Reality Conditions

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Quick Links

Aaron Bergman is guestblogging at Uncertain Principles and promises to answer all your questions about String Theory

*Peter Woit gets criticized for scientism by Richard for dismissing the "simulation argument", in what seems to me an example of people with different concerns talking past each other. Richard is right that science, in the narrow sense of empirically testable theories, does not exhaust the realm of rational discourse; Peter is right that the simulation argument is not science nor is even close to being science, as some versions of the anthropic principle may be. If philosophers want to have rational discussions of the simulation argument they may do so, and they may even come to illuminate some matters in epistemology; but this is not connected to anything scientific, and to pretend otherwise would be pseudo-science. (I also think that philosophical discussions with no scientific or practical connections will tend towards the sterile and the scholastic, but that's a separate discussion.)

*Via this discussion I found an intersting blog to add to my blogroll, Overcoming Bias. Its ultra-Bayesian-rationalistic approach to everything under the sun looks to me very limited and a distorted view of actual rational practices; but many of the posts there can be extremely thought-provoking when abstracted from this framework in which they are posed.

*Windmills of my Mind, an excellent film blog, is dedicating this month to exhaustive analysis of Steven Spielberg's films: one post per day, one per film.

*Even though he hates the books and I am a certified fan, I am enjoying Mike Smith's snarky chapter-by-chapter review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I liked the book a lot, though there were a couple of disappointments. And I was right on target with one of my main predictions -and wrong with several others. Best of the dozens of online discussions I've read are at Pandagon and In Medias Res. Also unmissble are the summary of the book in lolspeak and the roundup of naughty double entendres.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Not dead. Just crippled.

I will probably post [even] less than usual in the following weeks. I had a bad fall this week and as a consequence I'm wearing a sling on my left arm. Typing is [obviously] not impossible but it is a good deal more annoying than normally, and I will save my efforts at it for emails and thesis writing. I may do some "quick links" post, but nothing substantial for a while. Meanwhile you can have fun with some new links in the sidebar, including one to Xkcd which is the best webcomic ever.