22 Jun 2015

Inside Out | Movie Review

The latest confoundingly creative masterpiece from veteran Pixar director Pete Docter (“Up”) is a magnificent achievement. It’s by far the best film Pixar has made since “Toy Story 3”: for the sheer scope of its vision and the genius of its execution, “Inside Out” is unmatched in Pixar’s pantheon. Ostensibly centered on 11-year-old girl Riley Anderson’s psychological turmoil after moving from Minnesota to San Francisco, “Inside Out” emphasizes the reciprocal relationships between her anthropomorphized emotions.

14 May 2015

Ex Machina | Movie Review

Artificial intelligence is clearly the menace of the cinematic hour. The old menace posed by the Skynet of the “Terminator” franchise has taken on additional credibility in the era of “big data,” which offers the possibility of algorithmic analysis on a heretofore undreamt-of scale. Alex Garland’s recent thriller “Ex Machina,” however, trades guns for words and explosions for psychological turbulence, raising fundamental questions within a deeply intimate context. “Ex Machina” opens as Caleb Smith (Domhnall

02 Mar 2015

A Defense of Nagel, Part IV

The Problem of Consciousness for the Corpuscular Cosmos The biologist Kenneth Miller gives a charitable response to Nagel by interpreting him to say there are fundamental issues, like consciousness, which makes the materialist program in biology face obstacles it will not overcome in the near future. Nagel’s book today, Miller says, parallels Erwin Schrödinger’s book, What is Life? in 1956. According to Miller, Schrodinger said “that our then-current understanding of physics was incapable of explaining

19 Nov 2014

In Defense of Nagel (Part One)

The Problem of Consciousness in a Corpuscular Cosmos: A Defense of Nagel and a Critique of the Mechanistic Metaphysics of Intelligent Design and Metaphysical Naturalism In this four part series, I survey some of the reactions to Thomas Nagel’s recent book, Mind and Cosmos (2012), and use them to elucidate why most of them misunderstand his thesis; from there, I use Nagel’s writing as a springboard to give an overall critique of physicalist accounts of