Purpose This paper aims to formalize long-term trajectories of human civilization as a scientific and ethical field of study. The long-term trajectory of human civilization can be defined as the path that human civilization takes during the entire future time period in which human civilization could continue to exist. -/- Design/methodology/approach This paper focuses on four types of trajectories: status quo trajectories, in which human civilization persists in a state broadly similar to its current state into the distant future; catastrophe (...) trajectories, in which one or more events cause significant harm to human civilization; technological transformation trajectories, in which radical technological breakthroughs put human civilization on a fundamentally different course; and astronomical trajectories, in which human civilization expands beyond its home planet and into the accessible portions of the cosmos. -/- Findings Status quo trajectories appear unlikely to persist into the distant future, especially in light of long-term astronomical processes. Several catastrophe, technological transformation and astronomical trajectories appear possible. -/- Originality/value Some current actions may be able to affect the long-term trajectory. Whether these actions should be pursued depends on a mix of empirical and ethical factors. For some ethical frameworks, these actions may be especially important to pursue. (shrink)
This volume is a direct result of a conference held at Princeton University to honor George A. Miller, an extraordinary psychologist. A distinguished panel of speakers from various disciplines -- psychology, philosophy, neuroscience and artificial intelligence -- were challenged to respond to Dr. Miller's query: "What has happened to cognition? In other words, what has the past 30 years contributed to our understanding of the mind? Do we really know anything that wasn't already clear to William James?" (...) Each participant tried to stand back a little from his or her most recent work, but to address the general question from his or her particular standpoint. The chapters in the present volume derive from that occasion. (shrink)
In his “Noesis and Logos in the Eleatic Trilogy, with a Focus on the Visitor’s Jokes at Statesman 266a-d,” Mitchell Miller explores the interplay of intuition and discourse in the Statesman. He prepares by considering the orienting provocations provided by Socrates’ refutations of the proposed definition of knowledge — namely, “true judgment and a logos” — in the closing pages of the Theaetetus, by the Eleatic Visitor’s obscure schematization at Sophist 253d-e of the kinds of eidetic field discerned by (...) dialectic, and by his discussion at Statesman 277a-278e of the use of paradigms. Miller then seeks to show how the Visitor’s odd medley of geometrical and Homeric jokes at Statesman 266a-d aims, in the language of the Seventh Letter, to “spark” an intuition of the nature of statesmanship, an intuition whose “self-nourishing” motivates the subsequent rejection of the initial definition of the statesman as shepherd of the human herd, the turn to the paradigm of the weaver, and the rejection of bifurcatory division in favor of the non-bifurcatory account of the kinds of art that function as the “limbs” of a well-formed city. (shrink)
The Unifying Moment provides a fine comparative study of Whitehead and James. Eisendrath expresses the presupposition of his effort in noting "a fruitful complementarity" between his subjects: "Whitehead is highly abstract and needs the exemplification which reference to James can provide. Conversely, Whitehead can be used to show the full sweep of general application implicit in James’s ideas." The core of Eisendrath’s analysis lies in creativity and in the ‘aesthetic’ bias shared by Whitehead and James; experience (...) is feeling, appetition and advance into novelty. There are indeed problems in the analogy between personality and atomic concrescence, since from a Whiteheadian perspective personality is a complex ’society', not a simple concrescence. Yet the analogy works, because Eisendrath is aware of the disparity, and because it serves to illuminate the anthropomorphic tendency in Whitehead. The book is at its strongest in dealing directly with issues of epistemology and psychology, where Eisendrath also displays a firm grasp of the early history of psychology. Less satisfying are some of the approaches to larger issues, such as the discussions of God and civilization. Throughout, there is the stylistic flaw, perhaps inevitable in a comparative study, of lengthy textual citation and explication; while thus documenting his position, Eisendrath at times lets the documentation obscure his argument. The notes and index are both extensive and helpful.—D. F. D. (shrink)
Let P be the ω-orbit of a point under a unary function definable in an o-minimal expansion ℜ of a densely ordered group. If P is monotonically cofinal in the group, and the compositional iterates of the function are cofinal at +\infty in the unary functions definable in ℜ, then the expansion (ℜ, P) has a number of good properties, in particular, every unary set definable in any elementarily equivalent structure is a disjoint union of open intervals and finitely many (...) discrete sets. (shrink)
