Category Archives: 3QD essays

3QD: Thinking Big About The Future

I recently listened to a discussion on the topic of longtermism, or the moral view that we need to factor in the welfare of future generations far more seriously than we do, including generations far, far into the future. No one … Continue reading

Posted in 3QD essays | Leave a comment

3QD: Is The Internet What I Think It Is?

Justin E. H. Smith’s recent book, The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is: A History, A Philosophy, A Warning (Princeton UP 2022) has received plenty of notice here on 3 Quarks Daily, and for good reason. Smith’s books and essays always … Continue reading

Posted in 3QD essays | Leave a comment

3QD: Swarms in the brain

Today is July 4th, a day when Americans reflect on the value of freedom and the costs and sacrifices required for it. So it is an appropriate day to reflect on America’s deepest political aspirations. Nah. Let’s talk about our brains. The … Continue reading

Posted in 3QD essays | Leave a comment

3QD: CAPTCHAs, Kant, and Culture

…But clearly we do end up with causal knowledge, as Hume himself never doubted, and we manage to navigate our ways through a steady world of enduring objects. We somehow end up with knowledge of an objective world. And we … Continue reading

Posted in 3QD essays | Leave a comment

3QD: No, Let’s Not Give Up On Liberalism Just Yet

Liberalism has been so successful in promoting a wide range of different ideas that its own name has gotten pretty murky. Many people think it means supporting a welfare state, championing the voices of people usually pushed to the side, … Continue reading

Posted in 3QD essays | Leave a comment

3QD: More complications, please

It is entirely possible that we cannot handle the ever rising tide of knowledge. Yes, I am going to presume that it is knowledge — that we are not barking up the wrong axis mundi, that we are not ten days away from … Continue reading

Posted in 3QD essays | Leave a comment

3QD: The Many Things That Don’t Exist

Lots of things don’t exist. Bigfoot, a planet between Uranus and Neptune, yummy gravel, plays written by Immanuel Kant, the pile of hiking shoes stacked on your head — so many things, all of them not existing. Maybe there are … Continue reading

Posted in 3QD essays | Leave a comment

3QD: Is It Enough to Abide?

SOCRATES: Dear sir! You seem to be an happy fellow, able to enjoy the mixed bitter and sweet fortunes of life! DUDE: Oh, hey, man! Nice toga thing you got going on there. Let it hang, right? SOCRATES: You are … Continue reading

Posted in 3QD essays | Leave a comment

3QD: Life in the garden of forking paths

We primates of the homo sapiens variety are very clever when it comes to making maps and plotting courses over dodgy terrain, so it comes as no surprise that we are prone to think of possible actions over time as akin to … Continue reading

Posted in 3QD essays | Leave a comment

3QD: Riding an Empty Suit

A man rides an empty suit. The suit tells others what to think of the man, though it would not fit him. The man does not control the suit, but merely takes a ride upon it, come what may. In … Continue reading

Posted in 3QD essays | 1 Comment

3QD: It’s not easy to live in a Mystery

Over years of teaching philosophy, I have observed that people fall into two groups with regard to the Biggest Question. The Biggest Question is one that is so big it is hard to fit into words, but here goes: When everything … Continue reading

Posted in 3QD essays | 4 Comments

3QD: Go ahead and speak nonsense

[…] Somehow, through our language, culture, and shared projects of both construction and destruction, we manage to invent a spirit-world of fictions and concepts that paper over whatever-it-is-that-really-is-there, and we think and act in that spirit-world. It is nearly impossible … Continue reading

Posted in 3QD essays | Leave a comment

3QD: What you know is a policy to live by

Philosophers are prone to define knowledge as having reasoned one’s way to some true beliefs. The obvious kicker in any such definition is truth; for how am I supposed to determine whether a belief is true? If I already know … Continue reading

Posted in 3QD essays | Leave a comment

3QD: Don’t be so sure

[By the way, this is my 50th 3QD essay, by my count. I have encountered many interesting ideas and intelligent and gracious people through the site. It’s been a wonderful partnership.] Luxuriating in human ignorance was once a classy fad. … Continue reading

Posted in 3QD essays | 1 Comment

3QD: Lots Of Things Exist, But You And I Are Not Among Them

Of course, it pays to be cautious when you read philosophers writing about what exists. They are slippery, weaving in and out between “in one sense” and “in another” like clever eels wearing togas. The fact that we can talk … Continue reading

Posted in 3QD essays | 1 Comment