In many ways, The Alphatown Ionians are CBA's best team. If we use as our measuring stick post-season success, then no other cosmic team comes close to the achievements of the Ionians. The have appeared in the Cosmic Universal Series a record six times (1983, 1985, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994) and have won the series five times.

The Ionians have a new owner ( Confucius) and a new manager ( Oppenheimer). This is the first time the team has been managed by a scientist and not a philosopher. There are eight rookies (4 philosophers and 4 scientists). The outfield is composed completely of philosophers and philosophers continue to dominate the roster. However, the influence of science continues to be a factor as the two rookie pitchers ( Oberth and Tsander) are both rocket scientists. Geographically, the Europeans (20) and specifically the Germans (10) dominate the roster, with the United States of America (8) falling second. The ancient Greek philosophers which used to dominate the Ionians roster have two representatives ( Archimedes and Thales). Chronologically, this year's team is dominated by 19th and 20th century philosophers and scientists (22). Of the 12 scientists on the team, six were productive in the 20th century.

Finally, it should be mentioned that, collectively, the mind, if not the body, of this year's Alphatown Ionians is about as sharp as it gets.

Archimedes, Blondlot*, Descartes, Dewey, Kierkegaard, Mill, Newton, Oberth*, Spinoza, Thales

Chomsky*, Hegel, Kepler, Planck, Pons*, Russell, Tarski, Tsander*, Turing, Zuse

Heidegger*, Husserl, Kant, Nietzsche, Peirce*, Rand*

Oppenheimer*, Emerson*, Hume, James

Wittgenstein, Confucius*




c. 282-217 B.C.

Greek Mathematician.

Founder of the science of hydrostatics. Discoverer of the "Archimedes Principle": a body in a fluid loses weight equivalent to the weight of the liquid it displaces.

Biography ARCHIMEDES: IMSS - Multimedia Catalogue -

Archimedes at History of Mathematics Site

Archimedes Home Page

Cosmic Pitching Record

Rene Blondlot


French Physicist.

Renowned French physicist who, while trying to polarize X-rays, which had been recently discovered by Roentgen, claimed in 1903 to have discovered a new invisible radiation which he called N-rays (in honor of his home town of Nancy). He used prisms and lenses made of aluminum to focus and disperse the N-Rays, and he detected the spectrum by passing a fine thread, coated with fluorescent material, across the focal plane. N-Rays, as it turns out, do not exist and Blondlot's researches were discredited.

The Blondlot Award

Discussion of N-Rays

Noam Chomsky

b. 1928

American Linguist. Political Activist.

A founder of the concept of "transformational generative grammar." A foe of empiricism, Chomsky believes that human cognitive behavior is a result of innate structures built into the mind.

Noam Chomsky Page at M.I.T.

Chomsky for Philosophers

Philosopher All-Stars: Noam Chomsky

Rene Descartes


French Philosopher

Cogito ergo sum. "I think therefore I am." Descartes invented the mind/body dualism in which he argued God created two basic substances: mind and matter. Consciousness is the only basis for philosophical certainty. Everything is either black or white. An empiricist and a mathematician, Descartes' philosophical ideas have greatly influenced modern Western philosophy. Baruch Spinoza disputed Descartes' splitting of the mind/body atom.

Rene Descartes and the Legacy of Mind/Body Dualism

Descartes' Meditations

Philosopher All-Stars: Rene Descartes

Cosmic Pitching Record

John Dewey


American Philosopher and Educator

Part of the American tradition of philosophical "pragmatism", Dewey made contributions to pedagogy by stressing that morality is based on experience.

Center for Dewey Studies

Cosmic Pitching Record

Friedrich Hegel


German Philosopher

Hegel uses the dialectical method to develop philosophical truth. A thesis gets met by an antithesis and the yield is a new synthesis...over and over and over again. Hegel's philosophy of the absolute, (see his Wissenschaft der Logik, published in three volumes between 1812-1816) influences metaphysics for the rest of the 19th Century. For a repudiation of the Hegelian metaphor see Soren Kierkegaard and his 1843 Euten-Eller.

ILTweb: Study Place: Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich

Hegel Gopher Site

Cosmic Batting Record

Martin Heidegger


German Philosopher

A student of Edmund Husserl Heidegger became a leading figure in the German existentialist movement. Existentialist thought which became ascendant during the early 20th Century focuses on concrete realities and not abstract metaphysical reality.

Heidegger Reference Site

Ereignis- Heidegger links

Heidegger Gopher Site

Edmund Husserl


Austrian Philosopher

Founder of "phenomenology" which attempts to describe conscious experience by a detailed logical analysis. Husserl does not rely on traditional metaphysical assumptions and his insights influenced a number of other philosophers including Martin Heidegger and the French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty.

