Reality Conditions

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Linking around

Noteworthy links of the week:

A paper contrasting different axiomatic reconstructions of quantum theory, found at the excellent Philosophy of Science Archive.

Week 229 of John Baez's "This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics" is out.

Lubos Motl criticizes Rovelli et al. on the graviton propagator, making true the second of my three predictions.

If you know who Carl Friedrich Gauss was, the chances are you also have heard a story about how when he was a schoolboy he solved in a few moments a problem about summing an arithmetic progression. Where did this story come from, and is it true? Read here.

Turning to philosophy, a post by Richard of Philosophy, et cetera on Kirpkean semantics has turned into a discussion of David Chalmers' (in)famous "zombie argument" for dualism. (Veeeeery roughly, the argument states that given that we can concieve a physical duplicate of a human being that has no conscious experience, then counsciousness cannot be physical). Chalmers seems to me the most serious and clever defender of dualism in the current philosophical scene, but I don't think his arguments can sustain his conclusions. That, however, is a topic for another post or series of posts. In the menawhile, you can go check Chalmers' homepage, which is full of interesting stuff, including a list of philosophical humour links.

Language Log is collecting lists of "The Four Subjects of X". For example, The Four Subjects of Poetry are:

1. I went out into the woods today, and it made me feel, you know, sort of religious.
2. We're not getting any younger.
3. It sure is cold and lonely (a) without you, honey, or (b) with you, honey.
4. Sadness seems but the other side of the coin of happiness, and vice versa, and in any case the coin is too soon spent, and on what we know not what.

Challenge to my readers: what are The Four Subjects of Quantum Gravity?

My rock star friend points to this amusing animation detailing the differences between Italians and other Europeans; it could equally have been about Argentinians instead of Italians.

Finally, I could not leave without a link the blog post which is likely to become the most commented in all the history of blogging; it has already 835 comments and counting. And it consists in only one word...


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