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Is All Truth Subjective?
Steven Mintz, Inside Higher Ed, 2023/09/06


Let me take this article as a point of departure to discuss the concept of truth. The first and most important thing to understand is that 'truth' is a property of sentences (or propositions), not of the world. The world just is. Only what we say about the world can be true or false. The second thing is that the world consists of much more than simple 'facts of the matter'. Historically, efforts to ground truths in facts have failed, not so much because they're wrong, but because they're woefully incomplete. As Joe Fassler (cited in this post) puts it, there "are the emotional, moral, narrative and philosophical truths that might be considered more true than factual truth." So in what lies truth? Here Steven Mintz tells us it's the story. "Whatever else we are, storytelling, story-consuming, story-enacting animals." Educators, for some reason, love the story. But stories are so limiting - so linear, so text-based, so dependent on narrative and sequence. No, truth lies in something broader - technically, we would say that truth is defined in a model or world view. The proposition 'P' is 'true in W'. If we want non-relative truth, can we commit to one (and only one) world view. But in a broader (set of) universe(s) we see truth inhabiting worlds of possibilities, of relations between one possible world and another (of symmetry or transitivity, for example). Truth - far from being necessary or subjective, far from being absolute or relative - is in our understanding transformed into the much more complex concept it is. And for all that, more beautiful. Image: Wikipedia.

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5 Best Discord Alternatives
Tim Brookes, How-To Geek, 2023/09/06


This article serves as a good overview of a category of online tools devoted to live chat. Mostly the chats are text chats, but in some cases they can also be live audio chats, aka voice chat (that's why gamers like them). They're still not widely popular, except as message boards; it's still not easy to create, find and join audio channels. But they're not exactly niche, ether, and enjoy wide popularity in some communities. Definitely something to keep tracking.

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How Artists Get Famous: A Physicist Reveals How Networks (and Not Just Talent) Contribute to Artistic Success
Colin Marshall, Open Culture, 2023/09/06


Short post and video on the importance of networks for success. "Even if you're not an artist, you underestimate simultaneous importance of ability and connections - and how those two factors interact with each other - at your peril. From art to science to insurance claims adjustment to professional bowling, every field involves networks: networks that, as Barabási's work has shown us, aren't always visible." And networks - importantly - are what elite colleges and universities provide their students. Which is why focusing on learning to the exclusion of all else, especially for at-need students, serves to entrench the advantage of the elite.

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We publish six to eight or so short posts every weekday linking to the best, most interesting and most important pieces of content in the field. Read more about what we cover. We also list papers and articles by Stephen Downes and his presentations from around the world.

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