In philosophy, rationalism is the epistemological view that "regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge" or "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification". More formally, rationalism is defined as a methodology or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive". In an old controversy, rationalism was opposed to empiricism, where the rationalists believed that reality has an intrinsically logical structure; because of this, the rationalists argued that certain truths exist and that the intellect can directly grasp these truths. That is to say, rationalists asserted that certain rational principles exist in logic, mathematics and metaphysics that are so fundamentally true that denying them causes one to fall into contradiction; the rationalists had such a high confidence in reason that empirical proof and physical evidence were regarded as unnecessary to ascertain certain truths – in other words, "there are significant ways in which our concepts and knowledge are gained independently of sense experience".
Different degrees of emphasis on this method or theory lead to a range of rationalist standpoints, from the moderate position "that reason has precedence over other ways of acquiring knowledge" to the more extreme position that reason is "the unique path to knowledge". Given a pre-modern understanding of reason, rationalism is identical to philosophy, the Socratic life of inquiry, or the zetetic clear interpretation of authority. In recent decades, Leo Strauss sought to revive "Classical Political Rationalism" as a discipline that understands the task of reasoning, not as foundational, but as maieutic. In the 17th-century Dutch Republic, the rise of early modern-period rationalism — as a systematic school of philosophy in its own right for the first time in history — exerted an immense and profound influence on modern Western thought in general, with the birth of two influential rationalistic philosophical systems of Descartes and Spinoza — namely Cartesianism and Spinozism, it was the 17th-century arch-rationalists like Descartes and Leibniz who have given the "Age of Reason" its name and place in history.
In politics, since the Enlightenment emphasized a "politics of reason" centered upon rational choice, utilitarianism and irreligion – the latter aspect's antitheism was softened by the adoption of pluralistic methods practicable regardless of religious or irreligious ideology. In this regard, the philosopher John Cottingham noted how rationalism, a methodology, became conflated with atheism, a worldview: In the past in the 17th and 18th centuries, the term'rationalist' was used to refer to free thinkers of an anti-clerical and anti-religious outlook, for a time the word acquired a distinctly pejorative force; the use of the label'rationalist' to characterize a world outlook which has no place for the supernatural is becoming less popular today. But the old usage still survives. Rationalism is contrasted with empiricism. Taken broadly, these views are not mutually exclusive, since a philosopher can be both rationalist and empiricist. Taken to extremes, the empiricist view holds that all ideas come to us a posteriori, to say, through experience.
The empiricist believes that knowledge is based on or derived directly from experience. The rationalist believes we come to knowledge a priori – through the use of logic – and is thus independent of sensory experience. In other words, as Galen Strawson once wrote, "you can see. You don't have to get up off your couch and go outside and examine the way things are in the physical world. You don't have to do any science." Between both philosophies, the issue at hand is the fundamental source of human knowledge and the proper techniques for verifying what we think we know. Whereas both philosophies are under the umbrella of epistemology, their argument lies in the understanding of the warrant, under the wider epistemic umbrella of the theory of justification; the theory of justification is the part of epistemology that attempts to understand the justification of propositions and beliefs. Epistemologists are concerned with various epistemic features of belief, which include the ideas of justification, warrant and probability.
Of these four terms, the term, most used and discussed by the early 21st century is "warrant". Loosely speaking, justification is the reason. If "A" makes a claim, "B" casts doubt on it, "A"'s next move would be to provide justification; the precise method one uses to provide justification is where the lines are drawn between rationalism and empiricism. Much of the debate in these fields are focused on analyzing the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as truth and justification. At its core, rationalism consists of three basic claims. For one to consider themselves a rationalist, they must adopt at least one of these three claims: The Intuition/Deduction Thesis, The Innate Knowledge Thesis, or The Innate Concept Thesis. In addition, rationalists can choose to adopt the claims of Indispensability of Reason and or the
"Oceanic" is a science fiction novella by Australian writer Greg Egan, published in 1998. It won the 1999 Hugo Award for Best Novella. "Oceanic" was first published in the August 1998 edition of Asimov's Science Fiction by Dell Magazines. Editor Gardner Dozois republished it in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Sixteenth Annual Collection and The Best of the Best Volume 2: 20 Years of the Best Short Science Fiction Novels, it was again republished in Greg Egan's collection Dark Integers and Other Stories and in Egan's collection Oceanic. In 1999, "Oceanic" won the Hugo Award for Best Novella, Locus Award best novella, Asimov's Reader Poll for best novella, it won two foreign short story awards: the 2000 Hayakawa's SF Magazine Reader's Award and the 2001 Seiun Award. "Oceanic" was a finalist in the 1998 Aurealis Award for best science fiction short story, a long list nominee for the 1999 James Tiptree Jr Memorial Award, a short-list nominee for the 1999 HOMer Award for best novella. The story follows a Freelander living on the oceans of Covenant.
