Sunday, January 7, 2018

Reelin’ in the links

At Catholic World Report, my co-author Joseph Bessette on the death penalty, recent popes, and deterrence.

Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder announces her forthcoming book Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray.  She also has a blog.

Rolling Stone interviews Donald Fagen about his late partner Walter Becker and the future of Steely Dan.

Conservative philosopher Robert Koons has a column at Newsmax.

At Project Syndicate, economist Robert Skidelsky calls attention to some inconvenient truths about migration.  John O’Sullivan on Europe and Muslim immigration, at the Claremont Review of Books.

Commentary on the thirtieth anniversary of Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities.

The Dictator Pope is reviewed by Robert Royal at The Catholic Thing, Dan Hitchens at Catholic Herald, and Philip Lawler at Catholic World Report.  Hitchens, Ed Condon, and Damian Thompson discuss the book in a Holy Smoke podcast.

This summer, The Berkeley Institute will be hosting a seminar for students on the theme of sexuality and gender.  The seminar will be led by Candace Vogler and Neville Hoad.

Vanity Fair uncovers the secrets of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and presents an oral history of how the Marvel movie juggernaut got started.  But the New Republic thinks bringing Marvel and Fox together will be a disaster.

Meanwhile, at Marvel’s publishing arm, progressive politics collides with market reality.

At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Peter Harrison on the dialogue between science and religion.

Sociologist Mark Regnerus on sex scandals and sex differences, at Public Discourse.

The Weekly Standard talks to philosopher Roger Scruton about conservative environmentalism, Brexit, and his farm.

Something to bring all Trump haters and Trump fans together.  Except for the ones who don’t like Talking Heads.

At Free Inquiry, Susan Haack asks whether philosophy can be saved.

Vulture ranks every episode of Black Mirror.   Electric Dreams doesn’t necessarily stick closely to Philip K. Dick’s original stories.  The Punisher is reviewed at Forbes.

Han Thomas Adriaenssen’s Representation and Scepticism from Aquinas to Descartes is reviewed by Dominik Perler at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

From armchair to reality?  Thinking about thought experiments, at Aeon

“But the pope said so!”  Philosopher Peter Kwasniewski on what not to say on Judgment Day

David DeGrazia and Lester Hunt debate gun control in a new book reviewed at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

At The Washington Post, Alan Lightman on Karl Sigmund’s new book on the Vienna Circle.

The Atlantic reviews David Bentley Hart’s new translation of the New Testament.  So does First Things.

City Journal on the man who ran the Strand.

Jerry Coyne does not like A. N. Wilson’s new book on Darwin, at The Washington Post


  1. This summer, The Berkeley Institute will be hosting a seminar for students on the theme of sexuality and gender.

    On a related note, I found this terrific lecture on the metaphysical status of biological sex from a Thomist perspective:

  2. Considering that we have finally mentioned theoretical physics again, and since this does have something to do with theoretical physics, what do you guys think of Luboš Motl's criticisms of Aristotelianism and teleology over at the Reference Frame? He has several posts attacking it, among them this:

    Is it any good, or is it yet another physicist who has no clue what the heck he's talking about?

    1. Joe D

      My take is someone who doesn't know what they're talking about. I had it at 'Catholic bigots'.

    2. Ugh. Most physicists are not really qualified to talk about metaphysics. I'd go with the second option.

      Weatern scientists of this century are way too infected by irrationalism (i.e. anti-metaphysics). It might take us another 200 years - hopefully a century from now most analytic philosophers will have rejected irrational scientism and returned to metaphysics, then in another 100 years the change can get out of philosophy departments and into the natural sciences.

      Until then, we are stuck with 19th and early 20th century irrationalism.

    3. Well first he starts with:
      "Scholasticism was reconciling many of the pernicious tendencies that the education and scholarship has ever suffered from. It was defending dogmas but never tried to question them or consider new alternatives; it was constantly hyping or worshiping the authorities and fake authorities; it was making proponents of existing philosophies "debate" but the debate has always been meaningless because no one was ever supposed to eliminate the wrong philosophies "

      Which is false. Scholastics did not just find "excuses for dogmas" or ignored "alternatives".

      Aquinas (but not only him) studied Jewish and Islamic works as well, for example.


      "And scholasticism loved to impress itself and the students with lots of unnecessarily complicated words and jargon whose usefulness has just never matched the efforts needed to learn all the pompous terminology."

      Typical ignorant argument, one could make about physicists or mathematicians (or any other specialized person) to avoid understanding the arguments.


