Some philosophical kisses

The Heidegger kiss: all your kisses are okay, but never as good as before the latinization of Greece.

A friend sent me a link to some definitions of kisses as they might be defined according to certain philosophers. E.g., and Aristotelian kiss: a kiss performed using techniques gained solely from theoretical speculation untainted by any experiential data by one who feels that the latter is irrelevant anyway.

I came up with a few others.

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Yochai Benkler on the End of Universal Rationality

How the myth of wholly self-interested individuals is holding us back

Edge is one of my favourite online newsletters, and I really wish I had more time to read each issue. Issue 279 has a great essay/video by Yochai Benkler, co-direcetor of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. He discusses the gradual (though far from complete) abandonment of the self-interest-maximizing homo economicus over the last fifteen to twenty years, focusing on sociology, management practices and poli-sci (in addition, obviously, to economics).

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Ray Kurzweil on the Future of GNR

Minority Report + Jaxon X + Skynet = bad news?

Ray Kurzweil, author of (among other books) The Age of Spiritual Machines, expounds on the promises and pitfalls of the coming expansion of GNR (genetics, nanotech, and robotics) technology, claiming that by 2029 scientists will have effectively modelled the human mind, producing artificial intelligence fully capable of passing a Turing test.

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Craftmanship in the age of industry

However much skill [the ordinary workman] may have in his fingers and conscientiousness in his mind, he can no longer be regarded as an artist, because his skill is not that of a man making things.

From an interview with Eric Gill, creator of Gill Sans (among others), published in the April 2009 MyFonts newsletter:

The chief and most monstrous characteristic of our time is that the methods of manufacture which we employ and of which we are proud are such to make it impossible for the ordinary workman to be an artist, that is to say a man responsible not merely for doing what he is told but responsible also for the intellectual quality of what his deeds effect. The ordinary workman has been reduced to the level of a mere tool used by someone else. However much skill he may have in his fingers and conscientiousness in his mind, he can no longer be regarded as an artist, because his skill is not that of a man making things. He is simply a tool used by a designer and the designer is alone the artist.

Susan Sontag: why style is important

Why style is the most important element in a work of art

I love reading things that introduce me to a new way of thinking. To hold a (good) book in your hand is, as Anne Michaels wrote in Fugitive Pieces, to be  “a pilgrim at the gates of a new city.” Susan Sontag‘s Against Interpretation, particularly the opening essays, is exemplary of just such a book.

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Inconsolata: a nice, new (free!) monospace font

Proving that monospace fonts don’t have to suck

Inconsolata is a new, free, monospace font from Ralph Levien, maintainer of Ghostscript, which definitely proves that “monospace fonts do not have to suck.”

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Global survey: the importance of religion in your daily life

Turns out Canadians may be more religious than you suspected, and Americans less so.

Continuing with the theme of religion from yesterday’s post, results from Gallup’s 2007-08 State of the World – Religion Survey have been released, showing that 45% of Canadians say religion is an important part of their daily lives—a number comparable to that of New Hampshire, Taiwan, South Korea, Montegro and Switzerland.

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Can religion and science be reconciled?

Scientist Jerry Coyne argues persuasively that, in important ways, they cannot.

Jerry Coyne, in Seeing and Believing for The New Republic answer this question in the negative, examining Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution, by Karl W. Giberson and Only A Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul, by Kenneth R. Miller and finding both lacking in their attempts to bridge the gap between the two.

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