dogrover + philosophy   112

Robespierre the Incorruptible, Robespierre the Daemonic - Waggish
Contemporary political analysis of Robespierre's flawed brilliance, and how it lead, with seeming inevitability, to his scapegoating and downfall. Absolutism seems to be required to *cause* change, but bears a heavy price *during* change.
politics  philosophy  morality  ethics  speaking  sociology 
29 days ago by dogrover
On compositionality – Jules Hedges
Compositionality as the opposite of emergent effects. He claims that "non-compositionality is a barrier to scientific understanding, because it breaks the reductionist methodology of always dividing a system into smaller components and translating explanations into lower levels."

Of course, this implies that we will attempt to export compositionality to higher and lower domains than we are currently capable of reasoning about.
compsci  sweng  philosophy 
september 2018 by dogrover
Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System - The Donella Meadows Project
A just-beneath-the-surface look at a hierarchical list of leverage points in complex systems.
philosophy  ethics  systems  design  worldbuilding 
august 2018 by dogrover
interfluidity » Authority
Descriptions of hard and soft power as means of coordinating human behavior. A compelling perspective.
society  culture  authority  philosophy  ethics  worldbuilding 
july 2018 by dogrover
The significance of plot without conflict - still eating oranges
An explanation (with comics!) of kishōtenketsu, an type of story structure used that avoids conflict, though not tension. Used to great effect in "My Neighbor Totoro".
writing  story  structure  philosophy 
june 2018 by dogrover
Susan Sontag: Notes On "Camp"
Susan Sontag, on that-which-can-only-be-named.
culture  philosophy 
june 2018 by dogrover
Why read old philosophy? | Meteuphoric
Why the wordlbuilding tag? Because this explanation captures something important about the way we learn things in a Western mindset, and how we might do otherwise.
culture  history  philosophy  worldbuilding  learning  writing 
may 2018 by dogrover
Epsilon Theory
Not quite sure what this is yet, but I like it
toread  philosophy  ethics  finance  blog 
may 2018 by dogrover
Harry Potter: The Importance of Antagonists | The Artifice
Nice write-up of the primary antagonistic themes of each Harry Potter novel, in order. Spoilers ahoy.
writing  philosophy  analysis 
may 2018 by dogrover
Why the Culture Wins: An Appreciation of Iain M. Banks – Sci Phi Journal
A particularly cogent summary of the subversive Banks's works. I especially like the off-hand observation that '"Getting to know someone," in our society, involves asking them about the choices they have made in life, not the circumstances they were born into.' This implies a great deal about how to evaluate cultures' values.
books  culture  politics  scifi  writing  philosophy  worldbuilding 
february 2018 by dogrover
A Strategy for Ruination: An interview with China Miéville | Boston Review
Miéville describes, in this written interview, what so appeals to me about his writing: 'Of the various concepts that are politically/aesthetically powerful and formative—helpful—to me, salvage has for a long time been primus inter pares. Word-magic. A retconned syncretic backformation from “salvation” and “garbage.” A homage to, rather than repudiation of, the trash-world wanderers and breakfasters-among-the-ruins that always transfixed me. An undefeated despair: “despair” because it’s done, this is a dystopia, a worsening one, and dreams of interceding just in time don’t just miss the point but are actively unhelpful; “undefeated” because it is worth fighting even for ashes, because there are better and much, much worse ways of being too late. Because and yet.'

In a present so filled with "fake news" that the possibility of real news fades, not just from memory, but from the space of future and even past possibilities, the junk-heap edges from the "anti-property" of privilege to the best and last source of hope.

'...However tempting it is to turn necessities into virtues, it is a dreadful mistake. By any means necessary, of course. Which does not mean the celebration of any necessary means, still less the deflation of what counts as “necessary,” still less “by any means.”'

