posted 4 days ago on metafilter
Photos of Yugoslav monuments known as spomeniks are often shared online, exoticised and wrenched from context. But now, argues Owen Hatherley, it is vital that we make the effort to understand what they truly represent.

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on metafilter
My partner just started a new job at Big Company that uses Office 365. If you're using 365, your name will show up on the top right hand side of every document. You can logout but the system will automatically log you back in if you open another file. Is it possible to stay logged out?This is just about the name, no privacy concerns (the company owns all). My partner is in the process of changing their name but until required paperwork goes through, the company is using their official name and having it on every doc that is staring into their face is bringing up unhealthy feelings. (This is not about the initials/name info under the options menu. That can be user-modified. It is specifically about the name showing in the top right side of every MS document. )

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on metafilter
For those of you who have some kind of retirement plan in place, how does Social Security fit into it? Or, if you are retired and drawing Social Security: How is it working out? Do you expect to make any changes in the upcoming years? (Yes, this is a rather US-centric question, I'm sorry).There was a recent question here on AskMe from a couple who, after much hard work and self-discipline, have put all of their debt behind them, they've got a good incomes flowing in, and their future is looking bright. It made me happy. In that thread, several people brought up the importance of saving for retirement. But only one contributor made a brief reference to Social Security. Thus this question. I'm aware that Social Security is a touchy subject: I'd like to ask that people stay away from politics and recriminations and instead focus on plans, strategies, tools, resources, and other things that might be useful to people thinking about Social Security as a facet of their retirement. Practical tales of what works and what doesn't work would be especially appreciated.

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on metafilter
Since the 60s, *every* field has become beset by specialization, fueled by increasing competition for jobs and spiraling productivity, which forces researchers to take a narrow, goal-oriented, approach to science. Those who don't do this to some degree vanish. (twitter thread) Thread reader version. Inciting article from Nature. Preprint on github(pdf). Abstract More than a half-century ago, the 'cognitive revolution', with the influential tenet 'cognition is computation', launched the investigation of the mind through a multidisciplinary endeavour called cognitive science. Despite significant diversity of views regarding its definition and intended scope, this new science, explicitly named in the singular, was meant to have a cohesive subject matter, complementary methods and integrated theories. Multiple signs, however, suggest that over time the prospect of an integrated cohesive science has not materialized. Here we investigate the status of the field in a data-informed manner, focusing on four indicators, two bibliometric and two socio-institutional. These indicators consistently show that the devised multi-disciplinary program failed to transition to a mature inter-disciplinary coherent field. Bibliometrically, the field has been largely subsumed by (cognitive) psychology, and educationally, it exhibits a striking lack of curricular consensus, raising questions about the future of the cognitive science enterprise.

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on metafilter
Coldwar_Steve "I don't know what I would do if couldn't satirise these repellent, grotesque imbeciles. From the point of view of creating art, it's a fantastic time, there's so much material. But thinking of my daughters growing up in this world is frightening – a small, shrinking island, bitter little England. I just hope good will prevail in the end." From The Guardian: 'His work features public figures in typically English settings – seaside towns, low-cost supermarkets, working men's clubs, car boot sales, a nostalgic place of "Fray Bentos pies and insipid high streets". Among the Brexit cast list are Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Theresa May, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Jeremy Corbyn and the Queen. An international presence is supplied by Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-Un.' Picture gallery, The Guardian. The Time Magazine cover, link from The Poke. Article from June 2018: After the EU referendum and US election, Spencer's images became more surreal... He also introduced oddball repeated motifs — a post-lunch footballer-turned-radio-pundit Alan Brazil, Sam Allardyce eating a Fray Bentos pie, a tapir — that, argues Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson, took McFadden's Cold War to the next level. "The secret of comedy is the catchphrase," he explains. "Steve Bell's penguins. My fur cup. Repeat certain jokes, they get funnier each time. Also, the best satire isn't about puncturing pomposity but pointing out these people still shit and will die. James Gillray showed the monarch at stool. McFadden's Cold War drops Trump and Kim down a dogging layby. It's bringing them down to our level."

