Tag Archives | Philosophy

Thoughts on Bankruptcy by Voltaire

Robert Couse-Baker (CC BY 2.0)

Robert Couse-Baker (CC BY 2.0)

Excerpted from Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary.

Few bankruptcies were known in France before the sixteenth century. The great reason is that there were no bankers. Lombards, Jews lent on security at ten per cent: trade was conducted in cash. Exchange, remittances to foreign countries were a secret unknown to all judges.

It is not that many people were not ruined; but that was not called bankruptcy; one said discomfiture; this word is sweeter to the ear. One used the word rupture as did the Boulonnais; but rupture does not sound so well.

The bankruptcies came to us from Italy, bancorotto, bancarotta, gambarotta e la giustizia non impicar. Every merchant had his bench (banco) in the place of exchange; and when he had conducted his business badly, declared himself fallito, and abandoned his property to his creditors with the proviso that he retain a good part of it for himself, be free and reputed a very upright man.… Read the rest

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Does Metaphysics Matter? Part 2: “Okay, stay with me here”

"Eternity of a moment" Giorgio de Chirico

“Eternity of a moment” Giorgio de Chirico

Read part 1 here.

Let’s start with a couple propositions:

The Identity of Indiscernibles 

Two objects are identical when they share all the same properties.

The Indiscernibility of Identicles:

If two objects share all the same properties then the two objects are identical. 

At a glance, they both seem obvious enough that even mentioning them feels like a waste of time.  Things get a little more complicated, however, when you consider the “position” of a property, since it’s also agreed upon by all that no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time.  If object x and object y truly share all the same properties, including position, then x and y are truly “identical” in that they are the same object.  Even this isn’t terribly controversial (although some have argued against it), but when you apply it to real life something odd can occur, as seen in the following example. 

Miami Rick bought a jacket two years ago and wore it often.Read the rest

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The Logical Space of Democracy: A Map

Finnish_Parliament

This was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

John Danaher is an academic with interests in the philosophy of technology, religion, ethics and law. He blogs at http://philosophicaldisquisitions.blogspot.com.

Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms which from time to time we have tried. Granting this, we might be inclined to wonder what sorts of democratic decision-making procedures are possible? This is a question that Christian List sets out to answer in his paper “The Logical Space of Democracy”. In this post, I want to share the logical space alluded to in his title.

To do so, I need to briefly recap my previous post, which looked at something called the “democratic trilemma”. This trilemma is a generalised version of the Condorcet voting paradox. It applies to any collective decision-making procedure in which inputs (i.e. attitudes towards propositions) are taken from individuals and then aggregated together to form some collective output.… Read the rest

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The Philosophy of Time

times-square1938

Times Square, NYC. January 1938

Have you ever wondered what is meant by a moment in time? To capture a moment in time we have to combine slices upon slices of infinitesimal imaginary finites. To get to a moment we will remember there has to have once been a now! What, after all, is “NOW” or “real time,” and how long does it last? I’m talking about right now. Well, by the time that you get to the end of this sentence, it will already be in the past. I mean it’s easy to imagine past, or future, but “now” (this moment) lasts how long? Does it last a second? To me it’s like that needle on a record or the laser on a DVD. The record is your life and the needle is where your consciousness of now is at any given time. The rest of the record has either played or it hasn’t, but the needle is constantly moving.… Read the rest

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064. Daniele Bolelli | Taoism and Gravity-Defying Glorious D-Cups

Via Midwest Real

“Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can have a word with him?” -Zhuangzi

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TScreen Shot 2015-02-15 at 7.29.32 PMaoism is, in a way, the anti-religion. Its very existence is a philosophical counter-punch to the jaw of the saintly pomp revered by most religions. Zhuangzi (widely regarded as one of the greatest Taoist minds) once told a curious man that if he wanted to understand the Tao, he should go take a close look at the nearest pile feces.

This is why Taoism is awesome.

As for the point of Zhuangzi’s poop story– if the questions you’re asking aren’t about making your way through every day life with full reverence and appreciation for each bite of food, puff of air and pile of dog shit you encounter, you’re missing the point.

