September 2018

The Philosophy of Westworld

At first glance, Westworld is just another show about robots run amok. If you look a little closer, though, you find all kinds of other philosophical questions in play, and you find them being explored with impressive seriousness and subtlety. At the level of philosophical reflection, this is golden-age television at its very best.

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Do They Believe in God?

A question has plagued me since the latest cluster of scandals emerged from the Catholic church. The scandals are both about clergy who sexually abused young people and about the church hierarchy’s cover-ups. The question is this: do the priests who commit such abuses believe in God?

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The Psychology of Cruelty

Are people cruel because they lack empathy? Is cruelty always a matter of seeing others as less than human? Or are there some who simply enjoy seeing people suffer? These are some of the questions we’ll be tackling in this week’s show.

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Puzzle About Conspiracy Theorists (Part II)

Conspiracy theorists think quasi-rationally, but their thinking only goes in one direction. Because conspiracy theorists are less analytic, their thinking tends not to override their starting intuitions. So how can we alleviate people's tendencies to adopt irrational conspiracy theories?

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Lessons from Lobsters

At a gut level, most of us consider humans’ lives far more significant than lobsters’ lives. But does this intuition just reveal a cognitive bias most of us have? Are there any good arguments to support the idea that lobster lives matter less?

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