Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Unknown in Lem’s Solaris

One problem which recurs from time to time in intelligent science fiction is the absence not only of religion, but even of religious yearning. Science fiction in its more morbid manifestations is existentialist or nihilistic, taking for its basis the tragic presumption of man alone in a meaningless cosmos.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

How to Build a Biologist

Independent of the eternal virtues of good children's literature, the mature reader is characterized by a quest for realism in literature. Yet a mind not trained in the hard sciences cannot expect to distinguish between science and pseudoscience.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Art of Retrospection

"Returning to an old book ought to be a procedure that is anti-sentimental," wrote an old soldier and man of letters I enjoy returning to with fond sentiments.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Case for Mark Antony

The conventional wisdom would appear to imply that Brutus is the tragic hero of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Certainly the partisans of Brutus have an easier time of it than his detractors.

Is Mathematics Literature?

Pythagoras seems to have believed that numbers were gods and mathematics a means towards knowing them. This much is clear from both Plato and Aristotle's writings. If literature is understood as a means by which we seek and reflect upon the fundamental truths of the universe by mirroring those truths in words, then shouldn't mathematics likewise be considered literature?