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mcherm : philosophy   171

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By my scoring, over half the items in the generic conspiracist scale are literally true – DePonySum
He is literally right: except the stuff about aliens, most everything in this list of conspiratory thinking has actually happened at least once.
sociology  via:reddit  philosophy 
4 weeks ago by mcherm
Ethnic Tension And Meaningless Arguments | Slate Star Codex
A lot of argument is just an attempt to associate bad or good things with a concept. This isn't how philosophy says we decide things but it does seem to describe observed behavior.
ScottAlexander  philosophy  via:SlateStarCodex  SlateStarCodex 
june 2019 by mcherm
Why the Arkansas Law Aimed at Boycotts of Israel Is Generally Constitutional, Part II –
An argument I respect against the position I would be inclined to take about whether it is legal for Arkansas to ban boycotts of Israel.
law  philosophy 
june 2019 by mcherm
Changing my Mind about AI, Universal Basic Income, and the Value of Data – The Art of Research
"The cult thinking is that datasets such as ImageNet, a dataset of over a million labeled images frequently used for AI training, can train AI that will replace more work than the dataset took to make. This seems unlikely for ImageNet, which was labeled by 49,000 workers over 2.5 years"
ai  ViHart  philosophy  basicincome 
june 2019 by mcherm
Scooter Lessons: Success, but a Stark Double Standard — Strong Towns
Portland is applying strict assessment of the impact of scooters. What if they applied the same standards to cars? Isolated demands for rigor.
philosophy  cars  via:SlateStarCodex 
january 2019 by mcherm
The Pavlov Strategy - LessWrong 2.0
A different simple strategy that does well in TitForTat tournaments.
philosophy  TitForTat  math 
january 2019 by mcherm
Opinions guided by tribalism
This post content a house series of grafs showing evidence that opinions, especially those of Republicans, change rapidly based on what is politically popular.
DonaldTrump  philosophy  politics  via:reddit 
january 2019 by mcherm
The Tails Coming Apart As Metaphor For Life | Slate Star Codex
If people are given examples to define a category they may come up with different definitions that all seem to satisfy the examples. But the definitions will give different answers for values outside the training set. Ethics is like this.
via:SlateStarCodex  ethics  philosophy 
december 2018 by mcherm
The Hour I First Believed | Slate Star Codex
An argument that God exists, along with life after death, based on superintelligences and negotiating with simulations of their negotiating partners.
philosophy  religion  ScottAlexander  via:SlateStarCodex 
april 2018 by mcherm
Civilization is all rise and no fall | Rock, Paper, Shotgun
The civ games show an upward-only progression. Historically, our civilization is unusual in having that perspective: many others saw greater civilizations of the past that had fallen to reach the present. Leads to hiding global warming and stuff like that.
gamedesign  philosophy  via:HackerNews 
march 2018 by mcherm
Runaway Train Jumps Tracks in Commerce - latimes
A real-life "trolley problem" with enough time to think about it. They chose the less-populated neighborhood over downtown.
philosophy  ethics  via:SlateStarCodex 
january 2018 by mcherm
Contra Robinson On Public Food | Slate Star Codex
Capitalism, government, ALL systems have a failure mode where the forces of competition are more significant than the good intentions. The best solution is to "find a couple of elegant systems that all optimize along different criteria approximately aligned with human happiness, pit them off against each other in a structure of checks and balances, hope they screw up in different places, [...] keep enough individual free choice around that people can exit any system that gets too terrible, and let cultural evolution do the rest."
via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  philosophy  government  libertarian  economics 
november 2017 by mcherm
Moloch's Toolbox (1/2)
Creative dialogue explaining how many of the world's problems stem from a coordination issue where each person's incentive is to keep things as they are although there is a universally better situation if we were to all agree to change at once.
