- …and the modern virtues don’t work either 22/03/2019
- Nowadays, even the sins don’t work properly 18/03/2019
- Bonjour, France 16/03/2019
- The tree in Berkeley’s square (no nightingale) 13/03/2019
- Predictability, reproducibility and determinism in chaos 09/03/2019
Monthly Archives: March 2019
A precious little snippet in the news yesterday, which is a quote from a press release by my alma mater, Cambridge University. They have just revoked a visiting fellowship they offered to the controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson, apparently because the Students Union, as “representative” as it was in my own day no doubt, threw some of the meaningless vice-words discussed in my previous post at Peterson, or more likely at the University to imply guilt by association.
The abominable crime perpetrated in New Zealand by, we are told, a lone white-supremacist extremist, led to immediate calls in the mainstream press for a clampdown on rampant Islamophobia everywhere in society. When a thing (“Islamophobia”) is named as if it were a psychiatric disorder, but treated as a deadly sin, it is a little difficult to understand exactly what the neologism means. But the word appears at least, to include any negative opinion of any aspect of Islam, Arab nationalism, or Islamist terrorism shaken together, such negativity being interpreted as the inevitable precursor of crimes such as we saw last week.
A slight landmark for The Hump yesterday – for the first time we hit over 20,000 hits for the previous month. That’s a cool quarter of a million a year.
George Berkeley is most famous for his immaterialist view of reality, which is nicely, if incompletely, summed up in Monsignor Ronald Knox’s limerick:
On a Peaceful Science thread I promised Chris Falter that I’d respond to his argument that chaotic systems are instrinsically indeterminate. The context, of course, as the thread title shows (Every Birth is a Statistical Impossibilty) has to do with the possibility of determination of events by God, as well as by us.
In my last post I drew on George Berkeley in the context of probability theory, to show how western thought’s tendency to make abstractions from reality actually leads to a misleading view of the world. The generalisations of science are particularly prone to the reification of abstract notions.
I’ve been dipping into George Berkeley’s philosophy recently, mainly because his mind-only view of reality resonates with some other thinkers whose ideas on the matter of matter have impressed me over the years, such as Arthur Eddington, Werner Heisenberg and William Dembski.