Podcast appearances and mentions of Peter Singer

Australian philosopher

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Latest podcast episodes about Peter Singer

The Needle Movers (Formerly Booklub)
E55 | Book Club: The life you can save by Peter Singer

The Needle Movers (Formerly Booklub)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2022 50:32


Hello Needlemovers! On this episode of our Booklub series we will be delving into three topics featured  in the book The life you can save by Peter Singer:(1) The shoes Conundrum(2) Logic or Bias?(3) How much is enough?The article discussed in this episode on Why People Don't Give to Charity can be found here.Enjoy!Check us out and send us a message on our instagram, Tik Tok and Youtube platforms @the.needle.moversOur website is www.theneedlemovers,xyz

Sea Change Radio
Alexander Zaitchik on Effective Altruism + Longtermism

Sea Change Radio

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2022 29:00


As the news that thirty year-old cryptocurrency baron, Sam Bankman-Fried‘s, FTX empire suddenly collapsed, the residual effects reverberated in the spheres of business, politics and philanthropy. Bankman-Fried was one of the largest donors to and a huge proponent of effective altruism, a social and philosophical movement started by academics Peter Singer, Toby Ord, and William … Continue reading Alexander Zaitchik on Effective Altruism + Longtermism → This article and podcast Alexander Zaitchik on Effective Altruism + Longtermism appeared first on Sea Change Radio.

¿Qué más?
247 La Catedral del Whisky

¿Qué más?

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 27, 2022 52:20


Continua la saga de Daniel "Deathwish" Pratt, cuando nuestro Charles Bronson criollo constata que la pandilla de antisociales que viven en su barrio efectuan actividades muy sospechosas... El mundial de futbol se le hace insoportable al Vinz. Sarkozy, Platini y los Cataríes. La caída de FTX. Vicente resume la filosofia de "altruismo eficaz" (Effective Altruism) de Peter Singer, que era la nueva moda de los tecno-dioses de Silicon Valley para salvar al mundo hasta que SBF se robo todos los reales. Daniel se fue a Escocia.  Links:  Qatar, Sarkozy y Platini (video): https://youtu.be/Q1voQOJnEVo  Peter Singer y el E.A.: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Most_Good_You_Can_Do   How Qatar Bought the World Cup https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHjbay54F4U Música: Shoes and Socks Off, Emerald Park.

Wild with Sarah Wilson
HOLDEN KARNOFSKY: The most important century is now. Blimey

Wild with Sarah Wilson

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2022 52:35


This episode continues the fascinating-slash-frightening journey I've been on with you, to understand what we should prioritise as we face potential existential end times. Today's guest, Harvard researcher and philanthropist Holden Karnofsky, brings the AI, effective altruism, longtermism and anti-growth debates together with the clarion call: “This is our moment, this century is make-or-break, pay attention people!” It's not an idle or hysterical call, it's one that Holden has researched extensively and is backed by global leaders in the space. As some background: Holden founded Givewell, the charity evaluator that has raised more than $US1billion for charities that have saved more than 150,000 lives (Bill Gates, Sam Harris and the now disgraced billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried use it) and Open Philanthropy investigates more speculative causes. So if this is the most important century, what does it mean for us? What are our responsibilities? What's going to happen? Buckle up, says Holden, because, “we live in wild times and should be ready for anything to happen”. Here's the "most important century" blog post series we talk about.I also flag Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. As well as this Vice article about how scientists can't explain how AI works.You might also want to go back and listen to the episodes with Peter Singer on effective altruism, Will Macaskill on Longtermism and Elise Bohan on misaligned AI and transhumanism......If you need to know a bit more about me… head to my "about" page. Subscribe to my Substack newsletter for more such conversation. Get your copy of my book, This One Wild and Precious Life Let's connect on Instagram! It's where I interact the most. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Where We Go Next
63: Choosing Between a Drowning Child and a New Pair of Shoes, with Jay Shapiro

Where We Go Next

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2022 74:11


Jay Shapiro is a writer, filmmaker, and host of the Dilemma Podcast.whatjaythinks.comDilemma: A Philosophy PodcastFamine, Affluence, and Morality, by Peter SingerThe Life You Can Save: How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty, by Peter SingerAgainst Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion, by Paul Bloom#48 - What Is Moral Progress? - Making Sense with Sam Harris (featuring Peter Singer)#300 - A Tale of Cancellation - Making Sense with Sam Harris (featuring Meg Smaker)#14 - The Virtues of Cold Blood - Making Sense with Sam Harris (featuring Paul Bloom)Consequentialism - WikipediaDeontology - WikipediaUtilitarianism - WikipediaMoral Realism - WikipediaDivine Command Theory - WikipediaIs–Ought Problem - WikipediaVirtue Ethics - WikipediaMoral Luck - Wikipedia29: Our Lives Are All a Matter of Luck, with Aaron Rabinowitz - Where We Go Next#31 - Evolving Minds - Making Sense with Sam Harris (featuring Jonathan Haidt)Boxing Day - WikipediaStreaking, Recycling Hell, & Hyperthymesia with Jay Shapiro - Human Values----------Email: wherewegopod@gmail.comInstagram: @wwgnpodcast

De Rudi & Freddie Show
De onstuitbare opmars van de planteneters – in gesprek met Tobias Leenaert

De Rudi & Freddie Show

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 21, 2022 43:51


Luisteraars! Deze keer is Tobias Leenaert te gast in onze podcast. Hij is de man die je misschien wel de meest effectieve dierenrechtenactivist van de Lage Landen zou kunnen noemen. Tobias is een van de oprichters van ProVeg, een hele hippe club die de transitie naar een meer plantaardig dieet probeert te versnellen. De aanleiding van dit interview? Onlangs is Tobias boek' Naar een vegan wereld. Een pragmatische aanpak gepubliceerd. Misschien denk je bij een veganist aan een ietwat bleek en drammerig type, maar Tobias is een frisse en bedachtzame Belg die heel goed nadenkt over hoe hij anderen zo goed mogelijk kan overtuigen. Want gelijk hebben is leuk, maar gelijk krijgen is nog veel leuker. Maar liefst 60 procent van de Nederlanders is al voor een verbod op de intensieve veehouderij, maar hoe gaan we van A naar B? We hebben het over de vraag waarom Tobias meer dan twintig jaar geleden al veganist werd, en hoe moeilijk dat toen nog was. We hebben het over waarom de dierenrechtenbeweging zo lang zo weinig resultaat boekte, en waarom dat nu lijkt te veranderen. En natuurlijk hebben we het over de vraag wat we nu allemaal kunnen doen om af te rekenen met de mondiale bio-industrie. Leesvoer bij deze aflevering • De aanleiding voor dit gesprek is de recent uitgebrachte Nederlandse vertaling van Tobias zijn boek Naar een vegan wereld. Een pragmatische aanpak. (https://corr.es/16e592) • De klassieker Animal Liberation van Peter Singer over de manier waarop mensen omgaan met andere dieren werd door Tobias ter tafel gebracht als persoonlijke inspiratiebron voor zijn keuze om veganist te worden. (https://corr.es/8f3d14) • We hadden het over de in 2018 uitgebrachte documentaireserie The Game Changers, waarin onderzocht wordt welk dieet je lichaam in staat stelt het beste te presteren. Ga ook zeker goed zitten voor de scène die in deze aflevering naverteld wordt. (https://corr.es/c55001) • Het onderzoek Livestock's Long Shadow – Environmental Issues and Options (PDF) van de Food and Agriculture Organization van de Verenigde Naties kwam aan bod. (https://corr.es/8f73e8)

Tech Won't Save Us
Don't Fall for the Longtermism Sales Pitch w/ Émile Torres

Tech Won't Save Us

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2022 63:44 Very Popular


Paris Marx is joined by Émile Torres to discuss the ongoing effort to sell effective altruism and longtermism to the public, and why they're philosophies that won't solve the real problems we face.Émile Torres is a PhD candidate at Leibniz University Hannover and the author of the forthcoming book Human Extinction: A History of the Science and Ethics of Annihilation. Follow Émile on Twitter at @xriskology.Tech Won't Save Us offers a critical perspective on tech, its worldview, and wider society with the goal of inspiring people to demand better tech and a better world. Follow the podcast (@techwontsaveus) and host Paris Marx (@parismarx) on Twitter, support the show on Patreon, and sign up for the weekly newsletter.The podcast is produced by Eric Wickham and part of the Harbinger Media Network.Also mentioned in this episode:Émile recently wrote about the ongoing effort to sell longtermism and effective altruism to the public.Peter Singer wrote an article published in 1972 arguing that rich people need to give to charity, which went on to influence effective altruists.NYT recently opined on whether it's ethical for lawyers to defend climate villains.Nathan Robinson recently criticized effective altruism for Current Affairs.Support the show

The Nonlinear Library
EA - Centre for Exploratory Altruism Research (CEARCH) by Joel Tan (CEARCH)

The Nonlinear Library

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 18, 2022 8:55


Welcome to The Nonlinear Library, where we use Text-to-Speech software to convert the best writing from the Rationalist and EA communities into audio. This is: Centre for Exploratory Altruism Research (CEARCH), published by Joel Tan (CEARCH) on October 18, 2022 on The Effective Altruism Forum. Introduction The Centre for Exploratory Altruism Research (CEARCH) emerged from the 2022 Charity Entrepreneurship Incubation Programme. In a nutshell, we do cause prioritization research, as well as subsequent outreach to update the EA and non-EA communities on our findings. Exploratory Altruism The Problem There are many potential cause areas (e.g. improving global health, or reducing pandemic risk, or addressing long-term population decline), but we may not have identified what the most impactful causes are. This is the result of a lack of systematic cause prioritization research. EA's three big causes (i.e. global health, animal welfare and AI risk) were not chosen by systematic research, but by historical happenstance (e.g. Peter Singer being a strong supporter of animal rights, or the Future of Humanity Institute influencing the early EA movement in Oxford). Existing cause research is not always fully systematic; for lack of time, it does not always involve (a) searching for as many causes as possible (e.g. more than a thousand) and then (b) researching and evaluating all of them to narrow down to the top causes. The search space for causes is vast, and existing EA research organizations agree that there is room for a new organization. The upshot of insufficient cause prioritization research, and of not knowing the most impactful causes, is that we cannot direct our scarce resources accordingly. Consequently, global welfare is lower and the world worse off than it could be. Our Solution To solve this problem, CEARCH carries out: A comprehensive search for causes. Rigorous cause prioritization research, with (a) shallow research reviews done for all causes, (b) intermediate research reviews for more promising causes, and finally (c) deep research reviews for potential top causes. Reasoning transparency and outreach to allow both the EA and non-EA movement to update on our findings and to support the most impactful causes available. Our Vision We hope to discover a Cause X every three years and significantly increase support for it. Expected Impact If you're interested in the expected impact of exploratory altruism, do take a look at our website (link), where we discuss our theory of change and the evidence base. Charity Entrepreneurship also has a detailed report out on exploratory altruism (link). Team & Partners The current team currently comprises Joel Tan, the founder (link). However, we're looking to hire additional researchers in the near future- do reach out (link) if you're interested in working with us. Do also feel free to get in touch if you wish to discuss cause prioritization research/outreach, provide advice in general, or if you believe CEARCH can help you in any way. Research Methodology Research Process Our research process is iterative: Each cause is subject to an initial shallow research round of one week of desktop research. If the cause's estimated cost-effectiveness is at least one magnitude greater than a GiveWell top charity, it passes to the intermediate research round of two weeks of desktop research and expert interviews. Then, if the cause's estimated cost-effectiveness is still at least one magnitude greater than a GiveWell top charity, it passes to the deep research round of four weeks of desktop research, expert interviews and potential commissioning of surveys and quantitative modelling. The idea behind the threshold is straightforward - research at the shallower level tends to overestimate a cause's cost-effectiveness, so if a cause doesn't appear effective early on, it's probably not going to be a better-than-GiveWell bet, let alone a Cause X magnitudes more important than our current top causes. ...

People I (Mostly) Admire
90. Peter Singer Isn't a Saint, But He's Better Than Steve Levitt

People I (Mostly) Admire

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 15, 2022 58:09 Very Popular


The philosopher known for his rigorous ethics explains why Steve is leading a morally inconsistent life. 

The Nonlinear Library
EA - Ask Charity Entrepreneurship Anything by Ula

The Nonlinear Library

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 11, 2022 2:26


Welcome to The Nonlinear Library, where we use Text-to-Speech software to convert the best writing from the Rationalist and EA communities into audio. This is: Ask Charity Entrepreneurship Anything, published by Ula on October 11, 2022 on The Effective Altruism Forum. We invite you to ask us anything about Charity Entrepreneurship's work. As examples, you might want to ask questions related to: Our Incubation Program for starting new high-impact charities: The application process (stages, preparation, etc.) Who is the best fit for the program (personality traits, relevant experience, etc.) Details about the 2-month training and co-founder pairing Seed funding and financial support (during and after the program) Our new Foundations Program Our top ideas for the 2023 Incubation Programs: Animal-focused interventions Policy-based ideas Current research on biosecurity The research process we use for selecting the top interventions Our track record, knowledge base, expertise, how we do stuff, etc. Entrepreneurship-focused, career-advice questions Our whole team will be engaging with your questions to provide the best answers. Deadline for asking questions is: October 16, 2022. We will try to answer all the questions by October 20, 2022. How to ask questions: Please post each question as a separate comment. Don't be discouraged from asking niche questions. We're happy to address them, there are a lot of new people on the forum who may benefit from the answers. Small reward for your time: We will send out a copy of our Peter Singer endorsed handbook, How to Launch a High-Impact Nonprofit, to the authors of the five most interesting questions (as picked by the CE team). About CE: We launch high-impact nonprofits by connecting potential founders with effective ideas, training, and funding. This means we spend thousands of research hours to identify highly-effective interventions in chosen cause areas. We then provide a two-month intensive training program (all costs covered) to teach participants how to run effective charities. We help them pair with a co-founder that will best complement their skills and personality. They finish the program with a proposal for funders that we deliver to our seed network. They grant up to $200,000 USD per project. You can learn more about the program at our Incubation Program website. Thanks for listening. To help us out with The Nonlinear Library or to learn more, please visit nonlinear.org.