      Or this:
      "If you look at every single feature of their methods and their union, you must agree that the system was designed so that nothing can ever get improved in the intellectual landscape. Their values were really opposite to the values of science. Science always allows one to challenge the dogmas, find and test alternatives, ignore the authorities, change the initial balance of influence according to the evidence, eliminate falsified hypotheses, and achieve a lot with a minimum vocabulary."

      Which is also false.


      For the rest he does not really understnad what the Teleological argument is... nor does Carroll really.


      "Take his "golden mean" in philosophy (not the mathematical ratio). The average between extremes is the best, Aristotle claimed. Well, it's surely not. It's only best for the promotion of mediocrity and stagnation; no wonder that Aristotle would be a hero for many mediocre people. Extremes may have some undesirable features but these vices are in no way "unavoidable" and there's no reason why the average elements according to the current distributions should be better than the extreme ones, and so on. "

      I think here he takes Aristotle out of context. Aristotle's Golden Mean is about virtue, not theories or ideas...

      The only thing he gets right is that Aristotle physics had some serious flaws... but everyone knows that.

    4. @Miguel,

      Ugh. Most physicists are not really qualified to talk about metaphysics. I'd go with the second option.

      Did you read his criticisms, or is this a preliminary judgement about the general competency of physicists that you prima facie applied to him as well?

    5. I kind of like Lubos. He hates liberalism (in the American sense of the word) and socialism, and even goes as far as to call himself a “Catholic atheist”.

      But I’m pretty sure the reason he retains the second word of said epithet is because he, without realising it, has already conceded far too much to those very ideologies he despises so much. (Something which indeed has become the prevalent worldview in his native Czech Republic.)

      That’s why he keeps spouting demonstrably false (albeit very common) misconceptions regarding classical and medieval philosophy, as well as subscribing to the long debunked Whiggish historical narratives according to which everyone was irrational, superstitious, obscurantist, and mentally retarded, taking everything on “faith” whilst insisting in an autistic resistance to facts and reason, during the so-called “Dark Ages” and beyond; and also to the ridiculous founding myths of modernity and popular collective imaginarium that presumably illustrate the previous point, such as the infamous Galileo affair.

    6. @Anon.

      I like Lubos too, when at least he writes about science and mathematics. I did not really follow much of his blogposts regarding politics or other topics.

      Yet in the highlighted post he's pretty disappointing... but of course nobody is perfect.

    7. I tried having a quick discussion with him. I am now blocked.

      People saying they like him. He seems rather immature and vitriolic to me.

  3. Also, about representational indirect realism vs. direct common-sense realism of the Scholastics, is it really true that the Scholastics struggled with a problem analogous to the Cartesian one with their idea of the veil of species?

    Because, from what I've read, it seems to me that Scholasticism generally did not struggle with such issues since it held that there is no veil seperating us from the external world in any problematic fashion and that we grasp material objects directly and without representation. This would be what is called direct realism as opposed to the modern more mediated view of perception.

    After all, Aristotelico-Scholasticism is called the common sense philosophy for a reason.

  4. This is definitely not worthy a mention in the company of the above writers, but someone in this combox might be interested anyway:

    I've written a lengthy, popular-level two-part defense of free will inspired by a Thomistic viewpoint (by Ed Feser among others) in Mentsch Magazine.
    Part 1
    Part 2

  5. Can someone explain what exactly is the PROBLEM with Marvel being more diverse? We don't live in the 1950's anymore and what's wrong with comics reflecting that?

    1. Not per se diversity. Progressive liberal politics forced down the throats of readers with terrible, simple stories. Authors with no comic experience hired with diversity as a criteria over ability. Not to mention the extreme diversity of characters just didn't mirror their audience.

    2. How would you handle diversity in Marvel comics?

    3. It's a mistake to think that one handles diversity; and historically trying has always had bad results (one thinks of some of the really cringe-inducing comics of the 1980s). One writes interesting stories with striking art, and develops characters that work with both with a regard for what your audience likes; your characters will diversify according to interests and audience taste naturally and organically, and anything else is nastily patronizing and will result in your 'diversity' being associated with bad stories and tasteless endeavors.

    4. If done properly, no problem at all. If diversity for the sake of diversity (at the expense of the quality of the comic) then I'd lose whatever interest I have in comics (I'm not a huge fan, actually). But you can take the same idea and branch it out to film etc.

    5. It's a mistake to think that one handles diversity; and historically trying has always had bad results (one thinks of some of the really cringe-inducing comics of the 1980s).