The struggle for a new approach is urgent and vital, but celebrating the means risks glorifying the psychopathies that have brought us to the dire present.
society  philosophy  sociology  writing  politics 
january 2018 by dogrover
How to Think Like a Medieval Monk | Lapham’s Quarterly
A series of exercises and insights supposedly employed by Cistercian monk near the beginning of last millennium, with the goal of improving mental health relative to spiritual goals. Great for the description of Tutivillus alone.
gtd  philosophy  practice  meditation 
january 2018 by dogrover
Design Principles
Fledgling site intended to collect (but not yet curate?) examples of design principles verbalized by sites or people who are successful.
design  guide  list  philosophy  interactive 
december 2017 by dogrover
Subjective Logic | Audun Jøsang
Extension of binary and probabilistic logic to include subjective opinions. Extends further to formalize the nature of derived trust, and subjective bayesian belief networks.
ai  philosophy  reference  statistics  math  probability  reason 
december 2017 by dogrover
Loper OS
A gateway to a peculiar shadow-realm I've occasionally visited involuntarily, or half-asleep. Stepping through while waking makes a bit more sense.
blog  compsci  philosophy 
november 2017 by dogrover
Defining the Demonic | The Public Domain Review
I'm not sure why I like this article about Jacques Collin de Plancy’s "Dictionnaire infernal". Perhaps it's the insight of the tension of "a man stuck between logic and faith", struggling to bridge the irreconcilable realities and demands of two worlds. While I do resonate with that, the fascinating part to me is less the desire to do so, and more the attempt to canonize that tension, and make it a resting spot of its own. A doomed, but common, approach that makes a good lesson.
review  writing  philosophy  mythology 
october 2017 by dogrover
The long, slow, rotten march of progress | The Outline
Something stinks, and it's not the mildewing pile of glossy brochures left behind the dumpster after the last startup convention.

"The fact that prisoners in Louisiana do slave work for barely improved wages isn’t an anachronism that needs to be updated, but the product of power relations that exist right now. What they represent is the exhaustion of the present, its inability to turn itself into something different from what was there centuries ago. And the shining new world of programming and start-ups represents exactly the same thing."
economics  politics  technology  philosophy  ethics  essay  class 
june 2017 by dogrover
It’s about reaching the decision, not victory: strategic theory and the difficulty of taking action | Defence-In-Depth
Support for some realizations about the principles at the core of strategic thinking: its purpose and goals.
strategy  combat  philosophy  tostudy  list 
april 2017 by dogrover
Strange Horizons - Freshly Remember'd: Kirk Drift By Erin Horáková
"We cannot live without memory (and to do so would be to live without meaning)."

This dovetails with my ongoing meditations on our role, as humans, as "meaning-makers", story-tellers. Because we are meaning-makers, we are memory-makers. This brings a new perspective to our constant media-mediated struggle to own, contextualize, and colonize the narrative of what-is-happening. Stories are what we consume, but memories are the currency with which we purchase them. (Easy capitalist interpretations aside, this yields a deeply dysfunctional view of the identity-forming process of memory-making, relegating it to a mere economy of exchange tokens, rather than the fundamental force that it is. Worth examining further.)
startrek  ethics  philosophy  critique 
april 2017 by dogrover
On Consciousness | The New York Review of Books
An ongoing series of articles on the experience of consciousness.
philosophy  article  consciousness  list  toread  series 
march 2017 by dogrover
Unsong | Scott Alexander
Kabbalisitc, rational science fiction, with artificial intelligence, an alternate but similar timeline, and lots of bad things happening to good (or, y'know, pretty good) people. Darkly intense in places, ultimately inseparable from the fundamental silliness woven throughout.
story  fiction  complete  philosophy  morality  theodicy 
july 2016 by dogrover
Donald Hoffman | University of California, Irvine
Home page for Donald Hoffman, a Professor of Cognitive Science. His work on the "hard problem" of consciousness posits a universe (ours) where all matter, energy, and space-time are by-products of the real main event: consciousness itself.
philosophy  science  physics  intelligence 
april 2016 by dogrover
How Do You Say "Life" in Physics? | Nautilus
Jeremy England's theory of dissipative adaptation implies that the processes of life must be just as good at losing energy as they are at collecting it. Rest, the loss of energy, punctuates periods of growth, distinguishing one from another, in a series of exceptional imperfections.