The Nonlinear Library
EA - Philosophers speaking against the mistreatment of animals: The Montreal Declaration On Animal Exploitation by Fai

The Nonlinear Library

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2022 1:33


Welcome to The Nonlinear Library, where we use Text-to-Speech software to convert the best writing from the Rationalist and EA communities into audio. This is: Philosophers speaking against the mistreatment of animals: The Montreal Declaration On Animal Exploitation, published by Fai on October 5, 2022 on The Effective Altruism Forum. This week, 473 (so far) philosophers signed to speak against the human exploitation of nonhuman animals, in the Montreal Declaration On Animal Exploitation, it seems to me that it is pretty rare for philosophers to sign and publish such a co-statement. "We are researchers in the field of moral and political philosophy. Our work is rooted in different philosophical traditions, and we rarely find ourselves in agreement with one another. We do agree, however, on the need for a profound transformation of our relationships with other animals. We condemn the practices that involve treating animals as objects or commodities." My guess with not-so-much thought is that the declaration could be pretty influential to students and academics in the future. It might even feature in books on the history of philosophy in the future! To-do: The only EA-related philosophers on the list of signatories are Peter Singer (and he isn't formally linked with EA) and Jeff Sebo. I think it is pretty important (we have an animal welfare cause area but no EA philosopher on this list) and beneficial (strengthen this list and make it more powerful) for major EA philosophers to sign on this. If you are a philosopher, consider becoming a signatory by clicking this link. Thanks for listening. To help us out with The Nonlinear Library or to learn more, please visit nonlinear.org.

Podcast Notes Playlist: Business
Erik Hoel on Effective Altruism, Utilitarianism, and the Repugnant Conclusion

Podcast Notes Playlist: Business

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2022 77:01


Econtalk Podcast Notes Key Takeaways Effective altruism involves billionaires creating various institutions to give away their money to charity in a manner they deem effectiveDue to the core of the movement being utilitarian, the effective altruism movement ends up having many repugnant and strange conclusions “Maximizing the most good for the most number of people” can lead to repugnant conclusions when applied at-scaleChanging the scale of these simple thought experiments adds complexities that completely change the calculus of the scenario Not only should you not have the birthday party for your son, but you're morally obligated to spend less time with your son so you can work more and send more money to help solve the malaria crisis in AfricaThe repugnant conclusion of never-ending well-being arbitrage: everyone ends up with a life that is just barely above the subsistence level Effective altruism wants to arbitrage all the extra happiness away and fairly distribute it amongst the global population Trading instances of good and evil is not fungible in the way that utilitarians want it to be The effective altruism movement is an attempt to formulate morality from the top-down, which is antithetical to how morals have emerged since the dawn of humanity Utilitarianism treats good and evil as big mounds of dirt of varying sizes; Theoretically following the logic of utility, if enough people stub their toe over time, its respective pile of dirt could become larger than the pain-caused-from-WW2 pile of dirt Economists often neglect qualitative components when forming policy and only account for the quantitative when making moral equivalencies, which results in bad policy Charity is good; there are aspects of the effective altruism movement that are good, but the mandate to maximize it at scale deserves to be questioned and investigatedRead the full notes @ podcastnotes.orgNeuroscientist Erik Hoel talks about why he is not an "effective altruist" with EconTalk host, Russ Roberts. Hoel argues that the utilitarianism that underlies effective altruism--a movement co-founded by Will MacAskill and Peter Singer--is a poison that inevitably leads to repugnant conclusions and thereby weakens the case for the strongest claims made by effective altruists.

Podcast Notes Playlist: Latest Episodes
Erik Hoel on Effective Altruism, Utilitarianism, and the Repugnant Conclusion

Podcast Notes Playlist: Latest Episodes

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2022 77:01


Econtalk Podcast Notes Key Takeaways Effective altruism involves billionaires creating various institutions to give away their money to charity in a manner they deem effectiveDue to the core of the movement being utilitarian, the effective altruism movement ends up having many repugnant and strange conclusions “Maximizing the most good for the most number of people” can lead to repugnant conclusions when applied at-scaleChanging the scale of these simple thought experiments adds complexities that completely change the calculus of the scenario Not only should you not have the birthday party for your son, but you're morally obligated to spend less time with your son so you can work more and send more money to help solve the malaria crisis in AfricaThe repugnant conclusion of never-ending well-being arbitrage: everyone ends up with a life that is just barely above the subsistence level Effective altruism wants to arbitrage all the extra happiness away and fairly distribute it amongst the global population Trading instances of good and evil is not fungible in the way that utilitarians want it to be The effective altruism movement is an attempt to formulate morality from the top-down, which is antithetical to how morals have emerged since the dawn of humanity Utilitarianism treats good and evil as big mounds of dirt of varying sizes; Theoretically following the logic of utility, if enough people stub their toe over time, its respective pile of dirt could become larger than the pain-caused-from-WW2 pile of dirt Economists often neglect qualitative components when forming policy and only account for the quantitative when making moral equivalencies, which results in bad policy Charity is good; there are aspects of the effective altruism movement that are good, but the mandate to maximize it at scale deserves to be questioned and investigatedRead the full notes @ podcastnotes.orgNeuroscientist Erik Hoel talks about why he is not an "effective altruist" with EconTalk host, Russ Roberts. Hoel argues that the utilitarianism that underlies effective altruism--a movement co-founded by Will MacAskill and Peter Singer--is a poison that inevitably leads to repugnant conclusions and thereby weakens the case for the strongest claims made by effective altruists.

Signal From The Noise: By Podcast Notes
Erik Hoel on Effective Altruism, Utilitarianism, and the Repugnant Conclusion

Signal From The Noise: By Podcast Notes

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2022


Econtalk: Read the notes at at podcastnotes.org. Don't forget to subscribe for free to our newsletter, the top 10 ideas of the week, every Monday --------- Neuroscientist Erik Hoel talks about why he is not an "effective altruist" with EconTalk host, Russ Roberts. Hoel argues that the utilitarianism that underlies effective altruism--a movement co-founded by Will MacAskill and Peter Singer--is a poison that inevitably leads to repugnant conclusions and thereby weakens the case for the strongest claims made by effective altruists.

The Nonlinear Library
EA - 7 learnings from 3 years running a corporate EA Group by Conor McGurk

The Nonlinear Library

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 30, 2022 13:29


Welcome to The Nonlinear Library, where we use Text-to-Speech software to convert the best writing from the Rationalist and EA communities into audio. This is: 7 learnings from 3 years running a corporate EA Group, published by Conor McGurk on September 30, 2022 on The Effective Altruism Forum. Thanks to my co-organizers, Will Hastings, John Yan, Denisse Sevastian and Farhan Azam for their input and feedback on this post 3 years ago, I founded the Effective Altruism @ Meta corporate interest group. We've had middling success in drumming up interest for EA at the company, and thought it may be useful to share some of our learnings for others doing the same thing. I wouldn't assume that these learnings necessarily generalize to other corporate settings, but I'm eager to hear from others on what does and doesn't resonate. 1. Finding committed organizers is difficult in a corporate setting In a higher intensity environment like Meta, people don't have much time to commit to activities outside of their core responsibilities. We cycled through 8-10 organizers before we finally found a more committed group of 3-4. Most other organizers flaked and eventually stopped attending events altogether. Beyond being busy with their day jobs, there are a few other reasons I think people consistently flaked: first, unlike a city or university community, there is no additional personal incentive to volunteer your time. Individuals are not in need of financial compensation, and holding volunteer positions does not meaningfully further their careers. Secondly, given organizers are not colocated and have varied time zones, it can be hard to find consistent times for organizers to interact. Ultimately, the organizers that stuck around seemed to be motivated by two things. First, most were independently excited about effective altruism and inherently motivated by the altruistic goals of the group. Secondly, they were more integrated with the social elements of our group: hosting events and attending meetings was their primary way to connect with other EAs. 2. Community & discussion oriented activities are probably high ROI Fairly early on in our work at Meta we started a bi-weekly discussion group. We would host a poll for discussion topics a few days before, and had an open meeting to discuss the top-voted item for 45 minutes. Actual attendance for these events were low - rarely more than 10 attendees per session - but through regular attendees we eventually found consistent organizers and several individuals that took more serious EA actions. Many of these individuals took donation pledges, several helped us organize events and raise money, attended EAGs, and some considered or are taking career pivots. It's obviously hard to assess counterfactual impact, but given that for most of these individuals this was their primary interaction with other EAs and EA ideas, it seems likely that their further EA actions were attributable to us. The actual investment in setting up this regular social community where we discussed EA ideas was negligible. We crowd-sourced discussion topics or pulled from personal reading or existing databases, and advertised the meeting once every two weeks. By that measure, this was possibly the highest ROI activity we took. 3. Speaker events are probably low ROI Most of our tactical efforts were online events targeted at exposing Meta employees to EA ideas or effective giving principles. Our very first event had Peter Singer come speak about EA principles, and afterwards we had speakers from ACE, GiveDirectly, Google Brain, Giving What We Can, 1 For the World, and a slew of other EA-aligned organizations. Events were meaningful amounts of work to set up, as they involved internal approvals, event logistics, and internal advertising to ensure attendance. Despite the medium-high lift to run an event, we became increasingly skeptical that the events were high impact. Actual event attendance numbers were low: smaller events would ...

Undaunted.Life: A Man's Podcast
365 - JOHN LENNOX | Can Science Explain Everything?

Undaunted.Life: A Man's Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 28, 2022 53:02


In this episode, we welcome John Lennox to the show. He is a Christian apologist, mathematician, and bioethicist from Northern Ireland. He is the author of many books including Can Science Explain Everything?, Seven Days That Divide the World, Gunning for God, and God's Undertaker. He has done numerous high-profile public debates with noted atheist thinkers like Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer, Peter Singer, and the late Christopher Hitchens. Additionally, he is an Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, an Emeritus Fellow in Mathematics and Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College - Oxford University, an Associate Fellow of the Saïd Business School, and a Senior Fellow at the Trinity Forum. In this interview, we discuss what it was like growing up in Northern Ireland during the sectarian violence between Protestants and Catholics, the difference between “science” and “scientism”, why Christians shouldn't be scared of science, how he prepares for debates with noted atheists, what he thinks is the most compelling arguments for Christianity, his thoughts on Old Earth vs. Young Earth, his thoughts on manhood in the church, why we should worship God with our minds and not just rely on feelings, and much more. Let's get into it…  Go to the ORIGIN website to check out the full line of Origin and Jocko Fuel products: Gis, jeans, boots, protein, energy drinks, supplements, and much more. Use the promo code KYLE to get 10% off your order! Episode notes and links HERE Donate to support our mission of equipping men to push back darkness Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

