Disruptions to business as usual, such as we have been experiencing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, inevitably raise questions regarding which activities and institutions are essential or important for a good or fulfilling life, and which may be happily dispensed with. Answers to such questions are often very personal, of course. My focus … Continue reading When is a discipline not a discipline?
Human civilization was built in part on the exploitation of stored energy. Post-World War 2 Western prosperity was built largely on oil, which is a remarkably concentrated energy source. The energy stored in one barrel of oil is said to represent 4.5 man-years of work. But strange things are happening in the oil market. And, … Continue reading Art Berman’s bleak view of the future
Einstein's rejection of the notion of time as we know and experience it was squarely based in classical physics and classical mathematics. One problem with such a view is that it assumes the existence of infinite information (e.g. infinite decimal expansions). Nicolas Gisin, a physicist at the University of Geneva, wants to reformulate standard physics … Continue reading Time and physics
The foreign, defense and trade policies of the United States and the overt and covert operations designed to implement and support them have, over the last 80 years or so, had profound effects on the world. I used to think those effects were positive on the whole. Like so many other foreign consumers of American … Continue reading Endgame
Jules Monnerot [1909–1995] was born and spent his early years in Martinique where his father (also Jules) was a lawyer and left-wing activist. Jules Monnerot, fils went from being a Marxist in his youth to being a cold warrior after World War 2, subsequently moving further to the right. Some see him as having been … Continue reading Jules Monnerot and the concept of “secular religion”
A confusing and (arguably) confused article about time which appeared late last year at The Electric Agora prompted me to set out a few of my own thoughts on perceptions of time and time and language. There is the physics of time (that is, time as it is dealt with and understood in the context … Continue reading Speaking of time
Terms like “pragmatism” as it applies to philosophy and the history of ideas – most isms really – are intrinsically vague and useful only to the (necessarily limited) extent that they help to bring out persistent or more fleeting strands or commonalities in thinking within or across populations. Even the views of individuals are often … Continue reading A few thoughts on intellectual history, abstraction and values.