skeptic viewing the world with a rational eye

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Skeptic

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 9781627791397
Genre : Science
File Size : 46. 59 MB
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Collected essays from bestselling author Michael Shermer's celebrated columns in Scientific American For fifteen years, bestselling author Michael Shermer has written a column in Scientific American magazine that synthesizes scientific concepts and theory for a general audience. His trademark combination of deep scientific understanding and entertaining writing style has thrilled his huge and devoted audience for years. Now, in Skeptic, seventy-five of these columns are available together for the first time; a welcome addition for his fans and a stimulating introduction for new readers.

We Robots

Author : Curtis White
ISBN : 9781612194561
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 44. 50 MB
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In the tradition of Jaron Lanier’s You Are Not a Gadget, a rousing, sharply argued—and, yes, inspiring!—reckoning with our blind faith in technology Can technology solve all our problems? Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, many of our most famous journalists, pundits, and economists seem to think so. According to them, “intelligent machines” and big data will free us from work, educate our children, transform our environment, and even make religion more user-friendly. This is the story they’re telling us: that we should stop worrying and love our robot future. But just because you tell a story over and over again doesn’t make it true. Curtis White, one of our most brilliant and perceptive social critics, knows all about the danger of a seductive story, and in We, Robots, he tangles with the so-called thinkers who are convinced that the future is rose-colored and robotically enhanced. With tremendous erudition and a punchy wit, White argues that we must be skeptical of anyone who tries to sell us on technological inevitability. And he gives us an alternative set of stories: taking inspiration from artists as disparate as Sufjan Stevens, Lars von Trier, and François Rabelais, White shows us that by looking to art, we can imagine a different kind of future. No robots required.

Heavens On Earth

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 9781627798563
Genre : Science
File Size : 79. 11 MB
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A scientific exploration into humanity’s obsession with the afterlife and quest for immortality from the bestselling author and skeptic Michael Shermer In his most ambitious work yet, Shermer sets out to discover what drives humans’ belief in life after death, focusing on recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality along with utopian attempts to create heaven on earth. For millennia, religions have concocted numerous manifestations of heaven and the afterlife, and though no one has ever returned from such a place to report what it is really like—or that it even exists—today science and technology are being used to try to make it happen in our lifetime. From radical life extension to cryonic suspension to mind uploading, Shermer considers how realistic these attempts are from a proper skeptical perspective. Heavens on Earth concludes with an uplifting paean to purpose and progress and how we can live well in the here-and-now, whether or not there is a hereafter.

Meditations Of A Buddhist Skeptic

Author : B. Alan Wallace
ISBN : 9780231530323
Genre : Religion
File Size : 21. 34 MB
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A radical approach to studying the mind. Renowned Buddhist philosopher B. Alan Wallace reasserts the power of shamatha and vipashyana, traditional Buddhist meditations, to clarify the mind's role in the natural world. Raising profound questions about human nature, free will, and experience versus dogma, Wallace challenges the claim that consciousness is nothing more than an emergent property of the brain with little relation to universal events. Rather, he maintains that the observer is essential to measuring quantum systems and that mental phenomena (however conceived) influence brain function and behavior. Wallace embarks on a two-part mission: to restore human nature and to transcend it. He begins by explaining the value of skepticism in Buddhism and science and the difficulty of merging their experiential methods of inquiry. Yet Wallace also proves that Buddhist views on human nature and the possibility of free will liberate us from the metaphysical constraints of scientific materialism. He then explores the radical empiricism inspired by William James and applies it to Indian Buddhist philosophy's four schools and the Great Perfection school of Tibetan Buddhism. Since Buddhism begins with the assertion that ignorance lies at the root of all suffering and that the path to freedom is reached through knowledge, Buddhist practice can be viewed as a progression from agnosticism (not knowing) to gnosticism (knowing), acquired through the maintenance of exceptional mental health, mindfulness, and introspection. Wallace discusses these topics in detail, identifying similarities and differences between scientific and Buddhist understanding, and he concludes with an explanation of shamatha and vipashyana and their potential for realizing the full nature, origins, and potential of consciousness.

Hegel And Skepticism

Author : Michael N. Forster
ISBN : 0674387074
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 43. 97 MB
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The rejection by Anglo-Saxon philosophers of much "continental philosophy" (from Hegel on down) is largely based on the perceived failure of continental thinkers to grapple with the tough questions of epistemology in general and skepticism in particular. Forster demonstrates that Hegel did not in fact ignore epistemology, but on the contrary he fought a tireless and subtle campaign to defeat the threat of skepticism. Forster's work should dispel once and for all the view that Hegel was naive or careless in epistemological matters. Forster begins by discussing Hegel's critical interpretation of the skeptical tradition, in particular his convincingly argued case for the superiority of ancient over modern skepticism. He goes on to show that the difficulties characteristic of ancient skepticism play a crucial and fascinating role in Hegel's philosophy of history. Hegel sees in the emergence of these difficulties an explanation of why the harmonious unified Greek culture collapsed and was replaced by the division and alienation characteristic of subsequent western culture. Finally, Forster examines the elaborate and ingenious system of defenses erected by Hegel to protect his philosophical thought against skeptical difficulties, as the core of a somewhat broader epistemological project. Along the way, Forster makes much that has hither to remained obscure in Hegel's texts intelligible for the first time. This book should cause a re-evaluation of Hegel, and German Idealism generally, and contribute to a re-evaluation of the skeptical tradition in philosophy.

