… Read the rest
Darwinism designates a distinctive form of evolutionary explanation for the history and diversity of life on earth. Its original formulation is provided in the first edition of On the Origin of Species in 1859. This entry first formulates ‘Darwin’s Darwinism’ in terms of five philosophically distinctive themes: (i) probability and chance, (ii) the nature, power and scope of selection, (iii) adaptation and teleology, (iv) nominalism vs. essentialism about species and (v) the tempo and mode of evolutionary change. Both Darwin and his critics recognized that his approach to evolution was distinctive on each of these topics, and it remains true that, though Darwinism has developed in many ways unforeseen by Darwin, its proponents and critics continue to differentiate it from other approaches in evolutionary biology by focusing on these themes. This point is illustrated in the second half of the entry by looking at current debates in the philosophy of evolutionary biology on these five themes.
Tag Archives | Philosophy
Chris de Cinque is a well read man with a cheeky, verbose spirit. He also sings for the proggy, satire-soaked, mercurial quintet, Closure in Moscow. Their critically-acclaimed opus, Pink Lemonade (without a doubt one of my favorite records of last year) proves it’s possible to grapple with heavy themes like enlightenment and transhumanism all whilst maintaining a deep sense of fourth-wall breaking sarcasm complete with what sound suspiciously like boner noises (see the full album stream below).
The courage to forsake the armor your persona provides and expose your tender vulnerabilities to other humans is a terrifying, intimidating, yet irreplaceably vital thing. When you do summon up the bravery take that leap, you’re truly doing the no less than holy work of shrinking the gaps between you and your fellow man. Disabling your social forcefield allows compassion and understanding flow.… Read the rest
I love Stanford’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy, it’s a great resource. Here’s the introduction and table of contents to their entry on Self-Knowledge.
via Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
… Read the rest
In philosophy, “self-knowledge” standardly refers to knowledge of one’s own sensations, thoughts, beliefs, and other mental states. At least since Descartes, most philosophers have believed that our knowledge of our own mental states differs markedly from our knowledge of the external world (where this includes our knowledge of others’ thoughts). But there is little agreement about what precisely distinguishes self-knowledge from knowledge in other realms. Partially because of this disagreement, philosophers have endorsed competing accounts of how we acquire self-knowledge. These accounts have important consequences for a broad range of philosophical issues, especially issues in epistemology and the philosophy of mind.
This entry focuses on knowledge of one’s own particular mental states. A separate topic sometimes referred to as “self-knowledge”, knowledge about a persisting self, is addressed in a supplement:Knowledge of the Self.
“Explanations always call for deep thought. But when you actually dream, be as light as a feather. Dreaming has to be performed with integrity and seriousness, but in the midst of laughter and with the confidence of someone who doesn’t have a worry in the world. Only under these conditions can our dreams actually be turned into dreaming.” — Carlos Castaneda “The Art of Dreaming”
This was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.
Some of you may have noticed my recently-published paper on existential risk and artificial intelligence. The paper offers a somewhat critical perspective on the recent trend for AI-doomsaying among people like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates. Of course, it doesn’t focus on their opinions; rather, it focuses on the work of the philosopher Nick Bostrom, who has written the most impressive analysis to date of the potential risks posed by superintelligent machines.
I want to try and summarise the main points of that paper in this blog post. This summary comes with the usual caveat that the full version contains more detail and nuance. If you want that detail and nuance, you should read that paper. That said, writing this summary after the paper was published does give me the opportunity to reflect on its details and offer some modifications to the argument in light of feedback/criticisms.… Read the rest
When someone mentions “The New World Order,” it conjures up thoughts of conspiracy involving the Illuminati, the Freemasons, Skull and Bones, old privileged family wealth and royal lineage. Beneath that you think of the already bought and paid for world leaders and the secret agenda. And you might be right.
When I think of the New World Order, I’m thinking of an idea. It’s an idea that’s as old as war itself. How many times must we keep hearing this same ideology? Every single empire from the beginning of man had this same dream. You know the one, the dream of controlling everything beneath the sky from horizon to horizon.
Nothing has changed in thousands of years except the horizons and the dreamers. When all you could see was the Aztec Empire, then controlling that was good enough. When all anyone could see was the Roman Empire, then that was good enough.… Read the rest
Marty Leeds is the author of several books and a researcher on the subjects of myth, math, spirituality, philosophy and lost civilizations. He has an ongoing lecture series available on Youtube and he hosts The Marty Leeds’ Mathemagical Radio Hour.
After pretending we know what we’re doing for a few decades and attempting to deal with whatever attention-eating obligation fodder society flings our way, our childlike sense of wonder tends to seep out of us. We simply don’t have the energy to marvel at the omnipresent harmony around us while we’re being crushed by a mountain of student loan debt or whispering profanities at Turbo Tax.
Devoid of that underlying sense of purpose and awe, our existence becomes hollow. Try as we might, we just can’t fill that void through our usual repertoire of mundane behaviors. The more we ignore it, the more the issue becomes inflamed.… Read the rest
We assume that effect follows cause. But could this most basic of beliefs be mistaken?
Mathematician George Ellis made his name focusing on some of the big questions of cosmology and relativity. Along with Stephen Hawking, he co-authored 1973’s The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, which attempted to describe the very foundations of space itself.
More recently, Ellis has been focusing on top-down causation – the process by which higher level organised systems, such as humans, interact with their own component parts. His theories have important repercussions across many fields of research – from consciousness and free will to understanding quantum phenomena. Ellis is also an active Quaker and was a vocal opponent of apartheid during the 1970s and ‘80s.
We spoke to Ellis about his theories, their implications, and the reasons behind certain resistance to these ideas.
What exactly is top-down causation?
A key question for science is whether all causation is from the bottom up only.
Andrew Gonsalves writing at Don’t Feed the Animals:
… Read the rest
I’ve been bad. I haven’t practiced meditating in a long time and I would easily classify most of my thoughts during the day as “mindless.” That is, of course, the opposite of “mindful.” Mindfulness is a skill that takes a fair amount of work to acquire. The most recognized route to mindfulness is through meditation, wherein you practice acknowledging your thoughts for what they are and then let them go. This leads to what is often called being “in the moment,” a state where you neither pine for the past, nor mull about the future, but instead appreciate your here and now.
The benefits of mindfulness meditation are so numerous that it may as well be considered a superpower (as close as you can get to one in this world). From various health improvements to a calmer, happier disposition, mindfulness will likely improve your life, if only a little bit.
“Of the Devil’s Party” the art of Barry William Hale
My work is a synthesis of Art and Magick, and the residue of my esoteric endeavours. It is essential for me to forge a magical link to the metaphysical subject matter. There is great power in the things people are afraid of. The Devil is the name some new regime gives to the God[s] of those whom they oppress. These repressed forces become the locus of forbidden power imprisoned by the walls of taboo.
For me, these Crowned Anarchies become the agencies of liberation. My work is Gnostic in the sense that it gives primacy to direct experience with the divine. In the spirit of the Rebellious Promethean spark of the Luciferian fire.
“Better to reign in hell than serve in heav’n”
– Paradise Lost — John Milton