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on metafilter
I feel doomed to be an angry, bitter person for the rest of my life – and I don't want that. I'm looking for reassurance that I'm not the only one who struggles with issues with expressing anger, and any tips for channeling and releasing this feeling would be so helpful.I feel that I've been stomped on and steamrolled by so many people in my past. Multiple abusive relationships. Horrible "friends". Sometimes it's strangers I meet when dating or just existing in the world. I feel so beat down and worn out, but mostly sad, lonely and angry. I have no friends. I lock myself up in my apartment every day and have essentially stopped socializing entirely because I'm afraid and fully expect meeting another emotionally abusive asshole or someone who will treat me like crap and try to take advantage of me... and I won't have the capability to fight back, to articulate my anger effectively, and to not allow them to treat me that way. Why should I expect any different if this has been my truth so far? I spend my days just being so angry at the person I was. At the way I just let these people shit on me and couldn't fight back. Angry at them for not valuing me and for treating me that way in the first place. During fights with the most recent abusive ex, I felt paralyzed in not being able to express my anger articulately and effectively. I either wanted to explode but without the words to express why, or I just completely shut down. He was incredibly manipulative and domineering during fights, and I would just sit there silently and take it much of the time... it's just the effect he had on me. It's like it sucked the brain power out of me and I couldn't handle it. He would want me to react or respond but I felt like my voice was taken out of my body and by the time we were done, I felt that I was wrong and bad. This guy was a real prize. Not only was he emotionally abusive, but he essentially strung me along and used me for sex for 3 years while I just nodded and went along with it, like I was hypnotized or something. So it doesn't say much for me either. I cut him out of my life about a year ago, but the hurt is with me today like it just happened. I'm ashamed that I let someone treat me that way, at 31. I mean dammit, I thought I was over these stupid patterns. It's my fault for picking and staying with these people. But honestly sometimes I wonder.. is it me? Am I making these people act crazy?? I certainly don't have a fan club of ride or die bffs telling me that no, of course I'm good and no, there's nothing wrong with me. So it's always been easy for me to believe all these people who tell me I'm shitty. It's like when you hear someone say that all of their exes are crazy but then you realize, oh man, it's because he/she made them crazy. Sometimes I think that maybe I'm that person that seems to bring out the evil in people. I'm in therapy and working on establishing better boundaries with people and trying to make sure I don't keep picking people who treat me badly. But it doesn't make my current frustration at the past others and past me go away. My therapist is nice to talk to but not really helpful in this regard. She'd say something like "I wish you would have raged on [recent ex]" which honestly feels unproductive because it leads me to beat myself up about the situation even more about what I didn't do, didn't say, etc. She doesn't provide much comfort or practical tips beyond things like why don't you meditate or try an adaptogenic herb! Maybe hot tea! It feels horrible. I can't displace it or channel it. All of these people who hurt me, manipulated me, and treated me like garbage are out of my life completely, which is a good thing but it also means I have nowhere to put my anger. It feels like it consumes me, and I have no way out. I exercise regularly (multiple times a week) and while it takes the edge off, I still tend to live in this state of hurt. I would love to hear from anyone who has been through this and made it out the other side, somehow. I feel doomed to be an angry, bitter person for the rest of my life – and I don't want that. It's feeling like a more constant state of mind for me. I think I'm partly looking for reassurance that I'm not the only one who struggles with issues with expressing anger. I feel so alone in this. Any tips for channeling and releasing this feeling would be so helpful. Thank you for listening.

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on metafilter
"If Sunkara asks "Freedom for whom?" Aaron Bastani wants to know "who will benefit?" The rise of Millennial Socialism (The New Statesman America) A specter is haunting the straight white liberal sixty-something American dad—the specter of his damn socialist kids. (Bookforum) "More than a century and a half after Marx first talked about the struggle between the ruling class and labour, the promise of capitalism — that progress was inevitable and would ultimately lead to good things for everyone — has proven empty for many people." Reclaiming Marxism in an age of meaningless work (CBC) "On further examination, I found a sign on printer paper attached to one of the side doors: LOOKING FOR SOCIALISTS? → THIS WAY!" Millennial Socialism from the point of view of the dictatorship of present. Say it loud, Say it proud, Democratic Socialism is the future (Medium) 'We Have to Talk About Democratic Socialism as an Alternative to Unfettered Capitalism' (The Nation)

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on metafilter
What did I just see flashing almost directly overhead? About 2235CDT, I was letting the whiney dog out and saw something flash almost overhead in my peripheral vision. I thought it was a meteor, but about 15-20 seconds later I saw it again.It was a bright flash, maybe slightly dimmer than tonight's moon, pretty quick ramp and decay (less than half a second). Using a finger at arm's length to be about half a degree, each flash was 1.5-2 degrees apart. It was moving roughly from SE to NW, based on alignment with my house, which blocked my ability to see further flashes. Location - 90W, 38.5N

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on metafilter
Are any organizations fighting against the U.S. concentration camps? I am thinking of through courts or protests. I would like to support that effort through donations or otherwise. I am a U.S. citizen, in case that makes any difference.This question is not about about directly or through donations helping the migrants to the United States along their journey. I know organizations that are helping the migrants with food, shelter, supplies, etc. Thanks.

