Second Thoughts on Dignity

I have written previously on the meaning of dignity, but I left out the theoretical underpinnings of my position. Setting politics aside, what are the metaphysical underpinnings of ethics? What of our moral judgments? Are there some fundamental criteria under which we can say that the current regime or the actions of our leaders is… Continue reading Second Thoughts on Dignity

What Philosophers Mean by ‘Clear’

I. Two Worlds, One Hierarchy Ludwig Wittgenstein said something that proved quite enduring in the preface of his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: “What can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence.” Throughout the rest of the opaque text we get the message that clarity… Continue reading What Philosophers Mean by ‘Clear’

Brief Reflections on the Use of Technology in Education

1. The torrent of Facebook-related scandals has incited deep reflection on the role of technology in our lives. We simply do not know all that our new technologies are doing to us. At this point, understanding ourselves, both individually and as a society, cannot be so easily distinguished from understanding technology. The two reflect and… Continue reading Brief Reflections on the Use of Technology in Education

It Won’t Be Different This Time

After the Las Vegas shooting I wrote a will called “If I’m Killed in a Mass Shooting.” In it I made two claims: There is no gun debate. Despite the patina of rationality, the NRA slate of arguments is so transparently terrible that it makes a mockery of the whole concept of public discourse. What’s… Continue reading It Won’t Be Different This Time

Facebook Should Shut Itself Down

The more I read and think about Facebook, the more I am convinced that it is deeply terrible for the world—and, as a corollary that few people accept, the more obvious it is to me that Facebook should no longer exist. So I am calling on Mark Zuckerberg to do the right thing: shut Facebook… Continue reading Facebook Should Shut Itself Down

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