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Profile: Eric Steinhart (William Paterson University of New Jersey)
  1. Eric Steinhart, Peirce's Omega Point Theory.
    An Omega Point Theory says that reality is making progress from some initial state to some final state. It moves from some Alpha Point (the initial state) to some Omega Point (the final state). The progress is an increase in some quality. For example, reality is making progress from the chaotic to the orderly; or it is making progress from the simple to the complex; or from the mindless to the mental; or from evil to good. Here we focus on (...)
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  2. Eric Steinhart, The Simplicity of Santa.
    Santa is an unextended thinking substance. Since Santa is unextended, he has no parts; since he has no parts, he is simple. Santa is a monad. According to the traditional accounts, Santa has agency. Yet Santa's agency need not be mechanical. Santa is not a machine. Santa's agency is not located in the physical motions of matter; on the contrary, Santa's agency is located in the logical structure of the world. It is revealed by a conceptual or logical analysis of (...)
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  3. Eric Steinhart (2014). Your Digital Afterlives: Computational Theories of Life After Death. Palgrave.
    Our digital technologies have inspired new ways of thinking about old religious topics. Digitalists include computer scientists, transhumanists, singularitarians, and futurists. Digitalists have worked out novel and entirely naturalistic ways of thinking about bodies, minds, souls, universes, gods, and life after death. Your Digital Afterlives starts with three digitalist theories of life after death. It examines personality capture, body uploading, and promotion to higher levels of simulation. It then examines the idea that reality itself is ultimately a system of self-surpassing (...)
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  4. Eric Steinhart (2013). On the Plurality of Gods. Religious Studies 49 (3):289-312.
    Ordinal polytheism is motivated by the cosmological and design arguments. It is also motivated by Leibnizian–Lewisian modal realism. Just as there are many universes, so there are many gods. Gods are necessary concrete grounds of universes. The god-universe relation is one-to-one. Ordinal polytheism argues for a hierarchy of ranks of ever more perfect gods, one rank for every ordinal number. Since there are no maximally perfect gods, ordinal polytheism avoids many of the familiar problems of monotheism. It links theology with (...)
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  5. Eric Steinhart (2013). Royce's Model of the Absolute. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 48 (3):356-384.
    At the end of the 19th century, Josiah Royce participated in what has come to be called the great debate (Royce, 1897; Armour, 2005).1 The great debate concerned issues in metaphysical theology, and, since metaphysics was primarily idealistic, it dealt considerably with the relations between the divine Self and lesser selves. After the great debate, Royce developed his idealism in his Gifford Lectures (1898-1900). These were published as The World and the Individual. At the end of the first volume, Royce (...)
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  6. Risto Hilpinen, Vincent Colapietro, T. L. Short, Robert Sinclair, Eric Steinhart & Rosa Maria Mayorga (2012). 1. 2012 Presidential Address: Types and Tokens: On the Identity and Meaning of Names and Other Words 2012 Presidential Address: Types and Tokens: On the Identity and Meaning of Names and Other Words (Pp. 259-284). [REVIEW] Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 48 (3).
     
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  7. Eric Steinhart (2012). Digital Theology: Is the Resurrection Virtual? In Morgan Luck (ed.), A Philosophical Exploration of New and Alternative Religious Movements. 133 - 152.
    Many recent writers have developed a rich system of theological concepts inspired by computers. This is digital theology. Digital theology shares many elements of its eschatology with Christian post-millenarianism. It promises a utopian perfection via technological progress. Modifying Christian soteriology, digital theology makes reference to four types of immortality. I look critically at each type. The first involves transferring our minds from our natural bodies to superior computerized bodies. The second and third types involve bringing into being a previously living (...)
     
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  8. Eric Steinhart (2012). Ontology in the Game of Life. Axiomathes 22 (3):403-416.
    The game of life is an excellent framework for metaphysical modeling. It can be used to study ontological categories like space, time, causality, persistence, substance, emergence, and supervenience. It is often said that there are many levels of existence in the game of life. Objects like the glider are said to exist on higher levels. Our goal here is to work out a precise formalization of the thesis that there are various levels of existence in the game of life. To (...)
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  9. Eric Steinhart (2012). On the Number of Gods. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 72 (2):75-83.
    A god is a cosmic designer-creator. Atheism says the number of gods is 0. But it is hard to defeat the minimal thesis that some possible universe is actualized by some possible god. Monotheists say the number of gods is 1. Yet no degree of perfection can be coherently assigned to any unique god. Lewis says the number of gods is at least the second beth number. Yet polytheists cannot defend an arbitrary plural number of gods. An alternative is that, (...)
