can have a politics led by economic rationality divorced from these feelings about national identity.”
philosophy  politics  history  economics  Brexit 
september 2018 by juliusbeezer
Son cœur mis à nu - l’impossible biographie de Michel Foucault - Ici et ailleurs
j’avais durablement négligé de lire pour cette raison même – la biographie de Foucault publiée au début des années 1990 par un universitaire états-unien, James Miller et intitulée, tout un programme, The Passion of Michel Foucault. Je me suis donc dit, au vu de la « mauvaise réputation » de ce livre, qu’il pourrait constituer un bon truchement pour détourner la commande qui m’était adressée et j’ai donc entrepris de la lire avec soin, dans sa version originale, en anglais – puisqu’il semblerait que la version française publiée par les Editions Plon soit quelque peu caviardée, à la demande des héritiers de Foucault. C’est donc de ce livre que je vais vous parler, espérant que ce sera une façon utile de traiter « de biais » le sujet que les organisateurs du séminaire ont annoncé.

C’est un livre qui a donné lieu à des manifestations de rejet et d’exécration comme il arrive assez assez rarement dans la réception, en France, d’ouvrages ayant pour objet, au sens large, la philosophie. Voici par exemple ce qu’en dit Didier Eribon, le premier biographe de Foucault, et le seul Français parmi ceux-ci , dans Foucault et ses contemporains (1994), un livre écrit, pour une bonne part, contre James Miller, dans le but d’allumer un contre-feu à la publication annoncée, en français, de La passion Foucault (titre français, encore plus choc que le titre anglais) : « Je fus frappé de stupeur quand il me fut donné de le [le livre de Miller] lire. Tout le parcours intellectuel de Foucault y était expliqué par son goût prononcé pour ‘l’expérience-limite’, toute sa pensée décryptée comme une ‘allégorie autobiographique’ où s’exprimeraient, par delà les masques d’une prose virtuose, les pulsions du sado-masochisme et la fascination de la mort. La vie de Foucault, son œuvre, ses livres, ses engagements politiques s’y trouvaient nimbés d’une lumière crépusculaire, zébrée par les éclairs intermittents de la folie ; la quête suicidaire inlassablement poursuivie s’achevant dans la terrible apothéose finale - le sida – dont Miller ose même se demander si elle n’était pas ‘délibérément choisie’ ».
philosophy  history  foucault 
august 2018 by juliusbeezer
Guillaume Martin, le Nietzsche dans le guidon - Libération
A dire vrai, les réflexions de Martin sont incendiaires comme l’œuvre à la grenade du grand Fredo Nietzsche. Elles secouent notre vision du sport et en dessinent une nouvelle. Idéaliste, radicale, garde-fou des dérives telles que le dopage. Jean-François Balaudé, prof de philo et président de l’Université Paris-Nanterre, décrit l’étendue du brasier : «Guillaume Martin est le seul étudiant que j’ai accepté de diriger dans l’écriture de son mémoire, parce que son parcours sportif, alors aux portes du professionnalisme, m’avait séduit. Mais aussi parce qu’il existe très peu de travaux universitaires de cette ampleur en philosophie du sport. Le sujet qu’il traite est relativement original.»

Le prof contient mal son émotion : «Que Guillaume participe au prochain Tour de France est l’objet d’une jubilation profonde, dit-il.
cycling  philosophy  sport 
august 2018 by juliusbeezer
Illness and Attitude – Richard Holton's 3rd Uehiro Lecture | Practical Ethics
Although there is little empirical research directly on this question, Holton draws on research on self-efficacy to support his initial hypothesis that the conception of a disorder one has may play a role in the course that it takes. Self-efficacy refers to the concept that an individual’s beliefs about their ability to succeed in a particular task can significantly influence how they approach that task. Crucially in the current context, if I don’t believe that I will be able to succeed in task X, I will be less able to adopt coping behaviours, and to sustain effort in the face of obstacles to achieving X. To extend this to addiction, it seems plausible to suppose that if I believe that I cannot overcome an addictive craving, my low self-efficacy judgement will mean that I will be less likely to exert the sort of effort that might in fact lead me to succeed in resisting the craving.

Rather than focus primarily on addiction though, Holton’s main focus in this lecture is on psycho-somatic illness. These illnesses might plausibly be understood as extreme cases of something like the phenomenon Holton is interested in, namely, attitudes mediating illness in some sense.
medicine  psychology  drugs  healthcare  philosophy 
june 2018 by juliusbeezer
Santiago Ramon y Cajal: "The Father of Neuroscience" - Brain Connection
Cajal added several levels of preparation and made other refinements as the debate over the true structure of the central nervous system was intensifying. While no one had yet seen an entire nerve cell, or could tell whether it was independent or just part of a larger structure, some scientists already questioned the old “single network” theory. Fridtjof Nansen, better known today for his Arctic explorations, had joined several others in theorizing that nerve cells were independent, basic structures. Still, almost everyone else, including Golgi and Cajal, believed in the network structure.

cajaldrawIn 1887, Cajal became chair of Normal and Pathological Histology at the university in Barcelona. His most consuming work, however, was slicing, soaking, staining and affixing to glass slides, slivers of the cerebellum of the embryo of a small bird. Then he carefully drew what he saw under the microscope. He became an ardent convert to the independent-cell camp.
history  medicine  science  philosophy 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
Bicycle Suspension Is Evil | Outside Online
riding a bicycle can be a contemplative process, and after years of pedaling I've broken through to a place where the sheer malevolence of the car is something I can no longer unsee. I'm like "Rowdy" Roddy Piper in They Live, only it's the bike and not the sunglasses that's revealing the subliminal messages.

Maybe that's why some people seem to hate bikes so much: pedal one for long enough and eventually you'll arrive at the truth.
driving  cycling  philosophy 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
René Barjavel — Wikipédia
Et c'est un peu a posteriori que l'on rattache les premiers romans de Barjavel (Le Voyageur imprudent et Ravage), au genre de la science-fiction : le terme n'est pas encore utilisé en France ; on parle plutôt de « roman scientifique » chez Jules Verne, de « roman d'anticipation » pour J.-H. Rosny aîné ou Albert Robida ou encore de « roman extraordinaire » chez Barjavel, mais pas encore de science-fiction : ce terme, anglo-saxon, ne s'imposera que plus tard. Et de surcroît, dans ses deux romans écrits et publiés dans un Hexagone alors coupé du monde anglophone, Barjavel ne fait intervenir ni extra-terrestres répugnants, ni robots psychopathes, ni voyages spatiaux, ni mutants. Mais il y développe déjà des idées typiques du déferlement des années 1950 : apocalypse, fin du monde, voyage dans le temps, retour à la barbarie et autres catastrophes imputables à une technologie aliénante ou malicieusement utilisée.

[global warming, cars, metropoles, Europe, et cet]
writing  france  français  philosophy  literature 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
The Rule of Law (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
[top stuff from the Californie jurisprudence -rs]
The best known are the eight formal principles of Lon Fuller’s “inner morality of law”: (1964; see also the lists in Finnis 1980: 270–1; Rawls 1999: 208–10; and Raz 1979 [1977]: 214–18) generality; publicity; prospectivity; intelligibility; consistency; practicability; stability; and congruence. These principles are formal, because they concern the form of the norms that are applied to our conduct.

So for example, the requirement that laws be general in character, rather than aimed at particular individuals, is purely a matter of form.
law  writing  philosophy 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
Superintelligence: The Idea That Eats Smart People
Another weird consequence of AI is Galactic expansion. I've never understood precisely why, but it's a staple of transhumanist thought. The fate of (trans)humanity must either be leave our planet and colonize the galaxy, or to die out. This is made more urgent knowing other civilizations have made the same choice and might be ahead of us in the space race.

