So how can I explain this blog?
Well, in part, it’s about using philosophy and science to explore why people, regular humans, plain homo sapiens, are morally important. It’s about why other species, and life in general, are important to us too. Above all its about trying to envision a future in which our society and technology are friendly to humans and the biosphere. Technology is no good if it wipes out the life it was designed to assist!
Of course, assuming we can overcome any existential risks that stand in our way, advanced technology will almost completely define Earth’s future. So, I’m working on a concept I call “technonaturalism” – taking a technology-positive approach and combining it with a value of life, something I think is philosophically absent in ideas like transhumanism. You’ll also see some of the strange ideas in futurism mentioned here – like talk of strong AI, and visions of Earth in a distant future. (Technonaturalism, Visions of Earth)
I spend a fair amount of time on moral philosophy, where I emphasise reason and science, but also try to respect and learn from culture and religion, for example by considering virtue ethics. I’ve also tried to explain why I’m against attaching moral worth to vague concepts at the expense of real everyday humans. Consciousness looks like this to me – it’s a bit like a religion except with all the moral content (the important part!) stripped away so it can appear scientific. Instead, we should focus on looking after biological humans and any attached philosophical entities will be just fine anyway. (Philosophy of Altruism, Why I Think Neuroscientists Should Avoid the Term Consciousness, Virtue, Purpose and Knowledge)
I try to stay very far away from geopolitics, and when I express views on economics or politics, I tend to start with the approach that both the left and the right are wrong. Especially I like the idea that all groups in politics have valid concerns, but that psychologically they misinterpret the concerns of other groups as threats, rather than concerns like their own (dependence vs disadvantage, efficiency vs inequality etc). I try to avoid this by treating politics as an investigation, rather than trench-warfare like many others seem to. (Comprehensive Morality, Investigative Politics, Short-Story: The Labyrinth)
As a result of being quite pluralist, my political/economic views tend to be an unusual mishmash of ideas from all over the political spectrum. I’m a bit contrarian too, so people consistently mistake me (or hate me) for being something I’m not. People don’t always like that I’ll side with the left one minute and the centre or right the next. This can get pretty messy, so I try to filter out the bad ideas out of my views using through reason, meta-level thinking, and an appreciation of some of the historical lessons (or should I say disasters?) that human politics has caused. I hope that the end product is moderate, duly cautious and always up for further debate. (The Decline of the Roman Republic and the Divsion of Democracy)
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