      What the heck are you talking about? The late 70s and early 80s showed how to do diversity right.

    6. Diversity! Hey giving Lady Sif from the Thor universe her own comic or even a supernatural weapon that makes her Thor's equal or superior in battle would be lovely. That would be some real diversity.

      But turning Jane Foster into FEMALE THOR is just tedious crap!

      I mean how stupid would Zeno Warrior Prince or Wonder Dude look by comparison?

      It's PC crap not entertainment. If I want a sermon I go too Church.

    7. Case in point.

    8. Here's the thing Ya'kov. You're point may work for Thor given what the concept of Thor is. But it doesn't work for other heroes like Ms. Marvel, Hulk, Spider-Man as nothing in their concepts say they have to have a specific race to be them. Their alias's are more like Green Lantern or Nova as they can have a variety of identities but still be the core characters at heart.

    9. But it doesn't work for other heroes like Ms. Marvel, Hulk, Spider-Man as nothing in their concepts say they have to have a specific race to be them.

      Sure they do. The Hulk is Bruce Bannon, a white man. Spider-Man is Peter Parker, a white man. If you say 'Oh well you can get rid of their race and their family and their experiences and still have the costume', sure. But you can do that with Thor.

      But if you're going to jump through those hoops, I'll simply add another: you can do whatever you want... and not make your character the Hulk, Spider-Man, or Ms Marvel.

      The main reason they repeatedly push for 'A black Spider-Man!', 'A female Thor!', 'Iron Man - but now it's a black girl!' and so on is straightforward: to hopefully claim the audience and name of an established character (rather than build up something new), and more importantly, to get rid of a character they do not like, or that is liked by people who they hate.

    10. I disagree. I'm not focusing on their alter ego's such as Peter Parker. I'm focusing on the superhero identities themselves. Why do you think heroes can have different identities? First of all Spider-Man has also been Ben Reilly, Miguel O'Hara(a latino) before they introduced Miles Morales, so this argument doesn't work. It's like saying the Flash is Barry Allen, a blonde, white man, when the Flash has also been Wally West, a red-head(Why weren't their claims of DC just pulling a stunt to get a specific demographic, or having a red-headed hero for the sake of having one). Even Black Panther has had a biracial successor and a female one(where was the outcry there or claims that Marvel is having a biracial /female hero for the sake of a biracial/female hero. I didn't see a single article like the one linked or like the one by the Federalist regarding this topic a while black when Black Panther's identity changed). Who is under the mask is not necessarily tied to the identity.

    11. First of all Spider-Man has also been Ben Reilly, Miguel O'Hara(a latino) before they introduced Miles Morales, so this argument doesn't work.

      So has Doc Ock, Venom in part, and more.

      Except none of them were Spider-Man. They were 'a clone who wasn't Spider-Man after all', 'A villain', 'Someone from an alternate universe who took on the name after Spidey apparently died', etc.

      But more to the point, consider this:

      Why weren't their claims of DC just pulling a stunt to get a specific demographic, or having a red-headed hero for the sake of having one

      This doesn't work when the creators will outright say, 'Yes we wanted to make these heroes more diverse, and so we decided to change their race. There's too many white heroes.' Which, of course, they do.

      Even on the Justice League Unlimited show, if you see the interviews - "Why did you choose the black Green Lantern? The guy with little personality who few know, and not any of the actual iconic Corps members?" - they say outright, 'Look, we can't have an all-white cast, okay?'

      So it's not like this is some conspiracy theory. Marvel, etc, cop to it and brag about it (or they did before the comics started to crash and burn.)

      It's not just the sake of doing something different. Want to test that theory? Take a lesbian, like Maggie Sawyer, and make her straight for a while. Let me know how that goes over, and if the same people who say 'It's just a creative change for fun' don't go ballistic.

  6. You didn't read the article, did you?

    1. This comment was for the Anon (AKG?) very keen on diversity in comics. You'd have to be quite the SJW ideologue to read that article and think Marvel had just tried to reasonably reflect modern diversity.

    2. The article is written from a right-wing perspective so I'm skeptical it accurately reflects what Marvel is trying to do. That aside how would you handle diversity in comics as opposed to Marvel?