So there's a lot of weird ancillary stuff packed into this assumption of true artificial intelligence.

Religion 2.0

What it really is is a form of religion. People have called a belief in a technological Singularity the "nerd Apocalypse", and it's true.

It's a clever hack, because instead of believing in God at the outset, you imagine yourself building an entity that is functionally identical with God. This way even committed atheists can rationalize their way into the comforts of faith.

The AI has all the attributes of God: it's omnipotent, omniscient, and either benevolent (if you did your array bounds-checking right), or it is the Devil and you are at its mercy.
religion  politics  philosophy  programming 
september 2017 by juliusbeezer
An Oasis of Horror in an Internet of Boredom | Angela Nagle
Chan culture became what you might call the unwanted gift, a twist on Mauss’s The Gift that early Internet theorists used as a central metaphor for the non-instrumental culture of sharing that it nurtured. In The Revolution of Everyday Life by the Situationist thinker Raoul Vaneigem, Mauss’s principle of the gift, originally used to describe reciprocal gift-giving systems in pre-modern societies, was celebrated on the grounds that only the purity of motiveless destruction or ruinous generosity can transcend instrumentalism. The Situationists’ critique of “the poverty of every day life,” like Baudelaire’s “An oasis of horror in a desert of boredom,” articulated a common sentiment—found from the Romantics through to contemporary online cultures of transgression—that ennui, boredom, and inertia requires a counterforce of extreme transgression. But while the Situationists had a better world in their hearts, the nihilistic application of the transgressive style already took shape in the sixties counterculture. “The Manson murders,” Reynolds and Press argue in their book The Sex Revolts, “were the logical culmination of throwing off the shackles of conscience and consciousness, the grim flowering of the id’s voodoo energies.”
theory  politics  philosophy  transgression 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
One man's mathematical formula for happiness | The Independent
one man says he has come up with a mathematical solution. Mo Gawdat was miserable for several years in his twenties and thirties despite his high-flying job, income and happy family unit. Determined to turn this around Gawdat, an engineer by trade who is now an executive at Google, formulated an equation for happiness.

A couple of years later, he put this to the test when his 21-year-old son Ali died unexpectedly in what should have been a routine operation.

He has now shared the secrets to his formula for being happy – no matter what life throws at you – in his new book Solve For Happy...

Due to the circumstances of Ali’s death, senior officials in Dubai that Gawdat knew asked if he would mind them requesting an autopsy...

“Nibet said in her own very wise way, as always, ‘Will it bring Ali back?’’ This question came four hours later [after Ali’s death] and we were completely anchored in reality.

(via siobhan on fb, dccomment:

"The speaker is Mo Gawdat. Hmm. He's right in a way of course, though it is a potentially conservative (with a small 'c') philosophy. Should we be happy with the world as it is? According to the Independent his "21-year-old son Ali died unexpectedly in what should have been a routine operation"; should his son's surgeon share this philosophy?")

Gawdat's book reportèdly promotes "intelligent design" over naturalism. Hmm.
google  psychology  medicine  ethics  philosophy 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
Using AI to Predict Criminal Offending: What Makes it ‘Accurate’, and What Makes it ‘Ethical’. | Practical Ethics
Crucially, the optimal balance between false positives and false negative will depend on the social and political context in which the assessment tool is used. It depends, for example, on the detention practices of the jurisdiction in which the assessment is being carried out: the more harmful or restrictive the detention is likely to be to a detainee, the more important it becomes to avoid false positive assessments of risk.

To illustrate, it could be argued that in countries with inhumane detention practices, reductions in false positives should be prioritised over reductions in false negatives. Conversely, if the assessment is carried out in a high-crime area with humane detention practices, there is a case for prioritising the avoidance of false negatives.
philosophy  crime  programming  law 
june 2017 by juliusbeezer
Quote for Today from Paul Feyerabend | The Professor's Notes
While the political scientist in me as a rule stops listening when I hear someone is an “anarchist” the use of the word in this case carries far different baggage. That said, here’s the quote from his introduction, page 2:..
In cases where the scientists’ work affects the public it even should participate: first, because it is a concerned party (many scientific decisions affect public life); secondly, because such participation is the best scientific education the public can get–a full democratization of science (which includes the protection of minorities such as scientists) is not in conflict with science.
science  philosophy  search  citation  publishing 
may 2017 by juliusbeezer
Perspective: It’s Not a War on Science | Issues in Science and Technology
a warning not to confuse political strategy with winning a war. Winning requires true understanding of your opponents, their resources and capabilities, and especially their motives and objectives.

What appears to be a war on science by the current Congress and president is, in fact, no such thing. Fundamentally, it is a war on government. To be more specific, it is a war on a form of government with which science has become deeply aligned and allied over the past century. To the disparate wings of the conservative movement that believe that US strength lies in its economic freedoms, its individual liberties, and its business enterprises, one truth binds them all: the federal government has become far too powerful.

Science is, for today’s conservatives, an instrument of federal power. They attack science’s forms of truth-making, its databases, and its budgets not out of a rejection of either science or truth, but as part of a coherent strategy to weaken the power of the federal agencies that rely on them. Put simply, they war on science to sap the legitimacy of the federal government. Mistaking this for a war on science could lead to bad tactics, bad strategy, and potentially disastrous outcomes for both science and democracy.
science  philosophy  politics  us  theory 
april 2017 by juliusbeezer
Manuel d’Épictète (trad. Thurot) - Wikisource
4. Ne ris pas beaucoup, ni de beaucoup de choses, ni avec excès.

5. Dispense-toi de faire des serments, en toute circonstance, si cela se peut, ou au moins dans la mesure du possible.

6. Refuse de venir aux repas où tu te trouverais avec des étrangers qui ne sont pas philosophes ; et si l’occasion l’exige, fais bien attention à ne pas tomber dans leurs manières. Souviens-toi que quand ton compagnon est sale, tu ne peux pas te frotter à lui sans te salir, quelque propre que tu sois toi-même.
philosophy  français 
april 2017 by juliusbeezer
Descartes was wrong: ‘a person is a person through other persons’ | Aeon Ideas
The emerging fields of embodied and enactive cognition have started to take dialogic models of the self more seriously. But for the most part, scientific psychology is only too willing to adopt individualistic Cartesian assumptions that cut away the webbing that ties the self to others. There is a Zulu phrase, ‘Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’, which means ‘A person is a person through other persons.’ This is a richer and better account, I think, than ‘I think, therefore I am.’
ubuntu  philosophy 
april 2017 by juliusbeezer
"There is no such thing as free speech": an interview with Stanley Fish <P>
Q : Professor Fish, what do you mean when you say that there is no such thing as free speech?

A : Many discussions of free speech, especially by those whom I would call free speech ideologues, begin by assuming as normative the situation in which speech is offered for its own sake, just for the sake of expression. The idea is that free expression, the ability to open up your mouth and deliver an opinion in a seminar-like atmosphere, is the typical situation and any constraint on free expression is therefore a deviation from that typical or normative situation. I begin by saying that this is empirically false, that the prototypical academic situation in which you utter sentences only to solicit sentences in return with no thought of actions being taken, is in fact anomalous. It is something that occurs only in the academy and for a very small number of people.