Husserl's Biography in Brief

The Husserl Page

Cosmic Batting Record

Immanuel Kant


German Philosopher

In 1781, when he was 57, Kant published Kritik der Reinen Vernunft which examined the limitations of human knowledge and understanding. Kant, influenced by the work of David Hume determined that all knowledge comes from experience except certain a prior insights which we might today call "intuitions." Kant's philosophical and metaphysical ideas greatly influenced subsequent Western philosophical thought. His contributions to the philosophical fields of epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics continue to serve as publishing fodder for many academic philosophers.

The Works of Immanuel Kant

ILTweb: Study Place: Kant, Immanuel

Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (Translation by Norman Kemp Smith)

Johannes Kepler


German Astronomer

In Harmonice Mundi (1619), Kepler put forth the reality that planets travel in elliptical orbits, not perfect circular orbits. Research based on data compiled by the astronomer Tycho Brahe in 1601 enabled Kepler to make this observation. However, since the prevailing view of the Universe during Kepler's lifetime was that God created it, and since God is perfect, the orbits of the orbs in the universe must be perfect. Circles are perfect, ellipses are not. Therefore, Kepler's revelations were considered heretical.

Kepler Site

Cosmic Batting Record

Soren Kierkegaard


Danish Philosopher

Kierkegaard is considered the founder of the philosophy of modern existentialism. In 1843 at the age of 30, he published Euten-Eller which objected to the influence of the Hegelian philosophical metaphors. Truth was an individual and strictly personal matter, not subject to objective analysis or a vague Absolute as Hegel had postulated.

Kierkegaard on the Internet

Kierkegaard Gopher Site

Cosmic Pitching Record

John Stuart Mill


English Philosopher

Mill developed a theory of inductive logic that gives us a method of gaining knowledge of the so-called real world. His social theory of "utilitarianism" dictates that society should organize itself so that the greatest good is given to the greatest number.

The Works of John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Cosmic Pitching Record

Issac Newton


English Scientist

In Philosophia naturalis principia mathematica, Newton establishes the laws of gravity and the universal laws of motion. In 1666, when he was 23, Newton discovered the calculus (at about the same time as Leibniz) which provided rules for dealing with rates of change. Ten years later, in what will be referred to as Newton's Other Law, he writes: "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." This comment, no doubt, is based on an aphorism appearing in Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy: "Pygmies placed on the shoulders of giants see more than the giants themselves." Burton's source, no doubt, is from the 12th Century scholastic Bernard de Chartres, who apparently said: "In comparison with the ancients we stand like dwarfs on the shoulders on giants." (See the stained glass window at the Cathedral of Chartres where Matthew is sitting astride Isaiah's shoulders). What Newton's Other law implies is that human knowledge and understanding is a very cumulative affair.

Newton Biography

Newtonia: pages about Sir Isaac Newton

Cosmic Pitching Record

Friederich Nietzsche


German Philosopher

The "will to power" rules the world and those that can overcome their basic human weakness can become an "uberman". Indiscriminately ripped-off by the fascists and Nazis nearly 50 years later, Nietzsche himself was philosophically opposed to nationalism.

Friedrich Nietzsche Society

The Nietzsche Page at USC

Cosmic Pitching Record

Cosmic Batting Record

Hermann Oberth

German Rocket Scientist

With Goddard and Tsiolkovsky, Oberth, is one of the pioneers of modern space flight. Like his colleagues, Oberth was influenced by the science fiction writing of Jules Verne.

Oberth, in his Die Rakete zu den Planetenraumen (1923) showed mathematically that higher energy potential was possible with liquid propellants than solid, gunpowder-type fuels. This was a significant theoretical development since even Goddard's landmark 1919 paper on space travel did not consider liquid propellants.

While not a founding member, Oberth was involved in the German Society for Space Ship Travel (Verien fur Raumschiffahrt, or VfR) which was created in 1927. Oberth, who was born in Romania, became a German citizen and worked with Werner von Braun at Peenemunde, the German rocket development complex where the V-2 rocket was developed during the 1930s and 1940s.

THE WAR ON TUNA CAFE: Hermann Oberth

M.E.A. - Salute to Oberth

Charles Sanders Peirce


American Philosopher

Founder of "pragmatism" which believes that truth and knowledge are derived from science and that the criterion for truth is scientific consensus. Pragmatism, a uniquely American strain of philosophy finds meaning in things in so far as those things relate to people. William James did much to develop Peirce's ideas, especially in the religious realm.

Charles S. Peirce Studies

Max Planck


German Physicist

Articulated the Quantum Theory of physics (1900) which followed from his work on black body radiation. Quantum theory states that electromagnetic radiation consists of discrete units called quanta or photons. Bodies that radiate energy do not emit the energy constantly but in discrete parcels. The quantum idea has had an enormous impact on 20th Century science.

