The Cave Wall - Mirrors

Get ready to re-think your ideas of reality. Join UCSD physicist Kim Griest as he takes you on a fascinating excursion, addressing some of the massive efforts and tantalising bits of evidence which suggest that what goes on in empty space determines the properties of the three-dimensional existence we know and love, and discusses how that reality may be but the wiggling of strings from other dimensions.
Series: "Atoms to X-Rays" [5/2001] [Science] [Show ID: 5551]

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Martha Nussbaum discusses Aristotle with Bryan Magee in an interview from a 1987 BBC program.

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When a non-theistic philosopher claims that the "materialist neo-darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false", Christian scientists must pay attention. Nagel takes the fine-tuned universe and the emergence of conscious beings for essential facts about our universe that demand an adequate explanation. He gives three main reasons why the materialist neo-Darwinian concept fails as an explanation. But what is Nagel's own proposed solution out of the dilemma? We will discuss the arguments and how they can help us in scientific apologetics.

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Karl Popper discusses his famous falsificationist, anti-inductivist epistemology and conception of science, his book on political philosophy "The Open Society and its Enemies", as well as various other things, including the notion of absolute truth, definitions, ethics, pessimism, etc. These are the main clips from the 1974 documentary on Popper and his thought called "Philosophie Gegen Falsche Propheten" (Philosophy Against False Prophets).

I did the translation myself and it's likely not as good as it could be. So take it with a grain of salt, there might be a few small errors.

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Does a reality to be described by science exist? Carlo Rovelli (Aix-Marseille Université, France) talks about "Relational Quantum Mechanics". This is the sixth lecture of a series organized by a group of students of the University of Vienna and partially funded by IQOQI-Vienna, aiming at sensitizing towards the significance of philosophical and fundamental investigation in science.

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Friedrich Hayek's Critique of Socialism, Ideas of the Twentieth Century, Fall 2017

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Guest: Bloom, Allan
Host: Buckley, William F., Jr. (1925-2008)
Date Created: April 15, 1987

Mr. Bloom's surprise best seller was gathering kudos and brickbats around the country; the only disappointment here is that he proves to be not always as focused viva voce as he is on the page. Still, an interesting and often moving look at the sad state of the American academy. AB: "Since I was in a university, since I began in 1946, the universities were instruments of egalitarianism. It was there that the civil-rights movement was generated. Everybody I know affirmed those American principles and worked for them. And then suddenly, when the movement came to its head, it said that the universities were corrupt instruments of the old accommodation. So the very source, the place where the principles were held, and knowingly held in a scholarly way, where people could affirm them not only with their passion but with their reason, was discredited."

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From about 1500 BC to 1200 BC, the Mediterranean region played host to a complex cosmopolitan and globalized world-system. It may have been this very internationalism that contributed to the apocalyptic disaster that ended the Bronze Age. When the end came, the civilized and international world of the Mediterranean regions came to a dramatic halt in a vast area stretching from Greece and Italy in the west to Egypt, Canaan, and Mesopotamia in the east. Large empires and small kingdoms collapsed rapidly. With their end came the world’s first recorded Dark Ages. It was not until centuries later that a new cultural renaissance emerged in Greece and the other affected areas, setting the stage for the evolution of Western society as we know it today. Professor Eric H. Cline of The George Washington University will explore why the Bronze Age came to an end and whether the collapse of those ancient civilizations might hold some warnings for our current society.

Considered for a Pulitzer Prize for his recent book 1177 BC, Dr. Eric H. Cline is Professor of Classics and Anthropology and the current Director of the Capitol Archaeological Institute at The George Washington University. He is a National Geographic Explorer, a Fulbright scholar, an NEH Public Scholar, and an award-winning teacher and author. He has degrees in archaeology and ancient history from Dartmouth, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania; in May 2015, he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree (honoris causa) from Muhlenberg College. Dr. Cline is an active field archaeologist with 30 seasons of excavation and survey experience.

The views expressed in this video are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Capital Area Skeptics.