The Lunar Society
Tyler Cowen - Talent, Collapse, & Pessimism of Sex

The Lunar Society

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 28, 2022 94:39


It was my great pleasure to speak once again to Tyler Cowen. His most recent book is Talent, How to Find Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Across the World.We discuss:how sex is more pessimistic than he is,why he expects society to collapse permanently,why humility, stimulants, intelligence, & stimulants are overrated,how he identifies talent, deceit, & ambition,& much much much more!Watch on YouTube. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or any other podcast platform. Read the full transcript here.Follow me on Twitter for updates on future episodes.More really cool guests coming up, subscribe to find out about future episodes!You may also enjoy my interviews of Bryan Caplan (about mental illness, discrimination, and poverty), David Deutsch (about AI and the problems with America's constitution), and Steve Hsu (about intelligence and embryo selection).If you end up enjoying this episode, I would be super grateful if you shared it. Post it on Twitter, send it to your friends & group-chats, and throw it up on any relevant subreddits & forums you follow. Can't exaggerate how much it helps a small podcast like mine.A huge thanks to Graham Bessellieu for editing this podcast and Mia Aiyana for producing its transcript.Timestamps(0:00) -Did Caplan Change On Education?(1:17) - Travel vs. History(3:10) - Do Institutions Become Left Wing Over Time?(6:02) - What Does Talent Correlate With?(13:00) - Humility, Mental Illness, Caffeine, and Suits(19:20) - How does Education affect Talent?(24:34) - Scouting Talent(33:39) - Money, Deceit, and Emergent Ventures(37:16) - Building Writing Stamina(39:41) - When Does Intelligence Start to Matter?(43:51) - Spotting Talent (Counter)signals(53:57) - Will Reading Cowen's Book Help You Win Emergent Ventures?(1:04:18) - Existential risks and the Longterm(1:12:45) - Cultivating Young Talent(1:16:05) - The Lifespans of Public Intellectuals(1:19:42) - Risk Aversion in Academia(1:26:20) - Is Stagnation Inevitable?(1:31:33) - What are Podcasts for?TranscriptDid Caplan Change On Education?Tyler Cowen   Ask Bryan about early and late Caplan. In which ways are they not consistent? That's a kind of friendly jab.Dwarkesh Patel   Okay, interesting. Tyler Cowen   Garrett Jones has tweeted about this in the past. In The Myth of the Rational Voter, education is so wonderful. It no longer seems to be true, but it was true from the data Bryan took from. Bryan doesn't think education really teaches you much. Dwarkesh Patel So then why is it making you want a free market?Tyler Cowen  It once did, even though it doesn't now, and if it doesn't now, it may teach them bad things. But it's teaching them something.Dwarkesh Patel   I have asked him this. He thinks that education doesn't teach them anything; therefore, that woke-ism can't be a result of colleges. I asked him, “okay, at some point, these were ideas in colleges, but now they're in the broader world. What do you think happened? Why did it transition together?” I don't think he had a good answer to that.Tyler Cowen   Yeah, you can put this in the podcast if you want. I like the free podcast talk often better than the podcast. [laughs]Dwarkesh Patel   Okay. Well yeah, we can just start rolling. Today, it is my great pleasure to speak to Tyler Cowen about his new book, “Talent, How to Find Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Across the World.” Tyler, welcome (once again) to The Lunar Society. Tyler Cowen   Happy to be here, thank you!Travel vs. HistoryDwarkesh Patel 1:51  Okay, excellent. I'll get into talent in just a second, but I've got a few questions for you first. So in terms of novelty and wonder, do you think travelling to the past would be a fundamentally different experience from travelling to different countries today? Or is it kind of in the same category?Tyler Cowen   You need to be protected against disease and have some access to the languages, and obviously, your smartphone is not going to work, right? So if you adjust for those differences, I think it would be a lot like travelling today except there'd be bigger surprises because no one else has gone to the past. Older people were there in a sense, but if you go back to ancient Athens, or the peak of the Roman Empire, you'd be the first traveller. Dwarkesh Patel   So do you think the experience of reading a history book is somewhat substitutable for actually travelling to a place? Tyler Cowen   Not at all! I think we understand the past very very poorly. If you've travelled appropriately in contemporary times, it should make you more skeptical about history because you'll realize how little you can learn about the current places just by reading about them. So it's like Travel versus History, and the historians lose.Dwarkesh Patel   Oh, interesting. So I'm curious, how does travelling a lot change your perspective when you read a work of history? In what ways does it do so? Are you skeptical of it to an extent that you weren't before, and what do you think historians are probably getting wrong? Tyler Cowen   It may not be a concrete way, but first you ask: was the person there? If it's a biography, did the author personally know the subject of the biography? That becomes an extremely important question. I was just in India for the sixth time, I hardly pretend to understand India, whatever that possibly might mean, but before I went at all, I'd read a few hundred books about India, and it's not like I got nothing out of them, but in some sense, I knew nothing about India. Now that I've visited, the other things I read make more sense, including the history.Do Institutions Become Left Wing Over Time?Dwarkesh Patel   Okay, interesting. So you've asked this question to many of your guests, and I don't think any of them have had a good answer. So let me just ask you: what do you think is the explanation behind Conquest's Second Law? Why does any institution that is not explicitly right-wing become left-wing over time?Tyler Cowen   Well, first of all, I'm not sure that Conquest's Second Law is true. So you have something like the World Bank which was sort of centrist state-ist in the 1960s, and by the 1990s became fairly neoliberal. Now, about what's left-wing/right-wing, it's global, it's complicated, but it's not a simple case of Conquest's Second Law holding. I do think that for a big part of the latter post-war era, some version of Conquest's Law does mostly hold for the United States. But once you see that it's not universal, you're just asking: well, why have parts? Why has the American intelligentsia shifted to the left? So that there's political science literature on educational polarization? [laughs] I wouldn't say it's a settled question, but it's not a huge mystery like “how Republicans act wackier than Democrats are” for example. The issues realign in particular ways. I believe that's why Conquest's Law locally is mostly holding.Dwarkesh Patel   Oh, interesting. So you don't think there's anything special about the intellectual life that tends to make people left-wing, and this issue is particular to our current moment?Tyler Cowen    I think by choosing the words “left-wing” you're begging the question. There's a lot of historical areas where what is left-wing is not even well defined, so in that sense, Conquests Law can't even hold there. I once had a debate with Marc Andreessen about this–– I think Mark tends to see things that are left-wing/right-wing as somewhat universal historical categories, and I very much do not. In medieval times, what's left wing and what's right wing? Even in 17th century England, there were particular groups who on particular issues were very left-wing or right-wing. It seems to me to be very unsatisfying, and there's a lot of fluidity in how these axes play out over real issues.Dwarkesh Patel   Interesting. So maybe then it's what is considered “left” at the time that tends to be the thing that ends up winning. At least, that's how it looks like looking back on it. That's how we categorize things. Something insightful I heard is that “if the left keeps winning, then just redefine what the left is.” So if you think of prohibition at the time, it was a left-wing cause, but now, the opposite of prohibition is left-wing because we just changed what the left is.Tyler Cowen    Exactly. Take the French Revolution: they're the historical equivalent of nonprofits versus 1830s restoration. Was everything moving to the left, between Robespierre and 1830? I don't pretend to know, but it just sure doesn't seem that way. So again, there seem to be a lot of cases where Conquest's Law is not so economical.Dwarkesh Patel   Napoleon is a great example of this where we're not sure whether he's the most left-wing figure in history or the most right-wing figure in history.Tyler Cowen 6:00Maybe he's both somehow.What Does Talent Correlate With?Dwarkesh Patel How much of talent or the lack thereof is a moral judgment for you? Just to give some context, when I think that somebody is not that intelligent, for me, that doesn't seem like a moral judgment. That just seems like a lottery. When I say that somebody's not hard working, that seems like more of a moral judgment. So on that spectrum, where would you say talent lies?Tyler Cowen   I don't know. My default is that most people aren't that ambitious. I'm fine with that. It actually creates some opportunities for the ambitious–– there might be an optimal degree of ambition. Well, short of everyone being sort of maximally ambitious. So I don't go around pissed off at unambitious people, judging them in some moralizing way. I think a lot of me is on autopilot when it comes to morally judging people from a distance. I don't wake up in the morning and get pissed off at someone in the Middle East doing whatever, even though I might think it was wrong.Dwarkesh Patel   So when you read the biographies of great people, often you see there's a bit of an emotional neglect and abuse when they're kids. Why do you think this is such a common trope?Tyler Cowen   I would love to see the data, but I'm not convinced that it's more common than with other people. Famous people, especially those who have biographies, on average are from earlier times, and in earlier times, children were treated worse. So it could be correlated without being causal. Now, maybe there's this notion that you need to have something to prove. Maybe you only feel you need to prove something if you're Napoleon and you're short, and you weren't always treated well. That's possible and I don't rule it out. But you look at Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg without pretending to know what their childhoods were like.  It sure sounds like they were upper middle class kids treated very well, at least from a distance. For example, the Collison's had great parents and they did well.Dwarkesh Patel   It could just be that the examples involving emotional neglect stuck out in my mind in particular.  Tyler Cowen   Yeah. So I'd really like to see the data. I think it's an important and very good question. It seems to me, maybe one could investigate it, but I've never seen an actual result.Dwarkesh Patel   Is there something you've learned about talent spotting through writing the book that you wish wasn't so? Maybe you found it disturbing, or you found it disappointing in some way. Is there something that is a correlate for talent that you wish wasn't? Tyler Cowen   I don't know. Again, I think I'm relatively accepting of a lot of these realities, but the thing that disappoints me a bit is how geographically clustered talent is. I don't mean where it was born, and I don't mean ethnically. I just mean where it ends up. So if you get an application, say from rural Italy where maybe living standards are perfectly fine–– there's good weather, there's olive oil, there's pasta. But the application just probably not that good. Certainly, Italians have had enough amazing achievements over the millennia, but right now, the people there who are actually up to something are going to move to London or New York or somewhere. So I find that a bit depressing. It's not really about the people. Dwarkesh Patel   When you do find a cluster of talent, to what extent can that be explained by a cyclical view of what's happening in the region? In the sense of the “hard times create strong men” theory? I mean at some point, Italy had a Renaissance, so maybe things got complacent over time.Tyler Cowen   Again, maybe that's true for Italy, but most of the talent clusters have been such for a long time, like London and New York. It's not cyclical. They've just had a ton of talent for a very long time. They still do, and later on, they still will. Maybe not literally forever, but it seems like an enduring effect.Dwarkesh Patel   But what if they leave? For example, the Central European Jews couldn't stay where they were anymore and had to leave.Tyler Cowen   Obviously, I think war can destroy almost anything. So German scientific talent took a big whack, German cultural talent too. I mean, Hungarian Jews and mathematics-–I don't know big of a trend it still is, but it's certainly nothing close to what it once was.Dwarkesh Patel   Okay. I was worried that if you realize that some particular region has a lot of talent right now, then that might be a one-time gain. You realize that India, Toronto or Nigeria or something have a lot of talent, but the culture doesn't persist in some sort of extended way. Tyler Cowen   That might be true for where talent comes from, but where it goes just seems to show more persistence. People will almost certainly be going to London for centuries. Is London producing a lot of talent? That's less clear. That may be much more cyclical. In the 17th century, London was amazing, right? London today? I would say I don't know. But it's not obvious that it's coming close to its previous glories. So the current status of India I think, will be temporary, but temporary for a long time. It's just a very big place. It has a lot of centres and there are things it has going for it like not taking prosperity for granted. But it will have all of these for quite a while–– India's still pretty poor.Dwarkesh Patel   What do you think is the difference between actual places where clusters of talent congregate and places where that are just a source of that talent? What makes a place a sink rather than a source of talent?Tyler Cowen   I think finding a place where people end up going is more or less obvious. You need money, you need a big city, you need some kind of common trade or linguistic connection. So New York and London are what they are for obvious reasons, right? Path dependence history, the story of making it in the Big Apple and so on. But origins and where people come from are areas that I think theory is very bad at understanding. Why did the Renaissance blossom in Florence and Venice, and not in Milan? If you're going back earlier, it wasn't obvious that it would be those places. I've done a lot of reading to try to figure this out, but I find that I've gotten remarkably not far on the question.Dwarkesh Patel   The particular examples you mentioned today–– like New York, San Francisco, London, these places today are kind of high stakes, because if you want to move there, it's expensive. Do you think that this is because they've been so talented despite this fact, or because you need some sort of exclusion in order to be a haven of talent?Tyler Cowen   Well, I think this is a problem for San Francisco. It may be a more temporary cluster than it ought to have been. Since it's a pretty recent cluster, it can't count on the same kind of historical path dependence that New York and Manhattan have. But a lot of New York still is not that expensive. Look at the people who work and live there! They're not all rich, to say the least. And that is an important part of why New York is still New York. With London, it's much harder, but it seems to me that London is a sink for somewhat established talent––which is fine, right? However, in that regard, it's much inferior to New York.Humility, Mental Illness, Caffeine, and Suits Dwarkesh Patel   Okay, I want to play a game of overrated and underrated with you, but we're going to do it with certain traits or certain kinds of personalities that might come in when you're interviewing people.Tyler Cowen   Okay, it's probably all going to be indeterminate, but go on.Dwarkesh Patel   Right. So somebody comes in, and they're very humble.Tyler Cowen   Immediately I'm suspicious. I figure most people who are going to make something of themselves are arrogant. If they're willing to show it, there's a certain bravery or openness in that. I don't rule out the humble person doing great. A lot of people who do great are humble, but I just get a wee bit like, “what's up with you? You're not really humble, are you?”Dwarkesh Patel   Maybe humility is a way of avoiding confrontation–– if you don't have the competence to actually show that you can be great. Tyler Cowen   It might be efficient for them to avoid confrontation, but I just start thinking that I don't know the real story. When I see a bit of arrogance, I'm less likely to think that it may, in a way, be feigned. But the feigning of arrogance in itself is a kind of arrogance. So in that sense, I'm still getting the genuine thing. Dwarkesh Patel   So what is the difference? Let's say a 15-year-old who is kind of arrogant versus a 50-year-old who is kind of arrogant, and the latter has accomplishments already while the first one doesn't. Is there a difference in how you perceive humility or the lack thereof?Tyler Cowen   Oh, sure. With the 50-year-old, you want to see what they have done, and you're much more likely to think the 50 year old should feign humility than the 15-year-old. Because that's the high-status thing to do–– it's to feign humility. If they can't do that, you figure, “Here's one thing they're bad at. What else are they bad at?” Whereas with the 15-year-old, maybe they have a chip on their shoulder and they can't quite hold it all in. Oh, that's great and fine. Let's see what you're gonna do.Dwarkesh Patel   How arrogant can you be? There are many 15 year olds who are really good at math, and they have ambitions like “I want to solve P ≠ NP” or “I want to build an AGI” or something. Is there some level where you just clearly don't understand what's going on since you think you can do something like that? Or is arrogance always a plus?Tyler Cowen   I haven't seen that level of arrogance yet. If a 15-year-old said to me, “in three years, I'm going to invent a perpetual motion machine,”  I would think “No, now you're just crazy.” But no one's ever said that to me. There's this famous Mark Zuckerberg story where he went into the VC meeting at Sequoia wearing his pajamas and he told Sequoia not to give him money. He was 18 at a minimum, that's pretty arrogant behavior and we should be fine with that. We know how the story ends. So it's really hard to be too arrogant. But once you say this, because of the second order effect, you start thinking: “Well, are they just being arrogant as an act?” And then in the “act sense”, yes, they can be too arrogant.Dwarkesh Patel   Isn't the backstory there that Mark was friends with Sean Parker and then Sean Parker had beef with Sequoia…Tyler Cowen   There's something like that. I wouldn't want to say off the top of my head exactly what, but there is a backstory.Dwarkesh Patel   Okay. Somebody comes in professionally dressed when they don't need to. They've got a crisp clean shirt. They've got a nice wash. Tyler Cowen How old are they?Dwarkesh Patel 20.Tyler Cowen They're too conformist. Again, with some jobs, conformity is great, but I get a little suspicious, at least for what I'm looking for. Though I wouldn't rule them out for a lot of things–– it's a plus, right?Dwarkesh Patel   Is there a point though, where you're in some way being conformist by dressing up in a polo shirt? Like if you're in San Francisco right now, it seems like the conformist thing is not to wear a suit to an interview if you're trying to be a software engineer.Tyler Cowen   Yeah, there might be situations where it's so weird, so over the top, so conformist, that it's actually totally non-conformist. Like “I don't know anyone who's a conformist like you are!” Maybe it's not being a conformist, or just being some kind of nut, that makes you interested again.Dwarkesh Patel   An overall sense that you get from the person that they're really content, almost like Buddha came in for an interview. A sense of wellbeing.Tyler Cowen   It's gonna depend on context, I don't think I'd hold it against someone, but I wouldn't take it at face value. You figure they're antsy in some way, you hope. You'll see it with more time, I would just think.Dwarkesh Patel   Somebody who uses a lot of nootropics. They're constantly using caffeine, but maybe on the side (multiple times a week), they're also using Adderall, Modafinil, and other kinds of nootropics.Tyler Cowen   I don't personally like it, but I've never seen evidence that it's negatively correlated with success, so I would try to put it out of my mind. I sort of personally get a queasy feeling like “Do you really know what you're doing. Is all this stuff good for you? Why do you need this?” That's my actual reaction, but