September 2nd, 2010

Semiformalishmaybe

Powdered Chalkboard

Social barriers, professionalism:Collapse )

Books - I read a lot, and am sometimes bothered at how little I remember from great literature Collapse )

I remain highly impressed at how quickly I can type with the NexusOne's onscreen keyboard, turned to the side.

Recently I dug the bike out of the basement and had it repaired.Collapse )

In most respects I have a lot of respect for Richard Dawkins, but in this debate, I have some friction of perspective - I don't like how quickly or strongly he marks questions as meaningless. Collapse )

Recently been chewing on Wittgenstein's argument against private language - while I believe I agree with the premise, the argument seems fairly broken to me. Part of my discomfort is I think the terms relevant to the argument have been laid down in bad places and that on a more ideal fabric, the question would take a different shape or be impossible. That's not uncommon in philosophy though - one often has at least three possible responses to an idea - it is right, it is wrong, it is defined in terms that are either ill-formed or inappropriate. I may offer more concrete objections as I continue to chew on it - for starters, I believe the terms "language" and "understand" should be held differently (ideally in a way more messily-emergent-from-biology than formally-in-a-way-that-feels-like-they-were-plucked-from-Platonic-forms), and I object to his building off of falsifiability as foundation for meaning (structural/definitional statements have meaning too, even as a different one).

Semiformalishmaybe

Oh Science, Fair!

One suggested activity for the sciency-minded among us:Every week for a month, find a new and interesting question to ask on 「Ask A Biologist」. Post your question and the response(s) to your blog and talk about them.

One of my favourite answers on that site was on a question (not asked my me), "Are viruses alive?" - the answer:

  • In summary, Jason's orginal question "Are viruses alive?" might be better expressed as "Is 'alive' defined in such a way as to include viruses?" Put that way, it's clear that the question is about definitions rather than facts.