Monday, November 11, 2019
A Conversation with Markus GabrielI have been trying, under the banner of "New Realism," to reconcile various philosophical and scientific traditions. I'm looking for a third way between various tensions. There's more to a human being than the fact that we are a bunch of cells that hang together in a certain way. Humans are not strictly identical to any material energetic system, even though I also think that humans cannot exist without being, in part, grounded in a material energetic system. So, I am rejecting both brutal materialism, according to which we are nothing but an arrangement of cells, and brutal idealism, according to which our minds are transcendent affairs that mysteriously peep into the universe. Both are false, so there has to be a third way.
Similarly, there must be a third way between postmodernism, which denies the objectivity of human knowledge claims and science altogether, and various trends in cognitive science, which also threaten objectivity without, of course, fully undermining it (for instance, research on cognitive biases better be immune to second-order biases). Similarly, I believe we urgently need to reconcile so-called continental philosophy—European traditions, broadly construed—and analytic philosophy, which means philosophy at its best when practiced in Anglophone context; there has to be something in between. That space in between is what I call New Realism.
MARKUS GABRIEL, one of the founders of New Realism, holds the Chair for Epistemology, Modern and Contemporary Philosophy at the University of Bonn, where he is also Director of the International Center for Philosophy and the multidisciplinary Center for Science and Thought. He is the author of Why the World Does Not Exist.
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Sunday, November 10, 2019
How to Lose Weight, Mathematically
The amount of energy expended by animals at rest, including humans, is known as the basal metabolic rate, or BMR. Think of it as the amount of fuel burned every 24 hours to keep your body at 37°C degrees as you sleep. We can estimate the rate for each individual by using the so-called Harris–Benedict equation (Mifflin and St. Jeor, 1990):