From England: "There is more than one viable language for describing the world, and God wants man to speak all of them."
science  religion  philosophy  chemistry  physics  biology  life 
march 2016 by dogrover
The 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy | The Vulture
The history of comedy, seen through today's lens, is a history of the envelope of society's comfort zone. This list tracks the tangled relationship between funny and shocking in the best way possible: presenting 100 years of evidence, and getting out of the way.
comedy  towatch  philosophy  humor  ouch 
february 2016 by dogrover
How to Be an Anticapitalist Today | Jacobin Magazine
Opposition to capitalism comes in four basic forms, which fall roughly on the four quadrants of a two-axis scale. 1) Do you believe capitalism can be transcended, or that its harms can be neutralized? 2) Where should effective effort be focused: on the state and other large institutions, or on the daily actions of individuals and communities? Jacobin calls the four approaches "smashing", "taming", "escaping", and "eroding".

Their conclusion is that only a combination of taming and eroding has any chance of success. The other two are no longer viable, and for the same reason: the size and power of the state itself, relative to any other institution. Instead, 1) tame the large institutions by neutralizing their harms to society, and 2) erode their hold on society by an incremental, grass-roots encouragement of support structures such as families, communities, cooperatives, and other non-profit networks.
capitalism  philosophy  ethics  economics  society 
january 2016 by dogrover
The Myth of the Rule of Law | John Hasnas
Hasnas, and Assistant Professor of Business Ethics and Research Fellow at Georgetown University, argues that we should stop worrying and learn to love the myth. It is the means by which a free society becomes complicit in its own loss of freedom.
ethics  constitution  legal  philosophy 
november 2015 by dogrover
Essays of Michel de Montaigne | Project Gutenberg
English translations of Montaigne. So far, I approve, but what do I know?
toread  philosophy  ethics  writing 
october 2015 by dogrover
The Oliver Sacks reading list
I may be a bit late to the party, but the guest-of-honor is fascinating.
neurology  biology  philosophy  list  toread 
august 2015 by dogrover
How Yuppies Hacked the Original Hacker Ethos
Aeon has started to catch my attention, while evoking mixed emotions. This article contains the best and most succinct definition of "gentrification" that I have read.

"Gentrification is the process by which nebulous threats are pacified and alchemised into money. ... Key to any gentrification process are successive waves of pioneers who gradually reduce the perceived risk of the form in question. ... the exotic other suddenly appears within a safe frame: interesting, exciting and cool, but not threatening."
culture  hack  philosophy  morality 
august 2015 by dogrover
Classics for the people – why we should all learn from the ancient Greeks | Guardian
Timely re-introduction to the importance of the ancient Greeks to mathematics, philosophy, science, and morality.
history  philosophy  toread 
june 2015 by dogrover
The Failures of "Intro to TDD" | Test Double
Insightful approach to TDD in the real world. Yes, the basic, toy-based intro conveys the rhythm well, but leads to dead-ends of various types. This approach charts a course around those frustrations
qa  tdd  howto  testing  philosophy 
june 2015 by dogrover
Me? I'm a strategist | Sebastian Marshall
Why? How? Then, what? Any other order invites the tragedy of, as Peter Drucker says, "doing efficiently that which should not be done at all."
arete  improvement  philosophy  learning  category 
june 2015 by dogrover
Creative Blocks by David Deutsch | Aeon Magazine
Deutsch argues for the Universality of Computation, and levers that into a condemnation and dismissal of our current concepts of AGI. A strident disciple of Popper in full voice.
ai  philosophy  epistemology  ethics  compsci 
may 2015 by dogrover
Software and Mind: The Mechanistic Myth and its Consequences | Andrei Sorin
Haven't read any of this but the Abstracts. An attack on the notion of top-down organization's ability to resolve real-world problems. The thesis is that small components, capable of complex interaction, are a closer model of the real world, enabling increased power and completeness. Definitely a software book, but perhaps equally a work of philosophy and ethics.
softwareengineering  book  free  toread  philosophy  ethics 
may 2015 by dogrover
Prof. Sussman's Reading List | Gerald Sussman
The state-of-the-art in math, physics, compsci, and electronics, with some philosophy and scifi thrown in for seasoning.
list  toread  math  physics  compsci  electronic  philosophy 
april 2015 by dogrover
Yudkowsky’s Abridged Guide to Intelligent Characters | Eliezer Yudkowsky
I think I'm good at all of these, and upon deeper reflection, am delighted to find that there are a couple I'm no good at, at all! I expect it will take longer to find the rest.
thinking  writing  storytelling  philosophy 
january 2015 by dogrover
Richard Feynman on education in Brazil | Rob Shearer
Memorization is not the same as understanding. Understanding is not the same as learning. Learning is not the same as doing.
physics  feynman  learning  philosophy  arete 
january 2015 by dogrover
A Generation Lost in the Bazaar | ACM
Thoughtful, melancholic gap analysis with some recommendations, admitted to be inadequate. What can you do in the face of a culture in need of change?
opensource  philosophy  sweng 
december 2014 by dogrover
Critical Theory blog
I clicked for the "Understanding Jean Baudrillard with Pumpkin Spice Lattes" article. I bookmarked when 1 article out of every 5 or 10 looked like the same kind of irreverent gem.

