Missives from a fly bottle
barang dot sg
Last revised 31 August 2017
Phinteresting – A collection of philosophy and related stories from around the web. Links are to external sites.

121. The Bit Bomb (2017)
The vague idea of ‘information’ haunted the ancients as much as it did Claude Shannon and his Bell Labs colleagues who were trying to engirdle the world with wires and telecoms cables.
aeon.co






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120. If I Teleport From Mars, Does the Original Me Get Destroyed? (2017)
Charlie Huenemann of Utah State University ponders the paradoxes of teletransportation.
aeon.co






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119. What is it Like to be a Philosopher? – Peter Singer (2017)
My parents had bought the full set of the Encyclopedia Britannica, and at one stage I set out to read it from A–Z, all 23 volumes. I didn’t finish it, though.
whatisitliketobeaphilosopher.com






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118. On Consciousness (2016-17)
Philosopher, psychologist, and robotics engineer Riccardo Manzotti explains his unusual take on consciousness in a series of conversations with Tim Parks.
nybooks.com






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117. Study Philosophy to Improve Thinking—A Case of False Advertising? (2017)
Philosophy is awash in optimism about the practical benefits of studying philosophy. What reason do we have to believe this?
quillette.com






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116. What is it Like to be a Philosopher? – Graham Priest (2017)
I was offered the Boyce Gibson Chair and a Chair at St Andrews. I tried to apply formal decision theory, and found it to be completely useless.
whatisitliketobeaphilosopher.com






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115. The Philosopher Who Helped Create the Information Age (2016)
The 18th-century German philosopher and polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz isn’t a household name—but he should be.
slate.com






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114. Is Philosophy Simply Harder Than Science? (2017)
Maybe philosophy delivers just as much progress as can be expected, given the difficulty of its task. David Papineau on the lack of progress in philosophy.
the-tls.co.uk






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113. Daryl Bem Proved ESP is Real. Which Means Science is Broken. (2017)
If our standard scientific methods allow one to prove the impossible, then these methods are surely up for revision.
redux.slate.com






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112. Nigel Warburton, Virtual Philosopher (2013)
The success of Philosophy Bites, the podcast series Warburton presents with David Edmonds, is genuinely astonishing.
www.philosophersmag.com






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111. A Defense of the Reality of Time (2017)
Tim Maudlin thinks our direct impressions of the world are a better guide to reality than we have been led to believe.
www.quantamagazine.org






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110. What is it Like to be a Philosopher? – Timothy Williamson (2017)
As a first-year undergraduate, I started eyeing the job I now have [Wykeham Professor of Logic] at lectures by A.J. Ayer, its then holder.
whatisitliketobeaphilosopher.com






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109. The Man Who Would Teach Machines to Think (2013)
Douglas Hofstadter thinks we’ve lost sight of what artificial intelligence really means. His stubborn quest to replicate the human mind.
www.theatlantic.com






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108. Heretics! – A Graphic Novel About 17th-Century Philosophy (2017)
Steven and Ben Nadler, a father-son team, tell the story of the Western thinkers that fell afoul of the church at the dawn of modernity.
www.theatlantic.com






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107. The Best Philosophy Books of 2016
Philosopher and author Nigel Warburton picks his favourite philosophy books of 2016.
fivebooks.com






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106. Obituary – Hubert Dreyfus (1929-2017)
“Reports of my demise are not exaggerated,” went his Twitter feed, spurring widespread sadness and reflection upon his legacy.
dailynous.com






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105. Daniel Dennett’s Science of the Soul (2017)
In the course of forty years, and more than a dozen books, Daniel Dennett has endeavored to explain how a soulless world could have given rise to a soulful one.
www.newyorker.com






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104. How Aristotle Created the Computer (2017)
Boole’s goal was to do for Aristotelian logic what Descartes had done for Euclidean geometry.
theatlantic.com






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103. Philosophy is a Bunch of Empty Ideas: Interview with Peter Unger (2014)
The philosophy-bashing camp can count a proud defector from the other side.
3quarksdaily.com






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102. In a Perpetual Present (2016)
For decades, scientists suspected that someone like Susie McKinnon might exist. And sure enough, they found her (or rather, she found them) in 2006.
wired.com






