Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Epistemology

Nye vs. Ham: The Broken Evolution/Creation Debate

Yesterday, on encouragement from my little brother, who is an aspirant aeronautical engineer and a huge Bill Nye fan, I watched the debate between Bill Nye (of Bill Nye the Science Guyand Ken Ham, who is president of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. I also ran across this piece on Buzzfeed, in which Ham supporters ask lots of questions that, based on what I’m reading on my Facebook, don’t seem especially reasonable to Nye’s guys. Instead of contributing to the internet flame war, I’d like to try to use what philosophical skills I have to highlight what precisely the difference is between the two positions, because the gulf is incredibly vast, more vast than I believe most of the participants on either side of this debate commonly understand.

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The Peculiar Similarity of Subjectivists and Solipsists

A thought occurred to me this morning that I think well worth sharing about subjectivism and solipsism, and how these two ideas are much more similar to one another than perhaps they appear. I want to share it.

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The Biasing Effects of Personal Experience

One of the most common assumptions around is the notion that the only way to truly understand something is to be part of it. It is said that the best way to learn about life is to live it. This idea has tremendous influence–it causes method actors to attempt to directly experience what their characters experience, it causes people to go on trips or to do things purely for “the experience”, and most importantly, it has tremendous influence over how people think about politics, both for the left and for the right. The left scolds well-off politicians, who are assumed to have no conception of what it means to be poor and to suffer. The right scolds young people and ivory tower academics for not directly experiencing the welfare systems they praise, or the private systems they denigrate. There is a kernel of truth in both criticisms, but that’s about it.

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A Critique of Hegel

Today I seek to come to grips with Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the late 18th and early 19th century German philosopher. Why Hegel? Because of Hegel’s influence on a broad range of philosophical movements and traditions that have sprung up over the last 200 years, and because there are elements within his system of belief that strike me as manifestly false (and, consequently, serve as a false foundation for spin-off theories), and I seek to articulate why.

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Intellectual Hipsters: Sceptics

Today I would like to return to a concept I’ve referenced once previously–intellectual hipsters. Intellectual hipsters are people who want other people to believe they are intellectual, philosophical people, but have not put in the work of really considering the ideas they embrace. This results in philosophical fads where a bunch of people jump onto the bandwagon of a facile idea. Often they do not even credit the originators of the idea, but treat it is as if it were some brilliant revelation they stumbled upon in their “reflections”. They assume that anyone who does not express agreement with the position just has never thought of it before, when in actuality usually the idea was considered and dismissed some time ago by people who, you know, actually think about the implications of the philosophical positions they take. Today’s hipster idea? Scepticism.

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