    3. AKG, the article is a fairly tame examination of what is actually going on at Marvel. It might not be written from a hardcore SJW perspective, but it is hardly written from a reactionary one either. I wouldn't have even guessed it was from a libertarian leaning review until I looked up the publication. It could have as easily come from a left-leaning author with some common sense (as rare as that is today). If you think the overall picture it draws, which is just a pretty general description of changing characters, storylines, and writers, and the consequences, is inaccurate, then by all means show how. We're all ears. Otherwise, allow us to be skeptical of your skepiticism.

      What do you mean by diversity? As the article points out, there has been some amount of ethnic and gender diversity in comic books for decades. All I'd advice is a little more of this, in a gradual fashion, as is thought to best fit the audience and contemporary society. What I wouldn't do is make diversity the raison d'etre of the genre, and therefore radically overhaul existing characters and storylines for the sake of a relentless push for diversity and identity politics.

      The diversity catalogued in this article, and elsewhere, seems to be extreme, and not representative of the readership or contemporary America. Homosexuals, transexuals, and so on make up 1-2% of the population for example. And why diversity should require radical political and social messages, it is hard to see. A puerile slogan about this not being the 1950s anymore is hardly a good answer to that query.

    4. Marvel could be handling it's diversity better(female Thor is a dumb idea) but to blame the recent sales on diversity completely is not at all accurate:

      What do you mean by "gradual fashion"? Marvel has been around for almost 80 years and most of their minority came much later or are fairly recent. We've had plenty of time to be gradual. US Society is becoming more diverse fairly quickly and on a large scale. So a "little" won't be reflecting modern America.

      How is the diversity "extreme"? Most of these characters still exist alongside their predecessors who are still bigger names and well-known as they are the ones showing up in the movies and still play key roles in the comics? Having more diverse cast in the main role is not "extreme". Tell me. What would be "tame diversity".

      In this age of rising racism, and xenophobia, it seems hard not see why diversity needs to include certain messages.

    5. Who blamed the recent problems on diversity only? I also noticed you took my word of tame, used to describe the article Feser linked to, and used in a different context with scare quotes. This kind of behavior doesn't scream intellectually honest.

      It would also be great if you could explain the salient points in what you link to, not just copy and paste a few URLs.

    6. I didn't know what you meant by AKG, but after reading the train crash at the classical theism forum, I know now!

    7. "What would be "tame diversity"."

      Diversity that actually adds something to a story, and is not thrown in there, at the detriment of the story, for the sake of it.

      I don't think changing sexes and changing race or ethnicity, or sexual orientation, is really genuine diversity though anyway.

      "In this age of rising racism, and xenophobia, it seems hard not see why diversity needs to include certain messages."

      Rise of racism? If anything is racist, thinking a character is of value because their skin is a certain colour would qualify, wouldn't it?

    8. Annoymous 09:34 - 8th

      My own two cents is that the SJW agenda is about telling certain groups that they are inherently wicked, responsible for crimes (real or imagined) committed by their ancestors and because of said crimes ineligible to celebrate their own history and culture. It then tells the 'victim group' that they are entitled to unearned privileges (economic, social and political) because of their status. The result is a ready audience (especially amongst lower income members of the 'oppressor' group' for the likes of Richard Spencer to preach their hate to.

      When it comes to fiction, generally speaking I don't want to be preached to (why I don't watch Sci-Fi with my wife), I want to be entertained. I really couldn't care less about the race or ethnicity of the characters as long as the story is reasonably good and the characters 3D. A good example would be my favourite SCI-FI series, Deep Space Nine, out of a main cast of 9 3 were BME including the captain. I doubt that any fan of the series had a problem with a black male in position of ultimate authority, or a strong female 2nd officer, we don't care because we liked the characters, identified with them and the writers (presumably mostly Californian liberals) didn't shove diversity (for diversity's sake) down our throats.

    9. Ah Billy, trying to pull the whole "the left are the real racist card". Great.

    10. I was going to say this guy seems to write a little too well for AKG. But he seems a slogan monger, just like AKG. I suppose that could just be something common to SJWs.

    11. 'Ah Billy, trying to pull the whole "the left are the real racist card". Great.'

      There are racists from all political stripes. Don't deflect. Is determining the value of a character based purely on their skin color or race a racist thing to do?

    12. Here's the thing. Is Marvel or the left actually doing that?

    13. "Ah Billy, trying to pull the whole "the left are the real racist card". Great."

      Where does Billy actually say that? Could you elaborate?

      "I was going to say this guy seems to write a little too well for AKG. But he seems a slogan monger, just like AKG. I suppose that could just be something common to SJWs."

