Many people lie in a casual ‘I’ll recognise it when I see it’ relationship with science. That ambiguity gives room for any interlocutor to add sudden vagaries to their criteria, hurriedly adding and removing things from their definition of science to suit their needs. Science can suddenly need to be given a ‘direct observation’ criteria… Continue reading On the importance of the philosophy of science
Sam Harris’ The Moral Landscape (2011) is a thesis that claims morality is objective and knowable by scientific means. It is predicated on the initial premise that wellbeing is worthy of safeguarding, and thus intended actions can be objectively evaluated against that value. I have long agreed with this claim, with one subtle change: I… Continue reading Against the Moral Landscape: AI and universal truth
Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson, a very long time ago now, had their first podcast together. Whatever their schedule, their conversation turned to a massive disagreement about the concept of truth. It wasn’t about whether ‘truth’ is ever attainable, they disagreed about what it literally is. And, despite the commentary, it is not a case… Continue reading Truth: is it coherent? (A follow up on Sam Harris and Jordan B Peterson)
As part of Sam Harris’ Waking Up podcast, Harris invited someone I had not heard of ― Jordan B Peterson ― with a schedule that, I presume, included discussions of morality and religion. However, Harris and Peterson ended up having a disagreement about what it means for something to be true. Harris didn’t really offer… Continue reading Sam Harris and Jordan B Peterson: On truth
The question of whether a God character is “good” has continued for thousands of years. Since Epicurus, since Job. The position of the sceptic tends to assume the idea that humans have some idea of what morality is and approximate ways to benchmark it against God’s actions (either in Books or in nature), but the… Continue reading Why do theologians and sceptics talk past each other on the question of God’s “goodness”? And which have a better point?
I often flit between thinking myself a nihilist and not. It often depends how I have been primed and how I am looking at the issue. I think I have found a way of properly describing my position on the issue. I am a nihilist who values things. I think the problem comes from maintaining this… Continue reading In Defence of Nihilism
As many people are probably aware, Bill Maher hosted a “TV brawl” between Sam Harris and Ben Affleck (with Bill Maher being about as biased a host as you can be). The discussion was of “Islamophobia”, and it is an important discussion to have. The argument was one of Sam Harris citing polls where Muslims,… Continue reading Islamophobia?
Imagine I found a genie and it offered me two wishes. My wishes are to be fluent in all languages and to be the best person. What results would we expect?When it comes to language, would being fluent in all languages mean I am an excellent musician and mathematician? Or are maths and music simply… Continue reading Linguistic Ambiguity with a Personal Genie
After my wordy post about whether infinity is real, I plan to continue the discussion about what it means to be real, or to exist (are they different?) by discussing morality. Regular readers will already know that I think morality can be objectively described, but so can numbers. I think I concluded that numbers aren’t… Continue reading Is Morality Real? Does it exist? Are they the same thing?
No moral philosophy that I have met has ever been sufficiently simple to be reduced to a list like the law and simultaneously satisfy our wants for justice. Emmanuel Kant’s morality would cut down to basic duties. Kant said that if an action is ever wrong it is always wrong and, although it is difficult… Continue reading The Lines between Rights, Law and Objective Morality