Modern programming requires you to be a philosopher: you have to understand what the world is made of and how those things interact to model them in code.
In the UK, people "take" decisions. In the US, we "make" them. Believe it or not, that difference actually makes a difference.
Our forebears asked: "Why go to school during war?" "Why fund science in addition to security?" Now we ask, "Why do anything but fight for justice?"
There are some things you don't like. And there are some things you don't like because you don't like the people who like them. Which reason accounts for the way people feel about Young Adult Literature?
Idea: Make-believe is a worthy use of imagination (unlike worry). Last time, I offered what I think is one good reason for "shutting down imagination" about the future. But Kendall Walton's book Mimesis as Make-Believe has shown me how much imagination in the present -- imagination about things that you are seeing and hearing now -- [...]
Idea: Worrying is trying to control the future (which is impossible). Last time, I talked about a helpful technique for shutting down worry. But it works by shutting down imagination. And to do that, we need a really good reason.1 I used to think I worried–I imaginatively rehearsed distressing future situations–because I was “trying to be prepared.” Worry [...]
Idea: The core of worry is imagining yourself outside the present. I’ve been obsessed with the topic of imagination recently. This is partly because I realized that imagination is central to worry. You imagine something happening to you (or involving you) in the future, and feel distressed about it. I don’t know how to not feel distressed [...]
Idea: Some ways of presenting and listening to music create community, and others don’t (as much). One of the great things about radio is that it sounds different from MP3s (or CDs, or records, or whatever). When you listen to a song on the radio, you hear it as something lots of other people in the [...]
Idea: The Bible has no solution to the Problem of Evil (and that’s a good thing). I claim God’s speech in the Book of Job — the one about it being impossible for humans to understand God — is a critique of Job’s friends. They thought they had God figured out: God must be punishing Job for his sins! But God’s conclusion is [...]
Idea: Some sports involve playing with your competitors, but most involve just playing beside them. I love watching the Olympics. But have you noticed how different the various sports are? I wonder whether some of them really should be called sports at all. Perhaps "athletic performances" would be better. In some sports, like soccer and rugby, how [...]
Idea: People hate math because math is not a language, but everybody says it is. Gallileo said that the “book” of nature “is written in the language of mathematics.” But mathematics isn’t a language. Mathematical signs don’t have meanings like linguistic signs. They have rules that govern how you can move them around and replace them [...]
Idea: Value is a combination of pushing and pulling. "Significant" and "important" mean opposite things, and yet mean the same thing. Something is significant if it's like a sign. And signs point you away from themselves. They refer to other things. They have "meanings" and "implications." A thing is significant because of its consequences and ramifications. In [...]
Idea: One function of imagination is to help us get into a particular (kind of) attitude. Imagination is important -- even fundamental -- to human life. But it seems to have no connection to reality. How can something unreal be so important? This is one of the things that's been bugging me about imagination lately. But [...]
Did you know that we philosophers only ask four questions? Did you know that by learning how to ask these four questions, you too can become a philosopher? Well, they do. And you can. Find out how, by purchasing your very own copy of Philosophy in Four Questions, by me. I wrote the book for [...]
The Analytic Approach to Refuting Someone Else's Theory "Sally's theory claims that p. But if you look at the following minor and/or fanciful details (see Thought Experiments 1, 2, and 7) and really enjoy straining at gnats, you will come to the conclusion that Sally's theory can't be completely right. Therefore, it is completely wrong." [...]
I. The Rules Everyone Knows A. The Two "Normal" Rules A lot of people confuse the Golden Rule with the Silver Rule. Here's the Golden Rule: In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12, NRSV) Many people confuse this with [...]
[Y]ou must translate every bit of your Theology into the vernacular. This is very troublesome and it means you can say very little in half an hour, but it is essential. It is also of the greatest service to your own thought. I have come to the conviction that if you cannot translate your thoughts [...]
My first article on Conciliar Post: http://www.conciliarpost.com/philosophy/why-the-problem-of-evil-is-incoherent-2/ In it, I argue that on the standard philosophical view of the Abrahamic God, there theodicies are helpful, but unnecessary.
TLC had the #2 and #3 songs for 1995. We've already covered "Waterfalls," (which argued -- against the year's #1 song, "Gangsta's Paradise" -- that you can escape the environment in which you were raised, but doing so would be a bad thing) so today we move on to "Creep." What a strange song. Musically, [...]
The third alternative rock song to go #1 in 1995 was Better than Ezra's "Good." Here is a VHS-to-YouTube transfer of their performance on a younger-than-I-remember Letterman. Did you notice how David Letterman read the instruction "Hold Up" aloud? In the moment, he seemed to take it as a name or exclamation, rather than a [...]