Removing the Head, or Destroying the Brain, Part VI

I wish I could say that I was surprised that people continue to fail to see glaring flaws in philosophical arguments. But at this point, I’m used to it.

For amusement’s sake, I present a link to a bit of Eliezer’s writings that may actually justify his existence. The script is almost, but not quite, as scathing as the concept deserves.

The comment thread is also worth reading.

On a side note, I remembered that I have an antipathy for Hopefully Anonymous, but could not recall precisely why. That comment thread is a great reminder.

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5 Responses to “Removing the Head, or Destroying the Brain, Part VI”

  1. Very nice piece by Eliezer.

    I read through the comments, and I think I agree with you about philosophy. It is a field where it is hard to find work that is actually good. One consideration that should make one pretty sad is the fact that Peter Singer is probably the most famous philosopher alive, yet his work is absolute garbage.

    See for example his article Famine, Affluence and Morality:

    http://www.utilitarian.net/singer/by/1972—-.htm

    If one has even a shred of critical thinking ability, one should be able to see plenty of gaping holes in his arguments.

    I haven’t read too much by Richard, but I have some evidence that you are right in saying that he isn’t very good: He thinks the pleasure/happiness dichotomy is a good argument against wireheading:

    http://nos-i.blogspot.com/2008/08/conscious-robots.html

    As for Hopefully Anonymous, I think he was wrong about just about everything he said there. In particular, he scorned Dawkins and Hitchens because they were ‘knocking down easy targets’. I would say that if an overwhelming majority of the world has false beliefs about these ‘easy targets’, re-refuting them is far from silly. And of course they seem like easy targets – “it’s easy once you know how”, as they say. One could say that about any issue after one understands it.

  2. I stated that’s my biggest complaint about HA, but I’d still say that I respect his input more than anyone else I can think of.

    REMINDER: Write a post on the difference between credentials and qualifications when you finish with this series. Or even before then.

  3. I am much more impressed by the works of Peter Singer. Not so much the very early ones.

    What I like about him is not what he thinks our moral duties are (I disagree strongly), but that he at least reasons clearly and competently about them, even when they lead to conclusions that most people would reject out of hand for reasons of repugnance (that is, learned aversion).

    Few people can, or will, do that.

  4. I think HA attempted a comment at this post, but it is being held for moderation.

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