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Tag Archives: Philosophy

David Wright interviews me

Dave is an actuary, super-talented, and one of my very favorite interviewers and best prepared interviewers in the whole wide world (do say yes if he offers to interview you for his podcast). Here is the audio, most of the questions go well beyond the usual.  It starts with my book Big Business but even gets into the Straussian side of things, globalization, the price of fame, and much more. Recommended. The post David Wright interviews me appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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Eva Vivalt on Give Later

One of the more important things I’ve changed my mind about recently is the best cause to donate to. I now put the most credence on the possibility that the best option is donating to a fund that invests the money and disburses strategically in the future. I will refer to this as “giving later”, though I actually support giving now to a donor-advised fund set up to disburse in the future, for the value that donating now can have for encouraging others to donate (and because of the risk that...

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My Conversation with Masha Gessen

Here is the transcript and audio, here is the summary: Masha joined Tyler in New York City to answer his many questions about Russia: why was Soviet mathematics so good? What was it like meeting with Putin? Why are Russian friendships so intense? Are Russian women as strong as the stereotype suggests — and why do they all have the same few names? Is Russia more hostile to LGBT rights than other autocracies? Why did Garry Kasparov fail to make a dent in Russian politics? What did The...

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Reading and rabbit holes

Let’s say you want to read some books on Venice, maybe because you are traveling there, or you are just curious about the Renaissance, or about the history of the visual arts. Maybe you will write me and ask: “Tyler, which books should I read on Venice?”  Now, there are many fine books on Venice, but I actually would not approach the problem in that manner.  In fact, I don’t know a single particular “must read” book on Venice that stands out above all...

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Has anyone said this yet?

Consider the right-wing, conservative, and libertarian movements — is there a good word for them as a general collective?  For now I’ll use “conservative,” while recognizing that the lack of generally recognized standard bearers means that “conservative” and “radical” these days blur into each other, and furthermore conservative and libertarian views have areas of real and significant conflict. Who is today the most influential conservative...

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Identity Politics Versus Independent Thinking

Anthony Kronman, former Dean of the Yale Law school, writes in the WSJ: The politically motivated and group-based form of diversity that dominates campus life today discourages students from breaking away, in thought or action, from the groups to which they belong. It invites them to think of themselves as representatives first and free agents second. And it makes heroes of those who put their individual interests aside for the sake of a larger cause. That is admirable in politics. It is...

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My Conversation with Kwame Anthony Appiah

Here is the audio and transcript.  We covered Ghana, Africa more generally, cosmopolitanism and the resurgence of nationalism, philosophy and Karl Popper, Lee Kuan Yew, the repatriation of cultural objects, Paul Simon, the smarts of Jodie Foster, sheep farming in New Jersey, and the value of giving personal advice. Here is one excerpt: COWEN: Take Pan-Africanism. Do you think, in the broader course of history, this will go down as merely a 20th-century idea? Or is Pan-Africanism alive and...

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We need a new science of progress

That is the title of my Atlantic piece with Patrick Collison, excerpt: Progress itself is understudied. By “progress,” we mean the combination of economic, technological, scientific, cultural, and organizational advancement that has transformed our lives and raised standards of living over the past couple of centuries. For a number of reasons, there is no broad-based intellectual movement focused on understanding the dynamics of progress, or targeting the deeper goal of speeding it up. We...

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A test of Marginal Revolution political bias

Here is an email from Daniel Stone at Bowdoin, I am not imposing a double-formatting on it for ease of reading and formatting: “Dear Tyler (if I may), I’m a big fan of your work in general, and MR in particular, and think that you do as good a job as anyone at exploring a variety of political perspectives, and sharing related (diverse) research. Still, you’re human after all J. I’ve always been curious if there are systematic patterns in your writing or links you post. It occurred to me...

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Why zero temporal discounting *within* a life is less plausible than across generations

For an individual there is both cardinal Benthamite utilitarianism (“utils”) and preference utilitarianism.  The two sometimes conflict (would you take a pill that gave you joy when you saw suffering?), and a plausible consequentialist theory attaches some weight to both. Most of the arguments for zero discounting of utility apply to the cardinal measure.  Don’t put off going to the dentist just because you don’t like pain — when the pain finally arrives, it will...

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