EliezerYudkowsky  via:SlateStarCodex  philosophy  philosophyOfScience 
november 2017 by mcherm
Contra Askell On Moral Offsets | Slate Star Codex
Axiology (study of what is good) =/= morality =/= law. Except in artificially extreme cases, follow later ones when they conflict. Offsets (like carbon credits) are OK for axiology violations but not for moral violations.
philosophy  ethics  SlateStarCodex  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander 
september 2017 by mcherm
Things to Hang on Your Mental Mug Tree |
Among other things this essay includes an interesting rumination on how to make people want to pay taxes.
taxes  philosophy  via:SlateStarCodex 
september 2017 by mcherm
The Kolmogorov option
Scott Aaronson on why Kolmogorov was an amazing mathematician, and why ethical people may wish to remain silent and take no actions about injustices they perceive.
ethics  ScottAaronson  philosophy  history  math  via:HackerNews 
august 2017 by mcherm
The Elaborate Pantomime of The Federal Guilty Plea | Popehat
Federal Guilty Pleas are one place where the ritual of justice is honored more than the spirit.
law  via:popehat  philosophy 
may 2017 by mcherm
Learning by flip-flopping · The File Drawer
There are some places where each time you learn more about a subject your basic political position on it flip-flops.
philosophy  via:reddit 
may 2017 by mcherm
Superintelligence: The Idea That Eats Smart People
Maciej (operator of Pinboard) writes on why really smart people get taken in by worries over AI superintelligence, but the concerns are overblown.
via:MaciejCegłowski  philosophy  singularity  ai 
december 2016 by mcherm
Why Do We Judge Parents For Putting Kids At Perceived — But Unreal — Risk? : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR
People's estimates of risk are based on their moral concerns, not anything about actual risk, at least in the area of free range parenting.
ethics  philosophy  culture  freerangekids  via:HackerNews  npr 
august 2016 by mcherm
How notation can improve (or worsen) thought
Several examples: a juggling notation led to the discovery of simple tricks that were brand new, knot notation led to achievements in that field of topology, and so forth.
via:HackerNews  brain  math  datavisualization  philosophy 
july 2016 by mcherm
Blockchain Company's Smart Contracts Were Dumb - Bloomberg View
Pros and cons and examples to address the philosophical question of enforcing contracts as written when maybe that isn't what everyone meant.
ethereum  libertarian  philosophy  law  ethics  via:HackerNews 
june 2016 by mcherm
The Ideology Is Not The Movement | Slate Star Codex
People form "tribes" by coalescing around something, a holy book for example. They will defend this "rallying flag" when they really mean to defend their group and it's micoculture. The deaf objecting to cures, for example. Or the culture may diverge from the flag and defend yet disregard it. Shia vs. Suni.
social  sociology  philosophy  culture  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  SlateStarCodex 
april 2016 by mcherm
Book Review: A Future For Socialism | Slate Star Codex
Corporations seem to work as an organizing principle. Perhaps this is because they have a management hierarchy and the top of that is assessed on stock value, which is effectively a widely-disbursed voting mechanism where experts get a bigger vote. (I enhanced that somewhat.)
SlateStarCodex  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  philosophy  startup 
april 2016 by mcherm
Read History Of Philosophy Backwards | Slate Star Codex
Because of their work the discoveries of most successful philosophers now seem obvious. So teach philosophy backwards explaining for each philosopher what previous misconceptions they clarified.
philosophy  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander 
february 2016 by mcherm
The Worst Argument In The World: squid314
Lots of lousy political arguments are just using an emotionally charged word that (technically) applies and expecting people to view it in the worst way.
philosophy  via:reddit 
february 2016 by mcherm
Too Much Evidence Should Decrease Confidence
Really key idea. If a few witnesses picked him out of a lineup we start to think he is guilty. But if too many all agree we start to think the lineup was rigged. Even very low chances of system failure have big effects.
bayesian  philosophy  law  ethics 
january 2016 by mcherm
Physicists and Philosophers Debate the Boundaries of Science | Quanta Magazine
Popper is outmoded, Baysian updating of priors is more modern. Some physics, like string theory, is untestable with current tech but we can believe it for other reasons like "it's the only theory we've got".
philosophyOfScience  ScientificMethod  via:HackerNews  science  philosophy 
december 2015 by mcherm
On first looking into Chapman’s “Pop Bayesianism” | Slate Star Codex
Bayesianism is a philosophy, not a math thing. Contrast with those who act as if everything is either proven true/false or fully unknown, or with those who say we can't know anything. Bayesians think we need to have a (non-zero, non-certain) probability for all beliefs, and update that as needed. Evidence that lots of people DON'T think this way.
