Philosophy’s an odd practice. It can be abstract, technical, and complicated to the point of appearing incomprehensible; and the generality of the subject matter can make it seem like it isn’t really about anything at all. It certainly doesn’t seem to make a great deal of progress over time. So why the hell does anyone do it?
Here I propose three main reasons I think people do philosophy: competitive craftsmanship, scientific inquiry, and spirituality. The first breaks down into two subcategories – craftsmanship and competition – as does the second – curiosity and improving the world. Just how does philosophy satisfy each of these needs? Do people really pursue philosophy in order to satisfy them? And can they actually be satisfied by philosophy? I conclude with some words about how these apply to why I’m pursuing philosophy (eg, doing this podcast), and specifically why I’m not pursuing academic philosophy.
0:20 – Intro: why do I do philosophy?
3:44 – What is philosophy?
9:03 – What sort of question is “why do philosophy?”?
14:04 – Three reasons: competitive craftsmanship, scientific inquiry, spirituality
14:26 – Competitive craftsmanship: philosophy as art or game
15:51 – Arguments
18:30 – Virtues of competition
25:08 – Carry-over benefits
26:46 – The rules of the game applied to the rules of the game: self-reference, regress, form become content, grounding
34:12 – Creation v.…
The last 250 years have created an explosion in technological progress that has fundamentally changed human society. Can we expect the rate of technological improvement to accelerate even further? If so, how might those developments transform humanity? Might some of the changes be so fundamental as to render our ideas about social and political ethics moot?
After some musings on possible transhumanist developments, Tomasz and I zero in on one in particular: omniveillance. Omniveillance refers to a society in which everything is recorded and everyone has the ability to check what anyone else is doing. This would be the end of privacy as we know it. As scary as this outcome sounds, Tomasz explains the reasons we can expect it to happen even if no one wants it. We also discuss reasons it may not be as horrible as it initially sounds. We conclude with some thoughts on how the omniveillent society might exercise horizontal social control, in potentially good and bad ways.
Next week: Why (I) Do Philosophy
Special thanks to Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.
0:40 – Implications of transhumanism on political philosophy
7:35 – Introduction to omniveillance
12:45 – How omniveillance will happen (assassination markets and collective action problems)
19:47 – Horizontal social control: good or bad?
23:32 – Could privacy survive?
26:26 – Deviance
27:07 – Reaction to omniveillance as inkblot test
31:45 – The end of individuality?…
Last week, Tomasz laid his metaethical foundations for political philosophy. This week, we dive into his preferred political system proper. What are the necessary conditions for a political system to be considered “market anarchist”? Just how might a market anarchist society operate? How would disputes be resolved? Who deals with people in the society who simply refuse to cooperate? And how restrictive is market anarchism? Would it be possible to have a “market anarchism” that operates on socialist principles?
1:00 – Broad picture of market anarchism
5:39 – Dealing w/ disagreements and violators
10:43 – Violators and common spaces
17:15 – Tolerance and theory v. outcome
22:45 – Simplicity and thick v. thin commitments
28:09 – Libertarian socialism?