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November 26, 2018

We begin with the question 'What is a science?", a question which was answered by the great 19th century Bohemian logician-philosopher-mathematician Bernard Bolzano as follows: A science is an idealized scientific textbook. A variant of this idea was propounded in the 20th century by the logical positivists of the Vienna Circle, for whom a science is a logically formalized theory; more specifically it is an (again idealized) set of propositions expressed in first order logic (FOL). The logical positivists conceived on this basis the idea of "unified science", which would be achieved by formalizing all scientific theories within a single framework.

This view of science formed one pillar of the artificial intelligence work in Stanford in the 1970s and '80s, most conspicuously on the part of Patrick Hayes, who applied the idea to common science (or what he called "naive physics"). To achieve artificial intelligence would be to replicate the common sense beliefs of ordinary human beings in sets of propositions formalized using FOL, and use the results to drive (for example) a robot.

Both the logical positivist idea of formalizing science and Hayes' idea of formalizing common sense beliefs failed in realizing their immediate goals. But they each formed important parts of the process which led to the establishment of ontology building as an important strategy in what we now call 'data science'.

The purpose of this talk is to show that ontology building is more successful, and more useful, if the ontologies developed are based on a coherent philosophical idea of what an ontology is and what kinds of entities in the world an ontology represents. I illustrate the important of this idea by describing the problems that can arise for ontology builders and users in the absence of such a foundation. First, I take the example of the HL7 healthcare messaging standard and its Reference Information Model (RIM), which is based on the philosophically incoherent idea that 'every action is identical with its own documentation'. Second, I take the "Ontology 101", an influential guide to ontology building by two leaders in the field, Deborah McGuinness and Natasha Noy. The guide is based on the assumption that ontologies are about classes and that classes have instances. But its authors take the view that what is a class and what is an instance are questions whose answers depend on the use to which an ontology is put. Thus, they suggest, a kind of wine might be a class in ontology and an instance in a second ontology. This view, too, is philosophically incoherent, and leads to conclusions for instance to the effect that the Beaujolais region is a kind of France.

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The Enlightenment in Global History
February 12, 2014

In many accounts of world history, the Enlightenment occupies a prominent place, marking the beginning of intellectual and cultural modernity. But these narratives have remained deeply Eurocentric. This talk suggests reading the history of Enlightenment as a history of global conjunctures. Claims to Enlightenment were literally co-produced by historical actors from a variety of locations in their attempt to think globally and come to terms with the challenges of an integrating world.

Part of "How to Write Global Histories"

Sebastian Conrad
Professor of History, Freie Universität Berlin

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Milton (ENGL 220)

Milton's political tract Areopagitica is discussed at length. The author's complicated take on state censorship and licensing, both practiced by the English government with respect to printed materials at the time, is examined. His eclectic use of pagan mythology, Christian scripture, and the metaphors of eating and digestion in defense of his position are probed. Lastly, Milton's insistence that moral truths must be examined and tested in order for goodness to be known is explored as an early manifestation of the rhetoric that will be used to depict the Fall in Paradise Lost.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: Areopagitica and the English Revolution
05:49 - Chapter 2. Parliamentary Factions During the English Revolution
10:28 - Chapter 3. "Areopagitica": Freedom of the Press, Censorship and Licensing
24:35 - Chapter 4. Milton's Narrative of the History of Truth

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website:

This course was recorded in Fall 2007.

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Romney Wheeler interviews British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic Bertrand Russell at Russell's home in Surrey, England.

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The eminent Harvard Professor Steven Pinker joins Stephen Fry to discuss the challenges we face in the 21st century and what we need to do to defend the values and ideas of the Enlightenment.

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Free will seems obvious, simple, common; but it's subtle, profound, maddening. Free will probes the deep nature of human existence. But big questions have big problems. How to make progress? Can bringing together scientists, philosophers and theologians help? That's what the 'Big Questions in Free Will' project is doing.

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Professor John Searle (Willis S and Marion Slusser Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Language, University of California, Berkeley) gave a public lecture as part of the CRASSH Mellon CDI Visiting Professor programme.

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The British Royal Institute of Philosophy Annual Lecture for 2013 was delivered by David Chalmers, on the question of "progress" in philosophy. However, he does not defend "whether or not" there is progress in philosophy. Instead, he asks, "Why isn't there MORE progress in philosophy". This question is heavily loaded with presuppositions, not just that philosophy does indeed make "progress", but also: what is the right amount of progress? What IS progress at all? Why should we expect it in philosophy? And much more...