again, at the intellectual level, it does seem to work for some people, or at least not screw them up too much.Dwarkesh Patel   You don't drink caffeine, correct? Tyler Cowen  Zero.Dwarkesh Patel Why?Tyler Cowen I don't like it. It might be bad for you. Dwarkesh Patel Oh really, you think so? Tyler Cowen People get addicted to it.Dwarkesh Patel    You're not worried it might make you less productive over the long term? It's more about you just don't want to be addicted to something?Tyler Cowen   Well, since I don't know it well, I'm not sure what my worries are. But the status quo regime seems to work. I observe a lot of people who end up addicted to coffee, coke, soda, stuff we know is bad for you. So I think: “What's the problem I need to solve? Why do it?”Dwarkesh Patel   What if they have a history of mental illness like depression or anxiety? Not that mental illnesses are good, but at the current margins, do you think that maybe they're punished too heavily? Or maybe that people don't take them seriously enough that they actually have a bigger signal than the people are considering?Tyler Cowen   I don't know. I mean, both could be true, right? So there's definitely positive correlations between that stuff and artistic creativity. Whether or not it's causal is harder to say, but it correlates. So you certainly should take the person seriously. But would they be the best Starbucks cashier? I don't know.How does Education Affect Talent?Dwarkesh Patel   Yeah. In another podcast, you've pointed out that some of the most talented people you see who are neglected are 15 to 17 year olds. How does this impact how you think? Let's say you were in charge of a high school, you're the principal of a high school, and you know that there's 2000 students there. A few of them have to be geniuses, right? How is the high school run by Tyler Cowen? Especially for the very smartest people there? Tyler Cowen   Less homework! I would work harder to hire better teachers, pay them more, and fire the bad ones if I'm allowed to do that. Those are no-brainers, but mainly less homework and I'd have more people come in who are potential role models. Someone like me! I was invited once to Flint Hill High School in Oakton, it's right nearby. I went in, I wasn't paid. I just figured “I'll do this.” It seems to me a lot of high schools don't even try. They could get a bunch of people to come in for free to just say “I'm an economist, here's what being an economist is like” for 45 minutes. Is that so much worse than the BS the teacher has to spew? Of course not. So I would just do more things like that.Dwarkesh Patel   I want to understand the difference between these three options. The first is: somebody like you actually gives an in-person lecture saying “this is what life is like”. The second is zoom, you could use zoom to do that. The third is that it's not live in any way whatsoever. You're just kind of like maybe showing a video of the person. Tyler Cowen   I'm a big believer in vividness. So Zoom is better than nothing. A lot of people are at a distance, but I think you'll get more and better responses by inviting local people to do it live. And there's plenty of local people, where most of the good schools are.Dwarkesh Patel   Are you tempted to just give these really smart 15-year-olds a hall pass to the library all day and some WiFi access, and then just leave them alone? Or do you think that they need some sort of structure?Tyler Cowen   I think they need some structure, but you have to let them rebel against it and do their own thing. Zero structure strikes me as great for a few of them, but even for the super talented ones, it's not perfect. They need exposure to things, and they need some teachers as role models. So you want them to have some structure.Dwarkesh Patel   If you read old books about education, there's a strong emphasis on moral instruction. Do you think that needs to be an important part of education? Tyler Cowen   I'd like to see more data. But I suspect the best moral instruction is the teachers actually being good people. I think that works. But again, I'd like to see the data. But somehow getting up and lecturing them about the seven virtues or something. That seems to me to be a waste of time, and maybe even counterproductive.Dwarkesh Patel   Now, the way I read your book about talent, it also seems like a critique of Bryan's book, The Case Against Education.Tyler Cowen   Ofcourse it is. Bryan describes me as the guy who's always torturing him, and in a sense, he's right.Dwarkesh Patel   Well, I guess more specifically, it seems that Bryan's book relies on the argument that you need a costly signal to show that you have talent, or you have intelligence, conscientiousness, and other traits. But if you can just learn that from a 1500 word essay and a zoom call, then maybe college is not about the signal.Tyler Cowen   In that sense, I'm not sure it's a good critique of Bryan. So for most people in the middle of the distribution, I don't think you can learn what I learned from Top 5 Emergent Ventures winners through an application and a half-hour zoom call. But that said, I think the talent book shows you my old saying: context is that which is scarce. And you're always testing people for their understanding of context. Most people need a fair amount of higher education to acquire that context, even if they don't remember the detailed content of their classes. So I think Bryan overlooks how much people actually learn when they go to school.Dwarkesh Patel   How would you go about measuring the amount of context of somebody who went to college? Is there something you can point to that says, “Oh, clearly they're getting some context, otherwise, they wouldn't be able to do this”?Tyler Cowen   I think if you meet enough people who didn't go to college, you'll see the difference, on average. Stressing the word average. Now there are papers measuring positive returns to higher education. I don't think they all show it's due to context, but I am persuaded by most of Brian's arguments that you don't remember the details of what you learned in class. Oh, you learn this about astronomy and Kepler's laws and opportunity costs, etc. but people can't reproduce that two or three years later. It seems pretty clear we know that. However, they do learn a lot of context and how to deal with different personality types.Dwarkesh Patel   Would you falsify this claim, though, that you are getting a lot of context? Is it just something that you had to qualitatively evaluate? What would have to be true in the world for you to conclude that the opposite is true? Tyler Cowen   Well, if you could show people remembered a lot of the facts they learned, and those facts were important for their jobs, neither of which I think is true. But in principle, they're demonstrable, then you would be much more skeptical about the context being the thing that mattered. But as it stands now, that's the residual. And it's probably what matters.Dwarkesh Patel   Right. So I thought that Bryan shared in the book that actually people don't even remember many of the basic facts that they learned in school.Tyler Cowen   Ofcourse they don't. But that's not the main thing they learn. They learn some vision of how the world works, how they fit into it, that they ought to have higher aspirations, that they can join the upper middle class, that they're supposed to have a particular kind of job. Here are the kinds of jerks you're going to meet along the way! Here's some sense of how dating markets work! Maybe you're in a fraternity, maybe you do a sport and so on. That's what you learned. Dwarkesh Patel   How did you spot Bryan?Tyler Cowen   He was in high school when I met him, and it was some kind of HS event. I think he made a point of seeking me out. And I immediately thought, “Well this guy is going to be something like, gotta keep track of this guy. Right away.”Dwarkesh Patel   Can you say more - what happened?Tyler Cowen   His level of enthusiasm, his ability to speak with respect to detail. He was just kind of bursting with everything. It was immediately evident, as it still is. Bryan has changed less than almost anyone else I know over what is now.. he could tell you how many years but it's been a whole bunch of decades.Dwarkesh Patel   Interesting. So if that's the case, then it would have been interesting to meet somebody who is like Bryan, but a 19 year old.Tyler Cowen   Yeah, and I did. I was right. Talent ScoutingDwarkesh Patel   To what extent do the best talent scouts inevitably suffer from Goodhart's Law? Has something like this happened to you where your approval gets turned into a credential? So a whole bunch of non-earnest people start applying, you get a whole bunch of adverse selection, and then it becomes hard for you to run your program.Tyler Cowen   It is not yet hard to run the program. If I needed to, I would just shut down applications. I've seen a modest uptick in bad applications, but it takes so little time to decide they're no good, or just not a good fit for us that it's not a problem. So the endorsement does get credentialized. Mostly, that's a good thing, right? Like you help the people you pick. And then you see what happens next and you keep on innovating as you need to.Dwarkesh Patel   You say in the book that the super talented are best at spotting other super talented individuals. And there aren't many of the super talented talent spotters to go around. So this sounds like you're saying that if you're not super talented, much of the book will maybe not do you a bunch of good. Results be weary should be maybe on the title. How much of talent spotting can be done by people who aren't themselves super talented?Tyler Cowen   Well, I'd want to see the context of what I wrote. But I'm well aware of the fact that in basketball, most of the greatest general managers were not great players. Someone like Jerry West, right? I'd say Pat Riley was not. So again, that's something you could study. But I don't generally think that the best talent scouts are themselves super talented.Dwarkesh Patel   Then what is the skill in particular that they have that if it's not the particular thing that they're working on?Tyler Cowen   Some intangible kind of intuition, where they feel the right thing in the people they meet. We try to teach people that intuition, the same way you might teach art or music appreciation. But it's not a science. It's not paint-by-numbers.Dwarkesh Patel   Even with all the advice in the book, and even with the stuff that isn't in the book that is just your inarticulable knowledge about how to spot talent, all your intuitions… How much of the variance in somebody's “True Potential” is just fundamentally unpredictable? If it's just like too chaotic of a thing to actually get your grips on. To what extent are we going to truly be able to spot talent?Tyler Cowen   I think it will always be an art. If you look at the success rates of VCs, it depends on what you count as the pool they're drawing from, but their overall rate of picking winners is not that impressive. And they're super high stakes. They're super smart. So I think it will mostly remain an art and not a science. People say, “Oh, genomics this, genomics that”. We'll see, but somehow I don't think that will change this.Dwarkesh Patel   You don't think getting a polygenic risk score of drive, for example, is going to be a thing that happens?Tyler Cowen   Maybe future genomics will be incredibly different from what we have now. Maybe. But it's not around the corner.Dwarkesh Patel   Yeah. Maybe the sample size is just so low and somebody is like “How are you even gonna collect that data? How are you gonna get the correlates of who the super talented people are?”Tyler Cowen   That, plus how genomic data interact with each other. You can apply machine learning and so on, but it just seems quite murky.Dwarkesh Patel   If the best people get spotted earlier, and you can tell who is a 10x engineer in a company and who is only a 1x engineer, or a 0.5x engineer, doesn't that mean that, in a way that inequality will get worse? Because now the 10x engineer knows that they're 10x, and everybody else knows that they're 10x, they're not going to be willing to cross subsidize and your other employees are going to be wanting to get paid proportionate to their skill.Tyler Cowen   Well, they might be paid more, but they'll also innovate more, right? So they'll create more benefits for people who are doing nothing. My intuition is that overall, inequality of wellbeing will go down. But you can't say that's true apriori. Inequality of income might also go up.Dwarkesh Patel   And then will the slack in the system go away for people who are not top performers? Like you can tell now, if we're getting better.Tyler Cowen   This has happened already in contemporary America. As I wrote, “Average is over.” Not due to super sophisticated talent spotting. Sometimes, it's simply the fact that in a lot of service sectors, you can measure output reasonably directly––like did you finish the computer program? Did it work? That has made it harder for people to get paid things they don't deserve.Dwarkesh Patel   I wonder if this leads to adverse selection in the areas where you can't measure how well somebody is doing. So the people who are kind of lazy and bums, they'll just go into places where output can't be measured. So these industries will just be overflowing with the people who don't want to work.Tyler Cowen   Absolutely. And then the people who are talented in the sectors, maybe they'll leave and start their own companies and earn through equity, and no one is really ever measuring their labor power. Still, what they're doing is working and they're making more from it.Dwarkesh Patel   If talent is partly heritable, then the better you get at spotting talent, over time, will the social mobility in society go down?Tyler Cowen   Depends how you measure social mobility. Is it relative to the previous generation? Most talent spotters don't know a lot about parents, like I don't know anything about your parents at all! The other aspect of spotting talent is hoping the talent you mobilize does great things for people not doing anything at all. That's the kind of automatic social mobility they get. But if you're measuring quintiles across generations, the intuition could go either way.Dwarkesh Patel   But this goes back to wondering whether this is a one time gain or not. Maybe initially they can help the people who are around them. Somebody in Brazil, they help people around them. But once you've found them, they're gonna go to those clusters you talked about, and they're gonna be helping the people with San Francisco who don't need help. So is this a one time game then?Tyler Cowen   Many people from India seem to give back to India in a very consistent way. People from Russia don't seem to do that. That may relate to the fact that Russia is in terrible shape, and India has a brighter future. So it will depend. But I certainly think there are ways of arranging things where people give back a lot.Dwarkesh Patel   Let's talk about Emergent Ventures. Sure. So I wonder: if the goal of Emergent Ventures is to raise aspirations, does that still work given the fact that you have to accept some people but reject other people? In Bayesian terms, the updates up have to equal the updates down? In some sense, you're almost transferring a vision edge from the excellent to the truly great. You see what I'm saying?Tyler Cowen   Well, you might discourage the people you turn away. But if they're really going to do something, they should take that as a challenge. And many do! Like “Oh, I was rejected by Harvard, I had to go to UChicago, but I decided, I'm going to show those b******s.” I think we talked about that a few minutes ago. So if I just crushed the spirits of those who are rejected, I don't feel too bad about that. They should probably be in some role anyway where they're just working for someone.Dwarkesh Patel   But let me ask you the converse of that which is, if you do accept somebody, are you worried that if one of the things that drives people is getting rejected, and then wanting to prove that you will reject them wrong, are you worried that by accepting somebody when they're 15, you're killing that thing? The part of them that wants to get some kind of approval?Tyler Cowen   Plenty of other people will still reject them right? Not everyone accepts them every step of the way. Maybe they're just awesome. LeBron James is basketball history and past a certain point, it just seems everyone wanted him for a bunch of decades now. I think deliberately with a lot of candidates, you shouldn't encourage them too much. I make a point of chewing out a lot of people just to light a fire under them, like “what you're doing. It's not gonna work.” So I'm all for that selectively.Dwarkesh Patel   Why do you think that so many of the people who have led Emergent Ventures are interested in Effective Altruism?Tyler Cowen   There is a moment right now for Effective Altruism, where it is the thing. Some of it is political polarization, the main parties are so stupid and offensive, those energies will go somewhere. Some of that in 1970 maybe went to libertarianism. Libertarianism has been out there for too long. It doesn't seem to address a lot of current problems, like climate change or pandemics very well. So where should the energy go? The Rationality community gets some of it and that's related to EA, as I'm sure you know. The tech startup community gets some of it. That's great! It seems to be working pretty well to me. Like I'm not an EA person. But maybe they deserve a lot of it.Dwarkesh Patel   But you don't think it's persistent. You think it comes and goes?Tyler Cowen   I think it will come and go. But I think EA will not vanish. Like libertarianism, it will continue for quite a long time.Dwarkesh Patel   Is there any movement that has attracted young people? That has been persistent over time? Or did they all fade? Tyler Cowen   Christianity. Judaism. Islam. They're pretty persistent. [laughs]Dwarkesh Patel   So to the extent that being more religious makes you more persistent, can we view the criticism of EA saying that it's kind of like a religion as a plus?Tyler Cowen   Ofcourse, yeah! I think it's somewhat like a religion. To me, that's a plus, we need more religions. I wish more of the religions we needed were just flat-out religions. But in the meantime, EA will do,Money, Deceit, and Emergent VenturesDwarkesh Patel   Are there times when somebody asks you for a grant and you view that as a negative signal? Let's say they're especially when well off: they're a former Google engineer, they wanna start a new project, and they're asking you for a grant. Do you worry that maybe they're too risk averse? Do you want them to put their own capital into it? Or do you think that maybe they were too conformist because they needed your approval before they went ahead?Tyler Cowen   Things like this have happened. And I asked people flat out, “Why do you want this grant from me?” And it is a forcing question in the sense that if their answer isn't good, I won't give it to them. Even though they might have a good level of talent, good ideas, whatever, they have to be able to answer that question in a credible way. Some can, some can't.Dwarkesh Patel   I remember that the President of the University of Chicago many years back said that if you rejected the entire class of freshmen that are coming in and accepted the next 1500 that they had to reject that year, then there'll be no difference in the quality of the admits.Tyler Cowen   I would think UChicago is the one school where that's not true. I agree that it's true for most schools.Dwarkesh Patel   Do you think that's also true of Emergent Ventures?Tyler Cowen   No. Not at all.Dwarkesh Patel   How good is a marginal reject?Tyler Cowen   Not good. It's a remarkably bimodal distribution as I perceive it, and maybe I'm wrong. But there aren't that many cases where I'm agonizing and if I'm agonizing I figure it probably should be a no.Dwarkesh Patel   I guess that makes it even tougher if you do get rejected. Because it wasn't like, “oh, you weren't a right fit for the job,” or “you almost made the cut.” It's like, “No, we're actually just assessing your potential and not some sort of fit for the job.” Not only were you just not on the edge of potential, but you were also way on the other edge of the curve.Tyler Cowen   But a lot of these rejected people and projects, I don't think they're spilling tears over it. Like you get an application. Someone's in Akron, Ohio, and they want to start a nonprofit dog shelter. They saw EV on the list of things you can apply to. They apply to a lot of things and maybe never get funding. It's like people who enter contests or something, they apply to EV. Nothing against non-profit dog shelters, but that's kind of a no, right? I genuinely don't know their response, but I don't think they walk away from the experience with some deeper model of what they should infer from the EV decision.Dwarkesh Patel   How much does the money part of Emergent Ventures matter? If you just didn't give them the money?Tyler Cowen   There's a whole bunch of proposals that really need the money for capital costs, and then it matters a lot. For a lot of them, the money per se doesn't matter.Dwarkesh Patel   Right, then. So what is the function of return for