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Tag Archives: contingency
Whatever Works: Pierce’s Abduction, Darwin’s Evolution, Entropy, Bayes’ Rule, and Rorty’s Pragmatism
I’ve recently been struck by the similarity between Charles Sanders Pierce’s notion of abduction (reasoning to the best hypothesis; “may the best hypothesis win”), Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution (survival of the fittest; “may the best organism win”), entropy (what … Continue reading
Freud and contingency. One of Sigmund Freud’s important insights is that each of us has a contingent history; that is, we each have been born into a particular place and time not of our choosing and live out our circumstances … Continue reading
In a collection of art essays by Roger Kimball titled Art’s Prospect (Ivan R. Dee 2003) is an essay on a Matisse exhibit in which Kimball writes the following (151): [Matisse] arrived [in Morocco in 1912] in the rainy season, … Continue reading
The ur-consumer advocate in 1970: __________ Good stuff. But I still blame him for Al Gore’s loss to George Bush in Florida in 2000. The gods of contingency can be absurdly and maliciously cruel to one’s legacy.
If you’re like me, you don’t want to die. And if you’re also like me, you’ve got things you tell yourself and things you do to divert your attention away from the fact that you will die. But even Ray Kurzweil will die. That’s … Continue reading
From Lemons to Lemonade: Two Cool Examples of Contingency Turned to Art (One a Painting, One a Poem)
In a collection of art essays by Roger Kimball titled Art’s Prospect (Ivan R. Dee 2003) is an essay on a Matisse exhibit in which Kimball writes the following (151): [Matisse] arrived [in Morocco in 1912] in the rainy season, and his … Continue reading
Chance v. Conspiracy Theory Watch: Ezra Klein’s Contingency Observations v. Matt Damon’s “The Adjustment Bureau”
At the Washington Post’s website, Ezra Klein shares why he can’t bring himself to sit through the conspiracy-themed Matt Damon film, The Adjustment Bureau: I can’t believe in guys in suits with the ability to plan things. And why can’t he believe … Continue reading
Atheist universes without end: Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow’s ironically titled new book, “The Grand Design”
In a recent Washington Post review of Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow’s new book, The Grand Design (Bantam 2010), physicist James Trefil summarizes how the authors answer this question: Where did our lawful universe come from?: Our current best description of the physics … Continue reading
Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini’s book, What Darwin Got Wrong (2010), received a fair amount of attention (and drubbing) when it first came out in February. On Tuesday of this week, evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne expressed dismay that Jerry Fodor, in a recent interview, continues … Continue reading
Is a Fortunate and Highly Improbable Energy Resonance (that Makes Carbon Atoms—and Us—Possible) a Coincidence or a “Put-Up Job”?
Physicist John Polkinghorne thinks it’s a put-up job, and explains:
Ontario Lacus: How Does It Feel to Live in an Alien World in Which Everything That Is Does Not Have to Be?
In a recent science article at the New York Times, the unpredictable blendings and contingencies of history jumped out at me in the way that Titan’s methane lake, “Ontario Lacus,” came to be named: In 2004 a camera known as the Imaging Science Subsystem on … Continue reading
A.C. Grayling, an atheist author that I tend to otherwise love, calls the idea that atheism gave birth to communism and fascism a theist “canard.” But, as an agnostic who has been doing a good deal of Nietzsche reading lately, I’m not … Continue reading
The below video offers a bit of perspective. Carl Sagan: Astronomy is a humbling and character building experience.
What Friedrich Nietzsche took from Charles Darwin is the idea of radical contingency, and so Nietzsche’s amor fati (love of fate) is an embrace of all of life’s contingencies. Do you have the courage to embrace your existential situation (what Sartre called … Continue reading
Have you ever heard of quantum Darwinism? It’s not a form of New Age woo, but something that physicists are seriously exploring. This yesterday at PhysOrg.com: The basis of almost any theoretical quantum-to-classical transition lies in the concept of decoherence. … Continue reading
Barack Obama picked a hell of a time to be president: he’s a centrist politician who, in addition to inheriting a number of seemingly intractable economic and foreign policy dilemmas, is surrounded by total nut cases to one side of him … Continue reading