Therefore, a theory of free speech which takes such weightless situations as being the centre of the subject seems to me to go wrong from the first. I begin from the opposite direction. I believe the situation of constraint is the normative one and that the distinctions which are to be made are between differing situations of constraint; rather than a distinction between constraint on the one hand and a condition of no constraint on the other. Another way to put this is to say that, except in a seminar-like situation, when one speaks to another person, it is usually for an instrumental purpose: you are trying to get someone to do something, you are trying to urge an idea and, down the road, a course of action. These are the reasons for which speech exists and it is in that sense that I say that there is no such thing as "free speech", that is, speech that has as its rationale nothing more than its own production...

There is no-one in the history of the world who has ever been in favour of free speech...

There is one part, however, of Milton's Areopagitica that is rarely noticed in such discussions and when noticed is noticed with some embarrassment. About three quarters of the way through the tract Milton says, "Now you understand of course", and the tone in his prose suggests that he assumes that most of his readers have always understood this, "that when I speak of toleration and free expression I don't mean Catholics. Them we extirpate".
freedom  philosophy  humanrights  education 
february 2017 by juliusbeezer
Free Speech and the Paradox of Tolerance – Medium
We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, exactly as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping; or as we should consider incitement to the revival of the slave trade.
humanrights  philosophy  freedom  popper 
february 2017 by juliusbeezer
The Death Of Expertise
No one — not me, anyway — wants to return to those days. I like the 21st century, and I like the democratization of knowledge and the wider circle of public participation. That greater participation, however, is endangered by the utterly illogical insistence that every opinion should have equal weight, because people like me, sooner or later, are forced to tune out people who insist that we’re all starting from intellectual scratch. (Spoiler: We’re not.) And if that happens, experts will go back to only talking to each other. And that’s bad for democracy.
agnotology  attention  politics  socialmedia  philosophy 
january 2017 by juliusbeezer
In Defense of Anarchism | The Anarchist Library
This essay on the foundations of the authority of the state marks a stage in the development of my concern with problems of political authority and moral autonomy. When I first became deeply interested in the subject, I was quite confident that I could find a satisfactory justification for the traditional democratic doctrine to which I rather unthinkingly gave my allegiance. Indeed, during my first year as a member of the Columbia University Philosophy Department, I taught a course on political philosophy in which I boldly announced that I would formulate and then solve the fundamental problem of political philosophy. I had no trouble formulating the problem — roughly speaking, how the moral autonomy of the individual can be made compatible with the legitimate authority of the state. I also had no trouble refuting a number of supposed solutions which had been put forward by various theorists of the democratic state. But midway through the semester, I was forced to go before my class, crestfallen and very embarrassed, to announce that I had failed to discover the grand solution.

At first, as I struggled with this dilemma, I clung to the conviction that a solution lay just around the next conceptual corner. When I read papers on the subject to meetings at various universities, I was forced again and again to represent myself as searching for a theory which I simply could not find. Little by little, I began to shift the emphasis of my exposition. Finally — whether from philosophical reflection, or simply from chagrin — I came to the realization that I was really defending the negative rather than looking for the positive. My failure to find any theoretical justification for the authority of the state had convinced me that there was no justification. In short, I had become a philosophical anarchist.

The first chapter of this essay formulates the problem as I originally posed it to myself more than five years ago. The second chapter explores the classical democratic solution to the problem and exposes the inadequacy of the usual majoritarian model of the democratic state. The third chapter sketches, in a rather impressionistic, Hegelian way, the reasons for my lingering hope that a solution can be found; it concludes with some brief, quite Utopian suggestions of ways in which an anarchic society might actually function.
politics  authoritarianism  anarchism  philosophy 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
Boswell's Life of Johnson (Project Gutenberg edition)
we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the non-existence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it, 'I refute it thus[1385].' This was a stout exemplification of the first truths of Pere Bouffier[1386], or the original principles of Reid and of Beattie; without admitting which, we can no more argue in metaphysicks, than we can argue in mathematicks without axioms. To me it is not conceivable how Berkeley can be answered by pure reasoning; but I know that the nice and difficult task was to have been undertaken by one of the most luminous minds of the present age, had not politicks 'turned him from calm philosophy aside[1387]
philosophy  funny 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
The Samuel Johnson Sound Bite Page: Refutation of Bishop Berkely
57. Refutation of Bishop Berkeley (ad lapidem)
After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it -- "I refute it thus."
Boswell: Life
philosophy  literature  funny 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
Edmund Gettier - Wikipedia
Gettier... was short on publications, his colleagues urged him to write up any ideas he had just to satisfy the administration. The result was a three-page paper that remains one of the most famous in recent philosophical history. According to anecdotal comments that Plantinga has given in lectures, Gettier was originally so unenthusiastic about the paper that he wrote it, had someone translate it into Spanish, and published in a South American journal.[citation needed] The paper was later published in the United States. Gettier has since published nothing
philosophy  funny  scholarly  publishing 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
Reliabilist Epistemology (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Reliabilism is an approach to epistemology that emphasizes the truth-conduciveness of a belief-forming process, method, or other epistemologically relevant factors. The reliability theme appears in theories of knowledge, of justification, and of evidence. “Reliabilism” is sometimes used broadly to refer to any theory that emphasizes truth-getting or truth indicating properties. More commonly it is used narrowly to refer to process reliabilism about justification. This entry discusses reliabilism in both broad and narrow senses, but concentrates on the theory of justification.
philosophy  knowledge 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
This Simple Philosophical Puzzle Shows How Difficult It Is to Know Something - Facts So Romantic - Nautilus
the American philosopher Edmund Gettier devised a thought experiment that has become known as a “Gettier case.” It shows that something’s “off” about the way we understand knowledge. This ordeal is called the “Gettier problem,” and 50 years later, philosophers are still arguing about it. Jennifer Nagel, a philosopher of mind at the University of Toronto, sums up its appeal. “The resilience of the Gettier problem,” she says, “suggests that it is difficult (if not impossible) to develop any explicit reductive theory of knowledge.”

What is knowledge? Well, thinkers for thousands of years had more or less taken one definition for granted: Knowledge is “justified true belief.” The reasoning seemed solid: Just believing something that happens to be true doesn’t necessarily make it knowledge. If your friend says to you that she knows what you ate last night (say it’s veggie pizza), and happens to be right after guessing, that doesn’t mean she knew. That was just a lucky guess—a mere true belief. Your friend would know, though, if she said veggie pizza because she saw you eat it—that’s the “justification” part. Your friend, in that case, would have good reason to believe you ate it.
philosophy  knowledge 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?
Gettier loses me here: "suppose… Jones owns a Ford" (argumentum ad plaustrum)
philosophy  funny  driving 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
We can Fix It: Saving the Truth from the Internet
So it is time to lend a hand; time to raise a barn. We need to figure out how to create the standard new methods of authentication and ranking. We need help pushing for changes at large internet companies. We need to think through the details of how the truth and rotten tomato prizes would be awarded. We’ll need a budget and funding to create a strong incentive for the prizes. We need to promote these ideas and get more adoption. In short, if you found this message, we need you. If you agree that we need social action to make the internet safe for truth, promote this message and sign up to be part of this project.
internet  socialmedia  agnotology  commenting  dccomment  philosophy 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
The Invisible Visible Man: A peeved pedestrian, a rider's broken shoulder and why it's time to stop designing for conflict
I remember an incident from the summer of 2013 as I rode home down the Hudson River Greenway on the west side of Manhattan. Near a narrow section where runners and pedestrians were forced together, I came upon a middle-aged Dutch man slumped on the ground and grasping at his shoulder. He had hurt himself, I later discovered, after a runner had stepped off the walkway and into his path, knocking him off.
cycling  road_safety  pqpc  netherlands  us  uk  philosophy  dccomment 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
The right’s climate denialism is part of something much larger | Grist
Regardless, to restrict discussion to climate science — how many scientists say what, who signed what statement, how many peer-reviewed papers say what — misses the forest for the trees. Climate denialism is part of something much broader and scarier on the right. The core idea is most clearly expressed by Rush Limbaugh:

"We really live, folks, in two worlds. There are two worlds. We live in two universes. One universe is a lie. One universe is an entire lie. Everything run, dominated, and controlled by the left here and around the world is a lie..."
The right’s project over the last 30 years has been to dismantle the post-war liberal consensus by undermining trust in society’s leading institutions. Experts are made elites; their presumption of expertise becomes self-damning. They think they’re better than you. They talk down to you. They don’t respect people like us, real Americans.
agnotology  climatechange  philosophy  politics 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
Will Self: Are humans evolving beyond the need to tell stories? | Books | The Guardian
I began writing my books on a manual typewriter at around the same time wireless broadband became ubiquitous, sensing it was inimical not only to the act of writing, but that of reading as well: a novel should be a self-contained and self-explanatory world (at least, that’s how the form has evolved), and it needs to be created in the same cognitive mode as it’s consumed: the writer hunkering down into his own episodic memories, and using his own canonical knowledge, while imagining all the things he’s describing, rather than Googling them to see what someone else thinks they look like. I also sense the decline in committed reading among the young that these studies claim: true, the number of those who’ve ever been inclined “to get up in the morning in the fullness of youth”, as Nietzsche so eloquently put it, “and open a book” has always been small; but then it’s worth recalling the sting in the tail of his remark: “now that’s what I call vicious”.
writing  philosophy 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
The Future of Search | chad wellmon
Furthermore, Google’s PageRank technology makes no claims about the internal content of the pages it tracks. It makes no claims about that content’s truth. e value or worth that PageRank measures is the importance of a website as determined by other websites. PageRank measures how well connected the New York Times website is—its popularity, not the accuracy of its information. In fact, some gossip websites have far higher PageRank scores than many other more accurate sites. PageRank levels the standards of legitimacy so that traditional notions of epistemic authority—expertise, cultural and social capital, scholarly peer review—have little place in its calculations.

For some, such as Michael Lynch, a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, Google PageRank represents everything that is wrong with knowledge in the digital age. It is central to what he calls in The Internet of Us “Google-knowing,” not just the way we use Google’s search engine but the way “we are increasingly dependent on knowing” by means of it and other digital technologies. Although Lynch acknowledges the ample benefits of such technologies, he worries that our increasing reliance on them will ultimately “undermine” and weaken other ways of knowing. He is concerned in particular about how “Google-knowing” impedes ways of knowing that require “taking responsibility for our own beliefs” and understanding how “information fits together.”
google  search  philosophy 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
The influential Confucian philosopher you’ve never heard of | Aeon Essays
This thought experiment was formulated by the ancient Confucian Mengzi, the most influential philosopher in world history whom you have probably never heard of. He uses it to argue that, contrary to egoists, and to those who believe that human psychology is a tabula rasa, human nature is hard-wired with an incipient tendency toward compassion for the suffering of others.

Although Mengzi was born long after Confucius died, he is referred to as the ‘Second Sage’ because he shaped the form that Confucianism would take for the next two millennia, not just in China, but also in Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Also known as ‘Mencius’ (the Latinisation of his name given by early Jesuit missionaries), Mengzi is attracting renewed interest among Western philosophers. Not only does Mengzi provide an intriguing alternative to Aristotelian accounts of the virtues and their cultivation, but his claims about human nature are supported by recent empirical research.
philosophy  ethics  psychology 
october 2016 by juliusbeezer
social defense systems – scatterplot
Unlike treatises that declare algorithms universally bad or always good, O’Neil asks three questions to determine whether we should classify a model as a “weapon of math destruction”:

Is the model opaque?
Is it unfair? Does it damage or destroy lives?
Can it scale?

These questions actually eliminate the math entirely. By doing so, O’Neil makes it possible to study WMDs by their characteristics not their content. One need not know anything about the internal workings of the model at all to attempt to answer these three empirical questions. More than any other contribution that O’Neil makes, defining the opacity-damage-scalability schema to identify WMDs as social facts makes the book valuable.

The classification also helped me realize that the failure of many of the WMDs she describes could be mitigated through the application of basic sociological principles.
opendata  sociology  philosophy 
october 2016 by juliusbeezer
The “Other Side” Is Not Dumb. – Medium
As any debate club veteran knows, if you can’t make your opponent’s point for them, you don’t truly grasp the issue. We can bemoan political gridlock and a divisive media all we want. But we won’t truly progress as individuals until we make an honest effort to understand those that are not like us. And you won’t convince anyone to feel the way you do if you don’t respect their position and opinions.

A dare for the next time you’re in discussion with someone you disagree with: Don’t try to “win.” Don’t try to “convince” anyone of your viewpoint. Don’t score points by mocking them to your peers. Instead try to “lose.” Hear them out. Ask them to convince you and mean it. No one is going to tell your environmentalist friends that you merely asked follow up questions after your brother made his pro-fracking case.
philosophy  psychology  authoritarianism 
october 2016 by juliusbeezer
Rules for trusting "black boxes" in algorithmic control systems / Boing Boing
Tim O'Reilly writes about the reality that more and more of our lives -- including whether you end up seeing this very sentence! -- is in the hands of "black boxes": algorithmic decision-makers whose inner workings are a secret from the people they affect.

O'Reilly proposes four tests to determine whether a black box is trustable:

1. Its creators have made clear what outcome they are seeking, and it is possible for external observers to verify that outcome.

2. Success is measurable.

3. The goals of the algorithm's creators are aligned with the goals of the algorithm's consumers.

4. Does the algorithm lead its creators and its users to make better longer term decisions?
socialnetworking  safety  programming  attention  philosophy 
september 2016 by juliusbeezer
Why I’m voting for Corbyn, and why you should too – Ramblings of an Ordinary Man
in order to deliver all of these things, Labour had to first win power. This is self evident, and on that score, Owen and Sadiq, we are in complete agreement. However, could any of those things have been delivered, if our party’s founders had put the opiate of electability before their values? Would they have campaigned for the rights of children not to be exploited, or for basic care for the elderly poor, had they been utterly preoccupied with ‘public opinion’? Was the media and the general public, in 1906, or in 1945, broadly accepting of Labour’s values? It seems they were not. Yet the likes of Keir Hardie, fought strenuously for them anyway.
uk  politics  philosophy 
september 2016 by juliusbeezer
Peter E. Gordon — The Authoritarian Personality Revisited: Reading Adorno in the Age of Trump | boundary 2
Just a few months ago, in mid-January, 2016, the online magazine Politico published a report with the title: “One Weird Trait that Predicts Whether You’re a Trump Supporter.”

