While some branches of complexity theory are advancing rapidly, the same cannot be said for our understanding of emergence. Despite a complete knowledge of the rules underlying the interactions between the parts of many systems, we are often baffled by their sudden transitions from simple to complex. Here I propose a solution to this conceptual problem. Given that emergence is often the result of many interactions occurring simultaneously in time and space, an ability to intuitively grasp it would require the (...) ability to consciously think in parallel. A simple exercise is used to demonstrate that we do not possess this ability. Our surprise at the behaviour of cellular automata models, and the natural cases of pattern formation they mimic, is then explained from this perspective. This work suggests that the cognitive limitations of the mind can be as significant a barrier to scientific progress as the limitations of our senses. (shrink)
GREGORY R. JOHNSON and DAVID RASMUSSEN argue that Rand's defense of abortion on demand is inconsistent with her own fundamental metaphysical, epistemological, and moral principles, namely that everything that exists has a determinate identity, that the concept of man refers to all of man's characteristics, not just his essential characteristics, and that there is no gap between what an organism truly is and what it ought to be.
GREGORY R. JOHNSON examines the link between Ayn Rand's ethics, which can be broadly characterized as Aristotelian, and her political philosophy, which can be broadly characterized as classical liberalism of the Lockean, natural rights variety. He maintains that Rand's argument for classical liberalism on the basis of the objectivity of values fails because of a reductionistic and excessively intellectualistic conception of human nature. In addition to discussing Rand's arguments, he surveys the Rand-influenced work of Douglas B. Rasmussen and Douglas (...) J. Den Uyl, as well as Tibor R. Machan and Tara Smith. (shrink)
GREGORY R. JOHNSON and DAVID RASMUSSEN defend their critique of Ayn Rand's views on abortion, arguing that their critics miss its main points. Tibor Machan and Alexander Tabarrok actually depart from Rand's own position under the guise of defending it; they introduce a non-Randian distinction between being a human organism and being a moral person.
Gregory R. Johnson and David Rasmussen defend their critique of Ayn Rand's views on abortion, arguing that their critics miss its main points. Tibor Machan and Alexander Tabarrok actually depart from Rand's own position under the guise of defending it; they introduce a non-Randian distinction between being a human organism and being a moral person.
GREGORY R. JOHNSON argues, contra Barry Vacker, that reductionist thinking and nonlinear aesthetics are not mutually exclusive, and that the passages in The Fountainhead cited by Vacker actually support the mastery of nature thesis. Johnson also addresses some miscellaneous criticisms offered by William Thomas, who wrote a review of Johnson's "Liberty and Nature" that appeared in Navigator.
Gregory R. Johnson argues, contra Barry Vacker, that reductionist thinking and nonlinear aesthetics are not mutually exclusive, and that the passages in The Fountainhead cited by Vacker actually support the mastery of nature thesis. Johnson also addresses some miscellaneous criticisms offered by William Thomas, who wrote a review of Johnson's "Liberty and Nature" (Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Fall 1999) that appeared in Navigator.
_Dreams of a Spirit-Seer_, Immanuel Kant's book on Emanuel Swedenborg, has mystified readers since its publication in 1766 during Swedenborg's lifetime. The unusual style and content of _Dreams_ have given rise to two opposing interpretations. Most Kant scholars regard the work as a skeptical attack on Swedenborg's mysticism. Other critics, however, believe that Kant regarded Swedenborg as a serious philosopher and visionary, and that _Dreams_ both reveals Kant's profound debt to Swedenborg and coneals that debt behind the mask of irony. (...) In addition, Dr. Gregory R. Johnson provides selections from other Kantian writings that mention Swedenborg and also contemporary reviews of _Dreams_, showing that Kant himself was ambivalent about Swedenborg's claims and that readers of his day questioned his position. With its extensive notes, this work is an invaluable resource for students of Kant and of Swedenborg. (shrink)
Why should modern philosophers read the works of R. G. Collingwood? His ideas are often thought difficult to locate in the main lines of development taken by twentieth-century philosophy. Some have read Collingwood as anticipating the later Wittgenstein, others have concentrated exclusively on the internal coherence of his thought. This work aims to introduce Collingwood to contemporary students of philosophy through direct engagement with his arguments. It is a conversation with Collingwood that takes as its subject matter the topics that (...) interested him 'philosophy and method, philosophy of mind, language and logic, the historical imagination, art and expression, action, metaphysics and life' and which still preoccupy us today. --the first introductory book on this major modern philosopher --includes critical investigation of his thought --there is no similar work available. (shrink)
ABSTRACTCollingwood's The New Leviathan is a difficult text. It comprises philosophy, political theory, political opinion and history in what is sometimes an uneasy amalgam. Despite its being the culmination of thirty years of work in ethics and political theory, the final text was clearly affected by the adverse circumstances under which it was written, these largely being Collingwood's illness which increasingly affected his ability to work as the writing of The New Leviathan progressed. This paper seeks to disentangle the composition (...) of the book thereby shedding light on its distinctive character as the last substantial piece of philosophical work published in Collingwood's lifetime. (shrink)
School shootings are traumatic events that cause a community to question itself, its values, and its educational systems. In this article Bryan Warnick, Benjamin Johnson, and Samuel Rocha explore the meanings of school shootings by examining three recent books on school violence. Topics that grow out of these books include how school shootings might be seen as ceremonial rituals, how schools come to be seen as appropriate places for shootings, and how advice to educators relating to school shootings might (...) change the practice of teaching. The authors present various ways of understanding school shootings that may eventually prove helpful, but they also highlight the problems, tensions, and contradictions associated with each position. In the end, the authors argue, the circumstances surrounding school shootings demonstrate the need for the “tragic sense” in education. This need for the tragic sense, while manifest in many different areas of schooling, is exemplified most clearly in targeted school shootings. (shrink)