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Tag Archives: Book Club

Knowledge, Reality, and Value Book Club: Huemer’s Last Word, Part 2

Here’s Part 2 of Huemer’s final word on our recent Book Club. 9) On consent and my paradox for moderate deontology: BC:      How is this different from a person who foolishly refuses to consent to a vaccination, even though he admits that the benefit of the vaccine greatly exceeds the pain of the needle? As you explain in The Problem of Political Authority, we have no right to benefit him given his explicit refusal to consent. I’m on board with the idea that it’s...

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Knowledge, Reality, and Value Book Club: Huemer’s Last Word, Part 1

Here’s Part 1 of Huemer’s last word on Knowledge, Reality, and Value. Many thanks to Bryan Caplan for the extensive, thoughtful, and interesting discussions over the course of this Book Club. Thanks also to all the readers who contributed their thoughts. I found the discussion very high quality and serious. Bryan’s comments below, preceded by “BC”, followed by my replies. 1) On consequentialism vs. deontology in the history of ethics: BC:      Why doesn’t the Ring of...

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Knowledge, Reality, and Value: Rejoinder to Huemer, Part 2

At long last, here’s my final entry! Rejoinder to Huemer’s Response, Part 4 Suppose A does not consent. A wants you to perform only the action that benefits him while harming B; he won’t consent to the action that harms him while benefitting B (not even conditional on your doing the other action simultaneously). Now what? It looks to me like we still have the original problem. How is this different from a person who foolishly refuses to consent to a vaccination, even...

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Saule Omarova and Friedrich Hayek

Three-quarters of a century ago, Friedrich Hayek warned that the West was on “the road to serfdom.” President Biden’s nomination of Ms. Saule Omarova as Comptroller of the Currency is another illustration that the peril has not receded. A graduate of Moscow State University in 1989 on the Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship, Omarova has not apparently understood that the state cannot run the economy without tightly—and in fact, savagely—controlling individual lives....

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Knowledge, Reality, and Value: Rejoinder to Huemer, Part 1

After a long hiatus, it’s time to finish the Knowledge, Reality, and Value Book Club.  Here, I respond to Huemer’s responses to me (in two parts).  Then I’ll give the author the last word.  As usual, Huemer is in blockquotes; I’m not. Rejoinder to Huemer’s Response, Part 1 Consequentialism vs. deontology isn’t one of them, though. I don’t see any discussion of that in the ancient philosophers. You can maybe trace the consequentialist/deontological debate to Hume and...

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Knowledge, Reality, and Value Book Club Replies, Part 5

Here’s my last round of response to reader comments.  I’m on vacation now, but in early September I’ll post one last reply to Huemer’s replies to me, then give the author the last word. Parrhesia: Even if we assign very low probability that insects feel pain and they feel significantly less pain, there are something like 10^18 insects so insect suffering is a massive problem. Nematodes have nociceptors and there are 4*10^19, which is 57 billion for every human. I do...

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Knowledge, Reality, and Value: Huemer’s Response, Part 4

The latest from Huemer: Thanks, everyone, for the discussion! Here are my responses to the comments about part 4: Bryan’s Comments “BC” indicates Bryan’s comments; “MH” is me, from the book. (1) BC:      When defending moral realism, Huemer places a fair amount of weight on linguistic evidence … I find this evidence less probative than he does. Why? Because human beings often frame non-assertions as assertions for rhetorical effect. “Yay for the Dodgers!” is almost...

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Knowledge, Reality, and Value Book Club, Part 4

Part 4 (“Ethics”) of Knowledge, Reality, and Value contains four chapters that seem extremely reasonable to me, and one that continues to strike me as deeply wrong.  As a result, I’m going to split the discussion into two parts.  This week: the extremely reasonable Chapters 13-16.  Next week: The deeply wrong Chapter 17. As usual, I will focus almost entirely on my disagreements with Huemer’s careful, enlightening, and inspiring book. Chapter 13: Metaethics When...

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Knowledge, Reality, and Value: Huemer’s Response, Part 3

Bryan’s Comments “BC” indicates Bryan’s comments; “MH” is me (from the book). 1. Argument from Design MH:     Even if you’d never seen a watch before, you would immediately know that this thing had to have been designed by someone. It’s too intricately ordered to have just happened. BC:      The reason why we infer a watch-maker from a watch is not that the watch is “intricately ordered,” but that we have independent reason to believe that watches are not naturally...

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