Reality Conditions

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Others Think, We Link

* Scott Aaronson has a delightful little fable about physicists and computer scientists. Those silly physicists with their baffling lack of rigour don't come out looking too well, but Dave Beacon defends our professional honour with a counter-fable (to which Scott replies in the comments with a counter-counter fable).

* Starting at The World Fair, lots of Science Bloggers have been pondering a question inspired by one of the greatest comic lines in The Simpsons: What kind of a scientist is Batman?

* Already some ten days old, but I wanted to comment on the post "What is Existence?" at Philosophy, et cetera. Richard expresses in it a suspicion that many "ontological" disputes are not substantial disagreements but just about different ways of talking about the same reality. I have had the same suspicion for a long time, not only about ontology but about other areas of philosophy as well; the difficulty in this sort of philosophical deflationism is the one Quine pointed out against Carnap, that both scientific and philosophical disputes involve both "factual" and "conventional" matters in an entangled way, and there is no clear distinction between them. So if we "go pragmatical" about ontology and declare it just a decision on a convenient way of talking, we risk falling down the slippery slope to a full Rortian pragmatism in which all truth, even scientific, is just a decision on a convenient way of talk. I hope to collect some thoughts on this and write them down when I overcome the laziness about thinking and writing philosophical posts I have felt lately.

* Is Star Wars fascist? At least its logo is, according to Adam Roberts at The Valve. If you click on this link, it means you are likely to be a geek; so while you are at The Valve you may as well go to this other recent post, which in turn links to a bizarre videoclip remixed from Lord of the Rings, and scholarly discusses its prosody.

* Continuing the geeky theme, my sinful friend has a cute picture of Jedi squirrels.

* History-spork continues to reliably deliver laughs once every six weeks or so, now targeting The First Knight for the usual sarcastic catalogue of inconsistencies and historical absurdities.

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