While the Nietzsche rap failed to lure me in, I'm thinking I'll probably go back for the comics.
philosophy  blog 
october 2014 by dogrover
Arrow's Theorem | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Given a set of choices, a set of people who can make them, and a set of preferences that order the options for each choice and person, is there a way to find the socially "best" ordering? Arrow's theorem assumes some seemingly-basic requirements, and then goes on to prove that that the answer is "No."

While any parent who brings home a box of assorted donuts could nod along with this one intuitively, the rigorous proof is an interesting exploration of the foundations of democracy.
philosophy  theory 
october 2014 by dogrover
What's a mathematician to do? | Math Overflow
A sincere question, answered just as sincerely and with great insight.
math  philosophy  arete  science  humanities 
september 2014 by dogrover
The Logic of Buddhist Philosophy: Beyond True and False | Aeon Magazine
Moves rapidly from Aristotelian logic to evaluating statements about the "ineffable" through a series of technical, but digest-able meta-descriptions. Underpinned by rigorous mathematics, and acknowledges the similarities with Buddhist thought. A good example of how to write about two traditionally unconnected topics without gushing starry-eyed paeans for either.
math  philosophy  logic  writing 
may 2014 by dogrover
Test First | 8th Light
I'm trolling through the archive of 8th Light posts, now, intrigued. Here's a couple of aphorisms from a back-to-basics post on the Test-First approach:

- The tests are the most important component in the system
- First make it work, then make it right, then make it small and fast. (via Kent Beck)
- No test ever needs to have more than three lines. (Given, When, and Then)
- When we are writing tests, we can invert Kent's advice: First make the test right. Then make the test work.
tdd  qa  testing  philosophy  strategy 
october 2013 by dogrover
Active Exploration, Artificial Curiousity, and What's Interesting | Juergen Schmidhuber
I remember finding this paper back in 2006 or so. I ignored it because of the overly-ambitious description of what it claimed to explain. The paper floated back up to the surface of memory when I started working on some optimization problems, combined with some thought-experiments on intrinsic motivation. Turns out this guy consistently delivers surprising and, in some cases, award winning results.
ai  optimization  learning  worldbuilding  compsci  theory  philosophy 
september 2013 by dogrover
Creating the Innocent Killer: Ender's Game, Intention, and Morality | John Kessel
A careful, devastating perspective on a book that was indeed one of my favorites in seventh grade, and still is. A jumping-off point for understanding many of the chasms that riddle any moral landscape. Up close, only the details are visible; pull back for the larger features, and you miss the subtle interplay.
scifi  writing  ethics  philosophy 
june 2013 by dogrover
ACM Science talk, as written | Quinn Norton
In my heart of hearts, I had already anointed Borges the patron saint of the internet. In Quinn's never-to-heard-by-me-yet-endlessly-echoing un-talk, meaning condenses in the gaps, and we all drown together, parched.
philosophy  net  writing 
may 2013 by dogrover
10 Things Your Commencement Speaker Won't Tell You | WSJ
While I cannot, in any outward sense, say I am "commencing" anything, these practical and unpretentious suggestions for a good life are useful milestones no matter how far into the journey I might be.
tips  philosophy  ethics  frontline  arete  goals 
may 2013 by dogrover
The secret to a higher salary is to ask for nothing at all | Quartz
This fits with my approach to jobs, contract or permanent, and takes it farther than I had thought to. Got to noodle on this one for a while.
jobhunt  interview  ethics  morality  philosophy  finance 
april 2013 by dogrover
Is it Time For Mutiny? | Harvard Business Review
The take-away: Under the right conditions, mutinies not only succeed, but change things for the better.
society  culture  ethics  philosophy  toread  improvement 
april 2013 by dogrover
1922: Why I Quit Being So Accommodating | Mike Cane's xBlog
The Seneca of the 1920's tells us how it's going to be from now on, thank you very much.
ethics  philosophy  tostudy  service 
december 2012 by dogrover
Mitt's Stake | New Yorker Magazine
This profile of Mitt Romney, as a dedicated church member and a political candidate, strike uncomfortably home. There's no question that during his leadership tenure, Romney was wholly committed to his church and to his view of how it could help those under his care.