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On 31 July 2015, 800 people gathered in the surroundings of Westminster Hall, in the Palace of Westminster, to witness a historic mock trial of a representative group of Magna Carta barons.

The event was part of a range of activities taking place globally to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215.

The mock trial saw two senior barristers debating whether King John's actions in the run-up to 1215 justified the terms the barons forced him to agree in the form of Magna Carta, and the extent to which rebellion against the King can be acceptable in the eyes of the law.

The three judges - Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, Justice Stephen Breyer of the US Supreme Court, and Dame Sian Elias, Chief Justice of New Zealand - heard argument from James Eadie QC for the prosecution and Nathalie Lieven QC for the defence.

Historic witnesses assisting the Court included King John (played by Clive Anderson), the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton (played by Lord Lisvane), leader of the rebel barons, Baron Fitzwalter (played by Prof David Carpenter) and intermediary William Marshal (played by Lord Judge).

The special event was organised by the UK Supreme Court and the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee.

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1987. Bryan Magee talks with Frederick Copleston about the ideas of Arthur Schopenhauer. The first half of their discussion concerns Schopenhauer's essential relation to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, especially to the transcendental aesthetic, or subjective forms of time and space, which Schopenhauer judged to be Kant's greatest contribution to the history of philosophy.

The second part of the dialogue focuses on questioning the soundness of Schopenhauer's effort to deduce, from the apparently atemporal and aspatial intuition of bodily selfhood, the possibility of a universal will as the ground of existence.


Dan Robinson gives the second of eight lectures on Reid's Critique of David Hume at Oxford. Is it the case that every simple idea is a "copy" of a simple impression? Hume is but the latest to deny that we have direct access to the external world. This "ideal" theory, relegating ideas to a mental realm whose occupants are but "copies" of some indefinite thing, is the sure path to skepticism.

Under "David Hume", the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy begins with, "The most important philosopher ever to write in English". His most formidable contemporary critic was the fellow Scot, Thomas Reid, the major architect of so-called Scottish Common Sense Philosophy. The most significant features of Hume's work, as understood by Reid, are the representative theory of perception, the nature of causation and causal concepts, the nature of personal identity and the foundations of morality. Each of these topics is presented in a pair of lectures, the first summarizing Hume's position and the second Reid's critique of that position.

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A few weeks ago, I went to Vancouver and delivered two talks. This is the first. I felt that it would be useful to make a case, from a left-wing perspective, for the primacy of free speech, in the pursuit of avowedly left-wing goals. Free speech is an issue of such primary importance for the maintenance of our culture that it is foolish to assume that it is somehow naturally allied only with centrist or right-wing political agendas. In fact, I think a case can be made that such freedom is even more important for the genuine left (a political movement or position that can validly speak for the relatively powerless) than for partisans of any other position.

So I made that case in this address. Thanks to Angelo Isodorou (and Theryn Meyer) and their teams for setting this up.

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Scruton details the loveless culture of postmodernism, in which art has turned into a sort of ‘standardized degradation.’

His perspective, passed down from Plato, is that beauty is a divine revaluation from the higher realm. This also contains a discussion of the horror of modern architecture, and how it compares with more traditional forms. Those things that are beautiful attract people, and ugly things repel them, and attract vandals. In the same way, ugly people attract degradation to themselves, and the beautiful draw respect and care to themselves.

Modern art is a ‘cult of ugliness,’ and it has in part encouraged bad manners, alienation, and self-absorption. As buildings and objects have been reduced to their utility-function, people come to see one another as items to be used.

