Citation for this page in APA citation style.           Close


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 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
Daniel Boyd
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
Michael Burke
Lawrence Cahoone
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Carneades
Nancy Cartwright
Gregg Caruso
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
Austin Farrer
Herbert Feigl
Arthur Fine
John Martin Fischer
Frederic Fitch
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Bas van Fraassen
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
Frank Jackson
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Walter Kaufmann
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Thomas Kuhn
Andrea Lavazza
Christoph Lehner
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Jules Lequyer
Leucippus
Michael Levin
Joseph Levine
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
C. Lloyd Morgan
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
Arthur O. Lovejoy
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
Alasdair MacIntyre
Ruth Barcan Marcus
Tim Maudlin
James Martineau
Nicholas Maxwell
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
Otto Neurath
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
C.F. von Weizsäcker
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

David Albert
Michael Arbib
Walter Baade
Bernard Baars
Jeffrey Bada
Leslie Ballentine
Marcello Barbieri
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Mara Beller
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Jean Bricmont
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Melvin Calvin
Donald Campbell
Sadi Carnot
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Gregory Chaitin
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Rudolf Clausius
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
Jerry Coyne
John Cramer
Francis Crick
E. P. Culverwell
Antonio Damasio
Olivier Darrigol
Charles Darwin
Richard Dawkins
Terrence Deacon
Lüder Deecke
Richard Dedekind
Louis de Broglie
Stanislas Dehaene
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Bernard d'Espagnat
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Gerald Edelman
Paul Ehrenfest
Manfred Eigen
Albert Einstein
George F. R. Ellis
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
David Foster
Joseph Fourier
Philipp Frank
Steven Frautschi
Edward Fredkin
Benjamin Gal-Or
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A. O. Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Dirk ter Haar
Jacques Hadamard
Mark Hadley
Patrick Haggard
J. B. S. Haldane
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Ralph Hartley
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Donald Hebb
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Basil Hiley
Art Hobson
Jesper Hoffmeyer
Don Howard
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
E. T. Jaynes
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Martin J. Klein
William R. Klemm
Christof Koch
Simon Kochen
Hans Kornhuber
Stephen Kosslyn
Daniel Koshland
Ladislav Kovàč
Leopold Kronecker
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Joseph LeDoux
Gilbert Lewis
Benjamin Libet
David Lindley
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
Owen Maroney
Humberto Maturana
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
John McCarthy
Warren McCulloch
N. David Mermin
George Miller
Stanley Miller
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Alexander Oparin
Abraham Pais
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Henry Quastler
Adolphe Quételet
Lord Rayleigh
Jürgen Renn
Emil Roduner
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Tilman Sauer
Jürgen Schmidhuber
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Sebastian Seung
Thomas Sebeok
Franco Selleri
Claude Shannon
Charles Sherrington
David Shiang
Abner Shimony
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
Edmund Sinnott
B. F. Skinner
Lee Smolin
Ray Solomonoff
Roger Sperry
John Stachel
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
Max Tegmark
Teilhard de Chardin
Libb Thims
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Richard Tolman
Giulio Tononi
Peter Tse
Francisco Varela
Vlatko Vedral
Mikhail Volkenstein
Heinz von Foerster
Richard von Mises
John von Neumann
Jakob von Uexküll
C. S. Unnikrishnan
C. H. Waddington
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
Herman Weyl
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
Günther Witzany
Stephen Wolfram
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek
Konrad Zuse
Fritz Zwicky

Presentations

Biosemiotics
Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
 
About the Information Philosopher
Information Philosophy (I-Phi) is a new philosophical method grounded in science, especially modern physics, biology, psychology, neuroscience, and the science of information. Information philosophy 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 could form the basis for a new system of belief and a guide to moral conduct.

Information analysis also provides insight into several problems in modern physics, including a new interpretation of quantum mechanics and the quantum irreversibility that underlies the second law of thermodynamics. Perhaps most importantly, it explains how life, mind, purpose, and consciousness entered the material universe.

Bob Doyle calls himself the Information Philosopher. He has possibly read more works of philosophers and scientists than any other modern thinker, and has critically analyzed and written about the key ideas of hundreds of them on these I-Phi web pages, as seen in the left navigation.

