Author Archives: Huenemann

About Huenemann

Curious about the ways humans use their minds and hearts to distract themselves from the meaninglessness of life.

Twilight of the idols of good writing

For a long time I have thought of my job as mostly a teacher of writing. I teach philosophy too, but most of what I teach in that domain is soon forgotten. What my students will keep with them (or … Continue reading

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3QD: Monkeys in our treehouse

How we are able to talk — the surprisingly effortless channeling of thoughts into words made available for public consumption — is a startling mystery. The next time you find yourself jabbering, see if you can direct some unemployed part … Continue reading

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3QD: Science and magic

I think it is fair to say that we usually see science and magic as opposed to one another. In science we make bold hypotheses, subject them to rigorous testing against experience, and tentatively accept whatever survives the testing as … Continue reading

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Teaching history (and philosophy) of the knowledge of nature and (history of) “the philosophy of science”

I have been teaching university philosophy classes for something like 78 years. (At some point, when you can’t summon the energy to figure out how old you are, and what year something happened, and then do a bit of subtraction, … Continue reading

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3QD: Bigger knowledge, bigger problems

In a slogan: our hard problems require more smarter people than the hard problems of the past. The tightrope we are walking keeps getting steeper and more slippery and higher off the ground – requiring even better tightrope walkers, tightrope walkers “more … Continue reading

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For the sake of discussion

We know all too well how easy it is to write something to someone online that we would never say face to face, and conversely how much more effort it takes to write online with the general kindness we employ … Continue reading

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Mad-Dog Everettianism, probability, and a little bit of Hume

One of the great upsides of the generally miserable or horrific pandemic is that more recordings of fascinating intellectual discussions are being made available to wider audiences. Recently I watched a set of talks hosted by an outfit called the … Continue reading

Posted in Metaphysical musings | 9 Comments

3QD: The Monas Hieroglyphica, Feynman Diagrams, And The Voynich Manuscript

One of the strangest books to come out of Europe in the sixteenth century – and that is saying a lot – is John Dee’s Monas Hieroglyphica (1564). Dee was an English mathematician, court astrologer, diplomat, and spy. He was … Continue reading

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3QD: A Dialogue on Politics as Game

Bill: Can you believe these Republicans?! Just four years after swearing up and down that no nominee for the Supreme Court should ever be approved in an election year for the president, and promising on their mothers’ graves that they … Continue reading

Posted in 3QD essays, Meanings of life / death / social & moral stuff | 2 Comments

3QD: The Tale of the Eloi and the Morlocks

H. G. Wells’ novella, The Time Machine, traces the evolutionary results of a severely unequal society. The Traveller journeys not just to the year 2000 or 5000, but all the way to the year 802,701, where he witnesses the long-term evolutionary … Continue reading

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3QD: Too many books

It is commonplace to observe just how marvelous books are. Some person, perhaps from long ago, makes inky marks onto processed pulp from old trees. The ensuing artifact is tossed from hand to hand, carrying its cargo of characters, plots, … Continue reading

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3QD: Why materialism is false

Materialism is the view that everything that exists is made of matter. What’s matter? It’s hard to say with both precision and completeness, but it can’t be far off to think of matter as whatever can engage causally with the … Continue reading

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Should you return to college in the fall?

I doubt this post will reach many among its intended audience, but in case it helps anyone, I’ll try to offer some advice. First, to set the stage. In this pandemic, nobody really knows what they are doing. Scientists have … Continue reading

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3QD: Protective Living Communities

By 2025, protective living communities (PLCs) had started to form. The earliest PLCs, such as New Promise and New New Babylon, based themselves on rationalist doctrines: decisions informed by best available science, and either utilitarian ethics or Rawlsian principles of … Continue reading

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Thomas Huxley: Making the ‘Man of Science’

Reading: Paul White, Thomas Huxley: Making the ‘Man of Science’ (CUP 2002). In a sense, this book is about the term “scientist”. Thomas Huxley regarded it as a crass Americanism, a term that belittled anyone who devoted their life toward … Continue reading

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