Merleau-Ponty! Buber! Lacan! Physics! Aesthetics! The Residents! Derrida! Deleuze! Searle! Pynchon! DeLillo! The holidays have definitely made it more difficult for me at least to be on top of my Not School activities, but nonetheless the new month is immanent, and I thought I should convey to those not currently monitoring the Citizens’ Forum what […]
Archives for December 2012
If you don’t know what the acronym “PPT” means, consider yourself lucky that you have avoided a work or social context where doing presentations is required. If you are like me, the power of those three letters to inspire dread is almost unparalleled. The phrase ‘Can you put together some slides…’ evokes panic, fear […]
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of discussing P.W. Anderson’s famous 1972 article More is Different as part of a PEL Not School study group on emergence with Not Schoolers Bill Burgess, Casey Fitzpatrick, Ernie Prabhakar, and Evan Gould. Anderson argues that the sciences don’t form a reductive whole — that chemistry isn’t applied physics and psychology […]
On David Chalmers’s book Constructing the World (2012).
Listen to the episode. Back in ancient Athens, the big-name intellectuals were not the philosophers and proto-scientists we remember today, but the sophists, who taught people how to argue and make speeches in front of courts of law and groups of people. Plato (speaking as usual through his teacher Socrates) thought this to be a […]
On David Chalmers’s book Constructing the World (2012). How are all the various truths about the world related to each other? David Chalmers, famous for advocating a scientifically respectable form of brain-consciousness dualism, advocates a framework of scrutability: if one knew some set of base truths, then the rest would be knowable from them. Learn more.
Just wanted to kick out a question to you folks: do you most enjoy academic research when you’re focusing on just one thing, or pursuing multiple lines at once? I at some points in grad school thought that I would much more enjoy it if I only had to take one class at a time. […]
Excerpts of discussions about David Chalmers’s The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory, Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos, and Paul Auster’s City of Glass.
After our posts about philosophical literature it seemed appropriate to refer to this post from the NY Times on philosophy itself as literature by Jim Holt. An excerpt: Now let me narrow my query: Does anybody read analytic philosophy for pleasure? Is this kind of philosophy literature? Here you might say, “Certainly not!” Or you […]
Today I had the pleasure of discussing Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False as part of a PEL Not School study group on the book. Joining me were Not Schoolers Neil Earnshaw and Jon Turner. We discussed our dissatisfaction with with Nagel’s argument that evolutionary naturalism fails to […]
Featuring Wes Alwan, Neil Earnshaw, and Jon Turner. Recorded on 12/9/12.We discuss our dissatisfaction with Nagel’s argument that evolutionary naturalism fails to explain consciousness and therefore must be supplemented by teleology.
A feature of Carnap’s system discussed in the episode was his his attempt to objectivize our talk of objects by removing any demonstrative or ostensive elements. Though the “elementary experiences” as I examine them are of course mine, and not analyzable in themselves according to Carnap’s account, the only way they become useful to science […]
On Rudolph Carnap’s The Logical Structure of the World (1928). What can we know? Carnap thinks that all the various spheres of knowledge are logically interrelated, that you can translate sentences about any of these into sentences about sets of basic, momentary experiences. This book, aka the Aufbau, is his attempt to sketch out how this system of linguistic reduction can work (it doesn’t). WIth guest Matt Teichman. Learn more.
End song: “Undershirt” by Mark Lint with Edison Carter (1996).
On Rudolph Carnap’s The Logical Structure of the World (1928). WIth guest Matt Teichman.
I’ll let the cat out of the bag now that our planned reading for ep. 69 will be Plato’s dialogue “Gorgias.” I have in mind to record a full-cast audio version of this (there are 5 speaking parts) and am looking for some folks (men or women; I don’t care that they’re all dudes in […]
Editor’s Note: PEL listener Paul Harris has written up this report on a great Not School discussion available for member download. Whether or not you want to join, it’s still a fricking great book, recommended for anyone with an interest in modern and/or philosophical literature. Last Sunday, the Not School group ‘Worlds of Wordcraft’ – […]
On 12/4 we spoke with David Chalmers about his new book, Constructing the World. Listen to the episode. The book explores a series of related positions that attempt to generalize and improve upon Carnap’s project of logical construction in the Aufbau, the subject of our episode 67 (which will be posted soon). Carnap’s project was […]
[Editor’s Note: Here’s a submission from Derick, guest from our Saussure episode.] “Plurality should not be posited without necessity.” -Duns Scotus “Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.” -William of Ockham Here’s a philosophical thesis that should be obvious but apparently isn’t: Ockham’s Razor is not an ontological rule nor even a necessary rule of logic. […]
On Auster’s 1985 novella. The book presents itself as a work of detective fiction. However, it soon becomes clear that it is far from conventional in its structure. The work has been cited as an example of ‘postmodern detective fiction’ where the mystery contained within the narrative is itself surrounded by the mystery of the novella’s construction.
There’s lots of cool things going on in the PEL Not School discussion groups. To entice those of you that are interested in emergence to come check things out, I’ve proposed reading and discussing a short, interesting essay by the physicist P. W. Anderson called “More is Different: Broken Symmetry and the Hierarchical Nature of […]