      I suspect its him. I know most of the time he writes kind of sloppy. However, he used the capital letter emphasis (Ex:PROBLEM), which is something he does often. Also, he is currently going to a university, so he learned to write properly. Maybe he is using that to "disguise" himself.

    14. If I say yes to Billy's question, he's then going to say that Marvel/The left's attempts at diversity is valuing people solely on race and thus they are racist. Classic conservative tactic.

      In general it's pretty jarring to see conservatives try to define racism considering most refuse to call say Charles Murray, Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, or Roy Moore racist.

    15. If I say yes to Billy's question, he's then going to say that Marvel/The left's attempts at diversity is valuing people solely on race and thus they are racist.

      You seem to know Billy pretty well. When did you meet in order to get to know him so well that you can condemn him for saying something that he hasn't said but only would?

    16. Definitely AKG. He loves to accuse individual conservatives of all the crimes he can pin on some caricature of conservatives. Also he hates Charles Murray. The real question is, did he ask his Reddit friends for help this time?

    17. 1. It's not a caricature. Conservatives actually argue like this. I await Billy's response.

      2. Charles Murray deserves all the hate he gets. It's incredibly shocking to find someone who does like him giving what he advocates. It's like not hating Hitler.

    18. How creepy?

      Will neither confirm nor deny he is AKG, but apparently posted the same way as Anonymous.

      What a pain. Why not man up and admit who you are?

    19. @ Probable AKG/Anon who hates Charles Murray
      Think twice:

    20. What's your point by linking that article? Touching story, but a little jarring. Doesn't mean I'm gonna start hanging out with neo-nazis, or liking Charles Murray.

    21. It doesn't change the fact that the KKK, and Charles Murray are still scumbags deserving of scorn. There ideas are still morally disgusting. Here's the thing.

      1. Everyone else and I see the story as teaching that being nice to those with abhorrent ideas can get them to abandon said abhorrent ideas.

      2. I think that conservatives see it as an excuse to hang around with people with abhorrent ideas and embrace said ideas. Conservative see the story as something that will shield them from accusations of racism.

    22. Don't feed the troll. This is a philosophy blog, not a SJW sub-reddit!

    23. Do you conservatives just throw SJW at anyone who brings up racism/racist people/racist behaviour?

    24. No, you missed my point and this has nothing to do with conservatives (Besides, CNN is not a conservative website, and I don't know Daryl Davis' political stances). Well yeah, don't you think I know that the KKK and Charles Murray hold horrible ideas? Also, why can't we do the approach that Daryl Davis does? Sure, he hangs out with people who hold horrendous views, but eventually some of those people change their minds (Of course, I'm not saying right away that takes a lot effort. Davis has been doing that for years way before you were born). Also, let me ask you this, does your eye for an eye ethic work? As far as I know, you have so much resentment, hate, and anger that holding all that stuff will only make your life very unhappy and full of no peace. Its only going to make your life difficult. Also, have you turned white supremacists to good people? At least Davis has. By the way, I'm the Mysterious Brony.

    25. Oh so that's what you meant. Well what he is doing is very brave and commendable, but I do not think it's very realistic as an option on a large scale. Has he converted members on a large scale? Have more KKK members been converted due to dialogue recently as opposed to being more emboldened as they claim they are today?

      Well I use the eye for an eye motto depending on who's the target, mainly for odious people like racist. I admit, I hold grudges and I plan to seek methods to deal with it. But I believe there is a time to be passive and a time to be aggressive. No I have not turned white supremacist into good people. But can I ask have you?

    26. Please stop feeding the troll.

    27. @Anon
      Now we are getting somewhere. Come on let's go talk about other matters somewhere else. You know where to find me.

  7. A quick point about direct verses indirect realism:

    The most prominent theories of indirect realism commit one to sense data, beings which hard to square with physicalism (there is no literal little green elephant the brain is looking at within the confines of the skull). This one of the reasons why unlike in the 19th century modern philosophers are a lot more friendly to anti-representationalism and direct realism.

  8. If I might take this opportunity to share a link of my own:

    The first in a series of entries critiquing some of the arguments given in Five Proofs is up online at the Ontological Investigations blog. It discusses Feser’s treatment of the PSR Cosmological Argument, which I hold to be the most fundamental of theistic proofs, as well as the limitations and prerequisites of that argument.

    The blog will feature semi-regular contributions on Philosophy of Religion by yours truly. Comments and contact are welcome. Books will be reviewed as and when I am available.

    1. I enjoyed that. Have you been to the classical theism forum? There was a thread on the question of PSR and free will. Would be great to get your take.

