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Philosophy everywhere everywhen
The First Law of Philosophy: For every philosopher, there exists an equal and opposite philosopher. The Second Law of Philosophy: They're bo
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A Marketing Plan for Philosophy: Brand Your Thought Experiments

A Marketing Plan for Philosophy: Brand Your Thought Experiments | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it

Only the bravest would side with philosophers in the end days of their turf war with scientists. For America’s pipe-puffing perplexity-ponderers, the tweed grows heavy and the hour late. Scientists have the flashy buildings, the splashy headlines, and credit for the “most impressive intellectual feats” of the age. The National Science Foundation has a budget of around $7 billion, while the National Philosophy Foundation—oh wait, there isn’t one.

Commentators refer to “the growing crisis in philosophy” and lament that “within a few decades, the entire discipline may be threatened.” The National Center for Education Statistics reports a 20 percent drop in the share of philosophy and religion majors between 1970 and 2009. The cruelest twist of the blade, say philosophers: “We are ignored at dinner parties.”

Amy Ferrer, executive director of the American Philosophical Association, offers reasons to be skeptical of the data on declining philosophy majors. But she acknowledged that at the root of “any perceived crisis” were “mistaken impressions about philosophy’s worth and practicality.” In public relations terms, a perceived crisis is a crisis.

Philosophy’s PR issues, of course, are nothing new (see Socrates, execution of). But really, nothing says “we take you seriously!” like a tall glass of hemlock. Some 24 centuries later, it was easy for a New York Times reviewer to conclude that “academic philosophy in the United States has virtually abandoned the attempt to speak to the culture at large.”

Let’s take it as given that every civilization will want a few philosophers on staff. Someone needs to keep humanity’s oldest intellectual fires burning. Someone needs to keep both comedians (Monty Python) and liquor stores (“I Drink Therefore I Am”) in the style to which they’ve become accustomed. And someone needs to regularly remind us of the value of unanswerable questions.

But if philosophy is so important, then selling itself to the culture at large is important too. So it’s time for philosophers to put their clothespins on their noses, wade into the stench of real-world commerce, and ask some of those tanned and toned marketing majors who skipped out on Philosophy 101 for some help.

What might a marketing plan for philosophy look like? The Four Ps (product, price, place, and promotion) constitute perhaps the best-known marketing template. In a digital era, though, the Four Cs model may be more relevant: consumer, costs, convenience, and communication.

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Mark Rowlands - Is there a right to believe? (read of the day)

Mark Rowlands - Is there a right to believe? (read of the day) | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
You are entitled to believe what you will, but your beliefs must to be subject to criticism and scrutiny just like mine

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Here is a true story. A young philosophy lecturer — let us call him Shane — is charged with the task of introducing young minds to the wonders of philosophy. His course, a standard Introduction to Philosophy, contains a section on the philosophy of religion: the usual arguments-for-and-against-the-existence-of-God stuff. One of Shane’s students complains to Shane’s Dean that his cherished religious beliefs are being attacked. ‘I have a right to my beliefs,’ the student claims. Shane’s repeated interrogations of those beliefs amounts to an attack on this right to believe. Shane’s institution is not a particularly enlightened one. The Dean concurs with the student, and instructs Shane to desist in teaching philosophy of religion.

But what exactly does it mean to claim ‘a right to my beliefs’? It often comes up in a religious context, but can arise in others too. Shane could just as easily be teaching Marxist theory to a laissez-faire capitalist student, or imparting evidence for global warming to a global warming sceptic. Whatever the context, the claim of a right to one’s beliefs is a curious one. We might distinguish two different interpretations of this claim. First, there is the evidential one. You have an evidential right to your belief if you can provide appropriate evidence in support of it. I have, in this sense, no right to believe that the moon is made of green cheese because my belief is lacking in any supporting evidence.

