Plato’s weekend suggestions

readingsOur regular Friday diet of suggested readings for the weekend:

The case of pop star Kesha seems to suggest that one can have either liberal capitalism or liberal feminism, but not both.

Einstein vs Einstein on the nature and import of causality.

Neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga talks about a road trip to the origin of our species.

Do academics have a drinking problem?

An academic Sokal-type hoax that exposes the pretensions of a certain group of sociologists of science…

This one is a cross-over from my other interest: the (British) police officer as a Stoic. Which includes an interesting analysis of the concept of “policing by consent.”

Why we do what we do: a short piece on free will as complexity of choice.


127 thoughts on “Plato’s weekend suggestions

  1. Seth Leon

    So how do we keep ‘the spirit glowing’?

    One approach that I have tried to apply with some success is to bring the spirit of moderation to our greatest undertakings as they cannot be accomplished all at once and require an element of sustained progress with capacity for adaptation to unknown contingencies . When this balance is found the glow keeps burning.

    Another is to loose moderation when it comes to maintaining the vigilance to see the beauty in the mundane small undertakings.


  2. Robin Herbert

    Hi synred,

    Do you have an example of Russell actually using “the leaf is green” as an atomic proposition in his own words? It seems that you are pursuing the idea these points you are making simply would not have occurred to a highly intelligent person like Russell.

    I think you would need to refer to a claim made in Russell’s own words before you could support that.

    Again, I think you are reading a little too much into an example introduced by a Wikipedia writer.


  3. synred

    I think you’re right. It’s likely Wikipedia paraphrasing of something.

    As Tudor explained it ‘The leaf is green’ doesn’t seem that bad. Anyway I doubt I could find it in Russell.


  4. synred

    Sorry, I’ll try to be a little more wary of Wikipedia in future. It was in any case interesting to me. Thanks.


  5. synred

    I don’t find ‘the leaf is green’ for Russell either (accept in the suspect Wikipedia piece). It turns up in articles about Wiggenstein, but never as a quote attributed to him or anybody else.

    I found the origin of the Wikipedia piece but won’t bother you with it.


  6. synred

    Color as a property
    So I can’t resist one more post on the problem of color as a ‘property.’ That’s because this thread has led me to an explanation for a problem that has been bothering my wife for years.

    Years ago we painted our kitchen yellow. When my wife saw it she said “it’s green” – an apparent ‘atomic fact.’

    I hated to admit it, but it looked green to me – like the institutional green of our dorm Daniels Hall on Green St. at the University of Illinois. Well, the kitchen was a little lighter green…but ugly.

    Margaret blamed this on the handyman who went to Home Depot and picked up the paint.

    However, it likely is technically yellow, but looks green to the vagaries of our three color vision and the role of surrounding brightness:

    “A second problem has been the failure to describe the very important effects of strong luminance (lightness) contrasts in the appearance of colors reflected from a surface (such as paints or inks) as opposed to colors of light; “colors” such as browns or ochres cannot appear in mixtures of light. Thus, a strong lightness contrast between a mid-valued yellow paint and a surrounding bright white makes the yellow appear to be green or brown, while a strong brightness contrast between a rainbow and the surrounding sky makes the yellow in a rainbow appear to be a fainter yellow, or white.”

    Also from Wikipedia. Hopefully more reliable than ‘atomic facts’ discussion!

    Anyway I never would have imagined Wiggenstein would have led to solution of this minor mystery.

    The following video from my granddaughter’s ‘Brain Games’ TV show also dramatically illustrates how color vision system can fool you.


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