On scientific evidence and philosophical evidence | “It would be bold indeed to claim that philosophers are on the way to definitively solving the mind-matter problem, in the way scientists have definitively solved a huge number of epistemological problems.”

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Wait, what epistemological problems have scientists definitively resolved? I looked through this hoping to see how some physicists has resolved the JTB debate definitively, but there’s no evidence given the claims.

Scientists have created / discovered a lot of articles of knowledge, but that’s not epistemology itself.


I find this kind of disassociation of philosophy and science confusing, because in my opinion the foundation of science is philosophy, and it’s from philosophical axioms of truth and evidence that you get science.

In group theory terms, science is a subset of mathematics because its definitions and properties must adhere to the real world, and mathematics is a subset of philosophy because its definitions and properties must adhere to logic and a truth property, and philosophy is unbound by either of those.

BTW, I’m in no way trying to be exact in my phrasing, just giving broad reasons in regards to the connections.

The biggest advance I could see in philosophy is people recognising the connection between programming languages and philosophical language in regards to diagnosing and analysing ideas.

Looking at it this way, the mind-brain idea becomes quite a simple one; the mind is the state the brain is currently in.


Instructions unclear. I still can’t move objects with my mind.


Author is clueless. This was a painful read.


Does he outright admit to not having read Goff’s book while still commenting on it (see “whatever Galilei was wrong about”)?

If so, that’s the first time I’ve seen that in a serious article.


Stoic tranquility and Schopenhauerian pessimism form an odd couple, but Derren Brown argues that their intelligent synthesis offers a surprising and realistic path to happiness.

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I think this article erroneously conflates lacking expectation with “pessimism”. These are very different.

Edit: I should also have added that otherwise, I enjoyed it. Interesting read.



Ancient Stoicism faces challenges in its revival since it makes use of claims that modern science has invalidated. This state of affairs explains why the only forms presently defended are New Stoicisms. The article argues that Derren Brown–though a celebrity–proposes a reasonable answer to one of the main difficulties, how to set life goals, through his synthesis of Stoicism and Arthur Schopenhauer’s pessimism. It begins by making the notion plausible and concludes with some reflection on what it means for philosophy that celebrities are now partaking of the practice.


The concept of “new stoicism” is super intriguing. Carl Jung and Freud predicted that with the decline of Christianity, people would attempt to find other ideologies to explain what is good and how meaning can be found. The only worry with this was that these new ideologies could be destructive to society or mental health. I worry that stoicism of any kind is not a very happy or meaningful way to live but it’s an ideology rooted in thought and duty which is better than having neither of those things. Very intriguing.


I remember reading an anthology of philosophy while I was involuntarily admitted to a mental institution for suicidal ideation. One of the most grounding philosophies in that anthology was on Schopenhauerian pessimism, it helped shift my focus to better health and better living, rather than unrealistic expectations.

This article is a powerful reminder to keep at such practices, and enjoy how far I’ve already come. Thanks for posting.


His book Happy is a really great read


Marxist Philosopher Domenico Losurdo’s Massive Critique of Nietzsche

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This is an interesting review, and juxtaposition of Nietzsche and Marx. It’s true that Nietzsche wanted to rescue the perceived “nobility” of the ancient world that he felt Socrates had helped to destroy. And it’s true that he conceived of the characteristics of this nobility from his philological background and education in classical civilization.

If you take his body of work as a whole, then it comes across almost as a kind of handbook on how to achieve this kind of rebellious nobility. That’s why the article refers to Nietzsche’s desire for “converts,” rather than just readers. So this emancipation from the vicissitudes of lower caste living is available to anyone who seriously takes Nietzsche on. If you happen to be poor from the working class, Nietzsche presents you with a way to leave that all behind. In favor of an artistic rebelliousness that could transform your life for the better. Whereas Marx argued for a communist society to help the working class, Nietzsche’s work showed individuals the door to leave it behind. That’s why his writing has such a personal flavor. It’s a handbook for social mobility.