If I asked you what most defines Donald Trump supporters, what would you say? They’re white? They’re poor? They’re uneducated? You’d be wrong. In fact, I’ve found a single statistically significant variable predicts whether a voter supports Trump—and it’s not race, income or education levels: It’s authoritarianism. That’s right, Trump’s electoral strength—and his staying power—have been buoyed, above all, by Americans with authoritarian inclinations...
And yet it seems fair to say that the very notion of an authoritarian personality or character worked against sociological explanation, discouraging an account of individual human psychology as a social artifact. Instead of enforcing a dialectical image of the relation between the psychological and the social, it tended to reify the psychological as the antecedent condition, thereby diminishing what was for critical theory a sine qua non for all interdisciplinary labor joining sociology to psychoanalysis. The recent work by MacWilliams (which reflects formidable research effort and should not be lightly dismissed) would appear to reflect this understanding of psychology as the prior explanatory variable because of the way it tries to isolate “authoritarianism,” as if it were a stable category for sociological analysis prior to other affiliations or identifying social factors...
It should not surprise us that the collaborative research team did not include these remarks in the published text of The Authoritarian Personality. For if Adorno was right, then the very notion of individual psychology had to be treated with deepest skepticism. Even psychoanalysis in his view promoted the model of an integrated and separable personality, but while this expressed the sociological truth of the nineteenth century bourgeoisie it was no longer adequate for understanding the dynamics of a fully integrated modern social order. In this respect even psychoanalysis was objectively false and, in cleaving to a model of autonomous depth, it was ideological in the technical sense.
philosophy  sociology  psychology  politics  theory  authoritarianism 
september 2016 by juliusbeezer
Your brain does not process information and it is not a computer | Aeon Essays
In his book In Our Own Image (2015), the artificial intelligence expert George Zarkadakis describes six different metaphors people have employed over the past 2,000 years to try to explain human intelligence.

In the earliest one, eventually preserved in the Bible, humans were formed from clay or dirt, which an intelligent god then infused with its spirit. That spirit ‘explained’ our intelligence – grammatically, at least.

The invention of hydraulic engineering in the 3rd century BCE led to the popularity of a hydraulic model of human intelligence, the idea that the flow of different fluids in the body – the ‘humours’ – accounted for both our physical and mental functioning. The hydraulic metaphor persisted for more than 1,600 years, handicapping medical practice all the while.

By the 1500s, automata powered by springs and gears had been devised, eventually inspiring leading thinkers such as René Descartes to assert that humans are complex machines. In the 1600s, the British philosopher Thomas Hobbes suggested that thinking arose from small mechanical motions in the brain. By the 1700s, discoveries about electricity and chemistry led to new theories of human intelligence – again, largely metaphorical in nature. In the mid-1800s, inspired by recent advances in communications, the German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz compared the brain to a telegraph.
metaphor  science  philosophy  psychology 
september 2016 by juliusbeezer
Melania Trump was just being creative: The case for plagiarism, from a celebrated poet who made a career out of it — Quartz
by using other people’s words, I’m able to deconstruct everything from authorship to media. And I’ve never even come close to being sued. Instead, these gestures foreground appropriation as a critical strategy—but I always admit this strategy from the outset. When you admit plagiarism, you unleash a series of complex questions that render simple binaries of right versus wrong, or good versus bad, inadequate.
goldsmith  copying  philosophy  theory 
july 2016 by juliusbeezer
The Creative World’s Bullshit Industrial Complex - 99U
This Bullshit Industrial Complex has always existed. But thanks to the precarious economics and job prospects of the creative person, it is often in a creative’s financial interest to climb the bullshit pyramid. In the short term, it’s creating a class of (often young) creatives deluded into thinking they are doing something meaningful by sharing “advice.” Long term, it’s robbing us of a creative talent.
attention  philosophy  knowledge 
july 2016 by juliusbeezer
Rawls on Justice
We are to imagine ourselves in what Rawls calls the Original Position. We are all self-interested rational persons and we stand behind "the Veil of Ignorance." To say that we are self-interested rational persons is to say that we are motivated to select, in an informed and enlightened way, whatever seems advantageous for ourselves.

To say that we are behind a Veil of Ignorance is to say we do not know the following sorts of things: our sex, race, physical handicaps, generation, social class of our parents, etc. But self-interested rational persons are not ignorant of (1) the general types of possible situations in which humans can find themselves; (2) general facts about human psychology and "human nature".

Self-interested rational persons behind the Veil of Ignorance are given the task of choosing the principles that shall govern actual world. Rawls believes that he has set up an inherently fair procedure here. Because of the fairness of the procedure Rawls has described, he says, the principles that would be chosen by means of this procedure would be fair principles.

A self-interested rational person behind the Veil of Ignorance would not want to belong to a race or gender or sexual orientation that turns out to be discriminated-against. Such a person would not wish to be a handicapped person in a society where handicapped are treated without respect. So principles would be adopted that oppose discrimination.

Likewise, a self-interested rational person would not want to belong to a generation which has been allocated a lower than average quantity of resources. So (s)he would endorse the principle: "Each generation should have roughly equal resources" or "Each generation should leave to the next at least as many resources as they possessed at the start."

The corollary of this, in rights terms, is that all generations have the same rights to resources, future as well as present.
justice  philosophy  attention  agnotology 
april 2016 by juliusbeezer
Copyright versus community in the age of computer networks
OK. Copyright versus community in the age of computer networks. The principles of ethics can't change. They are the same for all situations, but to apply them to any question or situation you have to look at the facts of the situation to compare alternatives, you have to see what their consequences are, a change in technology never changes the principles of ethics, but a change in technology can alter the consequences of the same choices, so it can make a difference for the outcome of the question, and that has happened in the area of copyright law. We have a situation where changes in technology have affected the ethical factors that weigh on decisions about copyright law and change the right policy for society.
rms  copyright  history  philosophy  freesoftware 
march 2016 by juliusbeezer
The unbearable asymmetry of bullshit | Practical Ethics
When I say bullshit, I mean arguments, data, publications, or even the official policies of scientific organizations that give every impression of being perfectly reasonable — of being well-supported by the highest quality of evidence, and so forth — but which don’t hold up when you scrutinize the details. Bullshit has the veneer of truth-like plausibility. It looks good. It sounds right. But when you get right down to it, it stinks.

There are many ways to produce scientific bullshit. One way is to assert that something has been “proven,” “shown,” or “found” and then cite, in support of this assertion, a study that has actually been heavily critiqued (fairly and in good faith, let us say, although that is not always the case, as we soon shall see) without acknowledging any of the published criticisms of the study or otherwise grappling with its inherent limitations.

Another way is to refer to evidence as being of “high quality” simply because it comes from an in-principle relatively strong study design, like a randomized control trial, without checking the specific materials that were used in the study to confirm that they were fit for purpose...
As the programmer Alberto Brandolini is reputed to have said: “The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.” This is the unbearable asymmetry of bullshit I mentioned in my title, and it poses a serious problem for research integrity. Developing a strategy for overcoming it, I suggest, should be a top priority for publication ethics.
philosophy  ethics  attention  science  agnotology  dccomment 
february 2016 by juliusbeezer
Bernard Andrieu — Wikipédia
Bernard Andrieu, philosophe, né à Agen le 24 décembre 1959, est professeur en Staps à l'Université Paris Descartes (Sorbonne Paris Cité) depuis le 1er septembre 2015. Il est membre suppléant du CNU 72eme section(2016-2021), Directeur de l'EA 3625 TEC " Techniques et enjeux du corps"[1] depuis le 1er octobre 2015, Directeur adjoint de l'ED 456 Staps " Sciences du sport, de la Motricité et du Mouvement humain", coordonateur du parcours EPS du Master MEEF ESPE Paris, et coordonnateur (2015-2018) du GDRI 836 CNRS BE-PASA Body Ecology in Adapted sportive activities. Il a été à l'Université de Rouen et chercheur au CETAPS1 de 2014à 2015.