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on metafilter
A brief history of the movie-summarizing end-credits rap from "Addams Family (Whoomp!)" to "Deepest Bluest" to far too many songs from Will Smith.

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on metafilter
How can I learn to be less set in my ways?People don't usually think of me as introverted because I am really social, but I can only really fully recharge through alone time. I'm in my 30s and as I've gotten older, I've grown to prefer my own society more and more. I have houseguests periodically (family) and right now have a relative staying with me for 3 weeks because of unforeseen circumstances. I'm really fond of my family but having to share my space with someone throws me off every single time. It doesn't help that my apartment is really small. It's difficult for me not to have my space to myself; my usual methods of recharging aren't available to me if someone else there. I've grown used to having my flat a certain way, of relaxing in a certain way (i.e. with the TV off, by myself, in my PJs). Having people around interferes with those goals because of the layout of the apartment etc. This has made me consider if there is work I have to do in learning to roll better with changing circumstances. What if I ever enter into a serious relationship or have kids or something? How am I ever going to cope if I can only really relax and feel recharged when I am by myself and I have things just so? How can I learn to be a bit more flexible and not get so worked up and grumpy every time my routine changes? Answers like not letting my family visit won't be very helpful in my particular circumstances. I come from a non-Western family-orientated culture and in most other ways the family-oriented cultural norms of my background have been positive influences in my life.

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on metafilter
Can we just say some pizzas are demonstrably better than others? The quality gap between the best and worst regional styles is a wide chasm. This doesn't apply to any other food in America with the exception of maybe barbecue (but even with barbecue, we're talking about a genre, not a specific dish). And frankly, some city's pizza styles are half-assed ideas that get disproportionate championing in the name of civic duty. Every city thinks it's the best in America, and we know that's just not possible. The same goes with pizza. (Kevin Pang, The Takeout)

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on metafilter
I am looking for an iOS app that will let me log housework tasks as I complete them - a reverse to-do list.I am NOT looking for a traditional to-do list or a scheduler. I do not want to plan ahead, just to log what I have already completed. All the housework-specific apps seem to focus on planning these recurring tasks in advance. Generic task management apps want me to set up daily/weekly routines. But I really don't want to be pestered about the floor-mopping being overdue, and planning a daily list in advance is not helpful right now because what I can do varies hugely day-to-day. What I'm looking for is more like a time tracker, but for specific tasks - "4 loads of laundry" rather than "16 minutes spent on laundry". What I want to be able to do with it is answer questions like "how many loads of dishes have I done this week?" or "when did I last water the windowboxes?" I know I could do this with a paper checklist stuck to the fridge, but it's 2019, surely there's an app somewhere.

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on metafilter
"This almanac of 1659, now lost, featured the first appearance of a character named Lustucru, a blacksmith turned brain surgeon or 'operateur cephalique' ... In today's terms, he went viral."

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on metafilter
I'm looking for family activities and outings for a toddler and a grandma who can't walk much due to rheumatoid arthritis. Both a-few-hour things and day long things. Both categories/ideas and specific location suggestions welcome. Bonus points for things open both weekends and weekdays.Specific locations should be Within say a 45-1 hour drive of downtown or west Toronto. Assume "walking around a supermarket to do weekly shopping" is too much walking.

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on metafilter
Eugene Lee Yang (of the Buzzfeed-pals-turned-giant-YouTube-stars The Try Guys) [The Try Guys previously] comes out as gay in a fully-choreographed music video.

Read More...
posted 5 days ago on metafilter
How can we plan a Hawaiian vacation for a family of four, in a way that most respects the native people of Hawaii, their culture and environment?We have no personal connection or roots in Hawaii, but want to plan a visit some time in the next year. We'd love to find a way for our tourism dollars to go to lodgings, tour operators, and other experiences that support native Hawaiians, rather than huge conglomerates... (We also have two little kids under the age of 4). How can we do this? Are there travel agencies, networks or other sources for this kind of travel in Hawaii? Bonus: our family loves Hawaiian music, and when our babies were born we mostly played them Hawaiian slack key guitar music. We'd love to attend some kind of authentic music festival or performance. We can travel any time of year!

