Zombie Philosophy

Bakker (snipped from a crucial post):

There will always be speculation — science is our only reliable provender of theoretical cognition, after all. The question of the death of philosophy cannot be the question of the death of theoretical speculation. The death of philosophy as I see it is the death of a particular institution, a discourse anchored in the tradition of using intentional idioms and metacognitive deliverances to provide theoretical solutions. I think science is killing that philosophy as we speak.

Once philosophy has been completely de-vitalized, compliance with its true vocation can begin …


Literal nightmares:

Jennifer Doudna has been among the most vocal of those calling for caution on what she sees as the inevitable march toward editing human genes. “It’s going to happen,” she told me the first time we met, in her office at Berkeley. […] … Her eyes narrowed, and she lowered her voice almost to a whisper. “I have never said this in public, but it will show you where my psyche is,” she said. “I had a dream recently, and in my dream” — she mentioned the name of a leading scientific researcher — “had come to see me and said, ‘I have somebody very powerful with me who I want you to meet, and I want you to explain to him how this technology functions.’ So I said, Sure, who is it? It was Adolf Hitler. I was really horrified, but I went into a room and there was Hitler. He had a pig face and I could only see him from behind and he was taking notes and he said, ‘I want to understand the uses and implications of this amazing technology.’ I woke up in a cold sweat. …

Underlinings (#27)

Peter Galison on Einstein and Poincaré (from Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps: Empires of Time, 2003):

Yet despite their differences, both were grappling with the same extraordinary insight into electrocoordinated time, and in so doing both men stood at the crossing of two great movements. On one side lay the vast modern technological infrastructure of trains, shipping, and telegraphs that joined under the signs of clocks and maps. On the other, a new sense of the mission of knowledge was emerging, one that would define time by pragmatism and conventionality, not by eternal truths and theological sanction. Technological time, metaphysical time, and philosophical time crossed in Einstein’s and Poincaré’s electrically synchronized clocks. Time coordination stood, unequaled, at that intersection: the modern junction of knowledge and power.

(Tracking this techno-cultural lineage forward into Bitcoin is illuminating.)