thinking makes it so

There is grandeur in this view of life…

Heath Robinson goes to Church

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Stuart Kauffman

Stuart Kauffman

I talked last time about left-handed amino acids and right-handed sugars. This was one of the examples of ‘emergenceStuart Kauffman mentions in his book Reinventing the Sacred. I now want to talk about his computing example, because I really don’t get this one.

[Third in a series on Stuart A Kauffman’s Reinventing the Sacred which began with Reinventing the sand dune.]

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Left over right and right over left

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I spoke last time about what I thought was one of Stuart Kauffman’s points in Reinventing the Sacred. This was that although you could explain for example a sand dune in terms of subatomic particles (by way of grains of sand and then silicon and oxygen ions), you couldn’t do the same thing if you started with a living organism. The living organism is an emergent real entity while the sand dune is not.

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Reinventing the sand dune

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I have just finished reading Stuart A Kauffman’s Reinventing the Sacred. I agree with some of it, but with some of it I profoundly disagree. It could be that I disagree most profoundly with the profoundest part of it.

Stuart A Kauffman

Stuart A Kauffman

The last few chapters are quite moralising. But it’s not really the sentiments I reject. Kauffman’s heart seems to be in the right place. It’s his logic that worries me, some of which could be quite dangerous logic.

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On the side of the angels

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On 1 May 2011 Pope Benedict XVI beatified Pope John Paul II, taking him one step closer to sainthood.

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

This was on the grounds of nun Sister Marie Simon-Pierre’s miracle cure from Parkinson’s disease after she had prayed to the former Pope. Pope John Paul had himself suffered from the disease.

They only need one more miracle. That shouldn’t be difficult. There are over a billion Catholics in the world. Surely a big enough sample to yield a single random inexplicable remission?

The real miracle would be if no ‘miracle’ happened. But that’s by the by.

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Written by Chris Lawrence

8 May 2011 at 7:48 am

Michael Sandel on Justice #7

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Should present-day Germans apologise for the Holocaust? Should present-day (white) Americans apologise for slavery and racial segregation? Should present-day (white) Australians apologise for the historic maltreatment of Australian Aborigines?

Michael J Sandel

Michael J Sandel

This is the seventh and last part of a series on Michael J Sandel’s Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? which started with Michael Sandel on Justice #1.

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Michael Sandel on Justice #6

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I said at the start of this series that I wasn’t so much disagreeing with the ethical content of what Michael Sandel was saying than with the theoretical implications.

Michael J Sandel

Michael J Sandel

In Chapter 9, What Do We Owe One Another? / Dilemmas of Loyalty, Sandel reaches what could be the crux of his argument.

This is the sixth part of a series on Michael J Sandel’s Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? which started with Michael Sandel on Justice #1.

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Michael Sandel on Justice #5

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So I don’t see the gap Michael Sandel sees in John Rawls’s liberal egalitarianism. So I don’t see the need to bring Aristotle into it. And I don’t think Aristotle makes the ground any firmer anyway.

Aristotle

Aristotle

This is the fifth part of a series on Michael J Sandel’s Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? which started with Michael Sandel on Justice #1.

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