10:23 Challenge 1984 Aesthetics Alastair Reynolds Alban Berg Albert Uderzo Alexander Nehamas Antikythera Arrugas Art Asterios Polyp Asterix Babylon 5 Bernd and Hilla Becher Bible Bill Viola Brad DeLong Bruce Sterling Buddhism Carl Sagan Center for Inquiry Charles and Ray Eames Charles Burns Charles Yu Cheryl Morgan Chris Mooney Chris Ware Círculo Escéptico Clarkesworld Comics Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Cristóbal Vila Cyberpunk Dan Nadel Darick Robertson Dario Robleto Darryl Cunningham David Mazzucchelli David O'Reilly Dmitri Shostakovich Ed Docx Einstein on the Beach Engaget Eric Brown Errol Morris Etérea Studios Fantasy Fractals Frank Stockton Frankenstein Free Will Gary Wolfe Greece Hans Rosling Hergé Hiraki Sawa Hiroshi Sugimoto Humor Ian Bertram Iliad Jaq Chartier Jason Yungbluth Jennifer Bartlett John Baldessari John Martz John Scalzi John Sculley Jorge Luis Borges Jose Pérez Joseph Lambert Joyce Carol Oates Jules Feiffer Julia Galef Justin Whitaker Karl Stevens Kasimir Malevich Ken Dahl Komar & Melamid Language Lord of the Rings Luis Alfonso Gámez Macintosh Marcel Duchamp Margaret Atwood Mary Shelley Massimo Pigliucci Math Maurizio Cattelan Michael Benson MoCCA Modern Times Museums Nancy Fulda Nancy Kress Neil Gaiman Neil Tyson NK Jemisin NYRSF Optical Illusion Orson Scott Card Paco Roca Pascal Girard Paul Hornschemeier Paul Kurtz Pepo Pérez Phil Moriarty Philip Glass Philosophy physics Plato Podcast Post-modernism Quay Brothers Rage Comics Ray Bradbury Realism Religion Rene Goscinny Richard Dawkins Richard Feynman Robert Rauschenberg Robert Wilson Roger Ebert Sam Sykes Samuel R. Delany Science Science Fiction Sean Carroll Secular Buddhist Association Shaun Tan Sixty Simbols Skepticism SMBC Star Wars Statistics Steampunk Steve Jobs Steven Pinker subBlue Tara Donovan Tatiana Plakhova The New Yorker Theodore Sturgeon Tim Minchin Timothy Callahan Tintin Tom Gauld Tomas Saraceno Transmetropolitan Ursula K. Le Guin Video Vija Celmins Warren Ellis Watchmen Wikileaks Will Eisner William Gibson Wine Writing X'ed Out XKCD
Sunday
Apr172016

Podcast

A few weeks back Ted Meissner (a/k/a The Secular Buddhist) interviewed me for his podcast, topic being my recent paper at the JOCBS. It's up now at the website:

Episode 245: Was the Buddha an Anti-Realist?

Tuesday
Dec012015

Was the Buddha an Anti-Realist?

Paper of mine out at the Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. It's a bit of a foray into Buddhist philosophy of the sort I dabbled in on the side while in graduate school doing (more ordinary) analytic philosophy.

One should be able to download it through academia.edu HERE.

Thursday
May212015

Video on Clothes Recycling

Unexpectedly touching 14 minute video on Indian women who recycle the clothes that the rest of the world throws away.

Unravel

 

Thursday
May212015

Guest Post

For all interested, I've a guest post over at my friend Justin Whitaker's blog American Buddhist Perspectives. It's called "Buddhist Ethics for an Age of Technological Change".

It's a bit on the long side.

Tuesday
Jan132015

Blog posts

I haven't been up to very much over here recently; any who are wondering will find my most recent blog posts over at The Secular Buddhist.

Thursday
Jun122014

An Acceptance

Just got word today that a paper Justin Whitaker and I wrote a few months back, "Reading the Buddha as a Philosopher", has been accepted for publication by Philosophy East and West. This journal is arguably one of the top in the field, so we are naturally thrilled.

Scheduled publication date is in October of 2016. The wheels of academic publication grind slow.

Justin is the person behind the American Buddhist Perspectives blog, as well as being a graduate student in Buddhist Studies. I've really enjoyed working with him.

It's been awhile since I wrote anything for an academic audience. Research and writing was always the part of graduate school that I liked best; that and the camaraderie. The rest of it I could do without. But writing material for an academic audience is a narrow job, particularly in the arts. Without academic affiliation it can be difficult to get access to journal articles or the most recent developments in the field, and most of the time the topic is so recondite as to be of interest to virtually nobody.

The topic of our paper, however, is broad: we are arguing that the Buddha can be seen as a philosopher in the Western sense of the term. He was, of course, not a modern, much less a contemporary philosopher. His style was more that of the ancient Greeks, involving moderately structured dialogues rather than a thoroughly structured and organized system. Structure and organization came later, in the abhidhamma.

Is there material in the Buddha's suttas, principally the Nikāyas, that is at odds with our contemporary understanding of reality? Of course there is. But it is my contention that the Buddha's forays into (what we would now term) supernaturalism are not essential to his basic message. There are similar issues with all or virtually all ancient Greek philosophers as well, and yet even so many contemporary skeptics and naturalists look to those such as Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle for inspiration. There is too much that is good and worthwhile in these thinkers, in the first rank that remain to us after the dawn of written language. True, there is bathwater to drain, but no sense losing the baby as well.

Justin and I both believe that the Buddha's philosophical work is interesting enough in its own right to be studied alongside that of philosophers in the West. Although it is different, stemming from a sociocultural milieu somewhat unlike that found in ancient Greece or the Near East, it is nevertheless lucid, analytic, and as well reasoned as that found in any ancient thinker.

Tuesday
May272014

Animated Ebbinghaus

Check this out, from the always entertaining Richard Wiseman:

Yes, the orange dot stays the same size throughout. 

Incidentally, this and other optical illusions should encourage us to realize how easily 'direct perception' can be fooled. Often times in a philosophical context direct perception is taken to be the most epistemically secure route to gaining knowledge about the world. There is, of course, some truth to that claim. But only some. 

Friday
Dec062013

Interpreting quantum physics correctly

There is so much misinterpretation of quantum physics in the popular press, that it's refreshing to hear an actual physicist clarify some of the basic issues. Here Prof. Phil Moriarty of the University of Nottingham confronts a particularly egregious case.

Sixty Symbols is a very good web series on science, which I would highly recommend.

Wednesday
Nov132013

The Beauty of Mathematics

Hat tip to Barry Ritholtz

Wednesday
Jun192013

XKCD on the Pace of Modern Life

 

My only quibble with this piece is that he could have found many more, many earlier quotes on similar topics. E.g.,

I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words.
When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint.