Hofstadter – The Material Brain and Meaning in the Mind

Individual ants behave as individuals, oblivious to their role In the ant colony. An ant colony must have certain attributes in order for the colony to thrive. In the analogy of Aunt Hillary and Anteater individual ants are sacrificed for the health of the colony. Hofstadter frames the interaction between Aunt Hillary and Anteater as… Continue reading Hofstadter – The Material Brain and Meaning in the Mind

Kant – Cause and Effect

Pre-Socratic (Greek philosophy before and contemporaneous to Socrates), Eastern (from the little I know about it), and much of Western philosophy are rooted in arbitrary metaphysical claims, according to Kant. The Pre-Socratics were particularly concerned with determining whether the world was one shifting reality (the One), two dueling forces, combinations of a few elements, or… Continue reading Kant – Cause and Effect

Kant – What Can We Know and the Self

On some level, all important philosophy changes the assumptions behind a problem wrestled for decades or centuries by philosophers. In the case of Kant, he changed the assumptions behind a surprising number of philosophical problems. What can we know?  Can we know the objective truth?  Can we ground the truths of math/geometry?  Can we ground… Continue reading Kant – What Can We Know and the Self

Zizek – the Refugee Crisis

http://inthesetimes.com/article/18605/breaking-the-taboos-in-the-wake-of-paris-attacks-the-left-must-embrace-its For those on the Left, Zizek’s claims that capitalism is one of the (indirect) causes of the refugee crisis is not controversial. If you accept this premise, which Zizek’s audience typically does, the debate concerning the refugee crisis centers around what the (capitalist) West is obligated to do for the refugees. For Zizek the… Continue reading Zizek – the Refugee Crisis

Ibn Rushd – the Qur’an and Philosophy 

Ibn Rushd, known in the Western world as Averroes, wrote summaries and commentaries of Aristotle that made the philosopher  intelligible for the Muslim world in the 12th century, but his legacy is the impact his commentaries had on Jewish and Christian philosophy. St. Aquinas referred to Aristotle as the Philosopher, and Ibn Rushd as the… Continue reading Ibn Rushd – the Qur’an and Philosophy 

Pascal -the Wager

The French scientist/mathematician/philosopher Descartes argued that since we cannot trust our senses, we should only believe what can be known with certainty. He was able to satisfy his doubt first with an argument that he existed, and then that God existed.   Blaise Pascal rejected Descartes’s attempt to know God through reason. Pascal was also… Continue reading Pascal -the Wager

Descartes – the Doubt Methodology

During the 17th and 18th centuries, in Europe the Enlightenment introduced the scientific method, which reshaped their conception of truth. Philosophers in the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian worlds during the Middle Ages constructed metaphysical frameworks, not unlike those of Plato and Aristotle. Science was quickly showing them they could not trust their senses. Even though… Continue reading Descartes – the Doubt Methodology