Author Archives: Randal Samstag

About Randal Samstag

Randal has an undergraduate degree in political philosophy, but has a graduate degree in engineering and has earned his bread for 30 years working on municipal and community water supply and wastewater collection and treatment systems in the US, Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia.

A Rational Case for Panic

Paul Mason’s 2015 book, Postcapitalism A Guide to Our Future, provides a striking visualization of a possible exit from the disasters of our current capitalist world system to something else: a more life-affirming, empathetic, creativity-fostering and fun world of cooperative … Continue reading

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Resolution of the Paradox

After Abner Shimony A Cognitive Science Puppet Play Dramatis personae: Zeno, Pupil, Lion Pup. Master! There is a lion in the streets! Zen. Very good. You have learned your lesson in geography well. The fifteenth meridian, as measured from Greenwich, … Continue reading

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“No time but the present” from my friend Jeff Courtney’s Digital Dao What is time? Was there a beginning to time? If so, what preceded it? Is time “real”? If so, is time more real than chairs, for example? Is … Continue reading

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Free Market Fool

The Free Market Existentialist, Capitalism Without Consumerism is a 2015 book by Willam Irwin and published by Wiley Blackwell. Irwin is the “General Editor of the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series” and the “Herve A. LeBlanc Distinguished Service Professor … Continue reading

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Thoughts on the Labor Theory of Value

Why does something have value? It is clear that this “metaphysical” question is at the heart of the theory of political economy. Depending on how one answers this question, one sets off in very different directions with one’s economic theory. … Continue reading

Posted in Economics | 2 Comments

Proudhon and His Critics

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a prominent radical thinker of nineteenth century France. He was, apparently, the first person to call himself an anarchist. He became a member of parliament during the revolution of 1848. A printer by trade, he was friends … Continue reading

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Sorabji’s Self

The Cartesian virus has infected what is now known as philosophy of mind since the great mathematician first appeared on the scene in the seventeenth century. Westerners are typically either Cartesians, if we catch the virus (or were born with … Continue reading

Posted in General Philosophy | 3 Comments

Zizek’s Event

I picked up Slavoj Zizek’s new book, Event, next to the cash register in the gift shop at the Tate Britain. Philosophy is an impulse buy at the Tate Britain. In this book Zizek takes seriously the theme of the … Continue reading

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Garry Wills’s Madison

Garry Wills’s short book on Madison (James Madison) is not the complete story on our puzzling fourth President, but it captures well the many contradictory positions which Madison embraced during his long life. Wills’s book was a commissioned study in … Continue reading

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Do Contradictions Imply Everything?

It is a standard argument of classical logic that any proposition can be logically derived from a contradiction (See Lewis and Langford, Symbolic Logic, page 250). This argument has been used by almost everybody, including Karl Popper (in the article … Continue reading

Posted in Logic | Tagged , | 3 Comments