The World of Raymond Chandler: in His Own Words, edited by Barry Day: A Review

Raymond Chandler was one of the greatest classic noir writers. He wrote The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely, The Lady in the Lake, and The Long Goodbye, amongst others. Even if you’ve never read any of his work, you likely recognize at least some of those titles, since each one of them has been made … Continue reading The World of Raymond Chandler: in His Own Words, edited by Barry Day: A Review

The Mind Projection Fallacy, or: Do You Exist Before I Look at You?

In my humble opinion, one of the wackiest things about contemporary physics is the notion of indeterminacy, or the idea that (as a recent essay put it): “Reality Doesn’t Exist Until You Look at It.” This title is doubly silly, since it equates reality with what goes on at the subatomic level, and not with trees, dolphins, … Continue reading The Mind Projection Fallacy, or: Do You Exist Before I Look at You?

Physics, Empirical Evidence, and David Hume

A recent New York Times opinion piece, "A Crisis at the End of Science," raises the somewhat-unexpected question of whether "physicists need empirical evidence to confirm their theories." This is unexpected because empirical confirmation has been the foundation of the natural sciences since the beginnings of modern science. If someone's theories and claims can't be empirically … Continue reading Physics, Empirical Evidence, and David Hume

On South Carolina, Forgiveness, and Dostoevsky

There's a heartfelt essay in today's New York Times entitled "Why I Can't Forgive Dylann Roof" by Roxane Gay. This follows from the very emotional scenes when the family members of the murdered South Carolina church-goers confronted the monster who killed their brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and by-and-large forgave him for his unforgivable deeds. Gay … Continue reading On South Carolina, Forgiveness, and Dostoevsky

How We Got Duped into Believing Computers Can Think

I recently wrote a post, “Has A.I. Really Arrived?” in which I disputed claims that computers can or will think (click here to read the original post). In that essay I wasn’t articulating anything original. I was repeating the arguments of the philosopher John Searle. Searle calls the idea that programs are to computers as … Continue reading How We Got Duped into Believing Computers Can Think

The Good, The Bad, and Schopenhauer

Last week I gave a paper at the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy meeting in New Orleans. It was on Nietzsche’ view of pessimism, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk a bit about the philosophical conceptions of optimism and pessimism. Both optimism and pessimism are generally understood as involving an evaluation … Continue reading The Good, The Bad, and Schopenhauer