Bob is now an Associate in the Harvard Astronomy Department. He and his wife Holly, earned Ph.D's in Astrophysics from Harvard University in 1968. Anti-nepotism rules prevented them from getting academic positions in the same university (long since eliminated by the rise of feminism). Bob decided to become an entrepreneur in the hopes of earning an independent income so he and Holly could remain in Cambridge near Harvard. There Bob could pursue his lifelong interest in some great problems in philosophy, using the resources of Harvard's excellent libraries.

Bob's Ph.D. thesis was on the quantum mechanics of the hydrogen quasi-molecule (two atoms in collision) and the interaction of matter with radiation that he saw makes atomic collisions ontologically indeterministic and irreversible, as was first seen by Albert Einstein in 1916. This work provides the explanation for the origin of irreversibility in the universe.

Bob was a scientific assistant to NASA's Astronomy Missions Board from 1967 to 1969. He was appointed by Leo Goldberg, who was the chairman of the Harvard Department of Astronomy, the director of the Harvard College Observatory, the president of the American Astronomical Society, and past president of the International Astronomical Union, the head of every scientific society Bob belonged to.

Bob met with the Astronomy Missions Board every month, and met with its seven sub-discipline panels several times each year. NASA demanded that in addition to proposing new missions for space satellites, rockets, and balloons in the various fields, that the board also "assign funding priorities" to the various fields. Board members were adamantly opposed to telling NASA how much money to spend on solar versus stellar versus planetary astronomy, for example.

After many meetings in which the AMB refused to assign priorities as the NASA staff was insisting, Leo Goldberg offered to resign and dissolve the board unless it could address mission costs and budgets for the different sub-disciplines. The sub-discipline panels had prepared reports on their minimum, middle, and most ambitious programs and had provided cost estimates for each, but they could not provide guidance as to which field was most likely to provide the most important new space astronomical research.

At their next meeting, at Kitt Peak Observatory in Arizona, with Leo Goldberg's threat to resign in mind, Bob Doyle added up the total costs for the space astronomy missions as $250 million, %500 million, and $1 billion per year. At that time the space astronomy program was costing $180 million a year.

Bob edited A Long-Range Program in Space Astronomy, which NASA submitted to Congress, leading to the launch of the High Energy Astronomical Observatory HEAO-1 satellites and subsequently the Einstein (HEAO-2) and Chandra observatory-class X-Ray missions.

When Congress approved the new mission starts proposed in the Long-Range Program, the space astronomy budget went up by many millions of dollars, hundreds of millions over the next two decades. The Collaborative Observing Program alone had a million dollar budget. Bob wondered about the amount of productive work needed to produce so many millions of dollars. And he wondered if he could create enough wealth to provide an independent income so he and Holly could stay in Cambridge.

At the last meeting of the Astronomy Missions Board, held at NASA Headquarters in Washington, it was just one month after the June 20, 1969 landing of men on the moon, and one month since the publication of The Long Range Program in Space Astronomy. Bob had lunch at the Mayflower Hotel with AMB members Bernie Burke of MIT, Arthur Code of U. Wisconsin, and George Field, of UC Berkeley. The $5 cost of a cheeseburger shocked them. It was the beginning of the 1970's inflation crisis, but Bob reminded

From the Johnson Spacecraft Center in Houston, Bob coordinated the Collaborative Observing Program for the Skylab astronauts from 1973 to 1974, which allowed 250 astronomical observatories around the world to synchronize their white light ground-based solar observations with X-Ray images made by the Skylab astronauts using the Apollo Telescope Mount on board Skylab. One of the undergraduate students in an introductory astronomy class, A. Robert Cole, Harvard, '74, asked if he could produce a film as a substitute for writing a term paper. He and Bob Doyle learned of new synchronous sound Super8 movie systems being developed, like Bell and Howell Filmosound and the documentary filmmaker Richard Leacock's "double-system" sync sound project, funded by a $300,000 grant from Polaroid founder Edwin Land to Leacock's MIT department of Architecture and Film.

Bob Doyle applied to Harvard president Derek Bok for a $7500 grant to acquire an MIT/Leacock system for North House, where Cole was a student and Doyle a faculty associate. President Bok refused the grant, saying that every Harvard house would be wanting the same amount of money. While a momentary setback, it proved a long-term benefit, because it motivated Bob Doyle to develop some technology and a new business based on it.

