Might People on the Internet Sometimes Tell the Truth?

Lies and Scott Alexander Scott Alexander wrote a very good post called Might People on the Internet Sometimes Lie, which I have linked to several times in the past. In the first linked post (Lies, Religion, and Miscalibrated Priors), I answered Scott’s question (why it is hard to believe that people are lying even when … Continue reading Might People on the Internet Sometimes Tell the Truth?

Mind of God

Reconciling Theism and Atheism In his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, David Hume presents Philo as arguing that the disagreement between theists and atheists is merely verbal: All men of sound reason are disgusted with verbal disputes, which abound so much in philosophical and theological inquiries; and it is found, that the only remedy for this … Continue reading Mind of God

Place, Time, and Universals

Consider the following three statements: 1. The chair and keyboard that I am currently using are both here in this room. 2. The chair and keyboard that I am currently using both exist in January 2019. 3. The chair and keyboard that I am currently using both came in the color black. All three claims, … Continue reading Place, Time, and Universals

Mind and Matter

In Book III of On the Soul, Aristotle argues that the intellect does not have a bodily organ: Therefore, since everything is a possible object of thought, mind in order, as Anaxagoras says, to dominate, that is, to know, must be pure from all admixture; for the co-presence of what is alien to its nature … Continue reading Mind and Matter

Wishful Thinking about Wishful Thinking

Cameron Harwick discusses an apparent relationship between “New Atheism” and group selection: Richard Dawkins’ best-known scientific achievement is popularizing the theory of gene-level selection in his book The Selfish Gene. Gene-level selection stands apart from both traditional individual-level selection and group-level selection as an explanation for human cooperation. Steven Pinker, similarly, wrote a long article … Continue reading Wishful Thinking about Wishful Thinking

Chronological Archives

2015 7/5 – Why Useless?7/6 – In Forty Days Nineveh Will be Destroyed7/7 – Beati Mundo Corde7/8 – Politically Incorrect Algorithms7/9 – The Null Hypothesis7/10 – Conspiracy Theories7/11 – Are Hyperlinks a Bad Idea?7/12 – Privacy7/13 – Pope Francis and Proselytization7/14 – The Order of the World7/15 – The Progress of Humanity and History7/16 – … Continue reading Chronological Archives

How to Build an Artificial Human

I was going to use “Artificial Intelligence” in the title here but realized after thinking about it that the idea is really more specific than that. I came up with the idea here while thinking more about the problem I raised in an earlier post about a serious obstacle to creating an AI. As I … Continue reading How to Build an Artificial Human

Some Remarks on GPT-N

At the end of May, OpenAI published a paper on GPT-3, a language model which is a successor to their previous version, GPT-2. While quite impressive, the reaction from many people interested in artificial intelligence has been seriously exaggerated. Sam Altman, OpenAI’s CEO, has said as much himself: The GPT-3 hype is way too much. … Continue reading Some Remarks on GPT-N

Fire, Water, and Numbers

Fire vs. Water “All things are water,” says Thales. “All things are fire,” says Heraclitus. “Wait,” says David Hume’s Philo. “You both agree that all things are made up of one substance. Thales, you prefer to call it water, and Heraclitus, you prefer to call it fire. But isn’t that merely a verbal dispute? According … Continue reading Fire, Water, and Numbers