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Kuhn as Empiricist

Thomas Kuhn’s career quite possibly occurred at precisely the wrong time for him.  By “for him,” I mean that he did his work at a time when ideology was thick, and when revolutionary thought pervaded America, and it resulted in his having to spend the rest of his career correcting everyone else on what he meant.  (The length restrictions placed on his monograph, and his ability to cause problems for himself by creating analogies that used words like “religious conversion,” only made things worse.)  Setting the mood and the stage of the period, and to do it accurate, is no easy task, so I leave it for another post.  Continue reading

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A Problem in Academia: The Problem of the “Outstanding Book Reviewer”

The modern university has a major problem, and that problem may be presented in the form of a description, a description the “platonic form” of professor: has memorized more than history has forgotten and can write a book review like it’s nobody’s frickin business.  That’s really it, that last part; the part about the outstanding book reviewer.  In my opinion, there is a fundamental problem with the university, in that it is structured to produce people that know a bunch of stuff and can write book reviews.  Of course, I have a particular person in mind, when I say “the outstanding book reviewer,” but I won’t say who it is, because I mean the phrase in the pejorative —and as far as I have been able to tell, this individual has never had an original thought in his or her life.  Continue reading

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October 20, 2012 · 2:24 am

3rd Annual Brian Bolton 2012 Essay Contest Submission

It is doubtful that I will ever again, in anyway, come close to touching upon the topic of religion, on this blog.  That a virtually endless tome would need to be written to properly convey my views —and still not surfeit— is certain.  (My approach to understanding religion is much more from the perspective of understanding the human condition throughout history.)  The essay I offer, here, is not oriented toward religion proper, so keep that in mind.  The subject of the essay is religious institutions.  As much as I will tend to avoid discussions on religion on this blog, institutions are open game.  Moreover, I treat religious institutions and their activities, just as I would if they were banks —and, in fact, all of the ones I have ever been familiar with have been banks, inefficient ones at that, whereof much money is given, little returned, and, like the bankers, its officials are well sartorially endowed.  At any rate, the attached is my entry to the 3rd Annual Brian Bolton Essay Competition essay competition.

In general, please do not leave comments that wander from the paper topic, because they will not make it to the discussion board.  Comments on the function of religious institutions or the relationship of individuals to it (sociological, psychological, and so) are welcome.

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Ontology in the Holographic Cave

I wrote “Ontology in the Holographic Cave” while I was studying at Harvard University.  My goal was to challenge the thinking of Dr. Justin Jungé and Dr. Rosa Cao (both formerly post docs under Daniel Dennett), both of whom are materialists, at least to some extent.  My intention was to sway their opinions toward Transcendental Idealism, however so slightly.  The challenge was unique because of all of the necessary prerequisites, before even entering into the rationale of the argument.  As it was, I had spent nine weeks odiously applying —tongue in cheek— Occasionalism arguments to Hume’s problem of necessary causal connection, through Reichenbach’s work on causality (as in The Direction of Time), just for the sake of illustrating the limits of science that’s embedded in material empiricism.  I think that I amused Dr. Jungé, anyway.  Continue reading

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