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101. To Understand Your Past, Look to Your Future (2016)
Ken Wharton and Huw Price consider an alternative to the Newtonian worldview that promises to help explain quantum weirdness.
nautil.us






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100. The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality (2016)
Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman uses evolutionary game theory to show that our perceptions of an independent reality must be illusions.
www.quantamagazine.org






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99. A New Theory Explains How Consciousness Evolved (2016)
Neuroscientist Michael Graziano on the Attention Schema Theory, which explains how we came to be aware of ourselves.
www.theatlantic.com






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98. Obituary – Raymond Smullyan (1919-2017)
“Why should I be worried about dying? It’s not going to happen in my lifetime!” True to his prediction, puzzle-creating logician dies at the end of his life, aged 97.
nytimes.com






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97. Time is Contagious (2017)
What can we learn from Degas about the nature of time? An excerpt from Alan Burdick’s Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation.
nautil.us






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96. What is Philosophy’s Point (2017)
Philosophy can still serve many purposes even if it can’t compete with science. A five-part musing by science journalist John Horgan.
scientificamerican.com






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95. This Philosopher Helped Ensure There Was No Nobel for Relativity (2016)
Henri Bergson’s debate with Albert Einstein over the nature of time reached and swayed the 1921 Nobel committee.
nautil.us






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94. Your Brain Can't Handle the Moon (2014)
Why does the moon look bigger when it’s near the horizon? - The challenge of solving a problem the likes of Galileo and Newton couldn’t handle.
nautil.us






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93. There's No Such Thing as Free Will (2016)
The sciences have grown steadily bolder in their claim that all human behavior can be explained through the clockwork laws of cause and effect.
theatlantic.com






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92. Obituary – Derek Parfit (1942-2017)
Parfit wrote only two books but their originality, brilliance and provocativeness inspired philosophers all over the world.
theguardian.com






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91. What can Avicenna Teach Us About the Mind-Body Problem? (2016)
Philosophers of the Islamic world enjoyed thought experiments. The most famous one involves Avicenna’s ‘flying man.’
aeon.co






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90. An Interview with Bas van Fraassen (2016)
Meet the philosopher of science who revived anti-realism and rescued empiricism from the dead end of logical positivism.
nautil.us






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89. The Philosopher of Feelings (2016)
Martha Nussbaum’s far-reaching ideas illuminate the often ignored elements of human life—aging, inequality, and emotion.
newyorker.com






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88. The Gadfly and the Spider (2016)
Justin E. H. Smith wants to convince academic philosophers that it’s a problem to define philosophy narrowly as a Western endeavor.
thenation.com






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87. A Debate Over the Physics of Time (2016)
Many physicists have made peace with the idea of a block universe, yet a number of physicists hope to replace this “block universe” with a physical theory of time.
quantamagazine.org






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86. How Rousseau Predicted Trump (2016)
Rousseau’s lowly background made him the Enlightenment’s great outsider. His attack on cosmopolitan élites now seems prophetic.
newyorker.com






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85. Voltaire’s Luck (2016)
“Money bought independence and safety for Voltaire.” How the 18th-century French philosopher outsmarted the lottery and amassed a fortune.
laphamsquarterly.org






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84. Obituary – Elizabeth Anscombe (1919-2001)
“Few thinkers can claim solid footing in two traditions; she was deeply grounded in three.” John M. Dolan remembers a remarkable philosopher.
firstthings.com






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83. Consciousness Isn’t a Mystery. It’s Matter. (2016)
“The hard problem is not what consciousness is, it’s what matter is — what the physical is.” Galen Strawson clears up a Very Large Mistake.
nytimes.com






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82. The Greatest Philosopher You’ve Never Heard Of (2016)
Eihei Dogen was a 13th century Japanese Zen teacher who is considered by many to be one of the world’s most profoundly subtle and creative thinkers.
npr.org






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121. The Bit Bomb (2017)

The vague idea of ‘information’ haunted the ancients as much as it did Claude Shannon and his Bell Labs colleagues who were trying to engirdle the world with wires and telecoms cables.
aeon.co