 

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Why Rituals Work: Scientific American

Why Rituals Work: Scientific American | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
There are real benefits to rituals, religious or otherwise

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Think about the last time you were about to interview for a job, speak in front of an audience, or go on a first date. To quell your nerves, chances are you spent time preparing – reading up on the company, reviewing your slides, practicing your charming patter. People facing situations that induce anxiety typically take comfort in engaging in preparatory activities, inducing a feeling of being back in control and reducing uncertainty.

While a little extra preparation seems perfectly reasonable, people also engage in seemingly less logical behaviors in such situations. Here’s one person’s description from our research:

I pound my feet strongly on the ground several times, I take several deep breaths, and I "shake" my body to remove any negative energies.  I do this often before going to work, going into meetings, and at the front door before entering my house after a long day.

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Recent research suggests that rituals may be more rational than they appear. Why? Because even simple rituals can be extremely effective. Rituals performed after experiencing losses – from loved ones to lotteries – do alleviate grief, and rituals performed before high-pressure tasks – like singing in public – do in fact reduce anxiety and increase people’s confidence. What’s more, rituals appear to benefit even people who claim not to believe that rituals work. While anthropologists have documented rituals across cultures, this earlier research has been primarily observational. Recently, a series of investigations by psychologists have revealed intriguing new results demonstrating that rituals can have a causal impact on people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

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luiy's curator insight, May 16, 2013 2:17 PM

Rituals appear to be effective, but, given the wide variety of rituals documented by social scientists, do we know which types of rituals work best? In a recent studyconducted in Brazil, researchers studied people who perform simpatias: formulaic rituals that are used for solving problems such as quitting smoking, curing asthma, and warding off bad luck. People perceive simpatias to be more effective depending on the number of steps involved, the repetition of procedures, and whether the steps are performed at a specified time. While more research is needed, these intriguing results suggest that the specific nature of rituals may be crucial in understanding when they work – and when they do not.

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The Philosophy of SimCity: An Interview With the Game's Lead Designer

The Philosophy of SimCity: An Interview With the Game's Lead Designer | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
Stone Librande talks about parking lots, governing styles, and how Google Earth shaped the Sim's new world.

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In the nearly quarter-century since designer Will Wright launched the iconic urban planning computer game, SimCity, not only has the world's population become majoritatively urban for the first time in human history, but interest in cities and their design has gone mainstream.

Once a byword for boring, city planning is now a hot topic, claimed by technology companies, economists, so-called "Supermayors," and cultural institutions alike as the key to humanity's future. Indeed, if we are to believe the hype, the city has become our species' greatest triumph.

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On synthesis, design and chemistry’s outstanding philosophical problems | The Curious Wavefunction, Scientific American Blog Network

On synthesis, design and chemistry’s outstanding philosophical problems | The Curious Wavefunction, Scientific American Blog Network | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
Yesterday I wrote a post about a perspective by multifaceted chemist George Whitesides in which he urged chemists to broaden the boundaries of their discipline and ...
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A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain

A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it

Embodied cognition, the idea that the mind is not only connected to the body but that the body influences the mind, is one of the more counter-intuitive ideas in cognitive science. In sharp contrast is dualism, a theory of mind famously put forth by Rene Descartes in the 17th century when he claimed that “there is a great difference between mind and body, inasmuch as body is by nature always divisible, and the mind is entirely indivisible… the mind or soul of man is entirely different from the body.” In the proceeding centuries, the notion of the disembodied mind flourished. From it, western thought developed two basic ideas: reason is disembodied because the mind is disembodied and reason is transcendent and universal. However, as George Lakoff and Rafeal Núñez explain:

 

Cognitive science calls this entire philosophical worldview into serious question on empirical grounds… [the mind] arises from the nature of our brains, bodies, and bodily experiences. This is not just the innocuous and obvious claim that we need a body to reason; rather, it is the striking claim that the very structure of reason itself comes from the details of our embodiment… Thus, to understand reason we must understand the details of our visual system, our motor system, and the general mechanism of neural binding.