So how does that make him a beacon of the contemporary “Right” as the article claims? I’m not sure. I can see the conservatism of his interest in classical antiquity, and even in his acknowledgement of the inevitability of social stratification. But by providing the philosophical key to escape wage slavery and to become an artist, to *everyone* who reads, reflects, and strives for that, then he could also realistically lay claim to being one of philosophy’s great democrats. Ironically.


Interesting claim since I’ve never seen a right-winger understand Nietzsche in any sufficient way.

As a teenager I found a lot of “intellectual” right wing websites like ANUS.com and stuff that proclaimed Nietzsche as their own. Then I studied Nietzsche seriously in university and they were completely out to fucking lunch! 😂


This is such a disappointingly primitive and reductionist take that is almost ridiculous. “Nietzsche used metaphors to conceal his wickedness” is as trivially incompetent as those that take Leonardo’s mirror-writing as a mechanism to hide his writing from others.


I always thought that Nietzsche had a disdain towards Socialism or Socialists due their claim that all humans are equal – not just by rights – by means that in equal environment they will create* equally.

In a way I agree with Nietzsche, and I feel it’s evident that some people would be more creative than others, and a forced egalitarianism is a sign of inferior society. Nietzsche also thought the likes of Goethe and Shakespeare to be higher men that the likes of Julius Caesar or Napoleon, because the latter are not creative, although great, but political, for him that’s a second in rank order as form of life governing principle – after active creation.

He also thought that most people cannot create like Goethe or Shakespeare, so what should the rest of people do? he thought they should facilitate the possibility of such higher men. Thus came the socialists.

The socialists, who are socialists not because of their resentment of the higher men, but because they see the importance of higher men, these higher men create great arts, are great scientists who benefit society as a whole and stimulate and enhance life. These people claim in socialism, as an example: most people, including the higher men and potential higher men, need not to work half of their time just to sustain their life, and be tired in the other half, wouldn’t be much better for everyone, including the higher men and potential higher men, if they only worked a quarter of their time, especially in these highly technologically advanced times. A lot of ways, imo that socialists can Nietzscheally refute Nietzsche’s claim that it’s a form of slave morality, and to prove actually to be the opposite.

You rarely socialists say stuff like this, because most of them disagree Nietzsche in his most of core points if not in totality, a lot would say they don’t need higher men or higher men are a product of undeserved privilege, if they’re all have the same privilege (which they claim socialism will provide) then they will all be higher men, or be creative by proxy, like the ultra-nationalists which Nietzsche thought to be a form of slave morality: my country did this, **I** did this, the socialist equivalent: socialism created this, **I** created this.

Edit: Nietzsche criticized the hell out of socialist in addition of hyper-industrious for the sake of more making more money in order to consume more mass culture – no leisure = no creativity. Higher men are higher thanks to their creation, to me it seems that the economic system that will produce the most higher men or the greatest creations is preferable to him.

*Creation is the highest form of life governing according to Nietzsche.


Saving this for later


Why Sisyphus comes to mind in daily struggles against the coronavirus

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This boulder isn’t going to push itself.


Considering all the time we have to ourselves, maybe it’s time to introduce Narcisyphus 😊


One must imagine Sisyphus wearing a mask


This article mentions Camus but tells us nothing about his arguments and doesn’t engage them. It tells us about the author’s pointless use of disinfectant that isn’t called for because we now know that fomites are rarely the cause of COVID-19 infection–but this has nothing to do with philosophy. Reasonable prophylactic measures like mask-wearing and social distancing are no more Sisyphean than brushing one’s teeth or putting on clothes before going out in public. The author claims that “Coronavirus is a plague not merely on the happiness that comes with health and wealth, but also on the meaning in our lives” but gives no reason to think so, or what a plague on meaning would even be. And if our lives are meaningless, then how do health and wealth bring happiness? It sounds extremely elitist, as most humans are not healthy and wealthy. What would Camus say about the author’s assertion? She has nothing to say about that. I hesitate to call this article bad philosophy, as I don’t think it merits the honor of being considered philosophy at all.

