I really suck at posting on this blog. However, I have started yet another term of school.
PHIL 230 – Ancient Greek Philosophy
PHIL 291 – Existentialism
PHIL 386 – Philosophy and Health Care
PHIL 450 – Moral Status and the Ethics of Killing
SOC 462 – Science and Society
Starting a new set of classes in a day or so. Not really excited to be back in school, but it should be alright.
- Philosophy of Art
- Philosophy of Computers and Culture
- Philosophy of the Environment
- Comparative Literature: Science Fiction
- Advanced Topics in Science, Technology, and Society (Human and non-human animals)
Should be alright.
Well I haven’t posted in over a month. Have been busy with school papers and finals and holiday stuff. I’ve also been playing way too much Call of Duty – but whatever.
Nothing really to post. Just keeping my WordPress “alive” for now – until I have something worthwhile to post.
David Deutsch gives a brief talk on explanations and their role in progress.
Read more on progress: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-progress/ (Section 4. Is Science Progressive? is especially interesting).
And if you enjoy the history and philosophy of science, you should (if you haven’t already) enjoy a good dose of Kuhn: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/thomas-kuhn/.
Well, being the 200-year anniversary of Darwin’s birthday, and the 150-year anniversary of his Origin of Species, there has been a lot of Darwin, and evolution, in the spotlight:
- Just in the past few weeks I’ve watched a 3-part television series on a history of Darwin (CBC Nature of Things – hosted by David Suzuki).
- Last week I attended a lecture on evolution and embryology.
- Also, last week, the Ray Comfort version of Origin of Species (see post) was dropped at the University of Alberta (it can only be assumed that they showed up unexpectedly to avoid possible pickets of the book – and unfortunately I was unable to get my hands on a copy of it).
- And tonight I was lucky enough to attend a sold-out lecture at the University of Alberta entitled “Darwin’s Sexy Science” hosted by Discovery Channel’s Jay Ingram (a University of Alberta alumnus).
These are only to name a few examples of which I have taken part in. It’s interesting to note how Darwin’s original theory has been expanded and applied throughout the past 150 years to explain such a wide variety of natural phenomena – it serves as an integral part of our understanding of the fabric of reality. The implications of evolution are far reaching and are felt in nearly all academic disciplines (for example: the role of Dawkins’ evolution in Deutsch’s unified theory of everything).
See below for evolution-inspired links:
A quick internet search will yield even more results, showing the widespread influence of evolutionary explanations in various schools of thought (not to mention the less obvious examples of emerging theories that rely on evolution as a grounding point).
Here’s a very short clip of the famous Libet experiment on free will.
The clip gives you a quick idea of Libet’s theory, sans the crucial implications: a concept referred to as the power of veto, or, “free won’t.”
In Libet’s experiment, it is shown that the gradually increasing neuronal signal activates before the person feels the conscious “will” to act. This would imply that consciousness is a by-product of physical mental processes (that can be measured).
However, Libet does not fully commit to a world in which we have no power in decision. Through a similar set of experiments, Libet determined that although we cannot consciously control impulses, we can prevent them from being acted out. This is his “free won’t.”
There are innumerable criticisms of Libet’s theory, aiming to show the flaws of the experimentation procedure and the erroneous philosophical implications of his work. Nevertheless, it is invaluable research in a field of which everybody has a different explanation.