The Anti-natalism Comparison: Contradiction, Equivocation, & Incommensurability

To be or not to be. That is the question. (Seriously.) David Benatar’s chapter “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” argues in favor of the latter: it’s better not to be. This comparative claim seemed intuitively plausible at first,1 but upon reflection, I find myself puzzled by it. I worry that this anti-natalism comparison involves contradiction, equivocation, or a false sense of commensurability. In this post, I’ll explain.

Continue reading The Anti-natalism Comparison: Contradiction, Equivocation, & Incommensurability

Unconscious Intentions Do Not Undermine Free Will

Some have said that free will is an illusion (e.g., Wegner, 2002). And some free will skeptics base their claims on evidence that experimenters can predict our decisions before we are aware of making the decision or forming an intention. This leap from pre-decision prediction to free will skepticism seems intuitive at first. Upon reflection, however, it seems odd. In this post, I’ll explain.

Continue reading Unconscious Intentions Do Not Undermine Free Will

Metaphysics of Mind: A Flowchart Taxonomy

I love flowcharts. And I love the philosophy of mind. So naturally, when I realized that I could combine these loves, I did. In this post, I share a flowchart-like tree for classifying views about the metaphysics of mind. I also share some conversations that are improving the chart, invite further conversation, and point out resources that can answer your questions about the metaphysics of mind. Continue reading Metaphysics of Mind: A Flowchart Taxonomy

50+ Cognitive Science and/or Philosophy Blogs

Here is a list of cognitive science and/or philosophy blogs. Feel free to share it and/or suggest additions to the list. Continue reading 50+ Cognitive Science and/or Philosophy Blogs

So you voted third party or didn’t vote at all. Did you help Trump win?

Did you end up not voting? Did you vote for a third party? Was that just a vote for Trump? Good question. It depends on how you normally vote.

1.  Do you normally vote for one major party?

Let’s say that, historically, you’ve voted for the democratic candidate. In that case when you voted third party or didn’t vote at all, you made Clinton Continue reading So you voted third party or didn’t vote at all. Did you help Trump win?

The Willpower Network

(Image from Robeter in the public domain)

I will be presenting a poster about “The Network Theory of Willpower” at the Montreal Neuroethics Conference For Young Researchers on April 17th. You can find the poster hereContinue reading The Willpower Network

Philosophy, Science, and Magic

Being in the hands of a master magician can leave you feeling a bit uneasy. When the magician finishes a trick, you face a jarring disjunction: either your view of the world is deeply mistaken or you’ve failed to understand what happened during the trick. But you’ve no idea what you failed to understand about the trick, so it seems as though the world is not what you think it is.

In this post, I want to argue that something similar can happen when one studies philosophy or science. To explain what I mean, let me offer some context. Continue reading Philosophy, Science, and Magic