Saturday, March 15, 2008

Vincula, a.k.a., Links

* Michael Heller, Some Remarks on the Multiverse Concept (PDF)

* In a comment on an old post on the Euthyphro Dilemma, Sam recently pointed out this recent online discussion of the problem.

* Non-German Ph.D.'s in Germany who call themselves "Dr." can be interrogated by the police for breaking the law:

The German doctor rule has been in effect since the 1930s, but it has been only sporadically enforced in recent years.

That changed last fall, when an anonymous tipster filed a complaint with federal prosecutors against seven Americans at the prestigious Max Planck Society, which operates 80 scientific research institutes across Germany. Federal authorities forwarded the complaint to prosecutors and police in at least three states, who decided to take action.

Seriously, what type of person goes around filing complaints against eminent scientists for title abuse? (ht)

* Jonah Lehrer suggests a more Dewey-esque approach to teaching algebra in high schools.

* John S. Wilkins on a very bad philosophy talk. I actually think this is a fairly common problem among both those who self-identify as 'analytic' and those who self-identify as 'continental'. The problem in both cases is that what you're trained to do in both of those approaches is purely general, with a focus on these or those hot topics as paradigms; the ability to use it to good effect in particular fields has to be earned. There is certainly nothing wrong with muddling through, if you're learning; it's a great way to learn, in fact, just like getting lost several times in a city is a very effective way to discover all sorts of great (or bad) things about it. But that's not really a well-chosen time to do a talk on the subject. Perhaps that's a good reason to get a blog....

* Finally a journalist who did a journalistic investigation into how news stories about the Pope end up insanely and obviously wrong. This sort of snowballing error is found in a great many more cases than the one discussed; and the Pope is hardly the only religious figure to have to deal with it. (For that matter, I wouldn't be surprised if many of the wackier science news stories are due to the same snowballing effect.)

* Kenny discusses Berkeley's theory of reference and its use in the critique of materialism.

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