Philosophy φιλοσοφία
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Existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, language...
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Why It’s Good To Be Wrong. David Deutsch on Fallibilism

Why It’s Good To Be Wrong. David Deutsch on Fallibilism | Philosophy φιλοσοφία | Scoop.it
Why It’s Good To Be Wrong. David Deutsch on Fallibilism
"That human beings can be mistaken in anything they think or do is a proposition known as fallibilism. (…)
The trouble is that error is a...
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"The fact is, there’s nothing infallible about “direct experience” (...). Indeed, experience is never direct. It is a sort of virtual reality, created by our brains using sketchy and flawed sensory clues, given substance only by fallible expectations, explanations, and interpretations. Those can easily be more mistaken than the testimony of the passing hobo. (...)

[Popper]: [A]ll ‘sources’ are liable to lead us into error at times. And I propose to replace, therefore, the question of the sources of our knowledge by the entirely different question: ‘How can we hope to detect and eliminate error?’ (...)

Popper’s answer is: We can hope to detect and eliminate error if we set up traditions of criticism—substantive criticism, directed at the content of ideas, not their sources, and directed at whether they solve the problems that they purport to solve. (...) Democracy, in this conception, is not a system for enforcing obedience to the authority of the majority. In the bigger picture, it is a mechanism for promoting the creation of consent, by creating objectively better ideas, by eliminating errors from existing ones.

“Our whole problem,” said the physicist John Wheeler, “is to make the mistakes as fast as possible.”  (...) [T]hat only means that whenever possible we should make the mistakes in theory, or in the laboratory; we should “let our theories die in our place,” as Popper put it.  (...)

Fallibilism, correctly understood, implies the possibility, not the impossibility, of knowledge, because the very concept of error, if taken seriously, implies that truth exists and can be found. The inherent limitation on human reason, that it can never find solid foundations for ideas, does not constitute any sort of limit on the creation of objective knowledge nor, therefore, on progress. The absence of foundation, whether infallible or probable, is no loss to anyone except tyrants and charlatans, because what the rest of us want from ideas is their content, not their provenance. (...)

Indeed, infallibilism and nihilism are twins. Both fail to understand that mistakes are not only inevitable, they are correctable (fallibly). Which is why they both abhor institutions of substantive criticism and error correction, and denigrate rational thought as useless or fraudulent. They both justify the same tyrannies. They both justify each other."

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Glossary of philosophy | Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A glossary of philosophy.


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Contents: Top   0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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Beauty | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy || “Beauty is nature’s way of acting at a distance.” — Denis Dutton

Beauty | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy || “Beauty is nature’s way of acting at a distance.” — Denis Dutton | Philosophy φιλοσοφία | Scoop.it

"Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty. One person may even perceive deformity, where another is sensible of beauty; and every individual ought to acquiesce in his own sentiment, without pretending to regulate those of others." -- David Hume

 

"Beauty is pleasure regarded as the quality of a thing. … Beauty is a value, that is, it is not a perception of a matter of fact or of a relation: it is an emotion, an affection of our volitional and appreciative nature. An object cannot be beautiful if it can give pleasure to nobody: a beauty to which all men were forever indifferent is a contradiction in terms. … Beauty is therefore a positive value that is intrinsic; it is a pleasure." -- Santayana (1896)

 

"The nature of beauty is one of the most enduring and controversial themes in Western philosophy, and is—with the nature of art—one of the two fundamental issues in philosophical aesthetics. Beauty has traditionally been counted among the ultimate values, with goodness, truth, and justice. It is a primary theme among ancient Greek, Hellenistic, and medieval philosophers, and was central to 18th and 19th-century thought, as represented in treatments by such thinkers as Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, Hume, Burke, Kant; Hegel, Schopenhauer, Hanslick, and Santayana. By the beginning of the twentieth century, beauty was in decline as a subject of philosophical inquiry, and also as a primary goal of the arts. However, the last decade has seen a revival of interest in the subject.

 

This article will begin with a sketch of the debate over whether beauty is objective or subjective, which is perhaps the single most-prosecuted disagreement in the literature. It will proceed to set out some of the major approaches to or theories of beauty developed within Western philosophical and artistic traditions."

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Fico Ventilatory's comment, September 7, 2012 10:38 AM
Hey M, Thanks for the note! I'm not on g+, i don't even know what that is.. I'm obviously not a Luddite but i am embarrassingly Atechnical... Is that the google chat? I don't do any of those...but i'd feel quite comfortable giving you my email address, if you'd like...caveat: i often go days {weeks, sometimes} not checking it (without warning)...but then i'm chatty for a period...you know: life, moods....this scoopit thingy would do well to incorporate member to member messaging...
Mariana Soffer's comment, September 7, 2012 10:51 AM
g+ is google plus, is a social network fico, i do email to, is marianasoffer gmail mine
Fico Ventilatory's comment, September 7, 2012 1:57 PM
i'll try it... things a bit hectic today, soon. Please expect a message from Rose Heirloom {my user name}. Thanks [] SS Aka Fico
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PhilPapers: Online Research in Philosophy | University of London & Australian National University

PhilPapers: Online Research in Philosophy | University of London & Australian National University | Philosophy φιλοσοφία | Scoop.it

"PhilPapers is a comprehensive directory of online philosophical articles and books by academic philosophers. We monitor journals in many areas of philosophy, as well as archives and personal pages.