The speaker makes a persuasive case that what you read and listen to matters; that aesthetics has profound impacts on everything else in society. In Scruton’s view, beauty is a remedy for the chaos and suffering which is our fate to endure as mortals. Progressives prefer to pop a Paxil™ and to surround themselves in ugliness. As an aside, venerating modern art is a crucial test for all high status progressives. One of the reasons why advertising has supplanted ‘high’ art is because, despite its degraded and fantasy-exciting nature, it still tends to hew to basic aesthetic standards and employs competent creative craftsmen. When a successful business person wants to solidify his status within the progressive system of politics, aesthetics, and belief, he buys modern art for either himself or for his company, often at great expense. Sacrificing $86 million for a meaningless Rothko canvas is an un-fakeable way that you believe in the anti-sacred values of the progressive world view. It shows that you believe in raising ugliness up high, denigrating beauty.

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November 22, 2000 - Participating via a satellite connection from Boston, Professor Rosen discussed the life and works of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche for about 54 minutes. One of his books is The Mask of Enlightenment: Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, published by Cambridge University Press.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philologist, philosopher, cultural critic, poet and composer. He wrote several critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and aphorism.

Nietzsche's key ideas include perspectivism, the Will to Power, the "death of God", the Übermensch and eternal recurrence. One of the key tenets of his philosophy is the concept of "life-affirmation," which embraces the realities of the world in which we live over the idea of a world beyond. It further champions the creative powers of the individual to strive beyond social, cultural, and moral contexts. Nietzsche's attitude towards religion and morality was marked with atheism, psychologism and historism; he considered them to be human creations loaded with the error of confusing cause and effect. His radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth has been the focus of extensive commentary, and his influence remains substantial, particularly in the continental philosophical schools of existentialism, postmodernism, and post-structuralism. His ideas of individual overcoming and transcendence beyond structure and context have had a profound impact on late-twentieth and early-twenty-first century thinkers, who have used these concepts as points of departure in the development of their philosophies. Most recently, Nietzsche's reflections have been received in various philosophical approaches that move beyond humanism, e.g., transhumanism.

Nietzsche began his career as a classical philologist—a scholar of Greek and Roman textual criticism—before turning to philosophy. In 1869, at age twenty-four, he was appointed to the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel, the youngest individual to have held this position. He resigned in the summer of 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life.[9] In 1889, at age forty-four, he suffered a collapse and a complete loss of his mental faculties. The breakdown was later ascribed to atypical general paresis due to tertiary syphilis, but this diagnosis has come into question.[10] Re-examination of Nietzsche's medical evaluation papers show that he almost certainly died of brain cancer.[11] Nietzsche lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897, after which he fell under the care of his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche until his death in 1900.

As his caretaker, his sister assumed the roles of curator and editor of Nietzsche's manuscripts. Förster-Nietzsche was married to a prominent German nationalist and antisemite, Bernhard Förster, and reworked Nietzsche's unpublished writings to fit her own ideology, often in ways contrary to Nietzsche's stated opinions, which were strongly and explicitly opposed to antisemitism and nationalism (see Nietzsche's criticism of antisemitism and nationalism). Through Förster-Nietzsche's editions, Nietzsche's name became associated with German militarism and Nazism, although later twentieth-century scholars have counteracted this conception of his ideas.

A decade after World War II, there was a revival of Nietzsche's philosophical writings thanks to exhaustive translations and analyses by Walter Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale. Others, well known philosophers in their own right, wrote commentaries on Nietzsche's philosophy, including Martin Heidegger, who produced a four-volume study and Lev Shestov who wrote a book called Dostoyevski, Tolstoy and Nietzsche where he portrays Nietzsche and Dostoyevski as the "thinkers of tragedy".[235] Georg Simmel compares Nietzsche's importance to ethics to that of Copernicus for cosmology.[236] Sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies read Nietzsche avidly from his early life, and later frequently discussed many of his concepts in his own works. Nietzsche has influenced philosophers such as Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre,[237] Oswald Spengler,[238] George Grant,[239] Emil Cioran,[240] Albert Camus, Ayn Rand,[241] Jacques Derrida, Leo Strauss,[242] Max Scheler, Michel Foucault and Bernard Williams. Camus described Nietzsche as "the only artist to have derived the extreme consequences of an aesthetics of the absurd".[243] Paul Ricœur called Nietzsche one of the masters of the "school of suspicion", alongside Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud.[244] Carl Jung was also influenced by Nietzsche.[245] In Memories, Dreams, Reflections, a biography transcribed by his secretary, he cites Nietzsche as a large influence.


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