 

What exactly does this mean? It means that our cognition isn’t confined to our cortices. That is, our cognition is influenced, perhaps determined by, our experiences in the physical world. This is why we say that something is “over our heads” to express the idea that we do not understand; we are drawing upon the physical inability to not see something over our heads and the mental feeling of uncertainty. Or why we understand warmth with affection; as infants and children the subjective judgment of affection almost always corresponded with the sensation of warmth, thus giving way to metaphors such as “I’m warming up to her.”


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Claudia M. Reder's comment, May 19, 2013 8:28 PM
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2011/11/04/a-brief-guide-to-embodied-cognition-why-you-are-not-your-brain/
Alexander Vorobiev-Char's curator insight, February 4, 2014 2:14 AM

Соответствуют ли Ваши мысли возможностям Вашего тела? Что из них первично?

Eli Levine's comment, February 4, 2014 9:35 AM
This sounds like an analogy to a government sitting within a society. For example, while a government does technically control the body society through the production of laws (to a limited extent), the body society also influences and effects the government (brain) to produce different results. This is how government can be working independently of (and sometimes, contrary to) the rest of society, just as the society can also work independently of (and, sometimes, when the government isn't being cooperative with society's needs) contrary to the government.<br><br>Thanks for this! :)
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John Searle on Ludwig Wittgenstein: Section 1

Bryan Magee talks to John Searle about the legacy of Ludwig Wittgenstein; ranging from his early work, the Tractatus, to his posthumously published, Philosophical Investigations.


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On Borges, Particles and the Paradox of the Perceived

How can science, philosophy and a work of pure imagination meet to deepen our understanding of the physical world?

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In 1927 a young German physicist published a paper that would turn the scientific world on its head. Until that time, classical physics had assumed that when a particle’s position and velocity were known, its future trajectory could be calculated. Werner Heisenberg demonstrated that this condition was actually impossible: we cannot know with precision both a particle’s location and its velocity, and the more precisely we know the one, the less we can know the other. Five years later he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for having laid the foundations of quantum physics.

This discovery has all the hallmarks of a modern scientific breakthrough; so it may be surprising to learn that the uncertainty principle was intuited by Heisenberg’s contemporary, the Argentine poet and fiction writer Jorge Luis Borges, and predicted by philosophers centuries and even millenniums before him.

While Borges did not comment on the revolution in physics that was occurring during his lifetime, he was obsessively concerned with paradoxes, and in particular those of the Greek philosopher Zeno. As he wrote in one of his essays: “Let us admit what all the idealists admit: the hallucinatory character of the world. Let us do what no idealist has done: let us look for unrealities that confirm that character. We will find them, I believe, in the antinomies of Kant and in the dialectic of Zeno.”

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Stephen Hawking: So Here's How It All Happened without God: Scientific American

Even some of the more faithful might have wondered over the last few days whether there truly is a God-

Even some of the more faithful might have wondered over the last few days whether there truly is a God.

Famed physicist Stephen Hawking would like to help. Let's imagine there isn't, seems to be his preference.

Indeed, in a speech at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., on Tuesday night, he made jokes about God's supposed power and omnipresence.

"What was God doing before the divine creation? Was he preparing hell for people who asked such questions?" asked Hawking, clearly not afraid of meeting a reddish man with a fork and a tail.

Being a scientist, Hawking has faith only in scientific explanations.

As NBC News reports, he discounted a repeating Big Bang Theory (even though he's appeared on the show).

Instead, he thinks: "We are the product of quantum fluctuations in the very early universe."

I certainly feel like the product of quantum fluctuations on many days of the week, don't you?

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Has Physics Made Philosophy and Religion Obsolete?

Has Physics Made Philosophy and Religion Obsolete? | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
"I think at some point you need to provoke people. Science is meant to make people uncomfortable.