Of course, there’s more to Taoism than cartoonish stories about excrement.Read the rest

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Church of England vanquishes Satan: References to Devil removed from services to make them ‘accessible’

Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

They’re using half measures, as usual. And now they also think that casual dress and priests looking like slobs will garner more respect. They’re still insisting on preaching dualism and dividing society. It’s either they discard Satan from their preaching or they embrace the Biblical scripture and the vital presence of the Satanic in their religion. All they’re doing is alienating people and not satisfying people who would welcome changes. Christian Politics, as usual.

John Bingham via the National Post:

The Book of Revelation speaks of the Devil being vanquished and cast into a pit of fire and brimstone at the end of the world.

Yesterday, however, the Church of England consigned Satan to a decidedly less dramatic fate – being quietly designated as an optional extra.

Instead of requiring an apocalyptic battle between the forces of good and evil, the move was approved with a polite show of hands at the General Synod, the Church’s decision-making body, which has been meeting in Westminster.

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Does Metaphysics Matter? Part 1: “Not really, no”

The Drunken Gentleman Carlo Carra, 1916

The Drunken Gentleman – Carlo Carra, 1916

Years ago in Busan, South Korea, I was in bed when my girlfriend, in what I believe to be an attempt to share interests with each other, asked me what exactly someone studies when they study metaphysics.  I considered giving her the definition my professor had offered my class years and years ago on the first day of my first metaphysics course — “Metaphysics is the study of being qua being” — but I refrained from doing so because most people quickly lose interest after hearing that sentence spoken aloud.  Instead I opted for a metaphysical topic often used early on in any philosophy department’s curriculum, that of Universals and Particulars.  “It’s like, um, we know that there are green things,” I explained, “but, like, is green actually a thing?” (I’m usually more eloquent, but we were both fairly stoned at this point.)  She responded by bluntly telling me that was the most useless thing she had ever heard of before rolling over and going to sleep.Read the rest

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Liam Wilson of The Dillinger Escape Plan on Midwest Real | Rabbit Holes Never End

Via Midwest Real

Liam Wilson of The Dillinger Escape Plan talks fatherhood, consciousness and nomadic, otherworldly, head-sucking Ayahuasca shamans. 

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somespaceshitbrightliamLiam Wilson is a successful musician, psychonaut, yogi, meditator,traveler and writer (by no means does he live an unexamined, life). Yet, nothing has prepared him one bit for the trajectory-altering, love-filled uppercut to the nethers of your ego that is fatherhood.

As if that weren’t nuclear enough, Liam just participated in a two-day Ayahuasca ceremony run by a mysterious, otherworldly, head-sucking, nomadic shaman. An experience that has left him reconsidering even the most basic anchors we ground our very realities with.

Liam is a contributing writer at Talkhouse. If you’re a fan of heavy music and somehow haven’t listened to his band The Dillinger Escape Plan, what in the name of Satan’s gnarled beard is wrong with you? 

Get in touch!  Follow Midwest Real on Twitter and  Facebook.Read the rest

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Do Doctors Really Know Best? [Debate]

CroppedImage608342-doc-in-dock-2

Despite the recent bad press, most of us still think doctor knows best. Yet with medical intervention now the third biggest killer after heart disease and cancer, is it time to call a halt to our trust? Should we end the monopoly on prescription? Would this give us ownership over our own health, or risk lives and return us to Victorian quackery?

The Panel

Former health minister Gisela Stuart, radical psychiatrist David Healy and former Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners Clare Gerada put the medial profession on trial.

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The Cusp of a Transhumanist Renaissance, or the Eve of Dystopia?

Transhumanist, Zoltan Istvan joins Midwest Real.

When it comes right down to it, we have absolutely no idea what the future will hold. Yet, between 2014’s major advances in AI, VR, AR, quantum computing and longevity science, it sure as hell seems like we’re on the cusp of something huge.

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IMG_6532Will these unprecedented breakthroughs usher in a utopian neo-renaissance? Will technological and medical innovation enable us to live practically forever so that we’re free to pursue our passions all day long? Or, will we find ourselves an Orwellian dystopia plagued by a broken environment, thought control and murderous AI oligarch overlords who’ll invade our minds in an effort to milk us for money and energy as we jump willingly into ultra-plush matrix pods of their design?

Who knows?

Our guest this week, Zoltan Istvan is the author of The Transhumanist Wager. He writes for practically every major technology website (Gizmodo, Huffington Post, Motherboard Wired etc.) He’s the founder of the Transhumanist Party, which aims to draw attention and dollars to cutting-edge science and technology.… Read the rest

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