Robert Miller | : This essay explores how myth functions as a means of revelation in Scripture. It first clarifies a definition of myth, and then discusses the appearance of myth in the Old Testament. Not only is myth found in the Bible, but its presence is of great importance. Considering the various functions of myths in general, it becomes indispensable that myth form a part of the inspired canon. Revelatory myth is essential, especially today. Finally, this essay considers (...) how one might recapture an appreciative reception of biblical myths. | : Cette contribution examine la fonction du mythe biblique. L’auteur y défend que le mythe est utilisé comme un instrument de révélation dans l’Écriture. Dans la première partie de cet article, l’auteur définit ce qu’est le mythe en général et comment il est employé dans l’Ancien Testament. Le mythe est non seulement présent dans la Bible, conclut-il, mais il y est d’une grande importance. En considérant les diverses fonctions du mythe, on ne peut que conclure que le mythe fait partie intégrante du canon inspiré. Aujourd’hui, le mythe révélateur est essentiel et, pour cette raison, la dernière partie de cet article examine comment on pourrait faire renaître une réception élogieuse du mythe biblique. (shrink)
Athens or Jerusalem? By Tertullian.--Philosophy the handmaid of theology, by Clement of Alexandria.--Faith in search of understanding, by St. Augustine.--Revelation and analogy, by St. Thomas Aquinas.--The mystic way, by M. Eckhart.--The darkened intellect, by J. Calvin.--The reasons of the heart, by B. Pascal.--Faith, reason, and enthusiasm, by J. Locke.--Miracles and the skeptic, by D. Hume.--The limits of reason, by I. Kant.--Truth and subjectivity, by S. Kierkegaard.--In justification of faith, by W. James.--Religion as poetry, by G. Santayana.--Faith and symbols, by (...) P. Tillich.--Three parables on falsification, by A. Flew, R. M. Hare, and B. Mitchell.--For further reading (p. 233-235). (shrink)
We use the Low Basis Theorem of Jockusch and Soare to show that all computable algebraic fields are d-computably categorical for a particular Turing degree d with d' = θ", but that not all such fields are 0'-computably categorical. We also prove related results about algebraic fields with splitting algorithms, and fields of finite transcendence degree over ℚ.
The radical psychiatrist R. D. Laing's first book, The Divided Self (1960), is informed by the work of Christian thinkers on scriptural interpretation — an intellectual genealogy apparent in Laing's comparison of Karl Jaspers's symptomatology with the theological tradition of `form criticism'. Rudolf Bultmann's theology, which was being enthusiastically promoted in 1950s Scotland, is particularly influential upon Laing. It furnishes him with the notion that schizophrenic speech expresses existential truths as if they were statements about the physical and organic world. (...) It also provides him with a model of the schizoid position as a form of modern-day Stoicism. Such theological recontextualization of The Divided Self illuminates continuities in Laing's own work, and also indicates his relationship to a wider British context, such as the work of the `clinical theologian' Frank Lake. (shrink)
The neuroscientists Eugene d'Aquili and Andrew Newberg, in addition to defending an empirically fruitful model of mystical experiences, argue that such experiences constitute evidence for the existence of a transcendent reality, which they call "Absolute Unitary Being." D'Aquili and Newberg point out that mystical experiences carry with them a vivid sense of reality, and that they involve characteristic forms of brain activity, just like perceptions of objects in ordinary waking consciousness. Their argument for Absolute Unitary Being fails, however, since the (...) vivid sense of reality of an experience is not the sole criterion by which to judge its veridicality, since the object of mystical experiences cannot be confirmed by independent observers, and since there is no evidence for a mechanism by which mystics experience a transcendent reality. (shrink)
What is an emotion? -- The dilemma of determinism -- The perception of reality -- The hidden self -- Habit -- The will -- The gospel of relaxation -- On a certain blindness in human beings -- What makes a life significant -- Philosophical conceptions and practical results -- The Philippine tangle -- The sick soul -- The Ph. D. octopus -- Does "consciousness" exist? -- The energies of men -- Concerning Fechner -- The moral equivalent of war.
A close reading of Theogony 116-133, showing the logic of opposites and of whole/part relations that governs Hesiod's account of cosmogenesis, refuting the traditional interpretation of the birth of Chaos as the split between heaven and earth, and providing evidence that Hesiod considered and decided against making Tartaros the parent of the cosmos.