ScottAlexander  via:SlateStarCodex  philosophy 
november 2015 by mcherm
What Developmental Milestones Are You Missing? | Slate Star Codex
He claims (with some examples) that the concept of mind (realizing that the world / others aren't the same as what's in your mind) is something that has rich nuances, and most people don't EVER learn it. I find this really insightful.
brain  psychology  ethics  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  philosophy 
november 2015 by mcherm
Shtetl-Optimized » Blog Archive » Common Knowledge and Aumann’s Agreement Theorem
Perfectly rational beings will always agree after they discuss things, and with wild leaps in opinion so they keep switching sides. Actual humans never work like that.
logic  philosophy  via:ScottAaronson  ScottAaronson 
october 2015 by mcherm
The Argument From Cultural Evolution | Slate Star Codex
On the question of evolution within cultures: people trying things and telling the members of their culture "that was bad" so the culture makes a rule against it - yep, that happens. One culture out-competing another because it has "better" rules - that would take longer than recorded history to show up because cultures compete so slowly and there are many confounding variables.
philosophy  evolution  via:SlateStarCodex  SlateStarCodex  gayrights 
july 2015 by mcherm
Will Our Understanding of Math Deteriorate Over Time?
Papers are hard to read so mathematical knowledge depends on an active mathematical community in each subject area.
math  via:HackerNews  philosophyOfMath  philosophy 
july 2015 by mcherm
Typical mind and gender identity | Slate Star Codex
Some reasons to believe that transgender is a real physical brain phenomenon rather than some sort of purely psychological or social artifact.
transgender  philosophy  brain  via:SlateStarCodex 
july 2015 by mcherm
Against Tulip Subsidies | Slate Star Codex
We require college degrees for lots of jobs (that don't really need them). The result is a huge waste of money. Even just allowing Doctors to study without an undergraduate degree would save enough money to house all the homeless.
philosophy  ethics  via:ScottAlexander 
june 2015 by mcherm
"Safe Spaces" And The Mote In America's Eye | Popehat
A fabulous essay (and rant) against censorship and fear and the changes they have wrought in our society lately, stuffed full of excellent links to egregious examples.
via:popehat  philosophy  4thAmmendment  rights  censorship  fear 
may 2015 by mcherm
Why People Are Irrational about Politics
A really rather insightful look, by a rationalist, at the question of why people act the way they do about politics. They are being irrational on purpose, for good reasons.
philosophy  psychology  politics  rationalism  via:HackerNews 
may 2015 by mcherm
Aeon Ideas - Scott Aaronson on Is there something my...
Philosophy of Math: most of math is NOT very surprising. Almost none of math seems to be unprovable. Why?
via:ScottAaronson  philosophy  math 
may 2015 by mcherm
Why today's court decision ordering release of Guantanamo force-feeding videos matters - Boing Boing
Makes the important point that if you cannot allow people to see your actions, then it raises serious questions about the ethics.
via:boingboing  ethics  philosophy  law  secrecy 
october 2014 by mcherm
Science and religion aren't friends -
In religion, faith is a virtue; in science it is a vice. The existence of religious scientists does not prove them compatible; the rarity of them shows the opposite.
atheism  philosophy  philosophyOfScience  via:googleplus 
june 2014 by mcherm
In Ancient Greece, was there a Taboo against climbing Mount Olympus? : AskHistorians
The Greeks climbed Mt Olympus and even had a shrine to Zeus there. They believed the gods lived in a "spiritual" Mt Olympus, not the physical one.
philosophy  religion  via:reddit 
june 2014 by mcherm
How a Raccoon Became an Aardvark : The New Yorker
He changed a Wikipedia entry to give the animal a made-up nickname, and since many people read Wikipedia it actually BECAME a nickname for that animal.
philosophy  Wikipedia  via:HackerNews 
may 2014 by mcherm
The set-theoretic multiverse | Joel David Hamkins
Different logic frameworks can both start with (foe example) the natural numbers and have different ideas of what is TRUE. Axiom of choice, for example. So if you believe numbers are REAL, there might be multiple universes.
philosophyOfMath  math  philosophy  via:reddit 
april 2014 by mcherm
The Scientific Case for P≠NP (by Scott Aaronson) : compsci
I have an interesting discussion about the meaning of "proof" and whether scientific evidence has any meaning in math.
