Thought Experiments

Thought Experiments

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9 comments
  1. pseudoI said:

    This is manna from heaven. I have been having multiple OMGasms.

  2. Carpe Diem said:

    Hey, Thanks for posting. I usually glaze over during these railroad trolley and fat man examples. But what made me specially engage was the RESPONSES of young students, thinking about these things and responding live. I really enjoyed the whole show.

    Couple of reactions from me

    1) I wish more of Harvard’s liberal arts classes are online like this. MIT already publishes most of its classes on the web for free (in PDF and HTML, good enough for problem sets and readings), but liberal arts involve debate and discussion and points of view and articulation – that online video is UNIQUELY positioned to exploit – this is a great way to bring Harvard classrooms to everyone.

    2) Unrelated note – in following Neena’s thread on Polymaths, I discovered that this professor ultimately uses these lectures to build up to a challenge of the capitalist system, and the faith in unfettered markets. I believe that unchecked markets will unleash the dark side of humanity in very shady ways (they already have), and we have disagreed on this (you more in favor of laissez faire competition and may-the-best-man-win, and me more in favor of regulation and equal-outcomes). Would love to take up this debate again, in the light of his teachings. See here. Whenever we meet next, in the cafeteria.

    http://www.economist.com/books/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14492347&fsrc=rss

    • Mohit said:

      Carpe Diem, unawoken:

      I want to be part of aforementioned discussion! Please to keep me in the loop!

    • unawoken said:

      yep, I think it is cool that these young kids want to take this class, listen and process what he is saying, and come up with intelligent answers. It also underscores the prof’s point that philosophy tells you what you already know, but did not formalize.

      Yeah, some of our discussions are overdue. Time to meet up. Will ping 🙂

  3. “Do not all charms fly
    At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
    There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
    We know her woof, her texture; she is given
    In the dull catalogue of common things.
    Philosophy will clip an Angel’s wings,
    Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
    Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine
    Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
    The tender-person’d Lamia melt into a shade.”

    — Edgar Allan Poe (inspired by Keats’ Lamia)

    — in response to which Dawkins wrote a book (one of his most polemical) : http://www.amazon.com/Unweaving-Rainbow-Science-Delusion-Appetite/dp/0618056734

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