But that care was narrowly proscribed; frantic for all it's well-oiled organization; Pharisaical. It's all competence, and scant compassion.

I'm not really talking about Romney when I wonder: Is it possible to give that much, and still lack charity? Is it possible to be that sincere and not have any substance?

The allure of checklist-based salvation is incredibly powerful.
ethics  philosophy  religion  mormonism  politics  tostudy  arete 
september 2012 by dogrover
Don Colacho’s Aphorisms | Blogspot
I once read a criticism of conservatives who still bother to quote (and presumably read) G.K. Chesterton: "the enthusiasts are so busy chortling and snickering as their man throws another right hook at the rationalist that they don’t notice that the rationalist isn’t actually down on the canvas; he and his friends have long since left the building."

Colacho seems to be writer of Chesterton's vein: incisive, clear-eyed, not quite fearless, but honest to the limit of the language. Two languages in this case. But to whom is he speaking?
aphorism  wisdom  quote  philosophy  religion  ethics  psychology  writing 
august 2012 by dogrover
The Codeless Code
A collection of not-actually-Zen-koans (code-ans?) illuminating, often violently, a more or less universal truth about writing code. Often wry, occasionally brilliant. One of my favorites: Triggers (
zen  code  programming  koan  philosophy  qa  testing 
july 2012 by dogrover
Study Hacks » About
The source for a couple of the links earlier in the list. Starting on the About page for the lists of good stuff. The pervading focus is on the bones and guts of impactful, in-the-trenches excellence.
study  arete  psychology  howto  philosophy 
june 2012 by dogrover
Semiotics for Beginners by Daniel Chandler
It means what it means, except when it doesn't. But even then, when it means the opposite, it can't do so without meaning what it was. And that's why I'll be reading this: so that tripe like that made-up junk won't sound significant to me.
language  philosophy  reference  theory  semiotic  sign  tostudy 
april 2012 by dogrover
Why We Haven’t Met Any Aliens § SEEDMAGAZINE.COM
Had a conversation a while ago about religious extremism. I came away with an indefensible inkling about the usefulness of fundamentalism. This brief essay contends that without it (or the seeds of truth it contains), we may entertain ourselves to extinction.
philosophy  ethics  consumerism  technology  science  evolution  psychology 
december 2011 by dogrover
The Great Economic Divide Makes Everyone Poorer - Financial Times
An interesting answer to my long-standing question: What's wrong with economic inequity?
capitalism  economics  ethics  philosophy 
december 2011 by dogrover
What Is Naturalism?
A brief, insightful peice on the nature of the "scientific method" (not my scare quotes!) and the difficulty of delimiting the scope of the natural world. Money quote: "Naturalism as dogma is one more enemy of the scientific spirit."
philosophy  science  naturalism  reason  ethics 
september 2011 by dogrover
From Technologist to Philosopher - Manage Your Career - The ...
Nice to know that someone has blazed that trail so visibly. Philosophy is the homeland of the un-countried.
education  philosophy  ai  technology  humanities 
july 2011 by dogrover
The Moral Economy of Guilt | First Things
The extent of the infinite boundaries of the empire of guilt is rivaled only by lengths to which we will go to convince ourselves and others that it does not exist. Forgiveness has lost its significance as a way of aligning the personal will with that of God, and has become a weapon in the arsenal of the victimized.

