Archives for category: Philosophy

In his blog post Computational Theology (4 September 2014), Samuel Arbesman notes that Oppenheimer and Zalta have used computational methods to discover a very simple argument in philosophy, whereas computational methods are more frequently used to discover complex arguments.

THIS ONLY
Czesław Miłosz

A valley and above it forests in autumn colors.
A voyager arrives, a map led him here.
Or perhaps memory. Once, long ago, in the sun,
When the first snow fell, riding this way
He felt joy, strong, without reason,
Joy of the eyes. Everything was the rhythm
Of shifting trees, of a bird in flight,
Of a train on the viaduct, a feast of motion.
He returns years later, has no demands.
He wants only one, most precious thing:
To see, purely and simply, without name,
Without expectations, fears, or hopes,
At the edge where there is no I or not-I.

South Hadley, 1985

I’ve updated my Publications and Current Research page.

This is a poem I wrote when I was, maybe, eleven or twelve, when I first heard of the second law of thermodynamics:


.
 s        a                        r
  d
   r
    a                               n
     w            l      e
      k
       c    t
        a
         b
 m          
            y               l
             l
              e
               v
                a
                 r         o ;
                  b                  l
                    
             e      g
                     n
                      i
                       h
                        c
                         r
                       u  a
                           m
                      I                             
                 u           ,
                               e
                 t              f
                                 i     h
 s           f               u    l
            b                       
         e                          y
                                     l
                      t               n
                                       o

I was reminded of it by reading this from Norbert Wiener:

We are swimming upstream against a great torrent of disorganization, which tends to reduce everything to the heat death of equilibrium and sameness. … This heat death in physics has a counterpart in the ethics of Kierkegaard, who pointed out that we live in a chaotic moral universe. In this, our main obligation is to establish arbitrary enclaves of order and system. … Like the Red Queen, we cannot stay where we are without running as fast as we can (Norbert Wiener, I Am a Mathematician: The Later Life of a Prodigy (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1964), 324; quoted by James Gleick in The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (New York: Pantheon Books, 2011), 237).

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