Category Archives: Peter Suber

Peter Suber

The Budapest Open Access Initiative said in February 2002: “An old tradition and a new technology have converged to make possible an unprecedented public good. The old tradition is the willingness of scientists and scholars to publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment. . . . The new technology is the internet.” To see what this willingness looks like without the medium to give it effect, look at scholarship in the age of print. Author gifts turned into publisher commodities, and access gaps for readers were harmfully large and widespread. (Access gaps are still harmfully large and widespread, but only because OA is not yet the default for new research.) To see what the medium looks like without the willingness, look at music and movies in the age of the internet. The need for royalties keeps creators from reaching everyone who would enjoy their work.

A beautiful opportunity exists where the willingness and the medium overlap. A scholarly custom that evolved in the seventeenth century frees scholars to take advantage of the access revolution in the twentieth and twenty- first. Because scholars are nearly unique in following this custom, they are nearly unique in their freedom to take advantage of this revolution without financial risk. In this sense, the planets have aligned for scholars. Most other authors are constrained to fear rather than seize the opportunities created by the internet.

Peter Suber, Open Access, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2012, pp. 19–20

Peter Suber

The infinite has been a perennial source of mathematical and philosophical wonder, in part because of its enormity—anything that large is grand, and provokes awe and contemplation—and in part because of the paradoxes like Galileo’s. Infinity seems impossible to tame intellectually, and to bring within the confines of human understanding. I will argue, however, that Cantor has tamed it. The good news is that Cantor’s mathematics makes infinity clear and consistent but does nothing to reduce the awe-inspiring grandeur of it.

Peter Suber, ‘Infinite Reflections’, St. John’s Review, vol. 44, no. 2 (1998)

Peter Suber

If a simplification actually creates fewer problems that it prevents, and makes life better than a truer theory that is more respectful of complexity, subtlety, ambiguity, and indeterminacy, then courage requires that we be fictionalists and admit it.

Peter Suber, ‘Against the Sanctity of Life’