For my next trick I will try to understand Nicholas Taleb

The writer/trader/professor Nicholas Taleb has been puzzling a number of commentators recently and Grid-group Cultural theory also provides a clear context for his approach: he is a Fatalist activist who is looking for a political constituency that understands Fatalism. The British Conservative Party may well not be it. From the Cultural Theory perspective, Taleb has … Continue reading For my next trick I will try to understand Nicholas Taleb

Two kinds of tales, one true and one false

More on truth and lies: 'There are two kinds of tales, one true and one false,' Socrates claims in Plato's Republic (trans A.D. Lindsay, 1935, London: Dent, p. 376). ‘The depth of consciousness created by the exercise of the arts of deception is the first arena for the practice of that dissimulation proper to the … Continue reading Two kinds of tales, one true and one false

How do we know what we think we know? (part 2)

How do we know the tide won't wash the beach away? A couple of years ago a local newspaper reported a certain beach-front resident claiming  "It's ridiculous to think this beach would ever get washed away by a king tide. I've lived here four months and it's just never happened." This is an example of … Continue reading How do we know what we think we know? (part 2)

John Dewey on practical intelligence

For philosopher John Dewey, intelligence - knowledge in the absence of certainty - was a matter of judgement. "A man[sic] is intelligent not in virtue of having reason which grasps first indemonstrable truths about fixed principles, in order to reason deductively from them to the particulars which they govern, but in virtue of his capacity … Continue reading John Dewey on practical intelligence

How do we know what we think we know? What the Density Classification Problem tells us

How can we know what the world is really like? We often hear fairly frank opinions about how things 'really' are. We probably make these kinds of claims ourselves from time to time: 'the fact is...', 'that's just the way it is...';  'you know what it's like...' But how do we know what we think … Continue reading How do we know what we think we know? What the Density Classification Problem tells us

Is Belief in Free Will a Cultural Universal?

This is the title of a recent paper by a group promoting 'experimental philosophy'. This involves the "use of the methods of experimental psychology to probe the way people think about philosophical issues and then examine how the results of such studies bear on traditional philosophical debates" (Nadelhoffer and Nahmias, 2007: 123) The paper examines … Continue reading Is Belief in Free Will a Cultural Universal?

How to Combine Eastern and Western Philosophy

It’s Christmas time and all around people are revisiting the cultic practices of an ancient oriental sect, as though they were at the very heart of Western culture. The longer I live the more annoying I find the maintenance of the fairly rigorous distinction between two traditions of philosophy – Eastern and Western. This can … Continue reading How to Combine Eastern and Western Philosophy

God after atheism – what the word ‘God’ fails to mean

'The word "God" does not function as a philosophical concept.... Even if one is tempted to say...that "God" is the religious name for being, still the word "God" says more: it presupposes the total context constituted by the whole space of gravitation of stories, prophecies, laws, hymns, and so forth. To understand the word "God" … Continue reading God after atheism – what the word ‘God’ fails to mean