that? Do you like 10x the money, or do you add .1x the money for some of these things? Do you think they add up to seemingly different results? Tyler Cowen   I think a lot of foundations give out too many large grants and not enough small grants. I hope I'm at an optimum. But again, I don't have data to tell you. I do think about this a lot, and I think small grants are underrated.Dwarkesh Patel   Why are women often better at detecting deceit?Tyler Cowen   I would assume for biological and evolutionary reasons that there are all these men trying to deceive them, right? The cost of a pregnancy is higher for a woman than for a man on average, by quite a bit. So women will develop defense mechanisms that men maybe don't have as much.Dwarkesh Patel   One thing I heard from somebody I was brainstorming these questions with–– she just said that maybe it's because women just discuss personal matters more. And so therefore, they have a greater library.Tyler Cowen   Well, that's certainly true. But that's subordinate to my explanation, I'd say. There are definitely a lot of intermediate steps. Things women do more of that help them be insightful.Building Writing StaminaDwarkesh Patel   Why is writing skill so important to you?Tyler Cowen   Well, one thing is that I'm good at judging it. Across scales, I'm very bad at judging, so there's nothing on the EV application testing for your lacrosse skill. But look, writing is a form of thinking. And public intellectuals are one of the things I want to support. Some of the companies I admire are ones with writing cultures like Amazon or Stripe. So writing it is! I'm a good reader. So you're going to be asked to write.Dwarkesh Patel   Do you think it's a general fact that writing correlates with just general competence? Tyler Cowen   I do, but especially the areas that I'm funding. It's strongly related. Whether it's true for everything is harder to say.Dwarkesh Patel   Can stamina be increased?Tyler Cowen   Of course. It's one of the easier things to increase. I don't think you can become superhuman in your energy and stamina if you're not born that way. But I think almost everyone could increase by 30% to 50%, some notable amount. Dwarkesh Patel   Okay, that's interesting.Tyler Cowen   Put aside maybe people with disabilities or something but definitely when it comes to people in regular circumstances.Dwarkesh Patel   Okay. I think it's interesting because in the blog post from Robin Hanson about stamina, I think his point of view was that this is just something that's inherent to people.Tyler Cowen   Well, I don't think that's totally false. The people who have superhuman stamina are born that way. But there are plenty of origins. I mean, take physical stamina. You don't think people can train more and run for longer? Of course they can. It's totally proven. So it would be weird if this rule held for all these organs but not your brain. That seems quite implausible. Especially for someone like Robin, where your brain is just this other organ that you're gonna download or upload or goodness knows what with it. He's a physicalist if there ever was one.Dwarkesh Patel   Have you read Haruki Murakami's book on running?Tyler Cowen   No, I've been meaning to. I'm not sure how interesting I'll find it. I will someday. I like his stuff a lot.Dwarkesh Patel   But what I found really interesting about it was just how linked building physical stamina is for him to building up the stamina to write a lot.Tyler Cowen   Magnus Carlsen would say the same with chess. Being in reasonable physical shape is important for your mental stamina, which is another kind of simple proof that you can boost your mental stamina.When Does Intelligence Start to Matter?Dwarkesh Patel   After reading the book, I was inclined to think that intelligence matters more than I previously thought. Not less. You say in the book that intelligence has convex returns and that it matters especially for areas like inventors. Then you also say that if you look at some of the most important things in society, something like what Larry and Sergey did, they're basically inventors, right? So in many of the most important things in society, intelligence matters more because of the increasing returns. It seems like with Emergent Ventures, you're trying to pick the people who are at the tail. You're not looking for a barista at Starbucks. So it seems like you should care about intelligence more, given the evidence there. Tyler Cowen   More than who does? I feel what the book presents is, in fact, my view. So kind of by definition, I agree with that view. But yes, there's a way of reading it where intelligence really matters a lot. But it's only for a relatively small number of jobs.Dwarkesh Patel   Maybe you just started off with a really high priori on intelligence, and that's why you downgraded?Tyler Cowen   There are a lot of jobs that I actually hire for in actual life, where smarts are not the main thing I look for.Dwarkesh Patel   Does the convexity of returns on intelligence suggest that maybe the multiplicative model is wrong? Because if the multiplicative model is right, you would expect to see decreasing returns and putting your stats on one skill. You'd want to diversify more, right?Tyler Cowen   I think the convexity of returns to intelligence is embedded in a multiplicative model, where the IQ returns only cash out for people good at all these other things. For a lot of geniuses, they just can't get out of bed in the morning, and you're stuck, and you should write them off.Dwarkesh Patel   So you cite the data that Sweden collects from everybody that enters the military there. The CEOs are apparently not especially smart. But one thing I found interesting in that same data was that Swedish soccer players are pretty smart. The better a soccer player is, the smarter they are. You've interviewed professional basketball players turned public intellectuals on your podcast. They sound extremely smart to me. What is going on there? Why, anecdotally, and with some limited amounts of evidence, does it seem that professional athletes are smarter than you would expect?Tyler Cowen   I'm a big fan of the view that top-level athletic performance is super cognitively intense and that most top athletes are really extraordinarily smart. I don't just mean smart on the court (though, obviously that), but smart more broadly. This is underrated. I think Michelle Dawson was the one who talked me into this, but absolutely, I'm with you all the way.Dwarkesh Patel   Do you think this is just mutational load or––Tyler Cowen   You actually have to be really smart to figure out things like how to lead a team, how to improve yourself, how to practice, how to outsmart the opposition, all these other things. Maybe it's not the only way to get there, but it is very G loaded. You certainly see some super talented athletes who just go bust. Or they may destroy themselves with drugs: there are plenty of tales like that, and you don't have to look hard. Dwarkesh Patel   Are there other areas where you wouldn't expect it to be G loaded but it actually is?Tyler Cowen   Probably, but there's so many! I just don't know, but sports is something in my life I followed. So I definitely have opinions about it. They seem incredibly smart to me when they're interviewed. They're not always articulate, and they're sort of talking themselves into biased exposure. But I heard Michael Jordan in the 90s, and I thought, “That guy's really smart.” So I think he is! Look at Charles Barkley. He's amazing, right? There's hardly anyone I'd rather listen to, even about talent, than Charles Barkley. It's really interesting. He's not that tall, you can't say, “oh, he succeeded. Because he's seven foot two,” he was maybe six foot four tops. And they called him the Round Mound of Rebound. And how did he do that? He was smart. He figured out where the ball was going. The weaknesses of his opponents, he had to nudge them the right way, and so on. Brilliant guy.Dwarkesh Patel   What I find really remarkable is that (not just with athletes, but in many other professions), if you interview somebody who is at the top of that field, they come off really really smart! For example, YouTubers and even sex workers.Tyler Cowen   So whoever is like the top gardener, I expect I would be super impressed by them.Spotting Talent (Counter)signalsDwarkesh Patel   Right. Now all your books are in some way about talent, right? Let me read you the following passage from An Economist Gets Lunch, and I want you to tell me how we can apply this insight to talent. “At a fancy fancy restaurant, the menu is well thought out. The time and attention of the kitchen are scarce. An item won't be on the menu unless there's a good reason for its presence. If it sounds bad, it probably tastes especially good?”Tyler Cowen   That's counter-signaling, right? So anything that is very weird, they will keep on the menu because it has a devoted set of people who keep on ordering it and appreciate it. That's part of the talent of being a chef, you can come up with such things. Dwarkesh Patel   How do we apply this to talent? Tyler Cowen   Well, with restaurants, you have selection pressure where you're only going to ones that have cleared certain hurdles. So this is true for talent only for talents who are established. If you see a persistent NBA player who's a very poor free throw shooter like Shaquille O'Neal was, you can more or less assume they're really good at something else. But for people who are not established, there's not the same selection pressure so there's not an analogous inference you can draw.Dwarkesh Patel   So if I show up to an Emergent Ventures conference, and I meet somebody, and they don't seem especially impressive with the first impression, then I should believe their work is especially impressive. Tyler Cowen Yes, absolutely, yes. Dwarkesh Patel   Okay, so my understanding of your book Creative Destruction is that maybe on average, cultural diversity will go down. But in special niches, the diversity and ingenuity will go up. Can I apply the same insight to talent? Maybe two random college grads will have similar skill sets over time, but if you look at people on the tails, will their skills and knowledge become even more specialized and even more diverse?Tyler Cowen   There are a lot of different presuppositions in your question. So first, is cultural diversity going up or down? That I think is multi-dimensional. Say different cities in different countries will be more like each other over time.. that said, the genres they produce don't have to become more similar. They're more similar in the sense that you can get sushi in each one. But novel cuisine in Dhaka and Senegal might be taking a very different path from novel cuisine in Tokyo, Japan. So what happens with cultural diversity.. I think the most reliable generalization is that it tends to come out of larger units. Small groups and tribes and linguistic groups get absorbed. Those people don't stop being creative and other venues, but there are fewer unique isolated cultures, and much more thickly diverse urban creativity. That would be the main generalization I would put forward. So if you wanted to apply that generalization to talent, I think in a funny way, we come back to my earlier point: talent just tends to be geographically extremely well clustered. That's not the question you asked, but it's how I would reconfigure the pieces of it.Dwarkesh Patel   Interesting. What do you suggest about finding talent in a globalized world? In particular, if it's cheaper to find talent because of the internet, does that mean that you should be selecting more mediocre candidates?Tyler Cowen   I think it means you should be more bullish on immigrants from Africa. It's relatively hard to get out of Africa to the United States in most cases. That's a sign the person put in a lot of effort and ability. Maybe an easy country to come here from would be Canada, all other things equal. Again, I'd want this to be measured. The people who come from countries that are hard to come from like India, actually, the numbers are fairly high, but the roots are mostly pretty gated.Dwarkesh Patel   Is part of the reason that talent is hard to spot and find today that we have an aging population?  So then we would have more capital, more jobs, more mentorship available for young people coming up, than there are young people.Tyler Cowen   I don't think we're really into demographic decline yet. Not in the United States. Maybe in Japan, that would be true. But it seems to me, especially with the internet, there's more 15-year-old talent today than ever before, by a lot, not just by little. You see this in chess, right? Where we can measure performance very well. There's a lot more young talent from many different places, including the US. So, aging hasn't mattered yet. Maybe for a few places, but not here.Dwarkesh Patel   What do you think will change in talent spotting as society becomes older?Tyler Cowen   It depends on what you mean by society. I think the US, unless it totally screws up on immigration, will always have a very seriously good flow of young people that we don't ever have to enter the aging equilibrium the way Japan probably already has. So I don't know what will change. Then there's work from a distance, there's hiring from a distance, funding from a distance. As you know, there's EV India, and we do that at a distance. So I don't think we're ever going to enter that world..Dwarkesh Patel   But then what does it look like for Japan? Is part of the reason that Japanese cultures and companies are arranged the way they are and do the recruitment the way they do linked to their demographics? Tyler Cowen   That strikes me as a plausible reason. I don't think I know enough to say, but it wouldn't surprise me if that turned out to be the case.Dwarkesh Patel   To what extent do you need a sort of “great man ethos” in your culture in order to empower the top talent? Like if you have too much political and moral egalitarianism, you're not going to give great people the real incentive and drive to strive to be great.Tyler Cowen   You've got to say “great man or great woman ethos”, or some other all-purpose word we wish to use. I worry much less about woke ideology than a lot of people I know. It's not my thing, but it's something young people can rebel against. If that keeps you down, I'm not so impressed by you. I think it's fine. Let the woke reign, people can work around them.Dwarkesh Patel   But overall, if you have a culture or like Europe, do you think that has any impact on––Tyler Cowen   Europe has not woken up in a lot of ways, right? Europe is very chauvinist and conservative in the literal sense, and often quite old fashioned depending on what you're talking about. But Europe, I would say, is much less woke than the United States. I wouldn't say that's their main problem, but you can't say, “oh, they don't innovate because they're too woke”, like hang out with some 63 year old Danish guys and see how woke you think they are once everyone's had a few drinks.Dwarkesh Patel   My question wasn't about wokeism. I just meant in general, if you have an egalitarian society.Tyler Cowen   I think of Europe as less egalitarian. I think they have bad cultural norms for innovation. They're culturally so non-egalitarian. Again, it depends where but Paris would be the extreme. There, everyone is classified right? By status, and how you need to wear your sweater the right way, and this and that. Now, how innovative is Paris? Actually, maybe more than people think. But I still think they have too few dimensions of status competition. That's a general problem in most of Europe–– too few dimensions of status competition, not enough room for the proverbial village idiot.Dwarkesh Patel   Interesting. You say in the book, that questions tend to degrade over time if you don't replace them. I find it interesting that Y Combinator has kept the same questions since they were started in 2005. And of course, your co-author was a partner at Y Combinator. Do you think that works for Y Combinator or do you think they're probably making a mistake?Tyler Cowen   I genuinely don't know. There are people who will tell you that Y Combinator, while still successful, has become more like a scalable business school and less like attracting all the top weirdos who do amazing things. Again, I'd want to see data before asserting that myself, but you certainly hear it a lot. So it could be that Y Combinator is a bit stale. But still in a good sense. Like Harvard is stale, right? It dates from the 17th century. But it's still amazing. MIT is stale. Maybe Y Combinator has become more like those groups.Dwarkesh Patel   Do you think that will happen to Emergent Ventures eventually?Tyler Cowen   I don't think so because it has a number of unique features built in from the front. So a very small number of evaluators too. It might grow a little bit, but it's not going to grow that much. I'm not paid to do it, so that really limits how much it's going to scale. There's not a staff that has to be carried where you're captured by the staff, there is no staff. There's a bit of free riding on staff who do other things, but there's no sense of if the program goes away, all my buddies on staff get laid off. No. So it's kind of pop up, and low cost of exit. Whenever that time comes.Dwarkesh Patel   Do you personally have questions that you haven't put in the book or elsewhere because you want them to be fresh? For asking somebody who's applying to her for the grant? Tyler Cowen   Well, I didn't when we wrote the book. So we put everything in there that we were thinking of, but over time, we've developed more. I don't generally give them out during interviews, because you have to keep some stock. So yeah, there's been more since then, but we weren't holding back at the time.Dwarkesh Patel It's like a comedy routine. You gotta write a new one each year.Tyler Cowen That's right. But when your shows are on the air, you do give your best jokes, right?Will Reading Cowen's Book Help You Win Emergent Ventures?Dwarkesh Patel Let's say someone applying to emergent ventures reads your book. Are they any better off? Or are they perhaps worse off because maybe they become misleading or have a partial view into what's required of them?Tyler Cowen   I hope they're not better off in a way, but probably they are. I hope they use it to understand their own talent better and present it in a better way. Not just to try to manipulate the system. But most people aren't actually that good at manipulating that kind of system so I'm not too worried.Dwarkesh Patel   In a sense, if they can manipulate the system, that's a positive signal of some kind.Tyler Cowen   Like, if you could fool me –– hey, what else have you got to say, you know? [laughs]Dwarkesh Patel   Are you worried that when young people will encounter you now, they're going to think of you as sort of a talent judge and a good one at that so they're maybe going to be more self aware than whether––Tyler Cowen   Yes. I worry about the effect of this on me. Maybe a lot of my interactions become less genuine, or people are too self conscious, or too stilted or something.Dwarkesh Patel   Is there something you can do about that? Or is that just baked in the gig?Tyler Cowen   I don't know, if you do your best to try to act genuine, whatever that means, maybe you can avoid it a bit or delay it at least a bit. But a lot of it I don't think you can avoid. In part, you're just cashing in. I'm 60 and I don't think I'll still be doing this when I'm 80. So if I have like 18 years of cashing in, maybe it's what I should be doing.Identifying talent earlyDwarkesh Patel   To what extent are the principles of finding talent timeless? If you're looking for let's say, a general for the French Revolution, how much of this does the advice change? Are the basic principles the same over time?Tyler Cowen   Well, one of the key principles is context. You need to focus on how the sector is different. But if you're doing that, then I think at the meta level the principles broadly stay the same.Dwarkesh Patel   You have a really interesting book about autism and systematizers. You think Napoleon was autistic?Tyler Cowen   I've read several biographies of him and haven't come away with that impression, but you can't rule it out. Who are the biographers? Now it gets back to our question of: How valuable is history? Did the biographers ever meet Napoleon? Well, some of them did, but those people had such weak.. other intellectual categories. The modern biography is written by Andrew Roberts, or whoever you think is good, I don't know. So how can I know?Dwarkesh Patel   Right? Again, the issue is that the details that stick in my mind from reading the biography are the ones that make him seem autistic, right?Tyler Cowen   Yes. There's a tendency in biographies to storify things, and that's dangerous too. Dwarkesh Patel   How general across a pool is talent or just competence of any kind? If you look at somebody like Peter Thiel–– investor, great executive, great thinker even, certainly Napoleon, and I think it was some mathematician either Lagrangian or Laplace, who said that he (Napoleon) could have been a mathematician if he wanted to. I don't know if that's true, but it does seem that the top achievers in one field seem to be able to move across fields and be top achievers in other fields. I