Il a été de 2005 à 2014 Pr en épistémologie du corps et des pratiques corporelles à l'Université Nancy 12,3. Philosophe du corps, il publie des travaux d'histoire des pratiques corporelles (comme le bronzage, le toucher, le vivant, les prématurés, le plein air, l'immersion, le vertige circassien au pole recherche du CNAC (Centre National des arts du cirque), l'hybridation ou les cultes du corps) et établit une écologie corporelle. Il développe une emersiologie4 du corps vivant dans la conscience du corps vécu.
cycling  philosophy  sport 
january 2016 by juliusbeezer
Lexington Series | Rowman & Littlefield
The Studies in Philosophy of Sport series encourages scholars from all disciplines to inquire into the nature, importance, and qualities of sport and related activities. The series aims to encourage new voices and methods for the philosophic study of sport while also inspiring established scholars to consider new questions and approaches in this field. The series encourages scholars new to the philosophy of sport to bring their expertise to this growing field. These new voices bring innovative methods and different questions to the standard issues in the philosophy of sport. Well-trodden topics in the literature will be reexamined with fresh takes and new questions and issues will be explored to advance the field beyond traditional positions.
scholarly  philosophy  sport  cycling 
january 2016 by juliusbeezer
European Association for the Philosophy of Sport | Official Website
This is the official website of the European Association for the Philosophy of Sport (EAPS). EAPS is the European organisation associated with the study of the nature and values of human movement, including the ethics of games, play, and sport for example.
sport  philosophy  europe  work 
january 2016 by juliusbeezer
Voltaire on Quakers | Quakers in Scotland
Voltaire's "Lettres Philosophiques," published in 1734. These contain 4 very interesting letters about the Quakers.

At the time the letters were written, Voltaire had already had two spells of imprisonment in the Bastille for his advocacy of toleration and enlightenment. He was released from prison on condition that he left France and he chose exile in England. He was taught English by a Quaker and became sympathetic to the Quaker outlook
religion  voltaire  france  history  philosophy  language  english 
january 2016 by juliusbeezer
How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently – Brain Pickings
How to compose a successful critical commentary:

You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.
You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.
psychology  communication  authoritarianism  philosophy 
january 2016 by juliusbeezer
Digital Revision | Electronic Book Review
Approaching the work of François Laruelle is a singularly disorientating experience. Billed in marketing blurbs and encyclopedia entries as a “philosopher,” Laruelle is difficult to place. Clearly indebted to the post-structuralist movement, with the verbal tics that run (through) his writing, but likewise also descended from (quasi-Althusserian) Marx, the most common characterization of his work is as “non-philosophy.” While this may summon images of Wittgenstein exhorting his readers to stop doing philosophy, Laruelle is of an entirely different breed, closer to Deleuze and his post-dialectical strain than any school of language philosophy, somehow clustered with Spinoza and the legacy of immanence, on the side of materialism but perhaps radically against empiricism.

Relatively unknown in Anglophone spheres at present and with English translations only recently surfacing, some have little time for his work. The same accusations of linguistic trickery and unsubstantiated claims that were leveled at Derrida (and even Deleuze) are to be found among the critics, with the less generous seeing the ultra-meta nature of Laruelle’s writing as “incomprehensible gobbledegook” (Brassier 2003, p.33)...

Bold and dangerously dense, the reader should be forewarned that Galloway’s book is not designed as an “introduction to Laruelle” and demands that the reader be pre-versed in much of its terminology. For those new to Laruelle’s thought, Galloway’s volume oscillates between summary passages and obtuse aphorism. It is not uncommon, for instance, to encounter sentences that, to the unversed, make little sense and seem predicated on a useless epistemology: “Laruellian objects are in fact black monads, smooth globes of an almost infinite flimsiness..."
theory  language  philosophy  attention  translation  funny  fren 
january 2016 by juliusbeezer
Why Trust a Theory? — part I | Plato's Footnote
“What is a theory?” Gross began by noticing that philosophy and physics have, ahem, “grown apart” over the years — citing the now classic quote by Richard Feynman about philosophy, birds, and ornithology. Gross himself said, however, that he envies the pioneers of quantum mechanics and relativity, who were well versed in philosophy, and he still thinks there is much the two fields can say to each other...
For Gross, experiments are “usually evidently real,” while theory must await experimental confirmation — which is why Nobel prizes for theory are given much later than those for experimental results. Another difference: experiments are expensive, theory is cheap… The scientific method is “undeniably” based on the thesis that the final authority as to scientific truth is observation and experiment.

Gross proposed to distinguish among frameworks, theories, and models. Classical mechanics, quantum mechanics and string “theory” are not theories, but rather frameworks. Theories are something like Newton’s or Einstein’s theory of gravity, or the unfortunately named Standard “Model.” Theories can be tested, frameworks not so much. Models include the BCS model of superconductivity, or BSM (Beyond Standard Model) models.
science  philosophy 
december 2015 by juliusbeezer
On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit. - F1000Prime
Although bullshit is common in everyday life and has attracted attention from philosophers, its reception (critical or ingenuous) has not, to our knowledge, been subject to empirical investigation. Here we focus on pseudo-profound bullshit, which consists of seemingly impressive assertions that are presented as true and meaningful but are actually vacuous. We presented participants with bullshit statements consisting of buzzwords randomly organized into statements with syntactic structure but no discernible meaning (e.g., “Wholeness quiets infinite phenomena”). Across multiple studies, the propensity to judge bullshit statements as profound was associated with a variety of conceptually relevant variables (e.g., intuitive cognitive style, supernatural belief). Parallel associations were less evident among profundity judgments for more conventionally profound (e.g., “A wet person does not fear the rain”) or mundane (e.g., “Newborn babies require constant attention”) statements. These results support the idea that some people are more receptive to this type of bullshit and that detecting it is not merely a matter of indiscriminate skepticism but rather a discernment of deceptive vagueness in otherwise impressive sounding claims. Our results also suggest that a bias toward accepting statements as true may be an important component of pseudo-profound bullshit receptivity.
philosophy  psychology  authoritarianism  agnotology 
december 2015 by juliusbeezer
Apologies | Matt Carr's Infernal Machine
As I have tried to make clear since I wrote my piece about Hilary Benn last Thursday, I never meant to suggest any moral equivalence whatsoever between Daesh and the International Brigades. I continue to believe that the overall context of the article makes it clear that I intended no such thing, and that nobody who is familiar with my writing could ever believe that I would make such a suggestion.
war  syria  philosophy  religion  history  dccomment 
december 2015 by juliusbeezer
Marginal Musings
While I personally believe that war is rarely if ever a solution to violence, I accept that the resort to war is sometimes legitimate under international law. As citizens we therefore have a duty to participate in debates about the legitimacy of our politicians taking our country to war, whatever our personal beliefs. In such situations, I believe that the just war criteria should be applied, as a rule of thumb against which to measure the decision to go to war and the conduct of war. While it is questionable whether war ever conforms to these criteria, they are the only enduring tradition we have for judging and containing acts of war. I have taken the following summary from the BBC website and posted my arguments in italics, though there is also a very interesting discussion on a Catholic website about American involvement in bombing Syria, on the basis of Thomas Aquinas’s just war theory:
war  politics  religion  philosophy  syria 
november 2015 by juliusbeezer
John Maddox Prize: Scientist who once claimed Prince Charles tried to silence him wins for 'standing up for science' | Science | News | The Independent
Sir Colin Blakemore, an Oxford neuroscientist and judge, said: “Edzard Ernst, rightly known as the ‘scourge of complementary medicine’, has doggedly pursued the argument that there is only one kind of medicine – medicine that works.”
medicine  philosophy  chinois 
november 2015 by juliusbeezer
Which philosopher would fare best in a present-day university? | Higher Education Network | The Guardian
Immanuel Kant might look worthy of the nod – his three Critiques shaped a lot of the philosophy that came afterwards. However, those works were preceded by an 11-year hiatus in which he published nothing whatsoever – which means there would have been an entire Ref cycle for which he would not have been eligible.
Five reasons why the REF is not fit for purpose‬‬‬
Read more