Planck Page at history of Mathematics Site

Cosmic Batting Record

Stanley Pons

b. 19xx

American Electrochemist

In March 1989 electrochemist Stanley Pons of the University of Utah and his colleague Martin Fleischmann of the University of Southampton in England announced in a University of Utah press conference that they had discovered a way to achieve nuclear fusion in a flask at room temperature. They claimed that the device generated more energy in the form of heat than was fed into it as electricity. The obvious practical application of this idea sprang forward: usable technology for generating heat and power. The Cold Fusion controversy was re-ignited with the canonical scientific community dismissing the claim as a "blondlotisma" (see Blondlot).

The problem with cold fusion is that it defies current accepted physical theory. For cold fusion to occur, two deuterium nuclei have to fuse. Deuterium nuclei naturally repel one another because of the electric force between them. The laws of quantum mechanics allow deuterium nuclei to fuse by accident every so often even if they are not initially close together, but the probability of that happening is very small. If cold fusion could be controlled, a seemingly endless stream of energy would be available.

Subsequent to their announcement Pons and Fleischmann have moved their research to France where it is funded by a Japanese consortium. A paper by Pons and Fleischmann published in 1993 stated that the pair has achieved heat production reaching boiling levels in numerous cold fusion cells accompanied by nuclear by products like tritium.

A Cold Fusion Primer

The Cold Fusion Mystery Continues

Cold Fusion Researchers Issue Wake-Up Call to Colleagues

Ayn Rand


Russian-born American Philosopher

Rand's "objectivist" philosophy extols the benefits of enlightened self-interest. In both her fiction and non-fiction, the virtue of selfishness, is examined and found to be the most important element in an individual's intellectual and moral life.

Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

Todd Golberg's Ayn Rand Chronology and Bibliography

Bertrand Russell


English Philosopher, Mathematician, & Social Activist.


The Bertrand Russell Society Home Page

Bertrand Russell Site

Philosopher All-Stars: Bertrand Russell

Cosmic Batting Record

Baruch Spinoza


Dutch Philosopher

Rejecting Rene Descartes' attempt to split the mind from the body, Spinoza argues that mind and body were two sides to the same coin, a coin minted by God, and fused by philosophical inquiry. A lens grinder by trade, Spinoza's work has greatly influenced theories of ethics.

When he was 24, in 1656, Spinoza, a rabbinical student, was expelled from the Amsterdam synagogue because of views considered heretical. Fourteen years later he will anonymously publish his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus which argues that the Bible, if properly understood gives no support for religious intolerance. The guardians of the things-the-way-they-are object and widespread denunciations of the work are generated.

Spinoza's ETHICS:

Cosmic Batting Record

Alfred Tarski


Polish-born American Mathematician

Born in Warsaw, Poland when it was part of the Russian Empire, Tarski earned his Ph.D. in 1923 at the University of Warsaw. Tarski taught at the University until 1939 when he moved to the United States. In 1942 he started teaching at the University of California at Berkeley and by 1949 he was appointed professor of mathematics. From 1958-1960, Tarski was research professor at the Miller Institute of Basic Research and Science. He became professor emeritus in 1968 and died in Berkeley in 1983.

Tarski wrote more than ten books including Geometry (1935), Undecidable Theories (1953), and Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics (1956). He made substantial contributions to several branches of mathematics including set theory, measure theory, model theory, and general algebra.

In mathematics, an infinite group whose existence seems intuitively impossible is called a "Tarski Monster".

Tarski Page at History of Mathematics Site

PhilNet : Alfred Tarski

Tarski Site

Cosmic Batting Record


c. 636-546 B.C.

Pre-Socratic Philosopher

Thales is mythologized as the first human thinker to make an attempt to account for natural phenomena using natural explanations rather than the actions of the gods. Most pre-Socratic philosophers looked for an initial or primordial substance from which all other matter derives. Thales identified that substance as water.

Thales (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Cosmic Pitching Record

Cosmic Batting Record

Fridrikh Tsander


Russian Rocket Scientist

A highly gifted and original rocket scientist, Tsander designed the first Soviet rocket propelled by liquid fuel, the GIRD-X, which was launched November 25, 1933. The rocket flew to an altitude of 246-262 feet.

Tsander was fascinated with space travel. Born in Latvia, he was a devoted student of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, one of the three prime pioneers of rocket science. As a high school student in Riga, Tsander had been exposed to the ideas of Tsiolkovsky in high school and he became fanatical about space travel. A lifetime slogan was "Forward to Mars!" Apparently he got the Soviet leader Lenin interested in the subject at a meeting of inventors in Moscow in 1920. During a speech delivered at the Great Physics Auditorium at the Institute of Moscow on October 4, 1924, Tsander was asked why he wanted to go to the planet Mars. He responded: "Because it has an atmosphere and ability to support life. Mars is also considered a red star and this is the emblem of our great Soviet Army."

