Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Ring of Gyges (a story)

So, I’m no fiction writer (at least, not on purpose). I give it a shot now and then, for fun. A while back I had a plan to write a series of stories featuring the “wonder cabinet” of Dr Tenebris, … Continue reading

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3QD: Freedom and determinism – what we can learn from the failures of two pretty good arguments

The “Consequence Argument” is a powerful argument for the conclusion that, if determinism is true, then we have no control over what we do or will do. The argument is straightforward and simple (as given in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy): … Continue reading

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Structure, Energy, and Reality

This past term I’ve been teaching a capstone class in which students are supposed to write a longer paper on some topic that means a lot to them. It’s meant to be a culminating event for their undergraduate work in … Continue reading

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What we know when we know particulars

Some reflections on the early sections of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit: If we try to think about what is most obvious in our experience, and what the most basic elements of knowledge are, we turn to sense perception. For it … Continue reading

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Unvatting the Brains: Putnam, Bostrom, and thinking the unthinkable

The worry is familiar. All of my experience comes to me via my central nervous system, which is a biochemical electrical network. It can be hacked. The data coming from my eyes and ears and so on are converted to … Continue reading

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RNZ interview

The Sunday Show of Radio New Zealand interviewed me about my Delphic maxims piece. It was a delight to speak with Jim Mora, the host. You can listen to the interview here, if you like. We vacationed in New Zealand nearly … Continue reading

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A poisoned peace

“I realize that if through science I can seize phenomena and enumerate them, I cannot, for all that, apprehend the world. Were I to trace its entire relief with my finger, I should not know any more. And you give … Continue reading

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Crowd going apeshit

I’m generally not a fan of pop music, but the recent Beyoncé/Jay-Z video really is masterful:   So many difficult questions are held up for reflection, especially for successful producers and consumers of today’s arts. If you are a successful … Continue reading

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“Are students snowflakes?” on Access Utah

Host Tom Williams interviewed my colleagues Erica Holberg and Harrison Kleiner and me about the alleged “snowflake” phenomenon on campuses (students who can’t bear to hear any claims that run counter to their own values). Interview here. Certainly there are … Continue reading

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Essay on philosophy and the humanities on Aeon

By the title, “Why philosophers should hang out at the humanists’ parties” – here.

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The making of the humanities

I just returned from a multidisciplinary conference on “meta” issues in the humanities: how various humanistic disciplines have shifted over time, various assumptions made or discarded by academic practitioners, and basically any of the stuff you’d come to find if … Continue reading

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Truth: an initial stab at the thing

On campus we are having a series of discussions under the title of “facticity.” No, it’s not a headlong plunge into German idealism and the impossible task of capturing the brute “thatness” of what experience coughs up. Instead, it is … Continue reading

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The Shed

About five years ago, we hired a great guy named Joe Smart to build a philosopher’s shed for me. (More about that story here.) I’m really glad to have this separate place for reading, thinking, and writing – as nutty … Continue reading

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My Life as an NPC

Another Stacks of Books essay to add to the library. This one makes good on a promise I’ve been making for sometime, which was to reflect philosophically on playing Skyrim. (Now those hundreds of hours can count as research!). I’m … Continue reading

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The ban on navel contemplation

I have been busy re-reading Sloterdijk’s Spheres trilogy, working up to a longer reflection on it, but in the meanwhile thought I’d offer up this passages from Bubbles (Spheres I): The navel is located on the human’s front like a … Continue reading

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