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It is hard to know how our future descendants will regard the little sliver of history that we live in. It is hard to know what events will seem important to them, what the narrative of now will look like to the twenty-fifth century mind. We tend to think of our time as one uniquely shaped by the advance of technology, but more and more I suspect that this will be remembered as an age of cosmology---as the moment when the human mind first internalized the cosmos that gave rise to it. Over the past century, since the discovery that our universe is expanding, science has quietly begun to sketch the structure of the entire cosmos, extending its explanatory powers across a hundred billion galaxies, to the dawn of space and time itself. It is breathtaking to consider how quickly we have come to understand the basics of everything from star formation to galaxy formation to universe formation. And now, equipped with the predictive power of quantum physics, theoretical physicists are beginning to push even further, into new universes and new physics, into controversies once thought to be squarely within the domain of theology or philosophy. "

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"Just a Theory": 7 Misused Science Words: Scientific American

"Just a Theory": 7 Misused Science Words: Scientific American | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
From "significant" to "natural," here are seven scientific terms that can prove troublesome for the public and across research disciplines

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Hypothesis. Theory. Law. These scientific words get bandied about regularly, yet the general public usually gets their meaning wrong.

Now, one scientist is arguing that people should do away with these misunderstood words altogether and replace them with the word "model." But those aren't the only science words that cause trouble, and simply replacing the words with others will just lead to new, widely misunderstood terms, several other scientists said.

"A word like 'theory' is a technical scientific term," said Michael Fayer, a chemist at Stanford University. "The fact that many people understand its scientific meaning incorrectly does not mean we should stop using it. It means we need better scientific education."

From "theory" to "significant," here are seven scientific words that are often misused.

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luiy's curator insight, April 11, 2013 5:02 AM

Hypothesis. Theory. Law. These scientific words get bandied about regularly, yet the general public usually gets their meaning wrong.

Now, one scientist is arguing that people should do away with these misunderstood words altogether and replace them with the word "model." But those aren't the only science words that cause trouble, and simply replacing the words with others will just lead to new, widely misunderstood terms, several other scientists said.

 

"A word like 'theory' is a technical scientific term," said Michael Fayer, a chemist at Stanford University. "The fact that many people understand its scientific meaning incorrectly does not mean we should stop using it. It means we need better scientific education."

 

From "theory" to "significant," here are seven scientific words that are often misused.

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DNA is a metaphor for our age-Kenneth M Weiss and Anne V Buchanan – What can genes do?

DNA is a metaphor for our age-Kenneth M Weiss and Anne V Buchanan – What can genes do? | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
Simplistic ideas of how genes 'cause' traits are no longer viable: life is an orderly collection of uncertainties

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DNA is a metaphor for our age. It conveys the powerful idea that our identity is scientifically reducible to an unambiguous, determinative code. We hear this idea expressed all the time. The car company Bentley advertises for employees saying: ‘Hard work is in our DNA.’ The footballer David Beckham says: ‘Football is in England’s DNA.’ And a toll-collector for the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco says: ‘Our DNA is embedded in this bridge.’

Everyone knows these statements aren’t literally true, but although we might understand their figurative meaning, they continue to reflect, and influence, how we think. Even biologists, being quite human, too often think metaphorically and assign properties to genes that genes don’t have. The metaphor works because our society has a deeply embedded belief in genes as clearly identifiable material things which explain our individual natures, making them inherent from the moment of our conception and thus predictable. If hydrogen and oxygen are the causal atoms of water, genes are the causal atoms of our existence.

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The Enigma of the Celebrity Philosopher-like Zizek, Sloterdijk makes one wonder whether there “isn’t much of a difference between a true comedian and a true philosopher.”

In this week’s briefs: “Slobbering” over Zizek, Sloterdijk’s digressions, Derrida’s despair, and more.