Read More...
posted 5 days ago on metafilter
My children and I are dual citizen. German and American. We are flying from Austin, TX to Munich, Germany with a connecting flight in London, UK. I know I have to show my American Passport here in Austin and immigrate with the German Passport in Munich. Which passport do I show in London?

Read More...
posted 5 days ago on metafilter
I'm sorry, have guys heard of the "Joe Pera Reads You The Church Announcements" episode of Joe Pera Talks With You? It rocks! It's unbelievable! Music writer / politics reporter @DaveWeigel tweeted about it this morning and I haven't slept since. ed. note: this is a link to a website with a 10-minute long video. Here is a brief interview with Pera about this episode and others

Read More...
posted 5 days ago on metafilter
Remember the couch that I carefully purchased that color coordinates so well with our cats? Well, the cats have enjoyed the couch a bit too much, and we didn't act in time to prevent lots of couch damage. How should we repair and/or cover over this, and prevent further damage? Ideally, we'd like to return it to pre-scratch condition, but I realize that may not be possible.I've seen a few plastic covers, but those won't hide the damage. Ideally, I'd like to buy covers that cover the entire arm area in a fabric that complements the rest of the couch -- is that a thing? (I keep not seeing it in my search attempts.) Thanks!

Read More...
posted 5 days ago on metafilter
Apollo 11 in real-time. "This website replays the Apollo 11 mission as it happened, 50 years ago. It consists entirely of historical material. Select whether to begin one minute before launch, or click "Now" to drop in exactly 50 years ago, to-the-second during the anniversary."

Read More...
posted 5 days ago on metafilter
Anything that helped you or a loved one survive after a severe bout of pneumonia?I'm 75 years old, some physical issues (post polio syndrome) but good health for my age. Last Monday morning at 4:00 woke coughing, unable to breathe, called 911. Admitted to the hospital Monday morning, diagnosis pneumonia, released Friday evening, still on antibiotics. Will be talking to my regular doctor on Monday (hopefully). My family and friends are wonderful, but don't really know what will help. I'm frequently distressed, agitated, confused. I have never felt like this in my life. I have always heard that pneumonia is the old person's friend. I have been kept alive, but no one has actually helped heal me, and no one knows what I need now or in the future. Without antibiotics I would have died. That would have have been okay. How I am now is not so okay. Any thing you have to share is welcome. Namaste.

