Saturday, January 01, 2011


from philosophy etc roundup.

False Dichotomies, Deism, and Religious Bundles highlights a very annoying thing that ones sees often in politics. Bundeling of ideas is a classic tool to manipulate people. So I like the principle - and yet in practice most people do find themselves making a decision of tribal affiliation - somthing an aloof philisopher might not understand but for the average joe it is usually do I belong to the christian tribe or the athiest tribe. then where do I fit within that tribe. So I understand the position even if I agree with richard it is to a large extent irrational.

In Giving What We Can section he adresses charity - which I am usually pretty cynical of (vs public programmes) but in the context of givewell this is a good idea. The issue this raises for me is how the UN can be so stupid as to leave so much low hanging fruit as givewell is able to find. Maybe we should spend some of our time trying to fix that system.

He covers utilitarianism - nothing much to disagree with here for a utilitarian, except that as usual I dont see the moral problems that he strugles to defend utilitarianism from as having much prima face value in the first place.

Non-Physical Questions asks "Would you still be conscious if your neurons were replaced by (functionally identical) silicon chips?" and then infers from this
"But clearly there is something more we can wonder about. So if there's a substantial fact we remain ignorant of, it must concern a matter over and above the physical facts."

Well tht doesnt seem odd to me - I'd say Block's "Chinese Nation" and the silicon brain are in theory (although in practice it may be ridiculous/impossible) concious. This should be automatic for a functionalist which I believe richard is supposed to be (although I counld be mistaken). So my sugestion is that I have nothing to wonder about and the argument falls flat...


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