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Philosophical celebrity, while not necessarily an oxymoron, is nevertheless an ambiguous beast. In a post at Page Views, The New York Daily News’s books blog, Rebecca Rothfeld tries to account for the mass appeal of Slavoj Zizek by comparing him to such figures as the young writer and TV star Lena Dunham, and the rapper Lil B, both of whom thrive, Rothfeld claims, “in spite of their confused relationship to earnestness.” It is difficult to know just how serious one should take a Hegelian philosopher who also “authored the text of a 2003 Abercrombie & Fitch catalog,” but Rothfeld thinks that working in this “liminal space between the serious and the farcical” may be the key to Zizek’s allure. In any event, his example, Rothfeld concludes, provides philosophy “a much-needed breath of self-deprecation.”

Standing just slightly out of Zizek’s spotlight is Peter Sloterdijk. In a post at 3quarksdaily, Jalees Rehman looks into why the German philosopher “is not quite so well-known in the English-speaking world.” Like Zizek, “his fans adore him; his critics are maddened by him;” like Zizek, Sloterdijk is utterly at home working in electronic mass media; and like Zizek, Sloterdijk makes one wonder whether there “isn’t much of a difference between a true comedian and a true philosopher.” But as a “professional digressor,” Sloterdijk is, for Rehman, “the prototypical anti-TEDtalker,” and probably unsuited to an age accustomed to receving “excessive positivity” in slickly-produced 15-minute packages. On the other hand, Rehman thinks “Philosophical Temperaments,” Sloterdijk’s collection of short essays on philosophers which “reveal more about the painter than the subject,” could teach the TED-talkers a thing or two.

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Where Does Identity Come From?: Scientific American

Where Does Identity Come From?: Scientific American | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
A fascinating new neuroscience experiment probes an ancient philosophical question—and hints that you might want to get out more

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Imagine we rewound the tape of your life. Your diplomas are pulled off of walls, unframed, and returned. Your children grow smaller, and then vanish. Soon, you too become smaller. Your adult teeth retract, your baby teeth return, and your traits and foibles start to slip away. Once language goes, you are not so much you as potential you. We keep rewinding still, until we’re halving and halving a colony of cells, finally arriving at that amazing singularity: the cell that will become you.

The question, of course, is what happens when we press “play” again. Are your talents, traits, and insecurities so deeply embedded in your genes that they’re basically inevitable? Or could things go rather differently with just a few tiny nudges? In other words, how much of your fate do you allot to your genes, versus your surroundings, versus chance? This is navel gazing that matters.

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Languages, Litanies, and the Limit

Languages, Litanies, and the Limit | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it

In this article, I explore Stephenson's use of mathematical objects and philosophies in his novel Anathem (2008).Comparing it to Plato's Timaeus, I argue that the novel should not be read as a literal expression of Stephenson's own philosophical commitments, but that it should instead be treated as a thought-experiment in metaphysical possibility. I then situate the novel in the context of mathematical philosophy, and by means of close readings of the relevant passages, proceed to argue that the conclusion of Anathem suggests a possible reconciliation between Platonist and Fictionalist philosophies of mathematics.


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Where Thomas Nagel Went Wrong-The philosopher's critique of evolution wasn't shocking. So why is he being raked over the coals?

Where Thomas Nagel Went Wrong-The philosopher's critique of evolution wasn't shocking. So why is he being raked over the coals? | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
The philosopher's critique of evolution wasn't shocking. So why have his colleagues raked him over the coals?

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Thomas Nagel is a leading figure in philosophy, now enjoying the title of university professor at New York University, a testament to the scope and influence of his work. His 1974 essay "What Is It Like to Be a Bat?" has been read by legions of undergraduates, with its argument that the inner experience of a brain is truly knowable only to that brain. Since then he has published 11 books, on philosophy of mind, ethics, and epistemology.

But Nagel's academic golden years are less peaceful than he might have wished. His latest book, Mind and Cosmos (Oxford University Press, 2012), has been greeted by a storm of rebuttals, ripostes, and pure snark. "The shoddy reasoning of a once-great thinker," Steven Pinker tweeted. The Weekly Standard quoted the philosopher Daniel Dennett calling Nagel a member of a "retrograde gang" whose work "isn't worth anything—it's cute and it's clever and it's not worth a damn."

