I have recently come round to the opinion that the original 1967 Star Trek TV series is one of the best things ever produced in the 20th century. I have been going through the old original series one episode at a time, to refamiliarize myself with it and to recapture a portion of the experience of having watched it as a boy. When I was a boy, most of what was going on in the episode ran past me.
The Problem of Progress The question I’m addressing today, is on Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions. It was posed to me recently, in this form: “Is Kuhn right that we cannot speak of progress across scientific paradigms?” This paper will briefly summarize Kuhn’s own definition of progress both within and across paradigms, explore the implications of these definitions, and assess the conclusion Kuhn comes to at the end of Chapter XIII of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
Responding to John Rawls egalitarianism, Robert Nozick responds that “….in a socialist society… no end-state principle or distributional patterned principle of justice can be continuously realized without continuous interference with peoples' lives. Any favoured pattern would be transformed into one unflavored by the principle, by people choosing to act in various ways…” (Nozick 1974, 163) This essay will argue that Nozick’s objection is successful against Rawls, only to the extent that it is understood in the context of Rawls' understanding of his own theory.
I was directed to this article about “stand-up” meetings by a work colleague. I have a few thoughts about it that nicely dovetail my “day job” with this blog. The Superficial Question Based on my own experience, the utility of stand-up meetings, as such, really does depend on the team, its mindset, and its needs. I have been in places where they were invaluable for team-level info share. I’ve been in other places where they were a complete waste of time, and often used as a weapon (punishing people for showing up late, incentivising token participation, and so forth).
Eleven years ago, I didn’t understand the Haldane position, because I was ignorant. Eleven years ago, I thought I understood the Hitchens position, because he made me feel good when he spoke. Working my way through a masters in philosophy eleven years later, I can say that I (mostly) understand them both. And frankly, in the light of that wisdom (such as it is), Hitchens is embarrassing.
This post is a placeholder in which to post my first video commentary on Havel’s “The Power of the Powerless”. One errata: I said he was critiquing the Russian government. This isn’t entirely correct. He’s critiquing the Russian soviet, the Czechoslovakian government, and all other governments he labels as “post-totalitarian”. We’ll get into that, as the commentaries continue. UPDATE: You can find a playlist with all my commentary on this book, here.
I doubt there’s anyone in the anglo-sphere this week, who isn’t aware of the case of Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Probably, a good chunk of Europe was paying attention to that trial, as well. Why? Because of the fundamental question that the trial symbolized, at its core. The principle at the center of that case was the right of self-defense. As a matter of law, that meant demonstrating in the trial that the material facts of the event conformed to Wisconsin’s own statutory definition of an action that constitutes self-defense.
Since 2005, I’ve been working almost exclusively on Apple products. My first was an iBook G4. My last is the Macbook Pro 2015 on which I am typing this post. This coming February, I’ll be taking delivery of my first new computer since 2015, and it will not be a Mac. I chose the Dell XPS 8940 for its excellent balance of price and performance. But the real reason, is because I know it will work with several of the more modern distributions of Linux, and it is engineered in a way that I can still do with it as I wish.
I never used to think much of manifestos. Marx made them notorious, and subsequent generations of university students have rendered them more and more purile and self-serving, in my mind. But I’m beginning to change my mind on the topic. I think there is utility in commiting to a cause or a set of values that give shape an direction to one’s life. I just think that one ought to refrain from doing so, until one is fully prepared to explain oneself.
Recently, Jordan Peterson did an extended interview with Bob Murphy. Peterson begins the interview by pitching it as a “two hour lesson in Austrian Economics”, but mainly, it was an overview comparison of the principles of Austrian economics against Marxism. It was difficult to dispute much of it. I’m already a proponent of free market capitalism, and I’m also fairly partial to Friedrich Hayek’s work (at least, as it is represented in The Constitution of Liberty, and Law, Legislation, and Liberty).