As a boy he has a religious experience. As he grows into manhood his experiences and studies begin to conflict with his deep rooted faith, he joins a small circle of scholars studying the effects of one of Covenant’s most abundant microbes as his views of life change dramatically. Oceanic title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database Egan, Greg Egan. Oceanic. Full text online
Incandescence is a 2008 science fiction novel by Australian author Greg Egan. The book is based on the idea that the theory of general relativity could be discovered by a pre-industrial civilisation; the novel has two narratives in alternate chapters. The first follows two citizens of the Amalgam, a Milky Way-spanning civilisation, investigating the origin of DNA found on a meteor by the Aloof; the Aloof control the galactic core and, until the novel begins, have rejected all attempts at contact by the Amalgam. The second narrative is set on a small world known as the Splinter, covers the attempts by its inhabitants to understand the environment within which their home exists; as the story progresses, it becomes clear that the Splinter orbits a collapsed star within its accretion disk and is subject to various dangers. The two stories come together in a complex twist which involves a kind of past/future first contact role reversal. Much of the narrative explores the effects of orbital dynamics around a high mass object and requires an understanding of Newtonian gravitation and at least a basic familiarity with general relativity and its application to black holes and neutron stars to be compelling.
Understanding the story's wider frame of reference and the Splinter's encounter with the Wanderer are tied in with this. The Amalgam is explored in three other short stories, Riding the Crocodile, Hot Rock. One review compared Incandescence to "a not enthralling lecture on the process of scientific discovery, combined with the physics of a black hole". Another reviewer described much of this criticism as "trite received opinion" and said the book had "hints of greatness and pleasing moments" but its structure was "a failed literary experiment" and rather dull. On June 6, 2008, British writer Adam Roberts released a review criticizing Incandescence for its awkward prose and weak characterization. In response, Egan dissected the review, going so far as to call it "probably the first genuine hatchet job I've received." In particular, he accuses Adam Roberts of malicious nitpicking and a straw man argument, suggests that Roberts should have known he would be unfairly biased against the book and refused to review it: But if someone aspires to be taken as a reviewer, they either need to read the entire book and give at least as much thought to what they've read as a twelve-year-old would when sitting a reading comprehension test, or — if that prospect is far too unpleasant to bear — they should decline to review the book.
In short, Roberts has as much of a good time as I'd have at the Bayreuth Festival, as little worth reporting about the experience. The mystery is; the names of the directions on the Splinter are derived from the Arabic for North, South and West and from the Persian for hot and cold. Official Website Locus Magazine's Russell Letson reviews Greg Egan includes reviews of Incandescence, "Glory" and "Riding the Crocodile"
An Unusual Angle
An Unusual Angle was the debut novel by Australian science fiction writer Greg Egan by Norstrilia Press. It concerns a high school boy who makes movies inside his head using a bio-mechanical camera, one that he has grown, he is able to send out other "viewpoints", controlled with his "psi" powers, of which he has more power than anyone else he's met. Most of the book concerns the boy trying to get his films out of his head, but no brain surgeon will believe him
Quarantine (Egan novel)
Quarantine is a hard science fiction novel by Greg Egan. Within a detective fiction framework, the novel explores the consequences of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, which Egan acknowledges was chosen more for its entertainment value than for its likelihood of being correct; the novel is set in the near future, after the solar system has been surrounded by an impenetrable shield known as the Bubble by an extraterrestrial civilization for unknown reasons. The Bubble permits no light to enter the solar system, as a consequence the stars can no longer be seen, causing widespread societal panic,'claustrophobia', terrorist action. Neural mods are common place, designed pathways in the brain that are created with engineered, programmable microorganisms to produce a variety of effects, such as implanting skillsets, altered states of awareness or, illegally and controlling thoughts; the narrator, contains a suite of tactical mods that allow him to suppress emotions and enhance tactical and analytical thought.