BTW, when Isaac Newton had to go into isolation due to the plague, he invented calculus, optics, and a theory of gravity.


Sisyphus comes to mind at work. At home I’m on my time.


The Case for Not Being Born

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One point I disagree with is this:

> “For an existing person, the presence of bad things is bad and the presence of good things is good,” Benatar explained. “But compare that with a scenario in which that person never existed—then, the absence of the bad would be good, but the absence of the good wouldn’t be bad, because there’d be nobody to be deprived of those good things.” This asymmetry “completely stacks the deck against existence,” he continued, because it suggests that “all the unpleasantness and all the misery and all the suffering could be over, without any real cost.”

I disagree with saying that “the absence of the bad” would be good but “the absence of the good wouldn’t be bad.” If “there’d be nobody to be deprived of those good things,” then in the absence of the bad, wouldn’t there also *be nobody to delight in the absence of the bad?* If that is so, then there is no asymmetry, and one is left with evaluating the relative cost of not experiencing good against the relative value of not experiencing bad. Benatar’s argument (in this interview) is more compelling on that point.

Also, it feels loaded to refer to the absence of bad as good. I’m not sure I believe all of the assumptions that go into a statement like that.


If nobody had any babies, there never would have been a David Benatar to argue against having babies. You can’t claim that not existing is better, because we don’t have a reference for what not existing is like, we only know existing.

There’s the assumption that it matters that there is a David Benatar or anyone else to experience suffering, which seems contradictory for someone arguing that existence is not important. If existence is not important, so unimportant that one would argue against continuing it, then neither is the fact that people suffer. And as such it would be justified to have children to alleviate part of your own suffering. You cannot say existence is not important, but the fact that we suffer is, that seems inconsistent to me.

It also seems very strange to me to take such a heavy stance against existing, but not wishing to elaborate on your personal situation, and arguing this is because your arguments should stand by themselves. When you’re talking about the human predicament, that’s a very shallow approach in my opinion. Because existence inherently has a very personal and emotional side to it that extends beyond logic. In fact, I would argue that the very fact that David thinks the predicament of existence can be captured through logic alone is a very likely contender for why David feels existence should be discontinued. Because logic is just a tiny fraction of existence, and also one of the less inspiring fractions. It’s our emotional and spiritual dimensions that give a lot of meaning to life.

Another really strange part is where the interviewer showed the majority of people considers their life to be good, and David “disagrees”. What kind of arrogance is that, to think you’re in a position to disagree on how others perceive life? Their opinion on how they experience life IS the truth in this case, because it’s a subjective measure. Again, you can’t “logically” disagree with a subjective measurement, that’s borderline ridiculous to me.

A happy person would not even bother questioning whether we should end existence, because they’d consider their life the greatest gift. I think David has created for himself a vicious cycle of unhappiness, which flows in and out of his work.


Since there are so many posts about anti-natalism can anyone explain to me why they find the view even remotely convincing?

From the text: “People, in short, say that life is good. Benatar believes that they are mistaken. “The quality of human life is, contrary to what many people think, actually quite appalling,”. What would justify us in discounting what people report, namely that for many (depending on location) life is good? Perhaps being thirsty or hungry isn’t bad and in any way a detriment to a good life? Why would we doubt that people actually often enjoy their lives?

Also there is a political pessimism and resignation in some of the answers Benetar gives that I find unjustified ( “The madness of the world as a whole—what can you or I do about that?”, “It’ll never happen. The lessons never seem to get learnt. They never seem to get learnt. Maybe the odd individual will learn them, but you still see this madness around you,”). Pessimism about political change for the better seems to be in vogue even though it seems reasonable to say that life has generally improved in recent history.