Heady, controversial stuff, lucidly written.
philosophy  ethics  psychology  religion  guilt  forgiveness 
june 2011 by dogrover
The Bible Is Dead; Long Live the Bible - The Chronicle Review ...
I wonder how easy faith really looks from the outside; can anyone believe that the same person who uses faith as a excuse for not thinking, would actually be better off with no faith at all? It's an easy thought, but not one driven by a need to understand.

The Bible is packed with as much doubt as it has faith, and with as many railings as praise. Long live the Bible, and long live the grand, unanswerable questions that drive us to circle around that brightly burning light of uncertainty.
religion  book  bible  theology  christianity  philosophy  question  faith 
april 2011 by dogrover
Moral Objectivism
Stashing this one away for the future. Bryan Caplan (of whom I have no strong opinions, other than his ability to make pithy, non-falsifiable statements) recommends this essay in support of his assertion that moral facts exist.
philosophy  ethics  toread  morality 
april 2011 by dogrover
An Unsung Hero of the Nuclear Age | Slate
Major Harold Hering asked a question that got him ejected from the military. It's a question that still can't be answered, by anyone, and on its answer hinges (possibly) the fate of the world.
history  ethics  politics  story  frontline  philosophy 
april 2011 by dogrover
Umwelt | Semiotica (WebArchive)
Introduction to semiotics, the medium-way-around. One of the key subtleties is grasping Deely's distinction between a thing and an object.
philosophy  science  research  theory  semiotic  umwelt 
april 2011 by dogrover
Why Conservatives Should Read Marx - The Point Magazine
Brilliant separation of economic and cultural motivations. What is worth conserving, and how?
capitalism  economics  philosophy  politics  ethics  culture  conservatism 
september 2010 by dogrover
10 Important Differences Between Brains and Computers : Developing Intelligence
Google returns 864,000 results for "brain is like a computer", but 4,160,000 after inserting the word "not". Here's a summary of neurological reasons to support the latter hypothesis. Sadly, some of these seem to be ignorant of the difference between computers and computer science, so the argument is not easily extensible to imply non-computable processes, if such a thing exists.
ai  article  brain  philosophy  psychology  neurology  intelligence  cognition  memory 
march 2010 by dogrover
Edge: BETTER THAN FREE By Kevin Kelly
Kevin Kelly's typically incisive ideas are abundant here. What leg of the new economy are you contributing to?
business  economics  free  culture  technology  ideas  article  philosophy  copyright 
december 2009 by dogrover
The Origins of Pattern Theory - The Future of the Theory, And The Generation of a Living World
Christopher Alexander on how "The Pattern Language" and "The Nature of Order" relate to computer science. Specifically, how do we go about "generating ... living structure in the world"?
architecture  design  programming  theory  pattern  article  ethics  philosophy 
december 2009 by dogrover
How to believe | Comment is free |
Multi-part series on the effect and content of Heidegger, Hobbes, Hume, the four Apostles, and Neitzsche. Opinionated, in-depth philosophy.
philosophy  religion  reference  politics  ideas  toread  epistemology  ethics  list 
july 2009 by dogrover
NPR: Is This Your Brain On God?
The structure of belief from chemical, physiological, biological, neurological perspectives.
religion  brain  philosophy  toread 
may 2009 by dogrover
Joe Bageant: Escape from the Zombie Food Court
De Palma's "Scarface" and the Wachowski brothers' "The Matrix" mythologize a kind of lifestyle and a kind of hero, making both bigger and more powerful than real life. A more recent film, Garrone's "Gomorra", carefully but violently undermines the mythic nature of the mob. I'm no movie buff, so I don't know if there's a film that similarly serves as a foil to "Matrix". This piece by Joe Bageant, though, provides a taste of the (mythical) Red Pill.
psychology  culture  capitalism  politics  economics  america  ethics  arete  mythology  philosophy 
april 2009 by dogrover
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