The critics have focused much of their ire on what Nagel calls "natural teleology," the hypothesis that the universe has an internal logic that inevitably drives matter from nonliving to living, from simple to complex, from chemistry to consciousness, from instinctual to intellectual.

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There is no alternative!-Bayesian statistics & Philosophy of science

There is no alternative!-Bayesian statistics & Philosophy of science | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
That is the claim made by the iron ladies to justify their political agendas. Can a scientific theory also be supported by such an argument? Michael Krämer discusses a new philosophical proof

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While most scientists do not care much about the philosophy of science, almost everyone knows of Karl Popper, and some might have heard of Thomas Kuhn. Both Popper and Kuhn have shaped two important phases of philosophy of science in the 20th century. Popper and his contemporaries were aiming at the grand picture, and have been arguing what is, and what is not, "good science". Kuhn, on the other hand, focused on sociological and historical aspects and initiated a new, descriptive style of philosophy that brought it closer to the actual scientific practice. In his talk at the recent meeting of the German Society for Philosophy of Science, Stephan Hartmann, Director of the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, argued that we have now entered a third phase, the phase of "scientific philosophy". Scientific philosophy combines different scientific methods to address philosophical problems, including mathematics, empirical studies and even experiment. Hartmann demonstrated the power of such an approach by analyzing the "no alternatives" argument: can we base trust in a scientific theory on the fact that no alternative has been found? In a recent paper to appear in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Hartmann and his collaborators Dawid and Sprenger provide a mathematical proof of the "no alternatives" argument based on Bayesian statistics.

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Julian Baggini — I still love Kierkegaard (A torrential thunderstorm at the heart)

Julian Baggini — I still love Kierkegaard (A torrential thunderstorm at the heart) | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it

He is the dramatic, torrential thunderstorm at the heart of philosophy and his provocation is more valuable than ever-

 

..Kierkegaard was not so much an oasis in this desert as a dramatic, torrential thunderstorm at the heart of it. Discovering him as a 17-year-old suddenly made philosophy and religion human and exciting, not arid and abstract. In part that’s because he was a complex personality with a tumultuous biography. Even his name emanates romantic darkness. ‘Søren’ is the Danish version of the Latin severus, meaning ‘severe’, ‘serious’ or ‘strict’, while ‘Kierkegaard’ means churchyard, with its traditional associations of the graveyard.

He knew intense love, and was engaged to Regine Olsen, whom he describes in his journals as ‘sovereign queen of my heart’. Yet in 1841, after four years of courtship, he called the engagement off, apparently because he did not believe he could give the marriage the commitment it deserved. He took love, God and philosophy so seriously that he did not see how he could allow himself all three.

He was a romantic iconoclast, who lived fast and died young, but on a rollercoaster of words and ideas rather than sex and booze. During the 1840s, books poured from his pen. In 1843 alone, he published three masterpieces, Either/Or, Fear and Trembling, and Repetition.

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Functionalism and mental boundaries

Functionalism and mental boundaries | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it

According to extended cognitivists, the mind’s location is only partly in the head. In addition, extended cognitivists have argued, the mind is located in parts of the world outside the body.

 

Moreover, the possibility of extended cognition suggests new lines of research within the domain of social cognition. If minds extend, the boundaries that define the units of social interaction become less certain. Perhaps minds overlap. If, as some extended cognitivists believe, features of the environment comprise parts of a cognitive system, then a single piece of the world might constitute a piece of distinct cognitive systems. More dramatically, perhaps parts of a mind of one individual may be located within the mind of another. Insofar as extended cognition can make such possibilities plausible, social psychologists will need to re-interpret the nature of social interaction, will need to re-examine how the motivations and emotions of a single agent can influence an extended cognitive system, and so on.