      Also, have you read Pruss' essay on the compatibility between No Neccessary Choice (NNC), No Inferior Choice (NIC) and Divine Creative Freedom (DCF) principles?

    2. Thanks,

      I co-administrate the Classical Theism forum (along with Jeremy). I'm DanielCC there.

      Which essay are you did you have in mind - the Blackwell Companion one? I've read most of what Pruss and Gale wrote on the PSR argument I believe.

    3. Oh cool. Do you know which thread i'm talking about?

      The Pruss article is titled Divine Creative Freedom and a link is at his website (not blog)

    4. Also I think i'll be in to read the whole series. But I'm very lazy. When a new post is up paste a link here or at the classical theism forum and I'll see it.

  9. I haven’t read Wilson’s book on Darwin so I can’t say if Coyne’s take is honest or not. But based on the way he treats his creationist opponents in Why Evolution Is True, I have little confidence in him presenting the matter accurately.

    He writes that, if the Earth were only thousands of years old, Africa and South America would be only inches apart, without even mentioning catastrophic plate tectonic models developed by creationists. He doesn’t have to agree with them, but he could at least address them. Or perhaps he hasn’t even heard of them.

    He attacks blatant strawmen, like writing that creationists believe species live in exactly the same place they were created. Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of the positions of the leading creationist would see the absurdity of this.

    He writes that creationists don’t believe in speciation, obviously not knowing nothing about the immense amount of creationist baraminology (again, whether he would agree with it is a different issue).

    He presents antibiotic resistance as evidence of evolution, completely failing to refute the arguments given for why no new information is actually gained in the process.

    His treatment of “missing links” is similarly absurd. For example, he could at least mention that, if you look at a paleontology book a few decades old and compare it to the current state of affairs, all of the candidates have been discarded. Evolutionary theory sure seems to evolve a lot. And he could at least mention that the handful of current candidats are contested by many evolutionists themselves.

    These are just a few problems.

    Ever since I read that book. I trust nothing Coyne says about anything.

  10. Also, one more question about theoretical physics and A-T:

    Does A-T require that space and time be continous, rather than discrete? After reading Oderberg, I get the impression that A-T requires at minimum that time be continous rather than discrete.

    If that is true, this would put A-T at odds with certain approaches in theoretical physics, such as loop quantum gravity, and it would ironically end up with string theory being a more compatible theory with A-T metaphysics.

    But if, say, discrete theories of spacetime such as loop quantum gravity were true, how would this impact A-T? Would A-T be able to wiggle out of such a problem, or would it be forced to accept Fraassen's constructive empiricism and argue for a different interpretation of the empirical evidence that would per hypothesi have lead to the confirmation of LQG?

    1. Does A-T require that space and time be continous, rather than discrete?

      JoeD, I don't know that A-T "REQUIRES" that space and time be continuous, so much as that under A-T there isn't any sense to space or time being discrete. Discrete time, in particular, seems to be a problem, as it implies a thing going out of existence and then back in repeatedly, but this is (in part) what required matter and form in the A-T framework: something that persists in between the THIS before a change and THAT that exists after a change.

    2. @Tony,

      So discrete time is what poses a problem, while discrete space does not pose a problem as long as time is continous?

      And I take it that this means that an argument could be made that discrete time theories pose a problem for personal identity of humans because they imply constant becoming, which we know is false because we know we are the same being as we were a moment ago?

    3. I don't know if discrete space is just as problematic or not. I have trouble understanding what it might even mean. Would it mean that the "distance" between two locations isn't a length (continuous quantity) but a collection of points? (I don't mean a physical thing that inhabits the "space" between the two locations, but the actual length itself.) Would it mean that a give length cannot be (potentially) divided at "any location" between two points, because only SOME locations actually are a "place"?

      I just don't know what it would mean to ascribe to space those kinds of attributes that go with discrete quantity.

    4. @JoeD,

      So discrete time is what poses a problem, while discrete space does not pose a problem as long as time is continous?

      I think most of the time, scientists are struggling to find a way of predicting how things work. If modeling things as continous makes thing simpler, then they move forward with that. If they find chopping things up into discrete sections makes things simpler they go with that.

      In both cases, they are merely tools to predict how things behave, not why they behave the way they behave.

  11. Reelin’ in the links

    No question which link is the favorite is there?

  12. Public Discourse has a new article about the (pro) death penalty:

  13. Damn, Fodor died? I missed that. He was a pleasant guy. I like the unpredictable ones.