Working with his brother in law, Wendl Thomis, a systems analyst and programmer at IBM, and with NASA physicist and neighbor Jordan "Jay" Kirsch, Bob Doyle modified a low-cost Sony TC800B tape recorder owned by Bob Cole to synchronize Super8 sprocketed magnetic film with a Super8 camera. U.S. patent 3,900,251 was awarded for the Super8 Sound Recorder.

Bob Doyle prepared a full-page advertisement to run in the April 1973 issue of American Cinematographer magazine, the prestigious publication of the American Society of Cinematographers, the elite institution of Hollywood filmmakers. The initial reaction of the industry was that the amateur Super8 film format was inadequate for professional use. But Bob received four checks for $495 the week after the ad appeared. This was the initial starting capital for a new business he called Super8 Sound.

From 1973 to 1978, Bob Doyle was the CEO of Super8 Sound, where he pioneered double-system synchronous-sound recording and editing tools for what he called "Super8 professional" filmmakers.

Elected a full member of the sound engineering committee of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, Bob helped specify standards for one-pulse-per-frame digital synchronization signals between Super-8 film cameras, cassette tape recorders, and the Super8 Sound fullcoat magnetic film recorder.

Meanwhile, Ricky Leacock's MIT double-system was licensed to Hamton Engineering for manufacture. It was sold around the world. Leacock personally delivered five MIT/Leacock systems to Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi. But there was a problem. When the sprocket magnetic film was spliced, light leaking through the splice was interpreted as another frame of sound and the recorder lost synchronization with the picture. Buying five Super8 Sound Recorders eliminated the loss of synchronization.

Ricky Leacock said that Bob Doyle had "kicked him in the shins" but that together their work had established Super8 as the lowest cost sound film production medium.

In 1975, Bob Doyle prepared the first edition of the 72-page Super8 Sound Catalog. It became the definitive equipment reference for Super8 filmmakers around the world. The catalog went through three editions with an average circulation of 15,000 copies.

Super8 Sound grew quickly with seven dealers in the US and six more around the world in Australia, Benelux, Canada, France, Germany, and India. Sales of $52,000 in the final nine months of 1973 were followed by $250,000 in 1974, $530,000 in 1975, $650,000 in 1976, and $750,000 in 1977. Bob. Jay, and Wendl thought they might build one Super8 Sound Recorder a weekend in 1973, but instead Bob shipped over two thousand of them before he left the company to the employees in 1977.

Many thousands of budding filmmakers in the 1970's learned sync-sound filmmaking using low-cost "amateur" Super8 Sound tools. Decades later, many of them became Hollywood professionals.

Despite the initial negative reputation, Hollywood's American Cinematographer magazine devoted their entire November 1975 issue to Professional Super 8 tools and techniques developed by Bob at Super8 Sound. Herb Lightman, the Cinematographer editor, asked Bob to organize the whole issue. He solicited articles from industry experts and academics like Leacock's colleagues at MIT. Nothing could have validated Bob's work more than this testimony from the motion picture film world.

The legacy of Super8 Sound continues with worldwide support for the Super8 medium at Phil and Rhonda Vigeant's Pro8mm in California. Phil is called "the man who saved Super8." He was Super8 Sound's accountant and saved the company from potential financial collapse by taking charge of all company transactions.

Bob had shown he could build millions of dollars in film production tools, that he could create an international, if small, company and meet the payroll for a dozen employees, but sadly he had not shown he could make the profit needed to achieve financial independence and allow him to turn to studying physics and philosophy full-time.

Maybe instead of running a manufacturing company Bob could develop technology that he could license to a much larger company who would pay him royalties for his ideas?

Bob noticed that the transistor-transistor (TTL) logic circuits he used to servo-control the Super8 Sound Recorder in 1973 were being integrated into much larger chips called microprocessors, which could become the "central processing unit" (CPU) of a tiny computer - a microcomputer. These microprocessors were expensive in 1974 (just under $20).

But Gordon Moore, a founder of Intel Corporation, had formulated his famous "Moore's Law," that predicted prices would fall in half every year and a half, while increasing in computing power. Bob projected they microprocessors would fall below $2 by 1977 so might be included in a game retailing for around $25.