Nick is a private eye forced to quit the police force after the death of his wife, the trauma of which caused him to activate his emotional suppression mod, which further prompted him to purchase a mod that simulates the feeling of love and wellbeing of his wife still being alive, logically solving the problem of grief. Nick accepts a case to investigate Laura, a woman who has vanished from a psychiatric institute, after several instances of her escaping; the institute staff insist that short of walking through a wall, it should not have been possible to escape the previous times, though it comes to light that she was kidnapped in this instance. Investigation in New Hong Kong leads Nick to the group responsible, the Ensemble, but causes him to be captured. Nick is implanted by an illegal'Loyalty Mod', which causes him to earnestly and believe in the goals of the Ensemble. Nick is used as a security guard for the project the ensemble is working on, a new neural mod perfected by studying Laura.
This mod, called the Eigenstate Mod or'Eigenmod', allows the brain to consciously control the physical process, responsible for wave function collapse. This feature of neurology is present in several animal species, one of the researchers responsible for the mod, Po-kwai, suspects that the Bubble may exist because humanity may have been aggressively collapsing the wave functions of alien civilizations that did not have the ability to do so, causing them harm; when using the mod, the user becomes'Smeared', existing within a superposition of states therefore every possible set of actions they take being equally'real'. When one version of the user succeeds in whatever they want to do, they deactivate the mod, collapsing the eigenstates into that one subjective reality; this allows the mod to control probability to do anything, though raises questions of morality and philosophy to the narrator, who considers deactivating the mod equivalent to murdering the other real versions of the user. Nick meets a group of Ensemble members who like him are under the control of the Loyalty mod.
They explain to him that the loyalty mod only specifies their loyalty to Ensemble, but fails to specify what the ensemble is. Therefore, via logical argument, the group decides that as by definition the most loyal members of the ensemble, what the ensemble is is up to their personal interpretations; the Canon has Nick steal and apply the eigenstate mod to himself, which he uses for various purposes before meeting with a strangely coherent Laura after bypassing otherwise impregnable security with the mod. Laura explains that she is capable of smearing, that she is one of the aliens who created the Bubble; the true alien consists of an emergent being composed of all the eigenstates of Laura at once, that dies when she stops smearing, but captures a holographic representation of itself within her mind that rebuilds the alien mind when she begins smearing again. Laura explains that life on earth developed the ability to collapse wave functions by chance, which spread via pure natural selection.
As smeared intelligence cannot survive in a single, unique state of the universe, they erected the bubble, preventing humanity from seeing and thus deciding the state of anything outside it, while protecting humanity from the starkly alien nature of outside reality. Laura finishes by explaining her role as an observer, there to offer humanity a way to join the rest of the universe, if they choose to, she warns Nick of his Smeared self, which she describes as a child and unsure of its abilities, but, becoming aware that its goals do not align with that of Nick's, who she describes as a single cell to a much larger and much more alien Smeared Nick. A member of the canon uses the stolen eigenstate mod to cheat the production of engineered microbes that can install the mod into people, while acting and spreading like a disease would, so that he may spread the ability to smear to humanity and join the aliens in smeared reality. Nick is unsuccessful. Not long after, New Hong Kong begins to be filled with strange and impossible events, people changing faces, turning to glass or vanishing while holograms become real and the sky begins to rain blood.