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The Mind is a Metaphor ☞ interactive, solidly constructed collection of mental metaphorics (database)

The Mind is a Metaphor ☞ interactive, solidly constructed collection of mental metaphorics (database) | Philosophy φιλοσοφία | Scoop.it

“The Mind is a Metaphor, is an evolving work of reference, an ever more interactive, more solidly constructed collection of mental metaphorics. This collection of eighteenth-century metaphors of mind serves as the basis for a scholarly study of the metaphors and root-images appealed to by the novelists, poets, dramatists, essayists, philosophers, belle-lettrists, preachers, and pamphleteers of the long eighteenth century. While the database does include metaphors from classical sources, from Shakespeare and Milton, from the King James Bible, and from more recent texts, it does not pretend to any depth or density of coverage in literature other than that of the British eighteenth century.”

 

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Universality: In Mysterious Pattern, Math and Nature Converge

Universality: In Mysterious Pattern, Math and Nature Converge
“In 1999, while sitting at a bus stop in Cuernavaca, Mexico, a Czech physicist named Petr Šeba noticed young men handing slips of paper to...
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"Scientists now believe the widespread phenomenon, known as “universality,” stems from an underlying connection to mathematics, and it is helping them to model complex systems from the internet to Earth’s climate. (…) Each of these systems has a spectrum — a sequence like a bar code representing data such as energy levels, zeta zeros, bus departure times or signal speeds. In all the spectra, the same distinctive pattern appears: The data seem haphazardly distributed, and yet neighboring lines repel one another, lending a degree of regularity to their spacing. This fine balance between chaos and order, which is defined by a precise formula, also appears in a purely mathematical setting: It defines the spacing between the eigenvalues, or solutions, of a vast matrix filled with random numbers. (…)

Universality is thought to arise when a system is very complex, consisting of many parts that strongly interact with each other to generate a spectrum. The pattern emerges in the spectrum of a random matrix, for example, because the matrix elements all enter into the calculation of that spectrum. But random matrices are merely “toy systems” that are of interest because they can be rigorously studied, while also being rich enough to model real-world systems. (...) The more complex a system is, the more robust its universality should be, said László Erdös of the University of Munich, one of Yau’s collaborators. “This is because we believe that universality is the typical behavior.”

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Philosophy vs science: which can answer the big questions of life?

Philosophy vs science: which can answer the big questions of life? | Philosophy φιλοσοφία | Scoop.it

Science is what you know, philosophy is what you don’t know” — Bertrand Russell

 

“In the eighteenth century, philosophers considered the whole of human knowledge, including science, to be their field and discussed questions such as: did the universe have a beginning? However, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, science became too technical and mathematical for the philosophers, or anyone else except a few specialists. Philosophers reduced the scope of their inquiries so much that Wittgenstein, the most famous philosopher of this century, said, “The sole remaining task for philosophy is the analysis of language.” (…)

 

However, if we do discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist.”
— Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time

 

"The [“why”] question is meaningless. (…) Not only has “why” become “how” but “why” no longer has any useful meaning, given that it presumes purpose for which there is no evidence. (…)

 

It is not a large leap of the imagination to expect that we will one day be able to break down those social actions, studied on a macro scale, to biological reactions at a micro scale. (...)

 

When it comes to the universe as a whole, we may be frighteningly close to the limits of empirical inquiry as a guide to understanding. After that, we will have to rely on good ideas alone, and that is always much harder and less reliable.”

 

 

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The Philosophical Roots of Science Fiction

The Philosophical Roots of Science Fiction | Philosophy φιλοσοφία | Scoop.it

"Science fiction doesn't just illuminate philosophy — in fact, the genre grew out of philosophy, and the earliest works of science fiction were philosophical texts. Here's why science fiction has its roots in philosophy, and why it's the genre of thought experiments about the universe. (...) People, especially early twenty-first century people, live in a world where strangeness lurks just beyond our frame of vision — but we can't see it by looking straight at it. When we try to turn and confront the weird and unthinkable that's always in the corner of our eye, it vanishes. In a sense, science fiction is like a prosthetic sense of peripheral vision.
(...)

 

A lot of allegories are really thought experiments, trying out a set of strange facts to see what principles you derive from them. As plenty of people have pointed out, Plato's Allegory of the Cave is the template for a million "what is reality" stories, from the works of Philip K. Dick to The Matrix. But you could almost see the cave allegory in itself as a proto-science fiction story, because of the strange worldbuilding that goes into these people who have never seen the "real" world. (...)

 

The philosophy of human nature often seems to depend on conjuring imaginary worlds, whether it be Hobbes' "nasty, brutish and short" world without laws, or Rousseau's "state of nature." A great believer in the importance of science, Hobbes sees humans as essentially mechanistic beings who are programmed to behave in a selfish fashion — and the state is a kind of artificial human that can contain us and give us better programming, in a sense.

So not only can you use something like Star Trek's Holodeck to point out philosophical notions of the fallibility of the senses, and the possible falseness of reality — philosophy's own explorations of those sorts of topics are frequently kind of other-worldly.

 

Philosophical thought experiments, like the oft-cited "state of nature," are also close kin to science fiction world building. As Susan Schneider writes in the book Science Fiction and Philosophy, "if you read science fiction writers like Stanislaw Lem, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Sawyer, you already aware that some of the best science fiction tales are in fact long versions of philosophical thought experiments."

 

 

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Michel Foucault: The Culture of the Self, part 1 of 5

Michel Foucault The Culture of the Self, part 1 12 Apr 1983, UC-Berkeley.

 

See also: Michel Foucault, Technologies of the Self

From: Martin, L.H. et al (1988) Technologies of the Self: A Seminar with Michel Foucault. London: Tavistock. pp.16-49. http://foucault.info/documents/foucault.technologiesOfSelf.en.html

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