“The greatest punishment, if one isn’t willing to rule, is to be ruled by someone worse than oneself.” (Republic, 347c) “Until philosophers rule as kings or those who are not called kings and leading men genuinely and adequately philosophize, that is, until political power and philosophy entirely coincide…cities will have no rest from evils…nor, I … Continue reading Plato on the Rise of Trump, or: Philosophy in 140 Characters?
I was recently interviewed by Ezra Zaid from BFM radio in Kuala Lumpur. He hosts an English-language show about comedy, "Finding the Funny," and he'd run across the volume on Woody Allen and Philosophy I'd co-edited. You can listen to the radio interview here. In addition, you can read my essay from the volume, "God, … Continue reading Woody Allen and Philosophy
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?
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
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
In a recent article in Wired magazine, “The Three Breakthroughs That Have Finally Unleashed AI on the World,” the author, Kevin Kelly, claims that artificial intelligence (AI) is here and here to stay. He understands AI, apparently, as machine (specifically, computer) intelligence that will become more and more a part of our lives. He claims … Continue reading Has A.I. Really Arrived?
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