• Philosophy,  Random,  Science

    Arendt, Action, and Psychological Stuff

    I know next to nothing about Hannah Arendt except what I’ve read on Wikipedia and Reddit (archived).  Nevertheless, it sounds really cool. She defined the three human activities as labor, work and action, with two mutually exclusive spheres: the political and everything else. Arendt introduces the term “vita activa” (active life) by distinguishing it from “vita contemplativa” (contemplative life), which represents her understanding of Western society. There are only three human activities: labor, work and action. They correspond to the three basic conditions under which humans live. Action corresponds to the political actions of anyone… What’s striking to me (and I agree with it) is the stark division between the…

  • Philosophy,  Random,  Science

    “In r/badhistory, the view that technology is linear gets poked fun of every once in a while. Why is the view wrong?”

    In r/badhistory, the view that technology is linear gets poked fun of every once in a while. Why is the view wrong?  Isn’t technology linear? Also, why is the west so dominant when compared to other once great civilizations?   Are you familar with the idea of local maximums? Imagine in a low spot between two hills. You can climb either hill. Regardless off what hill to climb, you are increasing your elevation. But one of the hills will not reach as high as the other. In evolution, its called a fitness landscape. Paths of technological development can be similar. A recent question on ask historians involved the development of…

  • Philosophy,  Random

    Variations of the Trolley Problem

    Variations taken from this comment on Reddit.  I’d like to give my amateurish comments on each variation.   Note that in all of these variations, the six people at risk are tied down onto the tracks.  This is different from the example when it’s described that the six people are on the tracks of their own free will (perhaps workers, perhaps just taking a walk on the tracks) but simply cannot hear the trolley running towards them.  Thus, we can assume that the six people have been tied to the tracks against their will. Most people would say not to push the fat person over the bridge to stop the…

  • Philosophy,  Random

    Utilitarianism and Today

    The basic idea of utilitarianism, taken from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s entry, The History of Utilitarianism, is: Though there are many varieties of the view discussed, utilitarianism is generally held to be the view that the morally right action is the action that produces the most good…  one ought to maximize the overall good — that is, consider the good of others as well as one’s own good. Utilitarianism is also distinguished by impartiality and agent-neutrality. Everyone’s happiness counts the same. When one maximizes the good, it is the good impartially considered. My good counts for no more than anyone else’s good. Further, the reason I have to promote…