People and philosophers tend to get bogged down in binary oppositions like objective vs subjective, nature vs culture and inductive vs deductive knowledge. Continental philosophers tend to complicate such binaries, trying to show how both terms are inadequate. Analytic philosophers tend to talk themselves into the ground trying to prove or disprove the existence of one of the terms.
But I think the unusually practical philosopher Daniel Dennett goes about these things the right way and his method is quite generally applicable. Continue reading Deduction, subjectivity & culture are all real enough
I pitched an article about Westworld to The Conversation and they REJECTED it. Here are some notes towards that unwritten article. There are at least three ideas in here. Spoilers.
A lot has been said about Westworld but the ideas in the show go well beyond facile considerations of the ethics of AI. They actually concern the basis of consciousness, beauty and life. Westworld is in fact the latest instance of the Nolan brothers’ explorations of reality as the only source of real wonder.
Westworld never veers into the supernatural, but investigates the edge of plausibility. In this sense it recognises that the most strange, unintuitive ideas actually come from reality as revealed by science. The Nolan brothers’ output provides what I think is a body of work representative of the aesthetic of modern science. In a world denuded of superstition and magical explanation, scientific investigations reveal a world that is more wonderful and strange than what folklore, religion and fantasy have supposed. Continue reading Westworld is us