Listen: thought experiments about who or what has a mind

CfdmjOmWwAAPZcn

Rick Kleffel sends us his latest podcast (MP3), "A conversation with one of the authors of a wonderful and strange book; science-fiction thought experiments ('robot versus baby') informed by social psychology experiments of fascinating design, part ethics, philosophy, neuroscience, the minds of god and the dead and machines... authentically mind-boggling. And Fun!" Read the rest

After we make peace with robots doing all the work, will our lives have meaning?

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1010

Philosopher John Danaher's new paper "Will life be worth living in a world without work? Technological Unemployment and the Meaning of Life" assumes that after the robots take all our jobs, and after the economic justice of figuring out how to share the productivity games can be equitably shared among the robot-owning investor class and the robot-displaced 99%, there will still be a burning question: what will give our life meaning? Read the rest

Seminar on Jo Walton's Philosopher Kings novels

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jo Walton (previously) is one of science fiction's great talents, a writer who blends beautiful insight about human beings and their frailties and failings without ever losing sight of their nobility and aspirations. Read the rest

The next universe I choose to be born into will have more cooperative inanimate objects

Read the rest

Using sandwiches to teach the Socratic method

Fans of the Judge John Hodgman podcast know that the harder you interrogate the category "sandwich," the less definitive it becomes, until you find yourself raging over tacos and hot-dogs. Read the rest

The failed writer who became NSA's in-house "philosopher"

Deep in the Snowden leaks are a series of columns by the "Socrates of SIGINT," an NSA spy who answered an internal help-wanted ad to write about the philosophy of surveillance. Read the rest

Roddy Piper in THEY LIVE: great analysis by Slavoj Žižek

Keg7Y9

They Live stars Rowdy Roddy Piper, who died July 31. It's one of the greatest political sci-fi films of all time, and fittingly, it's the opening film analyzed by Slavoj Žižek in The Pervert's Guide to Ideology. Read the rest

Sisyphus is very excited about cheevos

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 3.26.22 AM
Pushing a boulder up a hill for eternity has never felt so rewarding.

Allow this gorgeous film to remind you you're dreaming right now

kensho

End your week right with a moment of clarity. Aaron Paradox dreamt this hypnotic animation accompanied by voices of Bear Vasquez and Alan Watts and set to The Way by Zack Hemsey. Read the rest

Nihilist Arby's is the best thing on Twitter

Nihilist Arbys

Follow it here. Read the rest

Why aren't ethicists better people?

Professional ethicists aren't any more likely to behave ethically than baseline humans who don't get paid to sit around all day and contemplate the difference between right and wrong. Read the rest

Lessons from Pratchett

A beautiful list, including "[T]he innocent had everything to fear, mostly from the guilty but in the longer term even more from those who say things like 'The innocent have nothing to fear'.” Read the rest

Variations on the Trolley Problem

The "Trolley Problem" is a highly problematic thought-experiment about utilitarianism and morals -- ripe for skewering in the pages of McSweeney's. Read the rest

Utilitarianism versus psychopathy

A classic thought experiment asks you to choose between doing nothing and letting an out-of-control trolley crash into a schoolbus, or pushing a fat man into the trolley's path, saving the kids but killing the bystander. Read the rest

Philip K Dick on Disneyland, reality and science fiction (1978)

Here's an excellent, rambling PKD riff on the relationship of Disneyland to science fiction (and Episcopalianism) and what is, and is not, real. Read the rest

Watch two women compare a century of beauty trends

beauty1910

YouTuber Cut Video mashed up two remarkable videos showing models cycling through 100 years of fashion trends, decade by decade. Read the rest

Jo Walton's "The Just City"

Time-travelling godess Athena assembles on a volcanic island every man and woman in history who has ever prayed to her to live in Plato's Republic, and sets in motion a social experiment that shows just how heartrending, exciting, and satisfying philosophical inquiry can be.

More posts