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Posts Tagged "philosophy"

Beautiful Minds

The Philosophy of Creativity

The Philosophy of Creativity

There is little that shapes the human experience as profoundly and pervasively as creativity. Creativity drives progress in every human endeavor, from the arts to the sciences, business, and technology. We celebrate and honor people for their creativity, identifying eminent individuals, as well as entire cultures and societies, in terms of their creative achievements. Creativity [...]

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Why Life Does Not Really Exist

native bee

I have been fascinated with living things since childhood. Growing up in northern California, I spent a lot of time playing outdoors among plants and animals. Some of my friends and I would sneak up on bees as they pollinated flowers and trap them in Ziploc bags so we could get a close look at [...]

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Quantum Gravity Expert Says “Philosophical Superficiality” Has Harmed Physics

Carlo Rovelli: "Theoretical physics has not done great in the last decades. Why? Well, one of the reasons, I think, is that it got trapped in a wrong philosophy."

As readers of this blog know, late last spring I spoke at a cool conference in England called How the Light Gets In, where I hung out with all kinds of professional reality-ponderers. I’ve already posted Q&As with two fellow speakers I shared housing with: biologist Rupert Sheldrake, who urges scientists to take telepathy more [...]

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Is David Deutsch’s Vision of Endless Understanding Delusional?

book jacket for "The Beginning of Infinity"

I’m a believer in wishful thinking, in the power of our hopes to become self-fulfilling. I even believe that war is going to end! But at some point, if wishful thinking diverges too sharply from what we can reasonably expect from reality, it morphs into denial or delusion. David Deutsch’s hope that science will keep [...]

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New Year’s Resolution: I will believe in free will

In the wee hours of this morning my eyes popped open, and I spent the next half hour trying to figure out what to write about in this column. After careful, albeit groggy deliberation, I decided to go with free will, both because of the tie-in to New Year’s resolutions and because some high-profile scientists [...]

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Guest Blog

The Evolution of Common Sense

Arthur Stanley Eddington was an interesting fellow. The English astrophysicist who photographed the solar eclipse that validated Einstein’s theory of general relativity was also a Quaker, a pacifist, and a clever popular writer. In his 1928 book The Nature of the Physical World [1] he began by noting that he had before him two tables: [...]

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Free Will and Quantum Clones: How Your Choices Today Affect the Universe at its Origin

The late philosopher Robert Nozick, talking about the deep question of why there is something rather than nothing, quipped: “Someone who proposes a non-strange answer shows he didn’t understand the question.” So, when Scott Aaronson began a talk three weeks ago by saying it would be “the looniest talk I’ve ever given,” it was a [...]

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No, there aren’t “two cultures”

Einstein playing the violin

I haven’t read Jane Austen, Game Theorist and I’m definitely not going to after reading William Deresiewicz’s scathing review in the New Republic. Deresiewicz calls the book and its attempts at “consilience” between art and science “abominable” and “intellectually bankrupt.” Uniting “the two cultures” by trying to find the scientific foundations to humanistic thought, he [...]

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The Primate Diaries

Ayn Rand on Human Nature

"Rand" by Nathaniel Gold

“Every political philosophy has to begin with a theory of human nature,” wrote Harvard evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin in his book Biology as Ideology. Thomas Hobbes, for example, believed that humans in a “state of nature,” or what today we would call hunter-gatherer societies, lived a life that was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” [...]

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