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RS 166 - Eric Schwitzgebel on "Why you should expect the truth to be crazy"

Release date: August 21st, 2016

Eric Schwitzgebel

Some theories violate common sense so wildly that you want to just reject them out of hand. For example, "The United States is conscious," or "The most moral act would be to replace all living beings with an orgasmic blob." On the other hand, many theories in physics that sounded similarly crazy turned out to be very well-supported (think of quantum theory, or relativity). So what role should "common sense" play in evaluating new theories? This episode features a discussion with philosopher Eric Schwitzgebel on his theory of "Crazyism," that we should expect the truth to be at least a little bit crazy.

Eric's Blog: The Splintered Mind

Eric's Paper: "The Crazyist Metaphysics of Mind"

Gustaf Arrhenius's Paper: "An impossibility theorem for welfarist axiologies"

Eric's Pick: "Labyrinths" by Jorge Luis Borges

Podcast edited by Brent Silk


Full Transcripts 

Reader Comments (8)

What is the paper mentioned by Gustaf Arrhenius (on 7 incompatible moral premises)? Is it available free online somewhere?
August 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Summers Stay
Dear RS,

I am wounded by your abuse of the English Language in this episode - your pitiful Yankee made-up words don`t add to the language, they stink it out.
Many non US English-speakers wish you had your own language to mutilate - not ours.

Kind regards,

Limey English.

Ps. "wounded" Dumb fuckin Limey
August 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Wade
If the United States is conscious, what about the Vatican? What about my neighborhood? How big would a society need to be to have consciousness? And what would it experience? Pain? Emotions? Is this like the Gaia hypothesis that didn't go anywhere?
August 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMax
I went over this website and I believe you have a lot of wonderful information, saved to my bookmarks
October 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRoshani
The discussion on moral philosophy and conscious nations echoes what Robert M. Pirsig wrote in his book "Lila: An Inquiry into Morals", which is continuation of his earlier, well known book "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance".
He proposes "Quality" as a tool which allows to analyze the world around us with an unprecedented clarity.
I highly recommend the books, if you haven't read them already.
January 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLeszek Cyfer
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June 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMd Anwar Hossain
To the British commentator that does not fancy American English: Perhaps we Americans, given our extraordinary capabilities, need to establish a relief program to help British people speak and understand English properly.

I do not want to become a component of an Orgasmo Blob. My individual identity has Utility.

Good point that since we did not evolve to think in certain ways we need to doubt our intuition as providing a complete methodology for understanding.

In a certain sense the United States can be seen as alive and conscious. However, if we think of the government of the United States as it's mind, the United States suffers from a multitude of psychological disorders. For instance, the United States spends an inordinate amount of time bitterly disagreeing and viciously arguing with itself !
December 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJameson

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