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EconTalk
Erik Hoel on Effective Altruism, Utilitarianism, and the Repugnant Conclusion

EconTalk

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 26, 2022 77:01 Very Popular


Neuroscientist Erik Hoel talks about why he is not an "effective altruist" with EconTalk host, Russ Roberts. Hoel argues that the utilitarianism that underlies effective altruism--a movement co-founded by Will MacAskill and Peter Singer--is a poison that inevitably leads to repugnant conclusions and thereby weakens the case for the strongest claims made by effective altruists.

The Nonlinear Library
EA - Author Rutger Bregman about effective altruism and philanthropy by Sebastian Schwiecker

The Nonlinear Library

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2022 2:50


Welcome to The Nonlinear Library, where we use Text-to-Speech software to convert the best writing from the Rationalist and EA communities into audio. This is: Author Rutger Bregman about effective altruism and philanthropy, published by Sebastian Schwiecker on September 20, 2022 on The Effective Altruism Forum. Rutger Bregman, historian, and author (including Utopia for Realists and Humankind: A Hopeful History) describes his personal view on philanthropy in a conversation with Effektiv Spenden here (German here). In the Effektiv Spenden post donation survey he was mentioned more than any other person (e.g. more than Will MacAskill and more than Peter Singer). Our explanation is that he particularly good at reaching people from outside the existing EA community. Some quotes: On effective altruism: "Sometimes people can get the impression that “Oh, so you know what all the effective causes out there are and you are very dogmatic about that?” That's not the case at all. Effective altruism is a question. It's not an answer. It's all about continuously asking yourself the question, is this the best use of my time, resources, and money? That's what it's really about. And I think intellectual humility is a really important value, and I think that's also quite present in the movement." On systemic change vs. individual change: "There's now this discussion going on amongst progressives and people on the left like: “Oh, we shouldn't talk about individual change because that's neo-liberal. We should all talk about system change”, but obviously we need to do both. If you look at the most impressive reformers and prophets and campaigners and activists throughout history, they all did it both. I'm now reading a book about Anthony Benezet who was one of the most important abolitionists, he's called the father of abolitionism. He led the fight against the slave trade and slavery in the 18th century. If you would have said to him: “Oh, it's all about the system. It's not about the individual”. He would have said: “You're a hypocrite.” Of course, it's also about the individual, because he knew that he would be much more convincing if he actually did what he preached." On why he signed the Giving What We Can Pledge: "Because human behavior is contagious. We're not individuals, we're not lone atoms, but we influence each other all the time by our behavior. It's just contagious. Giving can be like that as well. That's why I think it's important to be public about your giving, not to show off, you need to be a little bit careful there, but that's also why I signed the Giving What We Can pledge to say. Look, people, if you like my work, this is what I find really important and it has made a big difference in my life to donate at least 10% of my income to highly effective causes. I think that actually, as a best seller author, you can go a little bit higher than 10%, but 10% is a good place to start." Since the interview is quite long feel free to share the video below with everyone who might be interested but can't be bothered for more than one minute. Thanks for listening. To help us out with The Nonlinear Library or to learn more, please visit nonlinear.org.

The Animal Turn
Bonus: Critical Animal Theory with Lori Gruen and Alice Crary

The Animal Turn

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 18, 2022 72:44


In this bonus episode Claudia talks to Alice Crary and Lori Gruen about their recent book “Animal Crisis: A New Critical Theory.” They touch on what inspired the book and spend most of the conversation focused on what “Critical Animal Theory” means. It is a timely and theoretically dense conversation.Date Recorded: 1 August 2022 Alice Crary is University Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the New School, where she is a co-founder and steering committee member of the Collaborative for Climate Futures. She was previously Chair of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research (2014-2017) and Founding Co-Director of the Graduate Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies (2014-2017). As a moral and social philosopher, Crary has written widely on issues in metaethics, moral psychology and normative ethics, philosophy and literature, philosophy and feminism, critical animal studies, critical environmental studies, critical disability studies, and Critical Theory. Alice is also the author of Inside Ethics: On the Demands of Moral Thought as well as Beyond Moral Judgment. You can find out more about Crary and her work at www.alicecrary.com.  Lori Gruen has been involved in animal issues as a writer, teacher, and activist for over 30 years. She is currently the William Griffin Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan University.  She is also a professor of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Science in Society, and founder and coordinator of Wesleyan Animal Studies.  She is the author and editor of over a dozen books, including Entangled Empathy ; Critical Terms for Animal Studies ; and Animaladies: Gender, Animals and Madness, to name a few. Gruen's work lies at the intersection of ethical and political theory and practice, with a particular focus on issues that impact those often overlooked in philosophical investigations, e.g. women, people of color, incarcerated people, non-human animals.  Find out more about Lori on her website (www.lorigruen.com) or connect with her on Twitter (@last1000chimps)  Featured: Animal Crisis: A New Critical Theory by Alice Crary and Lori Gruen; Animal Liberation by Peter Singer; Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse by Dave Goulson; Summertime: Reflections on a vanishing future by Danielle Celermajer; Multispecies Love and Grief with Danielle Celermajer on Knowing Animals Podcast; Entangled Empathy by Lori Gruen; Radical Animal by Alice Crary (forthcoming).  The Animal Turn is part of the  iROAR, an Animals Podcasting Network and can also be found on A.P.P.L.E, Twitter, and Instagram Thank you to Animals in Philosophy, Politics, Law and Ethics (A.P.P.L.E) for sponsoring this podcast; Gordon Clarke (Instagram: @_con_sol_) for the bed music, Jeremy John for the logo. 

The Morality of Everyday Things
Are luxuries immoral? Part 2

The Morality of Everyday Things

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2022 39:39


The second in a two-parter where we discuss whether luxury goods are immoral. In a true return to form, this is a specific argument we have literally had over the office lunch table, originating from Ant's throwaway statement that he "doesn't get the point of jewellery" and "thinks it's ridiculously wasteful". In order to dissect whether luxuries are immoral, we first break down what exactly counts as a luxury, and secondly explore what exactly would make them immoral.In this episode, it's all about discussing the opportunity cost of money spent on things that aren't strictly needed. Particularly, this comes through the lens of our last episode where we discuss luxuries of 2 sorts, expensive but perhaps 'good value' and offering some valid sort of self-esteem/self actualisation benefit within Maslow's hierarchy of needs, or another sort where it's frivolous and perhaps the user derives self esteem, but we may question whether that's a legitimate sort of esteem. We then particularly frame this morally considering the ideas of Peter Singer (i.e. all money you spend could be used to save lives, how should that affect your decision making?) vs Susan Wolf (i.e. not everything is about optimizing moral outcomes, it would create a sad and dreary life where we could not pursue anything of what makes the human experience so rich).Support the show:Please leave us a review! Spotify even now let's you do it - see that little star icon - go on, give it a click. Reviews are a great way to help others find the show, and it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. If you're a fan of the show, please consider signing up to our Patreon. A small subscription of just $1 goes a long way towards supporting the show - and it makes us feel pretty great too. https://www.patreon.com/moedt.Know anyone who likes to think about or debate the kind of topics we cover? Spread the word - and you'll have our gratitude. Keep up to date with future episodes on our website here: https://moedt.substack.com/ Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Tov! A Podcast About
Chapter 35: Is Jewish Utilitarianism a Thing?

Tov! A Podcast About

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 14, 2022 42:23


On The Good Place, Michael and Janet meet Doug Forcett, who lives his life as a happiness pump after discovering the point system; Eleanor deals with her own greater knowledge of the big picture; and Jason teaches Chidi Jacksonville-style pool, where you make up your own rules and point values. On the podcast, Shmuly Yanklowitz (rabbi/kidney donor who has corresponded with Peter Singer) and Jon Spira-Savett discuss how utilitarianism and Judaism speak to each other. When is the utilitarian calculus a compelling imperative in Judaism, and when do other Jewish principles override it? Click here for show notes.

Und dann kam Punk
82: Mia Croissant (STACK, IRON KILL) - Und dann kam Punk

Und dann kam Punk

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2022 191:03


Jobst & Christopher im Gespräch mit Mia. Wir sprechen über Spiderman, Peter Singer, die Perry Rhodan-Reihe, Quanten- und Teilchenphysik, Lebensweisen probieren, der Punk-Smash-Hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart" von Yes, Cello & Chor, Jobsts Outing als Lindenberg-Fan, Stimme als Instrument, Affinität zu destruktiver Kunst, dank Sozialarbeits-Studienkollege Bernd kopfüber in die DIY HC Szene, Band als Gesamtkunstwerk, eine aufgemotzte Telecaster, frühes Erkennen von Ungereimtheiten, Teil einer Künsterfamilie zu sein, den grandiosen Nachnamen Croissant, die Frage, ob DIY Szene in den 90er zu verkopft war, durch Kunst eine Verbindung zur restlichen Welt - aber mit Sicherheitsabstand, der Ausstieg aus Stack, zweimal verheiratet sein, die Geburt des Sohnes, die Schwierigkeit einiger Jugendlicher mit Social Media & Handy, die (Un-)Wichtigkeit von Subkulturen, das evtl. süddeutsche Phänomen Emos, eine späte aber eindeutige Erkenntnis der Transidentität, superentspannte Coming Outs, die Schwierigkeit des Non-Binären in der Gesellschaft, sich wie ein Paradiesvogel kleiden, geschlechtsanpassende Operationen, die Herausforderung für Beziehungen so etwas auszuhalten, glücklich zu sein und die natürlich trotzdem vorhandenen Macken von der Transidentität trennen zu können, unkonventionelle Bolognese-Rezepte, uvm. Und dann gibt es ganz am Ende noch eine kleines Osterei für Bovenden-Fans versteckt. :)

New Books Network
Joel Michael Reynolds, "The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality" (U Minnesota Press, 2022)

New Books Network

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2022 45:26


The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality (U Minnesota Press, 2022) investigates the exclusion of and discrimination against disabled people across the history of Western moral philosophy. Building on decades of activism and scholarship, Joel Michael Reynolds shows how longstanding views of disability are misguided and unjust, and he lays out a vision of what an anti-ableist moral future requires. More than 2,000 years ago, Aristotle said: "let there be a law that no deformed child shall live." This idea is alive and well today. During the past century, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. argued that the United States can forcibly sterilize intellectually disabled women and philosopher Peter Singer argued for the right of parents to euthanize certain cognitively disabled infants. The Life Worth Living explores how and why such arguments persist by investigating the exclusion of and discrimination against disabled people across the history of Western moral philosophy. Joel Michael Reynolds argues that this history demonstrates a fundamental mischaracterization of the meaning of disability, thanks to the conflation of lived experiences of disability with those of pain and suffering. Building on decades of activism and scholarship in the field, Reynolds shows how longstanding views of disability are misguided and unjust, and he lays out a vision of what an anti-ableist moral future requires. The Life Worth Living is the first sustained examination of disability through the lens of the history of moral philosophy and phenomenology, and it demonstrates how lived experiences of disability demand a far richer account of human flourishing, embodiment, community, and politics in philosophical inquiry and beyond. Joel Michael Reynolds is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Disability Studies at Georgetown University, Senior Research Scholar in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Senior Bioethics Advisor to The Hastings Center, Faculty Scholar of The Greenwall Foundation, and core faculty in Georgetown's Disability Studies Program. He is the founder of The Journal of Philosophy of Disability and co-founder of Oxford Studies in Disability, Ethics, and Society from Oxford University Press. Dr. Reynolds' work explores the relationship between bodies, values, and society. He is especially concerned with the meaning of disability, the issue of ableism, and how philosophical inquiry into each might improve the lives of people with disabilities and the justness of institutions ranging from medicine to politics. These concerns lead to research across a range of traditions and specialties, including philosophy of disability, applied ethics (especially biomedical ethics, public health ethics, tech/data ethics, and ELSI research in genomics), 20th c. European and American philosophy (with an emphasis on phenomenology and pragmatism as practiced in connection with the history of philosophy), and social epistemology (particularly issues of epistemic injustice as linked to social ontology). Autumn Wilke works in higher education as an ADA coordinator and diversity officer and is also an author and doctoral candidate with research/topics related to disability and higher education. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/new-books-network

NBN Book of the Day
Joel Michael Reynolds, "The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality" (U Minnesota Press, 2022)