Bob wrote a letter in 1974 to the ten leading games companies and ten leading electronics companies, predicting there would be a $100 million-dollar-a-year electronic games business by the end of the decade. He was wrong by a factor of ten (though within so called "astrophysical accuracy"). In 1980 it was a billion-dollar industry and his games had a 25% market share.

While he was full-time running Super8 Sound, Bob also worked again with brother-in-law Wendl Thomis, mostly on weekends, and now he enlisted his wife Holly Thomis Doyle to brain storm possible hand-held electronic or computer games. They called themselves "MicroCosmos" after a course called "MicroCosmos and MacroCosmos" Bob was teaching in the Harvard Extension School and in Harvard Summer School.

They quickly identified a couple of dozen game ideas, including single-player games against the computer and a game for two players where the computer emulates a moving tennis ball. They then built working prototypes of four games, not yet using microprocessors but just that simple TTL logic. They showed the prototype games, based on arrays of light-emitting-diodes (LEDs), to several of those twenty companies. Every company asked them to sign "non-disclosure agreements" which gave the companies the rights to freely use any ideas they judged to be already known to the companies. As it turns out, many of the companies simply produced games modeled on those ideas without paying any royalties, but one company, Parker Brothers, proved to be upright and paid royalties for MicroCosmos games for several years.

Parker Brothers published six MicroCosmos handheld computer games, including Code Name: Sector (1977), Merlin (1978), Wildfire (1979), Stop Thief (1979), and Master Merlin (1980).

Merlin sold 5.5 million copies in 13 languages and was the most popular game or toy in the US in 1980, according to the Toy Manufacturers of America. Merlin was on the October 1978 cover of Boston Magazine and the December 1978 cover of Newsweek magazine.

In retrospect, Bob should probably have stopped at this point and turned to his problems in physics and philosophy, having generated all the wealth he really needed to become a full-time philosopher of science.

But in 1979, Bob developed a handheld personal computer terminal he initially called a "microterminal" to access airline reservations, banking, stock trading, and many future online services. It was based on a wordplay game with a 16-character display and an alphanumeric keyboard, one of several dozen possible computer games the MicroCosmos team had imagined.

Bob presented working prototypes of the microterminal to dozens of computer companies and communications companies, such as IBM, AT&T, GT&E, and IT&T. GT&E bought a 3-month exclusive license to the technology in the US and IT&T flew Bob and Holly to Brussels to discuss international rights to the technology. They brought a microterminal prototype encased in an elegant European-stye telephone, plugged it in to some ancient telephone wiring in IT&T headquarters, and demonstrated prototypical services like airline reservations and stock trades, running on a microcomputer across the Atlantic at Bob's lab back in Cambridge, MA.

But just as licensing an idea to games companies was problematic and likely unrealistic (with Parker Brothers the exception), licensing the microterminal was also likely doomed. Bill Enders, a vice president of GT&E, told Bob some time after the exclusive license agreement expired, that GT&E President Thomas Vanderslice had actually authorized $250,000 for the license, but he (Enders) had offered Bob only $150,000, expecting Bob to negotiate. He was surprised that Bob naively jumped at the offer. Enders also told Bob that Vanderslice had ordered GTE Labs to find ways around any royalty payments. Lessons learned about negotiating with big business!

Another of the companies who saw the MicroCosmos prototypes was Mattel Electronics, a division of Mattel, Inc. The electronics division was created by Jeff Rochlis, who started it with a secretary and one electronics engineer. He had grown it by 1980 into a $250 million business, with a 1980 market share similar to Parker Brothers. Rochlis and Mattel vice president Ed Krakauer visited Bob's lab for a microterminal demonstration. Rochlis saw a great potential market for a handheld device that connected to the telephone network to access services like banking, paying bills, stock trading, and airline reservations.

Rochlis expressed interest in joining Bob in this project and Bob offered Jeff ten percent of a future company, which Bob was calling IO (for input/output and one/zero). Jeff jumped at the offer (without negotiating) and left Mattel (as did Krakauer to form General Consumer Electronics). Jeff looked into the agreements with GTE and IT&T and was skeptical. He arranged a meeting with the business consultants Arthur D. Little to explore options. ADL strongly recommended that the new company seek venture capital.