Read More...
posted 5 days ago on metafilter
After struggling for more than a decade with crazy-expensive medical issues, we're finally debt-free and consistently making more money than we spend. Now we're trying to figure out how to arrange our finances — and how to plug the gaping holes (retirement! college! home ownership!) that we simply weren't able to tackle previously. Now that the debt mountain is gone, how should we prioritize?Some details: 1) We're early 40ish, and made about $150K last year, and we're on track to make about the same this year. That's about a 50% increase from previous years. Our income is split roughly evenly between Spouse 1 and Spouse 2. 2) Spouse 1 is a professor with tenure, so her income (and benefits etc) are as reliable as it gets, and we can anticipate modest raises in future years. She also has opportunities to grab extra teaching that in a good year can boost her overall income by around 10%, though that's not guaranteed. 3) Spouse 2 is a freelancer, so his income fluctuates pretty wildly both month to month and year to year. He currently has a steady client that pays enough, after tax, to cover his contribution to our monthly budget. And he has a number of other less-steady clients that typically add anything between 25% and 100% as much again to our total income. He's been doing well the last couple of years, which is largely the reason for our higher total income. 4) Now we've finally paid off our debts, we've focused on building up some emergency reserves. By the end of next month we'll have 3 months of Spouse 2's contribution to our monthly budget in an emergency fund, and we'll also have a short-term "hey the car broke down" contingency fund of somewhere around $500-$1000. 5) We pay taxes both through Spouse 1's withholding and Spouse 2's estimated tax payments; we've saved enough to make these estimated payments and we're putting enough aside from Spouse 2's income to feel confident that we'll be able to pay any additional tax bill we face at the end of the year. 6) We've been paying into Spouse 1's 401k program in order to get the generous employer match, so we have about $120K in retirement funds. Spouse 2 doesn't have a separate retirement account yet, but as a freelancer he'd be able to divert a significant amount of his income into tax-exempt retirement accounts if we wanted to. 7) We have two very bright kids — aged 10 and 8 — who are likely to want to go to top-flight colleges. We just opened 529 accounts for them, and currently have about $100 in each — obviously this is a disaster and we feel terrible. We'd clearly have to save *very* aggressively to get anywhere close to having enough to offer meaningful help when college rolls around. We're open to helping them with their student loans post-facto too, of course. 8) We're currently renting an apartment in a pretty expensive market (Chicago) and have seen our rent go up by about 20% over the past few years, with more rent hikes likely coming soon. We think buying an apartment would make more sense for us long-term but we'd have to save aggressively to raise enough for even a modest downpayment. 9) We live very frugally, and our discretionary expenses are almost entirely focused on paying for the kids' extracurriculars — math classes for our very gifted eldest, piano lessons, and swimming lessons. We might be able to tighten our belt a little further, in places, but we've already done plenty of that to dig ourselves out of debt, and we really don't want to cut back on investing in our kids. Our current plan is to maintain an affordable (and very modest) monthly budget, and then divide up every additional dollar we make as follows: 30% taxes, 10% retirement, 10% college, 50% saving towards downpayment. We think this *might* get us to a point where we could get a low-downpayment mortgage and buy a house by next summer. If it doesn't, we're also considering using a 401K loan to make up the balance towards a downpayment — this would leave us with fairly substantial debt payments for several years, at a time when we'd also be new homeowners with potentially hard-to-anticipate expenses, but it would allow us to get our feet on the property ladder. Another option, of course, would be to pour everything into the downpayment kitty, and not save any additional money for retirement/college until we have a house. And still another option would be to save more aggressively for college/retirement, and to accept that we won't be buying a house for many more years to come. Basically, we feel like we're trying to juggle these three priorities — retirement, college, downpayment — and they all seem urgent and like things we should have done a decade ago. Now we're finally in a position to play catch-up, how should we prioritize? What might we be failing to consider?

Read More...
posted 5 days ago on metafilter
I need to record an interview that might run about 3 hours. I want to ensure good sound quality and I also want to make sure that whatever I'm using doesn't crap out midway through. Should I use an app on my iPhone? Or should I get a small digital recorder? Personal recommendations highly appreciated. Also, if one method or another lends itself to easier transcription, that would be helpful too. I have no idea about any of this. Thanks!

