On 5/11/15, the basic foursome recorded a discussion of Sigmund Freud’s method of dream interpretation, and got a little bit into what this is supposed to tell us about the human mind, and what the results are for philosophy per Ricoeur’s admonition that we should take Freud into account. The full episode, with no commercials, […]
Having the opportunity to speak with Nicholas Humphrey was a phenomenal experience (pun intended). His accounts of discussing dreams with Francis Crick, debating the best materialist arguments with Dan Dennett, working on blindsight, describing how personhood and ethics arise out of consciousness, and positing that our minds act as artists to make us fall in love with ourselves, make for a wonderful and enlightening listen.
The resolution to follow Epicurus is a resolution to protect one’s mind. We live in a dysfunctional consumerist society filled with anxiety and neuroses, where few people analyse their lives, most have a short attention span and are uninterested in disciplining their minds and curbing mindless desires. If philosophy is understood as the Epicureans understand it, then it becomes evident that people desperately need philosophy today.
Because German science held such a prominent place in culture before WWI, it could not escape the fallout when the war ended in disaster. German physicists needed a way to reestablish their prestige, and this meant repudiating their prewar past in order to make room for an up-to-date theory that would not be tarnished by earlier failures.A new mania for a romantic “life philosophy,” which rejected the mechanical and mechanistic attitudes of the British in favor of an experience-based, intuitive holism became fashionable. In physics, the new model incorporated the values of “life philosophy” by rejecting causality as the principle explanatory mechanism.
To say that Jesus was a philosopher is not to say that he was a philosopher and nothing else; he was also a religious preacher and healer. But philosophical argument is implicit in much of his teaching, especially when he is in dialogue. Moreover, his parables, as stimuli to deeper thought, are philosophical devices also.
In a series of essays written, Robert M. Young argued that scientific theories, like all other products of the human mind, arise out of a specific social context. Theories necessarily incorporate the values and concerns of the people who create them, which are themselves expressions of their specific historical context. Therefore, if we want to understand evolution, we need to understand the history of Victorian England.
According to Boyle, the best method in natural philosophy (and politics) was experiment and observation. Hobbes disagreed. He believed that observation could never displace deduction as a form of reasoning because observation always admitted of multiple explanations, and without rigorous definitions there was no way to decide between them. No number of experiments with air pumps could establish whether a vacuum was present or not unless Boyle could define what vacuum, air, etc., were.