At last, a week late, my notes. Bruce Sterling does not worry about a Vingean Singularity that renders humankind a powerless annoyance to transcendent artificial intelligences. Instead he worries about plain old human-driven technological change and nasty WMDs. Cynthia and I drove up to the City to hear Bruce Sterling’s lecture for the Long Now [...]
Tag Archives: philosophy
Gary Farber took that Libertarian Purity test, and like me, found it wanting, but he took the time to write about its shortcomings.
From the “an armed society is a polite, albeit rather twitchy, society” desk: “The posts in this thread have only demonstrated that anarcho-libertarians can only exist in the two more fantastic locations mentioned within it: asteroids and the internet.” and “I think that in an anarcho-libertarian society, I’d probably shell out a few quid a [...]
[ via Making Light ] The Hubble Telescope catches a picture of the universe’s opinion of this Anthropic Principle nonsense. Note: the entry was edited down from earlier when the author was pissy about not having luck getting Cocoon to understand what he wanted.
The peace movement has begun a difficult task: reclaiming the language of patriotism and loyality from the Right’s monopoly. The San Francisco Chronicle reports: An underground public relations campaign has begun to introduce patriotic language into left-leaning groups, said George Lakoff, a UC Berkeley linguistics professor and author of “Moral Politics.” Conservatives have “pretty much [...]
Nick Bostrom, currently a research fellow at Oxford, thinks about utilitarian ethics at extremely large scales: are we living in a Matrix-style simulation, why clones would not be happy with bans on cloning, do we have a moral duty to colonize space, what are ethical courses of action to avoid extinction?
[ via Doc ] George Lakoff on Gulf War II. Need to get a copy of his Moral Politics.
The notion of path dependence — that history matters, annoys economic libertarians the same way that evolution annoys deists: it implies pure dumb luck is a factor in the order of things. It’s a knock against the Learned Hand Doctrine, market dominance may not derive from superior technology or execution alone. So while Blogistan revels [...]
Thirdway, a Christian magazine site, interviewed Philip Pullman, the author of His Dark Materials, an astonishing trilogy which I recommend. These were marketed as juvenile novels in the UK, and they put Mr. Potter, et. al. to shame. Pullman’s been described as the Anti-Lewis, since the triology is set against a multiverse-spanning war against G_D, [...]
[ via RC3 ] Over at Lake Effect (which is great to see back in business) Dan Hartung explains the seemingly contradictory term ‘libertarian-socialist’.
Thursday I met with acquaintances to talk about math. The organizer, T., introduced Newcomb’s Problem: You are at a Web conference, Tim Berners-Lee is giving the keynote when, a Grey from Zeta Reticula appears in a flash of light. The alien has two boxes. One is transparent. The other is black. You know that Greys [...]
You’d think that after several panels of thesis and antithesis, they’d get a synthesis?
[ via Random Walks ] Be rationally consistent or get hit! Our battleground is that of rational consistency. This means to get across without taking any hits, youÃll need to answer in a way which is rationally consistent. What this means is you need to avoid choosing answers which contradict each other. If you answer [...]
[ via Rebecca Blood ] I recommend this brilliant, LOL satire of Pascal’s famous wager: But as large as his bankroll grew, it only took three weeks to throw it all away. Looking for bigger scores, he started playing a modified Martingale in combination with the Argument From Design. In one terrible streak, Blaise lost [...]
Gary Farber writes about the conflict with which those of us from the Left are grappling. He talks about the 1930s Left who formed the Abraham Lincoln brigades to fight Franco, and the 1960s Left who mobilized to stop a war. We’ve remained in the mode of the 1960s: assuming wars and interventions are wrong. [...]