Over the next few months, Jeff and Bob met with several venture capital firms. A group of firms, led by Five Arrows (part of Rothschild and Co.), including Fidelity Investments, First Bank of Boston, and General Instruments, offered $3,500,000 for 35% of the new company, which Jeff renamed IXO. At that time, with the new company valued at ten million dollars and Bob's share of stock about one-third of the total, he might well have felt secure enough to turn to physics and philosophy?

The IXO Telecomputing System was cited for "human factors engineering" on the cover of BYTE magazine in April 1982 and in an INC magazine article on Bob's electronic games and the telecomputer in September 1982. But the operations of IXO were not going well. The new president of IXO had hired 65 employees of his former Mattel Electronics division and quartered them in a first-class office space overlooking the water in San Marino. Rochlis was burning through the venture capital, necessitating second and third rounds at increasingly unfavorable terms. By 1984, Bob's stock had been reduced to about 1% of the company. More lessons learned about business.

Removed from the day-to-day development of the microterminal, now telecomputer, Bob did turn to the idea of publishing his work. Skeptical of finding a major publisher, and hearing of independent thinkers "self-publishing," he imagined he might write a software program that would support publishing with one of the new personal computers. Bob had previously met with Steve Jobs to discuss licensing the IXO telecomputer technology as a potential Apple "Blueberry." And in 1984, Jobs had introduced the new Apple Macintosh computer, with a "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" visual interface that could support multiple columns of type needed to layout a newspaper. The development language for the Macintosh was Pascal. Bill Atkinson had developed a "Pascal Toolbox" of primitive routines for graphic elements. Bill's toolbox provided the structure for MacPaint. Bob bought and avidly read the multiple volumes of the documentation "Inside Macintosh," and applied to Apple for developer status. He was accepted as the eleventh certified outside developer.

In just a few months, Bob wrote what he called an "electronic publishing" program for the Macintosh, with a lot of help from wife Holly and sons Rob and Derek. He named it MacPublisher. It was one of the few software programs introduced in the same year as the 128K Macintosh. Bob printed a 3-column letter on the dot-matrix ink-jet Apple ImageWriter and sent it to Steve in January, 1985, arguing that electronic publishing would become "software that sells hardware."

In that same month, Apple released the Laserwriter, replacing the crude dot-matrix print quality with fine typefaces. This combination of software and hardware triggered a publishing revolution. Paul Brainerd, a vice president at Atex, whose several-thousand-dollar electronic publishing system was used by major magazines and newspapers, founded the Aldus Corporation and introduced PageMaker, for the 1985 512K "Big Mac." Brainerd called the new field "desktop publishing." PageMaker was later sold to Adobe, who replaced it with the InDesign desktop publishing tool that Bob uses everyday to layout his books.

After selling about ten thousand copies of MacPublisher for $99, Bob sold the program to Esselte Letraset for $500,000 plus a three-year contract for five days of consulting each year at $10,000 per day. Once again, Bob had the financial strength and now the tools to publish his philosophical ideas, but he continued to be seduced by technology developments.

In 1988, Bob provided financing for Matt and Patrice York to launch Videomaker Magazine. Matt had been a Super8 Sound customer and noted that when Super8 Filmaker magazine was launched there were already a few hundred thousand Super8 film cameras, but there was as yet no magazine for videomakers, despite over a million video cameras sold that year.

In the early 1990's Bob was invited to become the "digital video guru" for NewMedia magazine, which had a quarter million subscribers. He formed "NewMedia Lab" where he tested and reported on all the latest developments in consumer video, especially its evolution from analog to digital video camcorders, and the creation of "desktop video" non-linear editing systems like Adobe Premiere. He formed a "desktop video group," which met monthly at his lab and grew to over 150 members.

Leading non-linear editing providers like Avid let Bob keep the "beta" versions he tested and he gave them to media institutions in the Boston area, including the Boston Cyberarts Festival, Boston Film/Video Foundation, Cambridge Community Television, Quad Sound Studios, Harvard Radcliffe Television, and Massachusetts College of Art.

In 2003, Bob helped NPR show host Christopher Lydon and software development engineer Dave Winer create the first "podcasts" at Harvard's Berkman Center, where Winer was a research associate and created the first Harvard faculty blogs. Winer recently posted an archive of those early podcasts.