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Disputed Results a Fresh Blow for Social Psychology: Scientific American

Disputed Results a Fresh Blow for Social Psychology: Scientific American | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
Failure to replicate intelligence-priming effects ignites row in research community

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Thinking about a professor just before you take an intelligence test makes you perform better than if you think about football hooligans. Or does it? An influential theory that certain behavior can be modified by unconscious cues is under serious attack.

A paper published in PLoS ONE last week reports that nine different experiments failed to replicate this example of ‘intelligence priming’, first described in 1998 by Ap Dijksterhuis, a social psychologist at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, and now included in textbooks.

David Shanks, a cognitive psychologist at University College London, UK, and first author of the paper in PLoS ONE, is among skeptical scientists calling for Dijksterhuis to design a detailed experimental protocol to be carried out indifferent laboratories to pin down the effect. Dijksterhuis has rejected the request, saying that he “stands by the general effect” and blames the failure to replicate on “poor experiments”.

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Wildcat: The otherness of the other is none other than me or you

Wildcat: The otherness of the other is none other than me or you | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it

The point is this: The otherness of an ‘other’ is none other than you. Allow me a moment to explain, for it is no simple matter, to realize that otherness is fundamentally a complex trait-building, pattern making characteristic of our minds.

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luiy's curator insight, April 27, 2013 2:31 PM

And as emergent semantic networks our minds define and redefine continuously in a hyper complex dynamic process that which we consider as meaningful. In the case we are talking about here the ‘meaningfulness’ resides with the concept of the ‘other’. In the conceptual scaffolding I am proposing to you here, the very term ‘other’ transforms to become an extension of that which is ‘me’, but even that transformation is only the first step into a greater motion still. The motion I refer to is the one in which the ‘other’ is not only an extension but forms a nucleic reality within your own self-description. In this case the nucleic form or image that the ‘other’ has become is no longer disassociated from the powers at play within your own mind but constitutes ipso-facto a strength of activity, dynamically interacting with the overall process of your own self description.

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Who are the most significant moral philosophers in the history of Western philosophy?Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog:

So out poll got over 650 responses; here's the top 20:

1. Aristotle  (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)2. Immanuel Kant  loses to Aristotle by 364–2273. Plato  loses to Aristotle by 414–168, loses to Immanuel Kant by 349–2414. David Hume  loses to Aristotle by 494–95, loses to Plato by 378–1975. John Stuart Mill  loses to Aristotle by 493–102, loses to David Hume by 292–2716. Socrates  loses to Aristotle by 464–104, loses to John Stuart Mill by 292–2507. Thomas Hobbes  loses to Aristotle by 556–29, loses to Socrates by 319–1928. John Rawls  loses to Aristotle by 557–38, loses to Thomas Hobbes by 272–2509. Jeremy Bentham  loses to Aristotle by 543–39, loses to John Rawls by 273–25010. Aquinas  loses to Aristotle by 547–23, loses to Jeremy Bentham by 280–22211. Augustine  loses to Aristotle by 550–20, loses to Aquinas by 306–13112. Friedrich Nietzsche  loses to Aristotle by 542–57, loses to Augustine by 263–24713. Soren Kierkegaard  loses to Aristotle by 553–31, loses to Friedrich Nietzsche by 290–21014. Epicurus  loses to Aristotle by 554–21, loses to Soren Kierkegaard by 218–21415. Henry Sidgwick  loses to Aristotle by 542–27, loses to Epicurus by 286–18116. Jean-Jacques Rousseau  loses to Aristotle by 566–21, loses to Henry Sidgwick by 242–21617. G.E. Moore  loses to Aristotle by 563–20, loses to Jean-Jacques Rousseau by 264–19118. Benedict Spinoza  loses to Aristotle by 543–24, loses to G.E. Moore by 252–19419. G.E.M. Anscombe  loses to Aristotle by 555–13, loses to Benedict Spinoza by 268–165

20. G.W.F. Hegel  loses to Aristotle by 546–14, loses to G.E.M. Anscombe by 227–161

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Happiness, Beyond the Data

Our first-person experience and reflection can catch crucial truths about happiness that escape the quantitative net.

