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Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
Anaximander
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
George Berkeley
Isaiah Berlin
Richard J. Bernstein
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
Michael Burke
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
Herbert Feigl
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Gorgias
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
Sam Harris
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
Heraclitus
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Andrea Lavazza
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Leucippus
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
C. Lloyd Morgan
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
Alasdair MacIntyre
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
G.E.Moore
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
Parmenides
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Plato
Karl Popper
Porphyry
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Protagoras
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Jean-Paul Sartre
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Alan Sidelle
Ted Sider
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
Isabelle Stengers
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter Unger
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A.O.Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Simon Kochen
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Peter Tse
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek

Presentations

Biosemiotics
Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
 
Demons
Philosophers have often anthropomorphized a problem by imagining a demon who accomplished a task that was difficult to understand but seemed to be possible.
Socrates' demon. Socrates introduces the first philosophical demon in the Apology. He describes at his trial how he should not be judged an unbeliever, because he hears a voice that is a god (or daimon) telling him his duty is to be a philosopher.

Nietzsche commented on this demon in Twilight of the Idols, "The Problem of Socrates," section 4:

"And let us not forget those auditory hallucinations which, as 'Socrates' demon', have been interpreted in a religious sense."
Bergson's Demon. Henri Bergson described the difference between his duration and ordinary time by invoking a demon who could speed up time.
Compton's Demon. Arthur Holly Compton imagined a daemon that controlled shutters on two photocells, one leading to a dynamite explosion, the other disabling the explosion. This anticipated Einstein's 1935 suggestion of an explosion set off by a quantum event, which led Schrödinger to invent his Cat.
Descartes' Demon. Descartes in his Meditations imagined that God might deceive us and make knowledge impossible through our senses. Rather than impute evil motives to God, he postulates a demon who does the deceiving. Our sensory evidence is thus not adequate for certain knowledge. Descartes then turns to introspection and concludes that even if the demon is deceiving his senses, he cannot be wrong about his thinking, and therefore his existence. "Cogito, ergo sum."
James' Demon. William James imagined the unbeatable chess player.
"Suppose two men before a chessboard,--the one a novice, the other an expert player of the game. The expert intends to beat. But he cannot foresee exactly what any one actual move of his adversary may be. He knows, however, all the possible moves of the latter; and he knows in advance how to meet each of them by a move of his own which leads in the direction of victory. And the victory infallibly arrives, after no matter how devious a course, in the one predestined form of check-mate to the novice's king.

Let now the novice stand for us finite free agents, and the expert for the infinite mind in which the universe lies. Suppose the latter to be thinking out his universe before he actually creates it. Suppose him to say, 'I will lead things to a certain end, but I will not now decide on all the steps thereto. At various points, ambiguous possibilities shall be left open, either of which, at a given instant, may become actual. But whichever branch of these bifurcations becomes real, I know what I shall do at the next bifurcation to keep things from drifting away from the final result I intend.'"

Frankfurt's Demon. Harry Frankfurt proposes a brain monitor and intervener to limit the alternative possibilities for action open to an agent.

Information philosophy has shown that a Frankfurt Controller cannot exist.

Landé's Demon. Alfred Landé can start new causal chains. Quantum events are causa sui.
Laplace's Demon. Pierre Simon Laplace described the great intelligence.
"Given for one instant an intelligence which could comprehend all the forces by which nature is animated and the respective positions of the beings which compose it, if moreover this intelligence were vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would embrace in the same formula both the movements of the largest bodies in the universe and those of the lightest atom; to it nothing would be uncertain, and the future as the past would be present to its eyes."
Laplace's demon must have been inspired by the extraordinary vision of Leibniz a hundred years earlier, who wrote:
"Everything proceeds mathematically...if someone could have a sufficient insight into the inner parts of things, and in addition had remembrance and intelligence enough to consider all the circumstances and take them into account, he would be a prophet and see the future in the present as in a mirror."
Information philosophy has shown that a Laplace Demon cannot exist.
Lewis' Demon. C. I. Lewis imagined a demon with infinite qualia at his disposal who deliberately manipulates our experience in an effort to deceive us. Lewis claimed that in this case "knowledge could be made difficult, but not impossible." Mill's Demon was an example. Lewis claimed that Mill confused pure analytic math with its physical application in experience.
Maxwell's Demon could defy the Second Law of Thermodynamics by sorting out fast moving atoms from slow-moving ones. With a tiny door between two containers, the demon opens the door whenever a fast moving particle approaches from the left, or a slow one from the right. Without any energy expediture (it was thought), the right container would heat up and the left cool down.
Loschmidt's Demon. An army of Maxwell demons needed to reverse instantaneously the velocities of all the particles in a gas, to show that the entropy of such a ("time-reversed") system would decrease, violating the second law of thermodynamics and vitiating Boltzmann's H-theorem.
Mendel's Demon. Contemporary writer Mark Ridley describes a randomizing demon who "stands over each gene in a parent and decides whether it will be inherited in the next generation." Where Maxwell's demon increases the order, Mendel's demon reduces it to increase the diversity needed to produce complex life forms.
Mill's Demon. John Stuart Mill's demon could, when two pairs were being added, sneak in a fifth item so that our experience would indicate that 2 + 2 = 5.
Mill hoped in this way to prove that arithmetic is not a priori.
Nietzsche's Demon. In Book Four of the Gay Science, section 341, just as he is about to introduce the Eternal Return and its great weight that adds meaning to our choices, Friedrich Nietzsche says
"What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence - even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!'"

"Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.'"

Peirce's Demon. Charles Sanders Peirce imagined a tiny demon inside a jar of black and white balls who could bias the outcome of probability trials by preferentially handing up black (or white) balls. Perhaps inspired by Mill's demon.
Popper's Demon. The deaf physicist who could not only predict what Mozart and Beethoven would write, but also how their music would have been different if they had eaten lamb instead of beef...
Russell's Demon. In 1914 Bertrand Russell imagined recording instruments that could perceive the world in place of a human observer. Russell thought that his virtual observer eliminates the subjectivity of perception of what things "really" are.
"There is no theoretical limit to what can be done to make mechanical records analogous to what a person would perceive if he were similarly situated."

"It is quite unnecessary, in considering this problem, to bring in minds or sensations, the whole thing is physical."

Minds are still needed. And humans record their emotions alongside their perceptions, something a machine might emulate someday. See our ERR.
Wiener's Demon. In his "Human Use of Human Beings," Cybernetics founder Norbert Wiener saw the Devil himself increasing entropy everywhere.
For Teachers
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Chapter 5.10 - One or Many Chapter 6.2 - Determinisms
Part Four - Knowledge Part Six - Solutions
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