About Information PhilosopherInformation Philosophy (I-Phi) is a philosophical method grounded in science, especially modern physics, biology, neuroscience, and the science of information. It offers novel solutions to classical problems in philosophy, notably freedom of the will, the objective foundation of values, and the problem of knowledge (epistemology). Insights into human freedom and cosmic values form the basis for a new system of belief and a guide to moral conduct. Bob Doyle is the Information Philosopher. Bob earned a Ph.D in Astrophysics from Harvard and is now an Associate in the Harvard Astronomy Department. He holds several patents and is the inventor of a number of computer games, including Parker Brothers Merlin (1978). Bob wrote the first desktop publishing program, MacPublisher,
in 1984 for the then new Macintosh computer. He helped Christopher Lydon and Dave Winer create the very first Podcast in 2003. He edits several websites on blog audio and video, content management, taxonomy, structured writing, the memetic web, and globalization. Bob spent much of his life building tools to "put the means of production in the hands of the people," not as Karl Marx imagined by nationalizing them, but by making them affordable, even free." He blogs at www.bobdoyleblog.com and blog.i-phi.org and was a contributor to the Garden of Forking Paths blog on free will. His goal for the I-Phi website is to provide web pages on all the major philosophers and scientists who have worked on the problems of freedom, value, and knowledge. Each page has excerpts from the thinker's work and a critical analysis. The three major sections of the website each will have a history of the problem, the relevant physics, biology, cosmology, etc, and pages on the core concepts in the problem. Bob had the great privilege of working with some of the world's leading philosophers of the free will problem starting in 2009, when his first published philosophy appeared in Nature. A published paper on the free will model of William James got him an invitation to the William James Symposium at Harvard in August, 2010 to present a 90-minute seminar on his ideas, and the similar ideas of a dozen scientists and philosophers since James. Daniel Dennett invited Bob to take part in his graduate seminar on free will at Tufts in the Fall of 2010. He submitted many short papers to the seminar on his positions relative to those of Dennett. Bob was invited to an "Experts Meeting" on Free Will at the Social Trends Institute in Barcelona, Spain in October, 2010, along with Robert Kane, editor of the Oxford Handbook on Free Will, Alfred Mele, who directs a program at Florida State that studies free will with a $4.4 million grant from the Templeton Foundation, and Martin Heisenberg, a son of Werner Heisenberg, who claimed in Nature that even the lowest animals have a kind of "behavioral freedom." They are not biological machines reacting predictably to stimuli with programmed responses. They originate actions, stochastically. In February, 2011, Bob Kane encouraged Bob to turn the Freedom section of this website into a book, which he did amazingly quickly thanks to Adobe InDesign and a print on demand service at the Harvard Book Store in Harvard Square that helped him produce 14 revisions in as many weeks. His first philosophy book - Free Will: The Scandal in Philosophy - was published on June 19, 2011, his 75th birthday. It is available on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites, along with eBook versions for the Kindle and Nook. Bob's email is firstname.lastname@example.org. His address and phone number are:
77 Huron Avenue
Cambridge, Mass 02138
Bob's philosophical publicationsRobert O. Doyle, "Free Will: it’s a normal biological property, not a gift or a mystery," Nature, 459, June 2009, p.1052. A ten-minute animated tutorial on the Two-Stage Model for Free Will> Robert O. Doyle, "Jamesian Free Will: The Two-Stage Model of William James," William James Studies, June, 2010 Powerpoint presentation at the William James Symposium, August 28, 2010. Videos of the presentation at William James Symposium:
480 pages, b&w, 40 figures, 15 sidebars, glossary, bibliography, index. Available in: Hardcover $49.95 - Amazon, B&N Paperback $29.95 - Amazon, B&N, Digital eBook versions for Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo eReader, and Sony Reader, $9.95.
Bob on his philosophical backgroundMy life-long love of philosophy began over fifty years ago with undergraduate courses at Brown University which were required for my degree in Physics. A course in Ethics made the biggest impression, especially its conclusion that science has absolutely nothing to contribute to the subject. Ethical values must be found in traditional sources like religion and secular humanism. This struck me as odd. As Bertrand Russell had written, "What science cannot discover, mankind cannot know.” So I took a course in philosophy of religion taught by Curt Ducasse, who had been a graduate student at Harvard during William James tenure. I learned that moral values are relative to different religious traditions, apart from a few axioms like "thou shalt not kill" and some form of the golden rule that seem to be universals. My third course was Existentialism, then the most exciting new philosophy, since analytical philosophy was bogged down in nit-picking arguments over the truth of linguistic statements. I read Friedrich Nietzsche, who saw values as created by human beings. They turn them into truths and moral laws to acquire power over others. They invent gods as enforcers. After the "death of God," Jean-Paul Sartre saw us as free agents, but in the absurd situation of choosing with no moral guides. In my ethics course, I studied various attempts to get values based on reason or human nature or on feelings. The English philosophers found us to have decent value systems (e.g., utilitarianism), but no freedom of will. For them, determinism was obviously true. Causality required every action to have a cause, back to Aristotle's first cause. As long as our own determined mind was involved as a cause of our actions and we were not coerced or constrained, this freedom of action was enough and allowed us to accept responsibility for our decisions. I was not so sure. Freedom without values is absurd. But values without freedom are useless. At Harvard to get my Ph.D. in the 1960's, I started reading the philosophy literature on my own and building the Information Philosopher library, which has now the foundation for the I-Phi website. I also learned a great deal about statistical physics (thermodynamics) and quantum mechanics. My thesis was on the quantum mechanics of the hydrogen quasi-molecule (two atoms in collision). Normal | Teacher | Scholar