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  10. Eric Steinhart (2012). The Singularity Beyond Philosophy of Mind. Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (7-8):7-8.
    Thought about the singularity intersects the philosophy of mind in deep and important ways. However, thought about the singularity also intersects many other areas of philosophy, including the history of philosophy, metaphysics, the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of religion. I point to some of those intersections. Singularitarian thought suggests that many of the objects and processes that once lay in the domain of revealed religion now lie in the domain of pure computer science.
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  11. Eric Steinhart (2010). Theological Implications of the Simulation Argument. Ars Disputandi 10:23-37.
    Nick Bostrom’s Simulation Argument (SA) has many intriguing theological implications. We work out some of them here. We show how the SA can be used to develop novel versions of the Cosmological and Design Arguments. We then develop some of the affinities between Bostrom's naturalistic theogony and more traditional theological topics. We look at the resurrection of the body and at theodicy. We conclude with some reflections on the relations between the SA and Neoplatonism (friendly) and between the SA and (...)
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  12. Eric Steinhart (2009). More Precisely: The Math You Need to Do Philosophy. Broadview Press.
    More Precisely is a mathematics book that's designed to meet the needs of philosophers. It's not a philosophy of math book and it's not a logic book - it's a math book for philosophers. More Precisely shows how to apply mathematical tools in various branches of philosophy. It provides many classical and recent philosophical examples. The topics presented by More Precisely include: basic set theory; relations and functions; machines; probability; formal semantics (including possible worlds semantics); utilitarianism; and infinity (both countable (...)
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  13. Eric Steinhart (2009). A Modern Analysis of Divine Infinity. Theology and Science 7 (3):261-274.
    Mathematics is obviously important in the sciences. And so it is likely to be equally important in any effort that aims to understand God in a scientifically significant way or that aims to clarify the relations between science and theology. The degree to which God has any perfection is absolutely infinite. We use contemporary mathematics to precisely define that absolute infinity. For any perfection, we use transfinite recursion to define an endlessly ascending series of degrees of that perfection. That series (...)
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  14. Eric Steinhart (2008). Teilhard de Chardin and Transhumanism. Journal of Evolution and Technology 20 (1):1-22.
    Teilhard is among the first to seriously explore the future of human evolution. He advocates both bio-technologies (e.g. genetic engineering) and intelligence technologies. He discusses the emergence of a global computation - communication system (and is said by some to have been the first to have envisioned the Internet). He advocates the development of a global society. He is almost surely the first to discuss the acceleration of technological progress to a Singularity in which human intelligence will become super-intelligence. He (...)
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  15. Eric Steinhart (2008). The Revision Theory of Resurrection. Religious Studies 44 (1):63-81.
    A powerful argument against the resurrection of the body is based on the premise that all resurrection theories violate natural laws. We counter this argument by developing a fully naturalistic resurrection theory. We refer to it as the revision theory of resurrection (the RTR). Since Hick’s replica theory is already highly naturalistic, we use Hick’s theory as the basis for the RTR. According to Hick, resurrection is the recreation of an earthly body in another universe. The recreation is a resurrection (...)
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  16. Eric Steinhart (2007). Encyclopedia of American Philosophy. Routledge.
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  17. Eric Steinhart (2007). Infinity. In Encyclopedia of American Philosophy. Routledge.
    This article deals with the concept of infinity in classical American philosophy. It focuses on the philosophical and technical developments of infinity in the 19th Century American thinkers Royce and Peirce.
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  18. Eric Steinhart (2007). Intelligent Computing Everywhere. Springer.
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  19. Eric Steinhart (2007). Infinitely Complex Machines. In Intelligent Computing Everywhere. Springer. 25-43.
    Infinite machines (IMs) can do supertasks. A supertask is an infinite series of operations done in some finite time. Whether or not our universe contains any IMs, they are worthy of study as upper bounds on finite machines. We introduce IMs and describe some of their physical and psychological aspects. An accelerating Turing machine (an ATM) is a Turing machine that performs every next operation twice as fast. It can carry out infinitely many operations in finite time. Many ATMs can (...)
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  20. Eric Steinhart (2007). Survival as a Digital Ghost. Minds and Machines 17 (3):261 – 271.
    You can survive after death in various kinds of artifacts. You can survive in diaries, photographs, sound recordings, and movies. But these artifacts record only superficial features of yourself. We are already close to the construction of programs that partially and approximately replicate entire human lives (by storing their memories and duplicating their personalities). A digital ghost is an artificially intelligent program that knows all about your life. It is an animated auto-biography. It replicates your patterns of belief and desire. (...)
