Links of interest (may 2012)

I’m taking over the Noumenal Realm for a few days, as Michael and Sinistre are on a buddy-movie style adventure weekend (their words not mine) involving go-karts and ritualistic pre-marital ceremony of male bonding of stags (my words, not theirs). So I’m focussing the posts for this week/end. I will talk about some interesting links that I’ve found over the past few days:

Laura Woodhouse writes in The F-Word that ‘There’s nothing radical about transphobia‘. Addressing an issue of a radical feminist conference which is cisgender discriminating. Michael has encouraged us at Noumenal realm to read Serrano’s book ‘Whipping Girl’, which has been mentioned before on this blog, which touches on the way that feminists fall short of inclusiveness when it comes to trans women.

Another link of interest is “Looks Philosophical”, a tumblr that features contemporary philosophers in environs that are part of their everyday life. The blog addresses a cognitve notion called implicit bias and also tries to tackle the stereotypes of what philosophers look like: namely, older white men with upper middle class backgrounds and possibly have beards/pipes. I must admit some pictures have blown my perception of what philosophers can be like, Dr. E. Barnes of Leeds, whose work on metaphysics I’ve come across once or twice, is awesome at yoga, for example, plus there is this absolutely awesome gem.

Finally, I shall refer you to BBC Radio 4’s ‘In Our Time‘ podcast, which has in recent weeks put out some absolutely wonderful topics, I particularly enjoyed the recent episode on Voltaire and the Noumenal men enjoyed the one on Game Theory. Someone on the Noumenal team has an anecdote about Lord Bragg that he loves repeating, but never ask him about it, ever…

We have had a recent surge in views with our blog in recent weeks, we want to thank you all for helping us pass the 60k viewer mark, even the robots who do not spam us very often. Often many of you are here for very specific posts (like the one on sexual surrogacy or ‘mewling quim’), but as the motto in Springfield church once read: come for the sermons, stay for the pie. We appreciate your views.

Another link we recommend is an interesting take by a philosopher of physics on a recent book by science populariser Lawrence Krauss. This article has been the heart of a storm of other pieces about Krauss’ monograph and raises general discussions about the role of philosophy in physics. We’be been reading as a group the biography of Richard Feynman by J. Glieck. Feynman was by most accounts, a physicist who was prolific in both his work and personal reputation. One thing that made Feynman distinct from someone like a Newton or an Einstein was his attitude towards physics, although he problematically calls out on the issues of classical physics as a younger man, he also has little time for the big theories in the sense of a Laplacean God. Sinistre points out how there was a philosophical focus to much of Einstein’s popularising work, while someone like Feynman has no time for philosophy and would rather focus on the mathematical nieceties. It is a distinct cultural shift certainly, I think the Krauss-gate reflects the cavalier nature of physicists and their claim to epistemic supremacy. In fairness, they did come up with the underlying technology for GPS and 3G networks, and I love those angry birds.


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