The difficulty in understanding Wittgenstein is threefold. First, the easiest way to understand him these days is to start at end of his thought and work backwards. Second, W himself had very little to say on metaphysics and theories of meaning, which has led to totally contrary consequences by other thinkers building on his ideas. And third, which is the point people usually start at, is that he started with a very different conception, then changed his mind half way through his life and recast his earlier thought in a new light. This topic attempts to resolve these difficulties and introduces a new approach to his later theory of language based on the common 'shared key authentication' method for establishing secure network connections.
When I started at Oxford University in 1979, I was told I'd have to take statistics as a minor for a major in philosophy and psychology. So I nervously went to meet the professor, worrying how I hadn't studied calculus in a long time. But he had been sitting in front of an Apple 2, on a table in the Psychology Dept. lounge, for a solid week. He had read the manuals and written a couple of programs, then he had just sat there looking at it. For a week.
With an extra $54 billion for military in Trump's proposed budget, the White House is now scoping out people who must be killed, starting with Kim Jong-Un in North Korea. In the past, I've started by replying that that war can only be justified, and is never necessary. Hundreds of people have written me how obviously wrong I am, but are rarely able to think beyond the need to kill Hitler as an explanation. So I wrote this starting all the way from the very beginning again. First, I am required to state, I am an Oxford scholar, an American citizen, and have no affiliations with any political parties or special-interest groups at all.
An ancient myth describes how Vulcan knew Mars was seducing his wife Venus. Part One discussed how this implies the White House is likely inventing fake stories to find spies, which should hardly be surprising, considering how old the method is. Here I consider the rest of the myth, when Vulcan catches Mars in bed with his wife Venus; and what this could mean we should really do about White House counter-espionage conspiracies.
Truths, Lies, Actions, and Consequences, Part 1: Since 16th March 2016, there has been continuous discussion of leaks, without any regard of how counter espionage catches spies, simply calling for it to happen instead of thinking how. This article explains some basic principles of counter espionage; cites indications it is occurring right now; spells out the actual implications that have been totally unconsidered for almost a year now; and considers how we should respond to the circumstance.
One frustration in teaching Socrates' allegory of the cave in the last decade has been that its parallels with the movie 'The Matrix,' once indicated, tend to overwhelm the young mind with inopportune imageries, such that the original point is rather lost. Yet on the other hand, the students taught also me some new insights I did not expect, and one of those was the role of fear.
Jefferson's greatest failure may have been his inability to make education a natural right under God. Most do not realize how that failure could lead to the end of United States in this century. So here is an explanation.
Trump promises he'll build a wall along the Mexican border, professedly to keep Mexicans out, but you do know he is kind of annoyed Bush invaded Iraq instead of Mexico? And now Cruz et al. want a wall too? So the new plan is actually to invade Mexico, like Israel does with its walls, obviously! Finally, an invasion America could actually win, do you think?
On Tuesday July 21st 2015, the Committee to Evaluate the Defense Budget recommended freezing the defense budget for five years. Taking the total military budget and dividing by number of active military personnel, spending is now only $4.2 million per soldier.
Thankfully, as President Obama is reducing military personnel by 10%, freezing the military budget will increase spending to $4.6 million per soldier.But is this really enough?
"It's the most rational explanation for the Fermi paradox," one panelist concluded on National Public Radio today, later explaining how Stephen Hawking deduced that aliens may choose to destroy our planet rather than risk such lack of empathy continue unchecked in the cosmos.
Some time ago I stated rather sardonically that the same arguments used to demote Pluto from planethood would remove Washington DC from the USA, which is actually a scathing condemnation of the quality of philosophical thought even in the scientific communities of this nation. There was a great deal of naive complaint about that statement, so this post explains the problem in detail.
A box-and-arrow overview of a learning software intelligence, with unconsciousness and emotions, capable of defending itself when under threat. The architecture combines recent and prominent models from cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, logic, linguistics, social psychology, and psychoanalysis.
After exploring how to link the conscious and unconscious abstractions with basic feelings, this article postulates a new model for dreams, summarizes the possibilities for computer simulation, and provides a high-level description of the initial cognition process. It is intended as a framework for systematic discussion of each component and process in the hypercognition system, sufficient to define a learning Artificial Intelligence (AI) with emotions and dreams.
The great ornithologist Richard Attenborough was once asked why birds sing. After a long explanation, ending in a detailed examination of what happens during a morning chorus, he concluded, "So, if there are no predators, and it is not time to mate, why is there still a morning chorus? Well. It's too late to sleep. It's too early to catch worms. So there isn't anything else to do."
If NASA had paid attention to current philosophical thinking on theories of naming and identity, it could have at least avoided a multimillion debacle, even if you feel international humiliation of American academia is not that important.
Has anyone ever wondered why Intel and Sun Microsystems, the two largest microprocessor design companies in silicon valley, fought pretty well everyone else, but not each other, for over 20 years? Here is a beautiful and fantastic story explaining decades of peace and prosperity, based on a secret alliance for which I was the architect. Almost no one noticed it, and absolutely no one could destroy it. Not even Microsoft.
Non-Aristotelianism is the primary premise for a specialized field of study called General Semantics: a difficult subject to understand as it is totally different from almost everything else we ever learn. Aristotle wrote that a true definition gives the essence of the thing defined (in Greek, literally "the what it was to be"). This is such a core concept in almost all our understanding of the world, including science, mathematics and logic, that we have trouble recognizing how it hobbles our ability to perceive reality more accurately.
I have been asked to teach on Eastern religion, starting with Buddhism. When one learns the premise of Buddhism, that the world is made of suffering, one is discovering the same premise which led the rich and knowledgeable Prince Siddhartha to leave his royal life and become the first Buddha, starting one of the most wondrous religions in the world.
Next year, the Chinese government in Nepal will be building the first road past this remote Buddhist settlement, which has existed much the same without contact with the rest of the world for 600 years. now they will have amenities, access to hospitals, and schools, say the Maoist extremists now running Nepal. But will the local people, who are used to living in total isolation, survive the cultural transition?
In the golden era of ancient Greece, a medley of traveling teachers specialized in rhetoric and the philosophy of science. Rhetoric was a new skill made necessary in a democracy which remains mostly misunderstood to this day. In ancient Greece, these poor vagrant teachers, eking out a living by teaching children how to rule, were called sophists. Here is the most famous of them. Socrates, in his one suriviving portrait in Turkey near Ephesus (apparently drunk and with devil's horns).
Many scholars regard the Gospel of Thomas as one of the most important texts in understanding early Christianity outside the New Testament. It is one of the earliest accounts of the teaching of Jesus outside of the canonical gospels. Here is my own translation.
A short science-fiction story about my solution to Global Warming. I sent it to Larry Niven, author of 'Ringworld' and the the 'Gil Hamilton' series, amongst many others, and he liked it, so I'm sharing Chapter One here.