We may presume that his justification for this career break – that he had used that time to wake up from his dogmatic slumber – would have cut little ice with his (admittedly fictional) research coordinator.
philosophy  scholarly  funny  research 
october 2015 by juliusbeezer
When a Policeman Asks you For a Correct Philosophy of Time, You Give It — Crooked Timber
As you assuredly know, a young man in Texas was recently arrested for a “bomb hoax.” Some people think it’s hoaxes all the way down. Dawkins and his compadres are making extraordinary claims, which require…well, any evidence at all, one feels. Let us imagine Ahmed Mohamed’s family has engineered a stunt. Ahmed makes (for some value of make which includes tinkering with maker modules or disassembling and reassembling old electronics. I mean, if you call that making. Which, tbh, I do.) Wait, that wasn’t a sentence. Anyway, he makes a ‘looks-like-a-bomb-on-purpose-but-is-a-clock.’ This thing, note, is in fact: a clock. Although the young man claims deep insight into the nature of time, he is obviously just aping Heidegger in a juvenile fashion, but so be it—so long as it be noted that I have noted he didn’t provide the police a fully satisfactory answer about what the passage of time really entails, I mean, what does the clock tell you when it tells you that another minute has passed and that now, it is now. My rigorous honesty compels me to denigrate his “clock,” simply because I am devoted to The Truth.
politics  us  funny  philosophy 
september 2015 by juliusbeezer
Adolph Reed: Identity Politics Is Neoliberalism
The contemporary discourse of “antiracism” [and identity politics overall] is focused much more on taxonomy than politics. It emphasizes the name by which we should call some strains of inequality—whether they should be broadly recognized as evidence of “racism”— over specifying the mechanisms that produce them or even the steps that can be taken to combat them. And, no, neither “overcoming racism” nor “rejecting whiteness” qualifies as such a step any more than does waiting for the “revolution” or urging God’s heavenly intervention. If organizing a rally against racism seems at present to be a more substantive political act than attending a prayer vigil for world peace, that’s only because contemporary antiracist activists understand themselves to be employing the same tactics and pursuing the same ends as their predecessors in the period of high insurgency in the struggle against racial segregation.

This view, however, is mistaken. The postwar activism that reached its crescendo in the South as the “civil rights movement” wasn’t a movement against a generic “racism;” it was specifically and explicitly directed toward full citizenship rights for black Americans and against the system of racial segregation that defined a specific regime of explicitly racial subordination in the South.
politics  us  theory  philosophy  racism 
september 2015 by juliusbeezer
Project MUSE - Who Translates?: Translator Subjectivities Beyond Reason (review)
Robinson includes the example to ask, "What exactly is the ontological status of this talk of Shakespeare's permission?" (119) Here and elsewhere his intellectual forays help unravel the delicate strands of inspiration that bind us to a given text—translated or otherwise.

He demonstrates implicitly through a provocative selection of materials that the systems of faith undergirding our scholarly endeavors have more in common with religious traditions than we may care to admit. Robinson points out that Marx spends much of his writing distinguishing between the "spirit of the revolution" that is the Geist he urges people to move towards and the "ghosts of the past" that are the Gespenst he'd like people to leave behind, but in the end continues to be, as Robinson wryly puts it (after Jacques Derrida): "h(a)unted" (131). "We are all haunted," he avers, "by the spiritualist imagination" (31). Part of the problem he is at pains to describe is the very expectation of duality that reason forces on us. "The logic of the ghost," Derrida describes in The Specter of Marx, "points toward a thinking of the event that necessarily exceeds a binary or dialectical logic, the logic that distinguishes or opposes effectivity or actuality (either present, empirical, living—or not) and ideality (regulating or absolute non-presence)" (qtd. in Robinson: 121) That Robinson would liken these collective, post-rationalist "fantasies" to Jacques Lacan's notion of the Other or Louis Althusser's interpellated ideology may come as some surprise.
translation  theory  marxism  religion  hermeneutics  philosophy 
august 2015 by juliusbeezer
What is the Philosophy of Cycling? | CTC
Prof Clive Cazeaux will examine The Philosophy of Cycling

Clive has been a CTC member since 1979 and a philosopher since… well, what defines a philosopher? He has been teaching the subject at university since 1992. That there is a philosophy of cycling, he is in no doubt. The fact that cycling can take so many forms means, straight away, that we meet one of the most philosophical questions possible: the ‘what is X?’ question. What is cycling? He tells us more about this fascinating topic:

"Is there a philosophy of cycling? When one tries to bring philosophy to cycling, one soon realises that cycling is hard to pin down. Which aspect of cycling is meant? Racing, commuting, touring, mountain biking, family, leisure, town planning, environmental considerations, social structures, the fact that it is not motoring, states of physical exhilaration? Although we have one word, ‘cycling’ in actual fact encompasses an extremely large number of ways of life and forms of being. This in itself is philosophically interesting, suggesting that if cycling is any one thing, it is perhaps first and foremost a set of questions that asks us to reflect on identity and the commitments we make in life.
cycling  philosophy 
june 2015 by juliusbeezer
“Say Stupid Shit”: A French Philosopher Mutters to Himself
Have to be accountable. Yield to arguments. What I feel like is just fucking around. Publish this diary for example. Say stupid shit. Barf out the fucking-around-o-maniacal schizo flow. Barter whatever for whoever wants to read it. Now that I’m turning into a salable name I can find an editor for sure […] Work the feed-back; write right into the real. But not just the professional readers’ real, “Quinzaine polemical” style. The close, hostile real. People around. Fuck shit up. The stakes greater than the oeuvre or they don’t attain it […]
theory  philosophy  language 
may 2015 by juliusbeezer
Investigative Journalist Matt Kennard Talks About America's Economic Stranglehold on the World | VICE | United States
It's like that famous Winston Churchill phrase: "If you're not a socialist in your twenties, you've got no heart; and if you're not a conservative in your thirties, you've got no brain." I always thought that was interesting because it's kind of true, but he's got the reason wrong. If you're not a conservative by your thirties then it doesn't mean you haven't got a brain, it merely means you haven't acclimatized to the conservative institutions that have been set up for you to enter, and that's a good thing!

It's not a coincidence that people get less idealistic as they get older. That's how the system works. It stops you expressing opinions that are different from everyone else, it deprives you of any idealism. If you carry on thinking like that you're a "maverick," you're "immature," you're "deluded"—the list of epithets is long. And it usually works to stop people thinking anything idealistic.
politics  philosophy  psychology 
april 2015 by juliusbeezer
Philosophical Disquisitions: Should libertarians hate the internet? A Nozickian Argument against Social Networks
In the remainder of this post, I outline the basic elements of that libertarian anti-internet argument.
As mentioned, the libertarian view I am going to work with is a fairly unsophisticated version of that presented by Robert Nozick in his classic book Anarchy, State and Utopia. Consequently, I must start by outlining some of the core features of the political philosophy defended in that book. As many readers will know, Nozick’s book was written in response to Rawls’s classic A Theory of Justice. In the latter book, Rawls defended an egalitarian model of political justice that supported the redistribution of property (wealth) from rich to poor, provided certain fundamental principles of justice were complied with. This in turn provided support for a big government, collecting taxes and engaging in certain acts of social engineering.