Tsander Site

Astronomy in Latvia

Alan Turing


English Computer Scientist

In December, 1936, Alan Turing published a paper entitled On Computable Numbers. With a background in mathematical logic, Turing formulated what was later called the "Turing Machine" and posited the notion that there are some mathematical problems that cannot be solved by machines. The concept of the "Turing Machine" has become the basis for the contemporary history of computers and computation.

Turing spent the rest of his short life working in the logic/mathematics field. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1938 from Princeton University (New Jersey) he returned to England and during World War II he worked in the Government Code and Cypher School where he contributed to the decoding of the German Enigma codes. After the war he helped construct the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) in 1945. In 1948 as deputy director of the Computing Laboratory at the University of Manchester (England), Turing had access to the MADAM (Manchester Automatic Digital Machine) computer which, at the time, had the largest memory capacity in the world.

Turing's work has directly inspired the artificial intelligence wing of computer science. He believed that it was possible to build computers capable of human thought and the "Turing Test" has been used to examine this potential of computers. Basically, the test goes like this: if you are sitting at a computer terminal and "talking" with a computer and you cannot tell whether it is a human or a machine you are talking to, then the machine should be considered intelligent.

According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica (which has the incorrect date of publication for the paper cited above), Turing apparently committed suicide, June 7, 1954, "probably because of the depressing medical treatment that he had been forced to undergo (in lieu of prison) to 'cure' him of homosexuality". A half-eaten apple, laced with cyanide was found next to the body.

Turing Home Page

Cosmic Batting Record

Konrad Zuse


German Computer Scientist

Born in Berlin-Wilmersdorf, Germany, Konrad Zuse has been credit for developing the first electro-mechanical binary computer, originally designated the VI and later renamed the Z1.

Trained as a civil engineer he spent the war years in Berlin working for an aviation firm and developing his theories of computing. His basic hypothesis was that "data processing starts with the bit" and he defined computing as "the formation of new data from input according to a given set of rules."

After the Z1 was destroyed, Zuse continued developing digital computers such as the Z3 and the Z4 which was taken out of Germany and brought to Switzerland as the war ended. The Z4 was used in a Swiss technical institute until 1955.

When the war ended, Zuse set up a computer manufacturing company that at one point employed over 1,000 people. Eventually, Zuse sold the company to the German firm Siemens.

Konrad Zuse died December, 1995 in Germany.

Konrad Zuse Biography

Cosmic Batting Record

J. Robert Oppenheimer
Field Manager


American Atomic Scientist

A leader of the Manhattan Project which created the Atom Bomb in 1945. In December of 1953, Oppenheimer was charged with possible treason and of having communist sympathies. The following year the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) revoked Oppenheimer's security clearance. Ultimately cleared of the disloyalty charges he was nevertheless considered a security risk and the revocation of his security clearance was upheld. In 1963 the AEC awarded Oppenheimer its Enrico Fermi Award.

Oppenheimer's life tells a serious tale of the problematic interaction between scientists and politicians.

The 3 Dreams of J. Robert Oppenheimer

J Robert Oppenheimer-photos

J. Robert Oppenheimer Information

EGP: Hearings of the Gray Board on the case of J. Robert Oppenheimer

Oppenheimer Biography

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Coach (Pitching)


American Philosopher


Ralph Waldo Emerson: Transcendental Effect

Emerson Links

Emerson Photographs

David Hume


Scottish Philosopher

Hume published Treatise on Human Nature in 1739 which severed the connection between reason and experience. Hume points out that if a rock is dropped, experience, not reason, tells us that it will fall. Experience teaches us about cause and effect, not reason. Using the empirical method of inquiry, Hume argued that the concepts of good and evil are not exactly inherent in the external world, but exist in the mind only. Our understanding of good and evil originates in our mind based on our personal experiences. Hume, then, is one of the pioneers of modern empiricism, which has done much to trivialize traditional metaphysics.

The Hume Archives

ILTweb: Study Place: David Hume

Cosmic Batting Record

William James


American Philosopher


William James Information

Cosmic Batting Record

Ludwig Wittgenstein
General Manager


Austrian-born English Philosopher


The Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen

Wittgenstein Biography

Cosmic Pitching Record


551-479 B.C.

Ancient Chinese Philosopher


Confucius Information

Quotes from Confucius

Chinese Philosophy Site

Birthday of Confucius

Home field

Built 1981

Seating Capacity: 44,444

Other Philosophy Sites

Ionian Pitching Records for Current Personnel

Ionian Batting Records for Current Personnel

Alphatown Ionians- 1997 Official Team Roster
Published: November 7, 1996
Modified: December 4, 1999