Monthly Archives: June 2009

The philosophic turn

I have four main projects on the front burner at the moment: studying the Oxford Companion to Philosophy, creating a flowchart of the Theophostic process, helping with my church’s demographic research, and assembling a rough systematic spirituality of the NT. On the side I’m reading about quantum mechanics and various apologetical topics. I’m developing an itch to get moving on my rule-based algorithmic tonal music composition program, but I’m being good and limiting my projects to those four. If it develops into a rash, however, I may have to do something about it.

I’m studying the OCP to introduce myself to the discipline of philosophy, because I’m aiming to enter the field, but I only know bits and pieces from a few corners of it. To accomplish this, I’m planning to read the whole thing, take notes in the form of an outline, and transform the outline into a set of flashcards for use in jMemorize, using a script that I will write. It’s a large project (2,176 entries; 1002 pages, if you include the appendices), the kind I usually give up on or drop, out of distraction by other projects, but I feel pretty dedicated to this one because it is serving a larger, somewhat specific goal.

I’m actually kind of proud of my progress lately. I’ve become much more focused. The past week has been spent scanning and proofreading the list of entry titles and writing a script to put the person entries in chronological order. Today I began putting the entry titles into an outline to give my reading a somewhat sensible order. I consider myself to be past the boring part. Proofreading is tedious, but organizing concepts is fun! Once I finish the reading outline, I’ll post it and shift my attention to one of the other projects, which I’ll write about another time.

On the side I’m reading Quantum Reality by Nick Herbert, a book I’ve owned for about 15 years but have never read much of. It shares that in common with most of my other books. But a few weeks ago my web wandering led me into a number of QM-related articles, so I finally decided to dig into it. The reason I chose this book over others is that it covers eight different interpretations of quantum theory, rather than simply assuming one of them as given. That’s the whole purpose of the book, in fact: to explain and evaluate physicists’ competing understandings of the quantum world. Very interesting. Whatever’s going on down there, it’s weird. Which, of course, is exactly why I like it. 🙂

Once I’m done, I may post a summary of the book, if I don’t find another satisfactory explanation of QM online. I need a quick way to introduce people to it, though summarizing such complicated ideas is a recipe for misunderstanding. I don’t feel that I adequately understand quantum theory myself.

Lately I have also wandered back into apologetics, which I’ve been away from for a long time. It used to be one of my major obsessions. This time it was my penchant for reading about strange things that drew me back. It went from mysteries like the Voynich manuscript and the Shroud of Turin to the accounts of near-death experiences in Beyond Death by Moreland and Habermas. I was led to this book a while back by a video of Habermas describing some of these experiences. After picking up that book, I was reminded that I wanted to learn more about Reformed epistemology, so I put that on my mental “to read soon” list. Then I ran across the modern Ebionite movement via several Amazon reviews and became intrigued, in an appalled sort of way. And this weekend I began watching Aaron Shafovaloff’s videos on Mormonism. I suspect this interest in apologetics will snowball. Which is fine. Since one of my philosophical interests is philosophy of religion, it’s right on time.

That’s it for today’s semi-annual blog update! Tune in next time for more riveting accounts of my latest projects! Continue reading

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