NBN Book of the Day

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2022 45:26


The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality (U Minnesota Press, 2022) investigates the exclusion of and discrimination against disabled people across the history of Western moral philosophy. Building on decades of activism and scholarship, Joel Michael Reynolds shows how longstanding views of disability are misguided and unjust, and he lays out a vision of what an anti-ableist moral future requires. More than 2,000 years ago, Aristotle said: "let there be a law that no deformed child shall live." This idea is alive and well today. During the past century, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. argued that the United States can forcibly sterilize intellectually disabled women and philosopher Peter Singer argued for the right of parents to euthanize certain cognitively disabled infants. The Life Worth Living explores how and why such arguments persist by investigating the exclusion of and discrimination against disabled people across the history of Western moral philosophy. Joel Michael Reynolds argues that this history demonstrates a fundamental mischaracterization of the meaning of disability, thanks to the conflation of lived experiences of disability with those of pain and suffering. Building on decades of activism and scholarship in the field, Reynolds shows how longstanding views of disability are misguided and unjust, and he lays out a vision of what an anti-ableist moral future requires. The Life Worth Living is the first sustained examination of disability through the lens of the history of moral philosophy and phenomenology, and it demonstrates how lived experiences of disability demand a far richer account of human flourishing, embodiment, community, and politics in philosophical inquiry and beyond. Joel Michael Reynolds is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Disability Studies at Georgetown University, Senior Research Scholar in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Senior Bioethics Advisor to The Hastings Center, Faculty Scholar of The Greenwall Foundation, and core faculty in Georgetown's Disability Studies Program. He is the founder of The Journal of Philosophy of Disability and co-founder of Oxford Studies in Disability, Ethics, and Society from Oxford University Press. Dr. Reynolds' work explores the relationship between bodies, values, and society. He is especially concerned with the meaning of disability, the issue of ableism, and how philosophical inquiry into each might improve the lives of people with disabilities and the justness of institutions ranging from medicine to politics. These concerns lead to research across a range of traditions and specialties, including philosophy of disability, applied ethics (especially biomedical ethics, public health ethics, tech/data ethics, and ELSI research in genomics), 20th c. European and American philosophy (with an emphasis on phenomenology and pragmatism as practiced in connection with the history of philosophy), and social epistemology (particularly issues of epistemic injustice as linked to social ontology). Autumn Wilke works in higher education as an ADA coordinator and diversity officer and is also an author and doctoral candidate with research/topics related to disability and higher education. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/book-of-the-day

New Books in Intellectual History
Joel Michael Reynolds, "The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality" (U Minnesota Press, 2022)

New Books in Intellectual History

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2022 45:26


The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality (U Minnesota Press, 2022) investigates the exclusion of and discrimination against disabled people across the history of Western moral philosophy. Building on decades of activism and scholarship, Joel Michael Reynolds shows how longstanding views of disability are misguided and unjust, and he lays out a vision of what an anti-ableist moral future requires. More than 2,000 years ago, Aristotle said: "let there be a law that no deformed child shall live." This idea is alive and well today. During the past century, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. argued that the United States can forcibly sterilize intellectually disabled women and philosopher Peter Singer argued for the right of parents to euthanize certain cognitively disabled infants. The Life Worth Living explores how and why such arguments persist by investigating the exclusion of and discrimination against disabled people across the history of Western moral philosophy. Joel Michael Reynolds argues that this history demonstrates a fundamental mischaracterization of the meaning of disability, thanks to the conflation of lived experiences of disability with those of pain and suffering. Building on decades of activism and scholarship in the field, Reynolds shows how longstanding views of disability are misguided and unjust, and he lays out a vision of what an anti-ableist moral future requires. The Life Worth Living is the first sustained examination of disability through the lens of the history of moral philosophy and phenomenology, and it demonstrates how lived experiences of disability demand a far richer account of human flourishing, embodiment, community, and politics in philosophical inquiry and beyond. Joel Michael Reynolds is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Disability Studies at Georgetown University, Senior Research Scholar in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Senior Bioethics Advisor to The Hastings Center, Faculty Scholar of The Greenwall Foundation, and core faculty in Georgetown's Disability Studies Program. He is the founder of The Journal of Philosophy of Disability and co-founder of Oxford Studies in Disability, Ethics, and Society from Oxford University Press. Dr. Reynolds' work explores the relationship between bodies, values, and society. He is especially concerned with the meaning of disability, the issue of ableism, and how philosophical inquiry into each might improve the lives of people with disabilities and the justness of institutions ranging from medicine to politics. These concerns lead to research across a range of traditions and specialties, including philosophy of disability, applied ethics (especially biomedical ethics, public health ethics, tech/data ethics, and ELSI research in genomics), 20th c. European and American philosophy (with an emphasis on phenomenology and pragmatism as practiced in connection with the history of philosophy), and social epistemology (particularly issues of epistemic injustice as linked to social ontology). Autumn Wilke works in higher education as an ADA coordinator and diversity officer and is also an author and doctoral candidate with research/topics related to disability and higher education. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

New Books in Law
Joel Michael Reynolds, "The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality" (U Minnesota Press, 2022)

New Books in Law

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2022 45:26


The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality (U Minnesota Press, 2022) investigates the exclusion of and discrimination against disabled people across the history of Western moral philosophy. Building on decades of activism and scholarship, Joel Michael Reynolds shows how longstanding views of disability are misguided and unjust, and he lays out a vision of what an anti-ableist moral future requires. More than 2,000 years ago, Aristotle said: "let there be a law that no deformed child shall live." This idea is alive and well today. During the past century, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. argued that the United States can forcibly sterilize intellectually disabled women and philosopher Peter Singer argued for the right of parents to euthanize certain cognitively disabled infants. The Life Worth Living explores how and why such arguments persist by investigating the exclusion of and discrimination against disabled people across the history of Western moral philosophy. Joel Michael Reynolds argues that this history demonstrates a fundamental mischaracterization of the meaning of disability, thanks to the conflation of lived experiences of disability with those of pain and suffering. Building on decades of activism and scholarship in the field, Reynolds shows how longstanding views of disability are misguided and unjust, and he lays out a vision of what an anti-ableist moral future requires. The Life Worth Living is the first sustained examination of disability through the lens of the history of moral philosophy and phenomenology, and it demonstrates how lived experiences of disability demand a far richer account of human flourishing, embodiment, community, and politics in philosophical inquiry and beyond. Joel Michael Reynolds is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Disability Studies at Georgetown University, Senior Research Scholar in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Senior Bioethics Advisor to The Hastings Center, Faculty Scholar of The Greenwall Foundation, and core faculty in Georgetown's Disability Studies Program. He is the founder of The Journal of Philosophy of Disability and co-founder of Oxford Studies in Disability, Ethics, and Society from Oxford University Press. Dr. Reynolds' work explores the relationship between bodies, values, and society. He is especially concerned with the meaning of disability, the issue of ableism, and how philosophical inquiry into each might improve the lives of people with disabilities and the justness of institutions ranging from medicine to politics. These concerns lead to research across a range of traditions and specialties, including philosophy of disability, applied ethics (especially biomedical ethics, public health ethics, tech/data ethics, and ELSI research in genomics), 20th c. European and American philosophy (with an emphasis on phenomenology and pragmatism as practiced in connection with the history of philosophy), and social epistemology (particularly issues of epistemic injustice as linked to social ontology). Autumn Wilke works in higher education as an ADA coordinator and diversity officer and is also an author and doctoral candidate with research/topics related to disability and higher education. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/law

New Books in Disability Studies
Joel Michael Reynolds, "The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality" (U Minnesota Press, 2022)

New Books in Disability Studies

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2022 45:26


The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality (U Minnesota Press, 2022) investigates the exclusion of and discrimination against disabled people across the history of Western moral philosophy. Building on decades of activism and scholarship, Joel Michael Reynolds shows how longstanding views of disability are misguided and unjust, and he lays out a vision of what an anti-ableist moral future requires. More than 2,000 years ago, Aristotle said: "let there be a law that no deformed child shall live." This idea is alive and well today. During the past century, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. argued that the United States can forcibly sterilize intellectually disabled women and philosopher Peter Singer argued for the right of parents to euthanize certain cognitively disabled infants. The Life Worth Living explores how and why such arguments persist by investigating the exclusion of and discrimination against disabled people across the history of Western moral philosophy. Joel Michael Reynolds argues that this history demonstrates a fundamental mischaracterization of the meaning of disability, thanks to the conflation of lived experiences of disability with those of pain and suffering. Building on decades of activism and scholarship in the field, Reynolds shows how longstanding views of disability are misguided and unjust, and he lays out a vision of what an anti-ableist moral future requires. The Life Worth Living is the first sustained examination of disability through the lens of the history of moral philosophy and phenomenology, and it demonstrates how lived experiences of disability demand a far richer account of human flourishing, embodiment, community, and politics in philosophical inquiry and beyond. Joel Michael Reynolds is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Disability Studies at Georgetown University, Senior Research Scholar in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Senior Bioethics Advisor to The Hastings Center, Faculty Scholar of The Greenwall Foundation, and core faculty in Georgetown's Disability Studies Program. He is the founder of The Journal of Philosophy of Disability and co-founder of Oxford Studies in Disability, Ethics, and Society from Oxford University Press. Dr. Reynolds' work explores the relationship between bodies, values, and society. He is especially concerned with the meaning of disability, the issue of ableism, and how philosophical inquiry into each might improve the lives of people with disabilities and the justness of institutions ranging from medicine to politics. These concerns lead to research across a range of traditions and specialties, including philosophy of disability, applied ethics (especially biomedical ethics, public health ethics, tech/data ethics, and ELSI research in genomics), 20th c. European and American philosophy (with an emphasis on phenomenology and pragmatism as practiced in connection with the history of philosophy), and social epistemology (particularly issues of epistemic injustice as linked to social ontology). Autumn Wilke works in higher education as an ADA coordinator and diversity officer and is also an author and doctoral candidate with research/topics related to disability and higher education. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

New Books in Public Policy
Joel Michael Reynolds, "The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality" (U Minnesota Press, 2022)

New Books in Public Policy

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2022 45:26


The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality (U Minnesota Press, 2022) investigates the exclusion of and discrimination against disabled people across the history of Western moral philosophy. Building on decades of activism and scholarship, Joel Michael Reynolds shows how longstanding views of disability are misguided and unjust, and he lays out a vision of what an anti-ableist moral future requires. More than 2,000 years ago, Aristotle said: "let there be a law that no deformed child shall live." This idea is alive and well today. During the past century, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. argued that the United States can forcibly sterilize intellectually disabled women and philosopher Peter Singer argued for the right of parents to euthanize certain cognitively disabled infants. The Life Worth Living explores how and why such arguments persist by investigating the exclusion of and discrimination against disabled people across the history of Western moral philosophy. Joel Michael Reynolds argues that this history demonstrates a fundamental mischaracterization of the meaning of disability, thanks to the conflation of lived experiences of disability with those of pain and suffering. Building on decades of activism and scholarship in the field, Reynolds shows how longstanding views of disability are misguided and unjust, and he lays out a vision of what an anti-ableist moral future requires. The Life Worth Living is the first sustained examination of disability through the lens of the history of moral philosophy and phenomenology, and it demonstrates how lived experiences of disability demand a far richer account of human flourishing, embodiment, community, and politics in philosophical inquiry and beyond. Joel Michael Reynolds is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Disability Studies at Georgetown University, Senior Research Scholar in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Senior Bioethics Advisor to The Hastings Center, Faculty Scholar of The Greenwall Foundation, and core faculty in Georgetown's Disability Studies Program. He is the founder of The Journal of Philosophy of Disability and co-founder of Oxford Studies in Disability, Ethics, and Society from Oxford University Press. Dr. Reynolds' work explores the relationship between bodies, values, and society. He is especially concerned with the meaning of disability, the issue of ableism, and how philosophical inquiry into each might improve the lives of people with disabilities and the justness of institutions ranging from medicine to politics. These concerns lead to research across a range of traditions and specialties, including philosophy of disability, applied ethics (especially biomedical ethics, public health ethics, tech/data ethics, and ELSI research in genomics), 20th c. European and American philosophy (with an emphasis on phenomenology and pragmatism as practiced in connection with the history of philosophy), and social epistemology (particularly issues of epistemic injustice as linked to social ontology). Autumn Wilke works in higher education as an ADA coordinator and diversity officer and is also an author and doctoral candidate with research/topics related to disability and higher education. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/public-policy

THE PETA PODCAST
Ep. 240: Author Jim Mason On Connecting Our "Animality"

THE PETA PODCAST

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2022 58:38


Jim Mason, a co-author with philosopher Peter Singer on "Animal Factories," has come out with a new edition of his 1993 classic, "An Unnatural Order--Roots of Our Destruction of Nature." The book is a history of the evolution of mankind's treatment of animals and how the agrarian culture changed our relationship with animals. Instead of being among the animals, we were in control and had dominion over animals. Mason connects that thinking with racism, colonialism, and white supremacy in this conversation with Emil Guillermo. Go to PETA.org for more. The PETA Podcast PETA, the world's largest animal rights organization, is 6.5 million strong and growing. This is the place to find out why. Hear from insiders, thought leaders, activists, investigators, politicians, and others why animals need more than kindness—they have the right not to be abused or exploited in any way. Hosted by Emil Guillermo. Powered by PETA activism. Contact us at PETA.org Listen to the very first PETA podcast with Ingrid Newkirk Music provided by CarbonWorks. Go to Apple podcasts and subscribe. Contact and follow host Emil Guillermo on Twitter @emilamok Or at www.amok.com Please subscribe, rate and review wherever you get your podcasts. Help us grow the podcast by taking this short survey. Thanks for listening to THE PETA PODCAST! Originally released July 21, 2021  Re-released Sept. 6, 2022 © PETA, 2021-2, All rights reserved. copyright 2022  

Lexman Artificial
Peter Singer on Babar: The Adventures of a Legend

Lexman Artificial

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 5, 2022 4:14


Lexman interviews philosopher and humanitarian Peter Singer about his new book, "Babar: The Adventures of a Legend." They discuss the history and significance of the characters in the book, as well as Singer's commentary on such contemporary issues as animal rights and war.

