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  • Spread @3:27AM, 2017-04-29
    Tags: , philosophy, stoicism   

    Seneca’s 7 Commandments to Himself 

    I) I will look upon death or upon a comedy with the same expression of countenance.

    II) I will despise riches when I have them as much as when I have them not.

    III) I will view all lands as though they belong to me, and my own as though they belonged to all mankind.

    IV) Whatever I may possess, I will neither hoard it greedily nor squander it recklessly.

    V) I will do nothing because of public opinion, but everything because of conscience.

    VI) I will be agreeable with my friends, gentle and mild to my foes: I will grant pardon before I am asked for it, and will meet the wishes of honourable men half-way.

    VII) Whenever either Nature demands my breath again, or reason bids me dismiss it, I will quit this life, calling all to witness that I have loved a good conscience, and good pursuits.

    Read the rest: Aeon Classics

  • Spread @2:56AM, 2017-03-25
    Tags: information, philosophy   

    Why Information Matters 

    When we use a computer, its performance seems to degrade progressively. This is not a mere impression. Over the years of owning a particular machine, it will get sluggish. Sometimes this slowdown is caused by hardware faults, but more often the culprit is software: programs get more complicated, as more features are added and as old bugs are patched (or not), and greater demands are placed on resources by new programs running in the background. After a while, even rebooting the computer does not restore performance, and the only solution is to upgrade to a new machine.

    Philosophy can be a bit like a computer getting creakier. It starts well, dealing with significant and serious issues that matter to anyone. Yet, in time, it can get bloated and bogged down and slow. Philosophy begins to care less about philosophical questions than about philosophers’ questions, which then consume increasing amounts of intellectual attention. The problem with philosophers’ questions is not that they are impenetrable to outsiders — although they often are, like any internal game — but that whatever the answers turn out to be, assuming there are any, they do not matter, because nobody besides philosophers could care about the questions in the first place.

    Read the rest from The New Atlantis

  • Spread @5:54AM, 2016-09-11
    Tags: avicenna, , mind-body, philosophy   

    Avicenna & the mind-body problem 

    Philosophers of the Islamic world enjoyed thought experiments. If the heavens vanished, they wondered, would time continue to pass? If existence were distinct from essence, would that mean that existence itself must exist? Can God turn your household servant into a horse, so that you come back home to find it has urinated all over your books?

    But the most famous is the so-called ‘flying man’ thought experiment, devised by the most influential philosopher of the Islamic world, Avicenna (in Arabic, Ibn Sīnā, who lived from 980 to 1037 CE). Imagine, he says, that a person is created by God in mid-air, in good condition but with his sight veiled and his limbs outstretched so that he is touching nothing, not even his own body. This person has no memories, having only just been created. Will his mind be a blank, devoid as it is of past or present sensory experience?

    Read the rest at Aeon Ideas

  • Spread @12:55AM, 2016-08-08
    Tags: , philosophy,   

    Philosophy in fiction 


    Philosophy tends to be arid, more related to mathematics or dispatches from the courtroom than art, but some philosophy exhibits playfulness or poetic sensibility in relation to language or narrative form and some has even been speculative in a literary or imaginative sense. Jean Baudrillard, for one, coined the term “theory fiction” and speculated on scenarios for future real worlds that were more wild and improbable than science fiction. In his case, it was part of a quest to exacerbate the groundlessness of signs and meaning.

    But postmodern suspicion is not the only way in which philosophers have used the strategies of fiction to further their projects. Hegel’s great work Phenomenology of Spirit can be read as a vast novel in which the characters, avatars of the spirit, move progressively through the world and through history.

    Read the rest from The Guardian

  • Titus Toledo @1:49AM, 2015-02-15
    Tags: c.s. lewis, philosophy, ,   

    Miracles do not, in fact, break the laws of nature 


    “miracles do not, in fact, break the laws of nature.” –c.s. lewis

  • Titus Toledo @6:58AM, 2015-01-08
    Tags: alan watts, philosophy,   

    What if money were no object? ~Alan Watts 

    Alan Watts on what if money were no object…

  • Titus Toledo @3:34AM, 2014-12-07
    Tags: friedrich nietzsche, nihilism, philosophy   

    “every word is a prejudice” –friedrich nietzsche


  • Spread @3:16AM, 2014-03-22
    Tags: crime, philosophy, punishment   

    The Future of Punishment 

    “Some crimes are so bad they require a really long period of punishment, and a lot of people seem to get out of that punishment by dying. And so I thought, why not make prison sentences for particularly odious criminals worse by extending their lives?”—Rebecca Roache, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

    —Via Aeon

  • Spread @2:08AM, 2014-01-15
    Tags: , philosophy   

    What is Art for? 

    “The idea that art’s value should be understood in therapeutic terms is not new. In fact, it is the most enduring way of thinking about art, having its roots in Aristotle’s philosophical reflections on poetry and drama. In the Poetics, Aristotle argued that tragic drama can elevate how we experience fear and pity—two emotions that help shape our experience of life. The broad implication is that the task of art is to help us flourish, to be “virtuous,” in Aristotle’s special sense of that word: that is, to be good at living, even in challenging circumstances.” –John Armstrong

    Tischbein depicts Goethe in his Roman apartment. Image courtesy of  Photo Scala, Florence © 2012 /BPK, Bildagentur Fuer Kunst, Kultur Und Geschichte, Berlin: 137

    —Via City Journal

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