department of history and philosophy of science

“Great strides have since been made in the art of anatomy, physiology and all branches of science, and the workings of the man-machine are now perfectly clear. Yet the very fewest among us are able to trace their actions to primary external causes. It is indispensable to the arguments I shall advance to keep in mind the main facts which I have myself established in years of close reasoning and observation and which may be summed up as follows:

  1. 1. The human being is a self-propelled automaton entirely under the control of external influences. Willful and predetermined though they appear, his actions are governed not from within, but from without. He is like a float tossed about by the waves of a turbulent sea.
  2. There is no memory or retentive faculty based on lasting impression. What we designate as memory is but increased responsiveness to repeated stimuli.
  3. It is not true, as Descartes taught, that the brain is an accumulator. There is no permanent record in the brain, there is no stored knowledge. Knowledge is something akin to an echo that needs a disturbance to be called into being.
  4. All knowledge or form conception is evoked through the medium of the eye, either in response to disturbances directly received on the retina or to their fainter secondary effects and reverberations. Other sense organs can only call forth feelings which have no reality of existence and of which no conception can be formed.
  5. Contrary to the most important tenet of Cartesian philosophy that the perceptions of the mind are illusionary, the eye transmits to it the true and accurate likeness of external things. This is because light propagates in straight lines and the image cast on the retina is an exact reproduction of the external form and one which, owing to the mechanism of the optic nerve, can not be distorted in the transmission to the brain. What is more, the process must be reversible, that in to say, a form brought to consciousness can, by reflex action, reproduce the original image on the retina just as an echo can reproduce the original disturbance If this view is borne out by experiment an immense revolution in all human relations and departments of activity will be the consequence.”

–Nikola Tesla

“How Cosmic Forces Shape Our Destines.” New York American, February 7, 1915

Too Like the Lightning: A Novel (2016)

“Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer–a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labelling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world’s population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competition is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.

And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destabilize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life…”

by Ada Palmer

Get it here

Ada Palmer is an author of science fiction and fantasy, a historian, and a composer. Her first science fiction series “Terra Ignota” (published by Tor Books) mixes Enlightenment-era philosophy with traditional science fiction speculation to bring to life the year 2454, not a perfect future, but a utopian one, threatened by cultural upheaval. 

Ada Palmer studies the long-term evolution of ideas and the history of religious radicalism, science, and freethought, especially in the Italian Renaissance, Enlightenment, and Classical Greece and Rome. She teaches in the History Department at the University of Chicago, and did her Ph.D. at Harvard University.

The reason feminists have always insisted on a separate department for their “Womens Studies” and “Gender Studies” program is because they require exemption from the peer review and critical scrutiny that their material would otherwise receive were it taught as history, philosophy, or science. 


Parallels - The Diary in Doctor Who S09 Christmas Special (The Husbands of River Song) vs Sherlock / Johnlock

River, with her diary filled with stories of adventure – who would live for as long as she could continue her adventures reminds me of Scheherazade, the heroine of The Nights, who stayed alive by telling the king exciting stories night after night. 

The over-the-top purple prose / panto-like dialogue River used with King Hydroflax seemed to me a spoof of dialogue from Arabian Nights tales (One Thousand and One Nights):

River: Husband, I return to you.

King Hydroflax: Where is my queen?

River: Never far from you, my love.

River: My one true love! The only husband I will ever have. My time with you has been too short.

Hydroflax: You have given me days of adventure and many nights of passion.

Scheherazade was described in Sir Richard Burton’s translation (x) thus:

“Scheherazade had perused the books, annals and legends of preceding Kings, and the stories, examples and instances of bygone men and things; indeed it was said that she had collected a thousand books of histories relating to antique races and departed rulers. She had perused the works of the poets and knew them by heart; she had studied philosophy and the sciences, arts and accomplishments; and she was pleasant and polite, wise and witty, well read and well bred.”

Meanwhile, River is an archaeologist. And her diary is filled with adventures in time and space, as well as her time with the Doctor. And River’s worried that her time will be up when she runs out of stories … 

And then there’s John’s blog, which is, as Sherlock put it, “the record of our time together”. 

Like River, John is terribly protective of his blog/diary.

And on a meta note - like River, we also try to go about figuring out what happens next by combing through John’s stories, checking off event milestones along the way … and we worry about what happens when the canon stories run out.  

And as a small humorous aside - I like to think of this as a small wink to the existence of fanfic:

River: There are stories about us, you know. 

The Doctor: Oh, I dread to think. 

River: I look them up sometimes. 

The Doctor: You really shouldn’t do that.

