A year down the line, it was obvious to Vance that the negotiations were going nowhere. It had been a mildly reassuring discovery that when frustrated, the outworld delegation took refuge in alcohol as easily as humans did. At the bar nearest to the conference centre, he and ǂXʘn, his outworld counterpart, were becoming progressively more drunk. At least, Vance was. He wasn’t too sure about ǂXʘn, who was moodily tapping a tentacle on the bar counter.
“I think your fundamental problem is cultural relativism,” said ǂXʘn.
“What do you mean?”
“It seems to me that you humans,” — the…
Philosophers are sometimes seen as superior minds with deep insights that transcend those of ordinary mortals like you and me. Chalmers’ “Hard Problem” of consciousness highlights how silly this idea is. I here show how the so-called hard problem is based on a simple misapprehension. To understand feelings of ‘self’, you need to employ the concept of ‘self-reference’. Chalmers doesn’t, and those philosophers who have, seem to have either been a bit scatterbrained, or got caught up in a welter of detail. The attention his ‘problem’ has commanded suggests that many contemporary philosophers have rather lost the plot. Here’s the…
Have you come across the word ‘ethicals’ before?
In some dictionaries, it’s merely listed as the plural of the word ‘ethical’, but the word has long been used to signify “prescription-only medicines”. I was once struck by the term “ethical ethicals”, which has a certain ring to it. I used to believe that, as a concept, “ethical ethicals” is viable. Now I’m not so sure.
There is empiric evidence that in the past, drug manufacture and distribution had a component of benevolence — ethical behaviour — that was not entirely centred on short-term profit taking.
It’s a little-known fact that those trapped in the Sixth Circle of Hell — heretics like Epicurus and me, who assert that the soul dies with the body— can take short holidays to the Fourth Circle, to make our subsequent confinement on Level 6 even more terrible, and allow the demons who tend our flaming tombs to take a little break and recharge.
I tried this Level 4 pilgrimage recently, in December 2020. Isaac Newton’s birthday, it seems, is on 25 December, so call it “Xmas hols for demons”. Newton was quite nasty enough to make it to hell, and…
Where we are with current vaccines? How do they work, and what do we know about their strengths and weaknesses? Who cares? Aren’t we saturated with news about bloody COVID-19? Why should we care?
I care. Getting the vaccines right is important. Yet in among all of the data about vaccines, I’ve struggled to find balanced, joined up information. Hence this little overview, which strangely enough ends on an upbeat note.
For your convenience, I’ve broken the body into three: vaccines that are “at the front”, “perhaps a bit dodgy” and “in the pipeline”. The most important bit may be…
Can you recall the smell and feel and dimensions of news from yesteryear? News written on paper. Actual newspapers? Can you recall how thin the December papers were, especially just after Christmas? Alas, no more.
Modern news is different. There is an inexhaustible supply. Or so it seems. Have you noticed how electronic news behaves just like that task currently hanging over your head — it always more than fills up the space allocated to it? There’s never “no news”, even if there isn’t any news.
Can’t sing. Can’t dance. Can program a little. Has a few medical degrees &c.