Tag Archives | Unethical Philosophy

Missing the Train to Elea

Popular culture gets Zeno’s paradox wrong again:

dilbert-zeno

There’s a widespread impression that Zeno’s proposed problem is that after you reach the halfway point to your destination, you then have to go halfway to the remaining distance, and so on ad infinitum, so that you get closer and closer to your goal but never reach it.

But that’s not how the paradox goes. The problem is much worse. The paradox is that before you can get halfway to your destination, you have to get halfway to the halfway point, and so on ad infinitum, so that you can never even start moving. (Here’s Rose Wilder lane making the same mistake.)

Probably the mistake arose from someone conflating this paradox with another of Zeno’s paradox, the Achilles, in which the fastest runner gets closer and closer to catching up to the slowest runner.


Demon-Haunted Providence

HP2

HPL2

I spent last weekend in Providence, at Brown’s Political Theory Project (right next to H. P. Lovecraft Memorial Square), at a workshop (my second one) on Matt Zwolinski and John Tomasi’s excellent forthcoming history of libertarianism.

My taxi driver was the nephew of Roderick Chisholm! He told me of Chisholm’s accordionist skills; I told him that his uncle’s name had become a verb.


Call for Papers: Alabama Philosophical Society

This year’s APS will be October 2-3 in Pensacola; submission deadline is August 2nd. Note also the undergrad essay contest (Alabama students only), which pays $100 plus one night’s stay at the conference hotel.

More info here.


Like Noises In a Swound

I enjoyed my trip to Duluth. After my left-libertarian talk (powerpoint slides here), several leftists in the audience told me that they’d come prepared to do combat with the evil libertarian but ended up surprised and intrigued instead. (Upcoming speakers in the “Ethics of the Market” speaker series may not be as lucky.)

My host, Shane Courtland, was fun to hang out with as well (even if he is a Hobbesian). His office is filled with action figures, ranging from Darth Vader to Walter White.

The hotel where they put me up is in a cool old brewery overlooking the vast frozen expanse that is Lake Superior. Imagine this picture but with everything much whiter:

fitgers-inn

Less delightfully, my bag took a couple of days longer to get back from Duluth than I did (and Delta told me it had delivered my bag to me fifteen hours before it actually did so).

In other news, over the next couple of days I’ll be at my department’s annual conference.


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