Part of my Sherlock is not the Doctor but … series

There’s more meta from the Christmas special that I want to cover, but like Sleep No More, it’s a bit jumbled together, so I’ll be splitting them into separate posts. 

Thanks for reading! (Part 2 - The Unrecognized Face is here,  Part 3 - Moriarty is here)

Tagging @jenna221b  (who noted the Oscar Wilde “Importance of Being Earnest” reference in the diary as ‘something sensational to read’), @storm-nightie, @bug-catcher-in-viridian-forest, @coolerontheinside, @waitingforgarridebs and @inevitably-johnlocked


Scheherazade { شهرزاد‎ } ONE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS 

 “Indeed it was said that she had collected a thousand books of histories relating to antique races and departed rulers. She had purused the works of the poets and knew them by heart, she had studied philosophy and the sciences, arts, and accomplishments. And she was pleasant and polite, wise and witty, well read and well bred.”

Tsinghua University

Tsinghua University, located in northwest Beijing, China, is a public institution that traces its roots back to 1911. The primary language of instruction is Chinese, though there are some graduate degree programs offered in English. For instance, the university has English-taught master’s programs in Chinese politics, foreign policy and international relations; mechanical engineering; and global business journalism, among others. Tuition costs vary by degree program and language of instruction. The university’s international students hail from more than 100 countries, with the bulk of them coming from Asia. In a recent year, 41 percent of the university’s non-Chinese students were undergraduates, 29 percent were pursuing master’s degrees, 9 percent were doctoral students and the rest were participating in shorter-term programs. Tsinghua University housing is available for both undergraduate and graduate students.

The university comprises numerous schools and departments, which offer programs across a variety of disciplines: science, engineering, literature, arts, history, philosophy, economics, management, law, education and medicine. In all, there are more than 70 degree programs available to undergraduate students at Tsinghua University, as well as many more master’s and doctoral programs. The university has more than 300 research institutions. Among the university’s research labs are the Tsinghua National Laboratory for Information Science and Technology, the State Key Laboratory of Precision Measuring Technology and Instruments and the National Engineering Laboratory for Digital Television. Students at Tsinghua have around 200 student groups that they can get involved in, such as the Zijing Volunteer Service and the Students’ Performing Arts Club. 

…It would hardly be a waste of time if sometimes even the most advanced students in the cognitive sciences were to pay a visit to their ancestors. It is frequently claimed in American philosophy departments that, in order to be a philosopher, it is not necessary to revisit the history of philosophy. It is like the claim that one can become a painter without having ever seen a single work by Raphael, or a writer without having ever read the classics. Such things are theoretically possible; but the ‘primitive’ artist, condemned to an ignorance of the past, is always recognizable as such and rightly labeled as naïf. It is only when we consider past projects revealed as utopian or as failures that we are apprised of the dangers and possibilities for failure for our allegedly new projects. The study of the deeds of our ancestors is thus more than an atiquarian pastime, it is an immunological precaution.

anonymous asked:

You are a condescending asshole who likes to bully people because you think your are intellectually superior. You lie about your credentials to make people think you are a credible source on anything that is not specifically related to your field of study. You think you have the moral high ground over others because you are a member of a marginalized community but you use that as advantage to bully others. I think that justifies the title of Monster.

I am not addressing anything in this message except the accusation that I have lied about my credentials.  As that is a serious charge for which I could suffer real life consequences in my employment I am providing proof of them.

The seal from my BA.  I had a Major in European History and a Minor in Geology.  I double majored but declined to do the required field camp at the last minute as I was going to graduate school in history.

The seal from my first MA.  I concentrated in the History of Technology, the Environment and Medicine and had a minor concentration in Latin American History.  My thesis was on the intersections of exploration, art, and military policy in 19th century America.  

The seal from my second MA.  My doctoral fields are Modern American History from 1865-1985, the History of Science from 1600-present, and the History of the American West from 1600-2000.  Both my western history qualification and my US history qualification required proving expertise in the history of social movements.  

My examiners included the historians who worked on the history of passing “strange” (that is white people passing as PoC), the history of segregation and conservationism, the history of domestic abuse law, and the history of the anthropology).  

History of Science I should add is a hybrid field that encompasses history, sociology, anthropology and philosophy.  My credentials come from (as above) Princeton University’s history department which is ranked one of the top 5 history departments in the world right now, and the top history of science program in the country.

Here are further proofs of my credentials including my university ID card, my business card, and the last thing I had published.  




Oh at least I stand by my reputation in this fandom and don’t have to constantly change my tumblr URL to run away from it.  See you in a few months.