Nick finds Po-kwai, both affirm that while they are not scared of what is coming, they are not ready for such an existence. Po-kwai postulates that this outcome was inevitable and not the fault of smeared Nick—that instead the smeared total of all of humanity tunneled into possibility. Humans around them begin to blur as the sme
Distress is a 1995 science fiction novel by Australian writer Greg Egan. Distress describes the political intrigue surrounding a mid-twenty-first century physics conference, at, to be presented a unified Theory of Everything. In the background of the story is an epidemic mental illness, related in some way to the imminent discovery of the TOE; the action takes place on an artificial island called "Stateless", which has earned the wrath of the world's large biotech companies for its pilfering of their intellectual property. The novel contains a great deal of satirical commentary on gender identities, multinational capitalism, postmodern thought, it features Egan's usual playful exploration of physical and epistemological theories. The narrator is a journalist for a science channel called SeeNet named Andrew Worth who carries video recording software in an intestinal implant, he declines. He journeys to Stateless through a series of convoluted flights to cover a presentation by 27-year-old South African physicist Violet Mosala, supplanting the preproduction by a colleague, Sarah Knight.
When he arrives, he is informed by an asex anthrocosmopologist named Akili that Violet's life is in danger. Violet is finishing her Theory of Everything, which she intends to present on the conference's last day. Through interfacing with a talkative local, Worth learns that Violet plans to emigrate to Stateless after the conference to use her celebrity to provide an opportunity for South Africa and other nations to end their support for the UN boycott of Stateless, he witnesses the islands' physical underpinnings: it is held up by the activity of millions of micro-organisms. After meeting with a faction of anthrocosmologists, he learns that they believe in the concept that the universe is created by one person's Theory of Everything; that person is called the Keystone. Worth becomes deathly ill and believes he has been infected with cholera by a faction of anthrocosmologists who wanted him to transmit the disease to Violet Mosala, he recovers and is kidnapped by this group, who are led by a rival physicist Worth saw with Violet at the conference.
Worth and Akili are held on a tanker where it is explained that these cultists believe Violet's TOE will destroy the world. Worth signals for help by connecting his implant to a port on the ship, he and Akili are rescued by citizens of Stateless. Worth returns to the conference and learns that a biotech conglomerate sent a militia to Stateless, angry at the technology they have appropriated, he negotiates with the militia to let a ill Violet return to South Africa, where she dies. Before her illness, she tasked an AI to synthesize her final theory; the militia moves to take over the main city of Stateless, so the citizens move to the outskirts and let the invaders die by destroying the city when its structural underpinnings are consumed by triggered microorganisms. Worth is fired from SeeNet and Sarah Knight replaces him, covering the war. Worth discovers that Sarah was working with the cultists, that AIs are exhibiting symptoms of the titular mental illness as well. Believing that the AI that wrote the paper became the Keystone and that Distress will continue until a human reads it, Worth downloads and reads the paper, realizes that all minds, collaborate in being "the" Keystone, giving all of humanity an intuitive connection with the universe.
Egan uses his hypothetical future to postulate the existence of not just one but five new genders, introduces a set of new pronouns for gender neutral people. One of the central characters of the novel, Akili Kuwale, provides a demonstration of this change and its implications; as an asexual human, Akili has had all reproductive organs removed entirely. Within the scope of the novel, Egan uses the pronouns've','ver', and'vis' to represent Akili's definitive gender neutrality. Egan uses the hypothetical technological advances in Distress to explore ideas about anarchism when its protagonist, Andrew Worth, a journalist, travels to the anarchistic man-made island named Stateless. Andrew meets some minor characters on Stateless who explain to him the relationship between anarchistic principles and various ideas such as quantum physics, information theory and independent spirituality. Worth meets a painter, who attempts to explain how anarchy functions on Stateless. Munroe is an Australian as are Greg Egan himself.
Egan uses Munroe to deliver a critique of Australian culture. Don't you get sick of living in a society which talks about itself, relentlessly - and lies? Which defines everything worthwhile - tolerance, loyalty, fairness - as'uniquely Australian'?" A major theme running through Egan's presentation of a futuristic anarchism is something called'Technolibération', to do with the liberation of technology and information from corporate control as well as the idea of using advanced technology to enable liberatory social movements. Official Website