Archive for March, 2005

Dr. Smax Song

Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

Check it: cooked up a Dr. Smax song, “The Trip Sexy Dr Smax Loop” with these lyrics.

MP3 available here:

Monsters of Logic

Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

Monsters of Logic
Originally uploaded by Dr. Smax.

Free Logic

“The expression 'free logic' is an abbreviation for the phrase 'free of existence assumptions with respect to its terms, general and singular'.” Classical quantification theory is not a free logic in this sense, as its standard formulations commonly assume that every singular term in every model is assigned a referent, an element of the universe of discourse. Indeed, since singular terms include not only singular constants, but also variables, standard quantification theory may be regarded as involving even the assumption of the existence of the values of its variables, in accordance with Quine's famous dictum: “to be is to be the value of a variable”.”

Jesus MSN Christ

Saturday, March 26th, 2005

I'm checking my MSNhotmail and then the MSN popup announces “Only on MSN - How Jesus became Christ: The Epic Story” and I'm all like “Only?” and  “Only on MSN?? What about The Bible or, like Mel Frickin' Gibson!?!?”

And God is all like

Dear Bill Gates,

Here come the lightning bolts.


I Am Who Am


Fallen. Cannot Get Up

Saturday, March 26th, 2005

Fallen. Cannot Get Up
Originally uploaded by Dr. Smax.

Extinction stinks.

Blast Radius

Monday, March 21st, 2005

Blast Radius
Originally uploaded by Dr. Smax.


Relativism(s) and polling

Friday, March 18th, 2005

I've been enjoying recently thinking about the possible significance of polling in philosophical thought. Consider the following relatively standard way of arguing against relativism (we'll start with relativism about truth, but this might equally apply with minor modifications to, e.g.  moral relativism or relativism of philosophical worth to a community of philosophical experts). I'm eager to hear from both relativists and non-relativists what might be wrong with the argument.

For the sake of argumentative simplicity, let us define relatvism (R) as the proposition that a proposition is true only if the majority agrees to it.

Since R itself is a proposition, it is self-applicable and we get the conditional:

R only if everyone agrees to it

And if you like your logic symbolic

R –> A

We are now in a position to construct the following reductio against R:

1. R    (which we are assuming for the purposes of reductio aka indirect proof)
2. R –> A  (which is self evident if you know what R means)
3. A ( by modus ponens from 1 and 2)
4. ~A (an empircal fact that presumably can be proved only by polling)
5. A & ~A (3 and 4 by the inference rule of conjunction)
/.:  ~R (1-5 by the rule of indirect proof)

I take it to be obvious that the argument is deductively valid. And the only real question of its soundness (as far as I can tell) comes in at the question of the truth of premise 4. So, let's check:

P or not P? That is the question.

Thursday, March 17th, 2005

Opinion polls do not reliably assess philosophical worth.

Here's an argument:

Let P be the proposition that “opinion polls reliably assess philosophical worth”.

Premise 1. If P is true, then we should submit P to the judgment of an opinion poll.
Premise 2. When submitted to the judgment of an opinion poll, P comes out false.
Therefore, if P is true then P is false.

Rational people are best advised to avoid believing contradictions, thus rational people are best advised to avoid believing P.

Of course, the above argument depends on, among other things, the truth of premise 2.

Let’s decide things this way:

Haunted Easter

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005
Haunted Easter
Haunted Easter (c) 2005 Pete Mandik


Sunday, March 13th, 2005


Mind Lasers

Friday, March 11th, 2005

Mind Lasers
Originally uploaded by Ray Gunn.

(aka “Awesome Cakes”) took this sweet pic of me (aka “Puzzle Lizard”) down in New Orleans a few weeks back.

My mind lasers are unstoppable.