(Click for an expandable panoramic view of Winer's BloggerCon. Dave Winer is on the left. Chris Lydon is the soundman in the center and Bob Doyle is recording video in the front row...

Since Super8 Sound, Bob has spent much of his life building tools, he says, to "put the means of production in the hands of the people," not as Karl Marx imagined by nationalizing them, but by basing them on low-cost consumer products to make them affordable, even free and "open source." He has been adapting consumer devices to reduce the cost of film and video tools for nearly fifty years to "help communities communicate."

He's provided technical, logistic, and financial support to many individuals and media groups in the Boston area, including the Boston Cyberarts Festival, Boston Film/Video Foundation, Cambridge Community Television, Quad Sound Studios, Harvard Radcliffe Television, and Massachusetts College of Art.

The iTV-Studio is a research and development project by Bob that is another technology distraction, but it was built to support Bob's lectures streaming on YouTube and cablecast on CCTV in Cambridge.

iTV-Studio is a conversion of Bob's former NewMedia Lab, where studies of early digital video technology were conducted for NewMedia magazine. The lab is now a state-of-the-art multi-camera webcasting facility, from which Bob's online lectures on information philosophy are produced for live streaming.

Open the image below in a new tab to see an ITV-Studio full panorama. The three rolling pedestal cameras at left are being installed at a news webcasting studio for the Harvard Crimson.

Right-click to open a new tab

This iTV-Studio is a one-person operation. While lecturing, Bob switches between 7 Sony PTZ cameras and three media sources (two PCs and two Surface Pros that show his web pages, including YouTube videos, and online Skype guests), using the Blackmagic Design ATEM switcher app on an iPad Pro.

Behind these are four DisplayLink screens extending his desktops. To his left on a pull-out drawer are the Sony PTZ camera controller, a laptop PC running his teleprompter software, an audio mixer, and the ATEM multiview screen on the table. The PTZ controller has multiple presets for the seven cameras. To his right on a pull-out drawer are three iPads running the Teradek VidiU app and Teradek Core streaming to YouTube and to CCTV cable television in Cambridge.

Bob was included in a 2019 feature film project on problem of free will by French filmmaker Olivier Wright. It was titled "Psi." In the film, Olivier imagines five different lives he might have lived if he had freedom of the will.

Also featured were philosophers and scientists Dan Dennett, Michael Gazzinaga, Bob Kane, Alfred Mele, Galen Strawson, Barry Schwartz, and Max Tegmark.

Wright also created nine episodes from the film as lessons for educational use.

Information Philosopher Website

Bob's 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 original three major sections of the website each have a history of the problem, the relevant physics, biology, cosmology, etc, and pages on the core concepts of the problem. In recent years, sections have been added on the mind, chance, and the quantum.

In 2016, Bob launched Metaphysicist.com to show how information philosophy can solve many problems, puzzles, and paradoxes in metaphysics. As opposed to metaphysicians, who are today mostly analytic language philosophers, a metaphysicist can show that information is physical, but immaterial. Thoughts in minds are immaterial, yet they causally influence the actions of the material brain and body.

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 paper in William James Studies on the two-stage free-will model of William James got Bob an invitation to the William James Symposium at Harvard in August, 2010 to present a 90-minute seminar (available on YouTube) on James' ideas on free will, along with the similar ideas of a dozen scientists and philosophers since James. Since 2010, another dozen thinkers have been discovered who support Bob's two-stage model of free will, which first was described in James' 1884 essay, "The Dilemma of Determinism."

The compatibilist philosopher 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 Dennett's view that free will is "compatible" with physical determinism and a single possible future.

Bob was invited to present the two-stage model of free will at 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 directed a program at Florida State University that studied 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 deterministically 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 produced 14 revisions in as many weeks.

Bob's first philosophy book - Free Will: The Scandal in Philosophy - was published on June 19, 2011, his 75th birthday. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, along with eBook versions for the Kindle and Nook.

His second book - Great Problems in Philosophy and Physics Solved? - was published on September 15, 2016. HIs third - Metaphysics Problems , Puzzles, and Paradoxes Solved? - appeared in December 2016. They are both available on Amazon.