The Nonlinear Library
EA - The Nietzschean Challenge to Effective Altruism by Richard Y Chappell

The Nonlinear Library

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 30, 2022 12:43


Welcome to The Nonlinear Library, where we use Text-to-Speech software to convert the best writing from the Rationalist and EA communities into audio. This is: The Nietzschean Challenge to Effective Altruism, published by Richard Y Chappell on August 29, 2022 on The Effective Altruism Forum. In ‘The Strange Shortage of Moral Optimizers', I noted that it's difficult to criticize Effective Altruism in a thoroughgoing way, since the foundational idea of beneficentrism (roughly: utilitarianism minus all the controversial bits) seems so indisputable. That leaves plenty of room for superficial/empirical/internal critiques of the form “The EA movement as it actually exists isn't fully living up to its admittedly excellent values/potential; here's how it could do better.” But is there space for a more fundamental, philosophical critique of EA's core values? In this post, I'll play Devil's Advocate and try to set out what I think is the most philosophically pressing critique of EA's beneficentrism, drawing on the classic critique of utilitarianism as a “philosophy for swine” (developed, in its most sophisticated form, in Andrew Huddleston's interpretation of Nietzsche's perfectionism). The idea, in a nutshell, is that we go wrong in thinking that anything resembling happiness (or the avoidance of suffering) is what ultimately matters for a good life. We are lazy creatures, drawn to creature comforts. But that isn't what's truly good for us. What truly gives our lives dignity and meaning is to contribute, whether directly or indirectly, to cultural excellence. Better to be a Socrates—or his servant—dissatisfied, than to be a pig satisfied. (Unless Socrates eats the pig. Then you're good either way.) The upshot: I'll argue that there's some (limited) overlap between the practical recommendations of Effective Altruism (EA) and Nietzschean perfectionism, or what we might call Effective Aesthetics (EÆ). To the extent that you give Nietzschean perfectionism some credence, this may motivate (i) prioritizing global talent scouting over mere health interventions alone, (ii) giving less priority to purely suffering-focused causes, such as animal welfare, (iii) wariness towards traditional EA rhetoric that's very dismissive of funding for art museums and opera houses, and (iv) greater support for longtermism, but with a strong emphasis on futures that continue to build human capacities and excellences, and concern to avoid hedonistic traps like “wireheading”. The Meaningful Life In the final chapter of Practical Ethics, Peter Singer addresses the question: ‘Why Act Morally?' One answer he's drawn towards invokes the common wisdom that our lives are more meaningful insofar as we contribute to something larger than ourselves. Universal altruism—in a world as full of unmet needs as ours is—provides us with a suitably monumental goal to meet this deep human need of our own. To illustrate this motivation, Singer asked Henry Spira (an accomplished twentieth-century animal- and civil rights activist), as his death from cancer drew near, “what had driven him to spend his life working for others.” Spira answered: I guess basically one wants to feel that one's life has amounted to more than just consuming products and producing garbage. I think that one likes to look back and say that one's done the best one can to make this a better place for others. [W]hat greater motivation can there be than doing whatever one possibly can to reduce pain and suffering? This sounds compelling! But it's in this context that the Nietzschean challenge looms large, as advancing human civilization is also monumental—sometimes literally!—and arguably feels “deeper” than merely promoting comfort. (It may also prove more legible than chasing the drab shadows of distant strangers in accordance with traditional welfarism.) We appreciate the enduring magnificence of the Great Pyramids, while the suffering of the slaves who built them is lost to history. Contributing to a lasting...

The Nonlinear Library
EA - Questioning the Foundations of EA by Wei Dai

The Nonlinear Library

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 27, 2022 2:14


Welcome to The Nonlinear Library, where we use Text-to-Speech software to convert the best writing from the Rationalist and EA communities into audio. This is: Questioning the Foundations of EA, published by Wei Dai on August 27, 2022 on The Effective Altruism Forum. For me, basically every other question around effective altruism is less interesting than this basic one of moral obligation. It's fun to debate whether some people/institutions should gain or lose status, and I participate in those debates myself, but they seem less important than these basic questions of how we should live and what our ethics should be. Prompted by this quote from Scott Alexander's recent Effective Altruism As A Tower Of Assumptions, I'm linking a couple of my old LessWrong posts that speak to "these basic questions". They were written and posted before or shortly after EA became a movement, so perhaps many in EA have never read them or heard of their arguments. (I have not seen these arguments reinvented/rediscovered by others, or effectively countered/refuted by anyone, but I'm largely ignorant of the vast academic philosophy literature, in which the same issues may have been discussed.) The first post, Shut Up and Divide?, was written in response to Eliezer Yudkowsky's slogan of "shut up and multiply" but I think also works as a counter against Peter Singer's Drowning Child argument, which many may see as foundational to EA. (For example Scott wrote in the linked post, "To me, the core of effective altruism is the Drowning Child scenario.") The second post, Is the potential astronomical waste in our universe too small to care about?, describes a consideration through which someone who starts out with relatively high credence in utilitarianism (or utilitarian-ish values) may nevertheless find it unwise to devote much resources to utilitarian(-like) pursuits in the universe that we find ourselves in. To be clear, I continue to have a lot of moral uncertainty and do not consider these to be knockdown arguments against EA or against caring about astronomical waste. There are probably counterarguments to them I'm not aware of (either in the existing literature or in platonic argument space), and we are probably still ignorant of many other relevant considerations. (For one such consideration, see my Beyond Astronomical Waste.) I'm drawing attention to them because many EAs may have too much trust in the foundations of EA in part because they're not aware of these arguments. Thanks for listening. To help us out with The Nonlinear Library or to learn more, please visit nonlinear.org.

The San Francisco Experience
Imagining the next 9/11: Creating fictional narratives to visualize and prevent national security threats. Talking with Peter Singer.

The San Francisco Experience

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2022 31:38


Peter Singer is a strategist and senior fellow with New America, a think tank in Washington. He is also the founder and managing partner of Useful Fiction which creates fictional narratives to help policy makers visualize some of the most complex national security threats like nuclear accidents, bio terrorism, artificial intelligence and cyber attacks on critical infrastructure. Visualizing before an event can lead to more effective policies to thwart such attacks. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/james-herlihy/message

The Nonlinear Library
EA - The 3rd wave of EA is coming - what does it mean for you? by Jakob

The Nonlinear Library

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 20, 2022 8:33


Welcome to The Nonlinear Library, where we use Text-to-Speech software to convert the best writing from the Rationalist and EA communities into audio. This is: The 3rd wave of EA is coming - what does it mean for you?, published by Jakob on August 19, 2022 on The Effective Altruism Forum. In this post I'll first argue that we may look back at 2021-2022 as a time when EA entered a new phase (a "third wave" or "adulthood" could be appropriate terms). To be more specific, this phase shift would entail a sustained increase in money moved by the EA movement (say, by 2-5x or so? I haven't dug into the data enough to make a proper forecast), as well as the attention that people who don't identify as effective altruists pay to the movement. We are already seeing some of this acceleration (with e.g., Open Philanthropy and GiveWell scaling up significantly in 2021, good growth for CEA in 2021, the FTX Future Fund launching in 2022 and attracting significant attention for donations to congressional candidate Carrick Flynn, record-breaking numbers of EA Global participants in 2022, and the recent publication of Will MacAskill's book What We Owe the Future, with associated media attention), so I don't expect this to be a controversial claim. Then, I'll list some implications for 1) people who identify as (aspiring) effective altruists, 2) leaders in EA-aligned organizations, and 3) people with influence strategy and cultural norms at the movement level (a "movement leader"). In short, many effective altruists can take this moment of positive momentum to raise their ambitions; however, it is also a precarious moment of where the risk of values drift is elevated, so movement leaders should invest more than usually in steering the EA movement in the right direction. Many of these thoughts have already been expressed more eloquently elsewhere; please consider this post my 5 cents chiming in - and for some, perhaps it can serve as a convenient summary. A short history of EA First, one may (somewhat simplified) consider the history of EA in roughly two waves: one may trace the origins of the movement to the first wave ("the infancy" of the movement), which I'll limit to pre-2011, and the second wave (the "youth phase" of the movement), which I'll consider to have lasted around a decade. I'll give some more details below, but since I only learned of EA in 2014 myself, I'm not the best to give a detailed account of the early days. The following paragraphs are a summary and an interpretation of the events described by CEA, Wikipedia, and various Forum articles on the history of EA, and so may be skipped by some readers (though they form some of the context for the argument further down). During the first wave, organizations such as GiveWell (2007), Giving What We Can (2009) and 80000hours (2011) were launched. Peter Singer published his book The Life You Can Save (2009), and the rationalist community grew up around the Overcoming Bias/LessWrong blogs (2006). Individuals within these various communities and organizations sometimes interacted with each other, but there was no explicit unifying umbrella. 2011 marked a pivotal year, with the founding of the Centre for Effective Altruism (and the invention of the term effective altruist), and the launch of GiveWell labs, which later became Open Philanthropy. This is why I've used this as the pivotal year from wave 1 to wave 2. During the following decades, the amount of funding in the EA movement increased substantially, and many new organizations and projects were started. Some projects took names that explicitly showed a link to the EA movement, such as EA Funds, EA Global (which started as the EA summit in 2013), and the EA Foundation, and local effective altruism groups all over the world. Others, Like Longview Philanthropy, Effective Giving, Charity Entrepreneurship, endorsed many of the same values and ideas, and were started by people affiliated with the movement, but did not put the link expl...

The Open Door
Episode 241: Frank Calneggia, author of Assertions and Refutations (August 10, 2022)

The Open Door

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 11, 2022 88:44


Welcome to The Open Door! This week (Aug. 10) we move, virtually, to Australia. We're heading to Perth, the capital of West Australia. We'll discuss theology and philosophy in the context of Catholic life there. Our welcome guest is Frank Calneggia. He's the author of Assertion and Refutation (En Route Books and Media, 2022). In it he challenges another Australian thinker, the theologian Tracey Rowland. On what grounds? Her understanding of natural law, a subject dear to our Thomist hearts. Among the questions we will ask are the following. Please feel free to suggest your own.1. Frank, if we may, could you first tell us a bit about yourself?2. How fares the Church in Australia today? What kind of leader is Archbishop Anthony Fisher, Cardinal George Pell's successor?3. What's the philosophical climate in Catholic educational institutions? Can you give us more background on John Finnis and Peter Singer, two well known Australian philosophers.4. How did you come to lock horns, as it were, with Tracey Rowland? What are some of the chief claims in her influential essay “Natural Law: From Neo Thomism to Nuptial Mysticism” (Communio: Fall, 2008)?5. Can we understand natural law apart from Catholic theology?6. Does St. Paul appeal to natural law in his Epistle to the Romans?7. Just what is natural theology?8. Following St. Thomas Aquinas, the guiding principle of your book is “The study of philosophy does not consist in knowing what others have thought but to know the truth of things.” Why is this principle controversial in our “interesting times”?9. Pilate asks Jesus “What is truth”? How would St. Thomas answer this question?10. You are a keen student of papal encyclicals. The American Solidarity Party is sometimes called “the party that reads the encyclicals.” If there were such a party in Australia how might it challenge status quo politics in your country? https://enroutebooksandmedia.com/assertions-and-refutations/

The Mikhaila Peterson Podcast
157. The Case for Ethical Veganism? | Alex O'Connor

The Mikhaila Peterson Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 10, 2022 72:48 Very Popular


In this episode, I sat down to talk with Alex O'Connor, the founder of the Cosmic Skeptic YouTube channel. Alex is an international public speaker and debater, speaking on topics like ethics, religion, and politics.  Alex is also a passionate animal rights advocate, and in this episode, we discussed a more inclusive definition of veganism, lab grown meat, the lack of data on long term effects of veganism and the carnivore diet, regenerative farming, and much more. Thanks for tuning in.  If you enjoyed this conversation, be sure to subscribe!  —Links— Follow Alex O'Connor On Twitter: https://twitter.com/cosmicskeptic Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/cosmicskeptic Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cosmicskeptic His Website: https://cosmicskeptic.com/about/ Follow Me On All Platforms: https://linktr.ee/mikhailapeterson Facebook: https://facebook.com/mikhailapete​rson Twitter: https://twitter.com/MikhailaFuller  Instagram: https://instagram.com/mikhailapeterson Telegram: https://t.me/mikhailapeterson​​ Books Mentioned The Sacred Cow, by Diana Rogers Animal Liberation, by Peter Singer

podcast – The Methods of Rationality Podcast
Not Everything Is A Clue – Ch 248-251

podcast – The Methods of Rationality Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 8, 2022 140:25


Chapters 248-251 – Being God Is A Big Responsibility The power of friendship is sick! The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is sick! The Buffy Remaster is absolute trash Peter Singer’s Heavy Petting Downsizing For next week — 252-254 252. The Narrator, the Angel, and the Devil 253. Multitudes 254. Nevermore… Continue reading

Brave New World -- hosted by Vasant Dhar
Ep 44: Maneka Gandhi on Animal Rights

Brave New World -- hosted by Vasant Dhar

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 4, 2022 77:52


Perhaps the greatest human sin is how we treat animals. Maneka Gandhi joins Vasant Dhar in episode 44 of Brave New World to share her learnings from decades as an animal activist. Useful resources: 1. Maneka Gandhi on Instagram, Twitter and Wikipedia. 2. Animal Liberation -- Peter Singer. 3. Animal Farming and Protein -- Vasant Dhar. 4. Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates -- Amy J Fitzgerald, Linda Kalof and Thomas Dietz. 5. The Jungle -- Upton Sinclair. 6. The Draize Test. 7. Animals in Cosmetics Testing. 8. Animals Should Be Off The Menu -- Philip Wollen. 9. How Oprah Got Sued for Dissing a Burger -- Brian Duignan. 10. Is Milk the Best Source of Calcium? -- Alisa Fleming.

Socrates Walks Into A Bar
Controversy! With actual Philosopher Peter Singer

Socrates Walks Into A Bar

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 2, 2022 32:26


Professor Peter Singer joins the podcast to school Nick, Tim & Ray on how to be a real philosopher, whether to save a drowning child or your new kicks and the journal of controversial ideas. Plus, Ray poses a classic 90's throwback thought experiment. Grab tickets to see Peter live Watch the first episode or find out more hereSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Living A Life In Full
Effective Altruism: Charlie Bresler, PhD, on How to Amplify Your Impact

Living A Life In Full

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 1, 2022 75:42


Extreme poverty has devastating effects on over 700 million people globally. Every year 5.3 million children, under the age of five, die, and more than half of these deaths could have been easily prevented if they would have been fortunate enough to have been born in the United States. Peter Singer has famously noted that “we have an ethical obligation to use some portion of our wealth and privilege to save lives and reduce the unnecessary suffering associated with extreme poverty—defined as living on less than $1.25 USD/day.” Almost a decade ago, Charlie Bresler became volunteer Executive Director and co-founder of The Life You Can Save, a non-profit dedicated to reducing extreme poverty. Through his financial support and leadership, Charlie has helped Peter Singer, develop the organization from the ground up. The Life You Can Save's mission is to inspire more people to give effectively and end world poverty. And Charlie has famously said that it's a privilege, not just a responsibility to save lives, reduce suffering, and empower livelihoods. The “amplification” of how much further a dollar goes in impoverished countries is the perspective Singer and Charlie suggest should affect our giving decisions. The effective altruism movement has reignited thinking how much we should give and where. “What greater motivation can there be than doing whatever one possibly can to reduce pain and suffering?” Charlie is a heroic figure that lives his ethos and life in full, and in the service of others.

Intelligent Design the Future
John West on Darwin's Culturally Corrosive Idea

Intelligent Design the Future

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 29, 2022 20:22 Very Popular


On this ID the Future from the vault, catch the first half of a public talk by political scientist John West on how Darwinism has poisoned Western culture. In the lecture, delivered at the Dallas Conference on Science & Faith, West explores how Darwin's purely materialistic theory of evolution drained meaning from nature, undercut the idea of inherent human dignity, and fueled the rise of scientific racism in the twentieth century. West is author of Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science. Source

Discovery Institute's Podcast
John West on Darwin's Culturally Corrosive Idea

Discovery Institute's Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 29, 2022 20:22