Read More...
posted 5 days ago on metafilter
The Side View is about "the knowledge and intuition we use to navigate the world. It's about how our minds meet the world, but it's also about how our minds, when trained in the right way, change how we perceive what's around us and within us. In other words, The Side View is about how we become skillful perceivers and doers, people who know, in the moment, the right details to attend to and the right actions to take. But The Side View isn't just about expertise or getting more efficient at things; it's about learning how to deepen our engagement with a complex world..." ... The idea is that we can develop new ways of making sense of things, ways that change what we're able to do in the world. From our perspective, sense-making is its own kind of craft, and the medium of this craft isn't paint or stone or wood, but your own perception. Perception on this view is a skill you can shape through practice. We see our ability to pay attention to things as an art of its own. It's an art of looking at things in a certain way. The Side View is also "an independent publisher and media environment that integrates theory and practice, while running parallel to academic and public conversations... We feature a rotating cast of philosophers, athletes, artists, designers, meditators, scientists, and engineers based in the SF Bay Area and beyond." I've found TSV's essays and podcasts to be some of the most interesting and enjoyable I've encountered in a long time, and it's especially impressive and convenient to find them all under the same roof. This piece by TSV founder and editor Adam Robbert (@AE_Robbert) introduces the themes of TSV: The Side View: Introduction to the Series This introduction to the series has two parts. In the first section, I summarize the vision behind The Side View (TSV) as a project, and I present the contributors to this issue. The longer second half offers a comprehensive look at the philosophy that inspires and informs TSV. If you're not yet familiar with our work, this introduction will serve as a good starting point, and if you don't happen to be steeped in philosophy and its history, the shorter summary below will do just fine as a preparatory statement of our mission—the second half simply expands in more detailed terms on those same ideas. The name of TSV comes from a passage from German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk's book The Art of Philosophy (quoted from the introduction linked above): Sloterdijk suggests that when we focus on the practices that create scientists, artists, and philosophers, rather than on their finished works alone, we gain a new way of reading history, and of understanding how such works are produced. In other words, Sloterdijk offers a history of the practices that create artists, scientists, and philosophers to begin with. It's a history of self- making techniques. Here is Sloterdijk on his approach:Just as the history of science usually presumes that the scientists who do their disciplines already exist, the history of art has assumed since time immemorial that artists are the natural protagonists of the business that produces works of art, and that these players have always existed as well. What would happen if we rotated the conceptual stage ninety degrees in both cases? What would happen if we observed artists in their efforts to become artists in the first place? We could then see every phenomenon on this field more or less from a side view and, alongside the familiar history of art as a history of completed works, we could obtain a history of the training that made it possible to do art and the ascetism that shaped artists. This piece by Roope Kaaronen is a good example of the kind of writing found on TSV: Adam Robbert: "This is one of my favorite essays I've published through @TheSideViewCo so far. @RoopeKaaronen links together phenomenology, predictive processing, ecological rationality, and heuristics in his account of perception and mushroom foraging. Read it here:" Roope Kaaronen (@RoopeKaaronen): The Art of Mushroom Foraging: A Phenomenological Inquiry. Mushroom foraging is an art of active perception that deserves to be studied with patience, taught with rigor, and passed on to future generations with contagious enthusiasm. This essay is an inquiry into the perceptual and cognitive qualities of mushroom foraging. Mushrooming is a delicate and phenomenologically rich practice, one which infuses elegant sensory organization with simple rules of thumb, or heuristics. In Southern Finland, where I am from, it is also one of the final frontiers of traditional knowledge and practice—a bastion for practical connection with nature. Mushroom foraging is an art of active perception that deserves to be studied with patience, taught with rigor, and passed onto future generations with contagious enthusiasm. What follows is a phenomenological account of my own foraging experiences. TSV Podcast: TSV Episode 5: Roope Kaaronen After a short hiatus, TSV has started posting new material again. Here are the three latest TSV pieces: Heidi Gustafson: Dust to Dust: A Geology of Color. Metals and pigments are co-directors of our creative, evolutionary process. I'm a recovering philosopher who forages and crushes rock for a living. I work as a hermitic artist in rural Washington. Most of my days are spent investigating the metamorphic life of pigments, and the agency they have in human and planetary processes. Why? For one thing, art is chock-full of sediment and geological material, but as it turns out, how we experience art—and how we form aesthetic experience itself—also grounds our biological capabilities, informing and transforming our very being. In other words, pigments are our co-evolutionary partners and affect our everyday lives. I want to give a personal account of how pigments impact our lives through a practice I call aesthetic reception. There's a lot of ground to cover. First, what are pigments? What are they for? Why search for them? Unlike other gathering, gleaning, or tracking practices, such as mushroom foraging, there isn't a commonly understood knowledge of foraging for "pigments," nor is there a distinct awareness of what pigments do. Peter Sjöstedt-H (@PeterSjostedtH): Why I am not a Physicalist: Four Reasons for Rejecting the Faith. Questioning the assumptions of physicalism opens one up to new worlds of possibility. It is often expected that a position be defined before it be rejected. In the case of physicalism, however, a reason for rejecting the position is the fact that it cannot be properly defined. This ambiguity in the meaning of "physicalism" is brought out through what is known as Hempel's Dilemma, named after its formulation by philosopher Carl G. Hempel,[1] though it was in fact formulated earlier by Herbert Feigl.