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Hacking Philosophy or Philosophy for Media Arts & Sciences

Hacking Philosophy or Philosophy for Media Arts & Sciences



A survey of major philosophical branches, problems, examples with an eye towards computation, logic and (hopefully) media arts and sciences.

A survey of major philosophical branches, problems, examples with an eye towards computation, logic and (hopefully) media arts and sciences.



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    Hacking Philosophy or Philosophy for Media Arts & Sciences Hacking Philosophy or Philosophy for Media Arts & Sciences Presentation Transcript

    • Hacking Philosophy Philosophy for Media Arts & Sciences or "The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as to seem not worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it." - Bertrand Russell (The Philosophy of Logical Atomism)
    • The Argument Assumptions: None! Goals: Introduce basic branches of philosophy, give lots of examples, look at current issues and practical guides. Motivation: Aaron suggested it? Form the argument: Rambling Survey
    • Q:What is Philosophy? Actually almost any definition of philosophy is controversial. Still, there are some accepted disciplines within philosophy Metaphysics - What is there to know? Epistemology - How do we know that we know? Logic - How do we reason about what we know? Ethics - How do we live with what we know?
    • There is a cat on the table. Is it right or wrong to keep cats on tables? What moral consequences are there to the way we treat cats? How do we represent logically, that a cat is on the table? How do we know a cat is on the table? What is a cat, how do we know cats exist? Are they like humans? What is a table anyway?
    • Argument Philosophy is an Argument Assumptions Goals (Desired Properties) Possible motivations Form of argument
    • A Brief History of Western Philosophy “The unexamined life is not worth living” – Socrates (470-399 BCE) “Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily” – William of Ockham (1285 - 1349?) “The life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” – Thomas Hobbes (1588 – 1679) “I think therefore I am” – René Descartes (1596 – 1650) “To be is to be perceived (Esse est percipi).” Or, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” – Bishop George Berkeley (1685 – 1753) “We live in the best of all possible worlds.” – Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646 – 1716) “The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk.” G.W.F. Hegel (1770 – 1831) “Who is also aware of the tremendous risk involved in faith – when he nevertheless makes the leap of faith – this [is] subjectivity … at its height.” – Søren Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855) “God is dead.” – Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900) “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.” – Albert Camus (1913 – 1960) “One cannot step twice in the same river.” – Heraclitus (ca. 540 – ca. 480 BCE)
    • A Brief History of Western Philosophy The Crime of Athens
    • A Brief History of Western Philosophy The School of Athens
    • A Brief History of Western Philosophy The essential dichotomy
    • Metaphysics It’s like Physics, only meta.
    • Metaphysics The Boat Problem (and the superman problem) The Human Purpose.
    • A Brief History of Western Philosophy Descartes Meditations
    • Young Man’s Lament How did I get into the world? Why was I not asked about it, why was I not informed of the rules and regulations but just thrust into the ranks as if I had been bought by a peddling shanghaier of human beings? How did I get involved in this big enterprise called actuality? Why should I be involved? Isn't it a matter of choice? And if I am compelled to be involved, where is the manager—I have something to say about this. Is there no manager? To whom shall I make my complaint? Repetition, Kierkegaard
    • Epistemology: The Raven Problem Imagine you see one raven everyday (like Elijah here). It might seem reasonable to conclude that all ravens are black. But can we prove that all ravens are black?
    • Epistemology, Knowledge, Belief, and Truth What does it meant to ‘know something’ I have a belief, that belief is a truth belief, that belief is rational - even more, there is even some justification for that belief. Do I know something? The Baryshnikov Problem (and other formulations of Gettier Problems) The Regress Argument (The problem of the criterion) The skeptic answer: there is never any justification for true belief that is sufficient at the bottom of the chain.
    • Aristotle’s Legacy Aristotle’s success is his failure Based on his ideas certain branches of philosophy (particularly logic) stagnate for the next thousand years or so.
    • History of Logic Aristotle invested logic. And all was good. Major premise: All men are mortal. Minor premise: Some philosophers are men. Conclusion: Some philosophers are mortal. Frege reinvented logic. And all was good. The Predicate Calculus and the Propositional Calculus Until it wasn't
    • Methods of Proof and Non-proof Direct (Axiomatic) Proof Deductive Proof Inductive Proof Proof by Contradiction (reductio ad absurdum) Proof by Construction Other kinds of proof and nonproof
    • Early Work Charles Babbage (1834) - Analytic Engine (first -general purpose- concept of a digital computer) Gottlieb Frege (1879) - Publishes Begriffschrift - Logic is reborn Richard Dedekind (1888) - Was sind und was solllen die Zahlen - Defines functions by induction Giuseppe Peano (1889) - Aximatizes arithmetic for natural numbers
    • Example: Cantor’s Diagonal
    • Early work and Problems Russel finds a flaw in Frege's work (and Russel's paradox) Hilbert's problems and his program All of math follows from a correctly-chosen finite system of axioms; and that some such axiom system is provably consistent. Principia Mathematica (1910) Emil post - Truth table and decision procedure for prop logic
    • Russel’s Paradox (Formulated as the Barber Problem) We have a barber who shaves all men who do not shave themselves If a man shaves himself, the barber does not shave him, if he doesn’t the barber does. Who shaves the barber? The first statement actually defines a set, the problem is about sets that contain themselves as members.
    • A Brief Aside Validity: in logic, the form of an argument is valid precisely if it cannot lead from true premises to a false conclusion Decidability: there exists an algorithm such that for every formula in the system the algorithm is capable of deciding in finitely many steps whether the formula is valid in the system or not. (computable, recursive, or Turing computable set) Contradiction: the proposition that a formal theory or a physical theory contains no contradictions. See consistency proof. Complete: first-order predicate calculus are "complete" in the sense that no additional inference rule is required to prove all the logically valid formulas (Godel’s Completeness Theorem)