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Happiness studies are booming in the social sciences, and governments are moving toward quantitative measures of a nation’s overall happiness, meant to supplement traditional measures of wealth and productivity. The resulting studies have a high noise-to-signal ratio, but we can expect that work with an aura of scientific rigor on something as important as happiness is going to be taken seriously. Still, our first-person experience and reflection can catch crucial truths about happiness that escape the quantitative net.

In offering here my views on the subject, I make no claim to special authority and present my thoughts as an example and an incentive for readers to develop their own perspectives. Such personal perspectives are a necessary check on the often questionable suggestions of happiness science.

As I see it, happiness involves four things, and the first one is mostly a matter of luck. You have be sufficiently free of suffering — physical and mental — for happiness to be even possible. Suffering can be noble and edifying, but it can also reduce us to a state where there’s nothing beyond our distress that can make it meaningful.Of course, we can fit an occasional bout of even extreme suffering into an otherwise happy life (see Peg O’Connor’s recent post on William James and the “misery threshold”), but there’s a level of sustained misery that wipes out happiness.

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Electrovista's curator insight, May 24, 2013 10:05 AM

"Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into."

- Wayne Dyer

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Can the Doomsday Argument predict our odds of survival?

Can the Doomsday Argument predict our odds of survival? | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
The classic form of the Doomsday Argument says it’s more likely that we’re closer to the end of our civilization than the beginning. In other words, apocalyptic destruction awaits us in the not-too-distant future.

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But a recent re-interpretation of this argument has slightly improved our prospects for survival.

The Doomsday Argument (DA) has been around for 30 years. It was first proposed by the astrophysicist and philosopher Brandon Carter in an unpublished paper. Though many subsequent papers have tried to defeat it, it has — quite infuriatingly — stood the test of time; if there was ever an argument we’d like to disprove, this would be the one.

Since Carter’s first formulation of the argument, several other philosophers have taken it further. Back in 1996, philosopher John Leslie published his book, The End of the World: The Science and Ethics of Human Extinction, in which he presented it in more detail. It’s for this reason that the idea is often called the Carter-Leslie Doomsday Argument. Interestingly, the DA has been independently discovered by others, including J. Richard Gott and Holger Bech Nielsen.

But regardless of the thinker, each one came to the same disturbing conclusion: Doom is soon.

Wildcat2030's insight:

very well presented

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The Ironic Success Of Experimental Philosophy : NPR

The Ironic Success Of Experimental Philosophy : NPR | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
Philosophers are burning their armchairs and heading for the lab as part of a new movement called, appropriately enough, "experimental philosophy." Commentator Tania Lombrozo wonders why this small subfield of philosophy has captured the popular...

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To illustrate, consider one of the most celebrated findings from experimental philosophy: the "side-effect effect" or Knobe effect, named after experimental philosophy icon , who first documented the phenomenon. In his , Knobe (a philosopher) conducted a psychology experiment in which he presented participants with the following vignette:

The vice-president of a company went to the chairman of the board and said, 'We are thinking of starting a new program. It will help us increase profits, but it will also harm the environment.'

The chairman of the board answered, 'I don't care at all about harming the environment. I just want to make as much profit as I can. Let's start the new program.'

They started the new program. Sure enough, the environment was harmed.

The key question was this: did the chairman harm the environment intentionally? Eighty-two percent of participants responded 'yes.'

In a different version of the vignette, a different group of participants read the same text, but with "harm" replaced with "help." So the proposed program had the side effect of helping the environment, but the chairman said that he "didn't care at all" about helping the environment and went ahead with the plan for greater profit. Now participants were asked whether the chairman helped the environment intentionally, and only 23 percent responded "yes." (If that went by a little fast, check out this reenactment of the two cases.)

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