British philosopher and author of several influential works of science fiction.
Stapledon's writings directly influenced Arthur C. Clarke, Brian Aldiss, Stanislaw Lem, C. S. Lewis and John Maynard Smith and indirectly influenced many others, contributing many ideas to the world of science fiction.
Both in the work of professional philosophers and in popular writings by natural scientists, it is frequently claimed that natural science does or soon will constitute the entire domain of truth. And this attitude is becoming more widespread among scientists themselves. All too many of my contemporaries in science have accepted without question the hype that suggests that an advanced degree in some area of natural science confers the ability to pontificate wisely on any and all subjects.
You may have already heard about Strike Debt, the new offshoot of Occupy Wall Street that aims to buy and forgive personal debt. If not, you have now, because it’s pretty much that simple: Strike Debt takes direct action against individuals’ debt by buying it on the open market for pennies on the dollar and then simply writing it off. It’s a symbolic act, meant to draw attention to the massive amount of debt Americans are saddled with. But it also has the very real effect of relieving actual people of their financial obligations. One organizer, NYU professor Nicholas Mirzoeff called it “a purely altruistic gesture.”
There’s nothing like the discovery of an unknown work by a great thinker to set the intellectual community atwitter and cause academics to dart about like those things one sees when looking at a drop of water under a microscope. On a recent trip to Heidelberg to procure some rare nineteenth-century duelling scars, I happened upon just such a treasure. Who would have thought that “Friedrich Nietzsche’s Diet Book” existed
In this paper, I articulate and defend a conception of trust that solves what I call “the trickster problem.” The problem results from the fact that many accounts of trust treat it similar to, or identical with, relying on someone's good will. But a trickster like Bernie Madoff could rely on your good will to get you to go along with his scheme, without trusting you to do so.1 Therefore, any account of trust that treats trust as relying on another's good will is subject to the trickster problem.
In the 1600s, French philosopher René Descartes split the world into two kinds of stuff: material stuff subject to the laws of physics and immaterial stuff that operates according to some other set of rules.
“[T]he Author of Nature has determin’d us to receive… a Moral Sense, to direct our Actions, and to give us still nobler Pleasures.”
That appeal was made in 1725 by Scottish philosopher Francis Hutcheson, and it captured one side of a debate that tries to answer the question: Where does morality come from? On the other side were thinkers like John Locke and Thomas Hobbes who believed that morality is the product of experience. That was the extent of the discourse for most of history; morality was either prepackaged or learned. End of story
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