Heap of Links

1. Dave Chalmers on explaining consciousness: the TED talk version.
2. Traveling abroad to avoid long wait lists for a treatment, or to find less costly doctors, or to try out an experimental therapy? Jeremy Snyder (Simon Fraser), featured in an article in the National Post on the ethics of medical tourism, suggests you check out this site for some information and cautionary tales.
3. Novelist/philosopher Clancy Martin (Missouri-Kansas City) on his journey from analytic philosophy to Walter Benjamin.
4. A profile of Michael Bratman (Stanford) and his work on shared agency.
5. “This Debate Has No Title” — a panel discussion of paradoxes of self-reference featuring Hilary Lawson, Patricia Waugh, and Peter Cameron. (via Frankie May)
6. Spinoza and others invoked by a rabbi to argue for the value of dissent in Jewish communities.
7. A blog about using pop songs to explain philosophy. (via Leiter)
8. A post about string theory and post-empiricism, in the wake of a conference that featured “two remarkable talks by prominent physicists, both of whom invoked philosophy in a manner unprecedented for this kind of scientific gathering.” (via David Killoren)
9. And while we are on physics, theoretical physicist Paul Steinhardt (Princeton) asks whether modern cosmology supports Nietzsche’s theory of eternal recurrence. I’m sure it feels that way to Nietzsche scholars, who have to keep saying “that’s not what he meant.” (To be fair, Nietzsche is only mentioned in passing.)
10. Abuse of Philosophy Series: Descartes on brand/business dualism.

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10 years ago

“I’m sure it feels that way to Nietzsche scholars, who have to keep saying ‘that’s not what he meant’.”

Well, yes and no. It’s not what he meant in his published ethical thought experiment/test version. But it’s most certainly what he meant in his unpublished notes, where he explicitly tries to make it into a doctrine, complete with proofs. He clearly didn’t feel confident about those attempts, since the sketches are varied and incomplete and never make it into published forms, but also he clearly wished he could make the case.

Actually, I think the idea of a multiverse has more in common in spirit with Nietzsche’s ER. The reason he wants us to try imagining such a world–and at times wants to believe the world really is that way–is that he wants us to be forced to either accept or reject a world that is absolutely without goal or purpose, where every value that is grounded in the belief in purposes, whether moral, aesthetic, or political, is doomed to failure, and where everything we find objectionable in existence is ineradicable and eternal. The idea of the multiverse takes this even further than the eternal return: not only do the contingent objectionable features or imperfections of this world remain eternally, every possible objectionable feature of any possible universe exists and does so eternally. Now that’s a test of nihilism.