Passion Prudence And Virtue In Shakespearean Drama

Author : Unhae Park Langis
ISBN : 9781441187451
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 32. 72 MB
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An analysis of passion, prudence and virtue in Shakespearean drama from the perspective of ethical criticism.

The Eye And The Mind

Author : C. Landesman
ISBN : 9789401733175
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 43. 67 MB
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This book is a discussion of some of the major philosophical problems centering around the topic of sense perception and the foundations of human knowledge. It begins with a characterization of our common sense understanding of the role of the senses in the acquisition of belief, and it argues that scientific accounts of the processes of perception undermine salient parts of this understanding. The naive point of view of direct realism cannot be sustained in the light of a scientifically instructed understanding of perception. This critique of direct realism points to the correctness of the representative theory of perception characteristic of such early modem philosophers as Descartes and Locke, and it also endorses the subjective tum that they defended. It argues that these positions do not require introducing sense data into the picture, and thus it avoids the intractable problems that the sense datum philosophy introduces. In addition, several versions of cognitive accounts of sense perception are criticized with the result that it is unnecessary to characterize sensory processes in intentional terms. The book then turns to a leading question introduced into modem philosophy by Descartes and Locke, the question of the accuracy of the information delivered by the senses to our faculty of belief. In particular, how accurate are our representations of the secondary qualities? The case of color is considered in detail.

Rational Resistance To Skepticism

Author : Wai-Hung Wong
ISBN : UCAL:C3479891
Genre :
File Size : 76. 23 MB
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Skeptics And True Believers

Author : Chet Raymo
ISBN : 9781448129898
Genre : Science
File Size : 50. 33 MB
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Acknowledging that the scientific and the spiritual communities are increasingly split, Raymo builds strong bridges between them. He ilustrates his arguement with an array of thought-provoking stories, such as the remarkable migratory flight of a small bird called the Red Knot; the long, glorious glide of the Comet Hyakutake across the night sky; a hilarious alien abduction that didn't happen. Together, they are compelling evidence that religion should embrace the reliable knowledge of the world that science provides, while at the same time science should respect and nourish humankind's need for spiritual sustenance. 'Miracles are explainable, ' Raymo paraphrases the writer Tim Robinson, 'it is the explanations that are miraculous'. For anyone drawn to reflect on life's meaning and purpose, Chet Raymo's uncomprimising skepticism and reverence for mystery will affirm and inspire.

The Skeptical Sublime

Author : James Noggle
ISBN : 0195349571
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 43. 32 MB
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This book argues that philosophical skepticism helps define the aesthetic experience of the sublime in late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British literature, especially the poetry of Alexander Pope. Skeptical doubt appears in the period as an astonishing force in discourse that cannot be controlled--"doubt's boundless Sea," in Rochester's words--and as such is consistently seen as affiliated with the sublime, itself emerging as an important way to conceive of excessive power in rhetoric, nature, psychology, religion, and politics. This view of skepticism as a force affecting discourse beyond its practitioners' control links Noggle's discussion to other theoretical accounts of sublimity, especially psychoanalytic and ideological ones, that emphasize the sublime's activation of unconscious personal and cultural anxieties and contradictions. But because The Skeptical Sublime demonstrates the sublime's roots in the epistemological obsessions of Pope and his age, it also grounds such theories in what is historically evident in the period's writing. The skeptical sublime is a concrete, primary instance of the transformation of modernity's main epistemological liability, its loss of certainty, into an aesthetic asset--retaining, however, much of the unsettling irony of its origins in radical doubt. By examining the cultural function of such persistent instability, this book seeks to clarify the aesthetic ideology of major writers like Pope, Swift, Dryden, and Rochester, among others, who have been seen, sometimes confusingly, as both reactionary and supportive of the liberal-Whig model of taste and civil society increasingly dominant in the period. While they participate in the construction of proto-aesthetic categories like the sublime to stabilize British culture after decades of civil war and revolution, their appreciation of the skepticism maintained by these means of stabilization helps them express ambivalence about the emerging social order and distinguishes their views from the more providentially assured appeals to the sublime of their ideological opponents.

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