Saturday, February 20, 2016
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Friday, February 12, 2016
I’ve been meaning for about fifteen years now to write up something on the movie Vanilla Sky (a remake of Open Your Eyes). It’s a better movie than it seems -- which is fitting, since the flick is all about the unseen reality lurking beneath the sea of superficiality (moral and metaphysical) that is the life of the Tom Cruise character. Alas, this isn’t quite the article I’ve been meaning to write, since it’s not primarily about the movie, though I’ll have reason to say something about it. Rather, it’s about a famous philosophical thought experiment that might as well have inspired the movie even if (as far as I know) it didn’t -- Robert Nozick’s “experience machine” (from Anarchy, State, and Utopia).
Friday, February 5, 2016
Derek Parfit’s article “The Puzzle of Reality: Why Does the Universe Exist?” has been reprinted several times since it first appeared in the Times Literary Supplement in 1992, and for good reason. It’s an admirably clear and comprehensive survey of the various answers that have been given to that question, and of the problems facing some of them. (Unsurprisingly, I think Parfit’s treatment of theism, though not unfair, is nevertheless superficial. But to be fair to Parfit, the article is only meant to be a survey.)