Unfinished Thoughts

A scratchpad for exploring favorite themes: Borges, time, consciousness, computer science, etc.

Practical Skepticism

06 January, 2019

So much of philosophy feels almost purely academic: questions about whether we’re brains in a vat, or whether we were created a second ago…

Our Recursive World

11 November, 2018

I’ve come to think of almost everything as explainable by some sort of feedback loop. ...

Time As Incremental Loss

07 November, 2018

Loss has nothing to do with the past and everything to do with the future. You can’t lose what has already happened; the past is immutable…

“To Foresee a Circumstantial Detail Is to Prevent Its Happening”

28 October, 2018

I think of this passage almost every time I speculate about the future...

Time as Absolution

23 October, 2018

Religion (at least certain versions of it) offers a clean slate: “all is forgiven.” Yet mere time offers something almost as powerful. We…

“The Absolute and Marvelous”

22 October, 2018

An absolutely lovely passage out of Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire

The Ontological Status of the Past

19 October, 2018

What’s the ontological status of the past? Is it less real than the present because it no longer exists? Or more real because, in a universe…

Reliving Your Life

15 October, 2018

Suppose the dead can return to the world and be anyone from any era: inhabit the life of a living person, think what they think, feel what…

Borges's Most Borgesian Opening Sentence

12 October, 2018

On the burning February morning Beatriz Viterbo died, after braving an agony that never for a single moment gave way to self-pity or fear, I…

What Could Be More Human?

07 October, 2018

What could be more human than making art? Than mastering a highly complex physical skill (fulfilling our evolutionary destiny as the…