Here : "As Ellis has put it, the early moderns replaced the Aristotelian notion of active powers with an essentially “passivist” conception of nature. For the Aristotelian-Scholastic tradition, by virtue of their substantial forms natural substances exhibit a directedness toward the generation of certain outcomes as toward a final cause. Efficient cause thus presupposes final cause or teleology, which in turn presupposes substantial form. Get rid of substantial form and final causality, and efficient causality in any robust sense -- any sense that entails an active tendency toward the generation of certain effects -- goes out the window with it. That is precisely why Hume’s puzzles about causation and induction followed upon the early moderns’ anti-Aristotelian revolution. What replaced active powers was the idea of natural phenomena as essentially passive -- as inherently directed toward no particular outcome at all -- on which certain “laws” have been imposed from outside.
"Marginal Revolution" Blogger James Surowiecki is quite amused that Former Nebraska star running back Lawrence Phillips recently pawned one of his Big Eight championship rings for $20. (Phillips reportedly told shop owner Steve Gibson that he was “stuck in Las Vegas” and “needed to get out of town.” Gibson went on to sell the ring on ebay for $1700.) Surowiecki commented:
Perhaps that's the definition of desperate: accepting a price that represents a 99% discount to market value. The inevitable next question is: Has Phillips learned from experience and put his other rings up for auction? (As of now, no.)
As one who always defends victims of elitist criticism, let me question Surowiecki’s analysis. Exactly what was Phillips supposed to have learned? That you should always hawk your Big Eight rings on ebay? Presumably, Phillips needed to get out of town quickly . That’s the reason people go to pawn shops, after all: they give you money fast .
And, now that he’s sa
I once argued with a woman online — can you imagine? Me, arguing online! — Who claimed that global warming couldn’t possibly be due to human activity, because of the small amount of CO2 our activities release compared to the total in the atmosphere. So I slipped her 500 µg of LSD, and said “Let’s see what small amounts of a chemical can really do!” Ha ha! It was online, so I could not do that. But imagine if she had never encountered ice but only water between 100°F and 32.5°F. I’m sure if I tried to explain to her that the next drop of 1° would make a huge difference, she would scoff, and say “No, the water is just going to get a little more dense and a little more sluggish.” Dynamical systems experience phase transitions, where a small move past some point throws the system into a whole new form of behavior.