"There are none so blind as those who will not see." --

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Gödel Loop: A New short story by Nathaniel Bates

Nathaniel Bates has a new short science fiction story up for purchase at Scholardarity, called Gödel Loop:

Time loops were predicted by mathematician and close friend of Einstein Kurt Gödel.  The past and future loop in to one.  A former radical turned police detective discovers that the road to solving a murder may be found in a Gödel loop that leads him to the past, future, and to the very edge of what is possible.  
Check out a free preview here.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

An Ode to Hume's Skepticism

An Ode to Hume's Skepticism


Jason Zarri

The legacy of David Hume, like the appearance of the Moon, 
is sometimes waxing, sometimes waning, 
but hopefully never, forever fading.

The Treatise fell dead-born from the press,
The Enquiries had more success,
and the Dialogues should still impress
all those who in clerical garb do dress.

But be you "friend" or be you "foe";
please, do not betide him woe.
For concerning all subjects whatsoever,
he strove to be skeptical in equal measure.

Skepticism, being no exception,
itself came under his inspection.
At Pyrrho's doctrine he looked askance,
but in the Academy's he saw a chance
to get vain reason to abdicate its pride, 
letting humble experience show forth its light far and wide.
And Hume himself, though he could have been humbler,
helped to wake Kant from his dogmatic slumber.

So everyone, pray, of every school,
consider Hume may be errant, but surely no fool.
Would it not do us much good to admit,
'tis the height of folly to seek more knowledge than our nature will permit?
Finally, to any philosophers who meet this maxim with dread,
I say: Beware of rushing in where fools would fear to tread!

D' Jay Z's Faves No. 5 (playlist)

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

God - Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary

God - Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary

From  the Hanover College Department of History

"DURING the reign of Arcadius, Logomacos, lecturer in theology of Constantinople, went to Scythia and halted at the foot of the Caucasus, in the fertile plains of Zephirim, on the frontier of Colchis. That good old man Dondindac was in his great lower hall, between his sheepfold and his vast barn; he was kneeling with his wife, his five sons and five daughters, his kindred and his servants, and after a light meal they were all singing God's praises. " What do you there, idolator? " said Logomacos to him.
" I am not an idolator," answered Dondindac.

" You must be an idolator," said Logomacos, " seeing that you are not Greek. Tell me, what was that you were singing in your barbarous Scythian jargon? "

" All tongues are equal in the ears of God," answered the Scythian. " We were singing His praises."

" That's very extraordinary," returned the theologian. " A Scythian family who pray God without having been taught by us! " He soon engaged Dondindac the Scythian in conversation, for he knew a little Scythian, and the other a little Greek. The following conversation was found in a manuscript preserved in the library of Constantinople." [...]


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Friday, May 16, 2014

D' Jay Z's Faves No. 3 (playlist)

The Phantom of the Qualia

The Phantom of the Qualia

Lyrics for a Musical Philosophical Parody

Jason Zarri
(The following is "mashup" parody of [and tribute to!] "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Music of the Night" from Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical The Phantom of the Opera and the debate over thontological status of qualia in the philosophy of mind. Thanks also to Peter Hollens and his wife Evynne Hollens for their Phantom of the Opera Medley on YouTube, which is what inspired this post.)
In sleep she sang to me, in dreams she came.
Her voice; it calls to me, and speaks my name;
and in this labyrinth, where brains are blind,
The Phantom of the Qualia is here, and soothes my mind.

Qualia, qualia, defy some's comprehension,
but qualia, qualia are the stuff of intellection!
Quite magically the senses, they break the mind's defenses,
enthralling us in taste and sound and sight,
the power of this "phantom of the night"!

Let this Phantom lead your journey to a strange possible world
Leave all thoughts of the one you think is real!
Let her song guide you where you wish to be...
Only then will you belong to she!

She has called you,
to the seat of sweet qualia's throne,
to this kingdom where all must pay homage to qualia, qualia;
you have come here, with one purpose and one alone
Since the moment you first heard her sing,
you have needed her with you to serve you, to sing;
about qualia, qualia!

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Fuzzy Argument for Crisp Negation? (Maybe.)

Here's an argument that might be taken to show that 'not,' in English, does not express a fuzzy negation function; otherwise we have a paradox. (I'll assume throughout that talk of "degrees of truth" still makes sense for other, especially formal, languages or metalanguages.) Consider sentence S1:

S1: This sentence is half true.

S1 is true, i.e. has the value 1, if and only if it is half true, i.e. has the value 1/2. Grant for the sake of argument that we'll set aside "fuzzy dialetheism", that a statement could have multiple degrees of truth. It follows that S1 is neither true nor half true. The only value that it seems to make sense to assign to it is 0.

Now consider S2:

S2: This sentence is not half true.

S2 would seem to be true, i.e. have the value 1, if and only if it is not half true, i.e. iff it does not have the value 1/2. (If S2 did have the value 1/2, it would seem to be false, and hence also have the value 0; and we have ruled out it's having two different truth degrees.) Since it can't both have the value 1 and some value other than 1, it would seem that the only value that it makes sense to assign to it is 1.

But here's the catch: In standard fuzzy logic, p and ~p are equivalent when they both take the value 1/2. So if I were to say of some statement p that it is half true, that would, assuming that 'not' is fuzzy, be in some sense equivalent to saying that it is also half false. But S2 (so the argument goes) is equivalent to the negation of S1. It does make sense then that they have opposite truth values, given the definition of negation in fuzzy logic; yet given what I've said about the equivalence of half-truth and half-falsity their content would appear to be the same, and thus that they should accordingly have the same truth value! Strange; nay, even paradoxical, no?

Well, honestly, I'm not sure. What do you think?