His fourth book - My God, He Plays Dice! - How Albert Einstein Invented Most of Quantum Mechanics was published in 2019.

A fifth book written by David Layzer, Bob's mentor at Harvard and his wife's thesis adviser, was edited by Bob and published in 2021, two years after Layzer's death. In the book, Why We are Free, Layzer describes the importance of the alternative possibilities underlying his idea of free will, which he bases on a "primordial randomness." Layzer saw this randomness as an alternative to the quantum randomness and the source of freedom from philosophical determinism.

All Bob's books are available as free PDF downloads on the I-Phi website.

In addition to his extensive websites (this one and metaphysicist.com) and his printed books, Bob produced fifty lectures on his YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Bob's email is bobdoyle@informationphilosopher.com.

His address and phone number are:
77 Huron Avenue
Cambridge, Mass 02138
617-876-5678
Skype handle:bobdoyle
YouTube channel: infophilosopher
Twitter username: infophilosopher
Facebook page: infophilosopher
I-Phi Blog: i-phi.org

Bob is an Associate in the Astronomy Department, Harvard University
His faculty email is rodoyle@fas.harvard.edu

Bob's philosophical publications
Robert 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:

Part 1, William James' Free Will Model
Part 2, The standard argument against free will.
Part 3, William James.
Part 4, Other Two-Stage Models.
Part 5, How Behavioral Freedom in Animals Evolves to Become Free Will in Humans.
Part 6, Quantum Noise in the Brain Generates Indeterminate Alternative Possibilities.

"The Two-Stage Model of Free Will: How biological freedom in lower animals evolved to become free will in higher animals and humans," submitted to Social Trends Institute for an Experts Meeting on the question "Is Science Compatible with the Desire for Human Freedom?", Barcelona, Spain, October, 2010

Is Science Compatible with Free Will?: Exploring Free Will and Consciousness in the Light of Quantum Physics and Neuroscience (on Amazon)

Powerpoint presentation at the STI Experts Meeting.

Video of presentation at the STI Experts Meeting

Two Steps to Free Will, Harvard Magazine, July-August 2012.

Mente e Libertà? (Mind and Freedom?), Interview, Avvenire, June 4, 2013.

Quantum Physics and the Problem of Mental Causation, presented in Milan, June 6, 2013, at a conference on "Quantum Physics and the Philosophy of Mind." (Slides)

Free Will: The Scandal in Philosophy was published in June 2011.

480 pages, 40 figures, 15 sidebars, bibliography, glossary, index.

Philosophers who want to review it can download a PDF or an eBook.

PDFs of the individual chapters are here.

Great Problems in Philosophy (and Physics) Solved? was published in September 2016

472 pages, 45 figures, bibliography, index.

Philosophers who want to review it can download a PDF or an eBook.

PDFs of the individual chapters are here.

Metaphysics: Problems, Paradoxes, and Puzzles Solved? was published in December 2016

428 pages, 13 figures, bibliography, index.

Philosophers who want to review it can download a PDF or an eBook.

PDFs of the individual chapters are here.

My God, He Plays Dice! How Albert Einstein Invented Most of Quantum Mechanics, was published in March, 2019

452 pages, 71 figures, bibliography, index.

PDFs of the draft chapters are here.

His fifth book Bob did not write. He was an editor for David Layzer's book on free will. He did co-write a preface and afterword with Anthony Aguirre. In this book Bob's Harvard colleague and mentor Layzer answers Bob's fundamental question of information philosophy",

Why We are Free was published in March, 2021

168 pages pages, 4 figures, bibliography, index.

An interactive PDF of the book is here.

Paperback and Kindle versions are here

 


Bob on his philosophical background
My life-long love of philosophy began over sixty-five 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 the 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. All ethical and moral values appeared to be relative to particular human cultures.

My third course was Existentialism taught by Vincent Tomas. Existentialism was 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 virtual 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, no objective values.

In my ethics course, I studied various attempts to get values based on reason or human nature or even just on emotions. 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 for them. They thought it 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 large Information Philosopher Institute library, which is the foundation for this I-Phi website.

Language: en  | fr  | it  | de  | es  | pt  | ar  | he  | da  | nl  | zh  | ja  | ko  | none 
Normal | Teacher | Scholar