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Heidegger

This tag is associated with 26 posts

What’s the use of variables?

Trumpian-style relativism and denialism assumes the right to make up some numbers and refuse others: votes, profits, employment rates, infections and crowd sizes. That’s to mistake variable for uncertain, unreliable and arbitrary as if “up for grabs.” Variables 101 In maths and logic a variable is a symbol standing for something unspecified, though you might … Continue reading

Least commitment principle

The least commitment principle is one of several strategies people use when they make plans, such as preparing for a day’s outing. The principle gained currency in the 1980s in the early days of artificial intelligence research. It simply means to prioritise tasks in such a way that you keep certain decisions about resources and … Continue reading

Four-fold reality

C.S. Peirce is amongst the great geometers (or diagrammaticians or combinatorialiasts) of thought. We can also admit the contemporary philosopher of so-called “speculative realism,” Graham Harman, to the four sided pantheon with his book The Quadruple Object. The book is about much more, but in passing happens upon a good justification for the combinatorics of … Continue reading

Self-reliance and the accessorised self

Self-reliance has become a catchword for living off grid, and an inspiration for USA 2nd amendment gun lobbyists. It is also a catchword for healthy leisure, sports, fitness, and education for leadership, and sustainability. The term “self-reliance” of course comes with qualification. Individuals need family, support communities and institutions to survive and thrive, and everyone … Continue reading

Best intentions

“My manners must have been in fault, but not intentionally I assure you. I never meant to deceive you …” (331) declared Mr Darcy in his reconciliation with Elizabeth in Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. By this reading, to have an intention is to act with a goal in mind. Most of us would rather deny … Continue reading

Poiēsis

Planet Earth is a giant spherical communications machine with a diameter of about 84,000 kilometres. Well over 1,000 satellites orbit between the earth’s surface and this outer (geosynchronous) layer. Nature and artefact seem to merge due to the scale, ubiquity, sophistication, and conceits of contemporary techno-science, especially if we add to the global communications infrastructure the prospects of geo-engineering intended … Continue reading

Nature into the city

Parks, gardens, tree-lined streets, balconies, atria, glasshouses, allotments, bird feeders, green walls, nature reserves, aviaries, zoos: these are amongst the most obvious ways that planners, designers and citizens bring nature into the city. But something similar happens via certain marginal urban practices, that by their very nature construct and re-construct the city as wilderness, bringing the values … Continue reading

Making nature

Biophilic design is design that is sympathetic to nature. Designers who want their buildings and landscapes to exhibit biophilic qualities have at least 70 attributes to draw on, e.g. use natural colours, water, plant motifs, natural shapes and forms (like shells), allude to growth and other natural processes, introduce natural and filtered light, connect with history, the … Continue reading

Profoundly bored

Since I acquired a smartphone (5 years ago) there’s been no such thing as down time. Five minutes waiting for a bus used to seem like an hour. Now it’s barely enough time to check an email. Last weekend’s Guardian magazine featured an article about what we gain by recapturing empty time, when nothing happens, and we just wait. Apparently, “Aimlessness, … Continue reading

Against empathy

“The term ’empathy,’ has provided a guiding thread for a whole range of fundamentally mistaken theories concerning man’s relationship to other human beings and to other beings in general, theories that we are only gradually beginning to overcome today” (203). That’s a quote from Martin Heidegger’s book of 1929-30 based on a lecture series bearing the … Continue reading

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