[2] The dilemma: it seems that the meaning of physicalism can be grasped through either of two horns. The first horn is exclusive belief in the phenomena of current physics, such as matter-energy, space-time, the fundamental interactions, and so on. The problem herewith is that such a belief is highly unlikely to be true. This is in part because we can witness the constant change of physics through history, realizing that our current state of understanding is but a moment within this history and thus, by pessimistic induction,[3] we realize that physics is likely to continue changing. Secondly, as is well known, the current state of physics cannot be final due, in particular, to the inconsistency between general relativity and quantum mechanics. Thirdly, as will be seen below, the role of the mind in current physics is undetermined. Thus a self-proclaimed physicalist might therefore instead embrace the second horn of the dilemma: belief in the phenomena of a future, ideal physics. Yet there are two chief problems with this alternative. Firstly, how could one believe in physicalism if one did not know what that was? One may almost as well profess one's adamant belief in drallewertism. Secondly, it may turn out that a future physics would include mentality amongst its fundamental elements. But because physicalism, as material monism, is as such opposed to dualism (one where mind and matter are equally fundamental), such a possibility would seem to contradict the current understanding of physicalism. As a result of this implication, many self-proclaimed physicalists add a "no-fundamental-mentality" condition to the meaning of physicalism to preclude such a possibility.[4] However, one cannot determine the future direction of physics, thus physicalism, by advancing ad hoc exclusionary clauses to suit one's current preferences. It may well be that a future physics will be contrary to "physicalism," as understood in such current exclusionary terms. Where does Hempel's Dilemma leave us? It seems one cannot accept physicalism according to the first horn, nor can one accept it according to the second. This disposes us to a current position of agnosticism towards physicalism: it is not rational to place one's belief in a position that is either wrong or unknown. TSV Podcast: TSV Episode 6: Peter Sjöstedt-H (Previous post: Peter Sjöstedt-H on Mind, Panpsychism, Philosophy and Psychedelics) Brittany Polat (@brittanypolat): On Stoic Transcendence: Stoic transcendence is an active exercise that takes us to a new level of understanding about the world. Few practicing Stoics think of Stoicism as a transcendent way of life. Most of us focus on striving for virtue, using our rationality, and trying to find contentment and meaning in our lives. We see Stoicism as a "therapy of the passions," as a route to mental freedom, or as a useful way of dealing with adversity. Stoicism is all these things, of course, but it is also something more. Stoic philosophy offers a way of getting outside ourselves and getting over ourselves, of overcoming our egotism to see the world from a broader, universal perspective. Wisdom and contentment are almost impossible if we continue to see the world through the lens of our own narrow interests. By rising above our own small selves and cultivating a mindset of transcendence, we learn to see the world as it really is, and as a result we reach a more profound level of wisdom and virtue. If you've ever tried to live a philosophical life, Stoic or otherwise, you've probably noticed how difficult it is. As the ancients recognized, it's one thing to talk about being virtuous and a different thing entirely to live virtuously. It would be nice if we could decide one day that virtue is the only true good, and let the rest of our thoughts and actions flow simply and logically from this very rational decision. But the truth is, humans aren't put together this way. We have to remind ourselves to live up to our ideals. We fail, and then we have to try even harder. Practicing virtue sometimes seems like a constant exercise in willpower. What I've found, in my personal efforts toward attaining virtue, is that true progress comes not from gaining more willpower, but from changing your perspective of the world. The French philosopher and historian of philosophy Pierre Hadot suggests—and my own experience agrees—that living philosophically does not merely entail a rational understanding of philosophical principles. Living philosophically also requires seeing the world in a different way. It is this new way of seeing, this inner transformation, that allows us to truly inhabit a philosophical way of life. The ancient spiritual exercises that Hadot identified, such as living in the present moment and attaining a view from above, are designed to help us develop this new way of seeing. These exercises are not an end in themselves. They are a means of cultivating the right outlook on life. This "cosmic consciousness" (Hadot's term) or "cosmic connectedness" (A. A. Long's term) is essential to the everyday ethical practice of Stoicism. I prefer to call this practice transcendence because it's essentially about rising above your own small self to understand the big picture of the world around you. Transcendence is a term I can relate to and envision myself practicing. But I want to emphasize that this is not about transcending to some spiritual realm, but about metaphorically getting outside yourself. Rational transcendence is woven into the very fabric of Stoic philosophy, which encourages us to leave behind our self-centered preoccupations in favor of a rational, universal perspective. Stoic ethics, physics, and logic all demand that we get outside ourselves and see things as they really are. What else is Marcus Aurelius doing in his Meditations than reminding himself to see things as they really are? What else is Epictetus doing in his lectures than reminding his students to see things as they really are? In order to see things as they really are, we must be able to surpass our personal egotism to "see events from the perspective of what they mean for the universe."[1] When we bear patiently with others because we see them as members of the same body as ourselves, we are practicing transcendence. When we view a disappointing event from the point of view of the cosmos—and thereby perceive that it's not so disappointing after all—we are practicing transcendence. Stoic transcendence is an active exercise that takes us to a new level of understanding about the world. Below we will explore what Stoic transcendence is (and isn't) and its relationship to Stoic physics and ethics. (Related post: On Stoicism) TSV recently released their first publication: The Side View Journal Vol. 1 No. 1 Previous post featuring a TSV essay: A brief history of secular mindfulness meditation in the West

Read More...