The Specter of Machine Intelligence

1 Machines are coming to resemble human beings more each day. At a concrete level, this is true because human beings are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to produce machines that increasingly resemble human beings. But more abstractly, this is true in principle: machines exist in the first place because they resemble human beings. Karl Marx,… Continue reading The Specter of Machine Intelligence


The Coming Oppression

What makes racism wrong? Sexism? Speciesism? Each have their own complexities, but at the most general level, all three share a common error. They involve attributing moral significance to something that isn’t morally significant. A racist assumes that the division of people into various races allows you ascribe different moral worth to people. A sexist… Continue reading The Coming Oppression

What Philosophy Owes Society IV: Better Teachers

Political discourse is a swamp of poor arguments and miseducation. Dialogue between those who disagree is becoming impossible. A particular segment of the political world is actively undermining the concept of truth. The Republican party knows that it can lie repeatedly to the country with impunity. More and more issues are being folded into the… Continue reading What Philosophy Owes Society IV: Better Teachers

If I’m Killed in a Mass Shooting

Mass shootings have a way of shaking the political convictions of those directly affected. A guitarist who was playing during the Las Vegas shooting says he changed his views. Sandy Hook Promise is a group formed by people affected by the 2012 school shooting. Americans for Responsible Solutions is the group formed by Gabby Giffords,… Continue reading If I’m Killed in a Mass Shooting

Why there was Only One Morally Acceptable Option in this Election

In the immediate wake of the election, a lively blame game broke out, most visibly among progressives. Whose fault is Trump? Our next president’s base is white people, so let’s blame the white people. People of color didn’t support Clinton like they did Obama. So let’s blame people of color. There were the third-party voters… Continue reading Why there was Only One Morally Acceptable Option in this Election

Fake News: Why Mainstream Journalism Is Often Part of the Problem

(Listen to the Vimcast Episode about this article on iTunes or Soundcloud.) The term “fake news” has entered the modern parlance so quickly that it is worth beginning a discussion about fake news by trying to determine what, if anything, the term means. One way of investigating it is to try to identify a particularly… Continue reading Fake News: Why Mainstream Journalism Is Often Part of the Problem

It is Wrong to Think Republicans Will Pay a Political Price for Undermining Obamacare

It is tempting to think that repealing or undermining Obamacare will result in a massive backlash against Republican legislators. When people start dying from lack of medical care, Republican legislators will start losing elections. Right? The assumption is rooted in progressives’ inner sense of justice or democratic karma. Even Biden dared Republicans to repeal, illustrating… Continue reading It is Wrong to Think Republicans Will Pay a Political Price for Undermining Obamacare