March 14, 2012

What is the relationshp between abstract entities and the stuff we observe?

February 21, 2012

Is the Chinese room conscious?

Why not?

February 13, 2012

Does difficulty in finding a good theory of truth impede building robots?

February 12, 2012

What are the practical uses of research in logic?

February 4, 2012

Why do people who study environmental degradation believe that it’s the greatest threat to the future of humanity, while people who study threats to the future of humanity put it way down the list?

HT Rob Wiblin

February 3, 2012

Why are people so weird about money?

They don’t want to owe it, though they are happy to owe favors or library books. They don’t want anyone to pay for kidneys or sex, though it’s wonderful to receive those things without monetary exchange. They don’t want people to be motivated by it, though they may be driven by desire for respect and other selfish motives. It should be distributed fairly, though nobody wants to redistribute kidneys or family or books or sunshine. You can’t pay friends small amounts to do stuff for you, like your washing up, though you can barter with them. People usually get awkward when it’s time to split the bill, but not when it’s time to split the cake. etc.

February 2, 2012

Is there a purpose for which the present university system is roughly a good answer?

Or a set of them? More discussion.

February 1, 2012

Why are overarching moral theories popular, and overarching preference theories not?

There are whole academic fields trying to boil ethics down to a small number of consistent principles, yet we are happy to want steak one day and fish the next, to enjoy just one apparently arbitrary romantic comedy while hating the others, to gleefully drive a small car for years then want a big one on a whim.

January 25, 2012

Will AI take over the world?

Where ‘take over the world’ means reconfigure it not in accordance to many humans’ desires.

January 25, 2012

What kinds of social institutions need a government to get them started?

Some suppose public goods, but assurance contracts could supposedly get around that. Opt in carbon trading sounds tricky.