Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Philosophy

Every now and then on Reddit I try to put my 2 cents in discussions on philosophy. Obviously I don't try to enter any philosophical discussion out there, but only those where I feel that some neuroscience, quantitative psychology, or evolutionary thinking may be helpful. I also always try to make the background of my thought  clear, to prevent possible misunderstanding.

And the result is usually the same: my comments are heavily downvoted. The discussion usually takes some highly theoretical direction, with lots of special words and names I never heard about. And at the same time these discussions are swarming with statements that are just proven to be false! Or, more often, with concepts that do not seem to correlate with anything in the scientific discourse for last 20-30 years already. Be it about subconsciousness, decision making, animal cognition, brain development, or game theory.

So my impression so far is that there exists a whole stratum of highly educated people who live in some artificial world, lagging behind the science, as we know it, and maybe even deliberately distancing themselves from its development. It is not that my comments there are especially nice and easy to read of course, but still the contrast between neighboring discussions of science and philosophy is really striking. Especially if you consider something like /r/AskAcademia , where humanities and sciences technically share the space, but at the same time self-select to some extent within each particular post, depending on its topic.

It is all pretty sad overall.

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