October 31, 2005
Philosopher's Carnival XXI
Philosopher's Carnival XXI is up at Prior Knowledge with a link to my recent post on Leibniz and miracles (yes, that's the same post the Christian Carnival linked to last week - I haven't had time to write much recently). The Philosopher's Carnival is a "fortnightly" compilation of recent posts on philosophy blogs....
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October 20, 2005
An Ancient Greek What?!
The Economist is reporting on a new reconstruction by Michael Wright, a British museum curator, of the so-called Antikythera Mechanism. The Slashdot headline reads, "Ancient Greek Computer Reconstructed." In case you were wondering what on earth the Antikythera Mechanism is or was, Slashdot seems to think it's a computer. From ancient Greece. How ancient, you ask? Well it was discovered 100 years ago in a shipwreck off an island near Crete. The shipwreck has been dated to 87 BC. Which brings us to the title of this post: an ancient Greek what?! Now, slashdot has a tendency to sensationalize, and...
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Christian Carnival XCII at Theology and Biblical Studies
So I just discovered this "Blog Carnival" thing and think its a fantastic idea. For those of you who don't know, it works like this: each period (the Christian Carnival is weekly, the Philosopher's Carnival is fortnightly) one blog hosts, and people from all different blogs submit entries on some theme or topic, which are then compiled into summaries with links. Christian Carnival XCII is now up at World of Sven's Theology and Biblical Studies, and has graciously accepted my late entry, this post on Leibniz's discussion of efficient and final causes, and its application to Christian thought on science...
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October 12, 2005
Leibniz on "Efficient" vs. "Final" Causes in Physics: Its Application to God, Science, and Miracles
So I'm taking this class on Leibniz this semester (for those of you who may be unfamiliar, that is Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the 17th century philosopher/scientist/mathematician, and the "other" discoverer of calculus), and I was reading his Discourse on Metaphysics today and came across this fantastic passage in section 19: Moreover, it is unreasonable to introduce a supreme intelligence as orderer of things and then, instead of using his wisdom, use only the properties of matter to explain the phenomena. This is as if, in order to account for the conquest of an important place by a great prince, a...
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October 7, 2005
Why "Positive Rights" Are Stupid
They lead to crap like this. According to the mayor of San Francisco, "It is ... a fundamental right to have access universally to information" and providing wireless internet access for free to the city is " a civil rights issue as much as anything else." (Hat tip: Evangelical Outpost) Wait, civil rights? Wireless internet? Next you'll be telling me they have a "fundamental right" to own a laptop with which to use the wireless internet. Where the heck does this crap come from? Libertarian and classic liberal political theorists believe that all of our rights are what are called...
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October 6, 2005
Ronald Dworkin on John Roberts and Principles of Constitutional Interpretation
The New York Review Of Books has published an insightful piece by Ronald Dworkin, a brilliant political philosopher at NYU, on what we can expect from John Roberts. For those of you who are on familiar, Dworkin wrote an excellent book entitled Sovereign Virtue in which he develops a systematic political philosophy which is capable (if successful) of justifying the voting patterns of moderate Democrats. This is very impressive, as most political philosophies end up in one of three extremes (libertarianism, Marxism, or utilitarianism), or else are hopelessly unsystematic. However, as you might expect I, having adopted one of the...
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Recording Industry Counter-Sued for ... Well, Pretty Much Everything
From Recording Industry vs. The People via the Electronic Frontier Foundation newsletter: "Tanya Andersen, a 41 year old disabled single mother living in Oregon, has countersued the RIAA for Oregon RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act] violations, fraud, invasion of privacy, abuse of process, electronic trespass, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, negligent misrepresentation, the tort of 'outrage', and deceptive business practices." The suit charges, among other things, that Ms. Anderson was contacted by legal council for the RIAA in regard to music downloading (which she has never done) and offered to allow them to inspect her...
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October 1, 2005
Theism, Empiricism Mutually Exclusive?
Parableman points to an anti-intelligent design petition circulating among academic scientists. The text of the petition reads: We, as scientists trained in fields that utilize evolutionary theory, do not consider Intelligent Design to be a fact-based science appropriate for teaching in public schools because it is theistic in nature, not empirical, and therefore does not pass the rigors of scientific hypothesis testing and theory development. As such, we petition that Intelligent Design not be presented in public schools as a viable science within the scientific curriculum. (emphasis original) Parableman points out the very strange phrase "it is theistic in nature,...
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