Thursday, March 16, 2006

Introducing Plato

I read Introducing Plato last night. I picked it up at Half Price Books because Plato is referenced repeatedly in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. "Introducing Plato" covers many of the ancient Greek philosophers of the period and shows how they influenced or were influenced by Plato. It covers his life, his philosophy, and his influence through the ages.

By reading "Introducing Plato", I now have a far better understanding of Objectivist philosophy. Before I read this book, I found some of Rand's terminology a bit odd but now I realize that she was engaged in a conversation with the ancient philosophers that I had walked in on toward the end. I also see where she agrees and where she deviates with them on the important questions. I would recommend "Introducing Plato" to any student of Objectivism that has not previously studied the ancients.

Ayn Rand was no fan of Plato. She prefers to praise Aristotle, his student of twenty years. I see that a second edition of Introducing Aristotle in coming out in August. I am looking forward to it.

  

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Chronology and Interviews

A reporter from the Dallas Morning News called me yesterday about the moment of silence case. In response, I sent her our "Chronology of Requests by a Religious Humanist Family to Be Free from Coercive Judeo-Christian Religious Influence in a Public School". We prepared this 19-page document detailing church-state separation violations at our public elementary school at the request of Dr. Michael Newdow, a medical doctor and attorney who is championing the Restore the Pledge effort. I have uploaded the chronology to our Moment of Silence website.

Later that evening, a reporter from WFAA television news interviewed me in front of the school. The children enjoyed seeing themselves on T.V. The Dallas Morning News article has a link to the WFAA video. If you see any more of these stories, please let me know.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Moment of Silence

My wife Shannon and I have been concerned for some time about violations of church-state separation at the public elementary school where our children attend. Today our attorney Dean Cook filed a petition to have the mandatory moment of silence law in the Texas state education code ruled unconstitutional. You can read more about this on my Moment of Silence webpage.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Theory of Consciousness

I have just finished reading Introducing Artificial Intelligence, Introducing Mind & Brain, and Introducing Consciousness from Icon books. In reading these back to back, it reminded me that they are all different views on the same subject. This was a rewarding experience for me. I recommend that you read these books together if you can.

"Introducing Mind & Brain" could have been titled "Introducing Neuroscience". Those readers having difficulty buying into the functionalist materialist viewpoint described in the other two books will find persuasive evidence here.

"Introducing Consciousness" is where you will find the heavy duty philosophy stuff which the other two books touch upon. It reminded me of a couple of related papers that I wrote for a "Philosophy of Mind and Psychology" course a few years back. In Could a Computer Feel Pain?, I reveal my functionalist leanings. In Representational Systems, I tie my theory of consciousness to recurrent networks.