kottke.org posts about philosophy

Karaoke songs for philosophy studentsSep 08 2014

This list of philosophy student karaoke standards by Jarry Lee for McSweeney's contain some top-shelf philosophy puns.

My Milkshake Brings All the Baudrillard
Psycho Schiller
Hit Me Baby Wittgenstein
Total Eclipse of Descartes

(via @tcarmody)

Do we live in a computer simulation?Dec 11 2012

In 2003, British philosopher Nick Bostrom suggested that we might live in a computer simulation. From the abstract of Bostrom's paper:

This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a "posthuman" stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed.

The gist appears to be that if The Matrix is possible, someone has probably already invented it and we're in it. Which, you know, whoa.

But researchers believe they have devised a test to check if we're living in a computer simulation.

However, Savage said, there are signatures of resource constraints in present-day simulations that are likely to exist as well in simulations in the distant future, including the imprint of an underlying lattice if one is used to model the space-time continuum.

The supercomputers performing lattice quantum chromodynamics calculations essentially divide space-time into a four-dimensional grid. That allows researchers to examine what is called the strong force, one of the four fundamental forces of nature and the one that binds subatomic particles called quarks and gluons together into neutrons and protons at the core of atoms.

"If you make the simulations big enough, something like our universe should emerge," Savage said. Then it would be a matter of looking for a "signature" in our universe that has an analog in the current small-scale simulations.

If it turns out we're all really living in an episode of St. Elsewhere, I'm going to be really bummed. (via @CharlesCMann)

Three minute philosophyJul 22 2010

YouTube user CollegeBinary does a video series called Three Minute Philosophy. Each episode describes the views and beliefs of a noted philosopher: Galileo, Kant, Descartes, Locke, and more.

David Foster Wallace, philosopherDec 15 2008

A short piece on David Foster Wallace's college philosophy thesis.

Even after he began writing fiction in college -- he simultaneously completed a second undergraduate thesis, in English, that ultimately became his 1987 novel, "The Broom of the System" -- it was still philosophy that defined him academically. "I knew him as a philosopher with a fiction hobby," Jay Garfield, an adviser on Wallace's thesis and now a professor at Smith College, told me recently. "I didn't realize he was one of the great fiction writers of his generation with a philosophy hobby."

On Richard Dawkins, relativism, and truth.Dec 30 2005

On Richard Dawkins, relativism, and truth.

More philosopher ratings, this time from Crispin SartwellJul 18 2005

More philosopher ratings, this time from Crispin Sartwell. "jacques derrida: there's something to be said for the deconstructuive method, a tool which i've been known to throw around myself. otherwise, this is so, so, so full of shit. obviously, it's intentionally obscurantist, which is i guess supposed to be part of the profound game of defamiliarizing language etc. fuck you.'

BBC Radio 4 poll results for Greatest Philosopher Ever!!Jul 18 2005

BBC Radio 4 poll results for Greatest Philosopher Ever!!. 1. Karl "Boom Boom" Marx; 2. David "The Kid" Hume; 3. Ludwig "Van" Wittgenstein; 4. Friedrich "Freddie" Nietzsche; 5. Plato "Johnson"

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