2018/09/04: Rightly or wrongly, many associate Mill’s On Liberty with the motif of a “marketplace of ideas,” a realm that, if left to operate on its own, will drive out prejudice and falsehood and produce knowledge. But this notion, like that of a free market generally, is predicated on a utopian conception of consumers. In the case of the metaphor of the marketplace of ideas, the utopian assumption is that conversation works by exchange of reasons: one party offers its reasons, which are then countered by the reasons of an opponent, until the truth ultimately emerges.
But conversation is not just used to communicate information. It is also used to shut out perspectives, raise fears, and heighten prejudice.
Humans and the environment have never been separable. But what does the idea mean for politics?
When a legendary mathematician found a mistake in his own work, he embarked on a computer-aided quest to eliminate human error. To succeed, he has to rewrite the century-old rules underlying all of mathematics.
A THOUSAND years ago, Baghdad presented an extraordinary scene: a city of a million people, the centre of a Muslim realm which stretched from Spain to Central Asia, and an intellectual market-place where people of different philosophical and religious schools met and debated, with unpredictable results.
Each one of us has a relationship with our own ignorance, a dishonest, complicated relationship, and that dishonesty keeps us sane, happy, and willing to get out of bed in the morning. By David McRaney
The human animal takes a remarkably long time to reach maturity. And we cram a lot of learning into that time, as well we should: the list of things we need to know by the time we hit adulthood in order
Druid perspectives on nature, culture, and the future of industrial society
Pope Benedict XVI's new encyclical continues 120 years of Catholic social doctrine based on the dignity of the human person and his participation in society.
In the arsenal of eternal skeptics there are few tools more dramatically and more commonly used than Ockham's razor. It is triumphantly applied to resolve arguments about ghosts (more parsimoniously seen as misperceptions by distraught family members or the suggestible), UFOs (evidently hoaxes and mistaken observations of natural phenomena) and telepathy (a "delusion" of wishful
I wanted to write some sort of first order reply to Jane O'Grady's article "Can a Machine Change Your Mind?"-but as I began thinking it over, it became clear that it would end up killing half my day. First of all, I'd have to go back to my library and brush up on my philosophy of mind, a topic I've given only very sporadic attention since my undergrad days. Second, it's something of a one-way hash: For every confused or muddled claim, it would take about a dozen paragraphs of explication to make clear to someone not intimately familiar with philosophy of mind what's wrong with it. (Whereas, of course, someone who is familiar requires no explication.) Just to sketch very briefly: O'Grady seems to conflate Type Identity Theory with physicalism more generally. She makes an objection to a narrowly specified type-type identity sound like an objection to identity per se. She attempts (braver than I!) to explain Saul Kripke's anti-reductionist views in something like three paragraphs, in which (still more heroically) such terms as "modal" and "rigid designator" make no appearance. She claims that it's impossible to induce or eliminate beliefs or affective complexes by altering specific regions of the brain, despite the fact that there are a spate of brain conditions where this is precisely what occurs. She repeatedly conflates ontological and epistemic problems. She implies that eliminative materialism is not a program for reforming the taxa of psychologists and neurologists, but some kind of quixotic campaign against poetry in ordinary language. Perhaps most obnoxiously, she invokes the specter of insidious Brave New World-style applications of advanced brain science as though these were an objection to the theoretical the adequacy of physicalism. (One wonders: If mind is not brain, why worry?)