Welcome to the third episode of Upon Reflection, a podcast about what we think as well as how and why we think it.
In this podcast, I read my chapter, “Causal Network Accounts of Ill-being: Depression & Digital Well-being” from Ethics of Digital Well-being: A Multidisciplinary Approach. In this chapter, I review how well-being and ill-being can be understood in terms of the causal networks studied by economists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and other scientists. As with all of my writing, the free preprint can be found on my CV at byrdnick.com/cv under “Publications“.
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Philosophers are stereotyped as studying things like, “What is a good life?” To break this stereotype, I’ve spent some time studying a different question, “What is a bad life?” More seriously, I have applied causal network accounts of well-being to ill-being, particularly depression and digital ill-being. My latest paper on this has now been accepted for publication in The Ethics of Digital Well-being (2020). So now I can share it. You you check out the abstract and acknowledgments (below), listen to the free audiopaper, and/or read the free preprint. Continue reading New Paper — Causal Network Accounts of Ill-being: Depression & Digital Well-being
To be or not to be. That is the question. (Seriously.) David Benatar argues that it’s better not to be in “Why Coming Into Existence is Always a Harm” from his book Better Never To Have Been (2006) and follow-up paper “Still Better Never to Have Been: A Reply to (More of) My Critics“. This comparative claim seemed intuitively plausible at first.1 After all, I lean towards non-natalism: creating new life does not seem necessarily good. However, upon reflection, that claim about bringing something into existence is different from Benetar’s comparative claim about both existence and non-existence. And the more I think about Benetar’s comparative claim, the more I find myself puzzled by it. I worry that this anti-natalism comparison involves contradiction, equivocation, and/or a false sense of commensurability. In this post, I’ll explain.
Continue reading The Anti-natalism Comparison: Contradiction, Equivocation, & Incommensurability
[Update: the latest version of this argument is now on the APA’s Blog.]
Once upon a time, I loved footnotes and PDF documents. Now I don’t. I prefer eBook format and endnotes. I admit that footnotes are handy sometimes. For example, when I read visually, it’s nice to have the notes on the same page as the body text. However, footnotes are not so handy for auditory reading. Neither are PDF documents. For instance, footnotes wreak havoc on auditory reading. They interrupt the audio stream of the main body of text — sometimes mid-sentence. And since many people have to rely on auditory reading to consume academic research, this means that PDF documents and footnotes decrease the accessibility of research. That’s bad. If we can avoid this bad, we should. And we can avoid it. So we should.
1. Books vs. Articles
Sometimes academic books are available in an eBook version that is amenable to auditory reading — e.g., Amazon’s Kindle format and Apple’s iBook format. And some academic books have a proper audiobook version — e..g, Amazon’s audiobooks. This is great, but… Continue reading The Moral Argument Against Footnotes and PDF