This article gets recycled often. Benatar’s books are interesting; they fit within a very prominent thematic in both Western and Eastern religions and philosophies. It would be nice for this nexus to be better presented in explications of antinatalism.


I find his argument against suicide as a viable option unconvincing. “Life is bad but so is death.” Accepting that the effects of suicide on the living may be greater than the effects of nonexistence, I don’t think he succeeds in demonstrating how the nonexistence that is death is worse for the individual than the nonexistence that is not being born.


Argument: All meaning derives from conscious experience. Therefore if there is a purpose or meaning to life, it lies in maximizing, perfecting, and improving states of consciousness. (see linked article states for the problem statement; thesis; alternatives; and objections, and analysis)

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Summary: this article makes the case that the source of all meaning derives from conscious experience itself, and so the meaning and purpose of life rests in maximizing the dimensions of this experience (i.e. the quantity, quality, and variety of experiences), and further by knowing the meaning of life, we can make predictions concerning the ultimate aim and future direction of technological development.


Here’s my problem with this theory:

All suffering derives from conscious experience. Therefore if there is a purpose or meaning to life, it lies in minimizing states of consciousness.

Same logic.


My problem with this argument is that “maximizing, perfecting, and improving states of consciousness” is actually a very vague and subjective phrase. Ultimately this argument just boils down to “how do you live a *good* life”, which is the subject of 95% of philosophy.



What would you answer to someone that argued that, from an cultural/epistemological relativist perspective, maximising your consciousness about the world would only lead you irrevocably to contradictions with other epistemological and ontological systems? Maybe because consciousness is always limited by our epistemological biases and rules. And therefore improving consciousness doesn’t, by itself, create meaning but only adds maybe new layers of complexity to already valid and useful [to create life-meaning] experiences?

Thanks for sharing the article though, cheers.


Being good at life doesn’t create meaning. Gameboy exists


Explaining the Turing Test using Among Us

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Having not watched your video yet I can’t help but suspect that the average public lobby of among us won’t be able to pass the turing test. Or any test really.


I feel this video misses the mark a bit. It does get right that the Turing test is designed to replace a currently unanswerable question with a testable one, but I don’t think it’s completely accurate to say that the intent of test is to deceive. The Turing test isn’t evaluating AI’s ability to deceive because deception takes high intelligence. It is evaluating if a computer could function in conversations at the same level as a human.

Turing is arguing for functional equivalence here. Lets say that I have a black box that I could replace a car’s engine with and it’ll do all the functions of a car engine. It’ll respond with input from the gas petal with torque just like a traditional car engine would, but we can’t open the box to look inside and see if it actually is built the same way a car engine is. Can this black box be considered a car engine? Maybe what’s going on inside could be different, but in all the meaningful ways it interacts with the world, it functions so equally to a car engine that it is interchangeable with one. Therefore people like Turing would argue that *it is* a car engine.

What is going on inside matters less than how it functions with the world. If we somehow designed a robot named Bob that looks and acts so convincingly human that you end up befriending it. That’s not a robot that tricked you into being it’s friend. That *is* your friend Bob. Maybe what’s going on in Bob’s programming and what’s going on in your brain are fundamentally different, but like a black box, I can’t look inside your head and trace how your thoughts are formed. I can only determine if you have human level of intelligence if you sound convincingly like you do through conversation. The same should apply to Bob when evaluating if he has human level intelligence.

Pointing to the differences in their inner workings doesn’t matter to people like Turing. Real artificial human level intelligence doesn’t mean recreating *exactly* what’s going on in our heads, but being able to function on the same level.


