Archive for abduction

Bloomsday 2022

Posted in Biographical, Literature with tags , , , , on June 16, 2022 by telescoper

So it’s 16th June, a very special day in Ireland – and especially Dublin – because 16th June 1904 is the date on which the story takes place of Ulysses by James Joyce. Bloomsday – named after the character Leopold Bloom – is an annual celebration not only of all things Joycean but also of Ireland’s wider cultural and literary heritage. This year the Bloomsday Festival marks the centenary of the first publication of the complete Ulysses in Paris; it had been published in instalments before that but 2022 was when the full novel was published.

Here is a little video produced by the Irish Foreign Ministry spreading the impact of Bloomsday around the world:

This is also the first time for a few years that Bloomsday events have been held in person. I was toying with the idea of going into Dublin and wandering about some of the locations described in Ulysses, but I have too much work to do. One day I should try to write a paraody of Ulysses about a day in the life of a man who doesn’t go anywhere or do anything except spend the whole day on Microsoft Teams while real life passes him by.

If time permits, however, I will go out and buy the ingredients for a Gorgonzola and mustard sandwich, although unfortunately I shall have to forego the glass of Burgundy that Mr Bloom had with his.

Update: I tried the Gorgonzola and mustard sandwich. It’s an interesting (!) taste, but I don’t think I want to taste it again.

If you haven’t read Ulysses yet then you definitely should. It’s one of the great works of modern literature. And don’t let people put you off by telling you that it’s a difficult read. It really isn’t. It’s a long read that’s for sure -it’s over 900 pages – but the writing is full of colour and energy and it has a real sense of place. It’s a wonderful book.

(There’s also quite a lot of sex in it….)

Beyond Falsifiability: Normal Science in a Multiverse

Posted in The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , , on January 17, 2018 by telescoper

There’s a new paper on the arXiv by Sean Carroll called Beyond Falsifiability: Normal Science in a Multiverse. The abstract is:

Cosmological models that invoke a multiverse – a collection of unobservable regions of space where conditions are very different from the region around us – are controversial, on the grounds that unobservable phenomena shouldn’t play a crucial role in legitimate scientific theories. I argue that the way we evaluate multiverse models is precisely the same as the way we evaluate any other models, on the basis of abduction, Bayesian inference, and empirical success. There is no scientifically respectable way to do cosmology without taking into account different possibilities for what the universe might be like outside our horizon. Multiverse theories are utterly conventionally scientific, even if evaluating them can be difficult in practice.

I’ve added a link to `abduction’ lest you think it has something to do with aliens!

I haven’t had time to read all of it yet, but thought I’d share it here because it concerns a topic that surfaces on this blog from time to time. I’m not a fan the multiverse because (in my opinion) most of the arguments trotted out in its favour are based on very muddled thinking. On the other hand, I’ve never taken seriously any of the numerous critiques of the multiverse idea based on the Popperian criterion of falsifiability because (again, in my opinion) that falsifiability has very little to do with the way science operates.

Anyway, Sean’s papers are always interesting to read so do have a look if this topic interests you. And feel free to comment through the box below.