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  21. Eric Steinhart (2005). Nietzsche on Identity. Revista di Estetica 28 (1):241-256.
    I gather and constructively criticize Nietzsche’s writings on identity. Nietzsche treats identity as a logical fiction. He denies that there are any enduring things (no substances); he denies that there are any indiscernible things in any respect (no universals, no bare particulars). For Nietzsche, the world consists of durationless events bearing non-universal properties and standing to one another in non-universal relations. Events are bundles of tropes. Nietzsche even denies self-identity. His events are self-differing trope-bundles. I link Nietzsche’s denial of self-identity (...)
     
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  22. Eric Steinhart (2004). Pantheism and Current Ontology. Religious Studies 40 (1):63-80.
    Pantheism claims: (1) there exists an all-inclusive unity; and (2) that unity is divine. I review three current and scientifically viable ontologies to see how pantheism can be developed in each. They are: (1) materialism; (2) Platonism; and (3) class-theoretic Pythagoreanism. I show how each ontology has an all-inclusive unity. I check the degree to which that unity is: eternal, infinite, complex, necessary, plentiful, self-representative, holy. I show how each ontology solves the problem of evil (its theodicy) and provides for (...)
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  23. Eric Steinhart (2003). Supermachines and Superminds. Minds and Machines 13 (1):155-186.
    If the computational theory of mind is right, then minds are realized by machines. There is an ordered complexity hierarchy of machines. Some finite machines realize finitely complex minds; some Turing machines realize potentially infinitely complex minds. There are many logically possible machines whose powers exceed the Church–Turing limit (e.g. accelerating Turing machines). Some of these supermachines realize superminds. Superminds perform cognitive supertasks. Their thoughts are formed in infinitary languages. They perceive and manipulate the infinite detail of fractal objects. They (...)
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  24. Eric Steinhart (2002). Indiscernible Persons. Metaphilosophy 33 (3):300-320.
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  25. Eric Steinhart (2002). Logically Possible Machines. Minds and Machines 12 (2):259-280.
    I use modal logic and transfinite set-theory to define metaphysical foundations for a general theory of computation. A possible universe is a certain kind of situation; a situation is a set of facts. An algorithm is a certain kind of inductively defined property. A machine is a series of situations that instantiates an algorithm in a certain way. There are finite as well as transfinite algorithms and machines of any degree of complexity (e.g., Turing and super-Turing machines and more). There (...)
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  26. Eric Steinhart (2002). Why Numbers Are Sets. Synthese 133 (3):343 - 361.
    I follow standard mathematical practice and theory to argue that the natural numbers are the finite von Neumann ordinals. I present the reasons standardly given for identifying the natural numbers with the finite von Neumann's (e.g., recursiveness; well-ordering principles; continuity at transfinite limits; minimality; and identification of n with the set of all numbers less than n). I give a detailed mathematical demonstration that 0 is { } and for every natural number n, n is the set of all natural (...)
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  27. Eric Steinhart (2001). Persons Versus Brains: Biological Intelligence in Human Organisms. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 16 (1):3-27.
    I go deep into the biology of the human organism to argue that the psychological features and functions of persons are realized by cellular and molecular parallel distributed processing networks dispersed throughout the whole body. Persons supervene on the computational processes of nervous, endocrine, immune, and genetic networks. Persons do not go with brains.
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  28. Eric Steinhart (2001). The Logic of Metaphor: Analogous Parts of Possible Worlds. Kluwer Academic.
    The Logic of Metaphor uses techniques from possible worlds semantics to provide formal truth-conditions for many grammatical classes of metaphors. It gives logically precise and practically useful syntactic and semantic rules for generating and interpreting metaphors. These rules are implemented in a working computer program. The book treats the lexicon as a conceptual network with semantics provided by an intensional predicate calculus. It gives rules for finding analogies in such networks. It shows how to syntactically and semantically analyze texts containing (...)
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  29. Eric Steinhart (1999). Emergent Values for Automatons: Ethical Problems of Life in the Generalized Internet. [REVIEW] Ethics and Information Technology 1 (2):155-160.
    The infrastructure is becoming a network of computerized machines regulated by societies of self-directing software agents. Complexity encourages the emergence of novel values in software agent societies. Interdependent human and software political orders cohabitate and coevolve in a symbiosis of freedoms.
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  30. Eric Steinhart (1999). Nietzsche's Philosophy of Mathematics. International Studies in Philosophy 31 (3):19-27.