math  philosophy  philosophyOfScience  via:reddit 
march 2014 by mcherm
Cory Doctorow: Cold Equations and Moral Hazard » Locus Online Perspectives
"Lifeboat" stories, where the normal rules of ethics get thrown out because we have desperate circumstances and it's the only way to survive, overlook the broader questions of how did we wind up stuck in this lifeboat anyway.
ethics  philosophy  CoryDoctorow  via:boingboing 
march 2014 by mcherm
To Settle Infinity Question, a New Law of Mathematics | Simons Foundation
Competing ideas of the "right" axiom to add to ZFC to settle the continuum hypothesis. I don't get why there's one right answer.
math  infinity  set-theory  philosophy 
february 2014 by mcherm
Twenty Reasons to Believe Oswald Acted Alone
An exercise in logical thinking: why the conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination are likely bogus.
philosophy  via:ScottAaronson  ScottAaronson 
january 2014 by mcherm
What You Can't Say
An assessment of taboos of our time; not a list of them, but a discussion of how to identify taboos of your time and avoid them if you wish to.
paulgraham  ethics  culture  philosophy 
november 2013 by mcherm
Not Quite Noahpinion: Metaphysics and the Breaking Bad Finale
An odd question: when people argue about whether an episode of a fictional series "really" was a dream or not, what on earth are they arguing over?
philosophy  via:NoahSmith 
october 2013 by mcherm
Consequentialism FAQ
A summary and defense of the ethical philosophy of consequentialism (also utilitarianism). Well written.
philosophy  ethics 
september 2013 by mcherm
Bayesian reasoners shouldn’t believe logical arguments | David R. MacIver
If you are sure of something and I present a proof that it's false, a good Bayesian would conclude that EITHER the proof OR the original was false, and they would be unsure instead of convinced.
logic  philosophy  math  via:DavidMacIver  DavidMacIver 
june 2013 by mcherm
The Falling Problem : Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Understanding the problem is not the same as being able to fix it. Even if you could fix it, there might not be enough time.
june 2013 by mcherm
Why an Atlas Shrugged smart people strike would never work. | Michael O. Church
If "the elite" went on strike, the rest wouldn't care. In fact, perhaps they already HAVE (not voluntarily, but by having to deal with "stuff"). I don't agree with the premise that there are "elites", but if you accept it then this conclusion is sound.
philosophy  AynRand  via:MichaelChurch 
may 2013 by mcherm
Can you explain, in simple terms, how i^i is real? : math
A cool mathematical point with interesting explanations, and I chime in to explain how when you have equivalent mathematical concepts you can't say one is "right".
blogworthy  mypostings  math  philosophy 
april 2013 by mcherm
Digital pain (rerun) | Fabulous Adventures In Coding
Astounding... I never knew this. Nerves transmit DIGITAL data, not analog: it's number-of-bursts-per-unit-of-time.
science  medicine  philosophy  via:EricLippert  EricLippert 
february 2013 by mcherm
We don't know why lithium batteries work
People think science begins with grand questions about the distant past or future. But, for example, we don't even understand how Lithium Ion batteries work, and they power all our latest gadgets!
science  materialsscience  via:HackerNews  philosophy  blogworthy 
january 2013 by mcherm
Deterrence has nothing to do with it. - The Criminal Lawyer - Commentary on Law and Policy
What's the motivation for jail sentencing? Really, it's mostly retribution. And that's why sex offender sentences are so long.
sexoffenders  philosophy  via:NathanielBurney 
december 2012 by mcherm
Computational thinking and life skills « Jon Udell
This programming advice: "Focus on understanding why the program is doing what it's doing, rather than why it's not doing what you wanted it to." applies to working with people as well: think of it from their point of view.
programming  philosophy  via:JonUdell  JonUdell  psychology 
november 2012 by mcherm
Logical Pinpointing - Less Wrong
Peano arithmatic and the abstract "reality" of mathematical models.
via:reddit  math  philosophy  LessWrong 
november 2012 by mcherm
The Connection Between Fat and Fear » Free Range Kids
Interesting idea. Fat: we evolved to always store food when available, but today there's plenty of food so this harms us. Fear: we evolved to react strongly to every scary thing we heard about but today we can hear about unlikely threats so this harms us.
brain  via:FreeRangeKids  philosophy  evolution 
october 2012 by mcherm
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