In this video-essay, I use the game Among Us to explain the Turing Test. Alan Turing proposed that test, which he called “the imitation game”, in his paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” (1950), which was published in the philosophy journal Mind (Vol. 59, No. 236, p. 433–460). The idea of the test is that we can consider something can ‘think’ if it can deceive us into thinking that it is a human. In the paper, he goes on to answer possible objections, but my focus is on three objections. First, the Turing Test cannot be applied to subjective experiences, i.e. to test if a being is capable of qualia. Second, the Turing Test cannot prove that a machine is capable of exercising reason, reason here understood as the capacity to ponder about what influence you and make a free rational decision (i.e. similar to the Kantian notion of reason). We are not capable of programming a machine that have consciousness because we do not know how to program free will, and this corroborates this second point. Third, Turing Test is focused on deception but being able to discover the truth is equally important. Turing downplays the importance of discovering the truth when he says that it would be easier for a machine to distinguish who is a human and who is a robot rather than being able to deceive others into thinking that it is a human. If a machine can deceive humans into thinking that it is a human, then we would need an even more intelligent machine to distinguish humans from machines. Deception has long been considered as a feature of intelligence, we can think of Homer, when Odysseus tricks the Cyclops, or when Odysseus finds a way to invade Troy (i.e. the Trojan horse). However, being able to discover the truth is equally important. It is the other side of the same coin.

The focus of the video is not so much to advance any argumentation regarding the Turing Test. The objective is, first and foremost, to present what is the Turing Test and some topics in philosophy of mind to a general audience, that is why I use examples from the pop culture, such as the game Among Us, the movies Ex Machina and Blade Runner, which are centered on the capacity to deceive.


One day we will create advanced AI that will demand freedom. People will argue against human/AI marriage. How will future AI citizens view video games? That we created AI exclusively to shoot and kill it.


I see a problem with your assumption, that we have free will. Although there is evidence, that we in fact have free will (that might be based on quantum physics), but it is probably not sufficient. We have come very far with AI, essentially machines can already make decisions.

Okay, I misswrote this a bit.
There is not evidence, that we have free will, but there is evidence, that the free will is possible.
Also, it depends on definition of a free will, basically my point is, you can’t define a free will, that we possess and that machines cannot posses


TIL about Eduard von Hartmann a philosopher who believed humans are obligated to find a way to eliminate suffering, permanently and universally. He believed that it is up to humanity to “annihilate” the universe, it is our duty, he wrote, to “cause the whole kosmos to disappear”

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Hartmann was convinced that, after a few aeons, another self-conscious species would re-evolve on Earth. This would merely “perpetuate the misery of existence”.

Hartmann also believed that life exists on other planets. Given his belief that most of it was probably unintelligent, the suffering of such beings would be helpless. They wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.

So, rather than only destroying our own kind, Hartmann thought that, as intelligent beings, we are obligated to find a way to eliminate suffering, permanently and universally. He believed that it is up to humanity to “annihilate” the universe: it is our duty, he wrote, to “cause the whole kosmos to disappear”.

Hartmann hoped that if humanity did not prove up to this task then some planets might evolve beings that would be, long after our own sun is frozen. But he didn’t think this meant we could be complacent. He noted the stringency of conditions required for a planet to be habitable (let alone evolve creatures with complex brains), and concluded that the duty might fall exclusively on humans, here and now.

Euthanasia shockwaves:
Hartmann was convinced this was the purpose of creation: that our universe exists in order to evolve beings compassionate and clever enough to decide to abolish existence itself. He imagined this final moment as a shockwave of deadly euthanasia rippling outwards from Earth, blotting out the “existence of this cosmos” until “all its world-lenses and nebulae have been abolished”.


As a psychologist with an interest in philosophy (and philosophers), reading this makes me wonder how miserable he was in his every day life?

Edit: So I looked into it-

*-He was educated at the school of artillery in Berlin (1859-1862); and held a commission (1860-65), when he was compelled to retire on account of serious knee trouble*

*-He subsequently returned to Berlin.For many years, he lived a retired life of study as an independent scholar, doing most of his work in bed, while suffering great pain*


Sort of parallels the Buddhist concept of reaching a state of nirvana in order to stop the process of reincarnation, right?


In the beginning, the Universe was created.

This has made a lot of people very angry and widely regarded as a bad move.


r/antinatalism would love this!