    Nietzsche has a surprisingly significant and strikingly positive assessment of mathematics. I discuss Nietzsche's theory of the origin of mathematical practice in the division of the continuum of force, his theory of numbers, his conception of the finite and the infinite, and the relations between Nietzschean mathematics and formalism and intuitionism. I talk about the relations between math, illusion, life, and the will to truth. I distinguish life and world affirming mathematical practice from its ascetic perversion. For Nietzsche, math is (...)
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  31. Eric Steinhart (1999). On Nietzsche. Wadsworth.
    On Nietzsche aims to present Nietzsche's thought as a coherent and reasonable system rather than as a collage of prophetic or poetic aphorisms. Nietzsche is a thinker who gives reasons and makes arguments. At the core of Nietzsche's thought is radical world- and life-affirmation. It is that affirmation than which there is none greater. It is an affirmation ultimately based on the classical Greek principle of plenitude: it is better to be than not to be. On Nietzsche lays out his (...)
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  32. Eric Steinhart (1998). Digital Metaphysics. In Terrell Ward Bynum & James Moor (eds.), The Digital Phoenix: How Computers Are Changing Philosophy. Blackwell Publishers. 117--134.
    I discuss the view, increasingly common in physics, that the foundational level of our physical reality is a network of computing machines (so that our universe is ultimately like a cellular automaton). I discuss finitely extended and divided (discrete) space-time and discrete causality. I examine reasons for thinking that the foundational computational complexity of our universe is finite. I discuss the emergence of an ordered complexity hierarchy of levels of objects over the foundational level and I show how the special (...)
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  33. Eric Steinhart (1998). Philosophy Laboratory. Teaching Philosophy 21 (4):315-326.
    Philosophical concepts are easier to teach and to learn if students can directly manually and visually manipulate the objects instantiating them. What is needed is a philosophy laboratory in which students learn by experimenting. Games are highly idealized yet concrete structures able to instantiate abstract concepts. I show how to use the Game of Life (a computerized cellular automaton "game") to teach concepts like: individuation; supervenience; the phenomena / noumena distinction; the physical / design / and intentional stances; the argument (...)
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  34. Eric Steinhart (1997). Leibniz's Palace of the Fates: A 17th Century Virtual Reality System. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 6 (1):133-135.
    One way to think logically about virtual reality systems is to think of them as interactive depictions of possible worlds. Leibniz's "Palace of the Fates" is probably the earliest description of an interactive virtual reality system. Leibniz describes a system for the simulation of possible worlds by a human user in the actual world. He describes a user-interface for interacting multiple possible worlds and their histories.
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  35. Eric Steinhart (1997). Robert Cummins and John Pollock (Eds.), Philosophy and AI: Essays at the Interface. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 7 (3):464-468.
  36. Eric Steinhart (1994). Beyond Proportional Analogy: A Structural Model of Analogical Mapping. Pragmatics and Cognition 2 (1):95-129.
    A model of analogical mapping is proposed that uses five principles to generate consistent and conflicting hypotheses regarding assignments of elements of a source domain to analogous elements of a target domain. The principles follow the fine conceptual structure of the domains. The principles are: (1) the principle of proportional analogy; (2) the principle of mereological analogy, (3) the principle of chain reinforcement; (4) the principle of transitive reinforcement; and (5) the principle of mutual inconsistency. A constraint-satisfaction network is used (...)
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  37. Eric Steinhart (1994). Structural Idealism. Idealistic Studies 24 (1):77-105.
    Structural idealism uses formal and computational techniques to describe an idealist ontology composed of God and a set of finite minds. A finite mind is a system of private intentional worlds. An intentional world is a connectionist hierarchy of intentional objects (propositions, concepts, sensible things, sensations). Intentional objects, similar to Leibnizian monads, are computing machines. To escape the egocentric predicament, Leibnizian relations of (in)compossibility exist between finite minds, linking them together into a constraint-satisfaction network, thereby coordinating their private intentional worlds.
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  38. Eric Steinhart (1993). Paul Thagard, Conceptual Revolutions. Metaphilosophy 24 (4):415-420.
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  39. Eric Steinhart (1989). Self-Recognition and Countermemory. Philosophy Today 33 (4):302-317.
    I use concepts from Foucault's analysis of the human condition to investigate how we recognize or fail to recognize ourselves in machines like computers. Human beings are traditionally defined as "rational animals" or as "thinking things". I examine how this self-conception determines our use of computing machines as logical mirrors in which we both hope and fear to see our truest selves. I examine two analogies: (1) how we think of computers as if they were human (self-projection) and (2) how (...)
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