    • Godel’s Incompleteness For any consistent formal, recursively enumerable or effectively generated theory that proves basic arithmetical truths, an arithmetical statement that is true but not provable in the theory can be constructed. That is, any theory capable of expressing elementary arithmetic cannot be both consistent and complete. This sentence is not true - The liar paradox This sentence is not provable - Godel's undecidable sentence
    • Turing Machines Computing
    • But Turing Machines can’t decide everything. The halting problem is, in theory if not in practice, The Halting Problem decidable for deterministic machines with finite memory. A machine with finite memory has a finite number of states, and thus any deterministic program on it must eventually either halt or repeat a If halt, don’t halt! Run forever. previous state: Sounds kinda familiar. "...any finite-state machine, if left completely to itself, will fall eventually into a perfectly periodic repetitive pattern. The duration of this repeating pattern cannot exceed the number internal states There is a diagonalization proof of the machine..."(Minsky 1967) of this too. Minsky warns us, however, that machines such as computers with e.g. a million small parts, each with two states, will have on the order of 2^1,000,000 possible states:
    • Application: Political Philosophy & Ethics Dialogue at Melos and Ethical Relativism
    • The Euthyphro Question “Is an action wrong because God forbids it or does God forbid it because it is wrong?” The Two Possible Answers to the Euthyphro Question (the two "horns" of the dilemma): “God forbids an action because it is wrong” Consequence: there is some standard of right and wrong that is independent of God's will. wrong actions were already wrong prior to God's forbidding them “An action is wrong because God forbids it” (i) Morality is Contingent. So any action that is actually wrong could have been morally right, including, say, acts of torturing innocent children for fun. (ii) God's Commands are Arbitrary. If things aren't right or wrong or good or bad independent of God's commanding or forbidding them, then it seems God has no basis on which to choose what to command and what to forbid. He has no good reasons for forbidding the things he forbids. (iii) God's Goodness is Trivial and Therefore Not Praiseworthy. If whatever God prefers is thereby automatically best, then the fact that God always prefers the best is a trivial fact, true merely by definition. But then His always preferring the best does not make Him praiseworthy.
    • Kantian Ethics The categorical imperative is the central "A man reduced to despair by a series of philosophical concept of the moral philosophy of misfortunes feels sick of life, but is still so far in Immanuel Kant, and to modern deontological ethics. possession of his reason that he can ask himself Kant introduced this concept in Groundwork of the whether taking his own life would not be contrary to Metaphysic of Morals. his duty to himself. Now he asks the maxim of his action could become a universal law of nature. But his maxim is this: from self-love I make as my principle to shorten my life when its continued Moral theory as normative formation of maxims duration threatens more evil than it promises satisfaction. "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a There only remains the question as to whether this universal law." principle founded on self-love can become a universal law of nature. One sees at once that a contradiction in a system of nature whose law "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether would destroy life by means of the very same feeling in your own person or in the person of any other, that acts so as to stimulate the furtherance of life, always at the same time as an end and never simply and hence there could be no existence as a system as a means" of nature. Therefore, such a maxim cannot possibly hold as a universal law of nature and is, consequently, wholly opposed to the supreme principle of all duty” Therefore, every rational being must so act as if he were through his maxim always a legislating member in the universal kingdom of ends."
    • Modern Ethics & Foundations of Politics Rawls and the Veil of Ignorance Drawn heavily from the theory of choice (a maxi-min problem) Democracy as solution, deliberative democracy
    • Unpractical Unapplied Follow St. Anselm's Ontological Proof for God’s Existence 1) God is defined as the being in which none greater is possible. 2) It is true that the notion of God exists in the understanding (your mind.) 3) And that God may exist in reality (God is a possible being.) 4) If God only exists in the mind, and may have existed, then God might have been greater than He is. 5) Then, God might have been greater than He is (if He existed in reality.) 6) Therefore, God is a being which a greater is possible. 7) This is not possible, for God is a being in which a greater is impossible. 8) Therefore God exists in reality as well as the mind.
    • Art A.I. & The Interweb
    • From Wagner to Virtual Reality Wagner - Outlines of the Artwork of the Future Gesamkunstwerk - idea of total art What is art anyway, is forgery art? (Van Meegeren’s case) Realist rational notions and ‘hyperexperience’
    • Orality & Literacy Walter Ong and a new Orality Plato’s Position Post-structuralist Critique Destabilized meaning, deconstruction, and Derrida (with help from semiotics, Barthes & Foucault) Intertextuality & Hyperlinks Fight of the Century: Author v. Reader
    • Life in the tubes Practical Instantiation of Philosophical Problems Engelbart - Augmenting human intellect: a conceptual framework Vannever Bush "As we may think"
    • Computing Wisdom The Turing Test
    • Computing Wisdom The Chinese Room
    • Rationalism and Empiricism Revisited This distinction is less clear (as is the realist nonrealist one) The web as ‘reality’ is seemingly different from existence Shout out to linguistics (Sapir–Whorf hypothesis)
    • Practical Philosophy veni vidi vici
    • Guide to Interacting with Philosophers Philosophers come in two batches Some are hopeful 10% Most are critical But Philosophers are normal people too! 90%
    • Argument Philosophy is an Argument Assumptions Goals (Desired Properties) Possible motivations Form of argument
    • Example: Proof that .99999999999 = 1 Assumptions Goals Motivations (in this case, to start an argument) Form of argument Here the most important parts are the assumptions, which in this case are pretty much definitions