Galen Strawson of Mind and Matter

July 5, 2018 Agrippa 0

Galen Strawson, Things That Bother Me: Death, Freedom, the Self, Etc, (New York, New York Review Books, 2018). It would be tempting to attribute Galen Strawson’s peculiar brand of naturalism to the hashish and the LCD, but readers of this site would know that I have long adhered to something […]

Fischer’s Theorem and the Mind’s Big Bang

May 10, 2018 Agrippa 0

Bobby Fischer described the evolution of his capability to play the game of chess by saying , after years of singular devotion, that “by the age of eleven, I just got good.” There’s something quite profound at work here, with import beyond the game of chess. Let me explain. Ian […]

On the Humanities and Naturalistic Inquiry

January 11, 2018 Agrippa 0

I cannot think of many who had the same depth of insight and breadth of interest as David Hume, and his accounting of history and its relation to the sciences remains apposite. Consider his well known, and still controversial, declaration of the study of history in An Inquiry Mankind are […]

Economic Growth and the Doomsday Argument

November 13, 2017 Agrippa 0

Say there are two lottery urns, one containing 1000 balls each numbered from 1 to 1000, and the other containing 10 balls each also numbered from 1 to 10. We have two individuals, one Alice the other Bob. Alice will reach into one of the lottery urns, out of sight […]

Why Only US? On The Very Idea of a Social Construction

October 27, 2017 Agrippa 0

Albert Einstein never won the Nobel Prize for physics on account of relativity, even though it became a well accepted part of our understanding of nature and acquired empirical support well within his lifetime. It was considered too different, too weird for so august a prize although oddly quantum mechanics, […]

CERN and the Crisis of Big Science

June 23, 2017 Agrippa 0

Dennis Overbye has a nice article on the LHC at CERN and the, so far failed, search for supersymmetry at the New York Times. One of the things that Overbye focuses on is what he calls the “nightmare” of the physics community, or better still the physics establishment, namely that […]

Logic and the Mechanisation of Reason

June 18, 2017 Agrippa 0

Michael Shenefelt and Heidi White, If A Then B: How the World Discovered Logic, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014). This is a truly unique book. It is a history of logic, but it is not a normal history. Not too many existential quantifiers here nor barbers requiring a shave. […]

Algebra and A General Theory of Logic

June 12, 2017 Agrippa 0

Michael Friedman’s Reconsidering Logical Positivism, which I have read before but recently got in the mail, is a very good and important book which argues, persuasively, that the dominant interpretation of logical positivism within the Anglo sphere is wrong. It’s not just the empiricists who have got logical positivism wrong, […]