(Essay) Beneficial and Detrimental Inflation and the Risk of an Indeterminable Point
Imagine someone will give you $10 for one hour of work. Now imagine that he will give you two hours of work if you agree to be paid $9 an hour, three hours if you agree to be paid $8 an hour, and so on up to ten hours. At ten hours, you would make the same amount as you would for one hour of work, and so, at some point, it becomes illogical to trade wages for hours. Consider the following:
(Blog) Why We Need Them
What is a “metatalk?”
A metatalk is when we talk about the mechanisms of talking, thinking, relationships, and the like. It’s not just any talking, but a particular kind of talking in which we try to figure how and why all parties interpret things the way they do, why they feel a certain way, and what they think we’re saying when they say this or that (countless more examples could be made).
“Talking” is about dinner, what we did today, how we’re feeling, etc.
“Metatalking” is about why we thought it was good to do what we did today, why we felt x way when y happened, etc. …
(Blog) Until we achieve “substantive democracy,” replace “tolerance” with “humility,” accept possible vulnerability to moral monsters, and accept the impossibility of certainty, calls for unity will feel scripted.
Who doesn’t want to be unified? Anyone out there like division? Not many? Then why does the country seem so divided? Why do so many people feel like “calls for unity” are just propaganda?
Imagine that Darth Vader said to the Rebels “It’s time for unity” — do you think “unity” would be taken as anything else than “join us or else?” It would also entail a moral threat, for failing to unify with the Empire would contribute to division. …
Many of us were taught that if we were intellectually rigorous and honest, we’d approach the truth, but what if it wasn’t so simple? What if we can be wrong because we are intellectually disciplined? The Conflict of Mind will explore this possibility and argue that it is not enough to be a good thinker: we also need the right mental models. But even if our epistemology is advanced, there are problems we cannot escape.
(Blog) The problems we need to manage are much deeper.
Nobody does anything they think is irrational. If they touch fire, which is arguably stupid, they must be doing it because they want to impress someone, feel pain, or see what fire feels like. In light of this desire and want, touching the fire becomes rational to them, even if it’s not actually rational. But unfortunately, only God can ultimately know what is actually rational, and none of us are God. Maybe touching fire gets someone a promotion to being chief of a village somewhere? Can we really say that it’s never rational to touch fire? …
(Blog) YouTube is accused of causing radicalization, but is “radicalization” even a useful category?
The Making of a YouTube Radical was put out by The New York Times in 2019, and it has sparked a vigorous debate ever sense, a debate that has come back into prominence with the recent invasion of the Capitol. The piece basically argues that YouTube contributes to young men especially being indoctrinated into right-wing radicals. Mark Ledwich recently debated the premise at this tremendous podcast.
Personally, I think we need a conversation about what it means to be “radicalized.” If all our views are Liberal, are we radical? Or if 90% of our views are Liberal and 10% Conservative? Perhaps we need 62.4% Liberal views to be “balanced?” Or is it 50/50? By what standard? According to who? A fitting counter would be that “we are radical when we start rationalizing violence,” but would supporting the 2nd Amendment fall under that category? What about supporting uprisings to overturn white supremacy? Perhaps violence is necessary to stop white supremacy? If so, then what is required for racial equality could be forbidden from conversation. Perhaps some Trump supporters are correct that “a militia” is the only way to save America from corporate-takeover? Is this radical? …
(Blog) More thoughts on the possibility of abstract progress.
We already talked about the possibility of progress in philosophy, but a few more things can be said. Is it true that there are “no answers” in philosophy, only questions? Again, if our standard is certainty, that might follow, but even if “absolute answers” are impossible, it doesn’t follow that “answers in general” or “better answers” cannot be obtained. This might sound problematic, but it’s not that different from most questions we live with just fine. If I’m asked, “How was your day?” …
(Blog) If the Great Conversation never ends, why bother?
Is there ever real progress in philosophy? What about literature, sociology, economics — don’t all the “soft sciences” have the same problem? I think a lot of it hinges on the question of if we think progress is possible without certainty. Personally, I mostly think certainty is impossible, but we can still garner confidence, and not all confidence is equal (some is better than others).
I do think we can be confident that Isaiah Berlin’s distinction between “positive freedom” and “negative freedom” is an advancement, that Karl Popper’s “falsification” puts us in a better epistemological position than we were a hundred years ago, and that we are sharper thanks to the debate between Rawls and Nozick. Can we be certain that we are? No, and philosophical regression is indeed possible, but I’m confident I’d rather live in a world after Aristotle, Arendt, Deleuze, etc. …
(Blog) If we accept limiting free speech in a crowded space, then we need to have a hard conversation about social media.
We all know that we can’t shout “fire!” in a crowded movie theater, that our freedom of speech can’t put other people in danger. We also can’t harass, make death threats, and so on — none of that is controversial. …
Previews of Pieces by O.G. Rose
This is a preview list of short pieces I wrote focused on “thinking about thinking,” mental models, epistemology, and stuff like that. I hope you see something in here that you find interesting!
The road to madness is paved with verification.
No one naturally falsifies. Everything in us wants to verify. Remember: our brain is not mainly in the business of trying to know the deepest ontological truths of reality; primarily, it exists to help us survive. Verifying an ideology will help us survive, because it will help us find a tribe, and it is easier to survive if we have numbers on our side. Also, if we think there is a lion in the bushes and we try to falsify our fear, we might end up eaten. …