Shameless Self-promotion

I’ll preface my words of glory with the caveat that says that ‘I am sure that some of you will find this interesting.’

My day job is that of a Philosopher. I teach (and quite well if student evaluations and ovations are a measure of success) and I research.

And today my research has finally produced fruit.

Some of you will know that my field is Epistemology, and that I have an interest in weird phenomenon. I’m not a Believer in that I am fairly sure that life is chemical and that ghosts are simply misunderstood instances of natural laws oprating in conjunction with particular facts. Still, as an epistemologist I can’t deny that perhaps, just possibly, some of the features of the world as we claim to know it (through the practice of the Natural Sciences) are, in fact, misunderstood.

It’s a pity then that more people aren’t epistemologists.

Last year there was a slight verbal scuffle between Drs. Michael Shermer and Freeman Dyson on the matter of evidence for the existence of the paranormal. I read both tracts and found myself siding with Dyson, who thinks there is reason to think that paranormal phenomenon might be a justified belief, rather than Shermer, one of America’s most prominent Skeptics.

So I wrote a paper on the material, filling out the vague argument I thought Dyson was suggesting, for presentation at a conference.

A version of this paper has now been accepted for publication in ‘The Skeptic,’ edited by Dr. Shermer.

This makes me happy. Happy because finally my interest in weirdness has produced not one but three reasons to think that we should entertain beliefs about paranormal phenomenon, happy because I’ve managed to write a paper on Epistemology that is scientist-friendly (according to Shermer) and happy because the paper is, whilst not overly critical of Skeptics (who I do think should become Epistemologists and also be a little more aware of the History of Science) does point out that garden-variety Skepticism, that which proclaims the Cult of Science, isn’t such a happy place to be after all.

I’m mostly happy, however, because this paper shows that Philosophy is, as it always has been, useful to Science (whose proponents often ridicule their parent discipline).

Whilst I may make enemies tomorrow today I make a friend of the world.

In the Future there Will Be Robots…

…and the robots came to visit today.

Shahin Maghsoudi, a former student of the Philosophy Department and Technical Director of robot-hosting.com has developed robots for use as lecturing assistants. Now I don’t know about you, but to me the idea of a robot lecturing assistant fills with me with images… Images of a mighty bloodbath as an endo-skeleton war-machine marches into a lecture hall. It pauses only briefly before killing the whelps and maiming anyone who dares to run away. A deathly silence falls over the room as it crushes the lecturer between its titanium thighs before stating, in its Vin Diesel voice, that now is the time to learn about Modus Ponens…

Before spraying the room with napalm.

That is a robot.

Which is why I must report with some degree of disillusionment that the robot I cheerfully went to see today (my Department is considering implementing them) was a Half-Life 2-esque character model.

And all she did was give out canned responses when you clicked on a box.

The future is arriving and it’s yesterday’s model.

More on the ‘Lie’

The problem with deceit is that it is the ultimate weapon.

Take my ‘lie.’ When things aren’t going smoothly it becomes more than mere deceit. At these moments it is a potential weapon, the first article of war that burns within me.

And it only serves to make matters all the more worse.

As a weapon its power is legion. When she pisses me off it urges me to tell her. To reveal that I never intended to touch her hand that fateful night. To mention that what she takes to be the start of our relationship was just… an accident.

And that urge is pure vengeance.

The ‘lie’ now becomes a set of words, designed to hurt.

And what scares me is that I would use them without any regard for my own preservation…

Now she might shrug it off (given roses and chocolates and Baileys…). But no matter how happy we might then seem the ‘lie’ would live on.

In both of us.

And when the tables turn, and they would, she would use the ‘lie’ against me.

Because my words would fester in her heart from then on, and thus my vengeance would be the undoing of everything.

So much for the ‘truth…’

These things happen…

Dear Mr. Dentith

I recently saw Lom Wang who is suffers from backpain. I treated a needles in his lower region – he will be unable to sit test.

Dr. Law

–

“I need an A for this course.”

“No, you want an A. You don’t need an A; what you need is a passing grade… Like a C-.”

“I have to get into Law next semester.”

“Admirable. So you’ve come to ask after what to study for the next test…”

“No, I just want you to give me an A.”

“Really? Tell you what, you study really hard for the next test and get full marks…”

“But I’ve failed the course…”

“Don’t be silly; the last test is worth 40%… What did you get for the other tests?”

“I didn’t sit them.”

“… Sorry, why should I give you this A?”

“I have to get into Law next semester or my parents will kill me.”

“I’d recommend police protection then.”

“Do we have any larger bulldog clips? Ah, thanks, that’ll do nicely. Now I just need to find some nipples to pitch.”