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You searched for "Metaphysics". Your search returned 24 results.

Big data metaphysics

Anyone with a personal computer knows about the problem with data, not least its tendency to grow at an unnerving rate, take up space, demand upgrades, and clog bandwidth as it gets moved around. Emails and tweets are data, so are picture files, music tracks, and movies. Sometimes we store it, or it flows through our world as … Continue reading

What is pansemiotics?

Pansemiotics has not yet made it into the Oxford English Dictionary. The term crops up several times in Winfried Nöth’s expansive 1990 book, The Handbook of Semiotics. The term provides a means of describing the theological view that “the whole universe became [in the Middle Ages] signs of divine revelation” (382), as in the Old Testament statement, … Continue reading

Calculating belief

In previous posts I referenced C.S. Peirce’s (1839-1914) concept of abduction, or evidential reasoning, i.e. establishing the support a particular proposition (hypothesis) has from evidence. The theories of the Presbyterian minister/statistician Thomas Bayes (1702-1761) has relevance here. Peirce knew of Bayes’s work on probability though he didn’t support Bayes’s approach to mathematical reasoning. Never-the-less, Bayesian … Continue reading

Pointlessness

“What is the average weight of residents of Vienna with telephone numbers ending in ‘3’?” In arguing for clear logic, the prominent philosopher and logician Rudolf Carnap (1891-1970) cited the question above as pointless (p.61). Who cares, and who really wants to know anyway! Of course, with the data deluge of the digital age, even … Continue reading

AI and advertising

Most prominent web publishers such as Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Reddit and news sites, generate revenue by placing banner, side-bar and in-text adverts on their pages. The ads are tailored for your eyes, and may differ from what others see on the same pages. Programmatic advertising directs what ads you see on web pages and social … Continue reading

Reverse analytics

Can you infer a person’s politics from their online footprint? Let’s start with something less contentious: a person’s nature preference. If you were raised in a school and home environment that encouraged you to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature pursuits, then it is highly likely that in later life you will respect the environment, … Continue reading

Emotional targeting

Why do moods matter politically? Think first about economics. If you can predict the mood of a group of people then you might be able to predict how likely they are to buy (and sell) and how much they will pay (and sell for). So investors who speculate on the stock market have a lot to gain by accurately assessing and predicting … Continue reading

What does architecture represent?

For the architectural semiotician, buildings and building elements operate as signs, pointing to something other than themselves. So for the semiotician one of the key roles of architecture is to represent. For the semiotically informed, the things of nature are amongst the targets of representation, evident in floral and foliated ornamentation, frescoes of nature scenes, shapes that resemble tree … Continue reading

Shape-shifting architecture

Some people want buildings that adapt according to climate, respond to their occupants’ changing moods, and grow, develop, evolve and transform as if living organisms. From werewolves to trucks that transform into enormous robots, the human fascination with transformation seems part of our cultural DNA. I’ll start with metaphor. Bearers of change Metaphor is an animal term. Meta means “change, transformation, permutation, or substitution” according to … Continue reading

Post-digital humanities

This week I’ll participate in a round table discussion about the digital humanities at an event called Methodological Intersections at the Trier Digital Humanities Autumn School in Trier, Germany. We’ve been presented with 5 questions, which I’ve reformulated here in my own words — with some tentative responses. Q1: The digital humanities (DH) presents itself as cross disciplinary. Does the idea of the digital humanities weaken the … Continue reading

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