Utilitarianism and Conscious Computers: An Unsettling Utopia?

Broadly speaking, utilitarianism is the view that right action is that which promotes the greater good. It has been revised, developed, and adapted into varying systems of thought over the last three hundred years or so. (For more on that,… Continue Reading

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Consciousness Explained in Three Billion Pages

Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman has recently been getting popular attention for a theory that holds consciousness as fundamental—that is, “…not as something derivative or emergent from a prior physical world”, which he supports with a novel account of the relationship between objects and perception… Continue Reading

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Designer Babies: Reproduction Rights and (So-Called) Disability

Here’s an interesting case: A deaf couple decide they’d like to have a deaf baby, and manage to do so — twice, in fact — by enlisting a sperm donor with five generations of congenital deafness. Did this couple do something wrong by — to paraphrase Alta… Continue Reading

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You Are (Probably Not) a Computer Simulation

This is a revised version of an article that originally appeared in the Spring 2014 edition of The Gadfly, Columbia University’s undergraduate philosophy magazine. Are you a computer simulation? Oxford-based philosopher Nick Bostrom argues that it’s highly probable that you are.… Continue Reading

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Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget, Part II: Bachelardian Neoteny

“If you get deep enough, you get trapped. Stop calling yourself a user. You are being used.” – Jaron Lanier, in reference to Facebook ——————— Last week, I explored some of my reactions to the first half of Jaron Lanier’s… Continue Reading

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Update: Lanier, Jodorowsky, de Beauvoir, Airbender, et al.

Last week I finished up another semester of classes and have a few weeks free, so I have some time to work on some other projects, including getting some posts done for this blog. I don’t have a particular topic… Continue Reading

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