Archive for ‘Philosophy’

April 30, 2020

Payot

Shaving in Judaism

Payot [pey-oht] is the Hebrew word for sidelocks or sideburns. Payot are worn by some men and boys in the Orthodox Jewish community based on an interpretation of the Biblical injunction against shaving the ‘corners’ of one’s head. Literally, ‘pe’ah’ means ‘corner, side, edge.’

There are different styles of payot among Hasidic, Yemenite, and Chardal (Zionist Israeli) Jews. Yemenite Jews call their sidelocks ‘simonim,’ literally, ‘signs,’ because their long-curled sidelocks served as a distinguishing feature in the Yemenite society (differentiating them from their non-Jewish neighbors).

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March 6, 2020

Musica Universalis

Harmonices Mundi

The musica universalis (literally ‘universal music’), also called ‘music of the spheres’ or ‘harmony of the spheres,’ is an ancient philosophical concept that regards proportions in the movements of celestial bodies—the Sun, Moon, and planets—as a form of music. This ‘music’ is not thought to be audible, but rather a harmonic, mathematical, or religious concept.

The idea continued to appeal to scholars until the end of the Renaissance, influencing many kinds of scholars, including humanists. Further scientific exploration discovered orbital resonance in specific proportions in some orbital motion.

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February 25, 2020

Charisma

Charites

Charisma [kuh-riz-muh] is compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.

Scholars in sociology, political science, psychology, and management reserve the term for a type of leadership seen as extraordinary; in these fields, the term ‘charisma’ is used to describe a particular type of leader who uses ‘values-based, symbolic, and emotion-laden leader signaling.’

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November 27, 2019

Gongshi

Taihu stone

Gongshi also known as ‘scholar’s rocks,’ are naturally occurring or shaped rocks which are traditionally appreciated by Chinese scholars. As rocks are broadly fractal (geology journals require a scale to be included in images of rocks), the small rocks can resemble the larger landscape.

Scholars’ rocks can be any color, and contrasting colors are not uncommon. The size of the stone can also be quite varied: scholars’ rocks can weigh either hundreds of pounds or less than one pound. The term also identifies stones which are placed in traditional Chinese gardens. Chinese scholar’s rocks influenced the development of Korean suseok (viewing stones) and Japanese suiseki.

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November 12, 2019

Homo Economicus

Neuroeconomics

The term homo economicus, or economic man, is the sometimes satirical portrayal of humans as agents who are consistently rational, narrowly self-interested, and who pursue their subjectively-defined ends optimally.

In game theory, homo economicus is often modeled through the assumption of perfect rationality. It assumes that agents always act in a way that maximize utility as a consumer and profit as a producer, and are capable of arbitrarily complex deductions towards that end. They will always be capable of thinking through all possible outcomes and choosing that course of action which will result in the best possible result.

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November 7, 2019

Rationality

Homo economicus

Rationality is the quality or state of being rational, i.e. agreeable to reason. Rationality implies the conformity of a person’s beliefs with their reasons to believe and of their actions with their reasons for action. When a goal or problem requires making a decision, rationality factors in all information that is available (e.g. complete or incomplete knowledge).

It is meaningless to assert rationality without also specifying the background model assumptions describing how the problem is framed and formulated. Rationality is relative: in models that optimize for personal benefit, self-interested or even selfish behavior is rational; in models that favor benefiting the group over the individual, purely selfish behavior is deemed irrational.

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October 16, 2019

False Equivalence

False balance

False equivalence is a logical fallacy in which two completely opposing arguments appear to be logically equivalent when in fact they are not. This fallacy is categorized as a fallacy of inconsistency.

False equivalence is a common result when an anecdotal similarity is pointed out as equal, but the claim of equivalence doesn’t bear because the similarity is based on oversimplification or ignorance of additional factors. False equivalence arguments are often used in journalism and in politics, where the minor flaws of one candidate may be compared to major flaws of another.

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September 9, 2019

Word Painting

Madrigalism

Word painting (also known as ‘tone painting’) is the musical technique of composing music that reflects the literal meaning of a song’s lyrics.

For example, ascending scales would accompany lyrics about going up; slow, dark music would accompany lyrics about death.

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September 6, 2019

Joie de Vivre

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Joie de vivre (‘joy of living’) is a French phrase often used in English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life; an exultation of spirit.

It ‘can be a joy of conversation, joy of eating, joy of anything one might do… And joie de vivre may be seen as a joy of everything, a comprehensive joy, a philosophy of life, a Weltanschauung [worldview]. Robert’s Dictionnaire says ‘joie’ is ‘sentiment exaltant ressenti par toute la conscience,’ that is, involves one’s whole being.’

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September 5, 2019

Third Eye

Upper Dan Tien

The third eye (also called the mind’s eye, or inner eye) is a mystical and esoteric concept of a speculative invisible eye, usually depicted as located on the forehead, which provides perception beyond ordinary sight.

In Dharmic spiritual traditions from India, the third eye refers to the ‘ajna’ (or brow) chakra (supposed ‘life force’ energy centers in the human body). The third eye refers to the gate that leads to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness. In New Age spirituality, the third eye often symbolizes a state of enlightenment or the evocation of mental images having deeply personal spiritual or psychological significance.

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August 1, 2019

Dog Days

Canis Major

The dog days or dog days of summer are the hot, sultry days of summer. They were historically the period following the heliacal rising of the star system Sirius, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. They are now taken to be the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

In addition to following Orion into the night sky, the Dog Star Sirius can be easily located in the heavens by following the line created by the prominent asterism (a popularly-known group of stars) Orion’s Belt.

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March 7, 2019

Sandman

Sandman

In Scandinavian folklore, the Sandman is a mythical character said to sprinkle sand or dust on or into the eyes of the child at night to bring on sleep and dreams.

The grit or ‘sleep’ (rheum) in one’s eyes upon waking is the supposed result of the Sandman’s work the previous night. Rheum, also known as gound, is a thin mucus naturally discharged from the eyes, nose, or mouth during sleep.

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