Nozick rejected this view in favour of the robust protection of individual property rights and a minimal state. Central to this view was his conception of individual rights, specifically individual property rights.
internet  theory  philosophy  politics  facebook  google  socialnetworking  socialmedia  economics 
april 2015 by juliusbeezer
Philosophy, et cetera: Questioning Moral Equality
Suppose Gandhi and Hitler are both dying in agony before you, and you have but a single dose of pain-relief you can administer. Is it really plausible that you should flip a coin to decide who to help? Surely the fact that Gandhi was (let's suppose for sake of argument!) an all-things-considered good guy, whereas Hitler was a vicious monster, gives us reason to prefer to help the former.
philosophy  ethics  medicine  dccomment 
april 2015 by juliusbeezer
Derrida: The Excluded Favorite by Emily Eakin | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books
Even Derrida claimed astonishment at the way his elusive and poetic glosses on Heidegger and Husserl were refashioned into a blunt, all-purpose tool—a kind of lethal deep-reading app—wielded by Americans determined to wage war on a canon they hadn’t always bothered to read.

Looking back on the tumult in 1997, he ventured a gentle rebuke:

“Deconstruction was becoming not only an act, an activity, a praxis, but it was becoming practicable, and, as they say in French, practical, in the sense of easy, convenient, and even salable as a commodity…. The paradox of this situation…is that what we were then trying to appropriate by making it possible, that is, functional and productive, was in any case that which had already shown itself explicitly as impossible.”

No doubt, some American uses of deconstruction were crudely literal. (One typical late-1980s feminist avowal: “The philosophical work of getting to the bottom of unjust power relations involves the desire to think outside the structures of thought and consciousness we have inherited. But because outside these structures there is no thought and signifying language, the very thinking that deconstructs them must also inevitably reconstruct them.”)
philosophy  theory  history  attention 
april 2015 by juliusbeezer
On location: Maps, territories and train toilets - Will Self
The Polish-American mathematician and philosopher Alfred Korzybski coined the expression “the map is not the territory” to express the idea that there is a fundamental disjunction between a representation and what it represents.
philosophy  maps  psychogeography 
april 2015 by juliusbeezer
Just say 'nein': Talking with Eric Jarosinski about NeinQuarterly - LA Times
You call it another wasted afternoon. I call it the power of social media.”
funny  twitter  philosophy 
march 2015 by juliusbeezer
Translating Jurisprudence: How a Bad Translator Killed Law’s Empire |
Because Dworkin was an American thinker, Law’s Empire was written in my language, so I would never have even looked at a Spanish translation were it not for the fact that the seminar I am attending is in Spanish and three of the other participants (all lawyers) read the same Spanish translation, which apparently was so awful, that they spent at least 40 minutes from a two hour session discussing how the translator had killed Law’s Empire. Curiosity, of course, got the best of me and I just had to check out the translation for myself. Here are my thoughts
translation  philosophy  law  theory 
march 2015 by juliusbeezer
Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics: May the state limit the free speech of individuals who advocate against vaccines intended to combat infectious disease? by Miles Unterreiner | Practical Ethics
Interestingly wrong-headed philosophizing for Oxford prize in practical ethics:
"But there are clearly at least some cases in which speech acts can be considered to cause harm, and in which the speaker may be rightly held responsible for the harm thus caused."
Features all the things that give philosophy a bad name: disappearing off on a beautifully argued tangent that ignores the main issue; bizarre thought experiments; equivocal ending.
ethics  philosophy  vaccines  dccomment 
march 2015 by juliusbeezer
After Debord - Berfrois
The other path is détournement. As Keston Sunderland has shown, détournement was part of Marx’s own practice. Marx constantly copies and critically corrects the epigrammatic illuminations of his age. Détournement works first from the present situation, and only then selects cuts from the past and brings them into the present, copying and correcting in the direction of possibility. Practiced as scholarship, détournement can at least begin from the question of the historical situation. It is a matter of articulating a common task for this situation, and for that task to call out of the past the resources for organizing thought and action in the present. In the era of digital means of production, the twist on class conflicts that this brings, and the facts of the Anthropocene that can no longer be considered as secondary, must be drawn into the very heart of thought.
theory  spectacle  philosophy  zizek  marxism  history  debord 
february 2015 by juliusbeezer
Let Us Now Stand Up for Bastards
we are also intent on resuscitating what we are calling postmedieval and pastmodern forms of publication (from breviary and commentary and florilegium to telegram and liner notes and inter-office memo, from the Book of Hours to the cassette mixtape).[33] Public-ation, then, as also salvage operation, the re-purposing of discarded objects, discarded forms, and discarded genres as a means for maximizing the possibilities for thinking. Forms matter. The forms of thinking matter. In the plural. Again, it is a commitment to excess, and a refusal of all austerity measures. punctum books is not interested either in the maintenance of specific genres or disciplines (is it literary theory? poetry? philosophy? art history? memoir? sociology? cybernetics? speculative fiction? code? who can tell?), and thus we take seriously Derrida’s belief in a university “without condition,” where we maintain that it is the humanities’ singular purpose to protect the right of anyone to publish anything, or as Derrida himself put it, the “principal right to say everything, whether it be under the heading of fiction and the experimentation of knowledge, and the right to say it publicly, to publish it.”[34]
s Derrida reminds us, in Plato’s philosophy it “is often the Foreigner (xenos) who questions. He carries and puts the [intolerable] question,” and thus he is the very “someone who basically has to account for [the very] possibility of sophistry.”[38] The “paternal authority of the logos” is always ready to “disarm” the Foreigner who nevertheless prevails as an important figure of Thought’s (difficult) natality. To welcome this xenos, this Foreigner, invites danger (the guest as enemy, the host as hostage) as well as a way forward, a way out of Authority, out of our settled (overly-professionalized) selves, and toward the wilder shores of vagabond (and free) thought.
breviaires  publishing  theory  freedom  digitalhumanities  philosophy  language 
february 2015 by juliusbeezer
Bréviaire hégelien
Bréviaire Hégelien

Pour dépasser la naïveté d'un point de vue unilatéral. Base de toute la philosophie moderne, d'une philosophie de l'action, de l'histoire comme négativité, du rapport sujet-objet comme processus dialectique temporel, de la vérité comme sujet.Après Kojève, je crois qu'il faut comprendre Hegel avec Marx, Husserl et Heidegger (voir la petite introduction en fin de page).
philosophy  hegel  breviaires 
february 2015 by juliusbeezer
Manuscript submission modelling – my comments in full - Ross Mounce
Some academics have an odd psychological complex around this thing called ‘scooping’. The authors of this paper are clearly strong believers in scooping. I don’t believe in scooping myself – it’s a perverse misunderstanding of good scientific practice. I believe what happens is that someone publishes something interesting; useful data testing a novel hypothesis — then somewhere else another academic goes “oh no, I’ve been scooped!” without realising that even if they’re testing exactly the same hypothesis, their data & method is probably different in some or many respects — independently generated and thus extremely useful to science as a replication even if the conclusions from the data are essentially the same...
All interesting hypotheses should be tested multiple times by independent labs, so REPLICATION IS A GOOD THING.
I suggest the negative psychology around ‘scooping’ in academia has probably arisen in part from the perverse & destructive academic culture of chasing publication in high impact factor journals. Such journals typically will only accept a paper if it is the first to test a particular hypothesis, regardless of the robustness of approach used – hence the nickname ‘glamour publications’ / glam pubs. Worrying about getting scooped is not healthy for science. We should embrace, publish, and value independent replications.
With relevance to the PLOS ONE paper – it’s a fatal flaw in their model that they assumed that ‘scooped’ (replication) papers had negligible value. This is a false assumption
sciencepublishing  scholarly  philosophy  citation  peerreview 
january 2015 by juliusbeezer
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